Monday, 30 April 2018

Just One Food - McD's Nasi Lemak Burger

After McDonald's Nasi Lemak Burger was first introduced in Singapore in the middle of last year, it reportedly sold out in two weeks with close to 750,000 burgers sold making it one of the chain's most successful promotions in recent years.  Due to popular demand, they brought it back a month later for a second run.

Finally, McDonald's Malaysia has launched their version of the Nasi Lemak Burger.  Well, it's about time, don't you think?  After all, it's a dish that's close to Malaysian hearts.

First of all, the price for an a la carte burger is RM14.95 and RM16.95 in a set with a drink and fries.  Well, I'm not interested in a gassy and sugary drink like 100Plus, so I had my Nasi Lemak Burger with Teh Tarik Ais...kekeke! ;D

Let's look at the layers individually.  We start with the bun.  As usual, it's a soft bun but instead of a plain or sesame-crusted bun, we get a chilli-infused bun.  It looked something like Singapore's version with a semolina bun but with additional chilli specks on it.  It's nice to see that the halved bun has been toasted on both sides.

Lift up the bun and you have a layer of sliced cucumbers, caramelised onions (nope, they weren't caramelised, they were just sauteed till soft) and a completely cooked fried egg that no longer has a runny yolk.

Next, you have the cornflakes-coated, coconut-flavoured fried chicken thigh patty.  You can certainly taste the santan-infused marinade in the chicken to evoke that lemak vibe.  But I didn't get that satisfying crunch from the cornflakes coating.  I think this was down to two reasons, one was that the chicken thigh patty was smothered in sambal sauce which will render any crunchy coating soft.  The other would depend on your luck.  If you're at an outlet where the burgers are flying off the shelves, then your chances of getting a freshly fried patty will be higher.  McDonald's SOP would have burgers made ahead to replenish stocks on the shelves in order to cater to the crowd (and hasten service) and mine was one of two I saw taken from the shelves.

And finally, you'd find generous slathers of sambal on both sides of the bun.  I believe our sambal tastes different from Singapore's version since McDonald's Malaysia mentioned that they spent time to adjust the taste of the sambal for our Malaysian palates.  The taste of it was more on the sweet side, with a hint of tang, and not too spicy (which I can understand as they'd want to cater to the masses).  For me, the sambal which tied the whole burger together needed to be kick-ass...and it just wasn't.

It just didn't have the depth of flavour of a good sambal that have been "tumis" (stir-fried) for a long period of time that I've come to know and associate with a nasi lemak sambal.  The looks of it even resembled some Chinese-style sambal I've had before especially with the sour nuances.  Maybe, the best way to describe it would probably's the type of sambal you get in a nasi lemak bungkus from say a mamak restaurant. It's's not bad but it's not fantastic either, it's there if you want nasi lemak but you won't miss a thing if you don't have it.  You know what, I remember the sambal in KFC's Sambal Rice Bowl being better! :P

Some complained about the missing rice.  Others complained about the missing kacang and ikan bilis.  Now, how on earth do you expect them to incorporate that in?  Eating it will be even messier with all the kacang and ikan bilis falling everywhere.  Come on, people, it's a burger...not nasi lemak! :P

Taking a bite of the burger, with a bit of everything, I think it did evoke the flavours of a nasi lemak...but in a weird way.  Overall, it just didn't quite come together as well as I had hoped.  I guess I'm a traditionalist...I'll stick to a 'real' nasi lemak if I want with lemak rice and and a good sambal, not a burger version.  Some things, I believe, you just don't mess around a well-loved iconic dish such as nasi lemak....haha! :D

The price tag of RM15 for a burger is certainly considered affordable...but the question it cheap enough for the masses?  It seems that the burger is being introduced now with the upcoming Ramadan in May in mind, so you still have a good 1 1/2 months to try it as it'll probably be around until at least then. Reading/watching all the blogs/videos of those who have tried the burger so far, everyone seems to be liking it but I'm going to be the first to buck the trend.  For me, there's nothing to tempt me to have it again...once was quite enough!  So, have you tried it yet? ;)

Friday, 27 April 2018

Kouzu @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

We are well versed with tapas aka small plates of Spanish savoury dishes....but what's Japas?  Well, it seems they're the Japanese version of tapas.  Ooo...I like small portions.

