Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Street Snacks @ Monga, Damansara Uptown

Before the boba tea craze, there was the Taiwanese fried chicken craze.

I remember a time when Taiwanese fried chicken shops were popping up everywhere around Malaysia – Hot Star, Shihlin, Fried Chicken Master, J & G… but like many ‘trendy’ foods, of these, only a handful remain. Among them is Monga, a late entrant into the market which seems to be holding its own. There’s an outlet in Damansara Uptown which is pretty close to my workplace, so I’ve been dropping by for snacks every now and then during lunch break.

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The name Monga is apparently based on a place name in Taiwan. They also have another branch in SS15, Subang Jaya.

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One thing I like about the shop is that it’s impeccably clean. They are open for dine-in, but since these are snack foods, it isn’t much of a hassle to get your food to go.

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What does Monga offer? 

Well, their signature is the Taiwanese-style fried chicken fillet, featuring a boneless chicken thigh (Rm14.90). The price is on the steeper side, but the fillet seems huge. Aside from the Original, you also have the Seaweed and Chilli, and juicy Popcorn Chicken.

I actually have yet to try their signature because on both of my previous visits, I wasn’t looking for something heavy – but perhaps I’ll drop by for lunch proper one day!

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The first time around I got Fried King Oyster Mushrooms (RM9.90). The portion was generous, and the mushrooms were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, with a crispy batter enveloping thick yet soft mushrooms on the inside. I liked the texture as it had a meatiness and bite to it, and it still retained a lot of moisture even after deep frying. Highly recommended if you like mushrooms!

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On my second visit, I got Fried Chicken skin (RM7.90) – an order I regretted lol. It’s not that it wasn’t good – I just felt really greasy and icky afterwards. If you’ve read my previous post about losing weight, I’ve been on a streak lately – I guess old habits die hard, and I’ve been stressed with work. I will try not to fall into these unhealthy eating traps again… or at least try not to do it so often.

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With every purchase of a snack, you get to top up the meal with a drink for RM3.90. And ofc when you have Taiwanese snacks, you gotta have that Taiwanese boba !  The tea itself was quite tasteless and there was too much ice, so the sweetness only came from the pearls, which tasted decent.

MONGA (DAMANSARA UPTOWN) 

66, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Open daily : 11AM – 9PM

Available on GrabFood. 

 

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

Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant, Sunway Pyramid

 

 

Hey, guys! I haven’t been blogging as often as I’d like to since starting my new job, coz travelling/work takes up most of my time – but I’m trying my best to squeeze in some blogging time. It’s 10.45 now, which leaves me about 15 minutes to write this before I hit the sack. I try to get 8 hours of sleep these days, or I feel really washed out in the morning…part of growing old. 😛

Speaking of old, I turned 26 recently. Yay, mid 20s….not. I don’t feel like a prune yet, but I don’t feel like a spring chicken either. Things really mellow down as you age. You might have had a lot of ‘friends’ in high school/college, but once you hit your mid 20s, the time you have for people just dwindles, and you’re left with the small circle that really counts.

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I met up with my ex-UK flatmates Mabel and Jo, as well as another college friend HP at Sunway Pyramid for dinner recently. It was to celebrate my birthday/new job + HP’s farewell as she’s leaving for a work/travel holiday to New Zealand soon. It was so sweet of them to plan it, even on a Friday evening where they had to rush there from work.

All the restos were packed. Mabel suggested a Taiwanese resto called Fong Lye. Service was quick and efficient; while we waited for tables, we placed our orders and most of the food was ready by the time we got a seat.

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Hot tea for two.

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I had a craving for noodles, so I got the innards meesua. It’s good to have noodles on your birthday in Chinese culture, it represents long life 😛

Meesua came in a thick broth. The flavour was just so-so though. Too salty, and the intestines weren’t cleaned well and still had a gamey smell to it. The meal came served with ‘banchan’-like side dishes of marinated eggplant, a sweet potato ball and tofu.

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Jo had rice with deep fried pork chop. The chop was marinated with namyue (fermented bean curd). It tasted weird to me xD

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HP also had pork chop, but hers tasted better as it was cooked in a sweet sauce topped with fragrant sesame.

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Mabel had dumplings and hot/sour soup. Dumpling skin was pretty thick and there was more chives > meat ratio. It tasted better with the soup.

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The real winners of this meal are their snacks. The deep fried mushrooms were thick and chunky, seasoned with spiced powder. Crispy on the outside, but moist and juicy on the inside without being too oily.

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Sweet potato balls were divine. Wish they had more, even though the serving was already pretty huge. Chewy and light, it had a porous texture with just the right amount of sweetness. Not too oily either.

