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Review: Cerdito Restaurant, Bandar Puchong Jaya

Puchong is known for its hipster cafes, no-frills dai chow stalls, and dimsum joints – but full-service restaurants are few and far between, especially ones serving pork.

Enter Cerdito, a casual but elegant resto that specialises in Iberico pork dishes. The place has been around since 2016, and I’ve walked past it many times, but never got down to trying it until recently.

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The interior is spacious and brightly lit, with a bar occupying one side of the room. Mahogany tables with matching coloured chairs contrast nicely with the beige and nude walls.

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So what is Iberico pork, and what makes it special ?

Iberico pork comes from the Black Iberian pig, a breed native to Spain’s Iberian peninsula. They are highly prized for their meat, which is considered far superior in quality than that of regular pigs raised in commercial farms. For one, Iberian pigs have a propensity to be fatter, with good marbling. They also feed on acorns, which gives the meat a unique, almost earthy flavour.

Because of this, prices at Cerdito are above average – but you get what you pay for, as the pork is imported directly from Spain. Their specialities include items such as Iberico Chuletas – Short Rack, Iberico Cabecero (made from pork collar on top of the loin), and Iberico Mango BBQ Loin Ribs (glazed with mango barbeque sauce before they are grilled). They also carry dishes such as the Pork Burger, German Sausage Platter, and Rosemary Honey Pork Belly.

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The fam and I were on a budget, so we didn’t order the set for four, which will set you back RM330 (includes salad, ribs and other mains). We instead opted for the lunch sets, which are available daily and come with a soup appetiser and a drink. You can choose from three different types of carbo, namely pasta, mantou (buns) or rice.

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I got the Roasted Pork Belly with Mantou (RM28), which was served with a side of vegetables tossed in a refreshing vinaigrette dressing. Each mantou was stuffed with two large pieces of roasted pork belly, cucumber, and just a smattering of spicy sauce.

The mantous were pillowy soft, encasing flavourful pieces of roast pork within. As for the protein, I could tell that it tasted different from regular pork – more pungent and flavourful, with an excellent meat to fat ratio. The fat was a tad chewy, but I like it that way. It would have been perfect if the skin was crispy, but unfortunately it was tough. Still tasty, though!

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Bro got the Aglio Olio with Roasted Pork Belly (RM28). The portion was sizable, and the pasta was cooked well, although it was a bit more spicy than I was used to.

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Pops being the typical Asian, had to have his rice – and since he’s not a big fan of pork, he went for the Fried Chicken Rice Bowl (RM20). What arrived at the table was a giant fried chicken thigh, sitting atop a bed of rice blanketed in a fried omelette.

The chicken was brined before deep frying, so it was very flavourful (bordering on salty, depending on one’s taste buds), but the inside was moist and perfectly cooked.

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Last but not least was Moo’s Pineapple Maple Pork Belly (RM35). This is an ala carte option, by the way, and not part of the lunch sets.

This was my favourite dish, and not just because other people’s food always looks better than one’s own after you’ve ordered, lol. The pork was extremely tender and flavourful, having been marinated overnight in a blend of pineapple juice, maple syrup and soy sauce, the enzymes of which would have broken down the proteins further. Grilling the pork gave it a nice, smoky aftertaste, and the mashed potatoes that were served as sides was also done well. Everything came together on the plate perfectly.

Our bill came up to RM122, which I still find reasonable given the setting and the quality of the food. Service-wise, waiters were attentive and friendly. My only qualm was the timing in which they served the food; my Bro, dad and I got our food first, and were nearly finished eating before Moo’s dish was served.

Parking and traffic in the area (or anywhere in Puchong, for that matter) can be a btch, but I think it’s well worth a trip if you’re a pork lover.

