Wednesday, 31 May 2017

aLIVE d-tox Water @ Pavilion

This healthy and refreshing beverage first got my attention when I read about it on theyumlist's blog.  The beverage I'm talking about is aLIVE d-tox Water @ Pavilion.

They have since opened a second outlet (in March) in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya, if you're from that area.

There are lots of bottled and cold pressed juices in the market but nothing like this.  What's aLIVE d-tox water, you ask?  Well, they're basically fruits steeped in fruit-infused water (aka detox water) of iced tea, wild honey, lemon infused water or natural yogurt.

The beverages are freshly made to order, so you're assured of optimum freshness each and every time...and ordering is simple :)

Step 1 - Pick Your Fruits: from 16 pre-selected fruit combos available (with each combo containing at least three types of fruit).

Step 2 - Pick Your Flavour: from iced tea, wild honey, lemon infused water or natural yogurt.  There's also a menu with pre-selected combos of what fruits go well with which flavours of drink for those who can't decide.

The first time I came to try this new drink, I was with a friend.....and we tried two.  They say it's not a blended juice although these ones I ordered looked like they've been blitzed up (note the bit of foam at the top + I heard the sound of blitzing) :P

We chose the Rapid Recovery in Wild Honey @ RM10.80 (with fruits of strawberry, mango & lemon) as our first pick.  This one will be a little on the sweet side coz there's wild honey in the mix.  I'm not sure if it'll rejuvenate and rehydrate your body (as but I certainly feel very refreshed after drinking it.....I must have been very thirsty.

We also shared a Flat Belly with Lemon Infused Water @ RM10.80.  This one contained fruits of kiwi, pineapple and orange.  Now who wouldn't want a drink with a name like flat's every lady's dream! ^_~

On a solo shopping trip recently (and I was obviously very thirsty after all that walking), I tried the Thirst Quencher with Iced Tea (strawberry, watermelon & lime) @ RM10.80 this time.

It's a convenient thirst quencher alright and offers an afternoon pick-me-up when your legs get weary from all that walking (and shopping!).

I also ordered one-to-go, Inner Shine with Lemon Infused Water (grape, strawberry & lemon) @ RM12.80 and was gently reminded that the shelf life is only 2 hours.

Into the fridge it went when I got home.  And I did drink it within the specified time frame (at least half of it) except I thought it didn't taste as good as when I drank it fresh on site.  Perhaps that's due to the fruits steeping too long in the fruit-infused water.

It comes in a cool and unique packaging with a straw for sipping and its own colourful spoon-fork-scooper (whatever you want to call it) to make sure you scoop up all those delicious fruits in the bag...and you get to keep the cute spoon/fork! ^.^

Although touted as a healthy option since it retains whole fruits natural fibre (usually lost in juicing), we have to keep in mind that it's not sugar-free (it does contain a minimal amount of sugar) but still nutritious enough.

Prices start from the cheapest one at RM6.80 (total d-tox) to the two most expensive ones (Inner Shine and Superfruits) at RM12.80.  The rest cost either RM8.80 or RM10.80.

It's said that you can custom make your own favourite healthy fruits detox water but I'm not so sure about that though.  There are just some combos which work better with certain flavours (of infused water) and some of the servers are quite adamant about letting you know if you've not selected the 'right' combos.  There were times when I selected lemon-infused water (my favourite flavour) with certain fruit combos only to be told they don't go well together.  I suppose you can put your foot down and insist you want that combo but they'd usually convince you not to!  Let me give you an example...I once wanted Superfruits in Lemon Infused Water but was 'refused' as they say that one is best with yoghurt (but I don't like :'(  Another time, I wanted Inner Shine with Lemon Infused Water but was told that would be better with wild honey and was asked to substitute with Vita C Reviver instead.  In the end (I'm not sure why) the server finally relented and let me have my 'selection'! :P

They actually have some already pre-selected fruit combos with different flavoured drinks to make your decision making easier as to which combos work best like:

