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Burgers, Wings and American Fare @ Mean Mince, Mutiara Damansara

Mention Mutiara Damansara and most will think of IKEA and The Curve – but venture further in to the housing area and you’ll find a hidden gem, tucked within a quiet suburban spot just next to the Mutiara Damansara police station. Opened two years ago, Mean Mince dishes out American fare the likes of juicy burgers, wings, onion rings and deep dish pizzas, and has made a name for itself among burger fans for its unique deep fried burger.

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The shop is appropriately Americana-themed, with American license plates and black and white photos of New York and the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, while the speakers blast diner music. Plenty of natural sunlight makes for a cheerful, well-lit interior, and the ‘bar’ (setup looks like one but they don’t serve alcohol) is lined with rows of soda bottles. 

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The restaurant’s specialties are its burgers, in particular the deep fried burger – but I didn’t feel like having one so I ordered some snacks instead. I have read rave reviews about the burgers though, so might be back again to try them!

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They give you a small bucket of light popcorn to munch on while you wait for your order.

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The Very Vanilla Shake (RM10) was done right – thick, sweet and cold, they don’t skimp on the ingredients. Perfect with fried finger food, or to wash down your burgers and onion rings.

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Their Buffalo Wings comes highly recommended. For just RM13.90, you get six pieces of succulent, deep fried to perfection wings, coated in a sour and spicy buffalo sauce and served with blue cheese aioli. The wings are literal perfection: crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The sauce is what really makes the dish pop, though – I’ve had buffalo wings at many places in Malaysia, and they somehow can’t live up to the ones I’ve had at BWW in LA. The ones at Mean Mince taste authentic.

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Also, the main reason I came to check the place out: Mozzarella sticks (RM13.90). I’ve been craving mozzarella sticks for several weeks now and Mean Mince turned up in my search while I was googling for places that sold them in PJ. Again, portions are very generous – the cheese is almost bursting out of its batter, and the tangy tomato salsa that comes with it helps to cut through the heaviness.

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Gotta do that cheese pull

Overall, Mean Mince is a great place for American food, and the service is fast and friendly. Will be making a return visit for the burgers!

MEAN MINCE

31-1, Jalan PJU 7/16A, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 12pm – 9pm (Thurs – Tuesdays). Closed Wednesdays.

Telephone: 03-7733-2512

facebook.com/meanmince

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Fast Food Chains That Are No Longer In Malaysia

Hey guys! It’s Day 20 of the Enhanced Movement Control Order in Malaysia, with about eight more days to go. There’ll be an announcement on April10th to see if it’ll be extended again. I hope not because my cravings are so bad, I actually dreamt of eating fried chicken – but this is a critical time and we might have no choice but to weather the storm.

Speaking of fried chicken, I’ve been watching videos of Keith from The Try Guys, where he eats everything on the menu of a fast food chain, like Wendy’s. We no longer have Wendy’s in Malaysia, so it was nostalgic to see some of the items they serve. It got me thinking about some of the other fast food chains that were here before, but are now long gone.

So without further ado:

White Castle

White Castle was founded in Wichita in 1928, wayyy before KFC or McDonalds. It is known for its small, square burgers – called ‘sliders – which has been listed by Time as one of the world’s most influential burgers. I don’t remember it, but apparently my parents brought me here once when I was very little. They didn’t last very long in Malaysia, so by the time I was old enough to remember eating fast food, they were already gone.

Long John Silver’s 

Back when I was younger, fast food was a luxury. My family was not well off, and my parents weren’t big fans of what they call ‘junk’ (they still aren’t, but now I can afford to grab a burger every now and then, lol). Perhaps it’s because these moments are so few and far between that I recall eating at Long John Silver’s so vividly. This American seafood chain was named after the pirate character from Treasure Island. Their fish and chips might just be the reason why I’m still a big fan of the dish today.

