Thursday, August 30, 2007

AWAY ~~~ to ~~~ PHUKET!

Yippeee!!!! Don't you just love long weekend? I will be flying off to Phuket tomorrow for a short trip. Aikss...that reminds me that I have not even blogged about my Siem Reap trip. I promise to do my homework when am back.

Anyway, to all fellow Malaysians....

HAPPY 50TH NATIONAL DAY!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH WHITE ASPARAGUS?

UPDATES!!! (1 June 2009)
Max has been relocated to:
Lot No. 32 Jalan Jati
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel. No: 603 - 2142.9720
Opens daily from 11.00 a.m. till 11.00 p.m.
-----------------------------
As I posted in my earlier post, Hubby bought home a bunch of white asparagus from Japan. Not knowing what to do with it, we kept it in the fridge for 3 days and finally I decided that we should eat it before it’s rotten. It would be such a waste to have it stir-fry with sambal belacan. So what should I do with it? Ah-Ha! I got a brilliant idea…bring it over for Max to cook it!


So off we went for dinner at Max! Kitchen yesterday with the bunch of white asparagus in my bag. We ordered a main dish each while we let Max decides on our appetizer, or rather, to surprise us. First of all, this bowl of rich and full of goodness mushroom soup is not in the menu. But since he got an order for a table of 8, so we were lucky to sample it too. You just won’t be able to imagine the aroma of the mushroom soup when it was served. The aroma was so garlicky and it looks so appetizing with some sautéed mushrooms and garlics sprinkled on top. Without wasting my time, I quickly snapped a few photos as I couldn’t wait putting a spoonful of it into my mouth. MMmmmm….delicious! We ended up requesting an extra serving of bread to dip into the soup….mmmmmm…….delicious!

I thought Hubby would go for beef or lamb so I was quite surprised when he ordered the Yellow Fin Tuna. I am not a fan of fish, especially cooked tuna so I didn’t pick on his plate.

I was struggling between the Wagyu Beef Cheek and the Lamb Cutlets. Finally, the Lamb won. As expected, the lamb cutlets were juicy and tender. Instead of the normal sautéed pea sprouts, Max replaced it with pickled brinjals. I simply love the mint sauce which goes so so well with the lamb.
You must be wondering what Max did to the white asparagus right? Actually he whipped up an appetizer using the white asparagus. Hehehe..I purposely put this photo last to stir your curiousity. Tada……presenting the sautéed white asparagus, accompanied by 4 huge succulent scallops and ferocious looking Yabbies!! My attention was diverted from the white asparagus as I was too busy enjoying the Yabbies. Ok Ok, back to the white asparagus. The texture was a bit too old and the stem more fiber, probably cos it was kept in the fridge too long. Tastewise, it’s sweeter than their ogre-green cousin minus the bitterness. Max’s creation was simply brilliant!

Now, what should I do with the 2 packets of frozen Hotate???

Monday, August 27, 2007

AIR-FLOWN GOODIES FROM TOKYO!

Before Hubby went off to Tokyo for his business trip, I told him not to get any bags or electronic gadgets for me. But when Hubby came home last Friday, I was so delighted as he presented one HUGE brown paper bag containing lots and lots of goodies inside. Well, the first instinct of course, would be to grab my camera and start snapping photos.

Hubby told me that he went to one of the biggest seafood wholesaler in Tokyo. He wanted to get me this live abalone for sashimi but somehow, he was told that the Customs only allow frozen abalone to be taken out from Japan. So he got me two packets of frozen Hotate instead. Still wondering how I should cook this.

The smell from the fresh scallops were wonderful and I was so tempted to have it raw. Hubby didn’t allow me though, cos he said it has been lying in the ice box for 9 hours and he wouldn’t want me ended up sick for the weekend. Sigh…we had it steamed with ginger and garlic instead.

