Thursday, 29 August 2019

Jin Xuan Hong Kong @ PJ Old Town

The last time I came here for dim sum, well not exactly here but at another branch of theirs in Damansara Uptown, I never got to try any yam stuff which I didn't know then was one of their signature items.  They had so many variations of it....yam puffs, yam encrusted prawns, yam rings with mixed vegetables and maybe more! ;)

Since we were in the vicinity one Sunday morning, we decided to drop by Jin Xuan Hong Kong @ PJ Old Town and finally get to try their signature item.

True enough, as soon as we were seated, one of their servers was peddling the yam ring with mixed vegetables but I decided against it as I thought the dish may be too filling.  This crispy yam ring, in a larger form, is a staple of many tai chow restaurants (referred to as fatt putt) and it usually comes with a filling of kung pao chicken with cashew nuts or an assortment of mixed vegetables.

I wanted to have a go at more dishes, so I politely said no to the yam ring. ^_*  The menu showcases their signature items, some of which I've already eaten at their Uptown branch.  These were what we had this round.

While having your dim sum, you'll see many servers coming by to peddle some of their items...and they're usually the more expensive ones (so clever!) like this Marmite Spareribs @ RM13.  They were sticky-sweet alright but you'll be doing a fair bit of jaw exercise chewing down the ribs.  Suffice to say I won't be having this again.

Since I've had the carrot cake stir-fried with taugeh before (and they weren't served steaming hot coz they were pre-fried ones sitting in the dim sum cabinet), I decided to go for the Deep-Fried Turnip (or Carrot) Cake @ RM5.50 this time.  It was really good and among some of the better ones I've had (and the best thing is you don't need it to be served hot).

We had to order the Siew Mai @ RM5.50 again coz this was one of very few siew mai we really enjoy eating.

A dim sum item we repeatedly order is the Fried Beancurd Roll @ RM6.50.  The beancurd skin is crispy but the prawn filling is minced, not whole prawns like the ones we love at Loong Seng.

Deep-Fried Eggplant @ RM6.50 is another must-order item for us and these were plump and juicy with a thick filling of fish paste.

The Lor Mai Kai (Steamed Glutinous Rice) @ RM5.50 is pretty decent too.  The glutinous rice is nicely cooked with the desired softness.

What can we say, we love our glutinous rice, so another order of the Fried Sticky Rice @ RM5.50 (which we enjoyed the last time) was inevitable.  The rice was fragrant with bits of lap cheong (Chinese dried sausage), dried prawns, egg and scallions.

Next, we tried something new, something I saw in their dim sum cabinet.  It looked like their house-made Fried Fish Cake @ RM10 studded with some chives or green onions.  Not too bad.

While prying into their dim sum cabinet, I also chose some kind of fish, prawn and meat paste-stuffed fried beancurd puffs @ RM10.  When I pointed to it, the server immediately squeezed some mayo over it before I could stop him.  Not sure why the mayo is not served on the side but I didn't want that so I asked him to give me another one without.  This turned out pretty tasty and one of my favourite items here.

Of course this time round, I must not miss out on trying their yam items, so I got the Fried Yam Pastry @ RM5.50.  The yam paste turned out alright and the crust was light and crispy but it was the minced pork filling that I didn't fancy.  Unfortunately, this won't be among some of my favourite wu kok.

I never fail to tapau (pack) their Steamed BBQ Buns @ RM5 (for two) whenever I eat here coz the buns here are really good, soft and fluffy with a char siew filling that's truly delicious.  They should have just stuffed this filling into their wu kok.

I didn't care much for their Cold Kopi-O Kosong @ RM3.50 though.

My Personal Opinion

The last time I blogged about their Damansara Uptown branch, I wrote that some people thought (based on the what I read online) that the Uptown and Damansara Jaya branches are the better ones and to avoid the PJ Old Town and Kota Damansara branches.

Well, now that I've tried the PJ Old Town branch, I really can't taste the difference.  Recently, I also happen to come across a review by and she seemed to have enjoyed her dim sum experience at the Kota Damansara branch.  Perhaps there's no truth in it. ^_~

Obviously, there are some dim sum items that I liked and some I didn't but I'm sure you'll find a mix of some good ones from their vast variety on offer here.  Among some of my favourites were the fish stuffed root (which I now know as sang kan yuen), fried sticky rice, siew mai, deep fried carrot cake, brinjal, stuffed beancurd puffs and steamed BBQ buns.

