Thursday, July 29, 2010

That Famous "Klang Thong Yuen" in Pin Chou

Not too long ago I received an invitation from a blog reader asking me to go check out some food served in Restoran Pin Chou.... somewhere in Klang.

I had no idea where this place could be ... so what did I do? I turned to Google Maps. I absolutely love Google. I think Google is one of da best things to have ever been invented on planet Earth! Dang - I can find out just about anything in Google! Just like the other day when my boss asked me how to curve something in Powerpoint (having just changed over to Vista) and when the "Help" function didn't really help much, all I did was turn to Google and typed "How to curve bla bla bla...." and hey presto! I got everything I needed to know and my boss thought I was such a whiz too...LOL!

Anyway, where was I... I digress too much (it's Google's fault!)... ahh yes, Pin Chou. So this was what Google maps dug out for me:

112 Jalan Pekan Baru, Kawasan 17,
Off Jalan Meru,
41050 Klang, SELANGOR, Malaysia

... together with a map to the place.

But then when DL saw the map, he said "no need for map la, i know where it is!" Oh well...

So that was how we found ourselves in Pin Chou. It's tucked somewhere behind Klang Parade, Off Jalan Meru.


So what's so special about this place? It looks like any other kopitiams, right?

Well, we discovered that here lies that very-famous Thong Yuen (glutinuous rice balls) of Klang! Thong Yuen is traditionally eaten during the Winter Solstice ("koh toong") celebration, after the harvesting time in China, usually on 22 December of each year. The Chinese believe that once you have eaten thong yuen on "koh toong", you are actually one year older! And "koh toong" holds more significance than the Chinese New Year, actually.

"Taste with Jason" (that Astro food program) also recently featured them and that episode was actually shot in this location.

PinChou DTF-4

This Thong Yuen business started a long time ago and the original stall was in Port Klang town but I heard that is no longer in operation. The stall here is run by the daughter while the mother has another outlet somewhere in Bukit Tinggi, Klang.

PinChou DTF-3

So what's so special about the Thong Yuen? Well, for one, the dough was smooth but pliable so you get the right amount of "chewiness" and "bounciness" there without being too tough or stringy. You can choose to have the smaller ones, without filling... or the bigger ones with sesame paste filling. Now what I like best about this dessert is the gingery gula melaka-flavoured soup. With just the right amount of sweetness, drinking this soup will give you that nice warm tingling sensation in your tummy!

Now besides Thong Yuen, the only other item they serve here is Mua Chee. This is made from glutinuous rice dough, sweetened, steamed and then rolled in crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Well, that's how most Mua Chee are served. But ... the "value-add" factor from this stall here is they also serve it with Coconut shavings which had been cooked with gula melaka! This is what differentiates it from others and I must say it works - it works so well that LL has been pestering me to go back there again just for this!


Make sure you press the Mua Chee hard on the coconut-peanuts-sesame mound to get as much yumminess as possible, haha!

OK, so I started with the dessert. That's because I think that's the attraction in Pin Chou.

But if you need more substantial stuff to fill your tummies, Pin Chou does serve up some good eats. There are about 12 stalls in that kopitiam in the evening. In the morning/afternoon, they have a different group. Well, if you find yourself there in the evening, these are the recommended good eats...

Fish Head Noodles (RM3.50-5.00) ... you can opt to have milk added to the soup, like this...

PinChou DTF-1

... or without milk... Clear Soup, like this...

PinChou DTF-2

I like the pieces of bittergourd added in - gives a refreshing (and not really bitter) bite to the whole experience. Fish fillet/fish head pieces were fresh and portions were generous. Fried pork lard - "chee yau char" - were liberally sprinkled on top of the noodles too! Good value, I would say.

The "Kon Lou Loe See Fun" (rat tails noodles, dry-style) (RM3.50) was another recommended item.

