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Soft Boiled Eggs: A Malaysian Breakfast Staple

Walk into any kopitiam in Malaysia for breakfast, and chances are you’ll see at least one table with a plate of soft-boiled eggs, kaya and butter with toast, and a ceramic cup of teh tarik/kopi o. It’s such a ubiquitous thing for Malaysians that some might not even think of it as special (when foreigners ask what we eat for breakfast, most would probably say “nasi lemak”).

It wasn’t until I brought Hubs to a kopitiam in Melaka and he berated me for not introducing it to him sooner that I realised that this combo is actually quite a unique one.

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Homemade soft boiled eggs with garlic toast

But how did Malaysians start eating soft boiled eggs with toast for breakfast? Well, you might be surprised to find out that it’s a remnant from Malaysia’s colonial days.

Dating back to the 1800s, Eggs and Soldiers is a classic British breakfast dish, featuring – you guessed it – boiled eggs (with shell intact but the top removed) and thin strips of toast. The shape of the bread makes it easy to dip them into the runny eggs. Somehow, this dish must have been brought over to Malaya during the British occupation, but locals tweaked it by adding condiments like soy sauce and pepper. Instead of cutting the bread into strips, locals paired them with butter and kaya (coconut jam), creating a wonderful marriage of sweet and salty flavours.

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There’s an art to making soft boiled eggs, and kopitiams seem to have perfected them. While they’re easy enough to make at home, it’s difficult to get the exact same taste as the ones you find in restos.

Sometimes, when I’m not able to head to my local kopitiam, I make my own. The trick is to use medium-sized eggs and not cook them straight out of the fridge. Instead, run them under water until they’re close to room temperature, then bring a pot to boil. Place the eggs in a container (I use a stainless steel one for soups), pour the boiling water until it they’re completely submerged, then set the timer to six minutes. I find six minutes works best based on the eggs I usually buy, so when I crack them open the eggs are perfect : creamy yolk, runny whites.Then add soy sauce and pepper to your liking, and voila! Give me this over a fancy breakfast buffet any day.

What are some of your favourite breakfast dishes? Share them with me in the comments below!

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Brunch and Waffles @ The Owls Cafe, One Space, One City USJ

The Owls Cafe has made a name for itself in the Klang Valley, thanks to its signature waffles and brunch offerings. From a humble little cafe in Bukit Jalil, the brand has since expanded to include The New Chapter by The Owls Cafe at the Calvary Convention Centre, Midorie x The Owls Cafe at MYTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, as well as two outlets at The BUNCH PJ and One Space, One City USJ respectively. S and I paid a visit to the latter for Saturday brunch. We were lucky as we got in just before a queue started forming.

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The aesthetics are pretty consistent across their outlets, in that they’re always brightly lit and boast a minimalist look, with clean white/beige furniture and a touch of green. This outlet is smaller than the one at Cavalry, but it also has a high ceiling so it’s less noisy. 

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S had the Nutty Latte, while I went for the Vanilla Latte. Ice cold and perfect for a hot day, milky and not too sweet!

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Every time S and I have gone to The Owls Cafe elsewhere, he orders the same thing – and this time is no exception lol. But as the saying goes, why fix something that isn’t broken? The Morning Daisy is a solid choice for those who want a hearty pick-me-up, and includes a buttered croissant, salad with sesame dressing, scrambled eggs and criss-cut fries. Everything comes together in perfect harmony: the crispy, crunchy potato goodness of the fries, the fluffy eggs with just a dash of salt and pepper for seasoning, the flaky pastry and the refreshing greens.

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Decided to try something different this time and went for the Ultraman Pasta. For those not familiar with Cantonese, Ultraman is known as ‘ham dan chiu yan’ or ‘salted egg superman’ – a moniker that comes from his peculiar egg-like appearance. Anyway, the Ultraman Pasta consists of al-dente pasta coated in a savoury salted egg yolk sauce, served with juicy and sizable chicken karaage, topped off with fried egg. Sinful, but oh-so-worth it.

We could not make anymore room for desserts, but their waffles are really good too. There are two named after the owners of the cafe, Rebecca and David.

Service is nice and friendly. Mains and desserts average around RM18 – RM28.

