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Fiery Fried Chicken – Choo Choo Chicken, Bandar Puteri Puchong

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Dropping in with a quick ‘mini’ review!

Formerly located at another spot in Bandar Puteri Puchong, Choo Choo Chicken dishes out casual Korean fusion fare, centered around fried chicken, plus offerings such as rice bowls, rice burgers, army stew, and even pasta. The Hubs and I came here for dinner on a weekend some time ago, and spent a nice, quiet evening chatting and watching K-pop videos while burning our tongues over bowls of spicy ramyeon.

The restaurant’s signature is their Korean fried chicken, with 7 different flavours to choose from including soy, creamy garlic, spicy, sweet, and crispy. They’re also known for their Rose Chicken, which is essentially boneless fried chicken paired with cheesy, creamy soup in a bread bowl. Good for sharing, but since it was just the two of us, we opted for individual dishes instead.

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Pro tip when eating greasy food: order something like lemonade or a fizzy drink to help cut through the greasiness! I liked the glass mugs they were served in.

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If you like sweet and spicy flavours, then their Spicy Ramyeon is a good call. The Hubs and I both ordered this, and were soon breathing fire from our mouths. The chicken had a nice texture: very crispy on the outside, thanks to the double-fry technique, and moist and juicy on the inside. The noodles were also cooked al dente, with plenty of springiness. The dish was topped with a smattering of Korean seaweed. It’s one of those unhealthy things that you crave whenever you want something spicy and carb loaded lol.

Prices are range from RM15++ and are standard for an establishment of its kind. But because the resto is pretty quiet most of the time, I think it’s a good choice for when you want to hang out over drinks and food, without having to worry about vacating your seat.

CHOO CHOO CHICKEN (PUCHONG BRANCH)

 G12, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open daily: 10.30AM – 10PM

Website

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Miyako Land Izakaya, Petaling Jaya

Tucked on the southwestern most tip of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture is known for its azure blue waters, sandy beaches, and tropical climate. Also called “Japan’s Hawaii”, the prefecture regularly bags a spot on lists of top domestic destinations for locals.

Okinawan food is also popular, as it is notably different from that of the Japanese mainland. This is thanks to its proximity to Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, as well as the long history of trade between these regions.

Lucky for us living in the Klang Valley, we don’t have to splurge thousands on a holiday to Japan, as there’s a hidden gem serving Okinawan cuisine, right in the heart of Petaling Jaya.

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Miyako Land Izakaya, which opened its doors last year, is tucked within an industrial-turned commercial lot called B-Land, sharing the place with a few other popular restaurants, a futsal court, gym facilities, and more. Touting itself the ‘first Okinawa style izakaya in Malaysia‘, diners can expect something different from the usual sushi, ramen, udon, and rice dishes that most people associate with Japanese cuisine.

PS: Miyako-jima is an island in Okinawa prefecture, some 300 kilometres southwest from Okinawa’s main island.

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I love the shop’s design and aesthetics. Most Japanese restaurants carry an elegant look and feel, featuring lots of wood, dark accents, orderly tables and chairs, tatamis, and the like. Miyako Land, on the other hand, is a vibrant medley of colours and cutesy knick knacks: reminiscent of a tropical beachside hut, but with a Japanese vibe.

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There’s a gazebo of sorts with rolled up bamboo blinds and noren (small banners that are hung on the exterior of traditional izakayas), bright and colourful posters of beer/soda ads, wooden tablets, as well as manga on shelves. The TV plays a travel show promoting Okinawa’s specialties, and there’s even a stand with imported Japanese magazines and newspapers.

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Trivia: Ultraman’s screenwriter, Shozo Uehara, was an Okinawan native!
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And here are some of Miyako Land Izakaya’s menu items:

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While the menu does carry some of the usual favourites such as ebi tempura (fried shrimp), you also get some not so conventional ones like Gooya (fried bitter gourd) and beni shouga (red ginger tempura). We wanted to try the signature Nankotsu karaage (chicken soft bone) but they had run out for the day, so we went for Mimiga (fried pig’s ears) instead.

