Food Review: Balinese Food @ Bumbu Bali, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Bumbu Bali has been around for many years, and is well known among Puchong-ites for its Balinese and Western fusion dishes served in a relaxing atmosphere. Despite having lived in Puchong for almost all my life, I’ve only been here a couple of times because of its higher-than-average price.  But since it was the Bruh’s birthday, we decided to splurge on a nice meal. 🙂

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Dim lighting makes for an intimate setting, with cosy wooden chairs and tables, and one side of the restaurant adorned with various Balinese decorations like paintings and statues (some of these are for sale).

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The birthday boy had the Siap Mepaggang (RM31); BBQ chicken with spicy coconut sauce.

When it came we were taken aback by the humongous portion – they essentially served half a chicken on the plate. The dish also came with Nasi Kuning (rice with turmeric), various sambal sauces, Rempeyek (anchovy cracker), Lawar Kacang (beans salad) and sauteed kangkong. If you’re a small eater, I suggest sharing this.

Tried a bite and felt the chicken was a little dry, but this is quite common in Indonesian and Malay cooking (think dry rendang) and they seem to like the meat to be on the tough side rather than moist and juicy.

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Pops had the Nasi Campur (RM37), consisting of Balinese grilled lemongrass prawns, squid, fish, chicken rendang and sate lilit, as well as the same condiments as the Bruh’s set. Again, the portion was humongous, and even my dad who is a big eater had trouble finishing it.

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N and I shared the Seafood Platter (RM39), which had grilled fish fillet, squid and prawns. It came served with fries, fruit and a salad. The seafood was pretty good, with a nice smokiness.

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For snacks, we shared the fried chicken strips (RM17), served with garlic pepper sauce. This was mostly chicken skin but oh-so-addictive. The sauce was strong and garlicky.

I have to say that everything was salty though. Or maybe it’s just because my fam and I are used to milder flavours, because N said the seasoning was just right lol. It wasn’t that the food wasn’t tasty, it was just a bit on the salty side.

Service was excellent, although there seem to be wayyy too many servers – I think there must have been more than 10 of them to service 5 or 6 tables for dinner!

Owing to the big portions, its best to come in a group if you’re planning a visit. 🙂

BUMBU BALI 

18 & 18-1, Persiaran Puteri 1, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open daily: 11AM – 11PM

 

Food Review: Bali’s Famous Pork Ribs – Naughty Nuri’s @ SS 15 Courtyard, Subang

Anyone who has been to Bali will know about the island’s most famous pork ribs – the Naughty Nuri franchise. Started as a warung by a husband and wife team, the brand slowly cemented its place as the go-to for ribs and drinks with the expatriate community in the area: celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain himself declaring the resto as serving the ‘best Martinis outside of New York’. In 2014, Naughty Nuri made its way across the straits to Kuala Lumpur. Their third and latest outlet is located in SS15 Courtyard, Subang, which I visited with some friends over the weekend. The shop was packed with customers over dinner, but they managed to squeeze us into a corner seat by the verandah, which was cool and breezy. Almost felt like we were at a seaside resto in Bali.. only with trains running on the track going past xD

The interior was warm and homely, with yellow lights (made for terrible pictures though), closely packed wooden tables and chairs as well as chequered pillars and plants. The rustic feel was complemented by porky decor, like pig heads and a giant rotating pig statue hanging from the ceiling.

Bar area.

  

Jo and I each ordered a plate of Nasi Goreng (RM25), not knowing that the portion would be humongous (!) The giant plate of pork fried rice was topped with a beautiful fried egg, its yolk still slightly runny, a side of roast pork, crackers and fried onions. The rice itself was full of wok-hei and mixed with tender slices of pork, pork belly, chilli and onions, although I felt it could use a bit more salt. The side of roast pork had just the right amount of fat and lean, with nice, crackly skin. Couldn’t finish it tho as this was definitely enough for two.

Of course we had to get the house specialty, the bbq glazed pork ribs (RM35) to share. I was expecting a really good dish,what with the hype and all, and was a little disappointed. It was tasty, but not amazing. The sauce was well flavoured, richly coating the ribs, but the meat was not fall off the bone tender and was even a little hard to cut off the bone at times. Decent, but not great.

