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Monday, 15 August 2022

Don Dwae Ji Sam Gyeob Sal @ Sri Petaling

With a name like Don Dwae Ji Sam Gyeob Sal @ Sri Petaling (that one can hardly pronounce), it sounds like an authentic Korean BBQ already (I'm assuming it is since it's run by Koreans).

Although I really enjoy eating any type of BBQ (be it western, Japanese or Korean), I don't enjoy the heat associated with a BBQ experience.  That's because when we have Korean BBQ, most of us would choose a BBQ over hot coals to gas or electric for a better charred flavour imparted by charcoal.  The intense heat from the coals can really get to me even when the place is air-conditioned.

So, for once, we decided to try a Korean BBQ that uses an electric grill pan hoping for a more comfortable dining experience (without a free sauna...kekeke!).  Moreover, 3 things attracted us....the words "unlimited" and "refillable" (on their signboard) and the "attractive price" of RM29.90+ per pax (drinks not included).  We had Iced Korean Green Tea @ RM1.50 each (other choices include other flavoured teas, orange juice, soft drink, Korean beers and liquors like soju & rice wine).

Not long after we were seated (be early at dinner time if you want to secure a table immediately as there's usually a long queue during weekends), the banchan arrived.  I certainly wasn't expecting a variety of 10 types of banchan.  The quantity of each banchan given is based on the number of pax (it was just the two of us for dinner this time).  It may seem little here but know they're all refillable (refills are done by the servers).

Stir-Fried Potatoes
(soft & tasty)

Seasoned Cucumber
(well seasoned & crunchy)

Peanuts with Sweet Sauce
 (this was good, fresh, fragrant & sweetish...my son's favourite)

Soft Tofu with Korean Soy Sauce
(very refreshing, nice tasting soy)

Stir-Fried Sausage
(this is the same sausage in the meat platter except this one is coated in sauce)

Stir-Fried Green (or Long) Beans

Seasoned Radish
(nice crunchy bite)

Korean-Style Hard-Boiled Egg
(I've always enjoyed soy-marinated eggs)

Pickled Radish
(this was excellent...not tart, not sweet, just very juicy and so thinly sliced...my favourite)

And, of course, Homemade Kimchi (ah, I finally found a palatable kimchi!)

There were also side dishes given.

Kimchi
 Pancake
(this I didn't like)

Vegetable Basket of Green Coral (or Lettuce), Onions, Garlic & Green Chillies

Then came the meats.  You basically get 3 types of non-marinated meats of Pork Belly (sam gyeob sal), Pork Shoulder Loin (mok sal) and Sausages (so sae ji) and 2 types of marinated meats.

Marinated Pork (yang nyeom dwae ji go gi)

Spicy Marinated Chicken
(dak gal bi)

For the non-marinated meats, you cook them on the cast iron grill.  Note that the meats come frozen, so it takes a bit more time to cook them.

As they defrost and cook, water seeps out from the meats, so make sure you scrape away the water (and discard it into the openings you find on the grill pan), otherwise your meats will boil/steam and you won't get a nice charring.

After we realised that, the meats achieved a better charring.  The pork shoulder loin is lean, so expect it to be a little on the dry side and chewy.  The pork belly (as usual) turned out the best (coz fat is flavour!) with a fragrant, smoky, charred finish and taste.  The so sae ji (so cute lah this pronunciation by Koreans) taste like any commercialised hotdogs.

And don't forget to grill the condiments of onions, garlic and chillies too.  The onions were especially good after grilling...soft, charred and sweet....and the addition of grilled garlic and chillies further perked up the taste of the grilled meats.

As for the marinated meats, you're supposed to put them on a piece of waxed, non-stick brown paper provided on a section of the grill pan.  This is to ensure that the marinade doesn't stick on the pan and blacken the whole grill pan.

When I first saw this method of cooking, I thought the marinated pork won't achieve the desired grilled marks seeing that they weren't in direct contact with the grill/heat but I was sadly mistaken.  As you can see from the photo, the grill marks were evidently achievable.

The same applied to the spicy marinated chicken.  They were well marinated and tasty but note that they use chicken breast.  I suppose breast meat is much easier to prep without the arduous task of removing the bones if other parts of the chicken were used.

