Friday, January 28, 2011

Kung Fu Pan Mee @ Taman Sri Sentosa

"I'm going to bring you to eat the Best Ever Pan Mee in town!" - that was what LL told me one fine morning.  It is not very often that LL would actually bring me anywhere for food (it's usually the other way round) and I wasn't too sure that his promise of the "Best Ever Pan Mee" would hold true.  You see, when it comes to Pan Mee, I'm very picky.  Just like Fish-head Noodles, I will only go for the tested and proven places.  Simply put: if I walk into any coffee-shop, I won't order the Pan Mee or the Fish-head Noodles, unless they are highly highly recommended.

So... OK, coming back to LL's declaration, we decided to take him up on his offer ... and that was how we found ourselves heading to Taman Sri Sentosa, just off Old Klang Road.  It's certainly not a familiar neighbourhood for us and LL, having just been there once (his friends brought him there) took us on a very roundabout and convoluted way to reach the place.  The shop is located in a row of shophouses facing a small wet market, with tables laid out under huge umbrellas.

When it comes to Pan Mee, I always go for the "traditional" version - ie, "pinched pieces" of the flattened dough instead of the rolled-out strands.  And it must be the soup version - the "dry" version is never my choice.

Bowl pan mee

Now I'm not sure WHY this was called "Kung Fu" pan mee.  Probably because they come in LONG flat wide strips like these...

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Yes, they are really very long!  Or probably the cook had to resort to some "kung fu" stances when pulling out these long strips?! 

I like how the texture of the Pan Mee is very smooth and slightly chewy at the same time.  There is a certain level of "bounciness" to the texture - I suspect the secret lies in the fact that not only plain wheatflour is used here.  There must be additions of other types of flour involved, because plain wheatflour will not give that kind of texture.

Fave pan mee

The Pan Mee came with the requisite condiments of minced pork, thick slices of mushroom, fried crispy anchovies and plenty of "sayur manis".  The soup base is very flavourful, the stock having been boiled with anchovies and pork bones and the "sayur manis" gave it some added sweetness.  You can actually ask for extra portions of condiments, with an additional charge of RM1.  The Pan Mee costs RM5.50 (small) and RM6.50 (big).

The "dry" version goes well with some dry chilli flakes...

Dry panmee

Dry panmee2

There are other items on their menu, eg pandan chicken, pork balls... but I come here only for the Pan Mee.  See, I'm very focused, that way.  I'm so focused that I practically empty the whole bowl, soup and all.

Kungfu Pan Mee

So, did this place live up to LL's declaration of "Best Ever Pan Mee"?  Yes, I believe it does!  That's because every time we have cravings for Pan Mee, guess where we'd be heading?!  We really do get a massive KICK out of this Kung Fu Pan Mee, hehe!

Kung Fu Pan Mee
28 Jalan Sri Sentosa 9A
Taman Sri Sentosa
Off Jalan Klang Lama
Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  016-2883911 (Molly)
Open from 8am to 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

Directions to get there:  (courtesy of Masak-Masak - read her blogpost here)

To get here, drive to Old Klang Road from PJ Old Town. Take the second right hand turn at the traffic light to get into Taman Seri Sentosa. Follow the road i.e. Jalan Taman Sentosa and drive past apartments and high tension wires. You will then see a Petronas petrol station on your left which is on Jalan Taman Seri Sentosa 8, take the first right down Jalan Taman Seri Sentosa 8a and then immediate left at the shophouses (there's a 7 Eleven at the corner). Drive down the road and take a right again at the end of the row where you will see Kedai Makanan BW Pasifik. Take an immediate right turn and drive down to the end of the road. The Pan Meen stall is on your left hand side facing the wet market.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Erawan: Classic Thai & Fusion Delights

Kota Damansara is one place that I avoid, most times.  Never mind that it is now considered a very "happening" place, never mind that there are restaurants and cafes coming up as fast as mushrooms after rain... to me, it's a crazy maze.  Add in the one-way streets and the haphazard parking/stopping of vehicles everywhere and the maze get crazier.

