Monday, January 28, 2008

Tai Thong Klang - Celebration Dinner

Last Sunday, the family gathered for a 3-prong celebration dinner at Tai Thong, Klang. This was to celebrate the birthdays of JJ, Leanne and the wedding anniversary of Big Sis. A room with karaoke was booked for this occasion. Needless to say, it was was a very noisy dinner - not only from the karaoke in our room, but also from the karaoke from the next room and from the main dining hall where a wedding dinner was in progress!

We were all ravenous by the time the Four Seasons dish was served. It consisted of 2 types of fishballs - steamed and the other rolled in almond flakes & fried; green peas & asparagus with snails on a meehoon basket and some jellyfish salad. It's quite uninspiring but everything was polished off.

Next, they served the Birthday Noodles because the kids were hungry. This huge mountain of wantan noodles were braised with pork and mushroom slices with beansprouts. Simple as it was, it was tasty and very soon the mountain was gone!

The waitress served us individual Chicken Soup which had chinese herbs and sea cucumber in it. It was yummy! No photos here as those shots didn't turn out well.

The Braised Sea Cucumber with Mushrooms came in a generous portion. Besides these 2 main ingredients, there were also canned abalone mushrooms, beancurd sheets and brocolli. This is a pretty standard dish in chinese banquets. Although it was a huge portion, it was sadly lacking in taste - probably the cook forgot to add salt in it!

The Steamed Patin Fish was swimming in a sea of blended ginger. The fish was excellent as it was very fresh and succulent.However, the next dish - Butter Prawns was the greatest disappointment of the night. It was completely tasteless - the prawns as well as the "butter" crumbs.

The vegetable dish was KaiLan in 2 Styles. The stalks were crispily stirfried while the leaves were sliced finely and deepfried with pieces of dried cuttlefish. I think this was the best dish of the evening - but then, that could be my biased view because I'm a vegetables lover!

Dessert was some Pink Rolls & Baked Pastries. The pink rolls were just like the ping-pei mooncake while the baked pastries had lotus paste filling. Oh the pasttries came with Sea Coconut & Longan.

On the whole, I would say the food there lacked taste. Possible reasons: it's a busy pre-CNY time and there was a wedding dinner there as well.

Later on we went to Sis' place for the Celebration Cakes:

Kheng's Kopitiam - Part II

In my previous posting on this Kopitiam, I said I would go back there for their Iced Coffee. So, last weekend, with my friend SL in town and since she wanted some kopitiam fare for lunch, we headed to Kheng's again.

This time round we ordered new items, besides the iced coffees, of course.

SL had the Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang (RM6.50). According to her, it was so-so. The dish came with all the condiments arranged neatly around the rice. I took a bite to try and my verdict is:

* The sambal was clearly made from commercialized "chili boh" (ground chilli) as the raw taste of the ground chilli was overwhelming.

* The chicken rendang - it looked better than it tasted. Somehow there seemed to be something lacking in the ingredients that went into the rendang - it's just not as fragrant as it should be.

* The rice lacked good santan in its flavour.

LL ordered the Fried Mee with Chicken Curry (RM5). The fried mee was, just literally, fried mee - there was NO other ingredients in the dish - not even a strand of taugeh! There was just a sprinkling of chopped spring onions on top of the plain fried mee. Taste-wise, the mee was bland and it was only edible when doused with the curry chicken. The curry chicken was just mediocre - tasted like one of those instant-pack curry paste.
I tried their Curry Laksa (RM5.50). There were taufu puffs, long beans, slices of fishcake and 1 piece of chicken in the bowl of noodles. The curry was quite lemak but taste-wise, nothing outstanding.
SL ordered her favourite Steamed Tapioca (RM2) which came with their bland kaya. We couldn't finish all the tapioca. Likewise, the Sweet Potato kuih, rolled in coconut, was pretty but lacked any "oomph".
Again, I would go back to Kheng's for their iced coffee, if not anything else!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Raju's Restaurant

Raju's Restaurant
Jalan Gasing
Petaling Jaya

It was a blistering day yesterday and my colleagues and I had actually wanted to go for the Ipoh Taugeh Chicken in Jalan Gasing. However, we had a last-minute change of mind after the horrendous jam along that stretch and there definitely was no parking space available there.

