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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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Moge Tee, PFCC Puchong

Update: A week after I posted this, the outlet closed. Guess I jinxed it lol.

You know how certain locations seem to be jinxed? Some people call it bad juju; in Chinese we call it bad fengshui. Think a business that can’t seem to prosper despite being in a high traffic area, or a shop that people always bypass, even though the adjacent ones do just fine.

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This corner lot at PFCC Puchong seems to be one of those locations. It was previously home to a cafe called Miss Paris and Toast; then another cafe. Both shuttered. Now Moge Tee, an established tea and snack chain known for its pancake souffles, has taken up residence – and while I’m hopeful it’ll break the ‘chain’, I’m not too optimistic, judging from how quiet it was on a Friday evening, when S and I came by.

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I tried Moge Tee’s pancake souffle at their SS2 outlet before, and it was among the best ones I have tasted, thanks to the addition of cheese, which gave it a nice balance between sweet and salty. Didn’t order the souffle this time though; went for the Mango Milk instead, while S had the Oolong Tea with cheese.

While Moge Tee also serves the usual bubble milk tea, they are better known for their range of fruit teas. The Mango Milk I had was okay, not too sweet, but the mango puree was quite stringy and fibrous. S’s Oolong tea with cheese was decent too but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding.

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Our snack of fried chicken took a long time to arrive. Avoid this if you’re planning to come here; the chicken had a texture like cardboard. Any random Alisan stall from a night market would have been better than this.

MOGE TEE (PUCHONG)

G-06,Ground Floor Tower 4 & 5@PFCC, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

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Meal for Two: S’mores, Bangsar South

The Moomin’s eye doctor is located at Nexus Bangsar South, so I’ve been hanging around the neighbourhood a lot lately (her eye is much better now, but we’ve been doing follow-ups regularly because it wasn’t healing as quickly as it should due to age).

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On one of these follow-ups, we checked into S’mores for lunch. The place has been around since Nexus opened and touts itself as a “friendly neighbourhood bistro that promises the coldest beers” and “the most authentic charcoal and wood fire cooked western delights”. It was a weekday and the restaurant was packed with office workers, but service was still fast, attentive and friendly. The resto has a nice, chill vibe, a large bar and an al-fresco dining area.

The menu is mostly Western (think pastas, pizzas, ribs and burgers), with some Asian favourites thrown in (nasi lemak, laksa, meehoon). The Moomins and I ordered set lunches (RM16.90++) which came with a drink.

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Smores looks like a great place for a beer or two with colleagues after work
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The Moomin’s Spaghetti Bolognese. Portions were very generous.
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My carbonara spaghetti came in a huge serving, topped with heaps of Parmesan cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente, and it was creamy without being cloying (to me, at least), with generous bits of bacon. Solid dish, no complaints. Those who don’t like rich flavours might want to give it a pass though.

S’MORES

Nexus, Bangsar South, Unit G7, Ground Floor, Jalan Kerinchi, 59200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (daily)

smores.com.my

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Ying Jia Dimsum and Seafood Restaurant, Happy Garden KL

Sometimes, restaurants have to be versatile and offer different items on the menu to entice customers – like Ying Jia Restaurant in Happy Garden KL, which serves dimsum by day and dai chow fare by night.

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The Moo and I had originally wanted to eat dimsum at Phang Kee, a popular stall just a few shops away, but since it was packed, we ended up here instead. The restaurant is very spacious, and even though it isn’t air conditioned, it does not feel hot thanks to the high ceilings and large fans. Orders are made on a chit.

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We got the usual favourites: har gao, chee cheong fun and minced pork meat with fish maw.

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Chee cheong fun with shrimp filling
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Har gao was sizable and tasted pretty good.
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The restaurant has a novel way of keeping their dishes ‘protected’ – by using a plastic bottle with the top half cut open to act as a ‘shield’.

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Shanghai siew loong bao are conveniently served on spoons for easy eating. The dumplings are steamed together with cabbage, which imparts the skin with the natural sweetness of vegetables. The broth is flavourful and the skin’s thickness is just right.