Now, if there is one good reason for me to venture into that crazy maze, it's Erawan.

Erawan - the classic Thai and Fusion restaurant.

The name Erawan, in Thai, refers to The Elephant God.  It is also known as Airavata or Airawana in Sanskrit and in Bali, it's known as Erawana.  According to Aryan legends, the god Erawan is huge, white and has 33 heads.  Each head bears 7 tusks.  For each tusk there are 7 lotus ponds.  Each lotus pond has 7 lotus pads, each pad has 7 lotus blossoms and each blossom has 7 petals.  On each petal dances 7 angels.  Each angel has 7 ladies-in-waiting.  So, altogether, the god Erawan has 33 heads, 231 tusks, 1,617 ponds, 11,319 lotus pads, 79,233 lotus blossoms, 554,631 lotus petals, 3,882,417 angels and 27,176,919 ladies-in-waiting!
However, for artistic reasons, he is usually portrayed with only 3 heads, rather than the 33 heads in the myth.  

There are many legends about Erawan.  One popular one holds that the Lord Shiva gave him as a gift to the god Indra... and that Erawan was originally a god stationed in the Dao-Wa-Deaung heaven.  Wherever Indra went, Erawan would follow in the guise of a white elephant.  Not only is Erawan the lord of all elephants and the most powerful, he is said to be as large as a mountain.  In the Mahabharata, it is said that "the god Airavata has 4 tusks and 3 trunks.  He is great in size and pearly white".

The above is translated from the Erawan Elephant Museum & the faith of its maker, Erawan Museum, Samutprakarn, Thailand.

I read the above from notes provided in Erawan (the restaurant)... isn't it fascinating?

Erawan Deco collage

Tucked in an intermediate shoplot, somewhere in that crazy maze of Kota Damansara commercial centre, is Erawan, the restaurant.  There are some pretty pots of flowers and foliage guarding the entrance.
When you step into Erawan, you will be struck by the colours and deco of the place and how the owners - Chef Korn and Anan have lovingly arranged and decorated it with lots of items depicting the Thai culture and legends.  Every crook and corner is filled with beautiful cups, vases, bowls, figurines... the walls are adorned with vibrant lively paintings and fresh flowers are everywhere!  I just love the onslaught of cheerful colors that greet every visitor.
Erawan Arts collage

If you think the deco of Erawan is impressive, wait until you see how their dishes are served.  I was pretty thrilled by the beautiful plating of each dish.  Their salads, curries... in fact, most of the dishes were vibrantly matched with all kinds of patterned crockery in every hue - natural pigments of the fruits, vegetables and meats used in each dish.  Put all these vibrant colours on traditionally Thai-designed plates and bowls and there you have it... each dish is like a piece of art and a delight to the senses... from sight, smell and taste!

Let's start with some Appetizers...

Rose Apples with Topping (RM30) - the special thick topping is made from dried shrimps, roasted coconuts, cashewnuts & other Thai spices - really addictive stuff!  I could eat a plate of this all by myself.

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Pomelo Salad (RM30) - mind you, only pomeloes from Thailand are used!  When we suggested local pomeloes as an alternative, Anan informed that Chef Korn would only insist on using Thai ones - such is the QC practised here!

Lemongrass Salad (RM38) - finely-shredded lemongrass rings tossed with succulent boiled squids and shrimps, crunchy peanuts, cashewnuts, sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, topped with crispy fried shallots and their special Thai dressing, of course!  You get a piquant explosion of taste and textures on your palate!

lemongrass salad
- photo courtesy of Masak-Masak


Crabs in Shell (RM38) - Crabmeat, diced shrimps and chicken combined with herbs and spices, stuffed into crabshells and fried to a golden brown - you eat this daintily using a fork.  Great for fussy crab-lovers who abhor the laborious task of eating crabs the real way.  I'm a True Blue Crab Eater so this "refined" crabby dish is a bit wimpy for me, if you know what I mean, hehe!

