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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Want to be a dahmakan Select member?

Since trying out dahmakan food delivery numerous times in the past (some of which were documented in what I shall call the first wave of orders), I was pretty happy with the cooking, quality and taste of the food they put out.

At that time, the meals cost between RM18 - RM25, some even more.   Let's face it, it isn't all that affordable on a regular basis.  The more affordably-priced ones at RM17.95 (to be exact), unfortunately, don't quite set my heart aflutter, if you know what I mean, so I conveniently forgot about them.

But logging into their website recently, I noticed that they were running a promotion...and for RM29/month, I could be a dahmakan Select member and get RM29 cashback for the first month.  I thought why not since I've got nothing to lose, you get back the subscription paid and you can discontinue the membership at any time.

And that wasn't all, you also get to order the meals at preferential prices...woohoo!  You only pay a special price of RM9.90 for promo meals that cost RM14.90 and RM19.90 for regular meals priced between RM23.90 - RM35.  I thought it was a real awesome deal, so I signed up.

So, I had my second wave of orders from dahmakan and noticed some changes for the better.  Please brace yourself for a long post (this is only the first half!) and the reason why there are no cooking posts from me of late....haha! ^_*

Ordering System

The ordering system is still super easy to navigate.  There's even a dahmakan support live chat now if you have any questions you want answered and you get a reply fairly quick (usually within 15 minutes).

Delivery Time Zones

There used to be 3 delivery time zones for lunch and 5 for dinner but now the delivery times are every hour (some within 20 minutes intervals).  You can even order a meal as late as half an hour and choose a delivery time zone within the next hour...and that's super-duper convenient if you ask me.

Actual Delivery

Once your meal is intransit, you can check your Order History on an estimated time of arrival and if the time changes, you'll be able to see the updated times.  If there's a delay in your time slot, you'll get an update via sms to your phone.  And when your food arrives, you'll get another sms to meet your rider at the gate and a final sms when your food is delivered.  So, you're kept informed all the way until your food arrives which is great. 

Packaging

The packaging is still as canggih (stylish) and colourful as before, if not better.  Hmmm, I wonder just how many different colours they have for their packaging! :P

The one change I did notice is that the food is now packed in aluminium foil containers inside the same environment-friendly paper boxes.  I think this is much better as previously the food would wet the paper box and eating out of it was less desirable since the paper is not of waxed quality.  It's also easier to reheat the food in the foil containers directly in the oven (or even steam it over the stove top).  You can also easily eat out directly from the foil containers.

I'm glad to see that plastic containers are kept to a minimum (with the exception of small ones for sauces) though single-use plastic cutlery is still given with each meal (it's packaged together with the box along with a paper napkin).  Wish we could say no to the plastic cutlery though.

Online Support

There's even an online support now where you can chat with their staff on any queries or issues that you may have.  Time frame for replies are displayed before you send in a query (usually under 15 minutes).

So, here are some of my recent meal orders from dahmakan to give you a sneak peek of what the meal actually looks like.  I do know that some people (me included) like to see the real dish (before making a decision) since most won't look anything like those showcased in the menu pictures.  *Please note that prices shown indicate prices for the general public (or non-members) and prices in brackets are for Select Club Members (like me!).

#1 - Spaghetti Chicken Bolognese @ RM14.90 (my price RM9.90, savings RM5)

spaghetti, minced chicken in bolognese sauce, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, parsley

Let's start with one of the cheapest meals in the menu.  You can, of course, eat directly out of the packaging but I believe in eating with my eyes too, don't you?  Plus, I need to make the presentation more appealing to my readers...and my blog. ^_*

I was quite blown away that the pasta was cooked just right which I wasn't expecting honestly.  I really liked this bolognese sauce (better than some of the cafes even) as this one was much lighter with less tomato intensity, so it wasn't as acidic (+ I can't taste the cheese...how lovely...wuahahahaha!).