CERDITO RESTAURANT

G-11, Kompleks Kenari, Jalan Kenari 19a, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM (closed Mondays)

Website

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This Small Malaysian Business Sells Premium Handmade Gyozas

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I absolutely adore dumplings. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re basically small parcels of happiness, each containing wondrous filling. And they’re extremely versatile: you can have them boiled, deep-fried, pan-fried, steamed, etc. Because they’re relatively easy to make, places selling dumplings are a dime a dozen – but they might not always be up to par. Gyoza for Life, though, has proven itself a winner.

I stumbled across their Instagram shop by chance, and since I had a hankering for dumplings, the timing couldn’t have been better. At the time, they were offering four flavours: Original (pork and chives), Mala (spicy), and the rather unconventional Bak Kut Teh (herbal soup) and Japanese Curry. Intrigued, I ordered two packets of BKT, which were delivered a couple of days later via courier.

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What can I say? I really enjoyed the dumplings. I pan fried them, and they turned out nice and crisp on the outside, and the meat still retained its moist juiciness on the inside. The bak kut teh flavour was mild, with a tangy, herby aftertaste. I’ve eaten lots of dumplings, and I think Gyoza For Life has one of the best dumpling skins I’ve tasted. It’s not flour-y, and it has the perfect thickness, so that you get just the right amount of crispness/chewiness, depending on how you’ve cooked them.

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The second time around, I tried out their Japanese Curry gyozas. Again, these did not disappoint. Consistent quality! Personally, I prefer this flavour over BKT (they’re both good, though), but that’s because I like the mild and gentle sweetness of the Japanese curry flavour, which seems to spread around the inside of your mouth as you chew.

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Another thing of note are the portions. Each dumpling has a uniform size, which makes them easier to cook evenly, and they’re neither too big nor small. In fact, six pieces might be sufficient for a small eater, so you can portion out your order over a few meals. Me being me, of course, would rather go through an entire box (12 pieces) in one go.

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My lunch of Japanese Curry gyozas with… curry. 😀

So if you love gyozas, give Gyoza for Life a try! You’ll be supporting a homegrown business, but more than that, their gyozas are really tasty, they’re handmade with love, and the prices are extremely reasonable (each box of 12 are priced between RM14 to RM18). They’ve recently added a new flavour to their menu, namely the Sawadee Kra Pao, so I might try that next.

You can order here. They offer free delivery to selected areas within the Klang Valley.

PS: This is not a sponsored post, I just really like their gyozas.

PS 2: If you like my blog, please consider supporting it via my Patreon, or by buying me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

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Korean Cheese Corn Dogs @ Kaiju Crunch, Lotus Extra Bukit Puchong

The Korean Wave, which started in the 2000s, has only grown stronger over the last two decades – thanks to cultural exports such as BTS and dramas like Crash Landing on You and more recently, Squid Game. Korean food has also become increasingly popular, with Korean fried chicken joints and BBQ restaurants opening up every other week.

One recent trend is the cheese corn dog, a hot street food item in South Korea. What makes it different from the American corn dog is the batter (the Korean version uses rice flour or yeasted dough rather than cornmeal), and although they both feature hot dog centres, Korean corn dogs typically include cheese and other ingredients such as fish cakes or rice cakes.

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I get my K-corn dog fix from Kaiju Crunch, which opened not too long ago at Lotus Bukit Puchong. The name can be a bit of a misnomer, since Kaiju is a Japanese term for the giant monster genre (the brand mascot is also a Godzilla-looking monster), but I’d like to think it’s all in good fun. You can choose to have your corn dogs in the outlet, but seating is rather limited.

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Took this pic some time ago, so the pandemic was still quite serious then – so I thought it was a nice gesture of them to have this ‘food bank’ for the needy.

KaijuCrunch offers eight flavours. Some of them have the same filling, but with different coatings. Their signatures are the Kaiju Sausage(RM8.70), which is the basic hotdog with batter, and the Original MozaSausage(RM9.80), which consists of hotdog + mozarella cheese with batter.

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You can request for different sauces to go with your corn dog, including cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup or chilli sauce.

