Posts Tagged ‘chinese food

17
Nov
13

PENANG | THANK YOU TO MY MALAYSIAN FAMILIES!

Sometimes, random moments happen that you wish you could freeze and savor them longer, before they become a beautiful memory. :)

On my last hours in Penang (prior heading to Kuala Lumpur for 3 days, then finally off to Manila after living and working in Malaysia as a Medical Lecturer for 3 years), I am very grateful to be with not one, but two Malaysian families, who unbelievably did so much for us. Call me sentimental fool or anything, but I was literally moved to tears with their gestures until the very last minute I spent in Butterworth.

Despite I humbly denied and simply thanked them for their offer to help us haul more than 100 kilos of luggages and whatnot, they even personally volunteered to drive us (my mom, maternal aunt and I) to the bus station that night.

My apartment-owner, Mr. Loh with his wife and mother-in-law arrived after 9PM of October 16th. He came not only to collect the keys to his apartment that served as my second home for 2 years (I lived in another on my first year in Malaysia), but he generously helped me carry loads to the other block, where one of the few of my closest friends and Filipino colleague, Dr. Jane stays.

I requested Dr. Jane to kindly facilitate the pick-up of some of our things, as we underestimated what needs to be sent home via LBC courier (Weeks before that, we already sent 2 biggest LBC boxes home, and the 32″ LCD TV, but we needed to unload further, hence, we left our things for another LBC box to my colleague that night for pick up from Penang, and we had to pay and send another huge LBC box to Manila via LBC-Kuala Lumpur branch).

Mr. Loh was there to help.

He left his family at his apartment and helped us carry our loads to the two taxi cabs we rented.

As the lift went down from 10th floor to the ground, it dramatically opened to the sight of Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael who were already standing there, waiting to go up to meet us.

Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael were Gabby’s former school Principal and teachers in Butterworth. Words could not express my personal gratitude to them, as they did so much beyond anyone’s expectations. They were there with me all throughout my difficulties in Penang.

I told Mr. Loh that although we really appreciate his offer for him to drive us to the bus station (which Ms. Jasmine and Mr. Michael also offered), we found it better to take 2 taxi cabs instead, so they can go home early. I bid him goodbye and thanked him well. Vividly, I recall his last words were about welcoming me again in his home, if and when chance allows me to revisit Penang.

While Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael followed our taxi cabs to the Penang Sentral bus station and stayed with us until past 12 midnight.

Yes, they stayed with us until few minutes past midnight.

When it started to rain, we told them they may want to go home, as our bus was already late to our 12:15AM Penang-KL-trip.

They brought us Coke, and even asked if we wanted some sandwiches to bring to our night trip.

More than what they provided me and my family, the couple also gave me ang pao, chocolates and tea bags to take home.

These were the things  that happened as we departed Penang. But for 2 years that I’ve known them, Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael extended support and concern, at most of the time without me asking, despite and in spite of everything. God bless them more so they can continue to be a blessing to others! 

I shall never forget these people for as long as I live. They were neither hypocrites nor judgmental people. They’re my family in Malaysia.

Picture this – When our bus arrived at the station before 1AM, the rain became more intense.

I carried our bags and luggages one by one and arranged them inside the compartment. It was raining hard. In spite of the fact that my aunt held an umbrella and tried her best to assist me, I became fully soaked. I quickly found my seat inside the airconditioned bus, with my entire self dripping. Chilling.

I waited for two hours until the bus reached its stopover for passengers’ bladder break in Ipoh. It took me two hours before I get to change to dry and clean clothes. It was the longest two hours of my life.

Two days before that unforgettable night, Mr. Loh and his family fetched us from our apartment, brought us to a a local Chinese restaurant and treated us to a very modest and heartwarming dinner.

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The very first frog dish I ate! Not bad. Actually, tasteful!

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Delicious tofu dish, Crispy lemon chicken, Grouper fish dish, and a fish soup. Everything satisfying!
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Mr. Loh (in black shirt), his daughter (in pink shirt), Mrs. Loh and her parents. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

A week before the dinner treat from Mr. Loh and his family, my other Malaysian family, Ms. Jasmine and Sir Michael brought us to a similar feast in one of their favorite local Chinese eatery. It was overwhelming!

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Ms. Jasmine, Sir Michael and me.

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From left to right:  My maternal aunt, my one & only mom, and Ms. Jasmine.

There are more stories between me and my Malaysian families in Penang, that made me a better person now.

So if there’s one special reason to go back to Penang in the near future, it’s to see them again and thank them once more.