THE OWLS CAFE @ ONE SPACE ONE CITY USJ 

G.01, G.02 & G.03, Ground Floor One Space @, Jalan USJ 25/1C, One City, 47650 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (daily)

 

 

Breakfast @ Alcove Cafe, Port Campbell, Victoria

If you’re spending the night in Port Campbell on your Great Ocean Road journey, The Alcove Cafe is a nice place to grab a quick bite before you leave town. They open from 6AM daily, and the menu has gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options.

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Like many of the buildings in this quaint seaside town, it looks and feels rustic and homely. The prices are, however, quite steep as they cater mostly to the tourist crowd.

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The interior is casual, filled with knick knacks, quirky decor and lots of fun wall art.

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One of my favourites!

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The ice cream bar wasn’t open yet as it was still early, but we could see the creamy concoctions all lined up, just begging to be tasted.

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Opted for a yoghurt bowl with berries, muesli and bananas. It was humongous, and could have easily fed two to three people.

The cafe offered a selection of pastries and bread as well at the counter, plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

THE ALCOVE CAFE 

34 Lord St, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

Opens daily 6AM – 3PM

Review: Trader’s Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Whether for business or leisure, it doesn’t get any more convenient than a stay at Trader’s Hotel. The luxury five-star hotel boasts stunning views of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, and is located literally steps away from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and KLCC Park.

Checked in for a short staycation in one of the hotel’s Executive Twin Towers Rooms. The room was spacious and cosy, with a warm colour scheme of beige and muted gold, and amenities geared towards business travellers such as a large work desk and multiple plug points and sockets. There was also a sofa, large flatscreen TV, mini bar, closet and safe, and a large marble bathroom complete with bathtub.

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We went when the haze was still plaguing Malaysia, so the skies were a bit grey. Still a gorgeous view though – imagine if the background was blue sky!

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The initial plan was to head up to Sky Bar on Level 43, where they have the bar right next to the pool, but they were closed for a private function. We ended up working out at the gym, which was well equipped with various state-of-the-art machines.

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A yoga studio. They also have yoga mats and medicine balls.

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Then it was up to the Executive Lounge for Cocktail Hour! The right side of the lounge, which offered a view of the Twin Towers, was fully occupied, so we settled into a couch in the corner.

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Free flow of beers, wines and mocktails.

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There was a buffet of finger food and light canapes, with items such as fried wantons, cheese / crackers, salad, bread rolls, lamb satay with mint sauce, baked potatoes and chicken shawarma, as well as pastries and cakes. The food was tasty, and we were so full by the end of it we ended up saving our dinner!

 

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The Black Forest cake was awesome – surprisingly light, the cake had a light, airy texture and was not too sweet.

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Walked around Suria KLCC to burn off some calories, but the haze was so bad we decided to just go back to the hotel and stay in. (Above) View from our room at night.

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Breakfast was at the all-day dining restaurant downstairs. The design somehow reminded me of an airport lounge. The space can easily fit a few hundred people. There were different stations offering a variety of cuisine, from Japanese (sushi and miso soup) to Western fare (turkey bacon, beef sausages, ham, hash brown) and Asian food (dimsum, porridge, noodles, etc.)

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Got a sweet tooth? You’ll be delighted with these freshly baked pastries, muffins and sweetmeats!

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Pancakes, waffles and French toast.

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The omelette station produced two beautiful sunny side-ups.

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Food was tasty, but not outstanding.

All in all, a great staycation! If you like convenience, Traders will make a good base for exploring the city. Rooms start from RM480++ per night.

Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone: +603- 2332 9888

 

 

Breakfast @ Seven Cafe, Putra Prima

Unlike the commercial centres of Bandar Puteri or Bandar Puchong Jaya, Putra Prima isn’t exactly known for being an ‘atas’ place, being a housing area and all  – so it’s a surprise to find such an Instagrammable cafe nestled within. Enter Seven Cafe, a new spot with pretty chic decor and a decent selection of Western and local fare. This is actually my third attempt to dine here, as on both my first and second visit, the cafe had ‘run out of food’ (this was in the early days, which indicated to me they are inexperienced and couldn’t handle the volume of customers).

Oh well, as they say, third time’s the charm!

