Spanish and European Fusion @ La Cocina Restaurant & Tapas Bar, Taipan, Subang

Unlike Italian or Japanese, there aren’t as many Spanish restaurants around the Klang Valley — pricey places like Marta’s Kitchen in Bangsar, or chain restaurants like La Bodega usually come to mind. Pre-pandemic, my favourite was Tapas Club at Pavilion KL (their gambas al ajillo was divine!), but sadly, the restaurant closed some time in 2020.


It was by pure chance that the Hubs and I found La Cocina Restaurant and Tapas Bar — we were in Taipan to look for craft supplies — but it looked like a good spot for lunch, so we popped in. According to its website, the restaurant is helmed by a Swiss-trained chef/owner, and since it has been around for over two decades (in different locations), we had high expectations.


The interior is cosy, with a bar in one corner (it opens in the evenings), dark tiled floors, brick pillars, and tall windows that allow for plenty of natural sunlight to filter in. I also like the Spanish touches like the posters and paintings of matadors and flamenco dancers, Spanish flags, etc. The ambience upstairs, where there is an outdoor terrace, is very romantic — so you can consider booking a spot for date nights.



The menu is extensive, with a large selection of tapas (appetisers), sopas (soups), and mains such as paellas, meats, seafood, pastas, and even vegetarian dishes. You can check out the full menu here.


Wanted something soupy, so I went for the Sopas de Maricos (Mixed Seafood Soup) (RM23.90). The dish came chock full of seafood — shrimps, mussel, clams, squid, and fish fillet, swimming in a light, tomato saffron broth. It was warm and hearty, especially when paired with the basket of bread that was served together with it. The flavours were well balanced too — although there was quite a lot of garlic in it, this did not overwhelm the lightness of the tomato saffron broth. Solid (pun intended) bowl of soup!



The hubs had Prawn Aglio Olio pasta (RM33.90). Not strictly Spanish, but good nonetheless. The portion was very generous, with huge prawns and lots of mushrooms. Tasted great too; pasta was done al-dente, nice balance of olive oil and garlic, not too greasy. If there’s anything I would tone down on, it would be the parsley.


We also got fried calamari to share. They were fresh, springy to the bite, and crispy on the outside. Loved the dip it was served with, which was creamy and tangy.

There are many other items on La Cocina’s menu that we have yet to try, but I’m looking forward to it the next time I’m in Taipan; especially the paellas. Service is friendly, and although prices are above average, they are competitive in comparison with some of the higher-end Spanish restaurants.


1, Jalan USJ 10/1e, Taipan Business Centre, 47620 Subang Jaya, Selangor

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PS2: Opinions here are entirely my own.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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Easy 4-Step Bakkwa Puffs

Bakkwa (also known as rougan) is the Chinese version of jerky, consisting of flattened pieces of dried meat seasoned with sugar, salt and spices. It is very popular among the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, and although you can get it all year round, it is most commonly eaten during the Lunar New Year. We also prepare it differently here; ie cooking the meat over charcoal so it gets imbued with a nice, smoky flavour.

Bak kwa

Photo: Alpha, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve never been much of a bakkwa fan. I don’t hate it – if I was visiting someone during the festive season and they offered me a slice, I wouldn’t say no – but I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it. I’m sure many people would beg to differ though: apparently the line for the Lim Chee Guan brand of bak kwa in Singapore can stretch up to three hours!

Recently, my colleagues were tasked with making a video on ‘unique ways to prepare bakkwa’, and on my part, I had to come up with a recipe. All the good ones like pasta, fried rice and what not had already been taken. Not being much of a cook myself, I initially thought of just frying it as an omelet and calling it a day, but then my mom suggested I use it as filling for pastry, and bake it with cheese. Brilliant, Moomins!


Closest place to my house selling bak kwa is Oloiya in Bandar Puteri Puchong. Thankfully, Malaysians are a bit saner than Singaporeans (or maybe it’s coz COVID cases are in the four digits daily these days so people are kiasi?) , so there was no three hour queue.