>><<

26
Apr
13

RANDOM MEMORIES, HAPPY THOUGHTS FROM MALACCA

Malacca is as colorful as her trishaws.
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That shine bright like diamonds at dusk.
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Malacca is sweeter than her cendol.
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Dare I say it’s tastier than Jalan Penang’s.
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It was in Malacca we wore Malaysia as Baba-Nyonya.
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Spent (pa-) cute bonding moments.
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Inspired to pose for more photos.
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As we discovered Church of St. Paul Ruins as a nice backdrop.
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Despite the dirty lens problem, ikr. :(
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Clicks, clicks and more clicks…
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Here, Cristina’s men in plaid.
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That historic ruins on a hill witnessed how my lovely wife looked more chica than ever! Agree? lol
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Almost every corner, picturesque!
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We had no dull moments.
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Loved her river cruise…
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Those colors of Melaka River are charming at day…
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Enchanting and romantic at night…
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In spite of the fact that Stadhuys Museum was closed…
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We roamed around others and found valor and heroism…
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And because the Malaccan sun was nearly unbearable, we found comfort inside airconditioned museums…
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Where royalties and dignitaries used to dine…
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Over and beyond her culture and heritage spots, undeniably, it’s the Malaccan food and unique Peranakan tastes that lure people over.
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Finally sampled Chicken Rice Balls, Malaccan Roasted Chicken and Pork, Tofu in Oyster Sauce, even Western bites of course!
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Our appreciation for few visual arts fused with incredibly cool ambiance was heightened at The Baboon House Malacca…
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Time stood still at Hereen Street…
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Where hugs and joy reigned.
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Certainly melted our worries away…
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Saw more fascinating things being sold at the touristy and famous, Jonker Street…
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Where beautiful is an understatement…
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Where unique tastes and traditional collide…
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Malacca, you brought so much fun!
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We’ll create happier memories next time! Until then!

*This Melaka Blog Series includes :

17
Apr
13

MELAKA! MALACCA! FOOD PORN!

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*My family – Tina & Gabby at Restoran Famosa, Jonker Street, Malacca

Our three days and two nights unplanned trip to Malacca was made memorable not only because of the sights that we enjoyed exploring for the very first time but more so,  tasting its local dishes and a few personal favorites.  So many foods, so little time! I wished I did a little research prior to the trip and of course, it could’ve been better if we stayed longer. Nonetheless, we’re grateful and wouldn’t mind traveling 7 hours from our current base in Penang to revisit Melaka when time, chance and budget allow.

To say that Malacca is a food haven is absolutely an understatement. Similar to George Town, Penang, Malacca is a gastronomic paradise! Almost every corner has something to delight even the ones with most discriminating taste. Here’s this blog’s usual shameless display of what we feasted…

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*Chicken Rice Balls from a restaurant in Melaka Sentral Bus Station

The moment we arrived in Melaka Sentral via 2-hour-and-19-ringgit-bus-ride from Larkin Bus Station in Johor Bahru, Tina, Gabby and I decided to do the first in the list of our priorities. EAT! While the kiddo was busy buying his 7-11 slurpee and I attended to our luggage and backpacks, the wifey scouted a few restaurants inside the bus station complex and selected one. That awesome moment happened! The very first time for us to eat Chicken Rice Balls that, correct me if I’m wrong, uniquely Melaka.

I’m guessing those rice balls paired with steamed chicken meat, were boiled in chicken stock. I liked it, Tina did not. To each his own.

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*Chicken Chop and Noodle dish with name that slipped my memory but with a delicious taste to remember! Naks!

After several minutes and camera clicks in front of Christ Church Melaka, we crossed the street and saw this stall by the Melaka River selling freshly fried Spiral Potatoes. It was 3-ringgit and sour cream flavored happiness for Gabby! :D

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*Savoring his Sour and Cream Spiral Potato from Melaka!

Second day was Easter Sunday and after having simple but incredibly charming dining experience at The Baboon House Malacca (blog post HERE!), we effortlessly killed time by doing crazy things (Tina was Instagramming) and sipping milk teas and iced blended fruity drinks from Ochado. Refreshing! Best, they got free and fast wifi too! :D

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*I left a mark on the graffitti wall. :)

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*Instagram moment! :)

Go try Ochado whenever you find yourself in Melaka! It’s easy to spot as it’s located at the corner where Jonker Street begins.

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*Cappuccino, Mocha and Iced Blended Chocolate from Casa Del Rio Cafe.

After dinner at Restoran Famosa in Jonker Street, we opted to stretch more our last night in Melaka. We walked and walked and next time we knew, we were all seated inside the very romantic and hip, Casa Del Rio Cafe.

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*Romantic and relaxing ambiance by the Malacca River.

Located by the Melaka River, in the facade of the premier hotel, Casa Del Rio, we were never intimidated by its stylish and inviting interiors; surprisingly, prices were even pocket-friendly than our favorite Starbucks Coffee. The menu’s promising too! They serve breakfast meals, lunch and even steamboat buffet for dinner.

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*Hollywood legends and icons on the walls! If only walls could talk…. Don’t you just love this corner?

Tina had cappuccino, Mocha for me, Iced Blended Chocoalte for Gabby. They also have cakes and other dishes but we’re very satiated with the dinner we had at Restoran Famosa.

