Sunday, October 28, 2012

Life in B.E.D. - Bread Espresso Dessert

My makan gang is back with full gusto recently and we are ready to sample the latest F&B addition in Ipoh. Yup, a few new F&B has made its foothold in Ipoh, some franchise while some are the brainchild of young food entrepreneurs. Blogging on this post certainly saved me from the Sunday nite blues kicking in after a great weekend, particularly the whole of Sunday which I spent 7am to 7pm outside of home! After waking up early to lead praise and worship in church, its time to laze around and enjoy the remaining bits of the weekend. After all, my weekend class in FMM for Certificate in Safety and Health Officer is over.

Today, I present to you B.E.D, a cafe situated in Bandar Ipoh Raya, the "business centre" after YMCA and just behind the Bangunan Perak. B.E.D is actually an acronym for (B)read (E)spresso (D)essert. It is managed by 3 youngsters (Elaine, Mok and ShiYun) with different specialty and portfolio - Yup, the 3 portfolio are the ones which form the cafe's name.

Mushroom Quiche - RM4.50. The portion is quite small. Even a small eater wouldn't have  trouble finishing it for tea time. The filling is more like omellette/custart type like without much fragrance of cheese and cream. Taste-wise it was quite bland. I would rate it just around average. There are Salmon Quiche and Chicken Quiche, not sure they will redeem some credits and do some justice. So far, Tammy Kitchen is still my gang's top pick for Quiche.

The Smoked Salmon Bread (RM8.50) uses its own freshly baked house bread (RM2 for a plain roll). The bread is crusty at the exterior but with a slight chewy centre, the airholes structure resembles a bit like the Yau Char Kuai (fried cruellers). Not really the typical bread/bun you will be expecting, its like a cross between choux pastry and bread. Hehe, okay I'm a bit poor in describing it. Why not you try it on your own? The sandwich is laced with wasabi mayonnaise for that slight "kick" sensation, with tomatoes and lettuce to make it a complete meal on its own. Smoked salmon were thicker than expected, which is a good thing =) There are other options like Tuna, Chicken Ham, Roast Chicken for other fillings.

They have hot and cold beverages, from coffee, tea, chocolate to bottled fruit juices. Mocha (RM8.80), Latte (RM6.80) and Cappuccino (RM6.80) are our picks. We can't really give further comments because we are not so exposed into art of coffee drinking and appreciation. But I must commend their friendly service, the barista not only obliged to create 3 different coffee art pattern, he somehow managed to pick the colour of our cups which so happen meet our personal favourite colour. Coupled with our handphone coloured casings, our table has a myriad of vibrant colours. I managed to glimpse the other 2 table next to mine, their cups also were in different colour than us. And I noticed a Panda face coffee art O.O

Their tables are kinda small as they do not really serve main course here. What you see is what you will be getting. They have a Today's Special board, so do check out for specialty. Too bad, there was no Hokkaido Cheese Cake for today. Not only that was missing, I feel that many items were not available today maybe due to a private birthday function was taking place and they are busily catering to the needs of that crowd. If you notice, they have 2 desserts creatively named "Single and Available" and "In a Relationship", can you guess what are this 2 items? =)

Bread were freshly baked everyday! Their business hours commenced from 11am daily. I reach around 12pm and just a couple of things were ready only. Luckily we were early as by 1pm+, this place is full as there have limited table and seats. After all, they have only 3 people upfront (not to sure about the kitchen though)

For desserts w ehad the Creme Brulee (RM5.80) and Banana Frangipane (RM7.80). Google told me that a Frangipane is derivative from custard tart, usually flavoured with almonds/pistachio. Filling may vary as the review from Motormouth showed a coconut version, whereas besides the banana, the cherry and blueberry version are also available for today. Slightly above average, the banana complemented well with the crumbly pastry which is not too sweet. The Creme Brulee however is a bit on the sweeter side. As creme brulee literally means Burnt Cream, the coarse brown sugar at the top surface is usually caramelized with a torch. I'm not sure if there are other alternatives in creating the burnt sugar layer. However, there is a major flaw in this version, they sprinkled too much brown sugar resulting into the annoying feeling of biting into sugar particles which are left caramelized. =/

