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Taiwanese Food @ Taipei Walker, IOI Rio Puchong

IOI Rio Puchong is a new integrated development in Bandar Puteri Puchong, comprising commercial and residential buildings within an 80-acre plot of land. The office park and commercial lots opened to the public awhile ago with tenant anchor Jaya Grocer. There has since been new additions, including several pharmacies, a bakery, a pet shop, medical and aesthetic centres, and more.

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One of the latest to open is Taipei Walker, a restaurant which specializes in Taiwanese cuisine. A friend who lives nearby posted her experience dining here recently and the food looked good, so the Hubs and I came for brunch over the weekend.

The restaurant is spacious and the decor is clean and simple, with a colourful poster depicting Taiwanese pop culture and attractions papered on one side of the wall. The front gets a lot of sunlight and appears bright and cheerful, and there are also booths at the back for those who prefer a bit more privacy.

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You place your orders on a chit, then hand it to the wait staff when you’re ready. It took us awhile to decide as the menu is extensive, offering both rice and noodle dishes, as well as snacks.

Here’s what we ordered!

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I decided not to go for the set meal and instead opted for the ala carte Oyster & Pork Intestine Mee Sua (RM11.90). While this is of course not comparable to Taipei’s famous Ay Chung at Ximending, the dish is pretty decent. The noodles were smooth and silky, making it easy to slurp up, and there was a generous amount of oysters and pork intestines in them as well. What I think they can improve on is the texture, as the broth was rather starchy.

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The Hubs and I also got Garlic Sausage (RM10.90) to share. What I was not expecting was actual raw garlic piled onto the plate; I thought they were supposed to be garlic-flavoured sausages :P.

The sausages tasted like standard Taiwanese sausage; slightly sweet, and with bits of fat lending texture.

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The Husband’s Onion Oil Dry Noodle Set (RM16.90) comprised of a generous portion of noodles tossed in onion oil, soup, and side dishes of braised egg, cabbage, and deep fried marinated pork cutlet with pickled vegetables.

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Noodles were tasty; they had a chewy texture, while the onion oil was fragrant but surprisingly light, with just the slightest hint of sweetness. I also tried the Hub’s soup, which is a Chinese-style chicken soup with ginseng (albeit the cheaper kind), wolfberries, and Chinese red dates. I liked it a lot as it tasted homemade; like stuff my mom would boil at home.

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The pork cutlet was good as well. Not wow, but tasty. Crispy on the outside, tender and soft on the inside. If you like pickled stuff, you’ll enjoy the briny, salty taste that has seeped into the meat.

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I wish I could say good things about the Taipei Special Coffee I ordered. Unfortunately, it tasted exactly like 3-in-1 instant coffee. Not so special after all. It’s not bad, but RM7.90 for a drink that tastes like powdered coffee is a tad overpriced for me. The only plus point is that it’s served in a mini jug with ice, so you can pour it out without diluting your drink, and the portion is good enough for two to share.

Overall, we were satisfied with the quality of the food at Taipei Walker, despite the disappointing drink. They have a large selection of dishes to choose from, so I might try something else on my next visit!

(PS: Pictures of menu at the bottom, if you’re wondering what they offer.)

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TAIPEI WALKER (IOI RIO PUCHONG)

OP-1F-03A 2, Rio Office Park, Persiaran Rio, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM-2.30PM, 5.30PM – 11PM

Phone: +603 8603 8704 / +6016-966 8927

Taipei Walker Menu:

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Mains/Set Meal
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Mains/Set Meal
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Mains/Set Meal
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Mains/Set Meal
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Ala Carte/Snacks
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Beverages
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Beverages

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Beverages
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Beverages
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Beverages/Dessert
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Beverages/Dessert
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Beverages/Dessert

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Cafe Yamatatsu, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur

Cafe Yamatatsu is a gem that you have to go hunting for. Originally a pop-up at Kongsi KL, the Japanese-Taiwanese eatery has since moved into permanent quarters just off Old Klang Road’s sixth mile, hidden within a quiet industrial estate.

It was a cloudy Saturday evening, and after missing the turning twice, we finally pulled into a street that looked almost deserted. As we were wondering if this was the right place, Yamatatsu’s distinctive storefront – with Japanese characters emblazoned on traditional noren (banners) – loomed into view. And even though we were early (the store opens at 6PM for dinner service; we were there at 5.45PM), there was already a queue – a testament to the place’s popularity.