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4-Angled Bean Salad (RM38) - lightly-blanched still-crunchy 4-angled beans topping a bed of boiled chicken, seafood, hard-boiled eggs, roasted grated coconuts, crispy shallots ~ all tossed with special Thai dressing with a light drizzle of coconut milk.  I love how all the different textured ingredients work so well together!

Since we are now in the Chinese New Year festive mood, Erawan serves a lovely refreshing Prosperity Yee Sang with fresh salmon...

Erawan Yee Sang collage

Special fresh vegetables included are alfalfa sprouts, purple cabbage shreds, pineapples, young mango strips, raisins - a luxuriant mix of gorgeous colours.  A 1-day pre-order notice is strictly required for this and will only be available until 17 February 2011.
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Small portion (RM58); Large Portion (RM88)


roast duck curry
Roast Duck Curry (RM38) - Boneless slices of roast duck simmered in a light curry with chunks of green apples and pineapples to give you that extra incentive to eat more rice!

cockles curry
Cockles Curry with Betel Leaves (RM38) - An absolute must-order for all cockles lovers!  Only fresh cockles of certain sizing are used.  Anan will not serve this if they do not get the requisite-sized fresh cockles.  This dish was really the highlight of my meal there.  Care is taken by the Chef to ensure the cockles are perfectly cooked to the right texture, neither too soft nor too chewy.

fishball eggyok curry
Green Curry Fish Paste & Salted Eggyolks (RM32) - bouncy fishballs made from "ikan tenggiri" encasing dewy orangey salted eggyolks cooked in a traditional green curry.  Another rice-inducing dish.

Prawn curry
Pineapples Curry with Prawns (RM32) - you can choose either prawns or mussels for this dish.  Fresh succulent shrimps in a light red curry, made more fragrant by the addition of kaffir lime leaves.  The pineapple chunks gave this curry a sweet-sourish lift - we spooned up all the curry, I tell you!

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Stir-fried Bittergourd with Shrimps (RM25) - this was really one of the clear favourites among the diners at my table.  A simple stir-fried dish, but so lovely to go with rice and all the rest of the dishes.

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Paneang Beef Curry (RM38) -  thick tender slices of Australian beef in a dry-style curry.  The beef were really tender as they had been simmered for 3-6 hours.  Thin shreds of tumeric leaves enhanced the sweet flavours of the coconut milk and spices.

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Softshell Crab Curry (RM42) - Generally I love softshell crabs.  However, I found this particular curry dish to be a bit heavy on the coconut cream and had overshadowed the natural flavours of the crabs.  For those who love thick "lemak" kinda curry gravy, then this would be heavenly.

Oh, but surely you must have some RICE to go with all those curries, right?!



coconut jelly
Coconut Jelly (RM12) - photo courtesy of Masak-Masak
I simply love love this!  Soft slithery slices of young coconut flesh encased in a light jelly - yumms!

pumpkin chocolate custard
Pumpkin Chocolate Custard (RM18) - photo courtesy of Masak-Masak
Served a bit differently, with vanilla sauce and a dark chocolate centre!

Icecream springroll
Banana Fritters (RM12)
Special banana fritters (rolled in springroll skin) served with vanilla ice-cream

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Roasted Banana (RM12) - a healthy dessert certainly!  Roasted bananas topped with assorted nuts and mixed fruits; squeeze some lime, lemon and honey on them before eating.  Absolutely delicious - a must-order dessert for me.

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Glutinuous Rice with Mango (RM20) - this is only served if Thai mangoes are in season.  A whole mango is served with a scoop of soft, slightly-chewy steamed glutinuous rice.  Just lovely.