Ah-Ha…something to be eaten raw…fresh sea urchins. I was shocked when Hubby told me this box of sea urchins only cost him RM30. My goodness…sea urchins costs a bomb here! There were at least 30 pieces of sea urchins in this box. The taste was amazing! Fresh and sweet! Oishi Oishi!

Hubby also brought back some fruits. The grapes he brought home was quite unique. It came in one small cob, like sweetcorn, and the taste is very different from those we have here. Have you ever wonder why Sugus or Bubbleyum’s grape flavour taste so different from the usual grapes? Now, this grapes tastes exactly like bubblegum grape flavour. I like I like I like!!! Hehehe..am having a bunch as am typing now..mmm..yummy yummy yum yum!

I was super delighted cos Hubby brought back the Hokkaido Honey Dew too. Apart from that he also bought persimmons, peaches and white asparagus. I really have no idea what to do with the white asparagus yet…hmmmm….

As requested, Hubby bought me some green tea and some wasabi green peas. Yet to try though…so can’t comment about the taste yet.

This dried shredded octopus snack (Yau-yue-si) is the ultimate!!! So addictive and I just can’t stop chewing on it whole day. I simple love the juices released into my mouth as I chew.

This seems to look like our local satay fish but Hubby said it tastes really good. Yet to try so can’t comment again.

FUBU CRACKERS?? Errrmm…..is it safe to eat? Fubu is actually puffer fish which is very poisonous if it’s not cut and cleaned properly. But I guess this should be safe to eat.

Seaweed rice cracker…quite a common snack so I guess I need not say more.

This is a freebie that came with the green tea earlier. It’s actually love letter with green tea cream fillings. Love it!

Mochi, something that I don’t quite fancy cos I have not come across any good ones here but this box is good. It came in three flavours; chestnut, hazelnut and green tea. All also not too bad and it’s not too sweet too. I concluded that I only like Mochi from Japan. LOL!

Hubby bought this packet of Bonito Flakes for me. He said it tastes great in soup..err…what soup? Lotus roots? ABC or Old Cucumber? Luckily I consulted Boolicious and she told me that it’s used to make Dashi or stock for Miso soup. Hmm…now I got a great idea. Get some Wagyu Beef and make an evil pot of Beef Sukiyaki!

Now, the last item here is the one I love most cos am a big-time sucker for packaging. This box is wrapped with a nice wrapper and it took me some time to decide whether to open this package or not.

In the end, my curiousity won me over. I decided to open it to see what is inside. Tada…..all the goodies were individually packed. Awwww…now…I have to struggle again whether to attack or not to attack.

The next day, I could not bear with looking at it all the time yet imagine what is inside. I guess you are as curios as I am right? Finally I opened it and took picture of each and every item. Some are nice while some are too sweet for me and some I have no idea what it is...anyway, some pictures to end your curiosity as well.






I just can’t wait to visit Tokyo myself, especially the seafood market. Hubby said I would love Tokyo too…so I have decided, Tokyo first, Hokkaido (my dream place) later. *BIG BIG GRIN*

Friday, August 24, 2007

IZAKAYA ICHIBAN @ Plaza Damas

Many many weeks ago, I met up with Lyrical Lemongrass for dinner. Being the President of the Japanese Food Kawan Association (JKFA), as expected she suggested to dine at this new Japanese place in Plaza Damas; Izakaya Ichiban. I only realized at the dinner, I was actually being interviewed since she is recruiting members for the JFKA. I guess Ms President will be so proud of me now because since that dinner, I revisited the place 3 times with Hubby and my Makan Gang.

Hubby is away in Tokyo now and I am excited for him although I didn’t get to go so I guess the best thing to post now is on Japanese food which also serves as my first assignment after being a Committee member of the JKFA.