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We didn’t have to wait long. A waitress popped out of the shop to take down the number of people in queue, before sliding the wooden door open to reveal a Japanese-style diner, warm and cozy in hues of beige and brown. One side of the space was dedicated to the kitchen and bar, the counter lined with sake bottles; the other featured anime posters on its walls. We were quickly seated and given a QR code menu.

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The menu features a plethora of Japanese and Taiwanese dishes, the likes of braised pork rice, mee suah, udon, oyakodon, and more. But aside from the popular staples, you can also get regional specialties, such as the Creamy Potato Salmon, which is a nostalgic home-cooked favourite in Hokkaido, or Tamago Kake Gohan with natto, featuring a pasteurized egg marinated over soy sauce, and fermented beans. Other unique creations include the Stewed Pork Rib with Corn, and Taiwanese Chicken Chop and Duck Rice, which pairs the iconic Taiwanese deep fried boneless chicken thigh with fatty slices of smoked duck over a bed of rice.

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We ordered an appetizer of Yamatatsu fried chicken (RM11) and two of their recommended dishes: braised pork rice (RM9.50), and chicken over rice (RM9). The prices are a steal, considering the cafe’s setting. Even some kopitiams without air conditioning charge that much these days. Our orders were processed quickly and arrived to the table within minutes.

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The fried chicken is made Japanese-style — that is, extremely crunchy on the outside, thanks to the use of potato starch and a double-fry method. The cuts are from the thigh, so they have a nice, juicy texture. The meat is also well-marinated in soy sauce, giving it a sweet and savoury taste. While karaage is typically served with Japanese mayonnaise, Yamatatsu pairs it with wasabi mayo, which is creamy with a pungent kick: it’ll keep you coming back for more!

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The chicken over rice is a specialty in Chiayi, Taiwan. Tender pieces of shredded chicken are laid atop rice, then drizzled over with fragrant scallion oil and soy sauce. The bowl is served with pickled cucumbers and egg. Simple, but comforting food.

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The star for me at Yamatatsu is their braised pork rice. While this dish is extremely common thanks to the many Taiwanese restaurants we have in the Klang Valley, some places serve the meat minced (gasp!); else, the pork belly is sliced too thickly, or they include pickled vegetables (*which to me spoils the entire bowl. the star is meant to be the pork!).

In my opinion, Yamatatsu’s is the closest you can get to authentic Taiwanese street food: the pork belly is cut into small pieces and braised until it boasts a sticky gelatinous texture. The thick, caramel-like sauce is lip smackingly good, rich and savoury. People who love rice and meat should easily be able to polish off at least two bowls of this!

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For drinks, I went for the Sparkling Honey (RM7.50). It tasted exactly like the carbonated HoneyB brand from Australia; sweet and fizzy, but spruced up with some herbs. It was perfect for cutting through the greasiness of the fried chicken and braised pork.

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Hubs had the Yoghurt Sake (RM20). Had a small sip. I don’t like alcohol so I can’t really judge; it tasted okay to me but not something I would drink on my own volition. The Hubs loved it though, and described it as “interesting, because you can taste both the yoghurt and sake blending together, but you also get the distinctive flavours of each”.

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We left with satisfied tummies and a warm, fuzzy sense of satisfaction.

Their prices are very affordable, portions are generous, and the service is impeccable – the latter is somewhat of a rarity in many F&B outlets in Malaysia – so a big thumbs up to the Yamatatsu team. If you’re planning to stop by for your Japanese/Taiwanese food fix, I suggest coming early to avoid the queue.

CAFE YAMATATSU 山達小舖

30, Jalan 2/131A Project Jaya Industrial Estate, Batu, 6, Jln Klang Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur

Open Fridays to Tuesdays (12PM-3PM, 6PM-9.30PM). Closed on Weds and Thurs.

https://www.my-yamatatsu.com/

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Jin Taiwan, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Some years back, I posted about eating pork noodles with all the trimmings – ie kidneys, liver, and intestines – and a reader commented on how I shouldn’t be eating the organs of internal animals, as they are ‘full of cholesterol and bacteria’. They then proceeded to lecture me, an Asian who has eaten internal organs my entire life because it is a big part of my cuisine, about how these are cleansing organs, and can be harmful if ingested.

Welp, still alive and kicking pretty well after 32 years. So. *shrugs*

Perhaps the comment was well-intentioned, but the wording sucked, and I’m going to call it what is: ethnocentrism. It’s not uncommon to come across people like this who think that their culture is above another’s, labelling anything different as dirty, disgusting, or subpar compared to theirs. Some, like said commenter, might even try to educate you on your own cuisine.