We did not wait for the Fruit Brand (a fruit like tart) to be available as I think they are freaking busy entertaining the private function. The total damage was RM50 for the items featured, still cheaper than Indulgence and Burps and Giggles. The environment is kinda cosy but they could improve on the air conditioning system as the tables near the glass door is kinda hot and lacked air movement.
So now Ipohian have a new spot for chit chatting in the afternoon, as this cafe only opens from 11am to 5:30pm daily, except for Tuesday, which is their rest day. For further info, this is their website:

Have a great week ahead everybody! ^^

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Plan B, Midvalley

Time jump back to 2 weekend ago. Leaving my friend's  house in Kota Kemuning and a delectable breakfast of Char Siew, I will be practically spending my whole afternoon in Midvalley before the wedding dinner later at night. Dated 2 friends out to maximize the time of my trip here. I decided to try out this "new" place in Midvalley, which is situated at the ground floor of the extreme end which share the same corner as TopShop. Apparently, Plan B has other outlets in other parts in the Klang valley, namely Bangsar Village. Can anybody tell me izit Plan B linked to Ben's of KLCC and Publika?

 The cosy environment has the warm lighting and the wooden furniture to thank. Even the bar/food preparation counter uses a somehow homely kitchen like cabinets. A very good place for chit chatting over tea but the tables might be a bit too small if everyone in the round table for four decided to order their main course. Skyjuice is free of charge and they broke the norm by serving you an individual semi opaque bottle which resembles the bottles inside chemical laboratories. =p

 The selection of espresso here can suit your every taste bud and preference. Different beans with the likes of Guatemala Antigua Los Volcanes, Brazil Rio Verde Yellow Bourbon and other regions like Ethiopia will surely appease coffee aficionado. Velvety, light bodied, rounded acidity, intense aroma, syrupy and sweetness to the tongue: these terms will be familiar to coffee lovers while reading the description of the different beans available here.

 Next step, pick your preferred brewing method: Pour Over, French Press or Siphon. A shot of premium expresso. One shot will cost you around RM12-14.

 Done with their specialty coffee, now lets move on a take a review of the food. My friend ordered the Smoked Salmon Sandwich (around RM20 if I remember correctly). The bread was somehow dry to my liking but as you bite on, you will get to taste the alfafa-like green sprouts and lettuce on top of the salmon slices. Would prefer the bread to be lightly buttered rather than being bland and dry like that, though the version here do not incorporate a slice of cheese. The bread is a bit thick and dry and somehow failed to create a winning combination with the thin slices of smoked salmon. This sandwich is served with a side of leafy salad and mixed chips (combination of 3 different roots -  tapioca/cassava sweet potato and taro/yam chips)

The Prime Beef Pie is somehow bigger in size than expected. Encased inside a puff pastry is the filling of beef stew/dry oxtail soup like ingredients - chunky but yet chewy/hard cubes of beef, carrots and onions. The flavour is indeed very robust and the the puff pastry is not enough to accompany the filling. You will need to rely on the greens which is lightly flavoured with honey/maple syrup with a citrus tinge to act as a palate cleanser. Its not a bad dish, just a bit too heavy on taste for my liking.

Me and my friend did not order anything heavy but the portions of the pie and sandwiches but we were kinda full for desserts. Nevertheless, we decided to push our limits after being mesmerized with the beauty of the desserts and cakes here. I personally have a sweet tooth and a fondness for artistic desserts which is pleasing to the eye. I mean, look at the selection here, how could one resist rite?

 Another picture of the cakes available. That is why from the start, I would say this place is great for teatime. Price of the cake might be slightly above the average but you wont be finding most of the cakes here in ordinary cafe, or Secret Recipe alike.

