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

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

The answer: Tori-Paitan, aka Chicken ramen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAMEN SEIROCK-YA (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

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

HALAL

seirock-ya.com.my

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

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Brunch & Japanese Fare @ Buranchi, Bandar Puteri Puchong

I’ve driven past Buranchi a couple of times before, but never tried it until recently. Suprisingly, it was the Moo who suggested we grab lunch there (she isn’t keen on dining out because of the high number of coronavirus cases here in Selangor).

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Buranchi is Japanese for brunch, a fitting name for a cafe that specialises in all-day breakfasts and Japanese and Western fusion cuisine. Expect items such as sausage puffs, omu curry rice, yakiniku don, potato salad, ramen and udon. They also offer a selection of coffee and cakes.

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The interior is bright and cheerful, and you’ll find cute touches like these Japanese daruma dolls all around the premises.

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Honey Coffee (RM9) for a caffeine boost.

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Moo’s Chazuke (RM13) had exquisite presentation.

Chazuke comes from the Japanese ocha (tea) and zuke (to submerge), and usually comprises rice topped with various condiments such as pickled vegetables and wasabi, and a dashi/tea/broth that is poured over the rice. The one at Buranchi is served with a side of grilled saba (mackerel). It’s a simple meal that is not too heavy, which is probably why it’s popular with the ladies.

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I prefer robust flavours, so I got the Tonkatsu Ramen (RM17), which is one of the cafe’s specialties.

I was very impressed with the quality of the ramen. The noodles were al dente, and it was served with slices of crunchy bamboo shoots, ajitsuke tamago (half-boiled egg) and nori (seaweed). The star was definitely the pork bone soup, which was rich, savoury and full of porky goodness (I emptied the bowl, lol). While I remain devoted to Menya Shishi Do, I think Buranchi’s version is not bad at all for its price, especially if you’re stuck in Puchong and can’t drive all the way to PJ to have your ramen fix.

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To round off the meal, the Moo and I shared a Sea salt Chocolate Mousse (RM10). It was smooth, creamy and luscious; the chocolate was not too sweet and still had a hint of the astringency you get from dark cocoa, while the slight amount of sea salt helped to balance out everything – sort of like the principle of salted caramel.

Buranchi certainly impressed me with its service, quality and price, which is reasonable for the setting. Will be making a return visit to try out other dishes!

BURANCHI

72A-G, Jalan Puteri 5/5, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 830AM – 4PM (closed Mondays)

non-halal

Flavourful Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen @ BariUma, Jaya Shopping Centre, PJ

With a name like Bari-Uma (in Japanese, Bari means ‘super’ and Uma means ‘tasty’), one can’t help but have certain expectations when walking into this Japanese chain, which touts itself in serving homemade ramen noodles.

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Tucked in a quiet corner of the third floor at Jaya Shopping Centre, the decor is simple and casual – almost canteen-like. I guess you pay for the quality of the food rather than the ambience, since the prices are above average.

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There are several lunch set options, but the star of the show is the Bari-Uma: Ramen in pork flavoured shoyu soup with thick-cut flamed chashu. The set (RM29.90) comes with edamame, two pieces of pan-fried chicken gyoza and green tea.

The soup is made from herbs, pork bones, chicken feet, high quality soy sauce and other ingredients, boiled for over 10 hours to extract maximum flavour. The result is a super rich, creamy and thick broth, which diners will slurp to the last drop. The ramen is fresh and springy as well, with just the right amount of al dente bite, and the thick cut chasu had a smokey, slightly charred taste, with a good balance between the lean and fat.

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Bari-Uma is a good alternative to the always packed Menya Shi-Shi Do, and service is friendly and efficient. Hits the spot if you’ve got some money to splurge for a nice lunch. 🙂

BARI-UMA (JAYA SHOPPING CENTRE) 

Lot L3-11, Level 3, Jaya Shopping Centre, Jalan Professor Khoo Kay Kim, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opens daily: 11.30AM – 9.30PM

 

 

Video:Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) Flavoured Instant Ramen From Japan!

Tis’ must be the season to experience Japan – two of my colleagues went for a holiday there, one after the other! One came back with a ‘souvenir’ for the office’s babi-eating folk: Tonkotsu (pork broth) flavoured instant ramen from the famous Ippudo Ramen brand.

Instructions were all in Japanese, but there are some illustrations and everything is pretty straightforward. Messed around with a new video editing software on the phone, so here it is:

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Really impressed with the end product! Did not feel like an instant ramen, not one iota. The broth was creamy, rich and full of flavour, and the ramen had a nice al dente bite to it. Too bad we can’t find this in Malaysia – unless anyone knows of a Japanese specialty store that sells them? 🙂

 

 

Food Review: Menya Shi-Shi Do @ The School, Jaya One

Stepping into the small but cosy abode that is Menya Shi-Shi Do at The School in Jaya One, it’s easy to imagine yourself in an underground ramen shop somewhere in Tokyo, where service is fast, the setting casual and the food is delicious.

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The tiny space accommodates 20 at most, with extra tables on the corridor outside to cater to the huge influx of customers during lunch hour. Wooden tables are complemented by red walls papered over with postcards of urban Japan and anime/manga stills.