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Just before sitting inside Casa Del Rio Cafe, we had our dinner at Restoran Famosa along Jonker Street. Here’s what we ordered :

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*Beancurd in Oyster Sauce.

Tina found it too salty while it’s fine with my palates. I also liked the consistency of the beancurd!

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*Roasted Chicken.

Either roasted or steamed, ayam or chicken is almost obligatory to eat when you’re anywhere in Malaysia.

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*Chicken Rice Balls from Restoran Famosa

They’ve got smaller versions of Chicken Rice Balls compared to the ones we had in Melaka Sentral. Restoran Famosa’s menu had it at 30 sen (cents) each.

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*Pork Barbecue.

It was a consensus decision to order Roasted Pork. When we did, the waitress told us, “Finished!”  The next best thing was to order the second best, BBQ. It was a different flavor compared to BBQ we have in Manila. It was like the common pork asado or Chinese pork something in Chinatown eateries in our country.

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*A simple Easter Sunday Malaccan Family Feast! :)

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*My plate!

No Malaysian meal is complete without chilli sauce!

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*Hotta! Hotta!

The highlight of our Malaccan food tripping was to taste their version of Cendol. To start with, I loved it. I fell in love it on the first scoop! Sorry Cendol in Penang Road, I liked you but Melaka Cendol won my heart and taste buds! Presentation-wise, each bowl looks clean and hygienic, the ingredients composed of red beans, finely shaved ice and that green thingy-cendol, were all better tasting than, dare I say, the one in Jalan Penang.

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The difference lies on their use of Gula (sugar) Melaka…
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Caramelized Gula Melaka in coconut milk : Killer combination! It reminded me of muscovado or unrefined brown sugar from my country. Sarap! Sedap! Delicious!
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*Yummy!!!

We loved everything we ate in Melaka! We cannot wait to go back to eat more! :D
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*Follow Tina on Ig @teenasantos, follow me on Ig @iamdocgelo ;)

This is NOT a sponsored post.

*This Melaka Blog Series includes :

 

 

07
Apr
13

PENANG’S NYONYA CUISINE FROM PEARLY KEE

My Nyonya dinner plate at  Pearly Kee's home
One of my Saturday dinner plates prepared by Ms. Pearly Kee. Yes, that’s blue rice on my plate. :)

“Peranakan or Nonya cuisine combines Chinese, Malay and other influences into a unique blend.

Peranakans are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with local Malays. The old Malay word nonya (also spelled nyonya), a term of respect and affection for women of prominent social standing (part “madame” and part “auntie”), has come to refer to the cuisine of the Perakanans.” via Wiki

As a Filipino living and working in Penang for almost three years now, I always feel privileged and pleased whenever my family and I are invited and welcomed by Malaysian friends to spend memorable moments with them. It’s priceless when local people make us feel at ease, more so, when they offer and share something about their own culture, tradition and lifestyle.

Last Saturday, 6th April 2013, in her very own abode tucked in a quiet corner of Pulau Tikus, Ms. Pearly Kee greeted us with warmest smile, together with her equally admirable husband, Mr. Chandra who voluntarily picked us up and drove us back to the bus station near their place. Generosity, although rarity nowadays, is always appreciated!

Tina, Gabby and I were invited by Ms. Pearly via email several weeks ago to partake in the Nyonya Dinner at her humble home where she also conducts Penang Nyonya Cooking Classes. Despite the almost entire-day-of-non-stop-raining which is a bit unusual in Penang and in spite of the fact that my lovely wife failed to join us for some weekend chores and other things to be done at our own apartment, Gabby and I managed to arrived few minutes over the 7:30PM call time and enjoyed what Aunty Pearly prepared that led our Filipino palates’ to an official introduction to Nyonya cuisine.

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Gabby with Aunty Pearly Kee and  husband, Uncle Chandra. Thank you for inviting us!

I read that Ms. Pearly learned her Nyonya cooking expertise from her grandmother and she’s actively passing it on to anyone interested in joining her culinary sessions. Famous and respected as one of Penang’s food ambassadors, we first met Ms. Pearly during one of her Penang Home Cooking classes when we visited Tropical Spice Garden (blog post Here!). She was even thoughtful to include the link of my blog post about Tropical Spice Garden when she sent her invitation to us. That was a nice gesture of her. Thank you, Ms. Pearly!

Here’s a rundown of the Nyonya dishes that Ms. Pearly Kee prepared for her guests.
Blue Rice by Pearly Kee
Blue Rice : Aromatic, fascinating and uniquely flavorful as it looks!

If you must know, my family and I forgot to sample a similar Malaysian rice dish, Nasi Kerabu (blue rice) when we visited Kota Bharu in Kelantan back in 2011. Tina got to taste it recently when one of her colleagues in the clinic brought her a bungkus; she liked and craved for it after, even raving about it to me. Imagine my excitement when Gabby and I saw that Aunty Pearly included Blue Rice side by side with the common boiled white rice on her spread that evening. I was a happy man when I got a chance to taste it finally! Lucky me!

