Thursday, 31 May 2018

Prawn Noodle King @ Overseas Union Garden

I've heard about their special mantis prawn mee for a while now and when someone mentioned he'd be interested to know what I thought of it, there's no better time than now to pay a visit to Prawn Noodle King @ Taman Overseas Union since this prawn mee has been on my radar of places to try.

Opened in the last quarter of 2017 (with a second outlet just opened in USJ Taipan in May), this place originated from a stall, known as Penang Seang Lim Toptaste Hokkien Mee, previously located in Pinang Delicious Food Court on Macalister Road, Penang (this was what I read from a Penang food blog).

That stall is no longer in operation but her famous Penang Prawn Mee King signboard has found a new home in the current restaurant.

Walking into the restaurant, the first thing I smelled was the aroma of prawn shells wafting through the air...which wasn't necessarily a good thing.  If it was the scent of freshly baked breads, that's a different story altogether...that I welcome! ;)

Once seated, we were given a laminated hard board menu that contained only 8 items...short and sweet....showcasing 7 choices of prawn mee (with different toppings), priced from RM8.90 - RM20.90 with the most expensive ones costing RM28 or RM35 (for soft shell crab) and RM46.90 (with all 4 toppings) and a side order of Penang Lobak & Prawn Fritters (RM12 for small, RM18 for big).

Although there's a self-order chit, a young man came to take our orders.  Only after he left, I took a look at the order chit and noticed that there was an additional side order of Crispy Salmon Skin (RM8) and a dessert of "Guai Lin Gou" (RM6.50) unless these two are no longer available.

If you don't like prawn mee, then there's really nothing for you to eat here.  My husband isn't a big fan of prawn mee but he was willing to 'stomach' it since there's a siew yuk version...and that's exactly what he ordered, the Prawn Mee with Roast Pork @ RM14.90.

There's only mihun and mee for your choice of noodles here.  The bowl of prawn mee came with the usual prawns, slices of lean pork, taugeh or bean sprouts, fried shallots and half a hard-boiled egg (but no kangkung).  Of course, this one came with additional roast pork where the pieces were thickly cut.  The taste of the siew yuk was so underwhelming (that I'd even say some of those from the wet markets are better) + I found the cuts to be too fatty...and what's worse than fatty meat...tough fatty meat! >_<

My choice was the Prawn Mee with Mantis Prawn @ RM20.90 as I wanted to try something special and unique that's not offered elsewhere (+ I wasn't enticed by their original prawn mee which showed only two miserable prawns).

Besides the usual ingredients, I found fried pork lard crisps (not that I don't welcome them), I just thought it strange they'd be in a bowl of prawn mee.  Unfortunately, these crisps had gone rancid.  Not only that but the store-bought fried shallots were stale-tasting too and not of a good quality (I can confirm they were store-bought as I happened to see from afar one of the servers opening them from a plastic packet).

The texture of the mantis prawns, however, was soft and mushy.  I've had mantis prawns before, cooked in salted egg, butter and milk, marmite or kung po style usually, but they were firm, never mushy.  Ok, maybe you might argue that they were battered and fried, thereby yielding a much firmer texture.  But still, I would think that fresh mantis prawns should have a texture like prawns (some even say that they have the taste and texture close to lobsters).  That could explain why it originally looked like some kind of minced meat (in many of the photos online) which actually turned out to be tiny bits of prawn meat (coz they were probably mushy when peeled, thus resulting in tiny bits).

As for the prawns, they were almost non-existent...I found only two smallish ones! O_o  It was the same with my husband's bowl of prawn mee with siew yuk as well.  Even the photos of all the prawn mee options show only two tiny pathetic prawns.  This is a prawn mee for crying out loud...what happened to the prawns? :P There was a generous amount of lean pork that was good as they were thinly sliced.  As for the hard-boiled egg, I found the whites a tad too firm (it was as if they had been left steeping in the prawn stock for too long judging from the stained exterior).

But, more importantly, how did the prawn broth fare?  Well, at first sip, it wasn't any where near the good ones I've had.  Although it did have the desired prawn-y undertones, the soup was somewhat thinner and the prawn flavours also tasted slightly different to the usual ones I've had.  I can't explain's just different. Is it possible they could have used mantis prawn shells (or something else) in the broth?  Hmmm, I wonder. Either that or the type of prawns they use just didn't have that inherent sea prawn sweetness.