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For the mains, again, some typically seen dishes like prawn tempura soba and curry udon – but also lesser known items like Ginger Tempura Udon, Natto Udon, Miyako Soba, Somen Champuru, ham and egg onigiri, and pork miso onigiri.

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And more dishes I have never seen or heard of before, like the Chi Bi Teh (slow cooked pork leg in Okinawa style), Ra Fu Te (braised pork belly with Okinawa sugar), and Goya Chan Puru (bitter gourd omelette).

I don’t know about you, but they sound quite similar to Chinese cuisine (chi bi teh reminds me of bak kut teh!). This is perhaps influence from when Okinawa was part of the Ryukyu kingdoms, and had a distinctly separate identity/culture from that of the Japanese mainland.

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For some reason, there is also a page on the menu dedicated to cheeses – crispy / grilled camembert, crispy cheese sticks, cheese crackers, and cheese korokke. But hey, I’m not complaining: it’s cheese!

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Some desserts as well, if you’re looking to finish off strong.

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Of course, being an izakaya, there are plenty of drinks to go with the snacks and munchies. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options are available.

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To match the whole ‘tropical holiday’ vibe, I got a Melon Cream Soda (RM14). The beverage came fizzing in a tall glass; the liquid a bright, almost acid-green, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. It tasted sweet and syrupy, with an obviously artificial melon taste – but it was not unpleasant. Pretty refreshing, actually.

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I wanted noodles, so I ordered the Yakisoba. Ordinarily it comes with vegetables, but I requested for none. It was good; the noodles were chewy and had a nice texture, and they were generous with the pork slices. But it lacked wok hei, and I didn’t enjoy the red strips of pickled ginger either. If you want outstanding yakisoba, I recomend Okonomi. Still, Miyako Land’s version is pretty decent.

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The Hubs had Miyako Soba, a traditional pork based noodle. We ordered the half size (RM15) coz we got a couple of dishes to share, but you can go for the full (RM25) if you want something more filling. The soup is flavourful without being too rich, and you can really taste the goodness of the pork.

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We both agreed that the stars of the show were the small bites. I’m not an alcohol drinker, but the Hubs commented how well they would go with beer. The Sumi Yaki Buta (charcoal grilled pork belly) was excellent – glistening with juices and fat, with a smoky, slightly charred exterior. It was served with a slice of lemon, and the sourness actually elevated the flavour of the pork. Our only qualm was that the portion was pretty small for RM13, and you’d probably have to order several plates to feel satisfied!

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My personal favourite? The Mimiga (fried pig’s ears). It is cut into narrow strips, battered, then deep fried and lightly seasoned. The winner here is the texture. Pig’s ears are usually crunchy, and because of the batter, it was double the crunchiness, but with a layer of hardness to within (kind of like when you’re biting on cartilage). It was a workout for the jaw, but also strangely addictive. The mayo was creamy and had a hint of lemon and pepper, which cut through the greasiness.

There are so many interesting dishes to try at Miyako Land – which is why I think the place warrants another visit soon! Prices are on the steep side for the portions, but service is good, and the food is excellent.

Come check out the place and its Okinawan cuisine if you’re ever in PJ!

MIYAKO LAND IZAKAYA

Lot 4, B Land, 2, Jalan 51a/225, Seksyen 51a, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 2.30PM, 5PM – 11PM

Website and menu here

PS: You can’t see the shop from the main road as it is located within a compound. Just Waze to B.Land and park inside the lot. Miyako Land is located to the left of the parking entrance.

I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

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Marco Creative Cuisine @ 1 Utama

Fun fact: Marco’s owner-cum-chef graduated with a degree in information tech. A far cry from his current role as head chef of a Western-inspired kitchen, to say the least.

But it wasn’t unexpected. As a child, Chef Daren Leong grew up tasting sumptuous dishes the likes of roast turkey, roast pork, and Christmas pudding while visiting his grandparents, who ran a holiday bungalow in Fraser’s Hill catering to British tourists. This love for food eventually culminated in him joining the culinary world, and opening Marco Creative Cuisine in 1 Utama.