This All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ also comes with unlimited ramyeon (Korean spicy instant noodles).  I really enjoyed this piping hot noodles and, not to worry, it isn't spicy.  I could see that this was a favourite with the patrons as many tables ordered refills (even a couple next to us ordered a second helping).  We were tempted too but didn't want to stuff ourselves with the noodles.

Of all the meats, we enjoyed the pork belly the most.  It tasted extremely good especially when wrapped in lettuce with a slice of pickled radish with the lettuce providing the freshness and the radish the juiciness.  I'm actually not fond of wrapping stuff in lettuce (like how some would eat sang choy bowjiu hu char and arrowhead with pork belly in red fermented beancurd paste) and I've never eaten Korean BBQ this way (though I see it commonly done by most patrons).  I was already feeling full towards the end and there was still some meat left, so I finally experimented eating it this way and found it to be really good.  I think the extremely juicy pickled radish was the reason why I loved it as it took away the meatiness of the pork belly. It was so refreshing it opened up my appetite and I found myself able to eat a bit more than my usual quota!

Unlike other Korean BBQs, there's only one dip offered here...a bean paste chilli-type dip to go with your meats.  I don't really like nor need any dip unless it's my favourite sesame oil + salt dip.

The pickled radish was so good I thought they should bottle it and sell....and indeed they do (RM10 a bottle) along with their peanuts with sweet sauce (RM13) for those who can't get enough of these.  I think their homemade kimchi and seasoned cucumber are also for sale.  I was very tempted to get a bottle of pickled radish to take home but decided against it in the end since anything pickled means there'd be sugar to balance out the tartness.

Dining time is limited to 2 hours which is more than sufficient for a fulfilling meal.  You won't believe it when I tell you that we could probably be the only diners who didn't ask for any refills of anything! :O  When the price charged is so reasonable, we don't need to stuff ourselves silly just to get our money's worth...and that allows us to eat in moderation which is good! ^_~

My Personal Opinion

This is one Korean BBQ we know we'll be returning to for its decent taste, super reasonable price (when other places easily cost twice as much) and pretty comfortable dining experience.

Of course, because of the lower price point of around RM30 per person, the meat choices are limited and the quality isn't the greatest but judge it based on what they offer for that price and I believe it's excellent value for money with unlimited refills of everything from delicious ramyeon to pretty decent meats to 10 types of tasty banchan (but no to the kimchi pancake).  I don't think one can ask for anything more for that price! ^_~

On the way home, we were already making plans for our next visit.....and I already know what I want to focus on (or refilled...there'll be second helpings for sure when my husband comes along!)...the pork belly, pickled radish, ramyeon, vegetable basket (more lettuce for wraps and grill more onions, garlic & chillies) and some of the other banchan too (tofu, hard-boiled eggs and sugar-coated peanuts). ^o^

Don Dwae Ji Sam Gyeob Sal
No 91 77 Jalan Radin Tengah
Bandar Baru Sri Petaling
57000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9056 2573

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Dee Nasi Ayam @ Pandan Indah

It's not always that you'd find me trying out Malay-style nasi ayam (chicken rice).  Why would I when we have an abundance of good Chinese-type chicken rice stalls and shops which we're more accustomed to.  But I've seen this Dee Nasi Ayam @ Pandan Indah in my neighbourhood filled with delivery riders outside their shop regularly.

That piqued my interest enough to walk-in for a takeaway but I was left standing inside the shop without anyone attending to me.  I could see that they were very busy but that still doesn't warrant ignoring me altogether.  They should at least have asked me what I wanted or tell me that I need to wait.  After a period of time that felt too long to me, I walked out.  So, when I saw them on ShopeeFood, I thought I can now finally try through delivery.

Although Malay-style chicken rice shops are more known for putting out chicken rice with ayam goreng berempah or any fried chicken for that matter, this one have roast (nasi ayam roasted) and poached chicken (nasi ayam hainan) on their menu too.  These two are their best sellers (and I can understand why since not many Malay chicken rice shops sell that) but why would I want to eat that when I've endless Chinese chicken rice shops selling just that which I often eat.  Of course I'd go for something different like their Nasi Ayam Crispy Lemon @ RM15.90.