1.  total d-tox with lemon infused water
2.  energiser with honey
3.  vita c reviver with lemon infused water
4.  summer delight with honey ginger tea
5.  groovy fresh with honey citron tea
6.  thirst quencher with iced tea
7.  energy booster with honey
8.  superfruits with yogurt

If there's one complaint, it'd be the fruits like lemon, lime and orange where the rinds are left intact in the beverage.  It's difficult to eat what's left of the fruit when it's still attached to the skin like that (unless we weren't supposed to eat them!).  And if we did eat them, there's no place to dispose the skins (other than dropping them back into the bag!) coz leaving the rinds on the table wouldn't look very nice.  I wish they would just remove the rinds.

My Personal Opinion

If you find yourself in Pavilion or IOI City Mall looking for a healthy alternative of whole fruits infused water to juice, then make a pit stop at aLive....where you get refreshed and feel alive! ^o^

Whichever combo you choose, whichever your favourite fruits, whichever flavoured water you like, you're bound to find one here that pleases you.

My favourite combo is the immensely refreshing Flat Belly with Lemon Infused Water and my least favourite, the iced tea.  Which one is yours? ^_~

aLIVE d-tox Water
C.04.00 Level 4
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6206 2505

Monday, 29 May 2017

#ewew cooks Salt & Pepper Squid with Garlic & Coriander

Salt & Pepper Squid is something we like to order when we're eating out.  But I've never made them at home coz I don't really know what type of batter will yield crispy squid.

So, I googled some recipes online and came up with many different takes on it.  Some recipes say to use plain flour and some say cornflour while others say rice flour...and then there were those that say to use a combination of different flours.

I just went with what I had in my pantry...a combination of plain flour and cornflour.  Here's my take on Salt & Pepper Squid with Garlic & Coriander.


10 medium-sized squid
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
A bunch of Chinese coriander leaves
Lemon wedge, to serve

For the batter:
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt 
1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp chilli flakes (or more if you like more heat)
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp garlic powder


First and foremost, you have to prep the squid, of course (you can refer to my earlier post here on how this is done).  You can choose to score (or not) the squid bodies.

Pat dry and lay the prepped squid on some paper towels to drain off any excess moisture.

Next, I just smashed the peeled garlic cloves with the blade of the knife.  I wasn't making garlic chips, so I didn't bother to slice them evenly.

Finally, prepare the batter.  I find it easiest to just put everything in a zip lock bag (this way the flour won't fly everywhere).  Give it a good mix and it's done.


First up, fry the smashed garlic till crisp and golden brown.  Drain on paper towel.

Dredge your squid in the prepared batter only when you're ready to fry.  Do not dredge and prepare them ahead of time (like I did once) as the squid will be damp allowing it to seep through the dredged flour, even if it was only for a couple of minutes (think of a sweaty face with talcum powder for lack of a better comparison...kekeke!).

Do not overcrowd the pan of oil but fry them in small batches until just pale golden.  Drain on paper towels.

If you like, you can fry up some crispy Chinese coriander to add another dimension to your they're quite nice to eat and offer a bit of a crunch.

And this was my first attempt at making Salt & Pepper Squid with Garlic & Coriander which I made with just 5 squid.

Obviously, my first attempt didn't yield quite enough squid :(  So, I made sure I made more the second time round.  I doubled up! :)

Taste-wise, the flavours were pretty good and the addition of garlic (the more the merrier) made it just that much more flavoursome. ^o^  Just that the squid wasn't as crispy as it should be but that was down to me as I fried it in very shallow oil (about half an inch only).

I was willing to sacrifice a bit of that crispiness by not frying it in lots of oil and having to throw all that oil out afterwards (+ I was also afraid of the mess the splattering oil will make in my kitchen).  So, if you want your salt and pepper squid to be crispy, you need it to deep-fry in a good amount of oil! :P

I don't know how much crispier the squid will be if they were deep-fried instead of shallow fried.  You have to try it out yourself to find out.  Also, the batter didn't adhere all that well to the squid.  I'm not sure if this was due to the shallow frying or the batter itself.