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Marco’s chic interior features lots of white with green and blue chairs providing pops of colour, giving the space a cool, calming vibe. A partition in the middle of the restaurant provides privacy for diners, but I opted to sit closer to the entrance so I could people watch. The kitchen window also gives you a glimpse of the chefs hard at work within. Wait staff are friendly and attentive to your needs.

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The Hubs was still at work, so I came here to ‘celebrate’ my birthday. This isn’t my first solo birthday outing. A lot of people might find it odd, but I actually enjoy the solitude.

I decided to splurge by ordering the New York Strip Steak (200 – 250g) (RM78), done rare. What came to the table was a humongous slab of Australian grain-fed striploin, with a side of salad and sauce. You can also choose to have fries if greens aren’t to your liking. For the sauce, I went with the steak sauce, a smooth and buttery conconction that paired extremely well with the beef.

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I don’t eat steaks often because they’re pricey, but the few times I’ve had, they rarely (haha! geddit? Sorry, couldn’t help it) get it right.

Glad that Marco’s version was perfect ! The meat was beautifully pink on the inside and juicy, while the exterior was smoky and well flavoured. The sauce elevated its taste as well.

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Even after that giant slab of meat, I felt like there was still room for more. So I ordered the Wild Mushroom Ravioli (RM45 – 5 pieces). The dish was decent, but there was a crunchy type of mushroom mixed into the ravioli (I think it was woodear fungus) which I didn’t enjoy, as it clashed with the otherwise excellent taste of truffles and cheese. If I return to Marco, I think I’ll try the Ravioli in Cream Sauce instead.

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Finishing off the meal on a sweet note, I got the Parisian Chocolate (RM18), which contained 63% dark chocolate, white chocolate, and fresh milk, topped with loads of whipped cream. Oh-so-sinful, but oh-so-delightful.

I had a very satisfying meal at Marco. The food is tasty, and the service is prompt and impressive. It kind of feels like having fine dining cuisine, but not as ‘frilly’ and at a much more affordable price.

Aside from steaks, their best sellers also include pastas, gourmet burgers, pork wellington, elevated rice dishes, and lovely starters like risotto balls, pork pate platters, and charcuterie.

MARCO CREATIVE CUISINE

Lot G146, Ground Floor (Old Wing), 1Utama Shopping Centre, 47800 PJ, Selangor, Malaysia, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM

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Kodawari Menya, 1 Mont Kiara

A couple of months ago, I lamented about the price increase at my (formerly) favourite place for udon, Miyatake Sanuki Udon. Following their relocation to a posh neighbourhood in Mont Kiara, they seemed to have also ‘upgraded’ their menu, no longer offering the casual, self-service style of cuisine that was their signature at their old ISETAN 1 Utama outlet.

Coincidentally, a reader suggested I try a place called Kodawari Menya. The restaurant is also located in Mont Kiara, albeit within a small neighbourhood mall that sees a lot of Japanese expats. Aside from Kodawari, which specializes in udon, the mall also has a ramen place, a sushi joint, a shabu-shabu place, a proper Japanese restaurant, and even a clinic/dental practice with Japanese-speaking staff.

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The mall is tiny, so it was not difficult to locate Kodawari Menya, which boasts a ‘patio’ of sorts with red umbrellas. Thanks to the glass skylight, it feels like you’re dining outdoors, minus the heat and humidity.

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Like how Miyatake Sanuki Udon used to be like before they became a full service restaurant with table service, Kodawari Menya has a counter where you make your orders and pick them up immediately. Aside from a variety of udon (such as beef, curry, kitsune, and zaru udon), they also carry rice bowls (such as curry beef don, salmon teriyaki don, and more). The prices are surprisingly affordable, averaging about RM14 to RM18 for the noodles, and RM14 – 20 for rice dishes. You can also pick from a decent selection of tempura, with the usual favourites like ebi (prawn), fish fillet, ,and chicken karaage.

