Starbucks Malaysia Reimagines Raya with New Offerings

We’re just a few weeks shy of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This year’s celebrations will be a little subdued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Starbucks Malaysia is keen to inject some colour into the festivities – through several exciting new Raya beverage and merchandise offerings.

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I’m sure everyone is missing Air Jagung, which is a must-have at Ramadan bazaars. Taking inspiration from this popular drink, Starbucks has come up with the new Caramel Sweet corn Frappucino – beautifully crafted with premium sweet corn sauce, luscious milk and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, topped with green tea whipped cream. You’ll feel as if you’re at the heart of the warm, bustling Ramadan markets again!

Starbucks® Chewy Kurma Cookies

Dates are another commonplace during the Ramadan and festive season, and the delectable Chewy Kurma Cookies, a combination of rolled oats, dates and hints of cinnamon, can be enjoyed with close family members at home, or delivered to relatives and friends.

Grab app or Foodpanda app customers can order both items at a special price and have them delivered to your preferred address. Alternatively, order the Starbucks Iftar Together Combo set, where you can get two Grande-sized handcrafted beverages and one slice of cake for only RM29.90.

Aside from its usual beverages, cakes and pastries, Starbucks Malaysia is also offering merchandise through the mobile apps, which can be an option for many if they feel like doing their Raya gifting this season remotely. The brand’s beautifully designed Raya Cups and matching Cup Sleeves for this year are created locally by the Starbucks team in Malaysia and make for wonderful gifts.  The designs combine the very traditions of Malaysian batik with The Fanous, the decorative lanterns that has since become synonymous to Ramadan and Aidilfitri. These lanterns are also significant during these uncertain times as a beacon of hope, and as a light that will keep shining despite the circumstances.

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The local team has also designed a one-of-a-kind Aidilfitri 2020 Starbucks Card. The card’s main feature is its Malaysian Batik pattern with an intricate floral design, and pigments of various shades of green that have been coloured in by hand. The card this year is also unique as it is made from paper, which makes them a more sustainable option. With a minimum activation of RM50, this card is perfect to share with a loved one.

The Iftar Combo Set is available at all stores from 12 May onwards. The Caramel Sweet Corn Frappuccino, Chewy Kurma Cookies and the Aidilfitri 2020 Starbucks Card is already available in all stores nationwide, while stocks last.

For more information, visit the Starbucks Malaysia website at www.starbucks.com.my

Break Fast This Ramadan with Coffee, Cake and Delicious Meals from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Malaysia

What with the Movement Control Order still in place, Ramadan (and possibly Syawal) will be a new experience for Malaysians this year. To help ease the experience of staying at home, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has come up with a new menu selection that can be enjoyed from the comforts of your own abode. From the deeply satisfying Dark Chocolate Chai Tea Latte or a decadent Single Origin Chocolate beverage, to savoury entrées featuring local favourites and Asian flavours with a modern twist, there’s something to suit every preference.

CB&TL Single Origin Chocolate Beverages

Chocolate is known for its feel-good qualities and everyone is in need of a pick-me-up these days. Try the comforting goodness of a hot or iced Dark Chocolate Chai Tea Latte (RM14.50 small, RM15.50 regular), a unique blend combining rich, dark chocolate that’s balanced with CB&TL’s sweet and spicy chai. For chocolate purists, experience the depth of flavour and unique properties of Single Origin Chocolate sourced from Ghana – it boasts a fudge-like richness that is perfect on its own or blended with CB&TL’s signature coffee extract for a boost. Try it as a Single Origin Chocolate or Single Origin Mocha Latte (RM15.95 small, RM17.45 regular), or as a refreshing Ice Blended® (RM16.50 small, RM18 regular).

CB&TL Ramadhan-Syawal Specials

These thirst-quenching beverages go hand-in-hand with a delicious Chicken Satay Sandwich (RM20.50), slathered with peanut sauce and lemongrass, and served on fresh panini bread, or the aptly-named Yum Chicken Salad (RM22.80), a mouth-watering Siam-inspired serving of chicken with tom yum and Thai basil leaves on a bed of mesclun salad leaves.

CB&TL Yum Chicken Salad

End the meal on a sweet note with Nuts About You (RM13.95 per slice, RM139.90 for a whole cake), featuring layers of coffee, peanut butter, nuts and chocolate to satisfy even the most demanding dessert critic. This season also sees a return of The Straits (RM12.95 per slice, RM129.30 for a whole cake), a traditional pandan cake laced with gula Melaka with the added richness of cream and mascarpone cheese.