With its interesting color and aroma, this Blue Rice was made as such, according to Ms. Pearly, because of the use of the blue flower called Bunga Telang, which in English sounds cheeky, clitoria. Tee hee!  :P

Sambal Goreng by  Pearly Kee
Sambal Goreng. I loved this, not only because I’m a sucker for prawns but this one’s textured, rich and delicious.

Prawns cooked in white sauce, cashews, lemon grass, tamarind and coconut cream served with chili sauce and cucumber, Sambal Goreng stimulated my palates so well. I loved, loved, loved it!

Kerabu Vegetables (Thai Influence) by Pearly Kee
Kerabu Vegetable (Thai Influence). Another favorite from what we savored.

I have no word to explain why Gabby and I were not seduced by the soup in the spread, not because it didn’t look interesting to us, of course not, but probably there were a number of  dishes on the spread to try that were all very new to us. One of them was the Kerabu Vegetable or Veggie Salad with Thai Influence.

What made this salad so fascinating? Ms. Pearly creatively used seromi, instead of the usual greens that are frequently tossed in commercially available salads. She even informed us during the friendly chat over dinner that she brings a volume of seromi that’s commonly grown near rice paddies in Penang, whenever she visits her friends in Singapore. She combined seromi  Sayur Rumi or Pigwort Watercress with four angle beans or kacang botol, shallots and bunga kantan or torch ginger finely shredded with sweet thai sauce. The addition of pineapple tidbits also gave flare on this Kerabu Vegetable! It was so flavorful, I had to go back to the buffet spread for another serving! :)

Curry Kapitan by Pearly Kee
Curry Kapitan. Surprisingly, not spicy. Just tasteful with a fascinating story behind its name. Ask Pearly!

Chicken cooked with lemon grass, fresh tumeric, galangal and fresh red chillies, Curry Kapitan is as wonderful as the story behind its name.

Surprisingly, Gabby, who as I mentioned as a little picky eater, liked Curry Kapitan. I wasn’t expecting my boy to favor it as we both thought that it’s hot and spicy with its red orange thick sauce but we were wrong. The chicken was perfectly cooked in a mildly spiced sauce. Tolerable flavor for our tastebuds. Gabby and I had two servings of this dish too! Need I say more? ;)

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Of all Nyonya dishes, I regret I forgot to sample this. We all need to be prosperous, right? :D

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Ju Hu Char. Best eaten wrapped in leaves. I liked this too!

Ju hu char is a perfect appetizer made up of mixed stir-fried vegetables eaten with lettuce leaves and a bit of ‘sambal’ or chilli paste. I had two servings as well. Burp!

5 Spiced Pork Roll by Pearly Kee
5 Spiced Pork Roll. Even the picky-eater in Gabby liked this!

Gabby and I also gave our thumbs-up to this pork rolls. It reminded me of our very own longganisa or our local sausages that have a lot of varieties in the Philippines. I only wished it tasted smoked and more garlicky but I guess it’s not its flavor. We liked it, nontheless.

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Spices and more at Pearly’s kitchen cum cooking class area.

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Who’s excited to sample Nyonya cakes and tropical fruits? :)

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Jackfruit and Rose Apple also known as Jambu Air.

Nyonya Kuih and Jackfruit Slices
Nyonya Kuihs and Jackfruit Slices.

Dessert spread may be simple but also a must-try. Although it wasn’t my first time to try Nyonya Kuihs or Nyonya cakes in colorful slices, we didn’t pass it up. We had it with jackfruit slices which is one of our favorite fibrous fruits, and we washed down everything with a refreshing drink prepared by Ms. Pearly made of pineapples and passion fruits (grown in her lawn) garnished with strawberry slices (not in photo). It was so good, again I had two servings, err, glasses! :)

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Yes, that’s Durian made into a sweetened dessert with tiny tapioca.

God knows my family and I are not fond of Durian as Malaysians and other Filipinos do; still Gabby and I tried to taste this Durian made into a sweet puree by Ms. Pearly. No force or coercion was done in tasting it, we did it freely, hehehe!

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At this point, Gabby and I were already satiated and satisfied! Thank you, Ms. Pearly & Mr. Chandra!

The other guests of Ms. Pearly, both expatriates and local friends who made it that evening….
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Ms. Pearly Kee and her invited guests in her home in Penang.

It was another family-food-fun occasion for us! Thank you, Ms. Pearly Kee for everything! It was a pleasure meeting one of the gems of Penang! Hope to see you again in the near future!
At Pearly Kee's Home
Articles from broadsheets, magazines & online are remarkable proofs that Pearly is loved and respected in Penang.

Get to know more of Ms. Pearly Kee and her Penang Home Cooking Classes via the following links :

Websites : Penang-Homecooking-Class  via  Packages of Penang Nyonya Cooking : My Island Penang.Com | Twitter : @PgHomecooking | Facebook : Pearly Homecooks and Pearly Kee on fb.  You may also register HERE! and state your preferred date and number of guests.