Wanting to do a complete review, I opted to try their coffee, not their premium ones but I made a conventional pick, The Capuccino (RM8). Tastewise, it was just above average. Maybe the frothed milk should be of piping hot temperature, else the combination will turn up just slightly hotter than lukewarm. And, the barrista need to be more competently trained in coffee art. Failed attempt here. =/

 This KL trip, I plan to go to Whisk in Empire, Subang to try their Red Velvet Cake but only to have plans changed to try the Mille Crepe in Jalan Kuchai Lama. Again the plans didn't worked out but I am back to square one with a slice of Red Velvet Cake (RM11) in Plan B. I am very curious about the hype of Red Velvet Cake. To me its just vanilla-coffee sponge cake which I believe its steam-baked with cream cheese icing frosting. The red colour is normally naturally obtained from the juice of beet root. Coming back to the taste of Red Velvet Cake, I find it to be really ordinary. At least for the one in Plan B. My friend who has been tasting a few version in the Klang Valley said the ones in Whisk and another personal fave of hers in Just Heavenly cafe is way better than this. Okay, I will give Red Velvet Cake a benefit of my doubt on the next trip should I happen to be around these 2 recommended places.

This is the Rocky Road Slice (RM5), compared to its elder sibling, The Rocky Road Cake (RM12). The base is like dry brownies, with toppings of marshmallow, cherries drizzled with melted chocolate. Very sweet indeed though I love sweet desserts. Really meant for sharing. A slice can be divided to 6 pieces and yet we still can finish it all. 2 smalls slices were more than enough for me. The total bill came to around RM80+ for 2 person, perhaps this is quite standard weekend lunch price for KL-ites...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vegetarian Meal in Fu Tien

After ranting out my anger on the previous post, it is time for some inner peace. So how bout going for vegetarian cuisine? As a food lover, I shall make it clear that taking a vegetarian meal won't associate you to any religion or any belief and it does not imply that my faith is shaken. If you are cool with this, let's read on. Its the 9th Day of the 9 Emperor God Festival, so for the past 2 weeks, business has been brisk for vegetarian restaurants. If you are not really exposed to Chinese vegetarian cuisine, its no longer bounded by the stereotype dishes. Take for example, the Cantonese Style Yee Mee. Its just like your usual item from your stir fry noodle shop, minus the meat, and most likely replaced with mock meats (normally made from gluten or beancurd or beanskin)

Fu Tien is one of the more fusion based vegetarian cuisine, which offer decent individual meals at affordable price. They have bento sets too, ranging from RM4-RM6. This is the Tempura Set Bento, its like the Chap Fan style of vegetarian rice but served nicely in a bento with box. But from RM4, apa mau lagi kan? =p

This is the Marmite Lotus Root. Portion is kinda small but good as an appetizer or a finger food. Lotus roots is pan fried with Marmite (I think they use some Maggi seasoning sauce too) and futher caramelized with sugar glaze. They should go less with the sugar coating to make this dish more.... savoury as the Marmite taste is not taking the centre stage.

This is the Mango Roll? Oh crap! I forgot the actual name but I remember its RM7 per serving. Its normal sushi with tempura coating batter fritters and carrots at the centre. The mango on top is sweet but a bit over ripe, causing it to be a little "puree" mouthfeel. This dish looks like a caterpillar right?

And this is my Hainanese Chicken Rice! (RM5) I actually had the Bento on my last visit so I decided how well can they execute a dish which is so common in a working class typical staple diet. The rice is fluffy and fragrant. The "chicken" somehow tasted like.... fried fishcake, but they are actually beanskin (fu chook) going layer after layer. The Char Siew is... "Char Siew". Hahaaa... I can't describe the mock meats further, but definitely a lot of effort has been put in to make it taste closely to the real thing.

Since I didn not order my favourite Fish Bento, I had an ala carte serving of the fried mock fish in sweet and sour sauce (RM9). The skin of the "fish" is made from seaweed, thus giving it a fishy (hanyir) smell while the flesh is actually chopped/minced fu chook. A better version tasted is the one in Yi Shen, which uses fermented bean sauce which gives a good umami flavour. Never expect a vegetarian meal to be cheap as this meal for 3 cost around RM15/person inclusive of drinks. But I have to admit, although they are not meat, vegetarian "mock meats" takes a lot of processing steps and effort to make it resemble the real meat. And... they carry high calories as well. =p

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spices of Penang: lousy food, poor service.

Gosh, this is a place where Penangites will stone the owner and burn down this premise. Since the lousy experience in MyDream and River Nile, I couldn't recall when was the last occasion I stepped a food point till this level. Spices of Penang is a corner shop on the same road with Hokkaido Japanese Cuisine and the newly opened Shin Chan Ramen. Okay, to kick start things, Spices of Penang is pork free. That means Penang Lobak is out from the list, authentic curry noodles with coagulated pig blood cubes is also out and not to mention prawn noodles with pork slices. Okay, flipping through the menu, I was not impressed at all.

 Firstly, who in the world would include Tom Yam as a Penang specialty. But seriously, I do not know what else to pick from the menu. I saw the next table ordering it and it was served in a stainless steel pot. But when it arrived, I could barely see any ingredients in the soup!! 2 pathetic looking slices of fried fish, a few rings of squid.... and I could barely see any tomatoes and mushroom. Tastewise, its prepared from Tom Yam paste as I could not see any hint of lemongrass or daun limau purut or any other spices. RM7.90, so much for "spice" of Penang huh?

This is some grilled fish with nasi kunyit. The rice is just artificially coloured yellow without any fragrance of kunyit. The fish used is dory and it was fried rather than grilled. The black sauce taste like rojak sauce. A weird combination, the bowl of curry did not do any saving grace either. Okay, I wasted another RM11.90. Sometimes I wonder, do this people really taste what they cook before jumping into business? Or their taste buds are dead?

The Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng (RM6.90) is another epic failure. The santan cooked rice is bland and have a artificial aftertaste. Its clear-cut that instant coconut milk powder is used to cook the rice. The fried chicken is........ HOPELESS! Its lukewarm when arrived. Ok, the skin might be slightly warm but the meat is cold. Another clear cut it was microwave reheated? The meat is dry and tasteless. What happened to some basic marinade? I think even the Tesco Supermarket Nasi Lemak taste better? Ptuiiii...!!!

This is another joke of the century. Have you tasted Nasi Goreng Kampung WITHOUT ikan bilis, green chillies and belacan? You might as well call it NASI GORENG KANGKUNG la! Seriously, this is like normal nasi goreng kosong. Priced at RM5.90, go kill yourself! Bland, lacklustre, half hearted dish! I think the only think palatable was my Dragon Fruit drink.

Apparently this is a "chain/franchise". I wonder who is the idiot who started this "fast food Penang cuisine" out. A total disgrace and humiliation to Penang people. The service was sucky as well!! Its okay if you employ foreign workers but at least train them up! The 2 local Chinese waitress are busy playing their handphone behind the counter. Leaving the foreign workers waiters to blunder in serving food to the wrong table. They can even try to serve a plate of fried rice to a table next to mine whom just flipped open the menu. If you receive such critics, or rather CONDEMNATION in my blog, you are fated to fail in an ugly manner. Your road in F&B business in Ipoh will soon come to a dead-end. Very soon. Say... after Chinese New Year? My prediction and review are very justifiable and accurate. Look at MyDream and RiverNile now.... Spices of Penang, you have chosen the wrong town to con. Ipoh people are very particular with their food. Get lost of our beloved city, you are polluting a gastronomical heaven! Rawwrrrssss...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

U-Cha and DingTea

 I should be studying now. But somehow the itch of finding something to binge for supper is a feeling which is hard to surpress. Sitting still and facing the notes is another tedious chore! Can't help but to post a few pictures of a simple post tonight. Bubble Pearl Milk Tea is a common name when you frequent pasar malam. It is a craze from Taiwan which hit our shores more than a decade. But I'm sure most of us knows that the addictive chewy pearls with a QQ texture contains DEHP, which acts as a plasticizer. Yes, DEHP is a term most of us added into our vocabulary when China's melamine contaminated food scandal was known globally. And yet, I still drink this, once in a while. And my drink of RM5.90 has combination of jelly, pearls, aloevera bits which have me chewing on something as I enjoyed meeting up with my university CF friends.

 This is just a random post. I mean, I'm not a frequent Pearl Drink customer. Blindfold me and I cant even distinguish a cup from Chatime and a cup from pasar malam. Seriously, besides the "in" and "cool" factor, I do not understand why Chatime is a hit among the youngsters. But kudos to the CEO of Chatime which is  the master mind to the blooming trend of a pasar malam commodity to a mushroming hit item nowadays. Well, its cheaper than Starbucks if you want to look "in trend" for a meet up session or for their wifi connection. Ya, all in the photo above are guilty of the accused in U-Cha, just 2 shops away from Murni, SS2.

And the night before, I actually something similar. I had the Caramel Milk Tea (RM5.90 - comes with peals) but I choose to add RM1 for some coffee jelly as well. Yup, I love something to bite on. Thats why I always prefer the likes of Snowflakes rather than Chatime. By the way, this was taken in Kota Kemuning's DingTea while I was meeting up with a blogger which I known for few years but never seen her in person before. Yes, the same girl who fetched me to Uncle Jang earlier for dinner. Haha... Just as promised, back to some KL "food", though not prominent ones. I will save the best review for the finale. Happy weekend! ^^

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sakae Sushi October Monthly Specials - Soft Shell Crab

I've overlooked this post because I dined here just the day before departing to KL for the weekend. Yup, this is Sakae Sushi and they currently having SOFT SHELL CRAB as this month's special theme. That's why I decided to slot this post in before October is over.

This is called the Triple Golden Roll (RM8.80 for Members Card, RM10.80 for Without Card). Fried soft shell crab is encased into thin and crispy popiah skin and then lightly fried. This is indeed an addictive snack. Although it was no longer hot when arrived on our table, the popiah skin was surprisingly still crackling! Lovely and highly recommended for fried food aficionados ^^

Crispy Splash Trio (RM7.80 for members, RM9.80 for non-members) is similar to the popiah, but this is wrapped in bread. And its a bit too oily to my liking. The dipping sauce for both dishes complements the fried items very well. It looks like Thousand Island sauce with a mild spiciness and a fragrant mustard/sesame oil savoury after taste.

Teriyaki Soft Shell Crab (RM11.80 - members, RM14.80 - non members) looks real good in the display photo. But in reality, it manage to preserve some of its full glory. Its actually soft shell crab rolled in tempura battered brinjal. There is a filling which I believe to be diced Shitake mushroom in of course, Teriyaki Sauce. I do not really find the chemistry in this dish, sad to say.

Soft Shell Crab Maki (RM1-members RM6.80-non members).  This is not one of the monthly special but more of the RM1 item for cardholders. Its always available in the menu. Soft shell crab centre with inari (beanskin sheets) with a dollop of sauce similarly used with the soft shell crab "popiah".

A lower resolution promo poster from their website. Do make a visit if you are a Sakae Sushi cardholder for discounted price. Till then, stay tuned for the continuity of my food hunting weekend in KL =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Restoran Spring Golden - I'm convinced they serve one of the best Char Siew ever!

Woke up on a Sunday morning greeted by the morning sunshine of Kota Kemuning. I was wondering what to have for breakfast, or rather where my friend would take me for breakfast. Initially, she wanted to bring me to a Pan Mee shop but plans changed and she decided to check out whether this famous shop selling good char siew is opened for breakfast. Indeed, it was.

She was telling me about this Char Siew (BBQ pork in a sweetish and savoury gravy) a few times already. And it really didn't disappoint me. Normally Char Siew is not at the top of my pick in a roasted meat stall. But the BBQ pork here really left me mesmerized and on carried away on cloud nine. Really, I was so carried away I did not even bother on the health aspect (the charred parts is carcinogenic and freaks most of us out) Imagine caramelized, smoky aroma charred crust with a good proportion of lean and fat layer. The meat beneath the greasy exterior melts in your mouth tenderly without much biting or chewing needed. One of the best Char Siew indeed! I have never tasted such good ones in Ipoh also, not to mention KL. The wantan noodles is also springy without any hint of alkaline water odour. Al dente egg noodles texture from the proper procedure of "dipping/immersing" the cooked noodles in cold water is clearly observed!

 The Siew Yoke (Roasted Pork) is normally my favourite item, and it somehow met my expectation, if not exceed. The skin is crackling crispy, the meat evenly marinaded with a good balance of fat and lean layers. Nevertheless, hats off to the Char Siew, it was indeed in a league of its own. Unmatched!

 The chef is very polite and friendly and acknoledge almost every single customer with a smile and/or ushering them to their seats and/or thanking us as we leave. Dressed professionally in a white chef attire, he is quite free for PR works as the few foreigners handle the chopping, noodles cooking ,serving, etc. You can see many photos hung on the wall, taking pride of few media coverage.