Shakey’s Pizza 

Shakey’s made its debut in the late 90s to early 2000s – I remember there was an outlet at my neighbourhood mall In Puchong, and we dined there a couple of times. Unfortunately the brand was unable to compete with more popular chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut (both are still going strong today), and eventually shuttered. The last time I had Shakey’s was in Manila – not the pizza, but their potato mojos.

Papa John’s 

Another one that people my age might remember quite well is Papa John’s, an American pizza chain. Again, it did not survive too long and officially exited the Malaysian market in 2016. I was actually sad to see it go, as I really liked their cheese pizza, which was just plain pizza with different types of cheese. The crust was not as thick as Pizza Hut’s, but not as thin as Dominos.

Popeye’s 

Popeye’s was one of my favourite places for fried chicken – whenever my friends and I hit up Sunway Pyramid (that was the outlet closest to my place), we would stop by Popeye’s for their crispy, juicy Louisiana-style fried chicken. Of course, you can’t miss the honey butter biscuits and mashed potato.

Wendy’s 

Wendy’s was quite a recent exit, as Berjaya group did not renew their franchise last year. People laud them for their square-patty beef burgers, but personally, I prefer their fried chicken (no surprise!) . They had a shrimp burger on the menu once, which was excellent as well.

 

What are some of the nostalgic fast food chains in your country that have exited the market?

 

 

 

Review: Uncle Don’s, SS2 Petaling Jaya

Hey guys! 

Sorry for not updating this space more often; things have just been super busy. The editor was on compassionate leave, so I was manning the fort alone, and these two weeks are crucial coz we’re closing our magazine pages. Between that, handling the digital side of things, working on a pitch AND my part time gig, you can imagine how crazy it has been. D’:

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The JW and I were in SS2 PJ and she suggested Uncle Don’s for dinner. There’s an outlet in Puchong as well and it’s always super packed, so I was quite curious as to why it’s so popular. The food is a mix of Western and local specialties, so you can get burgers and pastas, as well as rice/noodle dishes.

Was not too impressed with the service. We got there around 7PM and the tables inside were already filled up. Despite seeing us looking around for a table outside, the waiters stood around chatting with each other, completely ignoring us. When we found a table, it was awhile before they finally came to give us the menu.

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Ordered the Vanilla milkshake; turned out to be a sorry excuse for a beverage. I know you call it ice-cream, but damn… it was mostly ice and no cream lol. And as you can see pic, the portion was abysmal. After stirring it around, it didn’t even take up 3/4 of the mug.  I guess it was a blessing in disguise that the portion was small because the drink was tasteless.

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I absolutely adore buffalo wings – so I was really excited when I saw they had ‘Giant Buffalo Wings’ on their menu.

…. Introducing regular wings with a spicy sauce! If there was a buffalo wing dry rub on it, I couldn’t taste it. 😦 Taste-wise it wasn’t too bad; I was just disappointed because I was expecting the sauce-coated kind. Sigh.

After two misses, the burger fared much better. I had the fish burger (Above) while JW had the lamb. They were stacked, humongous and messy – and I liked how homemade the patties tasted. Also topped with a generous amount of oozy cheese and slices of pineapple for a sweet/tangy kick. The fries tasted like the regular frozen kind.

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JW’s lamb burger.

All in all, an average dining experience. Burger was good but other items not so; and the service was a turn off.

  • Food: burger 7.5/10, other items meh, SAD VANILLA MILKSHAKE 😦 .
  • Service: 3/10 are you being paid to chat and ignore customers when you clearly saw them looking for a table?
  • Ambience: I actually like the ambience inside, although we couldn’t get a table there. Good for drinks and casual get togethers. 7/10. 
  • Price: Surprisingly affordable. You can get fried rice etc. for as low as RM10.

UNCLE DON’S (SS2 MAIN BRANCH)

183, Jalan SS2/24, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Business hours: Daily, 11am-12am.

Tel: 03-78658293

Review: Petaling Jaya’s legendary Jackson’s Burger, SS14

Petaling Jaya folks will no doubt know about Jackson’s Burger at SS14, the legendary burger truck run by a Chinese couple for over 40 years. That’s a long time and a lot of burgers flipped! 

