Friday, 30 March 2018

Mr Tuk Tuk @ Sunway Velocity

I've been reading about this place from someone who seems to love this place so much that she has uploaded three posts...Tuk Tuk, Solo Lunches @ Tuk Tuk and My Phad Thai Craving....all in a span of two months...hehe! ^_~

Since there's a Mr Tuk Tuk @ Sunway Velocity near me, it would be a travesty not to try after reading that.  If you don't already know what type of food they serve here, the tuk tuk parked right in front of the restaurant is a dead giveaway.

And let me just say that getting a pic of the tuk tuk (without passengers) wasn't the easiest thing to do...hahaha! :D  It's always swarmed with children wanting (or should I say forced by their parents!) to sit in it and take photos.  Ok-lah, children I can understand....but grown-ups too! :P

The place is always crowded, so finding a table inside the restaurant may prove difficult during peak meal times.  But there are extra seats set up in front of the restaurant (that's where we were seated).  I think its popularity lies in their very affordably-priced menu with the majority of single dishes costing in the region of RM10 (the most expensive ones cost RM13.80), four value sets with drinks (RM18.80) and two sharing platters (RM25.80).

My family isn't into Tom Yum as they don't really like sour stuff, so I went with the Tom Kha Seafood @ RM12.80, a light coconut milk soup that still had subtle hints of spicy and sour (just not as fiery or as sour as tom yum).  It had two good-sized prawns, a few pieces of squid and some small chunks of fish together with oyster mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.  Good eaten with rice. ^.^

The Fried (Tom Yum) Chicken Wings @ RM9.80, served with a fresh green chilli dip, were freshly fried and nicely crispy, just don't remember it having much tom yum flavour.  But it was satisfying enough with a bit of kick from the chilli dip.

We also ordered the Thai Special Platter (PR2) @ RM25.80 made up of Thai Satay, Thai Honey Chicken, Spring Rolls & Prawn Crackers and Thai Mango Salad.  A platter like this is ideal for sharing as it allows you to taste a few different types of appetisers in smaller portions.

The sticks of Thai Satay, I found them to be a little on the dry side, probably coz they were all lean meat.

The Thai Honey Chicken or "Kai Ping" was sufficiently tender and not too sweet but needed a bit more flavour and caramelisation.  It's not quite as satisfying as the pork version of "Moo Ping" would be though.

The Fried Spring Rolls & Prawn Crackers were as they should be...plain but crispy.

Finally, the Thai Mango Salad featuring slithers of young mango with sliced onions, fragrant dried cuttlefish pieces, crunchy roasted cashew nuts and a few hidden bird's eye chillies was a refreshing mouthful of taste and texture.  I usually don't enjoy mango salads very much as I find them too sour but this one wasn't tart at all.

Although some of the components of the Thai Special Platter didn't impress, the chilli dip was the standout besides the mango salad.  Even the plain prawn crackers dipped in the very pleasant, fresh tasting chilli sauce made it a favourite of mine.

We also tried one of the set meals, SM2 @ RM18.80 with pandan chicken, crispy fish fillet, Thai mango salad and fried rice.

I don't remember trying the Pandan Chicken, either that or it wasn't memorable.

The Thai Fish Fillet, more like nuggets of fish, drenched in a Thai chilli sauce, wasn't very enticing.

The Fried (Yellow) Rice was alright.

The Thai Mango Salad (the same one as before) I truly enjoyed.

As usual, there must be a vegetable dish in every meal.  How about Fried Kangkung @ RM10.80, a crispy version that is (one I've not encountered before).  This fried kangkung, much like tempura fried kangkung, was incredibly crispy....and utterly scrumptious!  Now why didn't we think of deep-frying our kangkung before! ;P

It was very addictive.  I couldn't stop eating.  The dish came with two chilli dips (I'm assuming the other orange-coloured dip is meant for this too).  The dip of fresh green chillies is similar to the one served with the chicken wings but the orange-coloured chilli dip was different.  It had bits of something in it for some textural contrast (I'm thinking some kind of minced seafood, like possibly prawns or fish, but I can't be certain).  Eat the fried kangkung with any one of these dips and it tastes even more amazing. ^o^

The Thai Iced Tea @ RM8.80 didn't quite get me on board with its taste.  It was just ok, slightly on the sweet side.  The Fresh Lime was the drink of the day with the set meal.  The drinks come in large sizes that can be easily shared.