I mean, what can I say? Solid corndog. You get melty, stretchy Mozzarella cheese and hot dog on the inside, and a nice crispy batter on the outside. Best eaten hot, but if you must take away, you can pop it into the microwave and voila!

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Another one I tried was the Ramyeon MozaSausage (RM10.90). The filling’s the same, but the fried noodle coating adds an extra layer of crunch.

Other items you can order include the Cornflake MozaSausage and Korean Spicy MozaSausage. If you like sweeter stuff, opt for the Honey Almond Cornflakes, or Mozacocoreo.

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KaijuCrunch offers a small selection of drinks as well. I like their Choco Crumble Milk. It’s pretty sweet because of the honeycomb candy, but I like it that way. Else, go for drinks like the Strawberry Fizzy with Popping Boba, Lychee Fizzy or Korean Melon Milk for a more refreshing taste.

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Gotta get that cheese stretch!

KaijuCrunch has another outlet in Batu Caves.

KAIJU CRUNCH

Lot G28. No. 1, 1, Jalan BP 7, Bandar Bukit Puchong 2, 47120 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 9.30PM

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Review: I Tried Burger King Malaysia’s new Japanese Curry Burger

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It’s been awhile since I last had anything from Burger King, but they recently launched new menu items – ie the Japanese Curry Whopper and the Japanese Curry Chick’N Crisp – which looked pretty promising. Since there’s a Burger King at the place where I shop for groceries, I got the chicken version to go (ala carte: RM12). You can also get the sets, which come with the standard fries and a drink.

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First impressions: Sizeable. With fast food joints, sometimes you get really sad-looking, deflated burgers that looked as if an elephant had sat on them lol. This burger came with not one but two crispy chicken patties and a slice of cheese in between, and these were topped with a generous amount of vegetables and onions, sandwiched between two fluffy sesame buns.

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They were also very generous with the Japanese curry sauce, mixed with mayo. The sauce is the winner here; mildly sweet with a hint of spice, and it binds all of the elements in the burger really well – you get a flavourful mix of sweet and savoury, paired with the crispness of the patty, the juicy moistness of the chicken meat, the soft and pillowy buns, plus the crunch from the onions and veggies. A solid burger: I’d give it an 8.5/10.

Aside from the chicken, there’s also BK’s signature Beef Whopper, but with Japanese curry sauce. The sets go for RM15.90 (chicken) and RM16.90 (beef), and are available for a limited time only.

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Vlog: Is This The Best Halal Ramen in Malaysia?

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Ramen Seirock-Ya, an up-and-coming halal ramen chain that specialises in toripaitan (chicken ramen) – and how it might just be the best halal ramen that I’ve tasted. Well, my opinion hasn’t changed – but this time, I’ve made a vlog about it. And in Malay, no less!

The video clips have been in my folder for some time now, but I just couldn’t find the time/energy to edit them. But better late than never, right? PS: This was filmed before the Movement Control Order 3.0 came into effect, when dine-in was still allowed. Fret not, though – you can order from them online here.

BTW, this is the first time that I’ve vlogged in Malay. Language gets rusty if you don’t use it often, which is the case with my Malay, and that’s why I wanted to at least practice it a bit in my vlog.

“But aren’t you Malaysian?” my non-Malaysian readers might ask. “You should be fluent in Malay, since you live there.”

Well, technically, I am fluent. I learned it for 10 years in school. I even got a “Best in BM” award in high school, which is a pretty good achievement if I say so myself, seeing that I’m Malaysian Chinese.

Here’s the thing though. It’s complicated. Malaysia is a pretty odd country. You have all these different races living together in relative harmony, but racial (and religious) polarisation has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s no longer surprising to find people who aren’t that fluent in Malay, even though they are citizens. My parents, for example, can speak in Malay relatively well. But they tend to mix English words into their conversations, and if you asked them to speak purely in Malay, they would find it difficult. Would that be considered ‘fluent’?