I know franchises have a way of not living up to their name, but all in all, I’d say the food at Naughty Nuri’s SS15 was good and the prices reasonable; although I wouldn’t line up for it.

NAUGHTY NURI’S (SS15) 

Lot G-08, Ground Floor, SS15 Courtyard., Jalan SS15/4G,, SS15, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Open daily: 11AM – 12AM

 

 

Mamasan KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular style of cooking at Mamasan, since their dishes are so diverse – with Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Chinese influences. Me, I prefer calling it Awesome Asian Food. The Bali-based restaurant, helmed by award winning chef Will Meyrick, has done so well that they’ve opened a branch in Hong Kong, and one in Kuala Lumpur in 2015. Good news for us Malaysian folks.

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Located at the base of Suria KLCC, the chic eatery has nice outdoor views of KLCC Park. with The inside sports a fully stocked bar, cosy corners decorated with art pieces, and wooden tables with marble tops.

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The menu is all on one page, but I think the design needs some working on. Font was so tiny we had to strain to look at the words.

Since this is KLCC, expect to pay higher prices: about RM40+ onwards for mains, and Rm20+ for appetisers.

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Iced Chai Tea was spicy and frothy, with a hint of condensed milk. Sweet and creamy but not cloying.

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Since I was here with my colleagues for Christmas lunch, we had loads of food. To start off, we got the chicken and pomelo salad with lime leaf, white coral mushrooms and sesame seeds. The pomelo was sweet and refreshing with a hint of tartness, while the white coral mushrooms had a crunchy, almost fungus-like texture. Tender chicken strips soaked the sauces up well for a salad that is good enough to eat on its own.

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Grilled Thai beef salad with cherry tomato, mint, cucumber, peanuts and hot sour dressing was a complex blend of flavours and textures; alas, the beef was a little overcooked and tough to chew.

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One of the best starters of the afternoon was the Crispy Sotong (squid) with chilli jam ginger flower lemongrass. The seafood was springy and succulent, perfectly battered in flour, while the spicy chilli jam gave it an extra kick. Curry leaves added an extra layer of fragrance.

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Fried chicken wings with chilli sauce. This was a hit and miss – while crispy on the outside, the chicken felt ‘mushy’, like it had been frozen for too long.

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The Nyonya-style stir fried seafood with cili padi, Thai basil, green shallots and teo chew brought back familiar childhood flavours. Served with a generous portion of springy squid and fat clams, the spicy sauce was a perfect accompaniment to rice.

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Thai style lemongrass chicken with green papaya som tum and kaffir sweet lime chilli sauce came presented on a wooden board. The crisp chicken, marinated with herbs and spices, was juicy and tender on the inside.

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Stir fried water spinach (kangkung).

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At this point we were vaguely aware that we might have over-ordered for the 9 of us, but the signature Mama San Fish Curry with okra, tamarind and fish curry powder was so good we finished it all the same. The sauce was creamy, spicy and sour from the tamarind, so more rice was in order.

My only qualm was that the fish had a lot of bones, and I’m terrible at picking those out so I kept hurting my gums xD

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Final main of the day was Kari Udang Nenas with Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime fruit and coconut milk, served with sweet chunks of pineapple. It was rather disappointing despite the shrimp’s large size – like the fried chicken wings earlier, it had a mushy texture, like it had been frozen for some time.

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Always room for dessert! Crumble chocolate fudge cake with peanut butter ice cream caramelised sauce was served with meringue, raspberries and a dusting of sugar. Wasn’t the best, as the cake was too sweet/solid and the meringue was too hard. Colleagues left this unfinished.

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I shared this with another colleague – Kampung Snicker peanut butter parfait with butterscotch and chocolate coated peanut. This, at least, didn’t disappoint. The parfait had the right consistency and melted right in the mouth, while the chocolate peanuts lent the dish elements of crunchiness.