I could see that the cherry tomatoes, which offered a burst of juiciness to the pasta, had signs of blistering. That's a good sign that they were cooked/baked first, not thrown in fresh, rendering them less sour in taste. No complaints on this dish and at RM9.90, you bet I'll be ordering this again.

#2 - Portugese Steamed Fish @ RM24.90 (my price RM19.90, savings RM5)

fish (perch fillet?), okra, brown rice, housemade chili dip

I'm not sure what fish they gave (I'm guessing perch) but it was nice, fresh (no fishy odour at all) and firm but flaky.  The fish portion was quite generous, the entire fillet from one side of the fish + a little bit more.

The marinade on the fish was slightly spicy.  What I thought was extra sauce (the same one as on the fish) turned out to be a different sauce...this one was tangy and delicious, not as spicy as what was on the fish.

The okra could be a bit more tender and a tad less woody.  I have no problems whatsoever ordering this again.

#3 - Braised Beef Brisket @ RM31 (my price RM19.90, savings RM11.10)


beef brisket, potato mash, tomato salsa, corn-on-the-cob, BBQ sauce

Sorry for the not-so-ideal presentation as the contents spilled out into a bit of a mess when it arrived coz the aluminium foil container came without a cover (unlike the chicken bolognese).  There were like more than 10 slices of beef brisket (though not as thick as the ones shown in the website's menu) and they were undeniably tender and went well with the BBQ sauce.

The generous portion of potato mash was both smooth and chunky (there were bite-sized pieces of potato in it).  The sides of a juicy tomato salsa (plenty of tomatoes but could do with more onions and fresh herbs) and corn-on-the-cob (I cut out the corn kernels and mixed it with the cherry tomatoes) were good accompaniments to the dish.

Overall, it was a very filling portion that I struggled to finish, one that even a blogger I know (who is blessed with a good appetite) would approve. ^_~  Again, it's a dish I can see myself making a repeat order.

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


roast chicken thigh, soy ginger rice, pickled radish & carrot, teriyaki mayo


The whole roast chicken thigh, sufficiently good-sized and adequately tender, was laced with teriyaki sauce and looked well-grilled but only had a faint charred flavour.

Couldn't taste the ginger nor the soy in the soy ginger rice but tasted more like the drippings of teriyaki sauce on the rice....and this was also the first time the rice was slightly mushy.

It was served with a crunchy radish and carrot pickle which was much needed to provide relief to the heaviness of the dish.  This was one of those meals with good portions too (I couldn't finish the rice).

The teriyaki mayo tasted exactly like what it was supposed to be...teriyaki + mayo.  This was one time where the little container of sauce was sufficient due to its thicker consistency and richness as we know mayo can be.

#5 - Tandoori Salmon @ RM35 (my price RM19.90, savings RM15.10)


tandoori salmon, pulao rice, cauliflower, mint mayo


This dish is among the most expensive by dahmakan (in fact, all dishes with salmon are priced at RM35).  If not for the discount I got as a Select member, I wouldn't even have thought of ordering this for my weekday meals.

The tandoori salmon (a fair-sized piece with fragrant curry leaves) had a coating of spice paste that was just nicely spiced.  It went well with the rather refreshing mint mayo which was a surprise to me since I'm not a fan of mint (+ this mint mayo was thinner in consistency compared to the teriyaki mayo).  Could use more of the sauce actually which could also act to cool down the spice paste for those who find it too spicy.

The pulao rice (much like rice pilaf) was made using long grain rice (basmathi) with sunflower seeds and a bit of herbs (very little) but none of the raisins or green chillies (I saw in the menu pic).  A bit of the spice paste from the fish managed to stain the rice to give it added flavour.  The only blip in what would otherwise be a very well executed dish was the under-cooked cauliflower (which I was more than happy to have instead of the dreaded carrot and broccoli), so I'm not complaining.

I appreciated the inclusion of a wedge of lemon (which seems trivial) but that little bit of lemon juice squeezed over top of the fish and into the sauce brought an even fresher hint to the dish overall.