Jin Xuan Hong Kong Restaurant
No 19 Jalan 1/21 (Old Town)
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7781 5688

Monday, 26 August 2019

Sushi Mentai @ Pandan Indah

When restaurant chain Sushi Mentai opened an outlet in my neighbourhood, people flocked to the place for its cheap and affordable conveyor belt sushi.  We did too...and the place was always running full.

Then Sakura Sushi came offering even cheaper sushi (by a mere 10 cents a plate) and people shifted their focus.  We did too (when we felt that Sushi Mentai weren't as generous with their mentai as they used to be). And then Sakura Sushi fell prey to the same thing...they got stingy with their mentai and quality control slackened (when the owner was more focussed on setting up another outlet).

So, it was back to Sushi Mentai (for us)....and so was the crowd.  Since I blogged about this place in 2015, they're doing so well now (there's a queue even on weekdays' dinner nights) that Sushi Mentai @ Pandan Indah moved out of its one-lot premise and expanded to two lots just a few doors away.

Sushi is still priced at RM1.80 (for the yellow plates) and RM2.80 (for the red plates)...and we'd have our fill with some of our usual favourites.

Salmon Sushi

Tamago Mentai & Ebi Mentai

Inari Mentai

Unagi, Tuna Mayo & more Salmon

White Tuna Sushi

Some kind of Fried Prawn Sushi

Hard-Boiled Egg (encrusted in batter) topped with mentai

Potato Salad


There are also special maki rolls from their menu that you can order like this Salmon Mentai Dragon Maki (4 pcs) @ RM12.80.  This is a prawn sushi roll topped with salmon and torched cod roe.

Besides sushi, we always complement each meal with some orders from the a la carte menu, of course.

The consistency of the Chawanmushi @ RM3.80 is quite well done and it's always served piping hot which I really appreciate.

Looking at the price of the Miso Soup with Clams @ RM4.80, I should have known that it was too good to be true as the clams weren't fresh.  Skip this.

Though the Salmon Mentaiyaki (120g) @ RM14.80 can be a little dry, the mentai makes up for it to give it that luscious creamy feel.

I prefer the Salmon Head Shioyaki @ RM9.80 grilled with just salt though there's also a teriyaki version if you like.

Though there isn't much flesh to get at, I still like to order this coz when it comes well charred, it has that smoky flavour that I love.

The pan-seared prawn and vegetable dumplings or Ebi Gyoza (3 pcs) @ RM7.80 were gummy and doughy in taste, so I won't be having them again, that's for sure.

The Yasai Tempura @ RM6.80 is a usual order for us as this assorted vegetables tempura batter is quite nicely done and crispy.  There's usually at least one piece each of brinjal, pumpkin, carrot, ladies finger, yam and sometimes even a sweet potato.

I was surprised by the Tori Kaarage @ RM8.80 as the rather generous-sized chicken pieces came out well fried, fragrant and juicy.  We have been ordering this quite a few times.

Sometimes when we tire of having sushi, we'll go for their very affordably-priced rice bowls.  The Salmon Teriyaki Don @ RM14.80 featuring grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce on rice is a favourite of mine (and at such a great price, you'll be forgiving even if the salmon turns up a little on the dry side)! ;D

The Spider Tempura Don @ RM16.80 wasn't as nice as the yasai tempura coz somehow the batter of this one was much thicker and the sauce drizzled on the rice wasn't to my liking at all.  I must remember not to order this ever again.

As for the Unagi Don (80g) @ RM19.80, it'll still satisfy if you don't have unrealistic expectations of good quality eel for that price and you'll do just fine.

My favourite meal here is the salmon teriyaki don when I'm looking for something light with a controlled portion that doesn't end up too filling.

And if I'm feeling a bit more peckish on some days, I'll add a chawanmushi to my rice bowl for a more fulfilling meal.

Imagine having 10 plates of sushi for only RM28 (even cheaper for me since I can only handle about 5), so if you're eating sushi alone, it ends up to be a really cheap meal.  But if there's one thing I dislike about eating at these cheap sushi places is you also tend to bump into people who have no proper etiquette when it comes to dining on conveyor belt sushi.  I've witnessed myself some of these improper behaviour like:

1)  They'll put the sushi covers anywhere they like on the conveyor belt (even on top of another plate of sushi!) instead of in its designated stand purposely meant for them.

2)  The children like to play with the sushi covers.  I've even seen some of them put the covers over their faces (before putting them back)...and that's just gross to see! >_<  And yes, while all this is happening, there's no intervention from the parents.  I once saw a mother oblivious to it all as she was just concentrated on her phone.