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Salted egg custard buns. The colour is lighter than the ones I’m used to from my favourite dimsum place, but they’re nice and fluffy. I think the inside could have used more custard, though. Tasty nonetheless.

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And last but not least, ‘salad prawns’ – essentially deep fried shrimp dumplings. These are my favourite and a must-order whenever I go to any dimsum shop. The version here is done well; crispy and flaky shell, juicy, bouncy shrimps enveloped within. Best eaten with mayonnaise and washed down with lots of hot tea.

Overall, I found the dimsum at Ying Jia pretty good and value for money. The owners themselves are out and about serving customers, and service is fast and friendly.

YING JIA DIMSUM & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

1, Jalan Lazat 1, Taman Bukit Indah, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 7.30AM – 2PM, 5PM – 9PM (closed for dinner on Tuesdays)

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

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Thong Kee Kopitiam, Puchong – One of Puchong’s Best Breakfast Spots

A classic Malaysian breakfast typically consists of toast with kaya and butter plus half boiled eggs, washed down with a nice cup of coffee or tea. You will find this and more at Thong Kee Kopitiam in Puchong. The shop also ups the ante with something you’d normally see in bakeries rather than kopitiams: croissants.

Video:

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Originally from Pahang, Thong Kee started off as a humble establishment in the small town of Bentong. Like many kopitiams, the fare served here has Hainanese origins (The Hainanese people emigrated to Malaya during the British occupation. Most worked as cooks for the British; hence the ‘Western’ style of breakfast ie toast with butter and jam + coffee that is often served at kopitiams today. It is a uniquely Southeast Asian thing which you will not find in the Hainanese community in China.) Eventually, the brand grew popular enough that they expanded to the Klang Valley, with an outlet in Seapark and another in Puchong.

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The early bird gets the worm, or in this case… the croissant.

All of their outlets enjoy brisk business, so it’s best to come as early as possible if you want avoid the queues. The fam and I came around 7.45AM on a weekend and the place was already quite packed. There is a huge open-air kitchen with dozens of staff preparing drinks and food.

Take note of your table number, give it to the cashier when you make your order, pay on the spot, and wait for your food to be served. Aside from toast with butter and kaya, you can also go for items like doughnuts, and croissants with various fillings (ham, ham and cheese, egg, otak-otak, etc.)

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The original Thong Kee is famous for its 1+1 – a blend of Hainanese coffee and tea – so I ordered a glass to try.

The drink comes served with a layer of foam on top, and the coffee is strong and fragrant. It is similar to Ipoh white coffee; ie sweet and aromatic. I think the tea helps to make the beverage smoother, but the coffee is pretty strong so I barely tasted any tea.

Trivia: Unlike Western coffee, making Hainanese coffee usually involves roasting the beans with salt, sugar and margarine, imparting it with a rich, robust fragrance with a distinctly caramelized flavour. The coffee is then filtered through a long sock-like cloth multiple times.

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Not forgetting the star of the show, we ordered a few croissants to share. The texture is superb – crispy, flaky, buttery and soft on the inside. The fillings are deceptively simple – ham and egg, or a slab of butter and kaya spread – but everything comes together perfectly.

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If you’re not in the mood for bread, there are other stalls at the kopitiam as well, selling dishes like nasi lemak and pan mee.

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If you’re looking for a quick bite to go, or something you can bring home, the shop also sells freshly baked loaves, homemade kaya and curry puffs.

The croissants are priced around RM7.90 +, depending on filling.

THONG KEE (PUCHONG)

G-01 Puchong Square, Jalan Layang – Layang 5, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 7.30AM – 4.30PM

thongkee.com.my

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Bug’s Paradise Farm, Puchong – Organic Farm and Cafe by BMS Organics

Organic food has risen in popularity in recent years, as more people adopt a healthier lifestyle – but farm-to-table experiences are still relatively rare in Malaysia, as is awareness to the concept. BMS Organics, a popular local organic food and cafe chain, is aiming to change that – by bringing the experience to urban dwellers.