I specified the cut I wanted (thigh) but when it arrived, they obviously used thigh as that's the part most commonly used for fried chicken chop after all.  I felt kinda silly asking for that specific cut then (not sure if they use any other cut though).  The fried chicken chop/thigh was nicely crunchy on the outside but tender within.

The lemon sauce tasted really good, not too sweet and slightly watery in consistency which I prefer coz when it's overly thick (like how some places do it), it's kinda cloying and some end up too sweet for my liking. ^o^

I was also pleasantly surprised by the taste and aroma of the rice.  If you've eaten Malay-style chicken rice before, more often than not they come in bright yellow (I think turmeric must have played a part).  The rice here is closer to those we find aplenty in our Chinese chicken rice stalls in terms of both looks and taste that's more similar to the rice being cooked with a good chicken stock.

Not only did the rice bear a closer similarity to our Chinese chicken rice stalls, the soup did too (though it was extra peppery).  Usually, their soups have a stronger spice taste (especially of star anise and/or some other spices) as they like to cook it with what we call Rempah 4 Sekawan that contains star anise (bunga lawang), cardamom (buah pelaga), cloves (bunga cengkih) and cinnamon (kayu manis).  This is one soup that I relished which won't end up being poured down my kitchen sink. 

Next on the list to try was the Nasi Ayam Madu (Ayam Dara) @ RM13.90 which is basically Honey (Spring) Chicken Rice (or virgin chicken for a more direct translation of ayam dara...lol).  The picture in the menu clearly showed a chicken leg, so I didn't think twice about asking for a specific cut (especially not after the first order).  But, lo and behold, I got the wing part.  I actually don't mind the wing, just not the part attached to the wing. >.<

The sauce has a slight tang with a taste of sweetness that's obviously not from sugar but from honey.  Just that the honey sauce didn't taste good, must be from a poor quality honey.  The sauce wasn't quite what I expected as it turned out more watery while the picture in the menu shows a thick sauce coating the chicken.

As a result of the not-so-stellar quality of the honey and the chicken breast (attached to the wing) being dry, there can be only one conclusion.....I obviously did not finish my chicken as the honey sauce wasn't great.

The Nasi Ayam Crispy Mango @ RM15.90 was actually the first thing I wanted to try but I accidentally clicked Ayam Crispy Lemon instead.  So, I got this for my third order.

From my previous mistake, I wasn't going to take another chance and made sure I asked for the thigh portion (even if it was a given).  The ayam crispy was similar to the one in the nasi ayam crispy lemon.  Crunchy, tender, like any fried chicken should be.

The mango turned out to be finely shredded pickled mango.  I don't know why I initially thought I'd be getting fresh, ripen mango cubes (like a salsa).  This is much better as the slightly tart and crunchy julienned mango provided the fresh element needed for the dish + it also opened up my appetite.  The accompanying chilli sauce for the ayam crispy is quite similar to a Thai-style sweet chilli sauce that also has sour and spicy notes.

Finally, besides the usual timun (cucumber slices) we get in our traditional Chinese-styled chicken rice, the one here serves pickled timun instead along with some lettuce leaves, sliced chillies, onions and mustard seeds for that tiny pop of sensation in your mouth.  Nicely done.

Besides the three more unique/uncommon nasi ayam that I've tried, nasi ayam masak merah, nasi ayam goreng berempah (fried spiced chicken), nasi ayam chicken chop, nasi ayam goreng rangup (crispy fried chicken) and nasi ayam BBQ rounds up the rest of their chicken rice options (other than nasi ayam roasted and nasi ayam hainan) together with a few noodles and vegetables dishes.

My Personal Opinion

They first started as a single lot, non-airconditioned restaurant before expanding to two air-conditioned shoplots currently.  That shows they're doing something right and business must be good.  I can certainly understand why coz there aren't many Malay chicken rice shops that sell halal roasted and poached chicken that's common in Chinese chicken rice shops.