PinChou DTF

Initially the bowl of plainwhite noodles and minced pork didn't really look appealing. "Mix it up and you will see!" - that was what Simon (my blog reader) advised. "The secret is in the minced pork", he added. OK... I followed his instruction and boy, he was right! Subtle flavours of garlic, pork, lard and maybe some secret ingredient, rendered the plain loe see fun into delightful mouthfuls - good old comfort food. Oh, the noodles come with a bowl of assorted yong taufu too.

Simon further recommended the Loh Bak ...


... and Chicken Rice....


... both of which I found to be just OK bordering on mediocre. Order these only if you are still hungry, after gorging on the first few items mentioned above!

Oh, I must also mention that Pin Chou is one of the few kopitiams around which has actually installed a good cooling system in their premises so you will have a pleasant cooling experience there, unlike the hot & humid environment found in most kopitiams.

PinChou DTF-5

Well, I would go back to Pin Chou for the Thong Yuen, for sure! I'm sure LL is just waiting to go as well.

Thank you, Simon, for the kind invitation and recommendations - we had an enjoyable evening there :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It's about time I did something. Change the outfit from the old boring one to something more contemporary, eh!

Blogger's new themes are pretty cool - so many combinations of templates and backgrounds! I like my greens and cyans ... restful shades that don't tax the eyes too much. The whole thing doesn't reflect food or gluttony much (no pics of food in the template) - that's intentional... coz the posts will be full of foooood!

Hopefully this agrees with the majority of you out there, ya! ;-))

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

IR1968 @ Terrace Hock Choon

Prior to visiting this place, I have often wondered what the "IR" stood for. There had been several reviews about this restaurant and the name itself kinda piqued my interest. So when I received an invitation from FBB and Poesy Liang for a review here, I took it upon myself to research it a bit.

As it turned out, "IR" simply stands for "Indonesian Restaurant" and the 1968 is the year it was established, in Hong Kong. With 2 outlets in Hongkong, they have been serving authentic Indonesian fare since 1968, with some Chinese influence. This was further elaborated by the suave and charming Hudson Chang, who owns the restaurant here in Terrace Hock Choon, Kuala Lumpur with his equally charming business partner, Debbie Goh. Born into the food business, Hudson spent almost his entire childhood in his parents' restaurant back then in Indonesia. Later they expanded their business to Hong Kong and now, Malaysia.

Pladip IR1968 Kura1

Nestled in the cosy enclave that is Terrace Hock Choon (which currently has 8 restaurants/bars/cafes), IR1968 is tastefully done. With bare rustic floors, painted wooden & rattan furniture and splashes of colours in the forms of cushions, table napkins, lanterns and walls, the place exudes a warm cheerful cosiness which is instantly likeable.

Pladip IR1968 Kura-4

You can choose to dine al fresco at the terrace too - this would be a nice choice to chill out in the evenings.

Pladip IR1968 Kura-6

Pladip IR1968 Kura1-1

Right after the little introduction by Hudson, we were served one of their top signature dishes - Semur Lidah (RM32).


Ox tongue - boiled for 8 hours and then braised in a sweetish slightly spicy sauce. There's a good reason why this dish remains as one of their top selling items - one bite into the tender tongue and you will definitely go for seconds and thirds! I didn't know the texture of ox tongue was so similar to beef itself - I had expected it to be something else. The almost beef-like texture and gorgeous taste of this Semur Lidah instantly elevated it to be the favourite that day.

Ayam Asam Kacang (RM22) came next. Chopped pieces of crunchily fried chicken sitting pretty on a sweet-sourish plum sauce with hints of nutty flavours. Dip them into the accompanying plate of chopped peanuts and you'll have a mouthful of crispy nutty chicken which screams "more more!"


Asam Fish (RM38) - fried fish fillets cooked in a spicy asam gravy with ladies' fingers, tomatoes, bombay onions topped with fragrant chinese parsley leaves. This dish will have you digging into your rice and more...


