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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

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Meal for One: Gangnam 88 @ Setiawalk Puchong

I can’t believe it has been three years since I last dined at Gangnam 88 at Setiawalk Puchong – I’m surprised the place is still surviving. It has nothing to do with their food, which is pretty decent – it’s just that Setiawalk is so dead these days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find restaurants that are still open. A far cry from its glory days when the place was thriving with restos and bars.

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The decor and menu has not changed much since my last visit: it still looks bright, cheerful and warm, with lots of Korean-themed decor adorning the walls, and the customary K-pop videos playing on TV.

Most of the items they serve are meant for sharing, like the BBQ platters, Korean fried chicken, stews and such. For lunch, they have individual rice and noodle dishes, as well as lunch sets which come with refillable banchan (sides).

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I had the Ramyeon with Cheese (RM16), which was served with the usual sides like pickled vegetables, kimchi, fishcakes and tofu. Ramyeon was a tad overcooked so the noodles were too soft, and the soup was too diluted, so it was a quite disappointing. Still, if you’re in the area and looking for Korean food, this is one of the only ones around aside from Ticket to Korea, and I think that they do serve some pretty decent BBQ.

GANGNAM 88 (PUCHONG)

I-2-G, Setiawalk, Persiaran Wawasan,, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47160 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (daily)

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Korean Soy Garlic Chicken Wings @ K-Fry, 1 Utama

As a self-professed fried chicken connoisseur, I’m always on the lookout for the ultimate golden bird – whether it’s tangy and slathered in buffalo sauce, hand breaded with 11 herbs and spices, brined in buttermilk for maximum flavour… the possibilities are endless.

I do, however, have a soft spot for Korean fried chicken. Maybe it’s the double-frying that makes it ultra crispy. Maybe it’s the light batter, and the succulent, moist meat. In my search for the best “KFC”, I’ve tried numerous joints – Singapore-based Four Fingers, the ever popular KyoChon 1991 and NeNe Chicken – but I think I’ve recently found a serious contender for top spot… in the form of K-Fry.

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K Fry touts itself as a “homegrown Korean brand that specialises in authentic Korean Fried Chicken and hearty Korean food with an urban twist”. True to its theme, the outlet in 1 Utama Shopping Centre looks cool and trendy, and wouldn’t look out of place if it was a resto in Gangnam or Hongdae. The warm overhead lights, coupled with neon signs, plant decorations and a matching wood + dark colour scheme make this a perfectly Instagrammable spot.

Prior to this visit, I’ve walked past the place a couple of times and it was always packed pre pandemic. Now it’s much quieter, but that means you won’t have to queue up to dine in.

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If you’re dining at K Fry, it’s best to come in a big group as most of their dishes are designed for sharing, such as their signature Fried Chicken Bumbuk (RM58.90) – juicy boneless fried chicken dipped in Korean sweet and spicy sauce and savoury mozzarella cheese. Staff members prepare the dish at your table, so you can watch as they wrap melty, oozy cheese around each piece of chicken before serving. Other recommended items include the K-Fry Nude Chicks (RM28.90), which comprises 12 pieces of their signature fried chicken – as well as flavours like Snow Cheese (RM35.90 – chicken topped with cheddar cheese powder) and honey butter (RM32.90). Although chicken may be the star, K Fry is a full service resto, so you can also order ramyeon, rice balls, soups, dosirak (lunchboxes), banchan (side dishes), bingsoo (shaved ice) for dessert and mocktails.

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I think the benchmark whenever one goes to a K-fried chicken joint is to have the most basic flavour – soy garlic. K Fry’s version comes with 4 wings and 4 drummettes for RM21.90. Of course, the best feeling is to eat something deep fried with lots of rice, so I got a bowl of white rice to wolf down with my protein.

Usually, the soy garlic chicken at most places have a glossy, sticky sheen – the result of the chicken being tossed in the sauce after frying – so I was surprised I didn’t see any of this when the food was served. The chicken looked like regular fried chicken, with a crunchy batter. The wings/drummettes were decently sized though (KyoChon has tiny tiny wings), so that was one point right off the bat.

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Biting into the chicken, I had my next pleasant surprise. Despite the lack of sauce on the surface, the chicken was delicious and packed with flavour. It seemed like the sauce had been condensed somehow, its flavour seeping into the skin, which was extremely crispy. The meat inside was also moist and juicy, which according to K Fry’s website is because they never use frozen chicken, only chilled ones, to maintain freshness and quality. The chicken was perfectly fried and did not taste greasy at all. I’d give it a 9/10!

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Service at K Fry is impeccable. Staff members are friendly, accommodating, attentive and approachable. When I declined to order a drink, my server asked if I’d like water instead – free of charge.