Well, I certainly enjoyed their nasi ayam crispy lemon and nasi ayam crispy mango that's different from what's offered by our traditional Chinese chicken rice shops.  For me, the nasi ayam crispy lemon takes top spot of the three I tried because of the taste of the lemon sauce. ^.^

So, when I find myself in the mood for something other than our traditional Chinese-style chicken rice, I know where to go. ^_~

Restoran Dee Nasi Ayam
No 41G Jalan Pandan Indah 1/23
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 019-953 5090

Friday, 5 August 2022

Say Hello to My Part Time Lover

Say hello to my Part Time Lover.....this bushy-tailed, extra fluffy, longer-haired female cat (with colours similar to a tiger) that waltzed into my porch......and into my heart! ;)

She arrived about a month after Cookie's passing.  Just as I lost my little tiger in the Year of the Tiger, another little tiger walked into my life.  Could it be more coincidental?  It's as if God sent another one my way for companionship to ease my grieving of losing Cookie.

From day one when I met her, I could see that she's a very affectionate cat.....and that makes it very obvious that she's not a stray but was abandoned (probably when her owners moved away and didn't take her along) or she was intentionally discarded!  How could anyone be so heartless as to throw away such an adorable and tender-loving cat? :'(

At around the same time, I also noticed a ginger-coloured cat in the back alley of my house.  He was also bushy-tailed with longer fur (just like the female cat) and very friendly with my husband who was doing some work at the back.  I'm wondering if they could be siblings, both discarded, but she somehow managed to get to the front road.

She was walking so slowly and lethargically when she first came that I thought she was an old cat (but her youthful-looking face told me otherwise).  She must have been famished, tired, feeling lost and under stress in an environment that she was not familiar with.  She looks a lot happier now (and can even chase after birds) after food and shelter were provided.

Let me tell you why I know with certainty that she was someone's pet once and not a stray.  She was not afraid when I approached her (unlike untrusting stray cats).  I could lift her up and cuddle her (like a baby).....from the very moment I met her.  I could rub her under her chin without her even flinching.

She would let me hold her paws (and I don't feel her nails piercing my hand as they're always retracted).
She would allow me to belly rub her (she actually loves to be belly rubbed and would expose her belly to me begging for rubs...lol)!  Is she adorable or what? ;)

I could even put her over my shoulders (like patting your baby after milk to help him/her burp)...hah..hah.  Note that all these were from the very first few days after I met her.  

You can't do that with a stray (you've just met).  Sometimes you can't even do that after months of feeding them as they don't trust you enough or they're just not used to human touch being out on the streets all their lives.  P/S: Even my Cookie couldn't be cuddled or belly rubbed even though I've had him for years.  Maybe it was just not in his personality to be touchy-feely (I don't really know and I've never understood why).  But this female, she's very docile.

I've never met such a loving and adorable cat.  Even the many strays that I've fed that have come and gone over the years.....I was never able to do that with any of them.  The best I could achieve was to give them a rub on their heads or pat them...that's about it.

For a cat to expose their belly inviting a rub means he/she has connected with you and really trusts you.  Some pet cats that you've had for a while may even claw you when you do that.

This female is so cuddly, it's unbelievable.  She is so lovey-dovey that she'll tug at your heartstrings.  It's obvious she has been "taught" well by her previous owner (as she behaves much better than my Cookie ever did, I guess I wasn't a very good cat mommy).  Why someone would be so cold and unfeeling to discard her just like that, it's impossible to comprehend.

Oh, do you still remember this ginger-coloured cat from the group of three brothers?  Well, the other two brothers have disappeared (preferring to be fed by another neighbour) but the ginger cat has remained.  So, I do my civic duty and feed him too.

As much as I want to offer this girl a forever home, I'm also afraid.....afraid of the bond we'll one day share...and the heartbreak I've to go through again when she leaves me (just like my dearly departed Cookie). T_T

For now, all I can do is to ensure she won't go hungry (or thirsty) and offer her a place to sleep (outside where I've made a box for her lined with a soft mat) for when she needs it (I've seen her sleeping there many nights).  That's all I can offer.  I guess she's what I call my part time pet (along with the stray ginger male).  Is there even such a thing as part time petsLol! ^_~

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