Friday, 27 November 2015

Revisit: Shinjiro @ Tropicana City Mall

I've enjoyed my previous feast of smoky, fragrant food on a stick at this place here so much that, four weeks later, I found myself back at Shinjiro Izakaya Yakitori @ Tropicana City Mall for more....this time bringing along my nephew for a celebratory 'exams are over' treat!

Why does food on a stick bring so much joy?  Is it the smoky, charred bits that lent such awesome fragrance?  Or is it the ease of eating something from a stick?  Maybe it's the intoxicating aroma of something grilling over an open charcoal flame. 

Whatever it is....I simply adore it! ;D  So, let's get straight to the new food on a stick I managed to try this time round.  They have a new menu...and, by that, I literally mean a new menu though the menu items remained basically the same.

First up, the Fillet Mackerel @ RM12.90 offered an absolutely nice grilled flavour to the otherwise soft and flaky flesh.  It may be overly charred for some but I had no complaints as it was perfectly smoky and free from any bitter taste.  Will definitely order this again.

Next came the Fillet + Asparagus @ RM6.90 comprising of 4 pieces of thin beef fillet seasoned with shio and wrapped around a stick of asparagus.  The beef was tender and the asparagus soft to the bite.  On the same plate, we were served the Crispy Tofu @ RM3.90 with bonito flakes (which we had before).  Preferably, these two skewers should have been served on different plates so that the flavours don't mingle as one was seasoned with shio while the other had teriyaki sauce on it....and, luckily, it didn't! :)

Next was a skewer I wanted to try but it was a bit of a mystery to me coz one blog described it as salmon with mentai while another referred to it as breast fillet with mentai.    I couldn't make it out, so I showed the pic to the server who confirmed that it was (Chicken) Breast Fillet x 2 @ RM5.90 a stick topped with lightly torched mentai (and they weren't stingy with the mentai), so if you're absolutely mental with mentai, like I am, you have to order this (hmm, I wonder if there are any other skewers that come with mentai).  [#Tip:  On hindsight, looking at the description in the menu as Breast Fillet, I probably wouldn't have ordered it (in the first place) since it's breast meat and definitely wouldn't have guessed it came with mentai.] 

On the same plate was the Squid @ RM8.90 with sweet and sour sauce.  This I wasn't liking so much as the squid was overcooked and chewy.  [#Note: Again, I tried to order the Squid Tentacles but they ran out of it (again).]

Then came one of my favourites of the night, the Chicken Liver @ RM4.90 doused in teriyaki sauce.  The chicken liver here is barely cooked, so you end up with a texture that's almost creamy and incredibly soft (rather similar to barely cooked pig liver).  So, be forewarned if you're not a fan of barely cooked stuff! ;D

The Thigh + Leek @ RM5.90 was nice and juicy as chicken thigh meat always is......

.....and so was the Thigh Teriyaki @ RM5.90 and Chicken Nugget @ RM5.90 that my nephew wanted.  The chicken nugget resembles minced chicken meatballs, so they would be popular with the young, but I found myself liking them too.

For a bit of vegetables, we ordered Leeks and (Fresh Shiitake) Mushrooms x 2 @ RM5.90 a stick but got only the mushrooms as they had run out of leeks too.

And here were the skewers we tried on our previous visit but ordered again.....

The Minced Beef Balls @ RM6.90, a request by my nephew, previously came with three meatballs but, this time, what we got were five smaller meatballs.  Taste wise, it was better this time as it wasn't as peppery.

The Salmon x 2 @ RM8.90 a stick was just as moist and tender as I remembered....yummy!

The Chicken Wings x 3 @ RM6.90 a stick, the best skewer for me on our last visit, were still as awesome as they were the first time I had them.  It's bonkers just how good they are!

The Chicken Skin x 5 @ RM4.90 a stick, on the other hand, wasn't as good this time round.  I guess it depends on how the grilling is executed to render the skin crispy (like the two sticks at the far end) coz, when not properly done, it's just chewy, gelatinous skin...yikes!!  We ordered 5 sticks and got one stick foc (which we didn't know we would get)....double yikes!!  Too much skin in one sitting! >.<  Those into healthy eating will certainly feel squeamish looking at this pic...kekeke! :D

We also had an order of Shinjiro Fried Rice @ RM16.90 which came with small, crispy fried baby shrimps and a poached egg (unfortunately overcooked) in a flavourful rice with crunchy bits, sesame seeds and scallion.  This was definitely better than the Unagi Rice we had the last time we were here.