K Fry gets a lot of Muslim customers, and they employ Muslim staff. They are not yet halal-certified however, as the local JAKIM certification process takes a super long time, but they source ingredients from halal-certified sources. The establishment is pork and alcohol-free.

K FRY (1 UTAMA)

LG 221A 1 Utama Shopping Center, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Phone: 03-7624 0027

kfry.my

Halal BBQ & Hotpot – Seoul Garden 1 Utama

Can’t decide between barbecue or hotpot? You can have both at Seoul Garden, a Korean-inspired buffet chain from Singapore which offers a plentiful array of vegetable, meat and seafood dishes for the pot as well as the grill. Their outlet in 1 Utama has been around for years and is still going strong, judging from the lunch crowd. It’s also Halal-certified, so the colleagues and I came here for our farewell lunch with L.

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We got here early so the resto was still quite empty. Social distancing rules are observed with tables spaced far apart, and patrons are required to wear face masks and gloves when taking their food from the buffet counters.

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The lunch buffet is priced at RM46.20 for adults, which I think is reasonable for the location and the variety of items they offer.  Before you’re seated, you can choose from several soup bases, such as Kimchi Jigae, Milky Seafood, Ginseng Chicken, Ginseng Abalone and the fusion-style TomYum Kimchi.

Over at the meat counter, you’ll find a selection of marinated meats ready for the grill – including the unique Coffee Chicken. While it might sound unappetising, it actually has good flavour, with a fragrant coffee aroma and a hint of sweetness / smokiness to it. You’ll also find both spicy and non-spicy Bulgogi Beef, Kimchi Chicken, BBQ and Teriyaki Chicken, Black Pepper Dory, Tom Yum Squid, and much more. If you upgrade to Premium for an additional RM12, you’ll get access to the Premium counter which has smoked duck, salmon, lamb, sirloin and other mexclusive items.

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While waiting for your soup to boil and the grill to heat up, hit up the ready-to-eat counter, featuring various fried goodies (fried fish fillets, potato wedges, fried chicken), noodles and rice. For lunch service, they fry the stuff in advance so some of it might not be as crispy, but the flavour is still decent. PS: A general rule at buffets if you want your money’s worth – don’t load up on the carbs. They’re filling, so you don’t get to eat as much of everything else. Might just be me though; to each their own. 😛

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Soup’s boiling, grill’s hot – time to tuck in!

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Highlights: Being a meat eater, I enjoyed all of the meat items, especially the smoked duck from the premium counter, the tom yum squid, the black pepper dory and the coffee chicken.  The ingredients were fresh and tasty – none of that awful bloody/iron taste you usually get from meat / seafood that have been frozen and thawed countless times. The soup base we picked (milky seafood) was too salty, though. Other than that, no complaints. We ended our meal with ice cream, fresh fruits and pudding for dessert.

BBQ /Hotpot buffets can be pricey in the Klang Valley, so RM50+ is a reasonable price for me, for a buffet of this quality. There is a good variety of items, the space is comfortable and clean, and the service is friendly (albeit a little slow especially when you need them to change the grill plate / add soup).

PS: Birthday babies dine for free! If it’s your birthday month, simply come with 3 paying adults and your meal will be covered for. 

SEOUL GARDEN 1 UTAMA 

LG 345, Lower Ground Floor, Highstreet, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Lebuh Bandar Utama, 47800, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Reservations: seoulgarden.com.my

 

 

Review: KFC Malaysia’s Soy Garlic Glazed Drummets – Inspired by Korean Fried Chicken

Hey guys! Just wanted to wish all Malaysian Muslims Selamat Hari Raya, and to everyone else celebrating around the world, Happy Eid! This year, there is no balik kampung exodus (people tried, though) as interstate travel is banned to prevent the spread of coronavirus – but visiting relatives and friends within the state is still allowed (provided they follow guidelines such as no more than 20 people in a gathering. Although personally, I feel this is difficult to enforce).

I’ve been meaning to use the free time to finish up a couple of pending blog posts but got sucked into playing games (yes, I know, not a very ‘productive’ way of spending the holidays :P). The office reopened two weeks ago with some changes (we moved into a new workspace + we have an alternate schedule so not everyone is going in at the same time) so I’ve been out and about, which means fodder for this blog space lol.

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Before moving out of my old office at PJ8, I went to the nearby KFC Jalan Barat for the last time. They are not yet open for dine-in, so all the tables have been cleared to accommodate takeaway and delivery.