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The Hubs and I both got the basic Kake Udon (RM14), which is basically noodles in a dashi broth. The dashi flavour was very pronounced; it had the natural sweetness of seafood, minus the unpleasant fishy aftertaste. The noodles were nice, thick, and chewy as well. I would say this is on par with Miyatake Sanuki Udon! The fried items were also good, the fish being soft and flaky on the inside, but perfectly battered and crispy on the outside. The Hubs even commented that the batter did not go soggy, despite having been dunked in the tempura sauce.

With its considerable portions, affordable prices, and tasty food, I think Kodawari Menya is a great place for a casual dining experience. I certainly think the drive here is worth it to get my udon fix once in awhile!

KODAWARI MENYA

Level 1, L1-21A, 1, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Open daily from 11AM – 9.30PM

Menu here.

I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

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A Dragon Hotpot / Ann Cafe @ Bandar Puteri Puchong

What’s the best food to eat on a cold, windy evening?

If you answered hotpot, then great minds think alike! Nothing beats the warmth of a rich hearty soup, brought to a boil with slices of meat, vegetables, seafood, and other goodies within.

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The Hubs and I thought it was the perfect time to try A Dragon Hotpot, a spot we pass by often while getting drive-through from the nearby McDonald’s.

The restaurant is located in a building on its own, complete with a patio where you can dine outdoors. It also shares a space with Ann Cafe, which serves drinks and desserts.

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The interior is spacious, with peach pink walls, faux marble table tops and gaudy golden chairs. To the right is a bar counter where they serve drinks, and a fridge filled with alcoholic beverages + bottled Chinese teas.

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Most hotpots I’ve been to offer buffet options or set menus. A Dragon Hotpot brings you the best of both worlds.

You get a bucket that you can fill with the items that you like. You can then bring it to the counter, and they’ll charge you by weight. I quite like this idea! With set menus, there are often ingredients that I don’t like (*vegetables* cough), while buffets encourage me to eat more than I should because I want to get my money’s worth – so this combined concept is just perfect.

Granted, there are some cons to the system. If you pick the processed stuff like meatballs, they tend to be quite heavy despite being cheap in price/value.

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A Dragon Hotpot offers a good selection of the usual hotpot items: hotdogs, cocktail sausages, hams, tofu, fishballs, fresh vegetables, as well as mushrooms, seafood, and pork slices. If you prefer lamb or beef, they have pre-packed ones in the fridge that come at a standard price.

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For carb lovers, you can choose from a variety of different noodles. These are not counted towards the weight of your food.

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Once you’re done selecting your ingredients and weighing them, let the staff know what soup base you prefer. There were three available during our visit: mala (their signature; a very spicy soup filled with chillies, popular in the Szechuan region of China), tom yum, and pork bone broth.

We decided on the latter. It was served in a garish-looking pot which sported a dragon head on each end.

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And here’s what we picked! Like a couple of kids, we left the greens out of our plates. 😛

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The pork slices here are cut quite thickly, so they take a bit longer to cook. But it also gives you a more satisfying bite of meat. There are dipping sauces available at the counter, including favourites like soy sauce with garlic and chilli sauce.

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The processed items tasted pretty standard. I like to get cheese tofu, which has a springy, bouncy texture embedded with creamy bits within. I also enjoy the bursting pork balls, which contain a savoury soup within. That aside, the pork slices were fresh and thick, but the Hubs didn’t enjoy it as much as he said the odour of pork was pretty strong.

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The winner for both of us, though, was the soup. It was rich and hearty, and I was smacking my lips from the collagen, which left a slightly sticky residue.

Our meal for two came up to about RM60+. I wouldn’t call it super value for money, but our bellies were filled, the food was tasty, and it was still cheaper than a buffet, without the wastage. Didn’t manage to try any drinks from Ann Cafe, but I think this place warrants another visit.

A DRAGON HOTPOT

12-G, Jln Puteri 7/13A, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Phone: 03-8066 5839

Open daily 11.30AM – 12AM. Non-halal

PS: I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

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Down to Bones, Eco Sanctuary Mall

Ask any KL-based BBQ pork lover where they get their fix, and chances are you’ll hear Down to Bones being mentioned. Started as a pop-up store that only ran on weekends, their Texas-style BBQ ribs proved so popular, they expanded to a proper shop in OUG. Today, the shop attracts long queues, especially over the weekends.