The sambal (chilli paste) is available tableside for you to tweak the spiciness level to your liking.

I held back adding the sambal initially as I wanted to taste the unblemished broth first.  It did taste better with a spoonful of sambal added.  Somehow, the broth in my husband's bowl tasted different from mine (mine had more flavour and was slightly sweeter).  I wanted to re-taste my husband's broth again but, by then, it was too late as he added loads of sambal to try to cover what he terms as a disappointing broth.

This was the Penang Kopi-O Ping @ RM3.50 (is there such a thing as a Penang version of kopi-o-ping?).  Did it taste any different from any local coffee?  Nope.  Did it taste better?  Nope.

Side Story #1

I ended up sitting at a table nearest the cashier counter.  The expression on my face must have said it all until the young man (that was serving us) noticed and came round to ask us how the food was.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't like almost all the ingredients in the bowl, so I just said that the pork lard was rancid.  He apologised and brought me another plate...I said thank you but no (coz, even though I'm crazy about crispy pork lard, it doesn't mean I like it in everything...and prawn mee was definitely one of those dishes where it shouldn't be there) + they didn't taste like those freshly fried, super crispy ones, with glistening oil all round, that I seek.

Side Story #2

If you check out their Facebook page, you'd see photos of someone frying up large quantities of prawn heads and shells to make their prawn broth (they claim to use up to 1,200 kg a month!).  I really don't know where all the prawn heads and shells came from seeing each bowl has so few prawns (just two, maybe three) in it! O_o  Hmmm, I wonder if one can buy just prawn shells?

I was also taken back as to how many videos (and lengthy ones I might add) the owner uploaded when I visited their Facebook.  It gave me the impression that he was more passionate about showcasing himself than his prawn mee...kekeke! :D

Side Story #3

From the blogs online, I noticed the prices for the prawn mee have increased (from last year) from RM6.90 to RM8.90 (for the original prawn mee) and RM18.90 to RM20.90 (for the mantis prawn mee) and they've not even been in operation for a year.  Well, with the price increase, you'd think they would at least give more than two miserable prawns! >.<

I found an old 2016 blog post that reviewed the prawn mee stall in Penang...and do you know how much was the mantis prawn mee then?  RM9!!  And we have to fork out RM20.90 now for the same bowl....that's a bit too much, don't you think? :P

My Personal Opinion

The two more successful things here were probably the broth and the sambal.  The prawn mee, though decent by many's standards (judging by the mostly good reviews on Google and their Facebook page), just didn't endear itself to me on a personal level.  I think the failure of the ingredients (of prawns, fried shallots, hard-boiled egg and pork lard crisps) and toppings (of siew yuk and mantis prawn) spoiled my overall experience of this prawn mee and ultimately made it one that I don't think I'd be revisiting.

In the end, I'm afraid this prawn mee will not make it to my list of favourite prawn mee to have.  I have a lot more other better (traditional) prawn mee options at my disposal...and one that comes with more prawns and cheaper prices too.  I can have two big bowls, with big prawns, for the price of one here...and with change to spare! ;P

Prawn Noodle King
4 Jalan Hujan Rahmat 3
Taman Overseas Union
58200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7971 8117

Monday, 28 May 2018

#ewew cooks Spice-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Leg

I'd love to 'own' many bottles of seasoning as we can do wonders with them.  But I don't cook that often, so investing in too many bottles of seasoning would be a waste of money as they'd expire before I can fully make use of them (and I'm talking from experience here).

Of all the seasonings, I thought smoked paprika and cayenne pepper would be the most versatile in cooking. I've since put the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to good use in many recipes like when I made deviled eggs, with chicken fillets when I make pasta salads and even in flavoured bacon.

Now, I want to utilise both the seasonings further by making Spice-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Leg, especially after seeing phonghongbakes using those spices very often in her cooking of chicken.

Marinade for 2 chicken legs:
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
(you can increase the amount of seasoning if you like deeper flavours)

After marination, put it back into the fridge to let the flavours develop and 'get to know one another'.  I usually marinade it in the morning (or by lunch time at the latest) if I intend to make it for dinner.  I also like to leave it in the fridge uncovered as this helps to dry out the chicken for a crispier skin when baked.