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FONG LYE TAIWANESE RESTAURANT (Non halal) 

LG1.43A, Lower Ground 1, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall,

No. 3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway,

46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-5633 3699 

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Of course, everywhere we walked through the mall was held up by three people playing Pokemon Go.. myself included. Jo doesn’t play lol.

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Dessert time was at Caffe Bene, a Korean bingsu (shaved ice) chain.

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Pricey imo, and the texture of the shaved ice isnt really like the original bingsu, which is very soft and fluffy just like fine snow. This was chunky like our local ais kacang lol. The chocolate one was very sweet but it was offset by the ice. It was good for Instagram pictures though.

Would just like to say thank you to the girls for taking the time/trouble to celebrate my birthday with me. I got a neat present from them, but that’ll be for another post. Way past a 26-year-old’s bedtime. 😛

Toodles. xoxo

On A Waffle Binge – Wawa Land Round 2

(Update: This outlet is permanently closed.)

Can’t believe I came here two nights in a row, just with different people. 😀

C introduced me to this cafe that serves some pretty bangin’ waffles. (You can read the previous review here) The next day, S and I were looking to catch some Pokemon, but since our usual spot was packed with people we ended up at IOI Boulevard and I took him to Wawa Land for some waffles.

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It was a weekend night and the place was packed with families and young couples. They don’t have that many staff to man the counter/kitchen, so it can get really slow – but have some patience and you’ll be rewarded with some good food. I wouldn’t recommend this place to people in a hurry; it’s more a place to chill and hangout with friends.

Got a caramel sea salt latte. Coffee wasn’t too bitter, milk was frothy, and the caramel/sea salt gave it a nice sweet/salty kick.

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Feeling peckish, but there weren’t many savoury snacks available. Opted for some fried chicken nuggets, which came with a thousand island sauce dip.

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S said he was on a ‘mango binge’ recently, so we got waffles with vanilla ice-cream, fresh mangoes and fruit sauce. The mangoes were quite sour but was offset well by the sweet and creamy vanilla ice-cream. Waffles were fluffy and dusted with a thin layer of sugar. As mentioned before, they have a more compact, crispier texture than the ones from Owls Cafe, but they hold their own pretty well.

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Portion is big enough for two.

Comforting Taiwanese Fare @ Taipei Taipei, Cheras Leisure Mall

Update: This outlet is permanently closed. 

A friend of mine went backpacking to Taiwan recently. I was piqued by all the photos he shared: beautiful parks and mountain regions, busy streets packed with delicious food, and modern architecture in a bustling metropolis. This relatively small island nation is one of the most densely populated places in the world and it’s people are mostly ethnic Chinese. You might even find some of their famous food brands in your own country, like Chatime which was what really kicked off the whole bubble milk tea craze!

In Malaysia, we have restaurants like Little Taiwan and the Shihlin Market (a very famous market in Taipei) franchise which serves oyster meesua and fried chicken chops.

I recently got to try the food at Taipei Taipei, which serves ‘traditional Taiwanese food’, but with a twist. Yummy but affordable, their outlet in Cheras Leisure Mall, KL is very popular with the lunch crowd. The owners are from Taiwan and Hong Kong respectively and were in the apparel business before they ventured into F&B. The entire decor of the shop gives off a cozy feeling, with old posters, records and various knick knacks.

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Their signature dishes include the pork chop (left) and Szechuan Fried Chicken Chop. All dishes come with a bowl of rice topped with braised meat,boiled egg, fresh and preserved vegetables and tofu. Traditionally, a lot of Chinese people eat rice with sauces, so it was comforting to mix them all together in the bowl to be enjoyed. 🙂

I lovedd the pork chop. It was marinated well with a blend of spices, and was flavourful and crispy on the outside while retaining that firm yet tender texture on the inside. The Szechuan chicken chop was alright but a little too spicy with the chopped chillies and green onions on top.

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Nothing more hearty than a bowl of steamed rice topped with all the goodies. The braised meat was very tender and the soy sauce had an aromatic, fragrant flavour which the rice sopped up really well. There’s no other way to put it, other than comforting. Gimme this over foie gras and fancy stuff, any day. Their other signature dishes are the Braised Beef Noodle and Rice.

Their lunch sets are very affordable and the setting is clean and comfy. They also have outlets in Alor Setar (kedah), Publika and Sunway Giza.

Taipei Taipei

Level 1, Lot L1-48-2, Cheras Leisure Mall, Taman Segar, Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Tel: 03-91339838

Opening hours: Daily (11am – 10pm)

Non- Halal

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The mall still had some Mid Autumn Festival decorations. Colourful paper and plastic lanterns! Walking through the ‘forest’ really reminded me of my childhood.

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