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It’s rare to find establishments selling fried chicken skin, so I had to order this as an appetiser. It didn’t turn out the way I expected chicken skin to be – instead of being crispy and thin, the skin was somewhat chewy. The flavour was good though.

You can choose from several soup bases and ingredients to customise your bowl of ramen. I had the spicy pork soup base with chashu and woodear fungus. The broth was rich and flavourful, and they didn’t hold back on the spiciness ! Ramen was springy with an al dente texture. The chashu was not too thin and served in a generous portion. All in all, a good bowl of ramen!  Prices are above average, so a bowl will set you back RM20++

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Ambience: 6/10
  • Price: Above Average, RM20+ per bowl.

MENYA SHI SHI DO 

Lot 100. P2.039, The School, Jaya One,
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Business Hours: 11am-10pm

Sushi Tei, Setiawalk Puchong

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed. 

Been having a rough week at home, so when C asked me out for dinner, some food-therapy was in order. We went to Sushi Tei, one of the fancier Japanese joints in Setiawalk, Puchong that’s always packed with customers.

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For starters, a plate from the conveyor belt – Chuuka Idako or seasoned baby octopus. Served cold, the sauce was sweet and complemented the natural seafood-y flavours of the chewy octopi. I still prefer the version at Sushi King though.

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Sashimi (3 kinds) – bluefin tuna, yellowtail and salmon.  

Each slice was thick and cut well, but the seafood taste was faint. Probably the result of being frozen for a long period of time. .__.

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Gotta get ’em carbs in! The beef ramen was warm and comforting, with tender slices of beef swimming in a savoury soy-sauce broth and ramen with an al-dente texture. Nothing much to complain there.

Sushi Tei used to have these mini bowls going for just over RM10+, but they’ve done away with it so we’re stuck with the big bowls. Note that prices are higher than the usual Japanese chain restos like Sakae Sushi or Sushi King.

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Do get their Chicken Karaage, which comes in five juicy chunks, well marinated with crispy skin and served with a side of salad and mayo. Order a bowl of rice and or have it on its own as a snack! 🙂

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To cap off the meal, we tried the Matcha Nama Chocolate Ice-Cream. Coated in Matcha, these roll-shaped treats have a hard texture, meant to be eaten whole by popping one into the mouth and letting it dissolve. The sweetness of chocolate was offset by the bitterness of the matcha powder.

SUSHI TEI (SETIAWALK PUCHONG) 

I-03-G, Block I, Setiawalk
Persiaran Wawasan
Pusat Bandar Puchong.
Phone: +603 5891 0618

Kai Zen Japanese Restaurant, Puchong

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed. 

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I’ve passed by Kai Zen Japanese Restaurant many times while in Bandar Puteri, Puchong, but was never tempted to step in due to it’s shady facade lol. I guess they wanted to give their guests privacy, but you can see nothing of how the restaurant looks like on the inside – thanks to dark wooden walls blocking off your line of sight.

Since Moo suggested we get Japanese food, we came here for dinner after reading good reviews of the place.

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The first floor was packed with round booths and a kitchen at the back. Parents didn’t like the layout coz it was cramped. We cozied into one of the booths. A flick through the menu saw a large selection of bentos, ramens and set meals. Prices are slightly more expensive than your average Japanese resto chain like Sushi King or Sakae Sushi.

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Our set meals came with fresh fruits – cold slices of sweet, juicy watermelons which were served at the beginning of the meal. I read somewhere that says that it’s better to eat fruits before your main meal than after. True, or not true?

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A small appetiser of stir-fried bitter gourd with egg, soft carrots and bits of fish. The gourd was only slightly bitter so it was really yummy. Great way to get the ball rollin’!

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Moo and I ordered the same thing: Ramen with Age Gyoze (shrimp dumpling) (RM18.90). The ramen was top notch : al-dente, bouncy and smooth. The broth was clear but a little bland. The chasiu slices swimming in the soup had a buttery flavour, while the egg had a perfectly gooey yolk in the center. Overall, not the best ramen I’ve had, but a very good one.

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The Age Gyoza was piping hot; crispy on the outside and filled with chives, minced meat and shrimp on the inside. The filling was rather dry but was still tasty when dipped into spicy chilli oil and shoyu (soy sauce).

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Bro had something similar with his Ramen and Ebi Tempura set.

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His meal came with two large pieces of tempura-battered ebi (shrimp) and three pieces of gyoza.

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Pops had Grilled Saba (mackerel) and teriyaki chicken (RM20.40), and an upgraded (+Rm2) garlic fried rice. The rice was eggy and ‘wet’, but each grain had been infused with flavour thanks to ‘wok hei‘ (or what we call ‘the breath of fire’, essential to sealing in flavours in Chinese cooking).

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Saba had a flaky but juicy texture, with salty meat but a sweet glaze.

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Teriyaki chicken was flavourless despite it’s nice appearance.

Our meal for four came up to Rm85. Prices are, as I mentioned, more expensive than your average Japanese joint. Food is good; not extraordinary, and the place can be cramped, but it’s still a nice neighbourhood restaurant.

Kai Zen
30, Jalan Puteri 2/4, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
+60 3-8063 5118
Business hours: Daily, 11.30am – 2.30pm (Lunch), 6pm – 10pm (Dinner)