Video here:

Located within a quiet spot in Kampung Pulau Meranti Puchong, Bugs Paradise Farm is a relatively new endeavor, having opened in the later half of 2020. The compound houses a spacious open-air shop selling organic goods, next to a cafe and a plot of farmland where organic vegetables are grown. There is also an enclosure with small animals like rabbits, chickens and ducks. The cafe serves fusion dishes by day, and steamboat (hotpot) by night. PS: This is a vegetarian cafe, so most of their products are plant-based.

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Parking is free, but note that the parking area is not paved and spots are limited.
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The fam and I visited on a weekend and the place was not too busy. Most of the visitors were families with young children. There is plenty of space, so definitely a better option than crowded shopping malls. The cafe itself is a simple structure with attap roofing, which gives the place a rustic feel. The ceilings are high, so even though there is no air-conditioning, it’s quite cooling even in the afternoon.

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Kiosks serving hot cocoa and drinks, although these were not open during our visit.
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The menu has a variety of dishes, including rice and porridge meals, noodles and spaghetti, poke bowls and appetisers. Prices range from RM15-RM25 for mains.

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Visitors can go on farm tours, where a guide will share knowledge on organic farming and take visitors on a stroll around the farm, followed by lunch at the cafe. Pre-bookings are required. (RM38 per pax)

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Organic food lovers will be thrilled as there are lots of products available at the shop, from organic soybeans, quinoa and tri-millet, to fresh vegetables, kombucha, sauces, jams, and more. There’s also a frozen food section where you can buy pre-packed food that you can cook at home.

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As for the cafe, we had a hiccup during our visit. Orders are made by scanning a QR code, but for some reason, they did not register in the system. We ended up going to the counter, where the staff manually keyed in each dish into the computer.

Even so, there was still a mix-up, and all the dishes that came to our table were the wrong orders. The kitchen had to make our dishes again from scratch, and we had to wait about 50 minutes to an hour for them to arrive. It didn’t help when other people who arrived to the cafe later than us got their orders first. We inquired with one of the waitstaff, who took the receipt we had and disappeared to the back of the resto for a long time.

I think it was genuinely a computer error and miscommunication, as the items printed on the receipt were correct, but the orders came out wrong. Still, it would have been nice if they had communicated the situation/updated us on the status of our dishes, rather than have us wait for an hour unsure if we should remind them again in case they had forgotten our orders.

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Mom’s Herbal Soup with Yee Mee (RM16.90), which came served in a claypot. The soup had a good amount of red dates and wolfberries in it.

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Pops’ Herbal Soup with Multigrain Rice (RM15.90). You can opt to change to cauliflower rice at an additional charge.

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I ordered the Lion’s Mane Mushroom Wrap, which is essentially a vegan burrito. Inside was fresh lettuce, carrots, purple cabbage and mushrooms plus a creamy sesame sauce, which bound all the elements together. I don’t like vegetables in general, but these were fresh, sweet and crunchy, and the mushrooms had a nice meat-like texture to them.

Also got two half-boiled asthaxanthin eggs (not pictured). Asthaxanthin is an antioxidant that is present in many types of sea creatures like salmon, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, and is purported to have health benefits such as boosting the immune system and cardiovascular health. Chicken feed is mixed with it to get eggs rich in asthaxanthin – which is a good option for vegetarians who can’t consume seafood.

PS: When we made payment, the cafe gave us a free packet of veggies as an apology for the mix-up with our orders, which was a nice gesture.

Bug’s Paradise Farm is a good place to visit, especially now that interstate travel isn’t yet allowed due to the pandemic. Aside from the issue I mentioned above, which I think they tried their best to rectify, I enjoyed my time there. The food is slightly more expensive, but that is to be expected for organic ingredients. The location isn’t ideal, since it’s in an area surrounded by factories, but the fencing around the plot helps to block out the view.

Bookings for farm tours can be made here. Tours are in Mandarin or English.