CB&TL Nuts About You (whole cake)

In the spirit of spreading cheer this Raya, CB&TL will also be offering value for money promotions. Takeaway orders get to enjoy value bundles; post-MCO, the offers will also apply to dine-in customers. 

#RayaDekatDiHati Promotions run from now until 23 May 2020, whereby customers who buy any Café beverage can top up RM5 to get a bagel. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, buy two desserts and get one free from a choice of cakes, muffins, cookies and sweet scones. Fans of CB&TL’s signature beverages such as The Original Mocha Ice Blended® drink, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Americano, Today’s Brew and Cold Brew Tea beverages will also enjoy a 20% discount. 

CB&TL The Straits (whole cake)

Meanwhile, cash rebates are also available on GrabFood orders during the GrabFood Ramadhan Hot Deals Campaign from now until 23 May 2020. With a minimum order of RM25, you’ll get a 30% discount (up to a maximum discount of RM8 per order) – just key in promo code HOTDEALS during the checkout.

More information on CB&TL’s festive menu and latest offerings on CB&TL’s Facebook page, or www.coffeebean.com.my.

9 Must-Have Hari Raya Dishes For the Festive Season

Ramadan Kareem!

Last week marked the start of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam, when Muslims around the world observe fasting from dawn until dusk. In Malaysia, this is usually a time for Ramadan bazaars – but these have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some states have come up with innovative ways to help traders, such as through delivery services – and while it may not come close to the festive atmosphere at an actual food bazaar, it’s the best option to ensure that we still get to enjoy some food, help out the traders and most importantly, keep safe and healthy.

After Ramadan comes Eid, known colloquially as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, on May 24. Just like Christmas is celebrated in Western countries as a time for family and togetherness, so is Hari Raya to Muslims. But with travel restrictions expected to be put into place to avoid an exodus of city folk returning to their hometowns (which might cause another wave of infections), members of the public are faced with a very bleak and lonely Hari Raya.

Not all is doom and gloom, however. An essential part of any celebration is food – and I’m pretty sure that we’ll still be able to enjoy some scrumptious Raya dishes: perhaps not at a friend’s open house or a family gathering, but from a restaurant, small-time traders (whom we should definitely support), or if you can make it at home – then all the better!

Rendang 

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Photo credit: Kyle Lam via Flickr

No Hari Raya celebration would be complete without rendang – a spicy slow-cooked meat dish braised in coconut milk and spices. There are many different ways to make it, depending on the state/region you’re from. (One thing it is not, however, is crispy.) Typically, a protein such as chicken, beef or lamb is used, but there are also versions made with seafood like fish, shrimp, crab, squid and cockles. The rendang that I am most familiar with is the regular rendang daging, which is drier than curry but still has plenty of gravy that is excellent with rice. A lot of work goes into making good rendang, with ingredients such as coconut milk (santan) and a paste of mixed ground spices such as ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillies and more.

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The rendang from Negeri Sembilan – a state with a large Minangkabau diaspora – has a distinctively Padang influence, with heavy use of turmeric, chilli and santan which gives it a distinctively lighter colour. They also like to use smoked duck as the meat – another Negeri Sembilan specialty. Rendang Tok from the state of Perak, on the other hand, is very dry with little to no gravy, and uses a liberal amount of kerisik (pounded, toasted coconut) and larger chunks of meat that is slow-cooked until tender. My personal favourite? Rendang paru, made from cow lungs. Not very healthy, but t I only have it once a year. 😛

Lemang 

Lemang

Photo credit: zol m via Flickr 

A lot of Hari Raya dishes have strong flavours + gravy, and are made to be eaten with rice. So you definitely can’t miss out on lemang, essentially glutinous rice, salt and coconut milkin a hollowed-out piece of bamboo and grilled over an outdoor fire. You might think it’s easy to chuck rice into bamboo and grill it, but the ‘simplest’ things are often the hardest to execute. The bamboo can’t be too soft or it will break easily, but neither can it be too hard as it will take too long to cook the rice. Maintaining control of the fire and heat is essential, which can be challenging when you’re working with an open fire. The bamboo also has to be turned over constantly, to ensure the rice is cooked evenly and thoroughly. The final result? A slightly sticky, chewy rice with a smoky aftertaste – perfect to go with curry, rendang and serunding (meat floss). 

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Lemang periuk kera, which features rice stuffed into pitcher plants, has become very popular in the last couple of years – although naturalists discourage eating it due to fears that the plant will be over-collected in order to meet demands.