And Kouzu @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail is a place for Japas besides also serving yakitori, donburi, salad & greens, pasta & noodles, Japanese pizza and desserts too.

Absolutely loving the colourful murals on the wall that looks somewhat like those illegal graffiti, drawn free hand, we see on street walls....hahaha! ;D  Except these ones are a lot, lot nicer, of course.  Choose a good spot and you'll come away with a nice background for your photo or selfie.

From the Japas menu, there's a wide selection of about 20 choices with the majority of them priced between RM18 - RM28.  We ordered the Creamy Baked Oysters @ RM19 to start.

As much as I like a fresh oyster, I like a baked one even more.  Covered with cream cheese and a dollop of salty capelin roe, they were baked to a nice golden-brown.  Juicy, velvety-smooth, perfect Japas to start with...and getting five oysters for the price paid was certainly good value.

Our next Japas was the Stone Grilled Sirloin @ RM27.  It arrived in fashion wrapped in aluminium foil with a bit of smoke and a sizzling sound that makes you eager to see what's inside.

Opened to reveal 5- 6 fairly thick slices of charred beef sizzling on a hot stone with some cubes of potato in a sweetish teriyaki-type sauce.  Tender, juicy, but not necessarily all that flavourful.  You'd want to eat it quickly before the still pinkish meat becomes more cooked.

From the Japas, we moved on to their Donburi section (with 8 selections, RM18 - RM30) and went with the Ishiyaki Stone Bowl @ RM30.  Served in a hot stone bowl that consisted of sweet-sticky unagi, vinegared prawns, a good-sized and well-charred scallop, minced chicken, sauteed mushrooms, a perfectly cooked onsen tamago, masago and rice.

We went about eating this by sharing out the prawns, scallop and unagi first and then breaking the runny yolk and mixing it in with the rice (together with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl).  That yielded moist, sticky rice at the top and crunchy textured bits at the bottom.  For a light eater, this delicious bowl is a complete meal in itself with a bit of everything...and you don't have to share! ^o^

From their Pasta & Noodles options (there were five priced between RM22 - RM27), we selected the Angel Hair Mentaiko Pasta @ RM22.  Nice presentation...wrapped around a pair of chopsticks! ^_~  The angel hair pasta was tossed in a creamy-but-not-cloying concoction of mentaiko and topped with masago, tobiko and thin strips of seaweed.

Next, we moved onto the Japanese Pizza offerings (with five alternatives to choose from, RM20 - RM27) and picked the Pizza with Japanese Escargot @ RM27 just because I love snails...of the edible kind....kekeke! ;)

With a layer of crackly rice as its base, this 4-inch pizza came topped with crunchy escargots, crispy and super thin slices of lotus root, greens of arugula and baby spinach along with Japanese mayo and a sweetish sauce.  Not the usual pizza and something new with its rice base dough though you may need to do a bit of hunting to find the scarce escargots though. :(

Only after devouring these dishes did we make our orders for their yakitori and that's just so we can eat the skewers of meat as and when they arrive at the table, still hot, straight off the grill.  There are at least 25 varieties to choose from ranging from as low as RM5 to the most expensive at RM18 a stick.  Here were some of our selections.

The Sirloin @ RM15 was juicy, flavourful but not as tender as I thought it would be.  And that's just my friend's finger hoping to get 'famous' on my blog giving you an estimate of the size of the skewer...hihihi!) :D

The Gyutan @ RM12 aka ox tongue was, unfortunately, very chewy and no where near tender nor flavourful as the ones I've eaten before.