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If you live in the South Klang Valley, you can get the same goodness, minus the crowds, as Down to Bones has a branch in Eco Sanctuary Mall. Apparently they opened three years ago, but I didn’t know the place existed until I Googled.

The resto can be empty, even on weekends. It’s not surprising, as the location is quite remote, all the way in Telok Panglima Garang. But the plus point is you get to enjoy your meal in peace and quiet, without having to hustle because someone else is hovering over your table!

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We came here around 6-ish on a Saturday evening and had the whole place to ourselves. Service was fast, although the food took some time to serve since they cook it to order. Their menu is virtually identical to the one you’ll find at their OUG outlet. Aside from BBQ pork ribs, you can also get items such as buttermilk fried chicken and pasta.

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The decor is also similar to their main outlet, albeit pared down. This has a more ‘canteen’ like feel to it, compared to OUG’s Instagramable aesthetics.

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The Hubs had the signature Ultra Ribs (RM34), featuring two humongous sticks of ribs, drenched in house sauce and served with coleslaw and a sausage. I liked the sauce as it was tangy and spicy. The ribs were decent as well, especially the parts with fat which made the meat soft and tender. Some parts were rather tough and stringy though; not sure if that’s just how it is with ribs because I recall saying something similar in my previous review at their OUG outlet.

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I wanted pasta, so I went for the Butter Sauce Spaghetti (RM24). The sauce tasted similar to the local dai chow buttermilk, with a hint of curry leaves and bird’s eye chilli adding some kick. The pasta was cooked al dente, topped with juicy pieces of fried pork, a beautiful egg yolk, and sliced pork sausages.

While I enjoyed the initial bites, the creaminess got cloying after awhile. The butter sauce was good, but there wasn’t much to cut through the greasiness ,and it tasted very bland for some reason – I could taste a hint of butter, but mostly it was just salty without depth of flavour. It’s not a bad dish, but I think it could have been better.

So my second trip to Down to Bones turned out a little underwhelming. Perhaps in my mind, DTB OUG gave me such a good first impression that this paled in comparison. To be fair, the food wasn’t bad – it is fresh, hot food. It just wasn’t wow. But I guess if we ever crave some ribs and don’t want to drive all the way to OUG or queue up for an hour, this place would tick the right boxes.

DOWN TO BONES

G-33&G-33A, Ground Floor, Sanctuary Mall, Lot 41296, Persiaran Eco Sanctuary, 42500 Telok Panglima Garang, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM (weekends), 11AM – 9PM (weekdays)

PS: I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

PS 2: I wanted to update more often, but my health has been sucky lately and a physical condition has rendered it difficult for me to touch my keyboard for long periods at a time. It sucks. But I’m trying a new treatment, hopefully it’ll work out and I can get my health on track again! I’ve been so depressed I’ve just been eating shit and haven’t been working out or focusing on my mental health.

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Restoran Krua Thai, Puchong

For those looking for authentic Thai food in Puchong, Restoran Krua Thai ticks all the boxes.

Tucked along a quiet road behind Lotus Pusat Bandar Puchong, the place has the ambience down pat, from the no-frills dining area and the ‘stalls’ at the back where staff pound som tam and whip up Thai milk tea, to the shelves of imported Thai snacks and sauces, as well as the TV airing dramatic Thai soap operas. The wait staff and chefs are Thai, while the lady boss speaks good Mandarin.

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Krua Thai menu

Krua Thai offers a good selection of dishes. You can opt for individual rice or noodle dishes; families can get larger portions of dishes to share. They have all the popular Thai staples, such as tom yum, green curry, fried bamboo shoots with pork, basil pork, and more.

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I didn’t feel like having rice, so I got Kha Mu (slow braised pork leg) noodles. The noodles were the typical Mama instant noodles type, but they had a nice, al dente texture and bounce. The braised meat was soft and tender where the fatty bits were, but the lean parts were a bit stringy. The dish also came with half a braised egg. Tasty as far as it goes!