As for myself, well, being stuck at home means I only speak Cantonese and English (my first language) most of the time. And to be honest, my Malay has been on a downward spiral ever since I graduated from high school, because I don’t have that many Malay friends (or friends in general *cough cough*) who speak to me in Malay. The only occasions where I have to dig up my long-lost BM vocab are when I have to visit a government office.

Anyway, I hope to make more vlogs in Malay. I’m already an outcast when it comes to Chinese (I can’t read Chinese characters and I’m not fluent in Mandarin. Third culture kid problems), so I don’t want mastery of my second best language to go down the drain.

If you liked the video, please consider subscribing! Or you could buy me a cup of coffee on Patreon.

Til the next one!

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The Narra Filipino Resto Lounge, Petaling Jaya

Despite having a sizable community here, Filipino cuisine is still (imo) underappreciated in Malaysia. Unlike Thai or Indonesian restaurants, which are ubiquitous all over the country, Filipino restaurants are a bit more difficult to find, and their patrons are usually Filipinos, rather than Malaysians. There is one thing to be said about that, though – it usually means that these are the places that serve authentic food for those who crave a taste of home.

One of these restaurants is The Narra Filipino Resto Lounge, tucked within Dataran Millennium in Petaling Jaya. When searching for the best Filipino restaurants in KL, The Narra regularly tops the list – and for good reason. They have a wide variety of dishes from different parts of the Philippines, service is good, and prices and portions are fair. I’ve been here several times, and even celebrated a birthday here with the Hubs. Since my parents have never tried Filipino cuisine, I thought it’d be a good idea to bring them here for dinner on Sunday.

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The decor is pretty much the same from my previous visit: neat, with clean white tables and chairs, and a small stage where a live band performs on weekends. There is a display of baked goods and cakes at the counter, as well as a couple of shelves stocked with Filipino treats and canned goods. It was quiet during our visit, so we didn’t have to wait long for our food.

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Bro and Pops ordered Calamansi juice while I went for Gulaman, which is a syrupy sweet brown sugar drink with a jelly like substance, similar to cincau or agar. It was a tad too sweet even for me, so you might want to skip this if you don’t like sugary drinks.

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Of course, I had to get my favourite order, Sisig, consisting of chopped pig head with onions, chilli peppers, calamansi and egg, served on a sizzling hotplate. The parts of the pig’s head create a medley of interesting textures: you get the crunch from the cartilage, and soft and fatty bits from the jowls and cheeks. It’s definitely not a healthy dish, what with the fat and grease, but it’s oh-so-sinful.

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I usually come here alone, so I haven’t had the chance to try dishes like the Pininyahang Manok, which is chicken braised in coconut milk, pineapples, carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. My parents found the flavour ‘very odd’, but I liked it because it reminded me of Chinese-style buttermilk, albeit with a slightly sour aftertaste. Not a fan of bell peppers in general, but I don’t think the taste was very pronounced. The chicken was cooked well, and the carrots were done just right; soft without being mushy.

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Bro had Embosilog. The name comes from the dish’s three main components: Embotido (pork meatloaf), Sinangag (garlic fried rice) and Itlog (egg). Nipped a bit from his plate and was impressed. The fried rice was very fragrant and the meatloaf was tasty.

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Grilled pork intestines for sharing. I know some people will find it off-putting but I actually enjoy the slightly gamey smell 😛

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The chicken inasal (grilled chicken thigh) was humongous. Among all of the dishes, I think this was my least favourite. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t exceptional either.

PS: If you’re wondering why we didn’t order Filipino signatures like sinigang (a tamarind-based stew) and adobo (pork cooked in vinegar and soy sauce), it’s because my mom has intestinal and stomach problems, and she can’t take spicy, oily, or sour food. Which ruled out many options because a lot of Filipino dishes are sour, and some of the good ones are oily (lechon, crispy pata).

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Having been to the Philippines many times, I think I have a good grasp of Filipino flavours – but I think my parents found it quite foreign and unlike anything they had tasted before. My mom commented that the food takes some getting used to, while my brother said, “I’m not sure what to make of it. With Thai food or Malay food, you get a distinct flavour profile that is easily recognisable. But these dishes are hard to identify.”