Ketupat 

Ketupat

Photo credit: Sham Hardy via Flickr 

Andddd we have the poster child for Hari Raya – ketupat, or compressed rice. The image of ketupat nasi, housed in iconic diamond-shaped containers woven out of palm leaves, is synonymous with Hari Raya in Malaysia. Like lemang, ketupat is meant to be eaten with all the savoury, curry and gravy-based dishes. Aside from ketupat nasi, there is also ketupat daun palas, which is triangular in shape and made with glutinous rice.  If you can’t get your fill of rice, look out for nasi impit which is basically rice compressed into squares – makes for easy eating! 

Masak Lemak 

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While it’s literally translated to ‘cooked in fat’, masak lemak actually refers to a style of cooking that incorporates coconut milk (yes, we use a lot of that here). The dish is usually prepared with meat such as chicken, beef, fish, seafood and even vegetables. Masak Lemak Cili Api is popular in Negeri Sembilan and has a vibrant yellow colour, with birds-eye chillies thrown in (they’re pretty spicy at 50,000 – 100,000 Scoville units!) alongside turmeric and other spices. For something milder on the palate, there’s Masak Lemak Putih, which is white in colour and often uses vegetables such as cabbage and pumpkin. 

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Masak lemak putih with pumpkin and spinach

Satay

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Satay may not be Hari Raya “exclusive”, but it is certainly part of any Hari Raya gathering worth its salt. And who doesn’t like smoky barbecued meat on skewers, grilled over a charcoal fire? Most common meats are chicken and beef, less common are lamb and seafood. Of course, you can’t miss out on the peanut sauce and nasi impit. Tone down the spice with some cucumber and onions.

Kambing Panggang 

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Again, not Raya exclusive, but you’ll often find it at major festivals in Malaysia celebrated by the Malay community. You’ll often find whole roasted lamb at Ramadan bazaars or at buka puasa/ Hari Raya buffets at hotels, served with black pepper or mushroom sauce.

Sambal based dishes

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Curry-based and masak lemak-based cooking form a large part of Malay and Indonesian cuisine. Rounding it off are sambal-based dishes, which are typically made from a sauce or paste featuring chilli, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallots and other spices. Sambal dishes are very common during Hari Raya – my favourite being sambal sotong (squid), which comes in a spicy, rich and thick, sweet gravy.

Bubur 

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There’s something very hearty and comforting about the humble porridge – perhaps because it is easy to digest, tasty, and warms/fills the belly right up. There are both sweet and savoury variants. Bubur Lambuk, a spiced meat porridge, is a popular dish for breaking fast during Ramadan, and it is also served during Hari Raya. Again, like Rendang, different states have their own versions. The east coast of Peninsular Malaysia uses fish meat and fresh herbs such as fern and cassava leaves, while Bubur Lambuk Utara from the northern states of Malaysia contains egg, shredded chickens and nuts. Personally, I like dessert bubur that uses local fruits and ingredients, such as black sesame, mungbean, red bean and pengat pisang (banana porridge? although it’s more like a stew rather than a bubur per se).

Kuih-Muih 

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Ending this post on a sweet note, we have kuih muih. It’s hard to classify what kuih muih is as they come in all sorts of colours, shapes and flavours –  the best I can describe it is an assortment of cakes, sweets, cookies and snacks. Traditional favourites that are commonly seen during Raya include Kuih Koci – a glutinous rice dumpling with a palm sugar-filled centre, onde-onde (chewy glutinous rice balls with shredded coconut), kuih bakar (baked pandan cake), lepat pisang (steamed banana cake wrapped in banana leaves), talam ubi (tapioca cake) and kuih seri muka (a two layered white and green cake).

 

What are some of your Hari Raya favourites? If you celebrate Eid in other parts of the world, let me know in the comments about some of your traditional dishes!

 

 

 

 

 

Bazaar Ramadan 2019 @ Puchong Prima, Puchong

What’s the best part about the Ramadan month in Malaysia? Everyone (non-Muslims included) gets to enjoy the delicious food sold at Ramadan bazaars ! These evening street markets open from 4PM onwards, peddling all sorts of mouthwatering dishes and snacks, some which are only available during this time of the year. Decided to go check out the Ramadan Bazaar @ Puchong Prima over the weekend, and it did not disappoint.