So, we decided to turn into Raju Restaurant - no traffic jam and parking space available there. We chose to sit at the al fresco area, under shady trees and giant mist fans and less cooking smoke there! We didnt want to smell like indian food later!

Once we sat down, banana leaves, rice, vegetables & curry appeared on our table. We had also ordered fried Ikan Bulus (RM5 per fish), Ikan Tenggiri (RM4 per piece), Sotong (RM7), Chicken Gizzards (RM0.50 per piece) and Chicken (RM4.50).

Generally, the fried stuff were OK although my colleagues commented the Chicken was a bit tasteless - it wasn't fried till "garing" - it was in fact, a little under-fried.

The fried Sotong was good as it had been very well marinated and there were also pieces of fried onion rings with it.

The waiters went around with trays where plates of various kinds of curried dishes were offered. We chose the Mutton Varuval (RM8). It was more spicy than tasty - I couldn't really taste the flavour of the meat as it must have been pre-boiled for some time.

The waiters also plonked a piece of Fish Cutlet on our banana leaves, without first asking us. When I asked whether it was "Free", he said "Bayar, semua kena bayar" and then walked off. Well, we thought since the thing was on our banana leaves, we tried it and unanimously agreed that we're NOT gonna be conned by this again. It was tasteless, with hardly any fish in it - it's more like some flour paste with spices and it cost RM1.50 for that miserable piece.

Each portion of Rice & Vegetables was RM5 per person. I found their curries lacking in taste - bland. Service was erratic - we had to repeat our request for the Fried Bittergourd several times before it was finally served to us. And what a disappointment it was! The gourd didn't look freshly fried, it was just bitter and not crunchy at all. Although I'm a fan of this stuff, I left my portion of the bittergourd untouched.

On the whole, I would say Raju's is a bit over-rated. The food was not fantastic and the prices are rather steep. For this meal, the cost was RM60.30 for 3 people.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Rice-Cooker" Chicken Rice

Tired from the cookies baking, we decided to have a very simple dinner at home. What could be simpler than Claypot Chicken Rice – although in our case, it was “Rice-Cooker” Chicken Rice.

So I tossed together half a kampong chicken, Chinese mushrooms and Thai sausages and voila!

The chicken rice was cooked very quickly and our 1-dish meal was a very satisfying dinner :-))

Peanut Cookies - home-baked

Chinese New Year is just round the corner and there’re not many weekends left before the Year of the Rat dawns. So, today I decided to start making some cookies – my famous Peanut Cookies!

It’s the first time I’m using my Fagor oven to bake cookies and the 1st tray put in was a test. The temperature at 200 deg.C was too hot and the top tray of cookies was very quickly browned. Thereafter, I turned the temperature down to 150 deg. and the cookies were fine.

600g of peanuts yielded 4 such containers of cookies!

Kheng's Kopitiam

Kheng's Kopitiam
24 Jalan Anggerik Vanilla M31/M
40600 Kota Kemuning
Shah Alam

Having woke up late on a Sunday - one of the very rare occasions that I do, I had an urge for kopitiam fare. So we headed to Kheng's Kopitiam, in Kemuning "town centre". It was just after 11.00am and the place was pretty packed. Like so many other kopitiams in the area, the interior was almost an exact replica of the one across the street - small round & square tables with stools around them.
We ordered the iced Kheng's Kopi (RM2.20) and the White Coffee (RM2.50). The former was darker in colour and tasted more "kau" - good enough to satisfy my caffeine craving.

The must-have Kaya Butter Toast (RM1.50) was quite disappointing. The bread was the usual hainan bread, cut thinly and unevenly, butter was not-quite-there and the kaya was uninspiring.

My plate of Mee Siam (RM5) had prawns, shredded omelette, few pieces of taufu, topped with half a lime and dollop of sambal at the side. Taste-wise, it was quite bland - thanks to the lime, the sourish tinge lifted the meehoon somewhat.

LL's plate of Hokkien Mee (RM5.90) was bland, although initially it looked quite encouraging. It did come with prawns, fishcake and quite a lot of sawi. He has certainly tasted much better mee!