Hey, I find reindeer blood and rotten herring pretty odd too, but I don’t judge you for it (*you can probably guess where my commenter is from, lol).

Some westerners may label animal guts as gross, but most of the world’s population, including in China and Latin American countries (contrary to popular belief, the world does not revolve around Europe and the US, folks!) enjoy offal as part of their diet. In places that have historically experienced poverty and strife, nothing on an animal is wasted – and why would they be, when these are the parts loaded with protein?

While yes, they can be high in cholesterol, so is full fat dairy and red muscle meat – a staple of western diets. And burgers and chips. You don’t eat them every day, do you? You switch it around, pair it with veggies, or other dishes. Same thing.

And as for bacteria, you get bacteria in all sorts of meat if it isn’t prepared well – it isn’t limited to just organ meat.

But I digress from my veryyyyyy long rant about ethnocentrism and cultural cuisine. I was actually gonna post about the time I had intestines from a Taiwanese restaurant in Puchong 😀

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Located within a busy commercial area in Bandar Puteri Puchong, Jin Taiwan Restaurant specializes in Taiwanese cuisine, offering a variety of classic dishes such as braised pork with rice, salted fried chicken chop, oyster mee sua, and more. I’ve passed by the place many times, but never got down to trying it until recently. The resto is no-frills, sort of like a canteen more than a place to hangout, but it’s comfortable and air conditioned. Prices are relatively affordable too for the setting, with most main dishes averaging around RM12-RM15.

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I was happy to see braised intestines on the menu, because this dish is hard to find outside of select Taiwanese restaurants (the only one I can think of is Fong Lye). I ordered a plate to pair with rice. Intestines are difficult to prepare as cleaning them is an arduous process, but Jin Taiwan does it well. The intestines tasted clean and the rich soy sauce masked the natural, slight gaminess that usually comes with organ meat. Also, I love chewy things and these were just right: chewy and bouncy to the bite, but not stringy.

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The Hubs had braised pork belly rice. It was served in a humongous portion with some vegetables and a fried egg: I think the meat was good enough for two. The pork belly was fatty, but not in a gross way; instead, the fat kind of melted in the mouth as it was very tender from the braising process.

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We washed down our simple meal with Jasmine tea with honey, and red tea – both perfect to cut through the meat’s greasiness.

There are many other dishes we have yet to try out on the menu, but I can see myself coming back here whenever I need an intestine fix lol.

JIN TAIWAN RESTAURANT

72, Jalan Puteri 5/1, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 8.30PM (closed Tuesdays)

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Review: Two Pesos Hotpot @ Bandar Puchong Jaya, Puchong

It was a scorching hot day but that didn’t stop C and I from having hotpot for lunch at Two Pesos, a hotpot specialist restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya, Puchong. While the brand was founded by a Taiwanese couple, the story goes that they met and got married in Boracay, hence the resto’s Filipino-sounding name.

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The resto’s interior is cheerful and decked out in bright orange, with a fuss-free design that resembles a canteen. The interior was air conditioned, so we could enjoy our food in comfort.

While most hotpot restos adopt an ‘all-you-can-eat’ concept, orders at Two Pesos are by set – which is good in a way because you won’t over-indulge. Their signature is the milky seafood pot, and they also offer hotpot/BBQ sets where the meat is grilled over a stone plate, which gives you that beautiful sear and flavour. There are plenty of different sets to choose from, such as Japanese Sukiyaki, Hua Diao Chicken, Basu Spicy Pot, Mongolian Herbs Pot, Supreme Tajine Seafood Hotpot, and more.

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Felt like something salty and sour, so we went for the Korean Army Stew (Budae Jjigae) instead. For those not familiar with this dish, it’s a relatively ‘new’ invention created after the Korean war,  when food was scarce and people used any surplus food they could get from US army bases, chucking them together to make a stew. Primary ingredients include ham, sausages and spam, mixed with Korean ingredients such as kimchi and gochujang (bean paste).

The version at Two Pesos had sausages and the usual hotpot items such as crab meat sticks, fish balls, tofu, beancurd sheets, enoki mushrooms, corn and vegetables like cabbage and carrots. Of course, you can’t run away from the kimchi and gochujang mix, which gives the soup it’s intense red colouring and spicy, sour taste, as well as chewy teokbokki (rice cakes). It was also topped with a block of instant noodles.

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The set came with a choice of meat – either pork, Australian beef or fish. We went for the pork slices which were just the right thickness and fresh. Only had to cook it for awhile in the bubbling soup to achieve the perfect tenderness.  Also included was a choice of  carb – ie rice, instant noodles or yee mee (fried dried noodles).