This turned out to be my favourite meal of the week from dahmakan, so obviously there was bound to be repeat orders....hihihi! ^_~

Food Taste

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to compare the dishes to a restaurant-quality dish or a restaurant dine-in experience but for a food delivery entity, I'm more than satisfied with the results (sometimes even a little impressed).

I have to admit that the food for this second wave tasted even better than the first.  It wasn't as salty and oily (than what I had in the first round)...and that should be the way since they promote healthy eating.  We can always tweak it to suit our own tastebuds and add more if we feel that it's under-seasoned (I was happy to do just that for the chicken bolognese...an extra twist of sea salt and a crack of black pepper).  Besides being less salty, the flavours were also much better this round.

Food Condition

If you receive your food in the first half of your requested delivery time zone, the food arrives still slightly warm, so I eat it as it is without the need to reheat.  If you happen to receive towards the latter part of your delivery time zone, then you might want to warm it up which can be easily done in its convenient tin foil packaging.

There were times when the food box arrived a little messed up due to spillage of sauce (either through fault of the packaging or the delivery rider) but that doesn't happen very often.

Portions

Portions tend to lean towards medium-sized eaters, so they're ideal for ladies or anyone who wants to exercise portion control (portions may be a tad small for men with normal appetites).  Since dahmakan is supposed to promote healthy eating, I'm all for the smaller portions as it's an enforced way to not overeat which is good.  There were some choices that came with generous portions too.

Choices

You can choose from high protein to low carb meals.  Choices for regular dahmakan meals ranges from 12 - 20 options daily (sometimes even more than 25) with a selection of promo and premium meals included, so there are enough choices for everyone.  But just know that you may be confronted with lesser choices towards the latter part of the day (when some of the dishes sell out).

Also available are different side dishes (like seasonal rojak buah, chicken caesar salad, seasonal fruit salad), drinks (by True Juice or The Cool Juice) and desserts (chocolate brookies, coconut jelly, vanilla sliced cake, custard crumble, mango jelly, tiramisu, red velvet cake, apple crumble) that are subject to change daily or weekly.

Pricing

The preferential pricing (for Select members) is very reasonable, especially the prices for meals at RM9.90 which seem super affordable (as a packet of chap fan nowadays can cost anything between RM7 - RM9 already).

The RM9.90 meals can be ordered on a more regular basis while those at RM19.90 perhaps less frequently if you need to keep to a certain monthly meal budget (we all do).  But knowing that you can buy meals costing RM35 for under RM20 sounds like a steal! :P

Convenience

So why not pay as little as RM9.90 for a meal to be delivered to you...no hassle of driving (or walking) out for food, no getting stuck in traffic jams, no parking nightmares, no waiting for seats at crowded eateries and not having to brace the heat or the rain sounds mighty fine to me.

Savings

Savings can be from as little as RM5 to as high as RM15.10 per meal...and that's pretty awesome for a good quality meal that's delivered right to your doorstep!  Even without the cashback promotion, you can easily recoup the RM29 membership paid through the discounts offered in your first 2 - 3 meals already.

My Personal Opinion
   
From a simple ordering system to usually (but not always) on-time deliveries, stylish and practical packaging to healthy choices, quality ingredients to good-tasting food, generous portions to awesome prices (as a Select member), you can't ask for any more really.  

From my previous experience with dahmakan's food delivery and taste to the current one, I'm glad to have seen some marked improvements.  I will delve into the areas I'd like to see further improvements in greater detail in another upcoming blog post (that's why this can't be a paid post...kekeke)! ;P

But, for now, I do have a unique invite code that I can send to friends to let them try dahmakan's food for the first time.  When they (first time users only) sign up using the link/code I provide, it'll entitle them to RM40 credit to try out dahmakan's food (to be used according to the terms of dahmakan).  I can also extend this link to my regular readers (who genuinely want to try out dahmakan's food delivery...and oh, I do get something small out of it though this is not about me getting something out of it but about spreading the love of good and healthy food), so let me know if you truly need this code by sending me an email request.  If you like it enough, you can then sign up for your own Select membership (on a month-to-month basis which can be cancelled at anytime) to receive the fantastic discounts.