All in all, Mama San takes familiar Asian ingredients and cooking styles and puts its own modern twist to great effect. Service is friendly but rather ineffective – our servers forgot some orders, and did not inform us that certain dishes weren’t available until we asked them. But if I’m ever in KLCC I’d give this place another go. 🙂

Mama San Kuala Lumpur 
G46, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 019-787-5810

mamasankualalumpur.com

 

Kuta Beach Part 2, Bali

Hey guys! I’m expecting very busy weeks ahead so I might not have time to update this space so often. Anyway, here is the last part of my Bali trip. After admiring the beautiful springs of Tirta Empul, we went back to our hotel to freshen up and change before heading to Kuta Beach. The last time we were here the weather was bad and it started raining, so we left early. Since the night was still young, we decided to make the best of it at this very popular tourist spot.

Kuta Square, where all the high end shops are. The place is nicely mantained and well lit. Tourists from all over the world throng the streets. There are lots of cabs, bikes and hotels lining the entire area.

The long sandy stretch of Kuta in the evening.

The beach is separated from the shops by a high wall. Because of it’s open space, the strong winds blew sand inland, which was bad for business. I mean, imagine a load of sand in your food while you’re trying to enjoy a romantic beach evening sunset.

It is one of my life’s bucket lists to visit every single Hard Rock Cafe in the world. Now I’ve added Bali to the list! Didn’t manage to go in coz it was super crowded.

Dinner was at a food court nearby. Felt kinda proud to see our Penang food made it all the way to Indonesia.

Had crab noodles. Taste was okay.

There are lots of shops around the area, and one can spend hours browsing through the many different items available. From imitation goods, bags, shoes and shirts to souvenirs, fragrances, etc, there is surely something for everyone. Apparently mushrooms are legal here too.

There’s this area where there are lots of massage parlours, so we went into one for a foot massage. The price was super affordable – less than RM20 per person for 45 mins. After washing my feet, the girl proceeded to knead my tired leg muscles. We chatted with the masseuses. There was a cute guy who said he was from Sulawesi. He spoke English with a hint of Aussie accent. Must have picked it up from all the Australian customers.

Kuta remains a busy place despite bombings which have happened here before. Nearly 10 years ago, more than 200 people were killed when a bomb exploded in a club along a busy stretch of bars in Kuta. There is a memorial square in the middle of all the busy traffic, a testament to the lives lost.

Well, back to blogging about my mundane life. Til next post!

The Holy Springs of Tirta Empul, Bali

Here’s the next part of my Bali trip! After it started raining on the Kintamani Highlands, we had to drive back down for another hour. We stopped by the Tirta Empul temple springs on the way. Built in 962 AD, which makes this place over a thousand years old, it was built to honour the Hindu god of water, Vishnu, and is also famous for it’s clear spring waters flowing from the mountains, which the local Balinese Hindus use for purification. Entrance is free, but they accept donations.

Before entering the main shrine, there is a smaller shrine of black granite stones and carvings, solely for devotees – so tourists aren’t allowed inside this area.

I’m guessing this is some form of Balinese. It doesn’t look like regular Indonesian and I can only recognise a few words. Pura is temple, and I’m guessing “tata titi” = tatatertib (rules to follow), penguning = pengunjung (visitor) and such. Very different from the formal Bahasa Indonesia. But just like how the Chinese people have different dialects like Canto, Mandarin, Hakka, I’m sure Indonesians have different ones too. Especially since their islands are so vast and scattered.

A devotee offering up prayers at the mini shrine. The boxes on the altar are prayer boxes woven out of leaves and filled with flowers, incense and sweets.

A common sight in Balinese temples is the Balinese umbrellas, which are often colourful and hung with pretty tassels. Known as ‘tedung’ in the local dialect, it gives the meaning ‘to guard’. Used in ceremonial parades, they are positioned in alignment with shrines oriented towards the sacred Balinese mountain, Gunung Agung (Majestic Mountain).

It is said that the origin of the umbrellas came from a 13th century Chinese princess visiting Java on a merchant ship. She brought an umbrella to protect her skin from the sun. This was then used and incorporated into the then Majapahit Hindu kingdom, which used to span most of Indonesia, including Bali. After Islam spread to the islands, Bali remained a sacred sanctuary for this ancient religion, and is still the predominant religion on the island today. 