At this point, their Coconut Rice (RM5) served covered with a cone-shaped banana leaf was greeted with glee - just perfect to mop up the Asam Fish gravy. And if that is not enough, their wicked sambal would have you asking for more rice please!


Tofu Telur Goreng (RM18) - egg omelette with tofu (beancurd) pieces mixed in, served with shredded cucumber, carrots and beansprouts. Pour the sweetish-spicy peanut sauce over and you have a dish almost like the gado-gado. I can just eat this on its own.


Codfish in Special Sauce - this was a new item which is not on their menu yet. A succulent juicy piece of cod fillet, lightly battered & fried, served on a bed of sweet-sour sauce. This was redolently delicious! The portion served is for 1 person, I believe.


We were fortunate to be served another new dish - Prawns in Coconut ...(not in the menu yet)...


Fresh succulent prawns cooked in an aromatic tomyum-like soup in a coconut. You can get similar dish in seafood restaurants around here and IR 1968's version was done well - it had us clamouring for more rice - carbs overload!

Our fibre contributor in that meal came in the form of their Kailan in 2 Ways - this definitely was very strongly Chinese-influenced. Leaves deep-fried while the stalks were lightly saute'ed, thus retaining their fresh crunchiness.


Desserts weren't very impressive, though ... Fried Bananas or Pineapple with Es Krim (ice cream). The bananas fared better as the pineapple came from a can.


Their Es Cendol was kinda lack lustre - more gula melaka & thicker fresh santan would have helped. Perhaps their other desserts would have fared better?


Though the desserts didn't do much for me, this would be a good place to unwind, with some interesting Indochine cuisine. The warm chic cosiness of the place would probably make up for the above-average prices here.

Pladip IR1968 Kura-5

Many thanks to FBB and Poesy Liang for orchestrating the brunch - had a great time catching up with everyone that day!

IR 1968 Indochine Restaurant & Bar
241-B Lorong Nibong
Off Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-2098477

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot Can - Hot Drinks on the Go!

Do you like it HOT?
Well, some do!

Some Like It Hot.

That's the tagline of HOT CAN - innovative self-heating drinks that are now available in our market... and proudly made in Malaysia, too.


At a recent launch party in Havana at Changkat Bukit Bintang, Hot Can's CEO, Dato' Kenneth Warren Kolb explained the innovation and technology behind the self-heating beverages. The patented technology is his brainchild and the process & technique were shown in a simple presentation that evening.


How does it work?

Well, the special double-chambered aluminium can contains the beverage in the outer chamber while the inner chamber holds water and calcium oxide (quicklime) separately. You need to press the button at the bottom of the can (till a small click is heard). Once that's done, the water mixes with the quicklime starting an exothermic reaction that heats up the beverage in the outer chamber in less than 3 minutes and the temperature can go as high as 55 deg C!


We tried it... a bit apprehensive at first. You need to shake the can and let it heat up. The special heat-sensitive coasters provided actually turned red when the can gets heated up!


Some of the other guests' cans had steam emitting, which was pretty cool. Do be careful when shaking it, though - the drink's pretty hot and scalding!


At the moment, 2 flavours are available - Hot Chocolate and Cafe Latte - I prefer the former - creamy chocolatey flavours always win with me!


More flavours will be available later and I believe they will also be coming out with the Soups soon. Yeah, Hot Soups will definitely be a hit! At the moment, the Hot Cans are retailing between RM7-RM9 in the shops at petrol stations and Cold Storage.

So, if you are going camping or somewhere cold and you need hot drinks to warm you up without much hassle, grab some Hot Cans to bring along!

I'd like to thank Nazeen Koonda of Mongoose Asia for the invitation. It was a very pleasant evening, checking out these Hot Cans and meeting up with other foodie friends.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

pla dib @ The Heritage Village

pla dib.
What do you make of that name?