Hmmm, let's see, what meals shall I order next? ^_~

Monday, 22 July 2019

Restoran Station 8 (James Bond Char Kuey Teow) @ SS2 PJ

I've been to Restoran Station 8 @ SS2 PJ once when it was known as Restoran Okay, for its dim sum, wantan mee and roasted meat rice but found the food to be, like its namesake, just okay.  I hear there's a good Penang-style curry mee here though but one I don't think I'll ever get to eat since it's always sold out very early in the morning.

I also went once after the shop changed its name to Station 8 and we had nasi lemaksiu yuk rice (again) and some other noodle dish (at that time I didn't realise that it was the same shop!).

Since the food I had didn't impress (though there are many more stalls now after the name change), it isn't a coffee shop we'd eat at.

But I decided to return one Sunday morning to check out a char kuey teow (CKT) stall which my husband has been telling me about (he said it comes with large prawns!).

So, I went to make our orders while my husband chup chup our table.  On reaching the stall, I recognised instantly the name of the stall and realised my spouse had been eating a so-called reputable CKT...James Bond Char Kuey Teow (he wasn't aware of it, of course)!

Even though this James Bond Char Kuey Teow is supposedly famous (I was made aware of it by the numerous reviews I've read online), I've never once thought of seeking it out to try.  Some of these famous stalls tend to move from coffee shop to coffee shop (and James Bond is no exception from Ho Ho Sek/WDS, SS2 to Tong Fong, Seapark to Okay/Station 8, SS2 and maybe a few more times in between) coz they know their loyal customers will make the effort to find him.

Probably, that's why I never attempted to seek out Robert's Char Kueh Teow either coz there are so many stalls (Damansara Kim, Kota Damansara, Damansara Perdana, Damansara Jaya, Taman Megah, Section 17) that lay claim to be Robert's CKT that it leaves us wondering....which one exactly is the 'real' Robert? >.<  Or he could also have moved from one place to another.

Anyway, I'm not here to talk about Robert but to talk about James Bond (or Peter Tan, his real name apparently), so let's direct our focus back to James Bond Char Kuey Teow.  Well, let me tell you a little story that transpired before I get down to telling you what I thought of his CKT.  When I first approached the stall, there wasn't any cooking action going on (and no-one was manning the stall either).  After standing there for a while, a foreign worker approached and I gestured with my hand and asked...mana towkay (where's the boss)?  He pointed to a table across the stall and I'm assuming the chap sitting down with a customer (or a friend) is James Bond.  So, he was sitting there all this time while I stood there waiting (like a fool) at his stall.  That's the attitude some can have when they're famous.

Only when I looked a little annoyed, he asked me what I wanted (he speaks English by the way) without budging from his seat still.  If not for my husband who brought me to try this stall, I'd probably have walked away.  I proceeded to order for the both of us, one with cockles and one without...and that's when he pointed out to a sign (which I didn't notice at his stall which said "no cockles today").  Couldn't he just say that instead of pointing to the sign?  Just because you're famous, you can be a snob, is it? >:(  I read that he doesn't entertain requests for extra ingredients (or customised orders) either...looks like it's his way or the highway (don't know how true that is since mine was a standard order).

Anyway, a plate of his char kuey teow here costs RM7 (RM8 for big) and it comes with 3 large-sized prawns (my spouse says he has gotten more than 3 prawns before) and fish cake slices along with the usual stuff of egg, beansprouts and Chinese chives.  There were no cockles (on the day that we were there) and his version has no lap cheong (dried Chinese sausage) either.