The main hall, which was huge. Most Balinese temples are coloured in orange, grey and black. The previous Pura Puseh in Batuan had a similar colour scheme. 

Beautiful detailing at an altar. I was so frustrated with my phone camera because it couldn’t take good pictures in bright sunlight – kept turning up overexposed.

But anyway, look at the details. Must have been super difficult creating this with the tools back then. I think the top carving is the mythical Hindu bird, the Garuda, while the bottom is the Barong, a mythical Balinese Hindu lion which represents the forces of good.

A very pretty box with unknown contents. I am continually amazed at how creative these craftsmen are. 

We finally came to the springs. The waters were a pristine, dark turqoise. Lily pads floated on the surface, while fish swam in the pond. Garuda carvings spewed water out of their mouths. Devotees dipped their heads in the water, which is supposed to have curative properties and is meant for purification. I hadn’t brought a change of clothes because our guide Toto didn’t mention anything about water. Would’ve liked to take a dip.

Everyone had to wear a sarong before entering the temple, to show respect and make sure you’re properly covered. 

Stacks of prayer boxes offered up during prayer time.

Local devotees in traditional Balinese wear. Men wore shorter sarongs around themselves, much like our Malaysian Baju Melayu. The women wore longer ones tightly wrapped around their waists. The men also had clean white shirts and caps.

Prayer session in progress. A priest leads at the front.

We also came across a huge pond full of carp. They looked really well fed.


On our way out, we had to pass by a MAZE of souvenir shops. It was like a labyrinth.

If you think the sales people at your place are aggressive, they are nothing like the Balinese sales girls manning these souvenir shops. They literally shove items in your face and won’t stop pestering you til you buy something from them. We found it difficult to say no and ended up buying a tonne of souvenirs we didn’t need.

There were also a lot of penises. Idk what the obsession over penises is in Bali. I’ve seen these wooden ones all over the place. There are also the colourful, painted ones that come in red, blue, gold, and the ones with patterns over them. There are big penises and small penises, bottle opener penises, keychain penises.

I mean, I could get one for fun, but then it’d be hard trying to explain it at customs. Heh.

We’re almost at an end of our Bali trip. Next post is gonna be a revisit to the famous Kuta beach. I finally got a Hard Rock Cafe Bali pic. Yay

 

The Highlands of Kintamani, Bali

Hey guys! Here’s the next part of my Bali trip. We went to Kintamani, which is similar to Cameron Highlands here. Toto didn’t tell us the itinerary or I would’ve brought a jacket.. it was freezing up there. The journey took a good hour or so. The odd thing about ascending the mountains is that the roads are straight, not winding like how they are here.

The village offers excellent, panoramic views of the active volcano, Mount Batur (last major eruption in the 1960s) and Lake Batur.

Super frustrated at my phone camera. It refuses to take nice shots when in bright sunlight, turning out overexposed pictures instead. This doesn’t do it justice.

We got there at a bad time – it rained as soon as we finished lunch, but we had a good meal at an outdoor patio before it started pouring.

Wooden outdoor platform that you have to climb up on. The woven bamboo mat was very prickly. The buffet lunch was a scrumptious Balinese spread.

I couldn’t get enough of their goreng pisang (fried bananas). The deep fried brinjals and Balinese style satay (which is wrapped around thick sticks) was good too.

Our mountainside view. The restaurant was divided into a top platform and a lower platform, and situated right at the edge of the slope.

I really wished the weather had been better. The air here is very refreshing – like it had never been breathed in by any man yet. And the view of the mountain looming over the vast, sapphire-coloured lake is amazing. Will definitely want to come back here in the future, and hopefully the weather will be better then.

Getting There 

Private vehicles need to pay a 10,000 RP fee. There are two routes for cars coming from South Bali, from Ubud, and Besakih and Bangli. There are also shuttle buses from Ubud but advanced booking is required. From Denpasar, bemos and buses are available but travel time will take longer.