It was more crisp the first time I made it coz I made the mistake of dredging them in flour beforehand (as there was more squid to handle) when I made this the second time.  So, remember to dredge and then fry immediately if you want your squid crisp.

Presentation-wise, it wasn't the best looking Salt & Pepper Squid with Garlic & Coriander as the shallow oil didn't allow the squid pieces enough space to curl up properly.  Though it may come up short when compared to the super crispy Salt & Pepper Squid I get at restaurants, at least it's only half the price when I make it at home.

This Salt & Pepper Squid dish can be served in two a starter to a western-course meal, with a squeeze of lemon and a Thousand Island dressing, or eaten with rice as one of the dishes in a Chinese-course meal.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Breakfast Thieves @ APW Bangsar

My friends and I have been wanting to visit Breakfast Thieves @ APW Bangsar for quite a while now (ever since they opened in the middle of last year) but the reported long queues were a deterrent.

I can see why people are drawn to this place.  When you see it in person, you'll understand why.....and you might love it too.

The glasshouse design with timber frames, the floor to ceiling glass walls, the natural sunlight streaming into the cafe, the abundant greenery in and around the cafe and the beautiful landscaping are just some of the reasons I think why the place endears itself to its customers.

Even though we heard great things about the place and the food (during the early days), we also heard about the notorious hour-long queues...and we won't have any of that, so that meant we had to wait longer before we can sample the food.

It was a public holiday morning when my friend and I finally visited.  We reached there around 11am and there was already a queue.  I have to say the waiting here won't be all that comfy as there are no seats provided and you have to just stand in line with a fan offering some respite from the heat (I can't imagine what it'll be like during a hot afternoon).  Luckily, the waiting was bearable as we managed to get a table (inside) half an hour later (they'll ask you if you want to be seated inside or at the alfresco section).

The menu isn't very extensive, with just 3 pages, one for breakfast (with a total of 7 offerings inclusive of two vegetarian options and one vegan), one for lunch (limited to just 4 offerings) and one for drinks, so decision-making shouldn't be very hard.  

We went with Mr Terry Benedict @ RM29 featuring 24-hours braised beef cheeks in black peppercorn with charred cauliflower, crisp patatas (or potatoes) and two poached eggs in burnt butter Hollandaise on toast.

The shredded braised beef cheeks was alright, nicely tender, with a mouth-feel similar to pulled pork.  It didn't have that melt-in-your-mouth texture I've come to expect of braised beef cheeks, neither was it as flavourful as some I've eaten before.

I especially liked the charred and spiced cauliflower (something different from the usual salad leaves) on the plate.  The charred cauliflower tasted a bit similar to an Indian-style spiced cauliflower dish.  Also loved the faint hint of spice on the palate that the sprinkled paprika (or chilli powder?) brought to the perfectly runny poached eggs.

I ordered My French Lady @ RM26 because I was attracted to its pretty presentation (I can't help it, I love pretty things!).  This was their interpretation of the French Toast served with thyme-perfumed strawberries, dark chocolate soil and mixed sesame shards with squirts of raspberry cream and lemon curd.

I absolutely loved the zesty flavours the raspberry cream, lemon curd and some kind of berry coulis (at the bottom of the plate) brought to the super fluffy french toast.  The sweet, fragrant and crispy sesame crusted sugary brittle, together with the crunch of the chocolate soil, added another textural contrast to the dish.

I absolutely loved this tangy rendition of french toast as it didn't come off as sweet like many I've had before but those who dislike sourish flavours may not embrace this as wholeheartedly as I did.  I have to list this as my most favourite french toast todate.

The coffees here are really good, like our Hot Cappuccino @ RM11.....