Oloiya sells chicken and pork bakkwa in 100, 300 and 500 g portions. Unlike pre-pandemic times, they no longer display stacks of meat out in the open, probably for hygiene purposes. Instead, everything is vacuum packed and sealed. No tasters as well. It takes away from the traditional shopping experience, but hey – safety first.

I couldn’t visualise how much each portion was because everything was already packed into plastic, so I ordered the middle option (300g – RM35). It turned out to be quite a lot, as there were six pieces inside.

Aside from traditional chicken and pork, Oloiya has items like “Blooming Beauty Pork” (basically dried bacon strips), pork / chicken floss, and snack-sized bakkwa (called Bak-Off. I’m surprised this name got approved for the market lol). For those who are looking for gifts, Oloiya also offers nicely packed gift boxes with options for personalised engraving.


Anyway enough promo: on to the bakkwa puffs.


  • 3 pieces store-bought filo pastry (if you’re feeling hardworking, you can make your own – but I don’t have a recipe for that lol)
  • 1 piece bakkwa, cut into thin strips
  • 1 slice cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten (for eggwash)


  • Fill half of the filo pastry with bakkwa and top with cheese. Make sure there is enough space at the edges to fold.
  • Fold pastry into triangles and seal the edges with a fork.
  • Brush egg wash on top of pastry for colour.
  • Pre-heat oven. Set to 180C. Bake for 20 minutes. (PS: If it doesn’t look brown enough, either bake for another 10 minutes, or set the oven to a higher temperature.)

And there you have it. A creative way to enjoy your bakkwa!

If you think about it, you’re basically making a sandwich of sorts. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with meat + cheese + pastry combo. The pastry gives it a nice and crispy exterior, and the bakkwa’s sweet and salty flavour goes great with cheese. The texture also softens a bit during the baking process, so you actually get meat that is more moist.

What are some of the creative ways you eat your bakkwa? Or do you enjoy it as it is? Let me know if you’re planning to try this recipe, and how it turned out for you! 🙂


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Where To Get Waffles in Puchong: Shelove Waffle Cafe, Bandar Puteri Puchong

(Update: This cafe is permanently closed.)

Waffles are incredibly versatile. They come in a variety of flavours, from buttermilk and chocolate to pandan, and you can have them plain with syrup, or spruced up with ice cream, fruits and other toppings. You can also have them savoury, paired with fried chicken, salmon, eggs… the possibilities are endless.


While Puchong has no shortage of cafes serving waffles, a good place to have them is at Shelove Waffle Cafe at Bandar Puteri Puchong. Located on the second floor of a shop lot just above a car repair store, this simple establishment is spacious and best of all, it’s usually quiet in comparison to other places so you don’t have to queue up or worry about social distancing. The Moomins and I came here during the Awal Muharram public holiday, after a failed attempt at going to Souffle Dessert Cafe (place was too crowded and had a one-hour waiting list).


The interior is spacious and tables are spaced far apart. Unlike your typical hipster/Instagrammable cafe, shelove feels more homely, with simple decor.



One unique thing about the cafe is that they double as a metaphysics centre of sorts. There are several books and items related to divination, including dice and tarot sets, and they even offer consultation services. Unfortunately the instructions for the tarot are all in Chinese, which I cannot read. insert sad face 😦


The menu is massive, easily 30 items and above. Their specialty is, of course, waffles of both the sweet and savoury variety. They have pretty names, like Lavender Romance (buttermilk waffle over strawberries, blueberries and earl grey lavender ice cream), Sunday Breeze (pandan waffle over coconut icre cream, shredded coconut and coconut biscuits) and Butterfly (green tea waffle topped with matcha ice cream, banana, strawberry, marshmallow, matcha meringue, blueberry and golden syrup).

Moomikins decided these were too heavy for a quick afternoon bite, so she ordered plain waffles with a dash of syrup. If you want to build your own waffle, you can do so by choosing a flavour and different toppings / ice cream. The waffles here are nice and fluffy. Crispy exterior, pillowy soft insides. Not too sweet, which is great.


I, on the other hand, was starving because I had brunch around 11 and it was already 4pm lol.