We wrapped up our dinner with a dessert of Mochi @ RM13.90 that featured 5 pieces of flavoured mochi with different fillings and cut up fruits of strawberry, mango, blueberry and kiwi.

My Personal Opinion

My opinion has not changed....the sticks of food were still as impressive!  And I've added a few more amazing skewers to my list.

And what 'sweetened' this meal even more....a 25% discount offered by that I discovered only recently.  I got RM50 knocked off from my bill this time.....sweet! ;)  Make your booking through offpeak for your preferred dining meal time between 2 - 6 pm, available Mondays to Sundays.  What better time than now to try Shinjiro before the offer is gone....go, go now!! ;D

Update:  I was told the restaurant has since closed (yet another one that didn't make it past its first year which I'm not sure why as I loved their skewers!)

Shinjiro Izakaya Yakitori
Lot G-06 Tropicana City Mall
3 Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7732 2986

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Cookie is not being chased.....he's doing the chasing!

If you've been a regular reader of my blog, you'd know that my pet cat, Cookie, once got into a fight with another male cat and got severely injured....ok, not that severe lah, but severe enough to have to visit the vet!  Read the previous story here.
So, imagine one day, I heard something like loud battle cries from a cat.  I ran out immediately thinking that Cookie was in another fight with a cat....and that he needed saving!
Lo and behold, I found him near a tree looking up.......
.....and so, like any "pat por" (busybody) I looked up too.  At first, I couldn't see anything...and then I saw something move.
It was a black cat hiding among the tree branches....Cookie chased a cat up a tree?
On closer inspection, it wasn't a full grown adult cat but it wasn't a little kitten either (coz a small kitten wouldn't be able to climb so high)!  Poor kitty!! :'(
Yay, Cookie is no longer being chased......he's doing the chasing instead....of cats smaller than him!! ;D

Ok, let's pretend he's very brave.....clap, clap, clap!
Cookie says: I may not be Lion King, but (at least) I'm the king of this road, ok?!

He's exhibiting his dominance....he thinks he's very brave....wait till the dominant male cat comes calling.....hee...hee!  Then, his "mommy" will have to save him! >_<
P/S:  No animal was harmed in the making of this blog post...the kitty managed to come down safely from the tree later.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Tim Mei Dessert House @ Ampang

I was first introduced to this place by my sister-in-law (who resides in the neighbourhood) though my initial experience didn't quite leave a mark (but that was because I realised later that I didn't order the 'right' dishes). 

The place has grown on me since and I've been here numerous times for breakfast (especially so when I've grown tired of my own neighbourhood's breakfast joints).  The place I'm talking about is Tim Mei Dessert House @ Ampang with their array of Penang style food.

I'd say the décor is a notch up from your regular-styled non air-conditioned coffee shops but with a cleaner and more soothing environment.

The family-owned coffee shop is run by an elderly couple with his two sons.  That's the cute cardboard cut out life-sized picture of the elderly uncle/owner (who has a very friendly demeanour by the way).  He's a Hokkien and hails from Penang but has relocated to KL for a long while now.  He told me that they used to run a supermarket business before venturing into the food business.

I think what attracted me to this place was the fact that they offer a mini-sized version of all their noodles.  This is great for those who have small appetites or those who want variety over quantity although they do offer normal sized versions as well for those who need them.

First up, I tried the Penang Prawn Mee @ RM3.70 (for mini, RM5.80 for regular) that came with (smallish) prawns, slices of lean pork, fish cake, hard-boiled egg and bean sprouts, topped with fried shallots and sambal.  It was an acceptable bowl of prawn mee though the flavour of the prawn and pork bone stock was rather light.  Could do with more sambal for a spicier kick!

The Penang Assam Laksa @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) fared much better with minced "ikan kembong" (Indian mackerel) flesh, slivers of cucumber, pineapple and onions, finely shredded fragrant "bunga kantan" (torch ginger) and finished with some shredded red chillies, mint leaves and a drizzle of "har ko" (prawn paste).  Wouldn't have minded a bit more of the sour and spicy nuances.