Should you feel interested in contacting Ms. Pearly Kee, kindly give my regards to her & tell her you read about her and her expertise in Nyonya Cooking on this blog. Thank you! :)

>><<

23
Nov
12

DINING CHINESE

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Greetings from Shanghai, China!

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Did those Chinese silk lanterns,  crimson red velvet lounge seats and chairs and gorgeous porcelain fool you? The greetings’ too ambitious, I know. But who knows? Day will come that I’ll get to bring my feet and my family to China too. Time will tell. Meanwhile, I’m sharing here my honest review of my Chinese lunch at Chynna restaurant in Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur. I hope they won’t ban me from dining there again after this post! *cue prayers here*  This post isn’t a rant but a constructive criticism and a challenge to improve.

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How to get there? I took a cab from Bukit Bintang to KL Sentral where Hilton Hotel is located. When I was already inside the taxi driven by a friendly Malaysian-lady-driver who thankfully, used her taxi meter on our route (fyi, it’s unspoken rule in Kuala Lumpur that taking taxi cabs isn’t always metered by those opportunitistic divers), it popped in my mind that I could have taken the monorail from Bukit Bintang directly to KL Sentral which costs much cheaper of course (around 2 ringgit only instead of the metered taxi ride of RM15). It was useless to entertain regret so I took the monorail for my return to Bukit Bintang after my lunch; however it’s a-15-minute-walk from KL Sentral to the monorail station, nonetheless worth it.

What did I sample? I’m a dim sum monster so it got to be dim sum of course!!!

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Because I was attending an exclusive food tasting tour at Feast Village, Starhill Gallery at 3PM that day, I chose to eat light. And that’s how I defined a light meal *snickers*  ~Four Season Platter, Siew Mai (or for us Filipinos, siomai!) and the biggest Chicken pao I’ve eaten! I could have ordered hot tea but I was disappointed after I learned that Chynna’s Tea Master was on his day off. If you’ve noticed my photo of their dim sum open kitchen above, the tea pot with a long nose is eye-catching, isn’t it? Since their Tea Master’s out that day, I missed out his Kung Fu moves when serving hot Chinese tea.  Thus, I washed everything down with chilled fresh Orange juice (not in photo).

AMBIANCE vs SUBSTANCE

Did Chynna impress me? As I wanted to indulge something extraordinary other than the usual fastfood and hawker meals, I opted to try this Chinese restaurant initially to experience its beautiful ambiance. I was immediately drawn onto its interiors the very moment I saw it on Hilton’s website.  And true enough, it’s more pleasing to the eyes up close! The mood inside Chynna restaurant exudes extreme elegance. The cost of the food on the menu’s another affordable luxury; highly competitive with the common restaurants outside hotels. The staff’s friendly, quick and efficient.

Everything’s at its finest even the food presentation but not its taste.

Disappointed without witnessing the Kung Fu moves of their Tea Master, I felt the same too when Chynna’s dim sums tasted stuffed with extenders! I may be wrong and Chynna may deny it but what I ordered tasted all bland! Sure, they provided two sauces to go with them but a delicious dim sum is delicious sans anything.  I know my palate so well. I know how authentic dim sum tastes like. As mentioned in my previous posts, despite I’ve never been to China yet, I think eating dim sums from hawker food stalls and five-star-hotel restaurants in all our trips to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand (we even had dim sum buffet in Bangkok recently) and even in Manila Chinatown and in Penang and in Kuala Lumpur itself makes me no-authority but at least my gustatory sense has been familiar with quality dim sums. Admittedly, I only sampled a few dim sum from Chynna in Hilton-KL however, it really didn’t hit the mark! Perhaps, noodles, soups and fish, chicken and meat dishes from their menu are all wonderful but remain to be tasted. That’s a good reason to try Chynna again next time.

Although it means nothing to me because I’m a non-smoker, you might be interested that Chynna has private dining rooms where smoking is permitted.

CHYNNA | 5th Level Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur | www.hilton.com

*This is not a sponsored post.

*This Luxurious Kuala Lumpur Blog Series includes :

*GOOD NEWS : To those who read & follow my blog, I’ll appreciate if you could drop a line or two about my blogging via ths link :http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/1157/beyond-toxicity; this is in line with the BEST EXPAT BLOG AWARDS run by ExpatsBlog.com. Maraming salamat po! :)

20
Nov
12

MY DELICIOUS AFTERNOON AT FEAST VILLAGE, STARHILL GALLERY

16 November 2012. Friday. I finished early at around 10AM at the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after I applied for renewal of my passport so I hailed a taxi cab and went my way to Starhill Gallery in Bukit Bintang.

If California has Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills,

And Tokyo has Ginza

Singapore has Orchard Road,

Kuala Lumpur has Bukit Bintang

(and luckily, I’ve been to these places already!)