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One of the larger bazaars in Puchong, there are well over 50 stalls at the location, which is more than last year’s bazaar. Visitors are immediately enticed by the smell of food being cooked on the spot, smoke and steam wafting into the air. Traders call out with cries of nasi ayam, nasi lemak, keropok lekor, murah murah murah. Crowds jostle. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, but it’s all part of the charm of Ramadan bazaars.

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Each bazaar has its own selection of cuisine to offer, but most will have the standard favourites such as Ayam Percik (a Malay-style roast chicken with a chilli herb sauce), Roti John (omelette sandwich with various fillings), murtabak (flatbread with meat filling), keropok lekor (fried fish snack), Ayam Madu (roast chicken with honey) and Bergedil (meat and tofu balls). One may even find items like sushi, takoyaki, Western fare, Korean fried chicken and more.

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(Above) Deep fried spring rolls coated in chilli sauce.

The best part about Ramadan Bazaars is that everything is reasonably priced. If one can afford to break their fast at a fancy hotel, by all means – but I think cheap food can be just as tasty, and you’re supporting small time traders as well.

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A trader adding lettuce to his chicken rice, now all ready for sale.

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Whole fried squid and deep fried boneless chicken are also staples at Ramadan bazaars.

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At RM5 for five pieces, you get these humongous meatballs fresh off the grille, slathered with cheese sauce and mayonnaise, and a packet of black pepper sauce. Not the healthiest option, but damn was it good!

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My takeaway dinner was Nasi Sotong Kunyit (squid fried in turmeric with longbeans, carrots and onions), which for its generous portion, only set me back RM8. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re dropping by the Bazaar Ramadan Puchong Prima anytime soon!

BAZAAR RAMADAN PUCHONG PRIMA 

Jalan Prima 5/1, Taman Puchong Prima, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 4PM – 7PM (until 4 June 2019)

Review: Nostalgia Nipah Ramadan Buffet @ Hotel EQ Kuala Lumpur

As one of the first luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Equatorial was an iconic landmark in the city, right up until it was closed in 2012 for redevelopment. Rather than refurbish the dated interiors to keep up with the times, the owners decided to pull down the entire place and build a brand new hotel in its place. So it is that after seven long years, the brand new five star EQ Hotel opened its doors to the public in March of this year – featuring modern yet elegant interiors, contemporary rooms, top notch facilities and creative dining concepts.

Old timers will remember Equatorial’s legendary Nipah Restaurant as a place where they might have had their first date, celebrated family gatherings, had birthdays or socialised with friends. EQ has retained part of this rich heritage with their very own Nipah Restaurant, which pays tribute to the well loved recipes and dishes that made the old place such a popular dining establishment. As the new hotel celebrates its first Ramadan, guests and diners are welcome to take a trip down memory lane with their Nostalgia Nipah Ramadan Buffet dinner.

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The spacious dining area has various seating arrangements for different groups, be it an intimate table for two or a comfortable booth with couch-like seats. The design is elegant and contemporary, the use of ambient lighting lending it a warm, cosy feel. The food has also been arranged for maximum efficiency and convenience, with a dessert island, salad counter, main buffet spread with a view of the open kitchen, and an outdoor area housing live cooking stations and a noodle bar.

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The fresh seafood, salad and ulam counter was laden with humongous shellfish and sizable shrimps, alongside a variety of sauces and condiments to go with the greens. For when you wanna eat ‘healthy’ but who does when you’re at a buffet ? lol

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The spread features a nice variety of traditional Malay favourites, popular Malaysian dishes and some Western fare, like thin-crust, oven baked pizzas,  and a pasta counter where you can have your pasta cooked to order in your sauce of choice. Some of the other main dishes to look out for include Briyani Gam, Daging Salai Masak Lemak, Ayam Goreng Berempah, Sambal Udang Petai, Ayam Tikka Masala, Ikan Kukus Pedas and many more.

Don’t forget to try the signature curry noodles, the recipe of which was created by one of the hotel’s pioneer chefs in the 1980s, where he insisted on using the shells of tiger prawns, together with heads so the roe would melt into the stock. Together with dried shrimp and a blend of secret herbs and spices, the broth is then put on a slow simmer for four hours to create a rich gravy, with a consistency similar to hearty seafood chowder.

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I try to steer clear of carbs (ie rice and noodles) because they’re usually filling and you won’t get your money’s ‘worth’ – but Nipah’s Hainanese Chicken Rice – another old recipe handed down from Equatorial – was so delicious everyone went for seconds. The chicken needed a bit more flavour although it was tender and juicy enough, but the rice was crazy tasty. Fragrant, buttery and flavourful, it seemed to have been cooked in  chicken fat – you can even eat it on its own, it was that good.