GETTING THERE

Bugs Paradise Farm is located at Lot 46692, Jalan Pulau Meranti, Kampung Pulau Meranti, 47120 Puchong, Selangor. It is a 20 minute drive from the Puchong city centre (IOI Mall area), and about 20 minutes from Cyberjaya. Opens 12PM – 10PM from Wednesdays to Fridays, and 10AM – 10PM on weekends. Closed Mon – Tues.

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Strangers at 47, SS17 Petaling Jaya – Sweet and Savoury Crepes

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Living in the Klang Valley, there are plenty of cool and chic cafes to check out every other week. But competition is pretty fierce, and if you don’t have something to draw in the crowds (like good food, impeccable service and an Instagrammable interior), you’re likely to fold just as quickly as you set up shop.

Strangers at 47, though, has been a long-time stalwart on the cafe scene. As one of the pioneers in the SS17 area, the shop has a stable fanbase, who come for their delicious crepes, and it has even expanded from a single shop lot to include two adjacent spaces, providing diners with a comfortable and more spacious dining experience.

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My last visit here was in 2015. Yes, I am aware that it was 6 years ago lol. The signature mural of a fox and a bear upon entering the restaurant is still there.
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Although the space is much bigger now, the theme has not changed much, and still features a minimalistic look, with communal-style long tables for larger groups, cosy booths, wooden tables and warm yellow lights.

Stringent SOPs are in place before customers are allowed to enter the shop for dine-in. At the entrance, aside from scanning your temperature and registering yourself via MySejahtera, a staff member will also explain the house rules, such as wearing masks while moving around the cafe (except when you’re eating/drinking). You are also allowed to stay for a maximum of 1.5 hours only. It’s a good thing we came early, as the line started building up after 11.30am.

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For hygiene purposes, there are no printed menus. Diners scan a digital menu using a QR code scanner.

You can view their menu here.

My Hot Cappucino (RM11) was nice and milky, but not too sweet.

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The Moomins is trying to eat less meat these days, so we ordered Lethal Shrooms (RM19.50); one of the cafe’s signatures that has been on the menu since they opened. An assortment of sauteed mushrooms such as portobello, shimeji and baby king oysters mushrooms, plus sauteed baby spinach and caramelised onions are wrapped in a thin savoury crepe, then topped with tomato relish, poached egg and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I recommend ordering this if you’re not sure what to order; it never fails to disappoint.

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If seafood is more your thing, there’s Miss Dory (RM22.50), comprising breaded and deep fried to golden perfection fish fillet, battered squid, citrus-cucumber onion salad, potato pumpkin mash, roasted cherry tomatoes and homemade sriracha mayo lime. All the flavours and textures — the crunchy from the fish and squid, the soft and smooth pumpkin mash plus the tangy cherry tomatoes and mayo lime — come together wonderfully.

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Aside from savoury crepes, Strangers at 47 has a selection of sweet crepes as well. Unfortunately we were too stuffed to order any.
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The cafe offers cakes too. The Cendolier Cheesecake (RM14.50 per slice) is a house specialty. You can also take home homemade kimchi, kaya and homebrewed kombucha.

Service here is excellent, albeit a little slow as the crepes are made to order. If you’re here over the weekend, come early to avoid the crowd, or be prepared for a wait.

STRANGERS AT 47

45, 47 & 49, Jalan 17/45, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM (Closed Tuesdays).

Phone: 03-7498 1034

facebook.com/strangersat47

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How To Gain Weight: CNY Edition

Happy Chinese New Year!

This year’s festivities are much more subdued due to the pandemic, but I still had an enjoyable time bonding (and eating!) with the family over the weekend. To save on the hassle of preparing an elaborate meal for our reunion dinner night, we decided to have hotpot/barbecue out on the porch. We bought most of the ingredients in advance so we wouldn’t have to rush to the market on the few days leading up to CNY.