I was nearly tachycardic (increased heart rate) because of excitement as it’s my very first time to be in Starhill Gallery.  I wanted to check out the place way ahead of the scheduled 3PM-6PM exclusive food-tasting-tour in Feast Village that they generously arranged for me. How could you say no to the luxurious food & beverage outlet group whose restaurants were recently visited by Tiger Woods and Michael Bolton? The blogger in me was ultimately happy! :D

This is Pavilion Mall right across Starhill Gallery; it’s all dressed up for the Yuletide Season!

Pavilion Mall

This part of Kuala Lumpur is accessible by car, monorail, taxi cabs and via free rides on GO KL-shuttle buses that drop off passengers right in front of Starhill Gallery.

free shuttle bus in Kuala Lumpur

I have been to Pavilion Mall a few times over but never dared cross the street and set foot in Starhill Gallery. Why? Its uniquely beautiful crystal and star-like structure is quite intimidating! Wrong notion, I know. Obviously, Starhill Gallery houses the most luxurious and expensive brands of fashionable clothes, watch & jewerly shops, furnitures and sublime dining.

Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur

Detail shot of that intimidating impressive exteriors…

Starhill Gallery Kuala Lumpur

So it’s true that there’s more than meets the eye! I’ve proven that the Feast Village in Starhill Gallery offers some sophisticated dishes that even the most budget-conscious-foodies would not pass up. As I’ve tried some of them, I found that prices are reasonable and competitive; even a little cheaper than the others. At one point during my conversation with the staff of Starhill Gallery that weekend, I descibed some of the meals on the menus as an affordable luxury! Savory dishes enjoyed amidst priceless ambiance -it’s a pure bliss! :)

There’s no argument that Starhill Gallery defines opulence and indulgence…

starhill gallery, kuala lumpur
starhill gallery, kuala lumpur
starhill tea salon
feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

As I strolled and absorbed the pleasant ambiance, I took some initial captures.

feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

Then I left and came back few minutes before 3PM. The casual but exclusive food-tasting-tour in 3 of Feast Village signature restaruants was scheduled to begin at LuK Yu Tea House.

luk yu tea house
luk yu tea house, feast village, starhill gallery
luk yu tea house
luk yu tea house

Luk Yu Tea House in Feast Village, Starhill Gallery has the must-try-Chinese teas and authentic Hong Kong dim sums and other Chinese favorites on their menu.

My chopstick skills were so ready!

luk yu tea

Ms. Rachel who invited me to this digestive-feast-sampling at Feast Village informed me beforehand that she won’t be able to join me due to some important office matters however, she asked their beautiful and uber charming intern from England to accompany me that afternoon.

*Cue drum roll* Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, meet my host that weekend afternoon,  the 20-year-old Georgia who’s having the time of her life in Malaysia…

at feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

Lovely is an understatement to describe this young lady. She’s so spontaneous; our conversation went beyond the food we sampled together at Feast Village. I was so fascinated how she shared a bit of her personal side and was grateful that she made my afternoon in Starhill Gallery more engaging and fun! She’s lucky to have me as their only guest that Friday, oops, actually it’s the other way around -I am fortunate to experience the food sampling with her! :)

Still at Luk Yu Tea House…

dim sums at luk yu tea house

I’m no food connoisseur but I know my palate so well. I have tasted authentic dim sum in four trips to Hong Kong and have been acquainted with the most delicious ones in Chinatown in Manila, Penang and Singapore. And the affordable (repeat : affordable!) dim sums in Luk Yu Tea House doesn’t disappoint. They satisfied the dim sum monster in me. :)

dim sums at luk yu tea house

We savored Steam Crystal Prawn Dumpling (Har Kau / Hakao), Deep Fried Prawn & Mango Roll and Steamed Chicken & Prawn Dumpling (Siew Mai) plus even the thinly sliced pickled & sweet papaya as appetizer (not in photo) tasted so well too! Every bite was deliciously paired with mildly aromatic Lily and Jasmine Tea, Luk Yu Tea House’s signature tea! It’s heavenly!

lily and jasmine tea
tea
lily and jasmine tea

Then Georgia and I thanked the Luk Yu Tea House manager, Melinda and walked our way to the next restaurant, Shook!

shook!

“Shook! is an exciting restaurant concept and the first of its kind that opened in Malaysia right here at Starhill Gallery. The menu flirts with seasonal trends and boasts an adventurous fusion of east and west with Japanese, Chinese Wok, Italian and Western Grill show kitchens.

The restaurant is popular with the crowd and it boasts a fanciful ambience, good food and live jazz music. A magnificent walk-in cellar holds over 3,000 bottles of some of the world’s most outstanding wines, including the world’s largest vertical collection of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Artist Label series, featuring every vintage from 1945 to 1997 in both standard and magnum bottles. Also available are European wines from the signature Shook! label.” ~Sourced via www.starhillgallery.com

I regret the fact that I forgot to click my camera on that amazing and enviable cellar where a variety of the best wines from all over the globe are housed. My jaw almost dropped while Mr. Raj, the main man of Shook! was explaining to me this and that. From their excellent collection of wines, he briefly showed me some of the private function rooms that can be reserved by guest for a customized-dining.