Take it out at least half an hour before cook time to let the chicken come to room temperature (this will give rise to a crispier skin as well).

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes.  Once it turns a nice golden colour, it's ready.  Look at those lovely pan juices...don't waste it, spoon it over your chicken! ^.^

If you want a 'carb-less' meal, then it's most ideal to serve it with some roasted vegetables.  I chose cauliflower and broccoli.  I seasoned the vegetables with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, drizzled olive oil over it and threw in some minced garlic as well.

I roasted the vegetables together with the chicken as they'll cook (and brown) in the same time as and when the chicken is done.

Roasted cauliflower and broccoli is not only one of the healthiest side you can make to pair with your protein, it's very tasty too.

I love the taste of this flavourful chicken leg, the skin was fragrant, savoury and crisp (coz the seasoning is somewhat of a dry rub), with a hint of spiciness, while the meat was tender and juicy.  I especially enjoyed the smoky flavour from the smoked paprika. ^o^

If you like more robust flavours, you can certainly add more seasoning (other than salt, of course) to spice up the flavours even's entirely up to you to tweak to your liking.

I've seen recipes using twice the amount of seasoning (some even more) but you'll have to try that on your own accord to see how intense you like the flavours to be.  For me, I'm happy with the amount of seasoning I used.

Sometimes I would have this roasted chicken with just some packaged salad leaves.  Ah, that's where the pan juices come in....drizzled over the salad leaves as a dressing...hehe! ;)

At times, I'd even roast an extra chicken leg for my salad the next day.  Just remove the meat and skin from the chicken and store it (skin on top, meat at the bottom) in a heatproof glass container in the fridge.

To make my salad the next day, all I need to do is to stick the glass container into my toaster oven to reheat. Putting the skin on top of the shredded chicken allows the skin to crisp up nicely when reheated.

After that, just toss the reheated chicken with some salad leaves of your choice and you can have yourself a nice, healthy, delicious homemade salad.

And if you happen to have some bacon.....hey, why not! :P

The best thing about this roast chicken is that I can make it anytime since the bottles of seasoning are conveniently available at my disposal.

You know what.....this is now my favourite roast chicken I've made terms of taste + it looks pretty presentable too, don't you think?

This Spice-Rubbed Roasted Chicken Leg is so easy to assemble coz all you need is to invest in just three bottles of seasoning (and they're so versatile you can use them in many other recipes too).  Give this one a go, I think you'll like it! ^_~

Friday, 25 May 2018

Kaisen Don Kinme, J's Gate Dining @ Lot 10 Shopping Centre

The Unagi Bowl we had at Bonta Bonta at J's Gate Dining proved really satisfying for its quality and taste...and the Buy 1 Free 1 deal made it just that much 'sweeter'! ;)

So, we found ourselves back once again a couple of days later and, this time, we were attracted to something from Kaisen Don Kinme, J's Gate Dining @ Lot 10 Shopping Centre when we walked past.

Although there was also a Buy 1 Free 1 promotion at this outlet of a Chirashi Don, we went with a non-promotional item and ordered the Salmon Ikura Mentai Don @ RM35 instead.

Just look how the lightly torched, thinly sliced salmon wraps around the rice like a 'warm blanket'.  Tasting fragrant, smoky, soft and luscious, it was a delight to eat.  But, luckily, we were alert enough to realise that the ikura was missing before we digged in.

So, we took the bowl back to outlet and was promptly given the ikura on a small plate instead.  Maybe they felt regretful at having forgotten about the ikura and gave us a portion that I felt was far more generous.  If it had been spooned on top of the salmon mentai don, I don't think the portion would be as generous.  Oh well, we certainly weren't going to complain.  The ikura was a salty, juicy burst of deliciousness in my mouth! ^.^

Of course, we knew resisting the temptation of the Buy 1 Free 1 promotion was going to be futile (hehe!) and we just had to get another dose of eel rice with the Unagi Bowl Single @ RM18.99 again.

Still as good as ever....still at an unbelievable price as ever (even without the Buy 1 Free 1 promotion)!! ^o^

We decided to get the Fried Chicken Omelette Bowl as our second free bowl this time which was served with the same omelette, shredded seaweed and cabbage as the Teriyaki Chicken Omelette Bowl we had the previous time.

However, I found the fried chicken (in bigger chunks than chicken karaage), with a nice crisp exterior, to be a bit on the dry side.  The teriyaki chicken was a better choice in my opinion.

My Personal Opinion

I've only 'scratched the surface' of what's on offer here after having tried just 2 of the 16 restaurants.....but what I've tried so far, I liked.

There's obviously a lot more to sample...and I'm especially looking forward to one that has yet to open which will offer teppanyaki and okonomiyaki.

Kaisen Don Kinme, J's Gate Dining
Unit P1-04A Level 4
Lot 10 Shopping Centre
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 2172

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

What's the easiest way to cook bacon?

Warning:  Do not proceed further if you don't want to be tempted!  This is a bacon overload post!! ;)

Although I've seen recipes and videos that showed the easiest way to cook baking, I've never thought of attempting it until now.  I guess I just wasn't brave enough to try for fear that it might not work out and thereby ruining my costly bacon! :P

Mind you, these six slices of premium streaky bacon cost me close to RM18! O_o  That's how expensive bacon has become these days. T_T

I finally took a gamble and tried this method which I've seen on so many video blogs.  But the kiamsap in me meant I won't put all my eggs in one basket.  So I tried with just one slice first...and it worked....a perfectly cooked slice of bacon! ;)

So, a couple of days later, and with my bacon restocked, two slices were baked as they were in its original form.  Another two slices were made into spicy bacon by sprinkling them with smoked paprika.

The final two slices were made into candied bacon by brushing them with honey (I like to incorporate a light pinch of freshly cracked black pepper but you can omit it)'s entirely up to you.  You can use a pastry brush or, better still, use your fingers (like the lazy me), then you won't need to wash yet another utensil.  I separated these two slices as I didn't want the sweetness of the honey to interfere with the other four slices.

Both trays went into the oven at the same time.  Bake at 200°C for 15 - 25 minutes depending on how crispy (or caramelised) you like your bacon.

I like mine well browned, so I baked this tray (that contained the candied bacon) for 15 minutes on one side (10 minutes if you prefer it less browned), flipped it and baked it for a further 4 minutes on the other side.  Because this one has honey brushed on them, it will be the quickest to caramelise (so watch it closely after you've flipped it over and take it out once it reaches your desired level of browning).  And don't worry about the blackened remnants surrounding the bacon coz, as long as your bacon is timed perfectly, your bacon won't be blackened (and you can leave the blackened remnants behind when you lift your bacon).

For the tray that contained the spicy and original bacon, I baked it on one side and flipped it at the same 15 minutes mark.  I baked it for a further 7 minutes on the other side for the spicy bacon and a further 10 minutes for the original bacon.  You just have to experiment and find the right timing on how you like your bacon cooked...and then just stick to those times once you're pleased with the outcome.

Original Baconmost would be happy with the even crisp and browning achieved.

Spicy Bacon - you can also sprinkle cayenne pepper, curry powder or chilli flakes to spice up your bacon further...whatever works for you :)

Candied Bacon - now you can make candied bacon yourself at home...woot woot!

Come, come (don't be shy), come nearer...for a close-up! ;D  Is that a pretty sight or what? ^_~  Who knew that making flavoured bacon at home would be so easy.....and you can experiment with all sorts of seasoning for different flavours.

I think baking it in the oven is indeed the easiest way to cook bacon, without having to pan-fry it in a non-stick pan and having to watch over it or cook it batch by batch (my pan fits only 3 slices of bacon at one time) and having the oil splatter all over your stove top.  :P

It's especially handy when you want to cook lots of bacon (like say for a makan party).  Just get the largest tray that can fit into the oven and line up the bacon in rows (it's even ok if they overlap as the bacon will shrink as they cook).

Hehe....pretty maids bacon all in a row...candied bacon (top), spicy bacon (middle) and original bacon (bottom).  Now you can make any flavoured bacon you want at home at a more economical price than bought ones.  And you can use the bacon however you want...and snack on them whenever you that's a naughty baconlicious option indeed! ^o^

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