Round off your meal with some refreshing drinks - mostly featuring lemongrass, pandan, ginger, mints in the concoction.
lemongrass drinks
- photo courtesy of Masak-Masak

Reservations is a MUST and Anan will tell you the preferred time to be at the restaurant.  Many of the dishes have to be pre-ordered as well - this is their way of ensuring only the freshest and authentic ingredients are used in your dishes.  Their menu is available in their website - do go through it and pre-order before you go!

22-1 Jalan PJU 5/16
Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Tel:  03-6141-2393
LUNCH:  Fridays-Sundays @ 12.00pm to 3.00pm
DINNER:  Tuesdays-Sundays @ 6.00pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chinese New Year Preparations

The Year of the Rabbit is exactly 10 days' away!
For those of you who will be celebrating the Chinese New Year, how are your preparations coming along?  Bought your new (red) clothes?  Cleaned the house? Changed the curtains? Bought the CNY deco items?  Baked the cookies, or ordered them?

CNY2011 collage

Well, I have done some of the above... still some baking to do this coming weekend.  Not that I'm baking a whole lot of stuff - just that a couple of friends have asked me to bake some cookies for them... the rest are just for family and as gifts when we go visiting during the Chinese New Year.  I always think bringing along some home-baked stuff to friends' and relatives' homes sure beat store-bought snacks, don't you agree?

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chynna @ Hilton KL - Standard Chartered Bank Extravagant 8 Menu

Chynna at The Hilton Kuala Lumpur is yet another top Chinese restaurant in the Klang Valley selected to offer the Standard Chartered  Bank Extravagant 8 menu to their credit card holders.  A customised menu priced at RM888++ per table for 8 pax, Standard Chartered Bank credit card holders will not only be taken on a gastronomical journey, they will also be treated to complimentary fortune cookies.

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Let's see what Chynna has in store for this Extravagant 8 Menu... which, by the way, is only available from 20 January till 17 February 2011.

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As customary, a Lunar New Year festive meal will not be "festive" without starting off with a Lo Sang - a concoction of shredded vegetables and fruits, fried crispies, crushed peanuts and tossed with a special sauce.

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Organic Melon, Gold Pumpkin & Fruits Lo Sang
This traditional dish has all the usual colourful shredded vegetables and lots of crispies & crushed peanuts - will definitely appeal to those who love lots of crunch & nuts in their Lo Sang!

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Hot & Sour Soup with Kimchi, Fish Maw & Bamboo Piths
The regular Hot & Sour Szechuan-style soup given an extra "oomph" from the dollop of Kimchi added.

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Steamed Canadian Cod in Fisherman Sauce

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Stewed Sun-dried Oysters with Fatt Choy, Braised Peanuts & Chicken
Very "home-cooked" feel to this dish, as the cooking style and ingredients used bring on the "comfort food" nuance - a tad too heavy on the sodium though... perhaps some white rice accompanying this would not be a bad idea?

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Wok-fried Nian Gao with Chinese Cabbage & Mushrooms
Slices of white smooth slippery rice cakes lightly cooked with perhaps just a dash of hoisin sauce?

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And dessert...

Chynna Stanchart Dinner (640x480)

Chynna is helmed by the affable Chef HH Lam...

Chynna Stanchart Dinner-3 (640x480)

... who hails from Port Dickson and has cooked for delegates of the APEC and ASEAN Summit Meetings.  Chef Lam has been with the Hilton Group since 2000.

Chynna Stanchart Dinner-1 (640x480)

Special thanks to Mr Timothy Johnson for this invitation sent via Meena of A Whiff of Lemongrass to try out this menu.  If you are a Standard Chartered Bank credit card holder, make your way to any of the 8 top restaurants participating in this campaign for a special meal to usher in the Year of the Rabbit!  Just to recap, the other 7 restaurants are:

1.  Li Yen, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
2.  Shanghai, JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur
3.  Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
4.  Tai Zi Heen, Prince Hotel & Residences, Kuala Lumpur
5.  Zing, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
6.  Gu Yu Tien
7.  Elegant Inn

Chynna @ Hilton Kuala Lumpur
3 Jalan Stesen Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  03-2264-2264  Fax: 03-2264-2266

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Elegant Inn - Taman Connaught

With the Chinese New Year barely 2 weeks away and since we're talking about one of my favourite Chinese restaurants - Elegant Inn - I think it's quite timely that I share some of their other great offerings.  The few posts I have put up here so far were about their Menara Hap Seng restaurant.