Ordered a waffle with grilled chicken and a fried egg. It was filling enough to last til dinner. The batter for the waffles was actually the same as the sweet kind, but it actually balanced out the saltiness of the chicken quite nicely – and they also added a splash of syrup to bind all the elements together. If you like savoury waffles, the cafe offers items such as their signature Crispy Honey-Mustard Fried Chicken Waffle, Smokey BBQ Pork Burger Waffle and Nachos Nachos (nachos style buttermilk waffle over crispy chicken, nachos cheese and tomato). Aside from waffles, they also have mains like pastas and rice dishes.

Pricing for the waffles vary. My grilled chicken waffle was Rm12.90, but the premium items cost about RM20++.


25, Jalan Puteri 4/1, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: Tues – Fri (11AM – 10PM), Sat – Sun (12PM – 11PM). Closed Mondays

What To Eat In Tanjung Sepat : Handmade Pau, Coffee, Cendol and Snacks

At first glance, Tanjung Sepat looks like any sleepy fishing town – boats docked by the river mouth, narrow roads flanked by wooden homes, quaint flower gardens and vegetable patches. Venture further in to Lorong 4, however, and you’ll find a bustling area where you can find all sorts of delicious delicacies, from handmade paus to local snacks.Villagers have made the area into a food street of sorts, with their homes doubling as food stalls. Some offer seating, while others sell snacks that you can get for takeaway.




Tanjung Sepat is famous for its pau (buns) – and there are two popular places to get them. One is Mr Black Handmade Pau, which is closer to the centre of town; the other is Hai Yew Hin, located at Lorong 4. The shop is a nondescript wooden building, but you can easily find it by looking out for the long line of patrons spilling out onto the road. Their signature is mui choy bao (pork with Chinese mustard), sang yoke bao (pork chunks with egg), vegetable bun, as well as various baos with sweet fillings such as red bean.



Tried the sang yoke bao when I got home; it did not disappoint! I enjoyed its light and fluffy texture. The egg and pork was filling as well.


If you want to have your buns fresh out of the steamer, you can dine in at the coffeeshop across the road. They also sell loads of snacks such as fried crab rolls, shrimp fritters and fishballs.


Address: 405, Lorong 4, Off, Jalan Besar, Pekan Tanjung Sepat, 42800 Tanjong Sepat, Selangor (opening hours: 1PM – 6PM (Mon-Fri), 10AM – 6PM (Sat – Sun) 



Next to the pau place is a store selling pastries such as tarts and biscuits, which are made fresh in house. It’s easy to be enticed by the smell of baked goods as you walk past the shop, and you’ll get to see the store assistants in action as they expertly pack up kaya puffs, lou por beng and egg tarts neatly into plastic containers.



Another must-try in the area is coffee from Kwo Zha B. This small but charming kopitiam is run by 3rd generation coffee roasters, and is quite popular – there are pictures of food show hosts and celebrities adorning one side of the wall. The coffee beans are locally sourced from a nearby village and roasted with sugar, margarine and salt – creating a deliciously smooth and rich flavour.


Perfect for a hot day! You can add a scoop of ice cream for extra oomph. Kwo Zha B also sells their coffee in powder form so you can make your own drinks at home.


Address: No. 15, Medan Selera Lorong 3, Tanjung Sepat, 42800, Selangor (Open daily 10.30AM – 4.30PM) 



If you still haven’t gotten your fill of cold desserts, walk a bit further to Jalan Sekolah’s Hin Leong, which has great cendol. They offer several flavours, including the traditional one with green cendol and red bean, as well as pumpkin and durian.


The inside is air conditioned, so you can escape the sweltering afternoon heat. There are other snacks for sale as well.


The traditional cendol is good, and the chewy rice flour jelly has a satisfying texture. If you like flavours like salted caramel, you’ll enjoy the pumpkin cendol, which has a salty aftertaste that balances surprisingly well with the rich coconut milk. I like that they serve the cendol in coconut husks – more sustainable and environmentally friendly, less mess and easy to clean !