......and Iced Caffe Latte @ RM11

We also shared a Berry Berry & Thyme Fizz @ RM13.  I liked that I could immediately taste the thyme in the drink although I would have appreciated a higher concentration of berry flavour.  Your other choices would be Mango, Mint & Passion Fizz or Kiwi, Kasturi & Mint Fizz or you could go with Fresh Apple Juice (slow-juiced) or Fresh Orange Juice (hand-pressed) all at RM13 each.

We saw these super cute cakes of Mister Green and L'Affection at their cake counter, that looks to-die-for, together with Salted Caramel Cheesecake and Apple Cranberry, which we didn't get to try as we had lunch plans later :( 

Besides this sunny cafe, APW Bangsar is also home to a number of other eateries like Kaiju Company (Japanese Thai fusion), Agak Agak (Malaysian cuisine), Proof (Pizza + Wine), Pulp by Papa Palheta (coffee joint) and more, even a barber shop.

My Personal Opinion

The reviews I read on their Facebook Page seem pretty mixed of late with complaints of either the long wait for a table, the service or they didn't fancy the type of food served.

As far as the food was concerned, I had no complaints on the two we tried that morning.  Not only did it taste good, it was beautifully plated as well.  In fact, their version of french toast is the best version I've had so far. I actually liked that their menu is a bit more creative than the usual cafe food we get elsewhere but if you're looking for some variation of a big breakfast, you won't find it here.  So, patrons looking for the standard breakfast fare of bacon, ham, sausages and eggs done any way, let me forewarn you that you might be up for some disappointment.

Our half an hour wait, during peak brunch hours on a public holiday, was more than acceptable for a place like this with so much awareness.  Due to the crowd, even the owner cum chef helped cleared tables and served us, so I'm pleased with the service.  When we left a little over an hour later, there was still a perpetual queue (but none at the other eateries).  So, what does that tell you about its popularity...or their food? ;)

Personally, I would return in a heartbeat.  I would so love to try more of their food...and eat that french toast again! ^o^

Breakfast Thieves
Lot M 29-5 Jalan Riong
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2788 3548

Monday, 22 May 2017

Kong Ming @ Pandan Indah

Ever since my neighbourhood "tai chow" place offering stir-fry dishes (Restoran Chong Yuan) closed shop (not due to insufficient business but due to the owner/cook's health), I've not found a worthy replacement (so far) in terms of taste and price.  Then again, that's partly because there's also very few tai chow places in my housing area.

So, in its place is Restoran Kong Ming @ Pandan Indah which took over the spot.  We waited quite a few months before finally patronising the place just to see if they can last.

Our first visit didn't go down too well when we were recommended to order their signature dish of Sweet & Sour Pork With Ice @ RM16.  I thought...why could be exciting since I've never heard or eaten it before.  This was how it looked when it arrived...with ice piled on top of the sweet and sour pork.  The top plate has holes in the bottom for the water to drip away as the ice melts when you're eating.  They take a dish that should be served hot, made it cold and then let the ice 'wash' away the sweet and sour sauce.  Now, why on earth would they think that makes a tasty dish (although we saw many tables ordering it)! @_@

We were wiser the next time and went with the tried and tested version of Sweet & Sour Pork @ RM16 that we're more used to.  This was a satisfying sweet and sour pork and I especially liked that it came with pineapples (apart from the usual green bell pepper, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and chillies).

Though, at times, the pineapples were a no-show! :(

Sometimes, we'd switch to Sweet & Sour Fish Fillet @ RM16 for a change.  Although still acceptable, I think the pork version is the undisputed winner! ^_*

The Claypot Fried Pork Belly with Salted Fish ("ham yu fah lam pou") @ RM16, made up of thin slices of pork belly cooked with salted fish and dried chillies, is another popular "tze char" (cook and fry) dish that many families like to order for its robust, salty and slightly spicy flavours.  This one goes very well with rice obviously.

Since we love salted eggs, we'd find ourselves (inadvertently) ordering the Salted Egg Yolk Fried Squid @ RM20, of course.  This one was a fair rendition with an equally fair amount of salted egg yolk in the battered mix.