Next was the Penang Curry Mee @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) which featured slices of cuttlefish, fish cake, "tau fu pok" (bean curd puffs), long beans and "see hum (blood cockles) topped with a dollop of sambal and fried shallots (minus the coagulated cubes of pig blood).  The curry broth had a fair dose of "santan" (coconut milk) flavour and a pleasantly savoury note. 

The Penang Kuey Teow Th'ng @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) was a bowl of extremely light tasting broth with fish ball, shredded chicken, fish cake slices, lettuce and seaweed and finished with a sprinkling of fried chopped garlic.  The kuey teow was nice and smooth, just not as transparent or slippery like those Ipoh hor fun types.  Great for those looking for something light (almost bland) on their palate.

Porridge @ RM2.60 (for mini, RM3.70 for regular) is also available and this version really resembles one that you'd cook at home.  It's a rustic version with the grains not fully smooth filled with lean meat, shredded chicken and ingredients that you won't normally see in restaurant-style porridge like tofu cubes and some kind of dried Chinese vegetable with a sprinkle of spring onions and fried garlic on top.  Those who like a bland and home-cooked version would enjoy this one.

Finally, the Thai Laksa @ RM3.20 (for mini, RM5.30 for regular) was yet another winner.  This basically had rather similar ingredients to assam laksa except for the addition of santan in the broth.  This still had a tinge of tangy flavours to it but not as sour as the clear assam broth.  This was my top pick of the five with assam laksa coming a close second (and the curry mee a distant third).

Both the Assam Laksa and Thai Laksa came with fresh laksa noodles...yummy, my favourite, (if you don't specify the noodles of your choice).

For even more variety, they have further breakfast options of all kinds of fried noodles, fried rice and nasi lemak (though I would stay away from the nasi lemak as the sambal was a miss) with some side dishes like fried fish cake, luncheon meat, "lor bak" (marinated meat rolls) and chicken nugget (that will please any children, I'm sure).

From the name of the establishment, it's pretty obvious that they offer desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth.  What they offer is "tong sui" (in Cantonese) or "bubur" (in Malay) or what is generally referred to as sweet soup desserts.  Some are available daily while others on certain days of the week only.  They include barley & beancurd ("fu chuk yee mai" in Cantonese), red bean longan, snow fungus longan, ginseng hashima (snow jelly or "suet kap" in Cantonese), lotus seed, black glutinous rice (pulut hitam or "hak lor mai"), pumpkin & sweet corn, green bean, sweet wheat porridge (bubur gandum or "mak chuk" in Cantonese) and bubur cha cha.

Hak Lor Mai or Pulut Hitam @ RM2.30

The Mak Chuk or Bubur Gandum @ RM2.30 (with bits of sweet corn).  I liked both as the sweetness was just nice and the santan flavour sufficiently enough.

But my all-time favourite tong sui has to be the "Bubur Cha Cha" @ RM3.20, a sweet potato and yam dessert in coconut milk, available only on Sundays.  The coconut soup wasn't too sweet nor too thick (until it's cloying) and the sweet potato and yam, nice and soft.  Two ingredients which is a must (for me) in any bowl of bubur cha cha is the tapioca jelly and sago...and this one had them both (though I don't mind more sago) including black eye peas as well.  It would have been more awesome if the coconut milk was just a tad thicker.

Red Bean Longan @ RM2.30

Besides various Penang-style noodles and breakfast options, I've discovered a hidden gem here in their small but surprisingly good selection of rice dishes for lunch (which I will cover in a separate post as there are just way too many photos for one post).  [#Note: Although the menu board says they open from 8.30am to 10pm, they don't anymore (they now close around five-ish).]

My Personal Opinion

All the noodles here tend to be more mild-tasting on the palate than the usual punchy versions I've had....though it's not necessarily a bad thing coz, on some days, we do wish for something lighter.

Noodles aside, the tong sui deserves even more mention coz they were slurpiliciously mouth-watering!  You won't go wrong with the first three, the red bean....not so much.