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The noodle bar is where you can customise your noodles; next to the Ais Kacang counter. Diners will also find perennial Malaysian favourites, from oxtail, beef, chicken or mutton soup, to the popular Roti Canai, Murtabak Ayam, Popiah Basah, or Rojak. 

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No Ramadan buffet is complete without a whole roasted lamb, smoky and dripping in juices. The version at EQ has been tenderly massaged with spice rubs for exquisite flavour.

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The thing about buffets: even trying a bit of everything is enough to make you full!

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But of course, there’s always a separate stomach for desserts! I loved the fact that they had warm, sweet bread pudding, as well as a variety of traditional Malay kueh-mueh and Western-style cakes, tarts and pastries. Some looked too pretty to be eaten. Ice cream is also on the menu, and you can customise it however you want – drizzled over with chocolate sauce, sprinkled with chocolate chips or marshmallows.

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Nostalgia Nipah is available daily from 6 May until 2 June 2019, 6.30pm to 10.30pm, priced as follows:

  • Selera Warisan @ RM178nett for dinner buffet at Nipah Restaurant
  • Sajian Kasih @ RM188nett for exclusive dinner at EQ’s brand new function room for 50 pax and above.

A special discount may be considered for reservations made during the first and last week of Ramadan. Children aged 6 to 12 dine at 50%. For reservations and/or enquiries, call + 60 (3) 2789 7777.

EQ Kuala Lumpur 

Plaza Equatorial, Jalan Sultan Ismail,  50250 Kuala Lumpur

website

Review: Buka Puasa @ Garden Grille, Hilton Garden Inn Puchong This Ramadan

Salam Ramadan Kareem to all my Muslim friends and readers! Today marks the first day of Ramadan – the holiest month in Islam – where Muslims observe a month of fasting and spiritual reflection.

For those in Malaysia, buka puasa (the breaking of fast) in the evenings is a lively affair, with people flocking to Ramadan bazaars or hotels to enjoy their iftar (evening meal). If you’re looking for a taste of traditional Malay fare at an affordable price, there’s the ramadan buffet at the Garden Grille @ Hilton Garden Inn Puchong. Themed ‘Selera Desa’, the hotel’s nostalgic spread will transport diners to the quaint Malaysian countryside, with dishes prepared the traditional way.

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The spacious setting, which feels comfortable and inviting, offers panoramic views of the surrounding neighbourhood on one side, and the outdoor pool on the other.

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Kickstart the meal with some light bites and healthy snacks from the salad bar. Of particular note are the tuna hors doeuvres, which are rich, creamy and slathered onto crunchy bread in generous amounts. Or go traditional at the ulam corner, where you can take your pick from a variety of garden herbs and greens, tossed with pickled vegetables, roots and spices.

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Moving on to mains, tuck into hearty Malay comfort food such as Ayam Masak Merah, Pari Asam Pedas, Paru Berlado as well as the usual staples of lemang and rendang. While the selection is mostly Malay, they’ve got a couple of international dishes as well. The Korean corner surprised me – the two dishes for our preview (tteokbokki and chapchae) were both excellent.

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If you’re not up for spicy dishes, they have items such as Chinese-style stir fried vegetables as well.

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The pasta station sees chefs whipping up fresh orders, whether it’s carbonara or bolognese sauce. My penne pasta was done al dente, although I felt like the sauce was a little too cloying.

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Choose from a variety of thirst quenchers, from soya bean to sugar cane juice and air mata kucing. 

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Head outdoors to where a whole roast lamb sizzles on the grill, juices and fat dripping. They also have satay on the menu, and an ais kacang corner where you can add your own condiments.

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Old school ice shaver.

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Last but not least, indulge in the desserts section where one will find Western style sponge cakes and flavours such as red velvet and butter, alongside traditional Malay kueh mueh the likes of kueh lapis, kuih ketayap and kuih seri muka.

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Hilton Garden Inn’s Selera Desa Ramadan buffet is available from 13 to 31 May from 7PM – 9.30PM, priced at RM80 nett per person. Early bird bookings before 6 May is priced at RM69 nett per person. For reservations, call +60380841299 or email kulpu_fb@hilton.com.

HILTON GARDEN INN PUCHONG 

Jalan DM2, Desa Millennia, 47150 Puchong, Selangor

What to Eat at Bazaar Ramadan Puchong Prima, Puchong

The holy month of Ramadan is a big thing in Malaysia, since more than 60% of the population is Muslim. The beauty of living in multi-cultural Malaysia, though, is that even non-Muslims get to be part of the festivities – in the form of evening food bazaars, or as we call it here, ‘Bazaar/Pasar Ramadan’. 