The Chicken Wings @ RM6 (each skewer comes with two wingettes), with tender flesh, were fragrant from the charred and crisp skin and hands down the best skewer of the night.

No complaints on the Rock Lobster @ RM15 as it was fresh, moist, succulent.

The Salmon Cube @ RM12, fairly fresh, featured soft, tender flesh.

Was there any doubt I wouldn't order the Quail Eggs @ RM5 (each stick came with 3 mini eggs) if I see it on the menu?  Of course not.  However, these may have been left on the grill too long as some parts of the egg white were slightly rubbery.

As for the Shiitake Mushrooms @ RM5 (3 mushrooms in each stick), we were over eager to eat them (hence the sticks were removed before pic was taken!) as we enjoyed the sauteed mushrooms in the Ishiyaki Bowl earlier.

I've always loved Japanese sweet potatoes for its taste and looks (contrasting yellow flesh against purple skin), so an order of Sweet Potato @ RM5 (4 wedges of potato on each stick) when I see it on the menu comes as no surprise.  However, these ones were underdone as the flesh near the skin + the skin itself was still hard.

The Okra @ RM5 (4 pcs in one stick) was well-charred, soft and delicious.  All the skewers were simply seasoned with shio and pepper or a drizzle of soy to allow the natural flavours of the protein and vegetable to shine.

We enjoyed the Chicken Wings the most, so we placed a second order for another two sticks.  It was at this time I casually mentioned to the server (who took our orders) that we didn't like the gyutan and sweet potato skewers.

Without warning and to our surprise, the server brought us replacement skewers of the gyutan and sweet potato.  This time, the sweet potatoes were better executed.

Sorry, but the gyutan was still very chewy...and I took one bite only and left the skewer unfinished.  We, however, appreciated their gesture to replace the skewers that we mentioned weren't successful.

The server did later explain that the chef tasked with the cooking of the skewers is new, barely two months old.  But I think that was only half the cause, the other half being the quality of the skewered food.

When the plates of yakitori arrived, it immediately reminded me of the now-closed Shinjiro as they used the exact same plates (even the holder to put your already-eaten sticks is the same!).  But taste-wise, Shinjiro was much better.  Till this day I 'mourn' the closing of Shinjiro.  I don't know why it happened as the food was good.  I think they were in the wrong location/mall and I think they needed to add more to the menu other than just offering predominantly grilled skewers of food that may end up to be a costly meal for some.

P/S: You may want to check the discounts offered by eatigo (for food only, drinks excluded)

My Personal Opinion

Though the yakitori seems reasonably priced from RM5 to RM18 per stick, the fact remains that you'll need quite a few sticks to be full.  Imagine you're eating satay, if you need 10 sticks to be full, you'll need 10 skewers of meat...and at an average price of RM10 - RM12 a stick, you do the math, the amount can add up very quickly.  Even I can easily down 10 sticks, so you can imagine how many sticks the more ferocious eaters may need.

But since the skewers weren't that successful anyway (other than the wings), I'd probably stick to their Japas and donburi offerings with a few occasional skewers.

Still a good place to unwind, over the weekend or after work, with a couple of Japas in one hand and a beer or sake in the other! ^_^

Kouzu Restaurant
18 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7733 9309

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Double the Yolk.....Double the Pleasure?

What are the chances of getting an egg with double yolks?  Apparently rather slim....since it occurs in only about 1 in 1000.  But not anymore.  Nowadays, double-yolk eggs can even be 'cultivated' where chickens can be bred to lay double-yolked eggs (that's what I read)! O_o

So, when my husband brought home some double yolk eggs recently (given by her sister), I was wondering if that would be the scenario that awaits me....double the yolk, double the pleasure;)

First of all, the double-yolk egg is much bigger in size compared to the normal egg.  You can see the size comparison in the photo above.  Because of the huge size, having one egg is like having two.