We shared a small plate of Pulut Tai-tai with Kaya (RM2). Since it was the same kaya in the Toast bread earlier, which was bland, it didn't enhance the pulut - what a pity.

Oh well, I'd go back there for the iced Kopi - nothing else.

Teluk Gong Seafood in Sunway

Teluk Gong Seafood & Steamboat Village
Kompleks Medan Selera
Jalan PJS 10/2, Subang Indah
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-5632-3673

This restaurant was opened sometime last year and while I was still living in the USJ area, I used to go there quite regularly. As the name suggested, besides bringing Teluk Gong to Sunway, their seafood is always fresh. You can’t miss the place – after the roundabout from Subang Jaya heading towards Sunway, turn left after the BHP petrol station. You can’t miss the bright yellow & blue building with the words “Teluk Gong” on it!

Its interior is very “sunshiney” – bright orange walls and bright yellow chairs! The pretty lady-boss always has a wide bright smile greeting the customers, too!

Our top favourite dish here is the Salted Eggyolk Crabs. The superfresh succulent crabs are drenched in the sinful cholesterolly salted eggyolks, peppered with chilli padi - absolutely irresistible! The trick is to carefully lick off the rich coating of creamy salted eggyolks before biting into the crabs. Our dish of 2 huge crabs, easily 1.5kg there, cost RM48.

LL’s favorite Fried Rice has huge prawns and lots of orangey eggyolks in it (yeah, seems like eggyolks are the rage here). The rice grains are shiny with flavors and full of “wok hei”. The serving for 2 people cost RM8.

As I was hankering for some soupy vegetables, the natural choice was Spinach in Superior Stock. There were slices of century eggs in the tasty soup and lots of spinach! The more-than-generous bowl of soup for 2 cost RM12.

The pretty ladyboss recommended their Otak Rolls. It’s fried mini springrolls with otak paste as the filling. I found this to be quite mediocre, the otak-otak was pretty mild, not very distinguishable. The serving was quite generous (we had to tapau the balance back!) – price was RM12.

My repeated visits to this restaurant are always for their crabs and fried rice – good enough for me!

Jaya Palace Restaurant

Jaya Palace Restaurant
Ground Floor, Menara LYL
12 Jalan 51A/223
46100 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-79682000

The recently-opened Jaya Palace Restaurant in Sect.51A is located smack in the middle of industrial and office buildings. Menara LYL where it is located is not fully tenanted and it's not hard to miss the restaurant on the Ground Floor. The decor is modern with a touch of Oriental splendour. Rich brown timber panelled walls give the place a very warm contemporary air and there were also a few wooden shelved partitions displaying chinese teapots and vases.

2 huge waterfeature pots were placed at one corner - the sound of falling water was very soothing. They also have fish tanks lining one part of the restaurants, with live seafood.

Their menu featured some interesting dishes as well as dim sum. All dim sum are a la carte, so they come to your table really freshly-cooked and piping hot. We ordered their Xiao Loong Bao (3 pcs for RM5), Loh Mai Kai (RM8), Steamed Fish Balls (3 pcs for RM5), Steamed Pork Ribs with Yam (RM6), Yam Puffs (RM6.30 for 3 pcs), Fried Rice Rolls (RM6), Egg Tarts (RM4.80 for 3 pcs), Ham Sui Kok (RM6 for 3 pcs), Cha-siew Pastries (RM6 for 3 pcs), La Mien with Beef Tenderloin (RM10) and Mango Sago with Pomelo (RM5). Oh, their appetizer dish was french beans fried with peanuts and anchovies (RM3).

What were absolutely scrumptious and must be ordered again are the Steamed Pork Ribs with Yam - the meat was very tender and the yam powdery-soft; Loh Mai Kai - very tasty and the Ham Sui Kok.
The Fried Rice Rolls were just HK chee-cheong fun fried (instead of steamed) in black sauce - nothing special really. The La Mien was mediocre with VERY few pieces of beef tenderloin - bad value for money, at RM10! The other dim sum items were just passable, nothing spectacular.
I will re-visit this restaurant, to try out their other dishes - those that go with rice. Prices are steeper than most chinese restaurants; but as PJ doesn't have that many decent chinese restaurants, I guess they can command their prices.