They’re pretty stringent with social distancing measures, so a big kudos to them. As you enter, you are required to write down your details (for contact tracing purposes). If you’re not comfortable with holding the pen, you can always ask them to write it down for you or use the QR code scanner to key in your details via the government’s Selangkah app. After checking your temperature and sanitising your hands, you can then proceed to the counter to make your order.

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Tables are placed in front of the counter for added distance. There are also strips marked out on the floor so you know where to queue up. Orders are made on one side and pick up at the other.

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KFC has jumped on the Korean Fried Chicken (also KFC. lol) trend, with a new offering called Soy Garlic Glazed Drummets, available in three(RM6.30), five (RM10.50) and nine pieces (RM18.50). It had a ‘trial-run’ in 10 outlets back in November but is now available in stores nationwide.

K-style fried chicken is known for being extremely crispy (thanks to a double-fry method), whilst being moist and juicy on the inside – a feat that KFC’s version was able to achieve. The glaze was a tad too sweet for me, but it has a nice, garlicky flavour that Korean fried chicken fans will surely love. The smaller portion means that it is easy to polish off several pieces in one go – the perfect finger food. You can add on fries and a Pepsi for a complete meal.

In conjunction with the festive season, they’re also offering a limited time only dish called Nasi Kari Atuk (to my international readers, that’s Grandfather’s Curry Rice. Has a nostalgic ring to it, no?). You get rice with the chain’s signature fried chicken, served together with Kari Atuk, a rich and savoury curry made from blending traditional curry spices and coconut milk, as well as Sambal Atuk, a spicy anchovy-chilli paste + coleslaw and a drink.

I’m not a big fan of KFC and it is unlikely that I will go out of my way to look for one – but the Soy Garlic Glazed Drummets are worth a try if you’re craving for K-style fried chicken and can’t travel to establishments like 4Fingers, or KyoChon (on account that they usually don’t have that many branches).

Review: Wing Wing @ Pavilion KL – Korean Fried Chicken From The UK

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed. 

There’s a new Korean fried chicken joint in town – and it’s now my new favourite place for fried chicken! Hailing from the UK, Wing Wing enters the arena with an outlet in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, dishing out fresh, juicy fried chicken with some pretty interesting flavours.

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Already a cult favourite in its homeland, Wing Wing is a fusion of edgy London street culture, the pop of Asian spice and the European passion for pure quality ingredients. The outlet on Pavilion KL’s sixth floor is bright and cheerful, with funky colours, patterns and decor geared towards youth.

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There are currently three flavours available on the menu – the conventional soy garlic, spicy and something rather unusual – liquorice. Licquorice is an ancient Mediterranean herb used in food and medicine for thousands of years. You might have seen it in the form of candy in the UK, where it is quite popular. You can opt to order the standard wings and drummettes (set of six, 12 or 18), or drumsticks (3, 6 or 9 pieces). Each set can be upgraded to include fries and bottomless drink.

WW Chicken Wings & Drumettes Combo

Now I’ve had my fair share of Korean fried chicken, and different places do it differently. Wing Wing’s appeal lies in the chicken’s freshness, as the meat is delivered to the outlet each morning, then marinated, battered and hand-brushed with premium ingredients ie French flour and natural spices, before they are deep fried to order. The hand brushing technique creates a thin layer of coating over the basic marination, so you get a thin, crackly and almost transparent crust that envelops the juicy meat within. While all the flavours are great, I personally like the licquorice because it has this great, herbal-like flavour with a sweet aftertaste. The spicy will satisfy spice lovers as it packs quite a punch.

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If you prefer something healthier (ahem), opt for the salad which comes with generous chunks of boneless chicken meat on a bed of lettuce and dressing.

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For a hearty bite to-go, Wing Wing also offers chicken wraps – a tortilla stuffed full with fried chicken strips and vegetables.

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Another one of their signature items is the Chicken Katsu Bao – an interesting fusion of Asian flavours. There’s the lightly fried Chinese mantao bun, paired with tender crispy chicken within and a hefty dollop of kimchi slaw. The flavours are well balanced, with the slight sweetness/savoury flavour of the chicken + the tangy, sourness/creaminess of the kimchi slaw.

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Got a sweet tooth? Fret not – Wing Wing offers a couple of dessert items as well, such as the Hot Bao Nuts (stuffed with ingredients such as Banana Caramel; Pineapple, etc.) and ice cream sundaes.

Prices for the chicken items start from RM15.90 onwards.

WING WING MALAYSIA

Lot 6.01.01, Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone: 03-21103525

Business hours: 10AM – 10PM (daily)

*Photos not watermarked courtesy of Wing Wing Malaysia/Suppagood PR

Juicy Korean-Style Fried Chicken @ Dokebi Chicken, Tamarind Square Cyberjaya

Those who know me know that I’m absolutely. obsessed. with fried chicken. And whether it’s Korean or American-style, I’m always on the lookout for good places!