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Overall the flavour was pretty good, although I still prefer the one from Gangnam 88. For RM20.90 per set, the price was reasonable but I wished they had more ingredients instead of just a few pieces of fishballs/crabsticks, and less cabbage.

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Ordered boneless fried chicken as a side. Again, portion was not very large and it costs RM8.90 – but the flavour was good with a crunchy exterior and moist insides.

TWO PESOS 

16, Jalan Kenari 8, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 11PM (Daily)

2pesos.com.my

 

Food Review: Ichimachi Taiwanese & Japanese Cuisine, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Hey guys! Been awhile since the last update – so I’m dropping by with a quick post to make sure this blog isn’t completely dead, lol.

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S and I initially wanted to grab BBQ buffet dinner at Ruk Mookata in Bandar Puteri Puchong last weekend, but after considering the price, we decided to check out a new, cheaper place just across the road that serves Taiwanese and Japanese cuisine. Despite its minimal decor, the warm lighting makes Ichimachi a cosy spot, and there’s an ‘open’ kitchen where you get to see the chefs in action.

The menu is a mix of Japanese meals such as saba (grilled mackerel) and chicken karaage bento sets, katsudon, and curry rice, as well as Taiwanese favourites the likes of braised minced meat rice, meesua and sweet potato balls.

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S and I felt like having Taiwanese, so we kicked things off with a glass of Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea (RM4) each. Strong milky taste accentuated by deeper, thicker notes of dark brown sugar and chewy pearls – good stuff.

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The most basic bowl you can get here is the lurou fan (RM5.50), which is almost a Taiwanese national dish. Minced meat is braised in a dark soy sauce and topped over steaming white rice – the ultimate comfort food. However, the version here pales in comparison to the authentic version. From looks alone, the meat is much lighter in colour and lacks the defining thick, meat sauce.

Didn’t try it, but S says that it didn’t taste much different from normal minced meat.

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I had meesuah (Flour vermicilli) with all the trimmings – oyster, pork and innards (RM10). Meesuah is another popular dish in Taiwan, where they serve it without chopsticks, as the slippery smooth noodles in a broth can be eaten purely with a spoon. The version here was decent, although the pork was tasteless and had an odd jelly-like quality to it, while the innards were a tad too sweet.

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For snacks : Fried oyster mushrooms. They were served in a paper baggie like how you’d get them from Taiwan’s famous night markets. Batter was too thick and mushrooms were not seasoned well, so just meh.

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The sweet potato balls fared much better – I’d nominate them as best dish of the night! Puffy on the outside but hollow on the inside, their crisp exterior crumbles in with each bite to reveal an almost chewy center, with a hint of sweetness. Wasn’t oily either. If there’s one thing I’d come back to Ichimachi for, it’s the balls.

Our meal came up to RM40: a reasonable price seeing that if we went ahead with our original BBQ plan, it would have been RM50 per pax lol.

Have yet to try other items on the menu, but prices are reasonable so probably worth another visit.

ICHIMACHI TAIWANESE & JAPANESE CUISINE 

2A-G, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 1130AM – 930PM (Closed Mondays)

 

 

Review: Shihlin Taiwanese Snacks, Jaya Shopping Center

I remember a time when Taiwanese street snacks were all the rage in KL, with stores like Hot Star Fried Chicken and Snowflake popping up faster than mushrooms in the rain. Most of these are long gone, but not Shihlin. Shihlin is, for some reason, still going strong, despite its relatively limited menu. And once in awhile, when the craving for oyster mee sua comes around, I head to their outlet at Jaya Shopping Center.

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There isn’t much space to dine in, but most people get their specialty, the boneless fried chicken, to go anyway.

Nothing like a warm bowl of gooey goodness in the middle of the day!  The version here is topped with lots of shredded chicken, parsley and a localised ingredient you won’t find in Taiwan – a big dollop of sambal. Nothing to complain about here – the oysters were sizable and fresh,and the broth was nice and savoury.

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A new item on their menu, available for a limited time only – the Crispy Beartastic Mushrooms  -essentially fried needle mushrooms with either a seaweed or a dried squid seasoning. The first few bites were good but it got really greasy after and I couldn’t finish it. Felt like I was swallowing oil.

Shihlin is of course best known for their fried chicken, but I find it passable. Give me Alisan anytime at a night market. 😀

SHIHLIN (JAYA SHOPPING CENTER BRANCH) 

Jaya Shopping Centre, 26A, Jalan 14/14, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor