Friday, October 31, 2008

Pasta Zanmai @ 1Utama

Pasta Zanmai
G210B Ground Floor Promenade
1 Utama Shopping Mall
Bandar Utama
Petaling Jaya

Much has been said about this sister outlet of Sushi Zanmai. While it serves Japanese-style pasta and pizza, it still retains some its other Japanese dishes on the menu, eg grilled seafood, tofu, edamame and some rice sets.

We started off with some Miso Soup - some of us had the Miso Soup Yasai (RM6) - with mixed vegetables and mushrooms...

... while I had the Miso Soup Asari (RM6) - with clams ... (only 4 clams in my bowl!). The portions of soup were more than sufficient and best of all, the soup was piping hot! Good!

Their Kani (crabstick) Avocado Salad (RM18) was served with our choice of Sesame Dressing. I would say for the price paid, the portion could have been more generous. The vegetables were fresh, crispy and the sesame dressing was excellent.

The thick sesame dressing was very fragrant and went very well with the salad...
Next came the Teriyaki Chicken Pizza (RM20). The thin biscuit-like pizza was very different from your regular-kinda western pizza. There's no yeast in the dough and its texture was almost like the cream crackers kinda biscuit - firm and crispy. It was served with a half-cooked egg in the centre and the idea is to break it up while the pizza's hot... so we had this runny-egg (like soft boiled egg) smothering the pizza. Topped with shredded spring onions, seaweed and tender chunks of teriyaki chicken, this was one delicious unique pizza!

The Creamy Chicken Spaghetti (RM18) had crispy fried chicken pieces and mushroom served in a thick rich creamy sauce. Thank goodness we were sharing all the dishes among ourselves. If you are to eat this entire pasta dish by yourself, you would end up feeling very "jelak", I'm sure!

The Unagi Wafu spaghetti (RM22) fared better with our tastebuds. Again, a half-boiled egg was part of the topping and once mixed with the pasta, it rendered a smooth delicious consistency to the dish.
The Smoked Salmon Pizza (RM25) is one really healthy dish - it's like a salad served on a biscuit! A whole bunch of crispy lettuce leaves and onions sat on top of the biscuit-like pizza and slices of smoked salmon decorated the salad, with a sprinkling of savoury pepper powder.
See how healthy it is??!

Shells from the clams in my Miso Soup... they looked so pretty and cleanly-scrubbed!
For an interesting Japanese-Italian fusion experience, this place should be visited at least once. It is quite packed during mealtimes but the service crew were pretty efficient and alert.

My rating: 7/10

Hoong Foong Dim Sum

Hoong Foong Dim Sum
No.77 & 79 Jalan USJ 21/10
Pusat Perniagaan USJ21
47630 Subang Jaya
Tel: 016-2637163 (Boon)/016-2031972 (John)
Operating hours: 7am - 2.30pm (everyday incl public holidays)

Taking a break from posting about baking, I'd like to share some feedback and photos of this popular Dim Sum place in USJ21. I believe they have another outlet in Puchong. This place is well-patronised for its decent dim sum at very affordable prices. Housed in a typical no-pretense coffee shop, service is brisk and they are usually "full house" on weekends.

Let's start off with the "must have's" ... Loh Mai Kai. I would say this was pretty average - nothing spectacular - the grains of glutinuous rice and chicken, cha siew, chinese sausage and mushroom were well-steamed.
Their Pork & Century Egg Porridge was robust with decent amounts of pork and egg. Served steaming hot, it gave a warm respite to our growling stomachs.
Now, on to the steamed stuff...
This Beancurd Roll was one of our favourites - we ordered extra plates of this. The fish & pork paste encased in the beancurd sheet was springy and tasty.
Anything to do with shrimps is LL's favourite- so this plate of steamed Shrimp Dumpling was eagerly taken from the bamboo tray. The above-average-sized shrimps were fresh - however, I found the taste a bit bland.

Ahh... the compulsory Pork Ribs with Black Beans... generous cuts of ribs were delicately-flavoured and steamed just nice - very satisfying indeed!
This plate of Steamed Beancurd looked interesting when it was offered to us. Hmmm... taste-wise, it was rather disappointing as the shrimp+pork filling did nothing to lift it above average.
We loved these Steamed Fish Balls in Beancurd Skin - I think we also ordered extra plates of this! Served with some yummy beanpaste gravy, this was quite delectable!

Ahh... their Cha Siew Pow was soft and fluffy - certainly passed the acid test of pows!

I'm not exactly a fan of the fried stuff but LL absolutely must have his Fried Springrolls! According to him, they were very crispy and tasted excellent!The Yam Puffs were light and crunchy and the cha siew filling was adequate. Like any good yam puff, they were not oily and the yam texture was "powdery" enough and was well mashed.
The Shrimp Rolls were "absolute heaven" - according to LL. As you can see, the light batter used was so puffed-up and crunchy! This was really shrimp paradise!