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For sharing, more pork! The Moo Ping (grilled pork skewers) were perfectly grilled with bits of char lending a smoky aftertaste. The meat was also well marinated, juicy, and had a great balance between lean and fat.

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I’ve gone through some reviews of the restaurant on Google and it seems the consensus that the tom yum here is ‘sweet’. I think it is slightly sweeter than other tom yums, but the flavours are still well balanced, and the soup comes chock full of ingredients such as mushrooms and seafood. You can choose to have ‘clear’ or ‘red’ tom yum, the latter having nam prik pao (Thai roasted chilli paste) and coconut milk.

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Bro’s pick was a simple minced pork omelette. Nothing fancy, but it was puffy, not greasy, and tasted homemade.

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We also ordered Pandan Chicken, wrapped in pandan leaves and deep fried. The pandan leaves lock the moisture of the meat inside, making each boneless piece tender and juicy.

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Wrapping up the meal on a sweet note was Thrap tim Kop (Red Ruby Dessert), which gets it’s name from t the cubes of water chestnuts soaked in grenadine, then boiled in tapioca flour – so it has this unique gel like texture on the outside, whilst remaining crunchy on the inside. The dessert is also typically served with slices of mango and coconut with ice cubes. The version here is a bit diluted in taste compared to my favourite from Thai Hou Sek, but still pretty good and refreshing.

Although Krua Thai is not a fancy place, I like the ambience and I think it hits the spot for quality, authentic Thai cuisine served in a rustic atmosphere. The prices are average for this type of establishment, ranging from RM20 for sharing plates, and RM12 + for individual rice or noodle dishes.

KRUA THAI

36, Jalan Bandar 13, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open for lunch and dinner: 10AM – 3.30PM, 5.30PM – 10PM

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Sushi Mentai, Bandar Puteri Puchong

It’s no secret that Malaysians (or at least, Klang Valley-ites) love Japanese food. But dining at high-end sushi restaurants or izakayas regularly can be painful on the wallet.

For the budget conscious who still crave a taste of Japanese fare, there’s Sushi Mentai. Despite most establishments raising their prices to accommodate rising ingredients costs, Sushi Mentai has maintained its RM1.80 and RM2.80 sushi plates – and their ala carte rice and noodle dishes are pretty reasonably priced as well.

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The Hubs and I had a quick lunch at their outlet in Bandar Puteri Puchong. I’ve written about my visits to other Sushi Mentai branches, and this one is similar in aesthetics – no frills, tables squeezed close together, a conveyor belt in the middle peddling sushi. It’s a place made for fast, casual dining rather than long chit chats.

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While waiting for our mains, I took a plate of what I thought was scallop from the conveyor belt, but turned out to be battered boiled eggs. They were still tasty though, and were topped with a dollop of creamy mayonnaise mixed with faux crab meat and fish roe.

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Another appetizer: soft shell crab temaki. Sizeable, fresh, and with a nice balance of flavours and textures – there was chewy and moist sushi rice, crisp lettuce, salty fish roe, crunchy soft shell crab, and cucumber, all rolled into a cone of seaweed.

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For mains, I had the ebi (shrimp) curry rice, which came with large chunks of potatoes and carrots, a mountain of rice, and three pieces of deep fried ebi tempura. While I wouldn’t call it spectacular, it tasted decent for the price. The potatoes and carrots were cooked until soft, the shrimp was well seasoned, the batter was crunchy, and the curry sauce was mild (if a bit tepid).

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The Hubs had hotate with egg rice, essentially an omelette of scallops and onions. Again, it was decent for the price, albeit I think it could do with more seasoning.

Sushi Mentai is a good choice for those who are on a budget. At least it’ll tide you over until pay day, when you can go to pricier establishments like Ippudo.

SUSHI MENTAI (BANDAR PUTERI PUCHONG)

22, Jalan Puteri 2/4, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 9.30PM

PS: I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.