3)  Apart from that, the children also open, take a peek at the sushi and then close the covers while the sushi is moving around the conveyor belt...and that's unhygienic! >.<

4)  I've even seen some customers take a plate of sushi onto their table and then put it back on the conveyor belt after they decide not to have it.

5)  Some even hoard the containers of pickled ginger and wasabi on their table until they decide to put it back on the belt much later (I don't even want to contemplate what happened with the containers while they were on their tables).

My Personal Opinion

Their expansion proves that there's still a market out there for basic, no frills, cheap sushi/Japanese food with prices that are accessible to everyone judging from the high demand for them.

I guess people are more than willing to sacrifice a bit of taste and quality for something that they can have more regularly with budget constraints in mind.  And for people who have not had better (and more expensive) Japanese food, why not as they'll think it tastes great too.

It makes for a cost saving, casual dinner for us on a fairly regular basis...even when we have had better.  So there! ;)

Sushi Mentai
No 12 & 13G Jalan Perubatan 2
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2856 0385

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

More from dahmakan.....yippee ki-yay!

Dah makan?  I makan.....again-lah......from dahmakan! ^_~  Since being a Select member, I had to take advantage of the discounts as much as I could (for a month) and that means having more meals from dahmakan.

Anyway, I was more than happy and satisfied with the meals I had from my second wave of dahmakan meals, so it made sense to try even more meals and repeat those that I love before my membership expires.  Let me share with you what I tried in my third wave.

#1 - Herb Crusted Salmon @ RM35 (my price RM19.90, savings RM15.10)

salmon fillet, mashed potatoes, broccoli & carrot, lemon cream sauce

As the salmon fillet is prepared ahead of time, don't expect the herb crust to be crispy as it won't.  The salmon was cooked all the way through but wasn't too dry with the help of the sauce.

The potato mash was both chunky and smooth similar to the one with the Braised Beef Brisket I had previously.

Again, the texture of the broccoli and carrot was harder than I would have liked (I couldn't eat the carrot). The pic in the menu showed slices of grilled red peppers but there weren't any.

The lemon cream sauce was nice, slightly garlicky and had a refreshing tang to it...but there just wasn't enough of it, especially when the mashed potatoes needed a bit of moisture as well.

#2 - Spicy Tofu with Minced Chicken @ RM14.90 (my price RM9.90, savings RM5)

minced chicken, tofu, white rice, spicy sauce

This dish is very similar to mapo tofu with its firm tofu cubes in minced chicken (there was more meat than tofu, only about 5 rectangle pieces) and a sauce that's made from taucu (a type of salty, preserved bean paste).

Except this spicy sauce isn't spicy at all.  Suitable for those who like to eat their rice with sauce.  Also ideal for kids who can take a little heat in their food.

Actually, the ratio of rice to meat to sauce was just nice but it wouldn't hurt too to throw in a fried egg only if you want to...hehe! ;)

#3 - Beef Rendang Tok @ RM29 (my price RM19.90, savings RM9.10)

beef rendang, brown rice, okra, carrot & radish pickle

I had a similar dish (Tenderloin Rendang Tok) from my first wave of eating food from dahmakan...and I remembered it well as it was the best dish I had then.

This beef rendang tok was tender and full of that lovely traditional rendang flavour.  The portion was particularly filling, there was no necessity to add an egg.  The okra could be more tender, the carrot & radish pickle was nice and crunchy.

Though this beef rendang was very decent, it just wasn't quite as good as the previous version.  The previous one was slightly wetter (which I prefer) and the flavours were well rounded.  This rendang had a bit too much kaffir lime leaves, the taste of which was slightly overpowering.

#4 - Honey Barbecue Chicken @ RM24.90 (my price RM19.90, savings RM5)

chicken thigh, soy ginger rice, broccoli, homemade chilli & ginger dip

The honey barbecue chicken thigh had more flavour than the previous misoyaki roasted chicken thigh. Again, it's another dish with a filling portion.

The soy ginger rice of this one was also the tastiest of all the rice I had so far as this one had the flavour of chicken stock.  The cook on the broccoli was also the most well cooked one by far.

But it was the homemade fresh chilli & ginger dip that stood out the most (the ginger dip was better than the chilli dip).  The dips are like the ones you get from chicken rice & roasted meat stalls, just not as good.

#5 - Thai Red Fish Curry @ RM26.90 (my price RM19.90, savings RM7)

perch fillet with lychee & baby corn, brown rice, okra, thai red curry

The perch fillet chunks were supposedly cooked with lychee and baby corn (unfortunately, I found only one lychee...and no baby corn!).  The sauteed vegetables turned out to be okra and, for once, it wasn't under-cooked like all the previous times.