They both make valid points. The Philippines has a unique culture, being the only country in Southeast Asia that was occupied by the Spanish for well over 400 years. The cuisine has strong Spanish and Latin influence, which is why you’ll find dishes like adobo, chiccharon, flan, picadillo and empanadas gracing the dinner table in Filipino and Latino homes. At the same time, it also has distinct Malay influences, as evidenced by the Pininyahang Manok we ordered, which uses coconut milk – a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking. There are also dishes like the kare-kare (beef tripe cooked in peanut butter, influenced by Indian cuisine), and lumpia (spring rolls, from Chinese culture).

For me personally, I like some dishes, and some other dishes not so much. The hubs says I blaspheme because I don’t like the taste of Choco Butternut, but hey, you can’t expect every single non-Malaysian to fall head over heels with nasi lemak, right? (although I have yet to meet someone who didn’t like nasi lemak, lol).

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The Narra also sells imported products from the Philippines, such as corned beef, banana ketchup (mom: WHAT?) and Mang Tomas (pork liver sauce).

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I usually get Piattos (they call it Jigs here in Malaysia – although it’s super difficult to find these days), but the restaurant was out of stock, so I got some Lucky Mee Pancit Canton to take home instead.

Our meal (plus my snacks) came up to about RM120. I think we went a bit overboard – could have made do with 3 dishes instead of four – but the price was fairly reasonable given the portions.

If you’re Malaysian and curious about how Filipino cuisine tastes like, The Narra is a good place to try authentic Filipino food. If you’re a Filipino residing in Malaysia, the dishes and the atmosphere (the servers sing Filipino songs while they go about their work, and the resto is always playing OPM) will surely remind you of home.

THE NARRA FILIPINO RESTO LOUNGE

G001 Dataran Millennium, Jalan 14/1, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10.30AM – 9.30PM (Saturdays 11.30PM)

Phone: 03-7498 1061

https://www.facebook.com/thenarraresto/

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Review: Ticket To Korea, Setiawalk Puchong

Setiawalk Puchong has seen better days. Once the hottest hangout spot in Puchong, the place has been on a decline, especially in the last few years. There aren’t many restaurants left, but one that has been around since the mall’s inception is Ticket to Korea. Despite having been to Setiawalk many times, I have never thought to try them out — so a recent lunch date with my friend H was as good a time as any.

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The restaurant’s interior is brightly lit by natural sunlight and the space feels cosy and welcoming. A young couple whom I assume to be the owners greeted us enthusiastically, and we were quickly given menus. Aside from authentic Korean fare the likes of bulgogi and pajeon (pancake), diners will also find popular fusion dishes like Korean-style pork ribs with cheese, hot plate cheesy corn, and kimchi quesadilla.

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H ordered a bibimbap bowl, which came in a huge portion — I think it was good enough for two small eaters. It was beautifully presented, with generous heapings of vegetables, grilled pork belly, shredded cucumber, carrots and seaweed, topped off with a fried egg. It was delicious; the sweet and savoury sauce brought everything together really well.

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Despite the sweltering heat outside, I went for the Kimchi Ramen (because I’m masochist that way lol).

The bowl looked fiery red when it came to the table; there were soft slices of tofu swimming within, and the soup’s colour contrasted nicely with the enoki mushrooms and spring onion garnish on top. The soup was the bomb. Some places cut corners and add more kimchi paste, which means you get watery, ‘flavoured’ soup — but with this, I could really taste the texture of fibrous, blended vegetables, and there was a good amount of kimchi within as well. It was thick and sour, perfect for whetting the appetite, and the slight viscosity meant that the soup clung to each strand of ramyeon for maximum flavour. Did I also mention that the pork slices were super tender and had a great ratio of lean and fat?