The Chee Cheong Fun guy busy with his tasks...
The trays and trays of dim sum ready to be served to the hungry hordes...

The steamer where all kinds of Pows were kept hot and soft...

Their prices are reasonable and won't burn a hole in your pockets, with prices starting from RM1.80 per plate. So, if you want some no-frills decent dim sum, this is the place to head to.

My rating: 7/10

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blueberry Muffins

Personally, I find that muffins are one of the easiest things to bake. LL did a good job baking his first batch of muffins (under my guidance, of course, hehe!). Basically, you just beat/mix everything together and bake...

The good thing about muffins is that you can be very flexible about the flavours you wish to add in... ranging from nuts, fruits, chocolate chips, fruit paste etc!

Last night we decided to do a Blueberry version... here is the recipe...


3 eggs
125ml melted butter
250g self-raising flour
180g castor sugar
100ml water
100g blueberry granules/paste
1 tsp vanilla essence


*Beat eggs and sugar.
*Add in melted butter alternately with flour and water.
*Add in vanilla essence and blueberry granules & mix thoroughly.
*Spoon into paper cups and bake in 180 deg.C for 20-25 minutes till golden brown.

LL was a very good student and the muffins turned out very well, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moist Carrot Cake

With 3 days off last weekend and no travelling in mind, there was ample time for some baking. LL wanted to learn an easy no-fuss cake so the Moist Carrot Cake came to mind.

The recipe goes like this...


200g shredded carrot (1 medium-sized carrot)
50g walnuts - chopped
70g raisins - chopped
70g canned pineapple - sliced into small pieces

225ml corn oil
180g castor sugar
200g flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp soda bicarb - sieve together
4 eggs
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla essence


*Beat eggs and sugar together till sugar dissolves
*Slowly add in the corn oil, beat further
*Add in the cinnamon and vanilla
*Stir in all the chopped/shredded ingredients
*Lastly, fold in the sieved flour & combine well
*You can bake them in papercups like this...

Or in a 9" square tin like this...

*Bake cake in 190-200 deg.C for about 35 minutes (till golden brown)

See... wasn't that easy?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Meaty House @ Taipan USJ

Restoran Meaty House
37-G Jalan USJ 10/1D
UEP Subang Jaya
47620 Selangor
Tel: 03-5633 5634

On a cold wet rainy evening, what better way to satisfy a rumbling stomach than to have some good robust porky bites? With that mission in mind, we headed over to Taipan USJ... to one of our favourite haunts for real authentic porky goodness - Meaty House!

As the name suggests, this really IS a meaty house - the items on their menu centre around the good ole oink-oink! As you enter the restaurant, you get the first indication of their meaty goodness - a cooler displaying packets of hams, bacons, sausages, pork balls etc etc....!

Even before we were seated, the captain - a loudmouthed jolly fella (you won't miss him out!) already had the menus in hand waiting at our favourite table.

Without wasting much time, we ordered our favourites.... starting off with Bruschetta (RM5.80). Service is very fast...even before we got to sip our drinks, this plate appeared before us...

6 slices of french loaf bread topped with chopped capsicum, onions, tomatoes and sprinkled with crispy pieces of bacon. The fragrant toppings were excellent with the crispy toasted bread and these disappeared in record time!

Next to arrive was the combo plate of Pork Ribs & Sausages (RM26.80). There were 2 pieces each of the grilled ribs and sausages served with Garden Salad. The ribs were well marinated with a sweetish honey sauce and grilled just right... the meat was succulent and juicy. As for the sausages - what can I say? Drenched with brown gravy, they were quickly sliced and every yummy mouthful was enjoyed to the max!

My complaint was that they were not meaty enough - it would have been perfect if there had been a thicker layer of meat on the ribs.
Ahhh... of course we had to have their speciality dish - German Pork Knuckle (RM29.80). We requested that they chop it up for us...

This dish took a wee bit longer to serve. I guess they need to ensure the skin is really crispy before serving it. It was well worth the wait! You can see here the pork knuckle in all its crispy glory!
The tender succulent meat underneath the crispy skin and a thin layer of fat just melted in our mouths...
The only disappointment here was the mashed potatoes served - it was cold and lumpy. This was the only item we did not finish.

You can have as much mustard sauce as you like with the Pork Knuckle...
... even though it was served with a generous portion of brown gravy...
Now... while the above dishes fared very well generally, what really stood out and considered as the "star" of the meal was this...

Grilled Pork Belly (RM23.80)! This is one dish you must order if you are a true-blue piggy fan, I tell you! The thin slices of pork belly had absorbed the flavours of the marinade, rendering them absolutely delicious bites of pure porky heaven! The meat was grilled to perfection and covered with a thick coating of the marinade sauce.

To offset some of the lardy effects, I asked for their pickles and relish as side dishes and they served their purpose well. The sourish tangy julienne'ed carrots, radishes, cabbage went superbly with the grilled belly.

Needless to say, we left the restaurant with very full happy tummies... until the next craving, hehe!

My rating: 8/10