The Starters
Complimentary dish - Being a big fan of brinjal, I simply love this simple starter. The texture of the brinjal was cooked just right, neither hard nor soft and topped with miso paste. Not too sure if they have it in the menu, will check the next time I go.
Another complimentary appetizer during my 3rd visit - Egg Omelette loaded with shredded mushrooms and carrots. Kinda lack of satisfaction, I wish I was given the Miso Brinjal instead.
Chawan Mushi, something I don't really fancy that came with my Bento set. I simply love wobbling the cup to find out the texture of the steamed egg before I devour it. Mmmm.....smooth, very very smooth. This one, I like! Oh, Hubby loved it too but since it was so good, he allowed me to finish off the whole cup.

The Miso Soup also came with my Bento set and certainly one of the best I ever tasted. I supposed they used good quality miso paste. How I wish I have one bowl of hot Miso Soup to soothe my throat now...ahhhhh.....

The NEMOs!
The sashimis here are really fresh and chunky. My favourite has got to be the Salmon Belly topped with Salmon Roes. Each bite was super packed with OMEGA-3! And when the salmon roes burst in your mouth....ooo....ICHIBAN!!!!
This sashimi platter is actually from my Bento Set which came with rice, chawan mushi, miso soup, salad and fruits for only RM25. Nice nice nice! Very fresh but the only thing I don't really like was the octopus which was quite chewy.

If you order their set lunch, you can opt to top up RM13 for this plate of salmon sashimi. Excellent quality!

Here comes the Octopus which I didn't touch so my Makan Gang happily gobble it down. "Nice?" I asked; "GOOD!" they replied.

Tuna, a fish that I can do without but won't mind having it too when being offered.

I was delighted when I saw this cos I thought it was my favourite Butter Fish but turned out it was white tuna. Definately fares much higher than their 'cousin-in-red'.

The Makis
Totally love flipping their menu on the Makis section. Everything looks so yummy and nicely presentable. While I love their presentation, I got to say their quality was not too consistent. During my 2nd visit, the rice tasted quite bland while the 3rd visit, the rice was too warm and lumpy. As a result, the seaweed was moist and ended up chewy. But in the end, the artistic presentation won my heart as I still return to order their Makis. Now, here are some of those I tasted.

Hawaiian Maki - So artistic isn't it? The salmon roll was drizzled with apple and honeydew mayo sauce. Somehow I didn't quite enjoy it as I find both the taste doesn't match.
Una Cheese Maki - Basically it's Unagi Roll with a slice of cheddar cheese on top. It look interesting in the menu but somehow, it tasted pretty normal. Maybe I expected too much from it.
Dragon Maki - The prawn tempura roll is wrapped with unagi and avocado. Got to say this is one of my favourite. Guess which part I always attack first? The prawn's head of course. I enjoy digging out the roe from the head to go with the roll. Ooooo....cholesterol-laden food always so so yummy.
Dragon Boat Maki - Almost similar to the earlier version but minus the eel. This was drizzled with mayo and salmon roes. If you ask me, still like Dragon Maki better, probably because the unagi gave more flavour to it. This is was too bland for my palate.

OMG, I can't remember what is this! But one thing for sure, the reason for ordering this maki is because of the avocados! Can't remember what is inside, ooooooo.....if not mistaken soft shell crabs! OK, now I recall. I had this during my 2nd visit, the night the maki tasted quite bland and also the same night I had the above Dragon Boat Maki.

The Hot Stuffs
The soft shell crab was done really well. It was not oily at all. Crispy yet juicy as you bite into it. I guess this also contributes to my sore throat after that as I ate it while it was still hot. But then, who likes cold crab anyway?

The Shisamo (Pregnant Fish) was too cold when we finally have the time to savour it. That was because Lyrical Lemongrass and I was busy snapping photos till we neglected our pregnant friend lying the corner with a 'gasping' look.

Wong was eyeing the Chicken Skin Yakitori and so we ordered two skewers. The smell from the slightly burnt chicken skin was marvellous, however, it was not marinated, hence tasteless.

The HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
So far, I found two dishes that I would highly recommend. The first dish is the Kaki Mayo Yaki which is actually Baked Oysters with Spicy Mayo. The succulent juicy oysters was baked to perfection and it goes so well with the spicy mayo sauce. I introduced this dish to my Makan Gang and now they are all hooked!

Beneath the oysters, you will discover more hidden treasures. Please-lah, not pearls ok? It's a stir fry veggie dish with lots of enoki mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and capsicums. All I can say is VERY THE ICHIBAN DES-NE!!!!

The 2nd dish that I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND to beef lovers......the Wagyu Beef Don that costs only RM28. The slices of wagyu beef was tender and well marinated. I was quite surprised with the generous amount of beef served. I suspect the wagyu beef falls under the low range in terms of quality since it's so cheap but somehow, it's tasty enough to make me come back for more. Again quality not consistent because there was once they forgot to sprinkle spring onions and sesame on it. But Hubby didn't mind at all cos he was too busy enjoying the tender moments with the wagyu beef.

Ms President was impressed with my performance and hence, am appointed as the Public Relation Officer of the Association. Hope I score high marks on this first assignment. How how..Sista, pass or not?

They are now offering membership card. For every RM20 spent, you will receive get one star. A RM30 dining voucher will be given once you collected 30 stars (RM600 spent). Getting crowded nowadays so do call to see if they accept advance booking.

Izakaya Ichiban (2 doors away from Starbucks)
Lot P-3M, Plaza Ground Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre,
60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-6201 5905

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NEW RESTAURANT IPOH CHICKEN RICE @ Jln Gasing

I was craving for something which I have never crave before; Chicken Rice. To satisfy my craving, Hubby brought me to this famous New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice in Jalan Gasing. I have been here once long ago and I remembered this place being old and pricey and that also explains the reason why it didn’t manage to squeeze into my “must revisit list of restaurants”. I wasn’t feeling too good (am down with flu for the past few days), so I guess anything will do.
To my surprise, the shop recently renovated and now it’s so sparkling new and clean. It was quite crowded so we were seated outside the shop which I didn’t mind all because I got a good view of all the activities in their open kitchen.

I normally don’t pay much attention to the chilli sauce as they are usually loaded with lots of chilli seed and vinegar. However, the chilli sauce served here was blended to perfection and the taste? LOVELY! The sourness and the spiciness was so well balanced…even with my cough, I finished off two plates. *cough cough cough*

The rice was quite good too. Garlicky and gingerly aromatic. Best thing is, it was cooked to perfection. Can you see grains after grains of rice? The rice is priced at RM1 for big and 80 sen for small. They even have porridge and noodle if you don’t fancy rice.

We order 2 portions of steamed village chicken (RM10). Not the best I have eaten but certainly very satisfying. I simply love village chicken as the texture is more chewy and it release more chicken flavour with each bite. The gravy was quite good too especially when mixing it with the rice. Even Hubby asked for extra rice.

I wanted some hot and boiling soup to soothe my itchy throat and so we ordered the Pork Ball with Soup (RM2). The pork ball was nothing special, I suspect they bought it from the market. I expected clear chicken soup, however the pork ball was floating in a bowl of lukewarm ikan bilis stock which tasted quite funny. It’s sweet!!! Luckily I didn’t opt for noodle soup….phew!

The last dish we had was totally beyond our expectation. A portion of suckling pig (RM15) which I find really good. Skin was crispy while the meat was ‘young’ and tender. The dipping sauce was slightly diluted and different from the normal hoi sin sauce but nevertheless tastes as good. Thumbs up from me and Hubby!!!

Total damage for the dinner for 2 including 2 herbal tea and 3 plates of rice came up to RM32.40. Not too bad huh? I spotted next table having stir-fry lala (clams) and Hubby told me that they even offer 'tai-chow' dishes. Totally changed my perception towards this place and now I know where to go when I have cravings for chicken rice and suckling pig.

New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice is located at:
107 Jalan Gasing
46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-7956.0958

 

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