My Personal Opinion

I think the place is well sought-after because of its friendly prices and ideal smaller portion sizes which are great for small families.  For bigger groups, you can have more variety by ordering more dishes to share since each one costs around RM10 only.

The food had its hits and misses.  One miss for me would be their meat dishes that are grilled or fried as they tend to be a tad on the dry side.

The thing that made the biggest impression were their salads (does fried kangkung qualify as a salad? *wink wink*) and chilli dips that were refreshing and delectable.  The chilli dips saved the meat for me and made some of the less impressive ones palatable.

Having said that, it was still more than decent based on the prices charged.  Perhaps, I'll stick to more soup or curry-based dishes the next time I'm here.  I'd also like to try their phad thai and fried rice on future visits.

Mr Tuk Tuk
4-01B Sunway Velocity Mall
Lingkaran SV
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

#ewew makes Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing

Continuing with my 'redemption' week (or weeks) of eating healthier (post Chinese New Year) and my new found love for Korean strawberries, I resort to salads once again.

I was inspired by phonghong's strawberry salad to make my slightly healthier version of Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing (minus the roasted oinks...hehe!) since I had some strawberries left from my earlier Rainbow Fruit Salad.

Choosing lean chicken as the protein for your salads is, of course, a much healthier alternative than any other meat.  I like to use chicken fillets as I find them more tender and less dry than chicken breasts.  I've been calling them chicken fillets coz that's what the supermarket's packaging says but I recently found out that they're actually called tenderloin.  It's the part of the chicken that's attached to the breast.  Nowadays, when I buy chicken breasts (for Cookie), I would remove the 'precious' tenderloin and save them for my salads...hehe! ;)

I also like to add mushrooms, especially large brown button mushrooms, as they offer juiciness and a meaty flavour to the salad.  Just make sure you slice them thickly coz there's nothing worse than thinly sliced mushrooms that offer no bite in a salad (you're not making a mushroom omelette, yo)! ;P

Pan-fry them both (four chicken tenderloins + 4 large button mushrooms) in olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, until the tenderloins are well-browned and the mushrooms are soft.

Then add the sliced chicken tenderloin and cooked mushrooms to the mixed greens (I used half a packet of pre-washed leaves), strawberries (five, hulled and sliced) and a handful of blueberries (also leftover from the fruit salad I made earlier).

For the vinaigrette, I used a combination of olive oil, honey, garlic and red wine vinegar....yes, red wine vinegar!  I finally got myself a bottle....a cheap one first just to see if I like it before investing more in a better quality one later.  Now that I have red wine vinegar, I probably don't even need lemons anymore since it provides the same level of acidity required.  This allows me to make salad dressings with ease, in fact any time of the day since lemons are not always available in my pantry.

The classic proportion of oil to vinegar is 3:1 (and that's pretty much what everyone says)...but I think you can use any proportion.  It all depends on the olive oil and vinegar you use...some vinegars may be overpowering and tart while some oils can be robust or bland.  So, you need to taste, taste, taste to get your flavours right.

For the brand of olive oil and red wine vinegar I'm using, I went with the following measurements for the vinaigrette...4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 2 cloves of finely minced or mashed garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar, close the lid and shake vigorously for best results.  The acidic nature in the vinegar lets it emulsifies smoothly with the oil to form a well incorporated dressing (without having to blitz it in a blender and having to wash yet another gadget).

The leftover dressing can be stored away in the fridge for use later.  Hmmm, I've not quite decided yet if I like the taste of red wine vinegar maybe because this one was a little sharp (coz it's cheap...haha!).  Also, use extra virgin olive oil (if you have) for salad dressings.  I usually buy only one bottle of olive oil, one that I can use for cooking as well (of western dishes) since it's quite expensive, so I have to sacrifice a bit on the taste (when making salad dressings).

This easy-to-put-together Strawberry Salad with Vinegary Dressing is sufficient for one (as a meal replacement) or two (as a side salad to a main dish).  I do like that the taste of red wine vinegar in the dressing is not as acidic as lemon juice (perhaps a good quality one will taste more fruity)...still it adds flavour to the otherwise bland salad and made it more appetising.