Not being from PJ myself, I never got down to trying it until recently, when a colleague’s random cravings saw us driving there to ‘tapau’ orders for the whole office.

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Off days are not fixed, so we were lucky that they were open! 🙂 You can opt for take away, but there are a few chairs under the tree where you can dine ‘al fresco’, so to speak lol.

Options available as per menu: chicken, beef, fish or hot dog. They apparently have a crab burger as well.

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The patties here are homemade – none of that frozen sht – and grilled in butter, which makes it super fragrant and juicy. The smell wafting from the grill was enough to make our stomachs rumble. The buns are also given a light grilling to make them toasty and crisp. Diners can choose to add an egg + slice of cheese for a complete burgerlicious experience.

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My beef burger + extra cheese = RM5.30. 

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THIS. This is what good burgers should be about. Simple, no frills but oh-so-tasty.

The patty was flavourful, well seasoned and juicy, and I could really taste the difference and freshness in quality as compared to frozen patties. Instead of mayo which may overpower the taste of meat, the burger has just chilli sauce, onions and cucumbers.

My only qualm with it was the small portion. I could easily eat two and not be full 😀

Uncle and Auntie have been at it for 40 years and they don’t seem to have any apprentices, so better go get the burgers while they’re still at it! 🙂

JACKSON’S BURGER

Jalan 14/29 Section 14.

11.30am – 5pm

 

First Impressions & Juicy Burgers @ Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Melbourne

Hey, guys! Remember a couple of months ago when I went to Melbourne ? Well, I can finally blog about it now ! 😀

My first time in Australia was to Sydney, over 20 years ago, so understandably, I don’t remember much other than going to the zoo to see kangaroos and koalas, taking pictures at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, and visiting Hanna Barbera land. I’ve also never been to Melbourne, so it was a completely new experience for me. Was chaffeured to my hotel – The Grand Hyatt – which is very close to the city’s Chinatown. 

I was surprised to find heavy traffic in the city center. Guess jams aren’t just a KL-problem. It was a pleasant place to walk around though, with lots of trees, restaurants, chic cafes and colourful street art in alleyways. The community is diverse, with lots of races, so I didn’t feel out of place. Did you know that Melbourne is known as one of the world’s most liveable cities? 

Beautiful old architecture, such as the one found on this church facade, intermingle with modern skyscrapers.

Basic room at the Hyatt. Lunch was provided, but I decided to skip it to meet a local friend, St. He recommended we grab some burgers at a place called Grand Trailer Park Taverna. Going up a narrow staircase, we emerged on the second floor to a bright resto/pub-like area with private booths. Slid into a cosy one and ordered their signature dish.

I had the KSA, which consisted of a thick, juicy premium aussie beef patty, topped with American cheddar cheese, tomato, butter lettuce and a special burger sauce with American mustard, all sandwiched between two fluffy toasted brioche buns. St’s recommendation was on point (he’s a chef so I was expecting it!). I loved the juiciness of the beef, which was done medium in the middle. Just a beautifully made burger, no complaints. The beer-battered chips were also nice and crisp; although I personally prefer thin-cut ones.

It was a quick lunch coz I had to rush to join a walking tour at 2PM, but it was a great place to chill and catch up with friends. PS: You make your order at the counter and collect it yourself when it’s done.

GRAND TRAILER PARK TAVERNA

87 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Opening hours: 1130AM – 10PM (daily, closed on Mondays)
Phone: +61399723699

grandtrailerpark.com.au

 

Review: Texas Chicken Malaysia’s Crunchy Jalapeno Burger

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So recently I saw this on my timeline: Texas Chicken Malaysia (known as Church’s overseas, but due to religious sensitivities they’ve changed the name in certain countries) was having a new promo with their Crunchy Jalapeno Burger and Wrap. It looked really good, so I thought of trying it out when I was at The Mines shopping center recently..

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that the burger was rather huge. At least there’s no false advertising! Tastewise it was decent, although I felt the fried chicken patty’s batter was too flour-ish and lacked flavour. And if you think about it, it’s really just the regular chicken burger, but with a nacho and Jalapeno bombers added on top.