My three-point system for determining good fried chicken:

  • a) Is it crispy (even after it’s been sitting for a bit)? 
  • b) Does it have tender, juicy meat?  
  • c) Is it flavourful? 

Dokebi Chicken at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya ticks all the boxes. Newly opened last month, the resto which serves Korean-style fried chicken went viral on the Internet, thanks to a video of their Boneless Chicken with Cheese (their signature dish ie fried chicken wrapped in melty, gooey cheese). That aside, they have eight other sauces to choose from, and an Instagrammable cotton candy drink.

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It’s always heartening when you go to a Korean restaurant and you see actual Koreans dining there.

The interior is cosy and hip, with K-pop playing on the TV overhead, a long communal table for large groups and swing seats.

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Since I was dining alone, I couldn’t order the cheese option (it’s RM50+ and best for sharing between 2-3 people) – but I did get the Garlic Soy (RM19.80) which came in a set of 4 drummettes and wings, and topped it off with a bowl of steamed rice.

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Food came pretty quickly, fried fresh to order.

What can I say? Its just really good fried chicken. The exterior was extremely crispy and crunchy, and stayed that way down to the last piece. The sauce was garlicky, savoury and slightly sweet – to borrow from another fried chicken chain’s tagline, “finger licking good”. One thing I abhor about some fried chicken chains is when you know the meat has been frozen for a long time (the meat has a weird bloody, iron-like aftertaste) but the meat here tasted fresh and juicy. Was honestly impressed by how tender it was on the inside, so you get this really nice contrast of crispy chicken skin + tender insides.

Verdict: One of the better K-fried chickens out there, and I’d love to try other items once I’ve rounded up a few friends (I have those?)

DOKEBI CHICKEN 

D3-03-08 Tamarind Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyber 11, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (Daily)

 

 

Taste Your Way Through Asia @ Resorts World Genting

Home to over 1.6 billion people, East Asia is a vast region with a very long history and rich culture. One of the most region’s most distinctive features is its cuisine – with recipes that date back centuries, made from a treasure trove of ingredients. Resorts World Genting pays tribute to this grand culinary history by featuring highlights of the region through three unique restaurants.

Photo 1 - YG Republique

Representing the Hallyu Korean Wave is YG Republique in SkyAvenue. Just as K-Pop has taken over the music world, Korean cuisine has spread around the globe, bringing kimchi and bulgogi into the common food lexicon. Housing premium Korean BBQ restaurant Samgeori Butchers, the sweet and smokey smell of grilled meats wafts around a space designed to look like a traditional and nostalgic Korean butchery.

Photo 2 - YG Republique

The food, however, is anything but dated –  featuring premium cuts of pork cured in Cypress Pine and high-quality aged beef that hits the table grill with a satisfying sizzle. Traditional condiments – including the ubiquitous pickled kimchi, oiji (cucumber) and danmuji (radish) – accompany the hearty proteins, providing a spicy and sweet-salty kick to the tender, umami flavour of the meat.

Photo 4 - Taiko Ramen

South of the Korean Peninsula is the archipelago of Japan, an economic and cultural powerhouse, home to some of the world’s best-loved cuisines – from delicate sushi to fusion recipes like karaage. One of the most popular dishes is ramen – a basic but versatile noodle-and-broth dish. Taiko Ramen in First World Plaza is where guests can sample the distinctive flavours of ramen from Japan’s different regions. Savour the milky pork bone Kyushu broth, the thin yet flavourful Tokyo-style broth,  the spicy and creamy Hokkaido broth, or the newer no-broth mazeman style. Don’t be afraid to slurp; in Japan, this is expected and is a sign of the quality of the noodles and broth.

Photo 5 - Steam Era

Chinese cuisine has a history that dates back millennia, covering refined dishes previously served only to royalty, to street fare meant for families and villages to enjoy. While it is difficult to cover the full scope of Chinese cooking, Steam Era in First World Plaza provides a great representation, with its interpretation of the classic Chinese hot pot – utilising the power of steaming to retain an ingredient’s natural essence. Featuring only the freshest seafood, a meal at Steam Era is a joyous celebration of food. Beyond the hot pot, Steam Era’s menu also covers  dishes from all four corners of the country including Sichuan Spicy Chicken, Teochew Claypot Porridge, Hong Kong Style Beef Brisket Pot, and Lanzhou Beef Noodles.

For more information visit rwgenting.com or call +603-2718 1118.

Photo 6 - Steam Era

*Photos courtesy of Resorts World Genting.