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It’s hard to describe the exact ‘style’ or theme of the design here other than being a colourful, quirky mish-mash. There are lots of knick knacks, photos and paintings hanging from the wall, mismatched tables and wooden chairs, dangly bits, and it looks slightly kitsch – kinda  like a grandma had fun sprucing up the space with her art-college-attending granddaughter.

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One of my favourite pieces here is the wall of pink, peach and black paper roses.

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A steel drum (?) bucket converted into a table with a glass table top. Cute drawing within too!

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Breakfast items are pretty basic, such as the Big Breakfast, fried noodles, nasi lemak and the like. I had half boiled eggs and toast. The toast had a good amount of butter and kaya; no frills but tasty. And you can’t go wrong with half boiled eggs – just add a dash of soy sauce and pepper and you’re good to go.

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Since I was dining alone, I couldn’t try a lot of items on the menu, but it’d be nice to come back again for a quiet and relaxing breakfast. Just come on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

SEVEN CAFE 

No. 25, Jalan Putra Prima 2/2, Taman Putra Prima, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 7AM – 9PM (Weds – Mons)

 

Breakfast With A View: D’Sawah Breakfast @ Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan

D’Sawah Breakfast in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan has something that even five-star fine-dining establishments can’t offer – a beautiful view, paired with simple, tasty food, and warm service – the genuine kind that you only find in small towns, where life is laid back and there’s no such thing as a rat race.

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The shop, located next to the main road, is a simple wooden shack next to paddy fields, with emerald green hills stretching as far as the eye can see. We were fortunate during our visit, as the fields were a verdant sea of green, swaying in the breeze underneath clear blue skies. Coming from the city, it was a refreshing breath of fresh air to see such lovely views, and the sight really eases your mind from everyday stresses and worry.

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No air conditioning – just the natural breeze and a couple of ceiling fans. The food is simple but hearty  – nasi lemak, noodles, assorted kuih and roti canai.

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I was so taken by the sight of the paddy fields that I forgot to take pictures of the food except for the kuih, lol.

(left) Kuih talam – the bottom part is pandan and the top is coconut milk. (right) Kuih sagu, made from sago and rolled in shredded coconut.

For breakfast I had roti canai, which was fluffy and crispy on the edges, served with generous amounts of dhal and sambal. Nothing much to say – just good, tasty food.

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D’Sawah is extremely popular with bikers on weekends as they travel from KL to Kuala Pilah/Seremban and further down south. Prices are extremely reasonable. If you want a taste of the simple, laid back life then defo stop by! They only operate four hours a day, so come early to avoid disappointment.

KODAI SARAPAN D’SAWAH 

22, Jalan Kuala Pilah, Kampung Solok Paku, 70400 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

Opening hours: 7 AM – 11AM (daily)

Review: Bites Cafe, Lakefields Sg Besi

Update: Bites is now permanently closed. 

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Tucked into a corner of Lakefields, Sungai Besi, is a charming little cafe painted a bright, cheery yellow. Just looking at the cheerful decor makes you happy – just like the internationally-inspired breakfast meals served here all day long. Welcome to Bites Cafe. 

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The cafe is filled with colourful characters and tasteful decorations; like this set of nicely painted wooden nutcracker dolls.

The owner is a traveler who often went cafe hopping on his holidays. The dishes on the menu are a collection of all the breakfast items that he enjoys, plus trendy and fusion dishes like Chicken Chop and Waffles.

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Pop art posters and quotes line the walls 🙂

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All the beautiful decorations in the world won’t help if the food is mediocre, but I’m glad to say that Bites really delivers!

First up we had ‘The Breakfast Pizza’ – basically your typical breakfast ingredients like beef bacon, beans, green peppers, onions and sausage topped on a tomato based crust with egg, sunny-side up. Crust was a little too thick and doughy, but ingredients were fresh and tasty. I mean, how can you go wrong with two of the most essential comfort foods – namely pizza and a Big Breakfast?

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‘The Italian’ was a classic fritata, fried with three fluffy eggs before being baked with chopped spinach, ham, muushrooms, tomato, sausage, and a buttload of cheese. As we cut into the piping hot fritata, which had a crunchy crust shaped like a bowl, the cheese simply oozed apart like a pizza commercial. Heavenly when eaten hot.