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The combo set came with fries and a piece of fried chicken. The fried chicken is much better than KFC’s, but I still list it as third after A&W’s and Marrybrown’s. The fries were limp but I actually like them that way. Soft drinks are refillable.

The service at The Mines outlet, though, is far from stellar. My server was daydreaming and was really slow, and he forgot to give me my chicken until I reminded him. It took him more than 15 minutes to serve the two customers in front of me, I was wondering if I was in a ‘fast food’ restaurant or not lol.

TEXAS CHICKEN MALAYSIA (MINES outlet)

The Mines, L1-46A, Jalan Dulang, Mines Wellness City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia

Open daily: 10AM-10PM

Portobello Fries @ My Burger Lab, Bandar Sunway

I was reading food blogs the other day when I stumbled across one highlighting the amazing Portobello Fries they sell at My Burger Lab. My curiosity was piqued. Mushrooms made into fries? Sounded like a dream come true.

I had the fries on my mind all day. and right after work, I stopped by at the nearest MBL outlet I could find, which was at Bandar Sunway, just across the road from Sunway University College.

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The place’s decor is cosy and hipster-ish, with bricks and wooden tables. Obviously catering to a student crowd, they specialize in – what else – gourmet burgers, the likes of Ohana (Swiss Beef Patty, paired with Mushrooms, grilled Pineapple Ring and Hot Sauce), Beautiful Mess (Cheddar beef patty topped with portobello mushrooms, honey mustard and sunny side up egg) and more. But we’ll leave the burgers for next time. I homed in on my order of the Portobello fries…

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For RM18, they come served piping hot in a basket, with a side of tangy, spicy hot sauce. Breaded to golden brown perfection, the shrooms are crispy and salty on the crust whilst retaining their moistness on the inside – so you get a mouthful of juicy goodness when you bite into each piece. The portobellos are fat and fleshy; it’s almost like eating meat. Definitely addictive, although it can get overwhelming if you’re eating them on your own so sharing is the best way to go. Portions are sizable.

My Burger Lab is a homegrown brand and they’ve garnered a strong fan base with their creative takes on good ol’ burgers. They have several outlets around the Klang Valley ,including at OUG, Seapark and Cyberjaya.

I’ll return next time to dig into their scrumptious burgers!

MY BURGER LAB 

3, Jalan PJS 11/9, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday : 11.00am – 10.15pm
Saturday – Sunday: 5.00pm – 10.15pm (Dinner)
Closed on 1st Monday of the month

Steam N Grill Burger, Shaftsbury Square Cyberjaya

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates. I recently took up a freelancing gig and it has been taking up a lot of my time, what with having to finish up the magazine as well.  But a girl’s gotta take a break too sometimes! 🙂

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I was in Cyberjaya the other day for an interview and decided to stop by Shaftsbury Square for lunch. Used to hang out here a lot when I was still working in Putrajaya, but obviously haven’t been back here since I quit my last job. Most of the shops are still the same, but I saw that they opened a Steam N Grill Burger here..

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They had one in Setiawalk Puchong, but it closed down due to bad location. Personally, I really like the concept of healthier steamed/grilled burgers. They even have this really unique item called the Otak-Otak burger! 

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Otak-otak is a spicy fish cake made from ground fish meat mixed with tapioca and spices. It has a savoury taste and is usually wrapped in banana leaf before grilling over a charcoal fire; so the idea to put them into a burger is certainly interesting! Tastewise, I felt like the one I tried before back at the Puchong outlet was better, but this was still decent. Portion was large and there were two big pieces of otak2 sandwiched between the bun, topped with mayo and a bed of lettuce. The otak2 was soft though so eating the burger was quite messy.

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Set of RM10+ came with fries and a drink. Cheap, considering the environment is air-conditioned and such.

STEAM N GRILL BURGER

No P2-13A, Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 6, 63000 Cyberjaya

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 10pm