Can't fault you if something Thai popped into your mind. It is Thai for "raw fish" and the original restaurant was set up in Bangkok. However, pla dib doesn't exactly serve Thai cuisine - based on their philosophy of "freedom of food", its menu features a variety of Asian fusion items... namely marriages of Thai, Japanese and European cuisines. Besides KL, the other Asian city where you can find pla dib is Singapore.

pla dib is located at The Heritage Village out in Seri Kembangan, across The Mines Shopping Fair. When I got the invitation from Nigel and Anna Chew of VenusBuzz, I had no idea where this exactly is... but thank goodness DL, my partner in crime, knows that area like the back of his hand. So we arrived at pla dib in good time and were warmly welcomed by Anna and Sherlene of Bluwater Estate, the owner & operator of pla dib. While waiting for the others, we had ice cold Phuket beer, enjoying the fading rays as the sun set across the tranquil lake.

Pladip IR1968 Kura-2

Once everyone had arrived, we were ushered into the dining area. Sherlene and the team had prepared a varied menu showcasing most of pla dib's specialities.


First to arrive at our table was the Salmon Labb (RM10). I have never been one who goes for raw fish, really... but pla dib's version intrigued me. The succulent pieces of raw salmon doused with shoyu & lime juice and sprinkled with chilli flakes & roasted rice were quite different from your regular sashimi eaten with plain old wasabe. Suffice to say, these morsels had none of the dreaded fishy taste as the acidic lime juice had kinda "cured" the rawness a bit and the shoyu, chilli flakes, mint leaves and roasted rice were perfect foils.


Single Sun Beef (RM15) - there was quite a debate over the name of this dish (as to why it's "single" sun) but I shall not repeat the rather lengthy details here ;-) The jerky-like beef had been sun-dried before being deep fried and then tossed with garlic flakes and basil leaves. I was told this is a good accompaniment to beer.


Raw Shrimp in Fish Sauce (RM15). Now normally I would shudder at the mention of both "raw" and "fish sauce" in one serving. Encouraged by the yumminess of Salmon Labb earlier, I was feeling kinda adventurous and took one bite of the medium-sized shrimp. That one bite escalated to a 2nd shrimp! DL totally agreed with me that the shrimps were so deliciously sweet which could only be attributed by their extreme freshness. By now I have almost been converted to a true-blue sashimi fan.


pla dib's platter of Mixed Four Raw Seafood (which was not in the menu yet) had chunks of salmon, tuna, shrimps and octopus served prettily on fresh greens and topped with a miso-paste dressing, garnished with mint leaves. The contrasting flavours and textures were a delight on our palate and I can now say that I do love sashimi, but only if they are served with Japanese and Thai accents such as these!


Pladip IR1968 Kura

Soft Shell Crabs Salad (RM15) with Mayobe (mayonnaise + wasabe) dressing. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like softshell crabs. Fried crunchy crustacean served with leafy greens, cherry tomatoes and a tangy, slightly fiery dressing - what's there not to like?


With our appetites whetted, we were ready for their Pastas.

Black Spaghetti with Seafood (RM18) - this was my favourite pasta that night. Spaghetti done just right - al dente - the way I like it, succulent shrimps, tossed with olive oil and chilli flakes, this was a winner in my books.

Spinach Fettucini with Mentaiko (RM18). The mentaiko (codfish roe) gave the pasta a creamy touch while the seaweed shreds lent it that unmistakable Japanese influence - a tasty sample of Jap+Italian done right!

Creamy Capellini Angel Hair Pasta (RM18). Generally I do not fancy rich creamy sauces for my pasta, so this wasn't on the top of my list. The angel hair pasta was a tad overcooked - I prefer pasta al dente, with a bite in it. But if you fancy creamy pasta, try this.


On to the Main Courses...