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Aside from the quintessential pork belly slices (you can get these from the local butcher nicely packed), our hotpot ‘buffet’ also had all the other essentials: chicken and fish slices, pork balls and fish balls, needle mushrooms, squid, seafood cheese tofu, fried beancurd sheets, and for carbs, udon noodles. Moomins opened a celebratory can of mini abalones – they’re especially cheap this year due to a dip in demand.

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We bought a 2-in-1 BBQ/hotpot stove from Lazada, just for this.

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The soup base we used was from Hai Di Lao. We bought the shrimp flavour thinking it would be mild, but it was actually quite spicy. It also had preserved vegetables, which gave it a sour tang. Personally, I prefer something milkier and sweeter, so I will probably go for another flavour the next time around.

I know processed foods aren’t the healthiest, but seafood cheese tofu and bursting pork balls (above) are my favourites whenever I have hotpot. Seafood cheese tofu is usually made from surimi, so the texture is bouncy, and it has bits of creamy cheese within; while bursting pork balls are so called because there is hot soup in the centre, so caution should be taken whenever you bite into them so the juices within don’t spill everywhere and burn your tongue.

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My parents weren’t keen on the pork belly slices, so my brother and I ate most of them. I can safely say that I ate my fill lol. I prefer mine cooked in the hotpot, because they tend to get crispy and hard on the grill (I like mine to be soft so you can taste the texture of the fat and lean meat). Dip them in some soy sauce and chilli, and voila! Magic. We rarely have hotpot at home, so this was a very satisfying experience.

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By the time we finished dinner and the washing up it was nearly 10pm. We had initially planned to have our yee sang right after, but everyone was too full, so we watched Bad Genius on Netflix and waited for midnight.

Instead of the usual salmon yee sang, we got a fruits version this year. My cousin and his girlfriend are doing it as a part-time business, so it was our way of showing support (I also sent two sets to friends). It was basically a fruit salad consisting of green and red grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, carrots, pomegranates and dragonfruit (we didn’t add this in because it was too soft and watery), plus toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds. In place of plum sauce was honey.

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All in all, good, albeit on the sour side despite the addition of honey.

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After all that feasting on reunion dinner night, our first day of CNY was tamer affair. Traditionally, many families will observe a vegetarian meal after the extravagance of the previous night – we had a simple meal of udon and mock meat with fried egg for lunch. Also spent the afternoon playing mahjong. Everyone was rusty, because we only do this once a year lol.

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I received a nice surprise on the morning of Day 2: my friend H sent me a CNY package!

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Went out in the afternoon with Pops to Moon Palace Restaurant, to pick up our order of poon choi. For my non-Chinese readers, it’s basically a Cantonese dish comprised of a pot filled with luxurious seafood and meat items, which are then poured over with a rich sauce. Due to the large portions, it is meant to be shared, and you’ll often see it at festive occasions like Chinese New Year and weddings. I’ve only had poon choi once or twice during food reviews, never with the fam, so it was a first for all of us.

Our poon choi came with abalone, dried oysters stuffed with fat choi (a type of cyanobacteria with the appearance of human hair – it sounds gross lol but tastes like seaweed), roast duck, poached chicken, brocolli, huge shiitake mushrooms, abalone mushrooms, prawns, yam, scallops and roast pork. The oyster sauce that was to be poured over coagulated slightly from the cold, but otherwise everything was excellent. I especially liked the abalone mushrooms: they were thick and juicy. It’s no wonder people use them in making imitation meat – the texture is very similar.

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And finally, to round up our 2nd day, another round of yee sang; this time vegetarian.

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Bonus: Air-dried clay Mandarin Oranges my brother made for fun.

While this CNY lacks the cheer and pomp of yesteryears, I think I actually enjoyed it more. The weekend was spent bonding with the fam, playing Divinity 2: Original Sin, embroidering (new hobby!), and just eating. Like a lot. I think between Pops, the brother and I, we finished five cans of snacks and a dozen canned drinks. Also, I got no exercise in at all, so it’s not surprising that I gained 2kg.

It’s back to the grind tomorrow, and I’ll be getting back into my workout routine as well.

Hope you all had a good celebration!