 Besides the mentioned items, they also have roast chicken and roast duck. You can have it served with wantan mee or rice. The meal for 2 plates of Char Siew Wan Tan Mee and a plate of Char Siew Siew Yoke rice with 3 drinks came to a whopping RM26! But I can assure you that it is a price worth paying for one of the best BBQ pork I ever tasted in KL!

And where to find the answer to your roasted BBQ pork cravings? This shop is situated in Seksyen 25, Shah Alam. It is the area "opposite" the highway from Kota Kemuning. Open for breakfast and lunch (not too sure about dinner). Spring Golden is the answer to your Char Siew cravings. Owwwhh Yeahhhh!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Uncle Jang Korean Restaurant

Dear all, I am back from a long weekend trip to KL. And as promised, more food reviews! I had a packed yet refreshing getaway to discover many new food and at the same time met up with a lot of old friends (and meeting up an online blogger whom I never met in person before). Haha, thanks to Pui Yeng who fetched me to try out Uncle Jang Korean Restaurant, which is normally not accessible by public transport. ^^

The Dak Galbi chapter kicks start when a gigantic hot plate is heated using flame from LPG. The crew will shove everything into the hot plate and cooks it the teppanyaki way. I went for the Normal spiciness (RM19 per pax/portion) as my friend could not take spicy food and the pungent smell from the next table already sent us a signal not to try out the Hot Spicy (RM22 per pax/portion) level. There is a minimum order of 2 person when it comes to Dak Galbi. Since I had a heavy late lunch and my dining partner does not have a bottomless pit, looks like we could not go further to try other stuffs in the menu.

 Next, stir frying in progress. Cabbage and chicken chunks are the main ingredients but there are substantial portion of Korean rice cakes and sweet potato too. There are side addition which can be made (RM6-10/portion) which ranges from Udong, Ramen, rice, enoki mushroom, cheese (!!!) and extra rice cakes/sweet potato. Addition like noodles and rice can be added halfway through your dining session. In other words, you divide the first half of the Dak Galbi to be wrapped with lettuce leaf and the remaining half or 1/3 portion to be stir fried with white rice and seaweed or udon/ramen to make sure you are filled to the brim.

Once done, you can use your chopsticks and pick up the bits you want and eat them on their own. But I bet you will be grabbing those leafie greens in no time and wrap them up and eat them like how Korean eat their grilled meat! There are accompaniments of whole garlic and pickled onions in vinegar to go along with your Dak Galbi. After all this dish is a bit oily, so make sure you eat your garlic and onions for their health functions.

 Do spend some time to read through the history of DakGalbi (loosely translated into Spiced Chicken Chunks). It is said to have high nutritional value from the ingredients used: sweet potato contains high beta carotene and potassium which is said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level and wards off risks of cancer too. Cabbage is said to contain a lot of essential amino acid and promotes "longevity", that's why Kimchi is an integral item in Korean cuisine. Last but not least - chicken is used because white meat is more tender and healthier compared to red meats

 Simple collage backdrop of Korean movie stars and K-pop idols (added recently only I guessed). Bae Yong Jun and scenes from Winter can give you a rough estimation how long this place is in business. I'm not too sure whether this young Korean man is Jang Junior but apparently, the video embedded at the bottom of this post later will show that there is another Korean couple handling the other branch of Uncle Jang.

 The menu is simple. Its just a one page menu. Other than their signature Dak-Galbi, there are a few items in the menu - mainly individual portion meal. Among them are Pork Bulgogi, Pork Cutlet Rice, Kimchi Noodle Soup and the famous San Gye Tang (Ginseng Chicken Soup). They have limited options of drinks both alcoholic (Soju, beer) and non alcoholic alike (soft drinks) but plain water is FOC (I would hope they give us tea on the house instead of plain water, just like how Daorae did).

Apparently Uncle Jang have several outlets (refer to their Facebook page). The decor in this branch in Bandar Puteri Puchong is a bit too simple. Wall and ceiling in plain white. The ventilation needs to be improved as the air conditioning capacity is not enough. I googled other blog reviews on their Ampang outlet and found it to have a better ambiance. I will end this post with a Youtube video review on Uncle Jang for some "live action".