As  much as I'd like to eat salads as a healthier alternative, I do feel (at times) they're hard to ingest (especially if you've had it too regularly).  That's why I loved how the addition of strawberries (and blueberries) gave the salad a fresher and juicier mouthfeel making it easier to take in and digest.

Since including juicy berries in my salads and realising how delicious they can be in a salad (apart from making the salad easier to eat as well), I've been adding other juicy/sweet fruits (like mangoes, watermelon, pears, pineapple, kiwifruit, etc.) to my salads all the time now.

You can vary your protein and vegetables.  Another time I had some red bell peppers and sausages, so I pan-fried them and added those to my salad with juicy berries and mushrooms.  I can get quite a good charring on the bell peppers with my Chefology non-stick frying pan (coz it can sear at a very high heat) and it gets done in mere minutes.

It makes for a nice and very filling salad =)

For those of you who find it hard to eat just greens on its own but still want to eat salads for a healthier meal alternative, try adding some fruits and you'll be liking your salads a lot more! ^_~

Monday, 26 March 2018

Just One Food - Nasi Kak Wok

Most of us (in KL) would be familiar with Kelantan specialities like Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Dagang but what the heck is Nasi Kak Wok?

I'm just as blur as the next person as this dish called Nasi Kak Wok (or Nasi Kak Wook) also has similarities with other nasi ayam-type dishes like Nasi Ayam Goreng Kunyit, Nasi Soho (as I learned from Mimi's Dining Roomand even Nasi Mmanggey (as per vkeong's blog).  After all, they have three things in common....bite-sized pieces of ayam goreng kunyit (turmeric fried chicken), some kind of a curry and a side of sambal belacan.  So, excuse me if I seem confused! >_<

My first taste of what I thought was Nasi Kak Wok actually turned out to be Nasi Ayam Goreng Kunyit (from a stall in a Ramadan bazaar) where bite-sized pieces of fried chicken are marinated in turmeric (hence the name ayam goreng kunyit obviously).  The packet of rice also comes with some vegetables, a stir-fry of kacang panjang (long beans) and onions.  Well, I'm not so familiar with Malay food and all their, they looked similar to me with the same bite-sized pieces of fried chicken, some kind of a gravy and a fresh sambal.

And then I read that Nasi Mmanggey (more commonly known to us as nasi kukus ayam goreng berempah) also has similarities with Nasi Kak Wok except that the fried chicken is bite-sized pieces of ayam goreng berempah or spiced fried chicken (which has a more prominent lemongrass flavour).

Since I enjoyed eating this turmeric fried chicken, I began keeping an eye out for it whenever I find myself in the vicinity of Malay stalls.  The next time I bumped into something similar was at our neighbourhood pasar malam.  I asked a lady manning the stall if that was Nasi Kak Wok and I felt she kinda made fun of me with her's Nasi Kak 'someone's name' (I didn't catch the name she mentioned).  She was probably implying that it's her dish, Nasi Kak '(her name)'.  I didn't think she needed to be condescending (we can't be well-versed in every cuisine or know every type of food or its name...ish!).  As I left without buying anything from her, I felt a sense of redemption that even she doesn't know the Kelantanese dish of Nasi Kak Wok....hahaha! :P

And then, when I least expected it, I noticed a shop in my neighbourhood that sells Nasi Kak Wok...and there can be no mistake whatsoever this time since the words "Nasi Kak Wok Pandan Indah" was clearly stated in their signboard!  I think they've been here for quite a while and I've seen them before, I just didn't know what it was.  Inside, the ingredients of a Nasi Kak Wok were laid out simply...cucumber, sambal, ayam goreng kunyit and a creamy "gulai" (a yellowish curry-like sauce).

It's a joy to see them scoop everything so fast...and with precision.  It's like they just know how much of curry and sambal is needed in each serving to ensure a perfect combination of flavours.  The way they pack it in an elongated shape is also unique to this dish.

Nasi Kak Wok starts with warm, freshly cooked fluffy rice...ok, maybe this one not so fluffy! ;P

Next, you need the star of the show...and that's the bite-sized pieces of turmeric marinated fried chicken.