The Thai red curry didn't taste like a curry but more like a sauce with a much thinner consistency, a bit similar to assam pedas but minus the pedas (spiciness).  It tasted lightly tangy...not to say it wasn't delicious, it was alright.  Because the sauce with the fish was of a more watery consistency, it arrived with a lot of spillage (it spilled out into the paper box).  No choice, I think this one needs to be put in a plastic container with a tight lid.

This dish also turned out to be the smallest in terms of portion (the rice portion was also smaller than usual), so don't choose this one if you have a more ferocious appetite (I wasn't all that full myself but, after a while, I didn't feel hungry and was actually glad that I was forced to exercise portion control).  Between this Thai Red Fish Curry and the earlier Portugese Steamed Fish, I preferred the taste of the latter.

Sometimes when I order more than one meal, my family can share the proteins thereby giving us more variety on our plate of rice.

As much as I've seen some improvements from the last time I ordered from dahmakan to now, these are some of the areas I'd like to see further improvements in the future.

#1 - Prioritise On-time Deliveries

Although I'm appreciative that they've included more delivery time slots now, making ordering food delivery more convenient, it doesn't mean squat if you don't deliver your food on time.

From my experience of the meals I ordered, half of them were late...and two were as late as 40 minutes.  An on-time rate of 50% isn't a number I'd be happy with.  I can excuse maybe a 10-minute delay but more than half an hour isn't acceptable.  This was very apparent if you choose delivery time zones within peak meal times.  So, if you don't want your meal to arrive late, take no risk and make sure you ask for a delivery time zone that's earlier by an hour than the time you intend to have your meal (even if the food may be cold and you may have to reheat but that's at least better than not having your meal arrive at the stipulated time).

I wish they can manage the system better to reject orders when a certain number of orders have been reached for a particular time slot...and make that time slot automatically not available and force customers to choose another time slot instead.  Simply accepting more orders than you can handle for one time slot for the reason of selling as many meals as possible will lead to disappointing your existing customers with late deliveries.

#2 - Provide More Options Other Than Chicken

On a typical day's menu, you'll find chicken featuring as the protein in almost every dish with only about 1 or 2 dishes that's fish or beef.  I'd like to see dahmakan feature more options for fish and beef as well as create new dishes that include seafood like prawns and squid.

#3 - Include a Greater Varieties of Vegetables

From my experience, it's almost always carrot, broccoli (two vegetables that I don't like all that much) and okra (besides corn and tomatoes).  I've only gotten cauliflower once.  I hope to see dahmakan provide a greater variety of vegetables in their meals.  I know not all vegetables can be included because some don't keep well (after cooking) but I'm sure there are more vegetables than these few that do (like long beans, eggplant, french beans, cabbage, etc).

#4 - Relook at Improving the Packaging to Minimise Spillage

I've had some meals where the foil containers arrived with its content spilled.  Some of the foil containers came without the foil covers but even when they did have foil covers, there was still spillage.  This could either be due to the foil containers not closed properly or the delivery riders handling of the food boxes. >_<

#5 - Reduce the Use of Plastics Further

I think this can't be helped especially if the meals are eaten on-the-go or ordered as eat-in by office staff (where no pantry facilities are available).  I do wish that they could give us an option to say no to cutlery during the order process or get their rider to ask if we want cutlery but that may prove too cumbersome logistically for them.

I ended up with so many, I don't know what to do with them (although I recently found out from kyspeaks that I could actually return the cutlery to them, so I shall do that in future).  But we can't be sure what the riders do with the cutlery though, whether they actually return them or just discard them.

The RM29 I paid for a one-month membership, I ate as many as three meals a week (sometimes) from dahmakan, not that I'm complaining, since I didn't have to cook for a month.  I could get used to this...haha! ;)

I won't go as far to say that the food is fantastic (seeing that it's food delivery) but I would say that some were more than decent.

But I think I need to take a short break from dahmakan before I sign up again (lest I get tired of the food + I have lesser choices since chicken isn't my utmost favourite protein, especially if it's chicken breast).  That'll be my course of action as long as the Select membership is available (you can choose to cancel your membership outright or pause it for up to 3 months).  Even if the cashback is no longer on the table, it's still worth paying RM29 (to get the discounted prices of meals) and continue to enjoy eating decent, healthy and portion-controlled meals from go-to food delivery service! ^.^

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