Address: 359, Jalan Sekolah, Pekan Tanjung Sepat, 42800 Tanjong Sepat, Selangor (Open daily 10.30AM – 5.30PM)

Review: Nobu Kuala Lumpur’s “Ode To Nobu” Omakase Menu + Sushi Masterclass With Chef Nobu Himself!

I’m pretty thankful for the job I have and the experiences it affords me.

I mean, it’s not everyday one gets to meet, let alone have a sushi Masterclass with a celebrity chef like Nobu Matsuhisa. Known for his unusual approach of combining traditional Japanese techniques with Peruvian ingredients, the 70-year-old restaurateur has several restaurants (and hotels) around the world bearing his name, all frequented by celebrities and prominent people in society. He was in town recently to visit his Kuala Lumpur restaurant, and members of the media were treated to a crash course in the art of sushi making.


Chef Nobu demonstrating one of his dishes. He related an interesting story about how a guest once declined to eat sashimi after it was served to the table, saying she ‘didn’t like raw food’. He took it back to the kitchen, heated some oil and then poured it over the sides that the fish would be cooked on the edges, without disrupting the original dish’s presentation. The guest ate it.


What we were making: nigiri sushi and some rolls.



We each got an apron, a board and ingredients at our workstation. Assisted by some of the younger Nobu KL chefs, we were then instructed to roll our sushi rice into a ball.  Easier said than done! The rice was extremely sticky, and we soon had bits of rice everywhere. Mine refused to clump properly into any sort of shape. Ended up with the apprentice chef making most of my nigiri for me lmfao


The rolls were much easier as all I had to do was, well, roll it up.


Horrendous.  :’D 

Making good sushi can take years to master – it is truly an art form. That aside, we ate the sushi we ‘made’. What I can say is the fish was really fresh. lol.

This October, you can get a taste of the “Ode to Nobu” omakase menu, uniquely designed and curated by Chef Nobu himself together with the team of chefs at Nobu Kuala Lumpur. The elegant 7-course menu, available until 31 October 2019, will elevate selected Nobu signature and Malaysia-exclusive dishes, with the addition of luxury ingredients such as caviar, uni and truffle. 


We tried some of the dishes, starting off with Seared Kampachi and Scallop Sashimi with Salad. Fat, juicy scallops and thick slices of kampachi (Almaco jack) were served on a bed of greens with an oily but light dressing that brought everything together well. You get the crisp crunch of the vegetables, as well as the sweetness and the ‘meaty’ texture of seafood, all in one bite. 


The Cold Inaniwa with Lobster in Watercress Soup was another winner. Served cold, we were treated to a whole lobster claw swimming in an emerald green soup that gets its vibrant colour from the mild, herby watercress. Inaniwa noodles are not as well known as ramen and udon outside of Japan, but they are essentially hand stretched udon with a thinner, chewier texture. 


The star of the afternoon was the tender Wagyu Truffle Sansho Pepper Sauce with wasabi purple potato puree, grilled takenoko and baby vegetables. Melt-in-the-mouth does not even begin to describe the fatty, beefy goodness of the meat – it felt like butter dissolving on the tongue. Nobu uses Miyazaki A5 wagyu, the highest grade available. Even without the Sansho Pepper sauce, digging into this was pure bliss. 



Ending the meal on a sweet note was the exquisite Soya Panna Cotta on Monaka & Monk Fruit Sorbet with kinako, mocha and kuromame. Loved the delicate pink sakura-flower shaped wafer, and the monk fruit sorbet was both refreshing and intriguing – haven’t seen the fruit used much in desserts other than the Chinese ‘leong sui’.

The ‘Ode to Nobu’ Omakase menu is priced at RM595++ per person.

In addition to the exclusive menu, Nobu Kuala Lumpur has also launched its Sushi master Class, spearheaded by Chef Chico Dator, Head Sushi Chef of NObu Kuala Lumpur. The class will be available on the first Saturday of every month from 11AM to 2PM, with a minimum booking of six persons, two weeks in advance. Guests will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of sushi making, and the session is inclusive of lunch and a signed Nobu cookbook by the Nobu Kuala Lumpur chefs.

For inquiries or reservations, call +603 2164 5084 or WhatsApp 019-3895085.