From the colour of the noodles, does this look nice to you?  It wasn't fried or tossed long enough and the noodles weren't even charred.  If you look at vkeong's post from 2016, the noodles looked really different...darkly caramelised and well fried....and served on a banana leaf!  In fact, I couldn't detect any smokiness or wok hei...plus it tasted bland as well...and that pretty much sums up the taste of this CKT! >_<

Sorry for the digression.  That said, one noodle dish did leave an impression.  I just thought I'd include this since I'd much rather eat this than James Bond's CKT here! :P  I don't even know what it's called (or remember the price) as I've never come across such a dish before.  I was first attracted by a large pot of stewed pork, so I just pointed to a picture at their stall and said I wanted one....with everything! ;)

So, the dish came with tender stewed pork (something like Hakka char yoke), a minced meat (pork) stuffed braised bean curd puff, smooth poached chicken and some greens of crunchy sang choy (lettuce), beansprouts, coriander and spring onion (I even spotted a whole garlic clove, braised till soft).  Have you seen (or eaten) a noodle dish with such ingredients before?  Seems rather unorthodox to me.

Not only that, it was served with two very delicious home-made fish balls in a bowl of soup since I chose to have my noodles dry-style.  You know they're home-made (probably hand-made too) from its odd shape + they're unlike those overly bouncy textured balls that are more flour than fish paste.

My Personal Opinion

The way James Bond (or Peter Tan) treats his customers....is the way he treats his noodles...without much care or passion!  Maybe he used to whip up a good plate of CKT...but certainly not so anymore....at least not from what I tasted.  So, how can the same person, who has been frying CKT for years, serve up two different tasting plates of CKT?  One that got him good reviews (from news portals, food guides & blogs) and one from me that's meh.  Well, I guess it can happen when the person is missing that fire and passion and couldn't care less if he fries up a plate of good CKT for his customers or not (after all, he did leave me standing at his stall).

The attraction here for me is only in the name of the stall.  But I will give it a thumbs up for their larger prawns (at least larger than most CKT stalls for the same price)...but that's about it.  It certainly won't join my list of to-have CKT....once was enough for me.

Sometimes when we seek out these famous stalls, we have higher expectations and the disappointment ends up to be even far greater.  Hmmm, I wonder if I should seek out Robert's Char Kueh Teow too...hehehe! ;P

Restoran Station 8
(formerly known as Okay Restaurant)
2 Jalan SS2/10
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Chang Kitchen (Besides Beef Noodles) @ Pandan Indah

I first visited Chang Kitchen Beef Noodles @ Pandan Indah for their beef noodles specifically.  After all, their signboard clearly points to them being a beef noodle specialist and most will think that's the only thing they serve.

Well, suffice to say, I've tried all their beef noodle variations...in soup or dry version....with beef balls, beef brisket (ngau lam), raw beef slices or beef mix (with beef stomach or tendon) but I don't like to eat the latter two including omasum (ngau pak yip aka some kind of beef tripe).

When I'm here, I usually have the beef balls and brisket paired with dry (wantan) noodles, second only to my favourite of the lot which is the raw beef slices.

They do offer other types of noodles besides beef noodles like fish ball, mutton noodles and wantan mee as well as nasi lemak (plain, with chicken or abalone).  So, here's the rest of the menu that I tried other than the beef noodles.

Starting with the Fish Ball Noodles @ RM7 that's available dry-style or in soup.  What you get are three large-sized fish balls, fried fu chuk (beancurd sheets) and some greens of sang choy (lettuce).  The fish balls were overly bouncy (commercially-produced ones, I reckon) with a soup base that tastes generic (you'd know when a stock wasn't the result of hours and hours of boiling).

I paired it with dry wantan noodles (with a few crispy pork lard thrown in).  This fish ball noodles was most probably included in the menu just for people who don't eat beef as it was obvious the dish was put together without much thought or effort.

If you don't eat beef, there's also the Wantan Minced Pork Noodles @ RM7 that you can choose to have.  This time, the wantan noodles came with the addition of minced pork which was tasty.