 

Gorgeous Architecture @ Pura Puseh Batuan Temple, Bali

Here’s the next part of my Bali trip!  After our morning Barong dance show, we moved on to Pura Puseh Batuan Temple,  which is close to the Ngurah Rai International Airport. This 11th century temple is a perfect example of ancient Balinese architecture, with lots of beautiful, elaborate carvings. While obviously not as popular as the famed Tanah Lot, it is a great place of visit located near the city centre.

The exterior of the temple. Most of the temple is decorated with intricate stone carvings and little shrines with statues dedicated to different deities. Orange is a recurrent colour on the walls of the temple.

Once a visitor enters, they are greeted by a spacious square courtyard, with a ten-foot tall facade facing the entrance. Lots of smaller shrines and stone carvings line the perimeter. Smaller gates lead into the inner courtyards, which contain separate small shrines and platforms. Apparently it is the Balinese tradition to have their temples/homes this way. While our houses basically have everything under one roof, Balinese homes have separate smaller ‘houses’ in their courtyard for different chambers in a home.  This means that a toilet is a stand alone building, a kitchen is in another building, the bedrooms are all separate, etc.

Anyway. Picture time!

A shrine, with wordings in Indonesian and Indic.Indic is an ancient subcontinental Indian language, since Bali is heavily influenced by the Hindu religion.

Moss has grown over most of the statues, giving it a very ancient-like charm. Otherwise, it’s very well-kept by the residents of Batuan village.

Gold, red, orange and blue motifs add splashes of colour to the grey stone granite. You don’t need to be a genius to know that Bali is an island of very skilled craftsmen

These Balinese prayer boxes are a common sight around the island – outside house shrines, at temples, even at the side of the streets. The woven leaf trays often contain colourful flowers, candy, dry biscuits and incense. Forgot to ask Toto about it ( I don’t think he would know it in depth anyway coz he’s actually Javanese Muslim), but the prayers are supposed to be part of the balance between good and evil, as the Gods receive them on the family shrines, while demons receive theirs on the ground. As mentioned in my previous post, the Balinese pray three times a day, and this is an everyday act of devotion.

The process of Balinese prayer is sacred and full of meaning, so it’s hard to summarize everything here. A good reference would be this article here.

A raised platform with traditional gamelan instruments for tourists to play with. They are kind of like an ancient xylophone. It’s very soothing to hear the steady, high tinkling of the bell-drums.

As a form of respect, visitors will have to wear a sarong covering over the waist if you’re wearing shorts.

If you’re looking for a dose of culture and a taste of this island’s rich history/religious background, then the Pura Puseh Batuan Temple is a good place to go that’s not too far from the city. The architecture is beautiful and if you come at the right time, you’ll get to see the daily rituals performed at the temple too.

 

 

Batik Making Centre, Denpasar, Bali

After our Barong dance show in the morning, Toto took us to a Batik making factory in Denpasar. Bali being a tourist island, they have clusters of these shops in certain areas. This spot has all the batik centres, while another has wood craft, silver and gold. They’re obviously tourist traps, because the prices are way over. Outside the souvenir shop, some staff members demonstrate the process of batik making.

Batik is a traditional cloth made from wax-resist dyeing technique. (Pic) The staff use hot wax pens to draw out the patterns. They didn’t need corrections, everything was done in one stroke. So wow. The air was pungent with the smell of steel shavings and wax, which hurt my teeth and nostrils lol.

An old-school weaving press. Each line of the batik is woven painstakingly. Line by line. A cloth might take days to finish. Which is also why you have such beautiful, intricate detail, and the reason why batik is so expensive.

Upstairs was a gallery for batik paintings. We weren’t allowed pictures, but I managed to sneak in a few…

Familiar? This is a colourful depiction of the Barong, the mythical lion in Balinese culture and which we saw at the dance that morning.

Even in the batik paintings, elements of Balinese culture which is strongly influenced by Hinduism is present.

Some of the paintings were pretty affordable, but mum figured it would be difficult to stuff it in our luggage lol.

Til next post!