Now, let's take a yummy look at their Taman Connaught restaurant.  Oh before that, did I mention that Elegant Inn is listed in The Miele Guide as 1 of Asia's Finest Restaurant for 2010/2011? 

Elegant Inn had been making waves in the Chinese, particularly Hong Kong-style cuisine scene, in the Klang Valley for a number of years now... starting from their Taman Connaught restaurant.  Housed in a humble intermediate shoplot, this restaurant is only open on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays and helmed by the gorgeous-looking Chef Wesley Ng.  On all the other days, you can catch Chef Wesley in their Menara Hap Seng outlet.  Yes - that's for the benefit of Chef Wesley's legion of fans... which is growing by the day, so I heard :-)

To usher in the Year of the Rabbit, Jeannette Han & her team have come up with 6 special Festive Menus, ranging from RM798++ to RM2,988++ for 10 persons.  The menus go by names like Auspicious, Happy, Blossom, Noble, Wealthy and Supreme ... all very appropriate for the Chinese New Year, wouldn't you say?

Some of the items on these menus are featured in the Standard Chartered Bank Extravagant 8 Menu.

Other special offerings you can find in Elegant Inn... my favourite among the trio below are those wicked Scallops rolled in Bacon - they are out of this world, believe me.

Elegant Inn Cheras-1

In my previous post, I talked about their signature Salted Egg Yolk style of cooking used for prawns.  Their usual offering for this style of cooking is actually their Crabs...

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... and remember I mentioned how Chef Wesley would painstakingly and patiently spend 20-25 minutes just to cook up this dish?  I know, because I have seen him doing it...


Talking about signature dishes, do ask for their Pepper Pig Stomach Soup... double-boiled with all sorts of goodies like village chicken, pork ribs, dried scallops, chinese ham, pickled mustard...

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Their signature Golden Boneless Stuffed Chicken... something not to be missed!

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On one occasion when we had dinner there, we were served this rather plain looking plate of Noodles... which at first glance, looked rather boring. 

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However, we learned a valuable lesson that night: Do Not Judge Noodles by Their Look

This was where the genius-ness (for lack of a better word) of Chef Wesley came into play.  One slurp of these noodles and we were sold... totally.  For all I could see, there were only mushrooms and Chinese chives used in this dish... so how did Chef Wesley make this one of the yummiest-ever noodles dish I had ever eaten?  This is a must-order item for us.

OK, if noodles aint your scene, then you must... you must really... try this...

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That, is possibly the Best Lap Mei Fan (Rice with Waxed Meats) on this side of the planet.  Read how Masak-Masak describes this - she does a much better job than I ever could.  Jeannette personally goes to Hong Kong and scouts for the best waxed meats there and personally hand-carry them back.  Such is the pride and passion this lady has for the fare served in Elegant Inn.

The goose liver sausage used in this divine pot is from the famed Yung Kee in Hong Kong, no less... my favourite!

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The Lap Mei Fan is featured in some of their festive CNY Menus... else, you can also order this a'la carte... until stocks last!  I'd advise that you call to book this in advance - it is, after all, the Best Lap Mei Fan around here :-))

Elegant Inn Cheras

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Elegant Inn Restaurant
16 Jalan Waras 1
Taman Connaught, Cheras
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  03-9130-2626
Fax:  03-9132-6577

*Opens Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays only
Operation hours: Fridays:  12.00pm - 2.30pm & 6.00pm - 10.30pm
Saturdays & Sundays:
10.30am - 2.30pm & 6.00pm - 10.30pm