Black Fried Rice (RM20)... when this very interesting dish was served, most of us were fascinated and a trifle reserved. Thai jasmine rice which had been infused with Spain-imported squid ink, fried with seafood chunks and what's that raw egg doing on top there?! We were told to quickly mix the raw egg into the hot rice. This was duly done and everyone dug in... and the immediate response was "Mmmm... sooo good!" Yes, this was clearly the superstar item that night and it is truly recommended (it's marked "recommended" on their menu too!)


Rainbow Trout in Lime Leaves (RM28). The New Zealand trout was served whole after being cooked in parchment paper. The kaffir lime leaves lent their fragrance to the gravy, which had seeped into the enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Squeeze some lemon juice over it and this goes well with steamed rice.


Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Roasted Rice (RM20)... boneless pieces of chicken marinated with lemongrass and tumeric - very healthy. What I liked was the creative way of serving their roasted Thai jasmine rice - shaped into triangles, coated with egg and then grilled, thus creating a crunchy crust outside while the insides were soft and pillowy. Nice work.


For the Mains, the Trout and Grilled Chicken were as Thai as they could get!

Mashed Potatoes with Wasabi (RM8)... we all know how common & mundane mashed potatoes can be, right? Well, trust pla dib to jazz up theirs with wasabi and the result was so flattering. DL loved it so much that he promptly replicated it at home the very next day!


When in pla dib, if you have to order a pizza, then let it be the Smoked Salmon Pizza (RM30 for Regular, RM36 for Large).


Generous portions of sliced smoked salmon adorned the super-thin pizza pastry, on top of sprigs of rosemary and mozzarella cheese and topped with a semi-cooked runny egg. The pastry was so thin it's practically curling up at the edges. The secret to eating this is to eat it immediately! Otherwise, the runny egg and juices from the salmon will turn the thin pastry soggy and messy.



Thab Thim Krob (RM8) - now that's really Thai! Unadulterated coconut juice and milk had been frozen and then shaved to make this delectable Thai dessert... each spoonful tasted as creamy as the first, even if the ice has melted. My only complaint was that there was no jackfruit mixed in with the gummy chestnut cubes, but this was to the delight of Babe in the City_KL as she abhors jackfruit!

Pladip IR1968 Kura-1

Their homemade Durian Gelato (RM8) is nothing but pure frozen creamy durian! Which I totally hearted! This item has not been included in their menu yet (at that point of time), so if you love durians, do remember to ask for this.


Drinks - don't forget their signature concoctions: Mint Soursop Blast and Pladib Art, both at RM9.50. The 1st one had soursop, mint leaves, pineapple juice, fresh lime and sugar syrup blended into one refreshing thirst quencher. The Pladib Art is a combination of peaches, pineapple juice, grenadine, yoghurt, fresh lime and sugar syrup. Of the two, I prefer Mint Soursop Blast - I like soursop, as simple as that.

Pladip IR1968 Kura-3

The meal rounded off superbly with a piece of Nigel & Allan's new cake - Spiced Marble Cake, which was so good (so fragrant, so rich, so evil!). I did the unthinkable - I begged for a piece to be tapau'ed home which I guarded selfishly to be savoured slowly. I was told by Nigel this cake will be made available in their outlets sometime this month.


It was a lovely evening, spent in the company of the likes of FBB, Nigel & Allan, Babe_KL & Captain Hookk, Aly of Red FM, not forgetting the delightful hostesses - Sherlene and Anna. Their wicked wit and banters and deep-throated laughter bursting out ever so often, (thanks to the darnedest questions posed by FBB) made it a memorable dinner.

Many thanks to Sherlene and team for organizing such a perfect review session - everything was well planned and went like clockwork.

pla dib is one place I will certainly return as LL has been pestering us to take him there - those are all his favourite food!

pla dib Restaurant
G13 & 14, The Heritage Village
Jalan SB Dagang
43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor
(opposite Mines Shopping Fair)
Tel: 03-89381936
Business Hours: 12.00pm to 3.00pm; 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Closed on Tuesdays