They say 'variety is the spice of life'....but here it takes on a different context altogether where one can have a variety of noodles instead...hehe....(one or two, maybe even three) in one sitting since they come in mini-sized versions.  That's a brilliant idea and a great selling point...and probably what endeared me to this place in the first place! ;)

Tim Mei Dessert House
15G Jalan Wawasan 2/8
Bandar Baru Ampang
68000 Ampang

Friday, 20 November 2015

Sakae Sushi @ Nu Sentral

I've never won any blog giveaways for the sole reason that I've never participated in any of those blog giveaway contests.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to have won some vouchers for merely commenting on someone's blog.  Thanks to Mimi's Dining Room, it seems I have won two RM10 vouchers to Sakae Sushi ;)
So, what better excuse than this to revisit Sakae Sushi since it has been a while since I last dined here.  I decided to try the Sakae Sushi @ Nu Sentral, a newer outlet than the one we use to frequent in Cheras Leisure Mall.

We ordered some new items on the menu starting with the Mentai Zukushi @ RM7.99 which comprised of a piece each of salmon mentai sushi, ebi (prawn) mentai sushi and shiro maguro (white tuna) mentai.  The mentai at this outlet (I noticed) seemed to be in a darker shade of orange, not quite as tasty and also far saltier than the one I had at their Cheras Leisure Mall outlet.

Another new item was the Spider Roll @ RM11.99 but we got it for RM8 since it was one of their Awesome RM8 Deals promotion (which has already ended).  It consisted of a piece of soft shell crab wrapped in a very thin slice of Japanese cucumber with sushi rice and sticks of cucumber, topped with flying fish roe and finished with a drizzle of mayonnaise.  The crispy, savoury soft shell crab with the crunch of the Japanese cucumber sticks and salty flying fish roe made it a very lovely bite.  It was my favourite of the night.

The Salmon Kama-age Nanban @ RM10.99 was yet another new item I spotted on the menu.  It's actually deep fried salmon head with Nanban sauce (I had no idea what this sauce was when I ordered it).  It turned out to be rather similar to our sweet-and-sour sauce with diced carrots, capsicum, onions, some pickled vegetables, mushrooms and bits of chilli.  The salmon head tasted a bit fishy, not something I would order again.

I couldn't resist ordering the Hotate Mentaiyaki @ RM10.99 which featured two pieces of grilled scallop with mentaiko mayo.  The scallops were fresh and juicy.

And if you love mentai (like I do), you'd be in "mentai heaven" as it came with a very generous dose of mentai on top.  But, sometimes, too much of a good thing ain't necessarily it became overly salty with too much mentai! >.<  I had to scrape some of it off (I can't believe I just said that) but, if I had some sushi rice, it would have been a different story altogether.

We just had to have a common order of ours, the Ika Karaage @ RM11.99 of deep fried marinated squid.  Especially love the tentacles!

And an order of our usual Yasai Kakiage @ RM4.99 or mixed vegetable tempura.

We also had the Takoyaki @ RM5.99 with diced octopus filling, topped with bonito flakes and a drizzle of mayo.

Some of the sushi plates from the conveyor belt.....

Inari Sushi @ RM1.99
Some Salmon Sushi @ RM4.99

The Grilled Corn @ RM2.99 arrived looking like it just came off the grill...nicely grilled with a smoky flavour but it wasn' was cold! >_< Huh?

Finally ending with a favourite dessert of mine, a plate of Mochi @ RM4.99, chewy and not too sweet in flavours of peanut (the yellow one), red bean (the red one) and pandan (the green one).

Their pickled ginger is one of the thinnest I've encountered but also a bit too tart for my liking.

My Personal Opinion

Sakae Sushi has always been an option when we want affordable sushi.  The a la carte dishes we had here had some hits but there were more misses though.  For some reason, I wasn't impressed with the food at this outlet....especially their mentai!  I remember that my dining experience at their Cheras Leisure Mall outlet (the only other Sakae Sushi outlet that I've tried) was more pleasant as the food was better in terms of taste.

If I do visit Sakae Sushi again, it certainly won't be this outlet.....that I'm sure! :p
Sakae Sushi
Lot L4.07 Level 4 Nu Sentral Mall
Jalan Stesen Sentral
KL Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2773 5618

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