Can you imagine yourself dining in those Giorgio Armani seats?

shook!

Here’s one of their function room, all set for a private dinner that weekend.

shook!

We took few steps back to our table at Shook! and what they’ve prepared for us were all ready. Et voila!

Wagyu Beef Cheek (Italian spread of Shook!). Enriched with Goose Liver Butter served with Gratin of Charlotte, Leek and Roblochon.

Wagyu Beef Cheek

It felt effortless when I dunk my fork and used my knife to cut a piece of that Wagyu dish after it was served on my plate because every piece of it was apparently cooked to perfection! It’s the most tender beef cuts I’ve ever tasted. I want to cry that very moment actually! It was that delicious!!! I promised myself to bring Tina and Gabby to Shook! soon!!!

side dishes

Georgia was raving about Shook’s award-winning-Chinese-dish called, Snow White Dancing Prawn. Together, we asked Mr. Raj why it’s called as such and we got a somewhat logical answer-“the moment you put the prawn in your mouth, they’ll dance to your stomach” I cannot agree more! What makes it so wonderful is its thin and light batter. Most tempura-dishes are thickly drowned in flour mixture making the prawn almost tasteless but not this Dancing Prawn dish. Its overall taste would make you crave for more! Trust me, it tastes way better than it looks on my photo. My capture doesn’t do it justice.

dancing prawn

From the grill section of Shook!, behold the Roasted Barramundi…

roasted barramundi (grill)

I bet even the most discening palates would agree with this Roasted Barramundi. :)

shook!

And from their Japanese spread, we sampled Spider Maki made up of Soft Shell Crab Tempura. The name of the maki needs no explanation. Hands down to this! Hallelujah!

spider maki

At around half hour past 4PM, Georgia escorted me to the 3rd and last restaurant that I got to try from Starhill Gallery – the Starhill Tea Salon.

starhill tea salon
starhill tea salon
sts

As Malaysians like all English men love tea and scones and some other pastries, it’s not surprising that Starhill Gallery puts up its own Starhill Tea Salon where the very best collection of teas from most parts of the world are available. Almost stuffed, I was still prepared for some tea time! Bring it on! ;)

tea
tea cups starhill gallery
starhill jewel tea

We had two tea variants. First was STS’ signature tea called Starhill Jewel and the second one’s called, Grand Wedding. While the latter has a stronger flavor, I highly recommend the Starhill Jewel Tea! Its subtle floral aroma makes it a perfect pair with any slice of cake or pastry. Talking about sweets, a delightful feast must end with tempting desserts. The staff of Starhill Tea Salon walked us toward their cake counter. Everything’s mouthwatering and the difficult part was choosing. She had Chocolate Mousse …

chocolate mousse

while I tried a Fruity Cheesecake.

fruity cheesecake

Just before we ended our tea time, I’ve finally met the one responsible for my invite to Starhill Gallery Feast Village; I was grateful Ms. Rachel took a few minutes out of her busy schedule at work to see and meet me. I was glad to personally thanked her and Georgia of course, for everything. The afternoon was so surreal! They even gave me some special takeaway -a couple of exclusive Starhill Gallery magazines, a 100-ringgit voucher and a box of macarons that I all brought home to Tina and Gabby! Thank you so much, Starhill Gallery! I shall bring my family there soon!

macarons
macarons

Have I told you that Starhill Gallery consists of not only 3 but 16 food places –There’s the most beautiful bar that I’ve laid my eyes on -Village Bar (blog post here : http://docgelo.com/2012/11/17/village-bar-an-underground-fantasy/), Luk Yu Tea House, Shook!, Starhill Tea Salon, Gonbei San, Spice of India, Tarbush, Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Sentidos, Enak, Angus House, Ah Yip Herbal Soup, Kor Yo Won, Jogoya, Jake’s Charbroil Steaks and Fisherman’s Cove. Some of these restaurants I photographed…

Village Bar

1

The Vietnamese restaurant I failed to get the name.

vietnamese restaurant

Then there’s that restaurant made of bamboos shaped like a gorgoues boat…

feast village starhill gallery
fisherman's cove

It’s called Fisherman’s Cove where the famous Malaysian Chef Wan cooks his specialties. Most of them are freshest live fish from their aquarium.

fisherman cove feast village

Even the tandas or toilets in Feast Village is a must-see! :)

toilet

It was truly an unforgettable experience for me; certainly an extraordinary gastronomic and visual feasts! For the nth time that I’m mentioning in this blog post, I shall bring Tina and Gabby here soon! It’s all worth it!