The fact that the chicken is fried in bite-sized pieces makes it extra fragrant with a nice crisp on the outside though it may not be as tender as some of the fried chicken I've had before.

In some places, the fried chicken may be served in larger it's the case here sometimes too (when the chicken pieces are not chopped small enough).

I prefer it in smaller pieces as I find that the marination is able to penetrate better in the smaller nuggets of chicken thus allowing the pieces to be well-browned which make it even more fragrant.

Then, there's a yellowish kind of curry sauce, like a creamy gulai, that the rice needs to be doused in.  P/S: Pretend you didn't see the soft yolk hard-boiled egg, that's my own addition...hehe! ;P

And finally, it needs to be finished off with a spoonful of fresh tasting sambal that can be quite spicy, at least this one was.  As you can see from the many different pictures of the Nasi Kak Wok, I've had this numerous times already.

Some places might add on some vegetables like cucumber slices.

This simple serving of plain rice with just three basic ingredients combine so well together to create a delicious meal...and that could be the reason why this well-loved Kelantan favourite is so popular.  The other reason would be the price factor, definitely.  At RM5 a packet, you can't deny that Nasi Kak Wok is cheap.....and good! ^o^

Friday, 23 March 2018

Fuji Sushi @ Pavilion

Whenever I'm shopping in Pavilion and can't quite decide what I want to eat, it would be easy to just head to Tokyo Street for some Japanese food.

The choices here like Ichi Zen, Tokyo Teppan, Tokyo Don, Suki-ya and Fuji Sushi all serve affordable Japanese food.

This time I was attracted by the advertisement board showcasing unique sushi wrapped in (what looked like) thinly sliced cucumber ribbons...attracted enough to walk into Fuji Sushi @ Pavilion.  So gullible of me....there was no such sushi! >_<

There's even a poster of the cucumber-type sushi next to the cashier counter.  Don't ask me why they put up pictures of sushi they don't offer! :P

But, they are still a conveyor belt sushi joint....and you can pick what you want from the sushi train...sans the cucumber sushi that is.

Prices for the different coloured plates range from RM2.30 to RM15, certainly not as cheap as some of the other conveyor belt sushi I know.  Here were some of my picks.

Blue Plate - Tuna Sushi @ RM4 (forget about this one)

Green Plate - Tamago Mentai Sushi @ RM5

Red Plate - Ebi Mentai Sushi @ RM8

Yellow Plate - Unagi Sushi @ RM10.50

Though the sushi plates were pricier than the usual conveyor sushi joints, they did come with better quality ingredients.  The unagi sushi had thick slices of unagi + there was also a thicker smear of that torched savoury mentai.

Colourful plates all stacked up.....I didn't notice any orange coloured sushi plates on the conveyor belt though.

They offer more than sushi, of course.  The Yakitori Don @ RM18.90 featuring pan fried chicken and onions on rice was alright.  We were hoping for a bit more caramelisation on the chicken and onions though.

The Garlic Fried Rice @ RM11.50 fared much better as the rice was well fried.  This was one of the better garlic fried rice I've come across in Japanese restaurants.

I liked that there was a generous amount of egg bits in the rice.  It was definitely the tastier of the two rice dishes we had.

Our final dish for sharing was the Kani Mentai Mayo Maki @ RM18 comprising of six pieces of maki filled with crab meat and topped with mentai mayo, ebiko and loads of crispy stuff.

Very pretty presentation I must say...and those crispy stuff on top got us really excited.  We were wondering what they were.

We couldn't quite make out what the thin slivers of crispy stuff were.  They tasted like sweet potato, we thought, but couldn't be sure.  In the end, I asked the waitress and she said they're made from carrot.  Who knew carrot shreds could be made so crunchy...and taste so good too! ;P

Let me push aside the 'mountain' of carrot slivers so that you can see the abundantly luscious mentai mayo underneath.....yummm :)

Hot & Cold Green Tea @ RM3 each that's refillable.

My Personal Opinion

Another sushi place you can consider when you're in Pavilion...even if it's just for this unique sushi with loads of deliciously crispy carrot shreds.  A simple light lunch of garlic fried rice should sufficiently please too.

Fuji Sushi
Lot 6-24-1A Level 6
Tokyo Street
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

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