The Marmite Pork Ribs @ RM16 offers a mixture of salty, sweet and sour nuances to the pork ribs.  We'd much prefer if they were cubes of pork with no bones to contend with + the portion size of just 5 pcs was rather meagre for the price.  I usually find marmite to be more sticky sweet than anything else since it resembles molasses anyway.  On its own, marmite doesn't taste all that good but when cooked with pork or chicken (as it's usually done), it has become a popular order at many tai chow places.

Fish Fillet with Ginger & Onions @ RM16 is one of my favourites at tai chow places as I love to eat the long strands of spring onions.  It's normally stir-fried with just ginger and spring onions with no sauce but this (to my surprise) came fried with either soy or oyster sauce.  Hmmm, not to my liking, this one :(

The Creamy Butter Pork @ RM16 was decent too with crispy pork nuggets coated in a delicious butter sauce.

The Kam Heong Lala (Clams) @ RM20 is great if you're a fan of kam heong sauce that's usually salty and robustly flavoured.  Best eaten with rice.  You can also opt for clams to be cooked in soup, simply stir-fried, fried with dried chillies or cooked in Shaoxing wine.

Their 'Double Layer' Beancurd @ RM12 is a house speciality I've not come across in other tai chow places. The double layer refers to a layer of fish paste in between the homemade tofu.

The well-made beancurd is soft and smooth with the fish paste in between and the sauce is pretty tasty too (when it's not too salty).  Obviously, it has become a favourite of ours and we can't stop ordering it each time! ^o^

Judging from the photos, the tofu block seems to be deep-fried first before the sauce is poured in...and, on some days, the execution and presentation is better (the second pic looks the best)...hehe! ;D

Of course, there's also the usual Beancurd with Minced Pork @ RM12 that has more gravy for those who love more gravy with their rice.

Or Thai Style Beancurd @ RM12 in a tangy sauce with shredded onions, cucumber and red chillies and a spicy note from the fiery bird's eye chillies.  This was my least favourite.

They offer lots of omelette dishes with prawns, minced pork, bitter gourd, onion, salted and dried radish and the ever popular "Fu Yoong Tan".  Most of the time, we'd order the Omelette with Minced Pork or the Omelette with Prawns @ RM10...simple yet tasty :)

As usual, there must always be a vegetable dish to round up each meal and there are lots to choose from here such as sweet potato leaf, kangkung, lettuce, bayam, cabbage, "choy sum" (flowering cabbage), bitter gourd, even "ching loong choy" (green dragon vegetable).

Curry Mixed Vegetables @ RM15 - a tad too much curry powder taste but still ok.

Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables @ RM12 - not my favourite.

Soup with Bayam @ RM12 - the bayam was alright but I didn't like that they overcooked century and salted eggs in the broth.

Kangkung Belacan @ RM10 - I like the one here as it's dry and not too salty.

We obviously like kangkung very much ;P

They also do this kangkung (and the other being choy sum) in claypot style which I've not had before in other tai chow places I've eaten at.  They will bring a preheated claypot and the cooked vegetables (separately) to your table and then pour the vegetables in (and you can hear the immediate sizzle).  This is the Kangkung in Claypot @ RM12.  Taste-wise I didn't detect any difference in taste with simple stir-fried kangkung other than the theatrics and a little addition of crispy "chee yau char" (pork lard bits) to the dish! ^.^

My Personal Opinion

All in all, this is a worthy replacement of the previous tai chow place that occupied the space here.  Though prices may be slightly higher but then this place is little bit more premium in looks and offerings with both an air-conditioned and an outdoor dining area plus a proper menu.

Perhaps some of the dishes can't compare with the previous tai chow place but we also had some dishes that weren't offered by the previous place.  So, this still makes a good neighbourhood tai chow place for some of our weekday and weekend dinners.

Restoran Kong Ming
M4-A-16 Jalan Pandan Indah 4/1
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4287 6955

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