So, what do you do when double-yolk eggs drop on your lap...well, you quickly make sunny side-up eggs with runny yolks, of course...with a side of bacon! ^.^  As you can seethe yolks broke when I cracked my egg into the pan...and that was with extra care some more! T_T

When the yolks break, it's almost impossible to get runny yolks by the time the egg white is cooked.  I dished it up as soon as the whites were cooked, so there were still some runny parts, very little of it though.  And the bacon on top was me trying to hide my overdone eggs.  I didn't enjoy the non-runny yolks, of course! >_<
P/S: Never use shiitake mushrooms in a western-style breakfast...even if you're using fresh ones.  I know I should have used fresh button mushrooms but I only had fresh (not dried) shiitake mushrooms in the fridge and I thought it wouldn't be too bad....but I was so wrong.  The flavour of shiitake mushrooms is too intense...and has no place in a big breakfast! :P

I used another egg to make soft-boiled eggs.   For my usual soft-boiled eggs, I would bring enough water (to cover the eggs) to boil and then lower two eggs (straight from the fridge) into the boiled water, cover and let it steep for about 3 1/2 minutes.  But since this was a larger egg and the egg was at room temperature, I let it steep for an extra 30 seconds (about 4 minutes in total).

As you can see, the yolks broke again! >:(  The shell seemed more porous (compared to the usual eggs) and they crack easily with a slight tap but when I put my fingers in to open up the egg, the yolks still broke even though I took extra precaution (again)....haiz!  The yolks were still perfectly cooked and runny (of course), just that I lost that bit of enjoyment of poking the yolk and seeing the yolk oozing out.

I used the final egg to make hard-boiled eggs.  This will certainly be failproof coz surely no such thing as broken yolks will happen with this cook method! :P

Eaten with a drizzle of soy and a sprinkle of white pepper, I finally enjoyed my extra creamy double yolked egg.  Two is always better than one...two egg yolks, I mean.

If you think a double-yolk egg is egg-straordinary, think again.  There's even triple-yolked eggs...and that's a 25 million to one odds!! O_o  I've not seen one myself other than the pics I've seen online (if they're indeed real).

So, in the end, was it...double the yolk, double the pleasure?  Not really (coz you can get the exact same thing with two eggs...hihihi).  I think it was more...double the fun, double the excitement really...of getting a double-yolk egg against the odds! ^_~

THE END.....and now back to our regular eggs! >_<

Monday, 23 April 2018

HK Boy Cart Noodle @ Pavilion

HK Boy Cart Noodle first opened in Bandar Mahkota Cheras more than a year ago offering Hong Kong street food such as their signature cart noodles and street snacks (like curry fish balls, egg waffle, rice noodle roll, fried fish skin and more).

They've since added branches in Pavilion, Kepong and Puchong.  Since there's now a HK Boy Cart Noodle @ Pavilion near me, I thought I'd finally give it a try to see what it's all about.  

Love these olden days metal mugs and hot water flask.  My mother-in-law has a similar one too (in red) and kept it till this day.

Ordering is made simple through the use of order chits found at the table.  The order chits are self-explanatory, so you just need to tick your preferred choices.

Step 1 - Pick your favourite soup (noodle soup, dry noodle, tomato broth or spicy soup).

Step 2 - Pick your favourite noodle (select one only from yellow noodle, hor fun, lo shu fan, meehoon & mi xian to instant noodles or udon that'll cost you extra).

Step 3 - Choose your favourite special sauce (beef tendon, curry or braised sauce with an option to add special chilli sauce).

Step 4 - Choose your favourite topping (with more than 40 toppings for you to choose from, some of which include pork intestine, smoked duck, braised chicken wing, lemongrass pork chop, luncheon meat, radish, mushrooms & braised egg).  There are also premium add-ons like braised beef, beef tendon & beef stomach which cost an extra RM3.  Any extra topping will be charged RM3.90 each.  

I duly made my choices on the chit provided.