feast village, starhill gallery, kuala lumpur

*This is a sponsored post. Special thanks goes to Ms. Rachel, Ms. Georgia and all the amazing staff of Feast Village in Starhill Gallery. Thank you so much! Terima Kasih! And as we say in Tagalog, MARAMING SALAMAT po! :)

STARHILL GALLERY |  181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | www.starhillgallery.com

*This Luxurious Kuala Lumpur Blog Series includes :

*GOOD NEWS : To those who read & follow my blog, I’ll appreciate if you could drop a line or two about my blogging via ths link :http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/1157/beyond-toxicity; this is in line with the BEST EXPAT BLOG AWARDS run by ExpatsBlog.com. Maraming salamat po! :)

__________________

04
Sep
12

BANGKOK 2012 SERIES : HEICHINROU

Flashback to January of 2004, Tina and I flew to Bangkok and spent honeymoon in Amari Watergate Hotel. Nine months and few days after, Gabby was born.
amari
Fast forward to August of 2012, we went back to Amari Watergate Bangkok with Gabby. :)
tina & gabby at amari watergate lobby
gelo & gabby at amari watergate bangkok august 2012
amari watergate bangkok august 2012

Weeks before we left Penang for Bangkok for a few day break, I emailed Amari Watergate to inquire about the rates of their buffet in one of their restaurants where Tina and I spent our first meals together as married couple, the Promenade. Unfortunately, the Filipino hotel staff who promptly replied to my query informed me that Promenade is closed on the dates I specified. He recommeded another restaurant in Amari Watergate that serves eat-all-you-want-lunch, the Heichinrou.

heichinrou bangkok

Located at 5th level of Amari Watergate Hotel, the Cantonese restaurant, Heichinrou that actually originated from Yokohama has been keeping its branches in Japan, Hong Kong and this one in Thailand. I was told they’re offering a Dimsum Buffet and ya ol know that eat-all-you-can dining is such a kryptonite to me and my family and dimsums are one of our favorites. So I asked Tina if she wants to try Heichinrou in Amari and with its reasonable price, we both gave it a nod!
chinese rickshaw
heichinrou bangkok, amari watergate
entrance to heichinrou
heichinrou menu
Despite the fact we failed to eat again in Promenade for the reason that they’re preparing for a reserved function that day, it was a nice coincidence that we were led to sit in Heichinrou in a table with a view overlooking Promenande, exactly the place where Tina and I had breakfast buffet 8 years ago.
overlooking promenade
We seldom engage in ala-carte-buffet where you can order all you want and everything from the menu is unlimited to your stomach’s content. :) We liked it actually. We didn’t have to check the spread and queue. Time was spent in pure indulgence!
chopsticks

Soon after the senior staff of the restaurant handed us the menu, everything was served to our table less the dessert. I didn’t remember asking him to do it but no regrets, no complaints. We certainly loved it! :)
dimsum love
It wasn’t overwheling; it was lovely!
dimsum galore
We started with Sweet Corn Soup with Crabmeat. It was impressive! Thick and tasteful just like what I want in my Chinese soup. There’s generous servings of real crabmeat too! When the staff asked me if I want another serving of the soup, my knees became too weak to say no! :D Then we tried Steamed Barbecued Pork Bun. Delicious! We call it Asado Siopao in the Philippines!
siopao

If you must know, whenever we have buffet-dining, we rarely order drinks and frequently go for just a glass of cold water to wash everything down. We usually make sure to have less intake of sugar-rich beverages from a glass of iced tea or soda but this Heichinrou Dimsum Buffet was an exception. Gabby and I ordered Fanta Orange and thought it went well with those yummies. ;)

Steamed Spare Ribs
spareribs
Fried Noodles with Shredded Chicken
unusual noodle dish
Steamed Cream Buns…
pao
Deep Fried Spring Rolls
fried rolls
Steamed Fresh Shrimp Dumplings, Steamed Pork Crab Egg Dumplings, Steamed Bean Curd Skin Flakes with Oyster Sauce
dimsum dimsum!
The only dish that I didn’t like (Tina agreed) was the Deep Fried Taro Dumpling; it wasn’t greasy and it looked fine but it’s just me – I am biased to savoring taro as an iced pudding :)
taro puff

The dessert from this buffet menu set was heavenly. Deviating from the common mango and tapioca; Heichinrou Dimsum Lunch Buffet offered Chilled Sago and Cantaloupe Melon topped with Coconut Cream. I had two servings. Need I say more? :)
melon sago

One may find it so peculiar to enjoy dimsum in the land of Pad Thai but it’s a great breather from all street-food-and-spicy-eats. All in all, we’re delighted with Heichinrou Dimsum Buffet and it felt really wonderful going back to a place that etched a memory in us. ;)
daddy's boy heichinrou bangkok
characters! chinese characters!
gabby and tina heichinrou bangkok

*This is NOT a sponsored post. ;) For details and contact information about Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok and Heichinrou, visit there website by clicking THIS!

This Blog’s Bangkok 2012 Series includes :




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