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The Mexican – burritos stuffed with (more!) tomatoes, sliced chicken sausage, sweet and crunchy onions and tomato puree. I love anything wrapped – it feels like giving presents to your tummy! The tomato puree was seasoned just right and it just felt so fresh and healthy. 🙂

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Mixing it up with something savoury -sweet: the French Toast. Served with tomato slices, ham and generous, melty cheese, the sweetness comes from the thick maple syrup poured over like liquid gold.

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One of my favourite dishes of the day was the unique Grilled Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. Waffled paired with savoury items have been all the rage overseas, but is just starting to pick up in Malaysia. The waffle was fluffy and crispy with just a hint of sweetness, which balanced out the homemade special mushroom sauce, which tasted like a cross between buttermilk and carbonara. The chicken thigh was tenderand juicy, while the accompanying fries were crispy with some peels still left on. And of course, if you haven’t noticed yet, the people at Bites Cafe are quite fond of sunny side up eggs 🙂

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The pastas like the Bacon and Shrimp were tasty as well, and served in a generous portion with large juicy shrimps, garlic bread, mushrooms and sprinkled over with cheese.

 

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A more local flavour, Shrimp and Shrimp Paste (Har Mai) Pasta. 

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Really full by then, but there’s a separate stomach for desserts so we dug into Green Tea affogato. The sweetness of the creamy  ice cream was offset by the slightly bitter yet smooth coffee. 🙂

Bites is a nice cafe with great food at relatively affordable prices. The place is just next to Buns & Meat as the two outlets are run by the same owner. 🙂

72, Jalan Tasik Utama 5,
57000 Kuala Lumpur,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia
Open daily, 9am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs),
9am – 11pm (Fri-Sat)

Red Beanbag, Publika KL

Publika is probably the most hipster shopping mall I know of – revolving around the concept of an open art gallery and housing lots of vintagey shops and chic cafes. Every month they feature works from artists both local and abroad, so it’s not surprising to see art pieces, paintings or stuff decorating the mall. It’s also a great place to go hunting for one-of-a-kind pieces, whether it’s fashion or home deco. I’d come here often if it wasn’t so bloody far away from my house.

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Coincidentally, I was there for an assignment last week – so for lunch, I headed on to one of the aforementioned cafes – Red Beanbag. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about the place but never really got to try it. It’s not inside the main shopping mall, but just opposite the entrance – you have to do a bit of legwork to find the place among the many interconnecting blocks in the area.

The place was packed with the lunch crowd. Managed to find a seat outside. The design is cozy, with wood accents and lots of red and black – lending it a classy yet cosy feel.

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For drinks, I had a strawberry smoothie, which was very sweet and syrupy. Not bad, but might be off putting for people who can’t stand sticky sweet stuff. It had a fizzy aftertaste to balance out the sweetness.

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Although it was lunch time, I was craving for breakfast, so I ordered the RBB Big Breakfast Fry-Up – one of their signature dishes. The meal comes with two eggs (poached, overeasy, sunny side up or scrambled), beef/chicken sausage, beef/turkey bacon, stir fried assorted mushrooms, beans and two slices of bread with butter.

THIS. WAS. REALLY. GOOD. It remindED me of the all-day breakfasts that I used to have in English restaurant-pubs as a student in the UK – hearty, delicious and oh-so-satisfying. The eggs were perfectly cooked on the outside and oozed beautiful golden goodness when cut open, while the hashbrowns were so addictive; crispy on the outside and well done on the inside, not overcooked or drenched in oil. The beef bacon was streaky with just the right amount of lean and fat. The bread slices were thick and chewy because they used some type of yoghurt in it, but I liked the texture. The mushrooms were presumably tossed in olive oil with a slightly bitter aftertaste, but juicy and good all the same. The beans were beans, and the sausages were okay – but overall, it was a very good plate of breakfast. *pats stomach*

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Nope. Not insanely guilty for a cheat day well spent. But I guess I won’t be able to eat anything nice this whole week.

Other than that, they also serve various Western cuisine. Reviews have also said that the coffee here is excellent – so maybe I’ll give it a try next time.

The Red Beanbag,

Lot A4-1-8, Solaris Dutamas, Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Open daily from 10AM – 6PM

+6 03 6211 5116