The owners kept popping by to our table to check if I was okay with the heat. The soup was rather spicy, but hey — what’s pleasure without a bit of pain? *wink wink

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To wash everything down, a cold glass of coffee with condensed milk.
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We had a nice surprise at the end, compliments of the house — ice cream, served on a cold stone plate. They were drizzled over with what tasted like honey, and cookie shavings. Definitely a sweet end to a satisfying meal.

There are lots of good things to say about our dining experience here: the service was impeccable, the dishes that we tried tasted excellent, and prices were not too steep (our meal for two came up to about RM60). I wouldn’t mind a return visit !

PS: They have another branch at Tropicana Avenue, PJ.

TICKET TO KOREA

C-8-1, Block C, Setiawalk, Persiaran Wawasan, Jalan Wawasan 1/1, Taman Wawasan, 47160 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 11PM (daily)

facebook.com/tickettokoreafinedining

Hello!

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website by buying me a cup of coffee through Paypal. This will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. You can also support me on Patreon. Thanks for stopping by!

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This Might Just Be The Best Halal Ramen in Malaysia: Ramen Seirock-Ya, IOI Mall Puchong

Tonkotsu has always been my favourite type of ramen. I mean, what can compare to a bowl of chewy, al-dente noodles, swimming in a rich, savoury pork broth?

The answer: Tori-Paitan, aka Chicken ramen.

Up until recently, I had not heard of this type of ramen – but apparently it’s quite popular in many parts of Japan, especially Osaka, where it is said to originate from. Just like tonkotsu, the broth is simmered for hours with chicken bones and meat, until it’s bursting with umami flavour.

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Now, Malaysians can also indulge in this scrumptious fare at Ramen Seirock-Ya, a ramen restaurant specialising in Tori-Paitan. Founded in Tsukuba City in 2009, the brand has been expanding to parts of Southeast Asia with a large Muslim demographic, including Malaysia and Indonesia. It’s excellent news for our Muslim friends out there who love ramen (which is normally made with pork), since the brand is halal-certified by JAKIM.

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The outlet at IOI Mall Puchong is spacious and comfortable. You check off the items you want on a chit, make payment at the counter, and they’ll send the food to your table.
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The signature is, of course, their Tori-Paitan ramen, which comes in several variants including Extreme (the must-try), Shoyu (soy-sauce based), Shio (salt-based) and Miso. You can also decide if you want the basic, or with additional egg or chicken slices. The noodles come with a slice of lemon – the servers recommend savouring the original flavour of the broth first, before adding the lemon, which gives it a slightly different taste.

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The noodles are good – well cooked, al dente and springy – but the broth is the real star here. After being boiled for hours, the flavour of the meat is condensed into the lip-smacking broth, and the taste is further accentuated by fried shallots and spring onions. Despite the amount of oil swimming on the surface, it does not taste greasy at all.

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On another visit, I ordered a plate of pan-fried chicken gyoza. They were crispy and slightly brown on the outside, and juicy and moist on the inside with lots of vegetables – no complaints here.

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Order a side of fried chicken karaage – expertly marinated and deep fried to golden perfection – before washing down your meal with a cold (or warm) glass of green tea.

If you’re not keen on the signature, also on the menu are items like Tan-Tan Men (a Japanese take on Chinese Sichuan dan dan mian), Tsukemen (cold noodles dipped in hot soup), Japanese curry rice, katsu don and chahan (fried rice) among others. Prices are actually more affordable than my favourite ramen place (which, sadly, has become so popular now that it’s impossible to dine-in without at least a 45-minute wait), ranging around RM18 – RM30 for most mains.

RAMEN SEIROCK-YA (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

1F Food Street, IOI Mall Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Puchong, Selangor
Tel: +603 5882 1262
Business Hours: 10AM – 10PM (last order 9.30PM)

HALAL

seirock-ya.com.my

*Opinions here are my own. Feel free to agree/disagree with mtaste buds.

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If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website by buying me a cup of coffee through Paypal. This will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. You can also support me on Patreon. Thanks for stopping by!