A bowl of soup noodles with 2 toppings costs RM11.80 while 3 toppings will set you back RM13.60.  I chose one with 3 toppings and my bowl of piping hot mi xian with special braised sauce arrived with large pork intestine and braised beef sans the braised egg.

I was told then that the braised eggs weren't quite ready yet as it had not been braised long enough (since they opened late).  I was asked if I'd like to substitute it with something else, otherwise they'll adjust the price accordingly.  So, I substituted it with luncheon meat that ended up being served separately.

I chose the special braised sauce...and if you don't specify 'less spicy' or 'not spicy', your bowl of noodles will come with a dollop of chilli paste.

First impression when the bowl of piping hot noodles arrived....I noticed right away the layer of oil around the rim of the bowl.  Not only that but the soup was filled with a lot of minced garlic.

The soup base was way too oily...and the flavour of the broth (with a beefy taste) was too robust for my liking. >_<  I'm not sure if the oiliness is due to the broth itself or caused by the sauce or the result of the chilli paste.  And the abundance of minced garlic made the soup even more pungent in taste.  I do love garlic but too much of it in the soup can be off-putting.

As for the mi xian noodles, they came looking like they've been cut up into shorter strands (for some reason) which I didn't appreciate.

I love pork intestines (the small intestines) but have rarely eaten large intestines (which happens to be a favourite of my mother-in-law).  I don't know what made me order it but I soon regretted my first choice of large pork intestines as the fats inside were not cleaned out.  The larger pieces were ok and they were tender without being too "smelly" as large intestines are known to be.

But the smaller ones, as you can clearly see, had quite a lot of fat within the intestinal walls.  So, I had to spend quite a lot of time to remove them one by one.  In the end, I left most of them uneaten.  Ok, no more large intestines for me from now on.

My second choice was a premium add-on of braised beef that cost an additional RM3.

This was a better choice as the beef was super tender that taste much like one of those Taiwanese beef noodles or "lobak ngau lam" (braised sirloin with radish) you'd find in beef ball mee stalls.

My third topping (the substitute) turned out to be the best one of the three.  The luncheon meat was fragrant and of a good quality.

More surprising was just how thick the slice was....yum! ^.^  Sorry, I was too eager and ate half of it before realising I should show you just how unbelievably thick it was.

They offer a couple of street snacks on their menu too for your munching pleasure.

For drinks, I went with their Iced Milk Tea which cost RM3 instead of the usual price of RM6.90 (I think it was a set promotion at that time).  Didn't care much for their milk tea either.

I don't know how the real mccoy taste like in Hong Kong but, if it tastes anything like this, I don't think I'd want to have it again! :P  But since I've only tried out one combination, I thought I'd give it at least one more go.  So, I returned another day hoping to try the noodles without adding any sauce to see if it tastes any better (though I read somewhere that the soup will be bland without any sauce...hmmm).  But, as I walked in, I was told that they were late in opening and weren't ready yet and will only open at around 12 noon (I was there at 11 am) when the outlet clearly states that they open from 10 am to 10 pm.  In fact, when I was there the first time (also at 11 am), they also opened late and the braised egg was not ready.  I really hate it when a place doesn't open at the time when they're supposed to be opened but at their whim and fancy. Oh well, they blew their second chance.    

My Personal Opinion

If this is as close as the real thing in Hong Kong (maybe less 'dirty' ^_*), then I don't understand why people like cart noodles.

The reviews on this place are rather mixed and on opposite ends, you either like it or you don't.  I guess I'm the latter.  The broth was too robustly flavoured for my palate (especially with the added sauce), too oily and too overpowering with the taste of garlic.  

Maybe I just don't like Hong Kong-style food all that much, just like in Starz Kitchen, and now here.  Maybe I ordered the wrong noodle combination but I don't think I'd be trying any more noodle combinations.

HK Boy Cart Noodle
Lot 1.28.00 & P1.22.00 Level 1
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-651 1005

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