The wantans, with a minced pork filling, were plain and ordinary like many other wantans out there.  The soup base tasted similar to the one with the fish ball noodles, probably made with some flavour enhancers! >_<

At least this one tasted much better than the fish balls noodles and I did appreciate the extra effort put into the making of the minced pork themselves.

If you don't eat beef, you can ask for pork balls instead which can come in either the beef broth or the broth they use for the fish balls or wantans, your choice.  This one was a mixture of beef and pork balls (the pork balls are the slightly larger ones, at times I got 4 beef + 3 pork but sometimes it's 5 + 2).  I could taste the dried squid bits in the pork ball mix, so they were very pleasant.

Recently, I've started to have my beef noodles with lai fun (thick rice noodles), a type of noodle usually associated with assam laksa (and beef noodles), just that I wasn't aware they had it here (I think the noodle choices were written in Chinese in the menu, that's why!) until one day the person who took my order rattled away the noodle choices, only then I came to know....and it has been my first choice ever since.  I don't know what is it about lai fun with beef noodles, it just goes so well together.

Nasi lemak offers a choice to those who want to eat rice rather than noodles.  You have an option of plain (RM4) or with abalone (RM25!).  I went for the Nasi Lemak with Chicken @ RM9.  It was fried chicken with acar (pickled vegetables), hard-boiled egg, kacang & ikan bilis and sambal.

The fried chicken, which looked like a version of ayam goreng berempah, unfortunately lacked marination + it was cold and dry (obviously it was not fried to order but pre-fried some time ago).  The acar was ok and I did like the fragrant and fresh taste of the peanuts and (better quality) crispy silver fish (aka tiny ikan bilis) but the sambal was atrocious.  From the colour, it has obviously not been cooked long enough (or as they say "kena tumis sampai pecah minyak dan wangi") but, worst still, it had a tinge of sourness instead of being sweetly spicy or spicily sweet.  It was a shame as the rice was suficiently lemak.  Definitely not something I'd have again.

Well, if you don't want any noodles or rice, you can have a simple breakfast of eggs & toast for RM5, Kaya Toast @ RM2.50 and Half-Boiled Eggs @ RM2.50.

The good thing is, for the price, you get kampung (or free-range) eggs here.  They're brought to the table steeping in hot water and told to give it 5 minutes.  Is this to custom-cook them the way you like it or to exonerate them in case they bring you overcooked eggs? >_<  I see more and more coffee shops doing it this way nowadays...I just wish they'd bring them cooked already.  That way I can send them back if they're overdone...wuahahahaha....instead of me having to keep an eye on it to know when it's done.

The kaya toast, using traditional coffeeshop-style bread, had quite a few slivers of cold butter in between a decent-tasting, sweetish kaya.  Can't go wrong with a light breakfast like this.

Mutton Noodles (RM15) and Mutton Soup (RM20) makes up the balance of their menu.  Well, since I don't like mutton, I won't be trying any of the mutton dishes.  I wonder if anyone orders the mutton noodles since many Chinese don't eat beef and even lesser eat mutton (!).

My Personal Opinion

It's quite obvious that the other noodles and nasi lemak were put on the menu for people who simply don't eat beef.  And let's just say those aren't their forte...their speciality is still beef noodles.

Even though their fish ball noodles and nasi lemak aren't anywhere near remotely good (per my standards), I'm quietly happy for them when I see their santan rice running out by 2 pm and people packing extra fish balls home (after their meal).  I want them to endure, so I'm rooting for them to survive as I actually like eating here coz the place is air-conditioned and spacious, the owners are friendly, parking is plentiful and there's never a crowd though the latter isn't necessarily a good thing for them. ^_~

If you don't mind a non-char siew type of wantan noodles, the one here with minced pork isn't too shabby. This, and the beef noodles (with either raw beef slices or a mixture of beef and pork balls), are the only two things I go for here.  

Chang Kitchen Beef Noodle
14 Jalan Pandan Indah 1/18
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9201 7059

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