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Since it was a public holiday and the Moomikins wasn’t cooking, the whole fam decided to grab dinner at the Puchong Prima Ramadan Bazaar. During the fasting month, the road along OTK Mart will be closed to traffic from mid-afternoon onwards, to accommodate some 30+ makeshift stalls.

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Immediately upon entering the vicinity, the smell of food permeates the air. I’m not fasting, and even then it was enough to make me salivate; so I truly salute the willpower of my Muslim friends. Kudos!

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Some of the popular items visitors will find at Ramadan bazaars – fried goodies, the likes of boneless, breaded fried chicken, jumbo sausages and whole squid.

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Deep fried beancurd (tahu) stuffed with chicken meat, gigantic currypuffs and samosas.

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Thirst quenchers: colourful fruit drinks like soursop, ribena, corn and watermelon juice in plastic baggies.

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Sea coconut juice!

Despite the name, they’re actually fruits that grow on a species of palm tree. The flesh has a sweet flavour and chewy texture.

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Keropok lekor, or fish crackers, are a traditional Malay snack. The thin type is crispy and crunchy. There are also chewy ’round’ ones made from a mix of flour and fish paste.

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Snacks aren’t the only thing you’ll find at a ramadan bazaar – there are plenty of carb-heavy dishes as well! Chicken rice, Nasi Arab, pita wraps and fresh-off-the-grill kebab meat, Nasi Lemak and Nasi Kerabu are just some of the traditional dishes available.

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Colourful dimsum !

The only problem with going to ramadan bazaars is that with your senses being bombarded with smells and sights, there’s always a danger of overbuying… which is what happened. We bought a buttload of food and had a difficult time finishing them. :/

If you’re in Malaysia during the Ramadan month, don’t forget to drop by at the local bazaar!

 

 

Ramadan Review: Jom Makan @ Paya Serai, Hilton Petaling Jaya

The holy month of Ramadan begins this week, and hotels around the Klang Valley will be busy with festive dinner offerings. At Hilton PJ, the theme this year is ‘Jom Makan’ – inviting everyone to the hotel’s Paya Serai Restaurant to partake in a delicious spread of local and international flavours.

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Kick the meal off with some colourful thirst quenchers – refreshing mango and fruit cordials, soya bean and milk tea.

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Seafood on ice always makes for popular appetisers, and Paya Serai has shrimp, crab and mussels on the menu.

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Alternatively, pick out your favourite ulam and kerabu (salad) mixes.

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If cold seafood is not your thing, opt to have the chefs at the grilling station cook them over a fire, and enjoy with various curries, sauces and dips.

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Those craving for Indian flavours can head to the Indian food station, complete with murtabak (spiced meat stuffed in bread), roti canai, curries and fresh-off-the-grill satay.

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No Ramadan buffet would be complete without chicken or beef satay, eaten with peanut gravy and a side of ketupat (rice wrapped in woven palm leaf). The version at Paya Serai is flavourful and juicy, with a nice ratio of lean and fat.

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Gotta have them carbs! The noodle station lets patrons customise the ingredients they’d like in their bowl of soupy goodness.

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Eating shellfish can be messy but oh-so-satisfying: you’ll find plenty of variety here, such as the spicy balitong (left) that needs to be sucked out of the shell, as well as curried crab.

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Whole roasted lamb, prepared Mediterranean style and stuffed with rice.

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Chef grilling meat on the teppanyaki hotplate.

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Western dishes like beef in brown sauce.

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For the adventurous, here’s something you don’t see very often – a whole ox tongue, marinated and sliced. It was spicy and had a slightly rubbery texture, which I quite enjoyed! No doubt some will find it off putting. 😛

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A nice variety of local and Western desserts: cakes, kuih, tarts, puddings, fried banana fritters.

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Tau Foo Fah (soybean curd)

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My favourite was of course the chocolate fountain! 🙂

Throughout Ramadan, the hotel will play host to several food trucks outside the restaurant, so guests can wander around and taste local street food, in addition to the buffet.

The Jom Makan buffet is available from 15 May until 14 June. It is priced from RM169 nett on 15 – 17 May, RM189 nett from 18 May onwards, and RM169 nett from 11 June til 14 June.

For reservations, call +03 7955 9122 or visit zestPJ.com