"Choose your wriggly meal from deep tanks"
If you are too tired to venture out of town for seafood but still, the tastebuds are tingling for freshwater prawns or steamed patin cooked with superior soya sauce, we've got just the place for you. We're at Unique Seafood in PJ, staring at about one hundred fish tanks filled with all sorts of live fish from abalone, crabs to garoupa. If you like fresh seafood, I guess it ain't gonna get any fresher than this.
Unique Seafood sits quietly (and brightly at night) at Section 13, PJ. If you don't already know, the restaurant is divided into two separate 'operations'. The live seafood section and the kitchen. That's why you will be getting two bills at the end. One for the seafood and the other for the cooking. Now, in the live seafood section, depending on how thick your wallet is and how much thinner you want it to be at the end, choose from from the selection of fresh fish, shellfish, prawns, crabs, lobsters and yes! snails too.
The house specialties are the freshwater patin, steamed prawns, Japanese snails and crabs baked with salted duck eggs. So if this is your first visit, best to start with these and then adventure elsewhere. Yes, abalone can be a good option too. At 20 bucks a pop, sure why not...
"The fishballs retain fishy sweetness"
The thought of a good bowl of fishball handmade to perfection makes me tremble with delight, most of the trembling originates from the tummy, of course! Song Wan is one of those places. Uncle Lim spends a greater part of the afternoon expertly mashing the fish meat together to form hundreds of his magical balls. His fishballs I mean. And I was assured that it is the real thing. When I visited him in the afternoon as he was turning the fish meat into a gluey paste .
They use Ikan Panjang or Sai Toh ( Cantonese) fish to make the fish balls,and a lot of work goes into making the balls as Sai Toh can be very bony. But his efforts pay off in spades. His fishballs are springy, but not like the artificial bounciness you get from supermarket brands. Uncle Lim's fishballs retain the sweetness of the fish with an ever-present fish flavours, fishball lovers crave. Sooooo delicious...The soup Uncle Lim uses with the noodles does not have MSG. His trick is to supplement the soup with soy bean (soup boiled with soy bean). I don't know how he does it, but Uncle Lim is definitely an old hand at this game.
"Pastas here are all good"
No Italian chef worth its mettle will fail in making a good pasta sauce. Believe it or not, we found a great Italian restaurant all the way in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Not only does Peppino pasta sauce passed our taste test, it aced it. Peppino is located in a quiet spot in Shangri-La Tanjung Aru. Some days it's full, some days it's not. But food is always consistently....delicious! Dinner starts with a basket of assorted breads and bruschettas with three different dips to choose from. Try the darker ones, baked with delicious bits of olives designed to tantalize the tastebuds for more.
Then go for the pastas. Choose any one. It's all good. Cooked perfectly al-dente, this gives the pasta that springy bite we were looking for. A lovely bounce. The bolognese sauce is lovely, not too sour, not too sweet with just the right amount of minced beef to make it enjoyable. But what makes this sauce delicious is the right balance of ingredients, with a hint of beef stock, to make the sauce really flavourful. A truly enjoyable dish. A dust of parmesan cheese will give you that extra kick... if you need it.
The creamy alfredo sauce comes with high praises as well. We love to have this haunting delicious white sauce with tagliatelle (the long, thin, flat strips of pasta about 1/4 inch wide, yes! choose that one!) Mix the pasta with the sauce slowly, letting a generous portion of sauce stick on the pasta and follow it straight to the eagerly waiting mouth of yours. The sauce is not jelak
so the pasta can be enjoyed till the last strand.
"Can fish really make you stare into space with pleasure?"
We are going for some curry ikan termenung. A makan kaki friend of us asked what was so great about this curry ikan termenung. Well we said that with one taste of the curry, you will also 'termenung' (staring into space like an idiot). He didn't believe us. That was before he had a five second phased off 'termenung' session when he first tried the curry.
There's this small busy stall in front of a padi milling factory in the middle of nowhere in Kedah (Along the road going to Teluk Kechai/Yan actually) that serves one of the best lunch-breakfast we've had in a while. Does that makes sense? The whole village-like town is peaceful and quiet in the morning, except for this small stall with an 8am queue; which sometimes hit the road outside the shop. They are all here for one thing only. A warm plate of rice and several ikan termenungs swimming in a curry pot.
"Tea and scones and the ambiance to match"
T-Cafe was started by a group of friends way back in 2002. This is a cool place to stop by for a hot cuppa and warm scones. When we went there, we found out that they have other delicious food on the menu too. Fun Fun! Read on..
High up among the highlands, T-Cafe is located at Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands (Just above Marry Browns). You'll be pleased to know that T-Cafe also caters for vegetarians, with vegetarian lasagna, claypot rice and a special curry topping the list of recommended vegetarian dishes to try. Fresh from their very own kitchen comes apple pies, scones, cheesecakes and pancakes for dessert. But there's more.... T-Cafe has a great atmosphere, good for unwinding all your tangled thoughts.
"Warm duck rolls with plum sauce"
We were rather surprised to find this hidden little place for dim sum. China Treasures serves halal dim sum and also has an extensive Chinese menu including favourites such as Peking duck and shark’s fin soup. Also lazily swimming around in an aquarium tank are fat delectable lobsters but that, I’m afraid is another review altogether.
First, we were pleased to see that they offered us a bigger table even if there were only three of us (they were probably astounded by the quantity of food we ordered!) The usual steamed dim sums came like prawn dumplings and siew mai. The chicken char siew was just a nice size with fluffy buns to sink your teeth into. Also the steamed stuff were tasty and not too big. Not that we complain about places that give large fat portions of prawns. However, I am always of the opinion that dim sum should come in small bite sized pieces so that you can order a wide selection without getting too full.
The servings here were just the right size. We highly recommend the carrot cake, which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Also the egg tarts were delectable. The pastry was wonderfully crumbly complementing the lovely filling. I could eat ten of these. Again, they were just the right pop-in-your-mouth size.
"Why oh why is this not a steamboat option?"
If you fancy a bit of quiet Japanese whilst eavesdropping on Putrajaya gossip, Midori a comfortable and relaxed restaurant offers just that and more. Sashimi and sushi can probably be had anywhere- so what sets a Japanese restaurant apart are three main things. The freshness of the ingredients, the creativity of the chef in giving something familiar a different twist and the professionalism of the staff.
Well Midori certainly had attentive staff and they were quiet and unobtrusive as they served us hot green tea and appetizers. Trio De Oysters, a medley of six chunky oysters kicked off the meal. These were tasty little morsels, some baked with cheese, others fresh and raw with a splash of lemon. It was nice and light and ‘opened’ the tastebuds for the moriwase plate. Midori’s moriwase platter consisted of rolled sushi and pieces of very fresh fish- so it’s yes to the first criteria.
Again this was nice and light, so next up they brought some tasty garlic fried rice. The Japanese fried rice from what we gathered was lightly fried with soya and a handful of chopped vegetables and then topped with deep fried garlic instead of shallots. It’s by all means not a main meal like what we have here, rather a bridesmaid dish to accompany the main. And what an outstanding bride it was! In a large claypot confection, ringed with a delicate froth, bubbling demurely was the lobster Nabemono. This is a Midori take on our humble steamboat. Using succulent lobster and simmered with lettuce, mushrooms and all kinds of good things in a miso broth it brought a sigh to the throat. Why oh why we wondered is this never a steamboat option? Instead of just the usual chicken stock and fiery tomyam, miso would have threaded the middle ground, keeping your nose dry yet adding the most amazing dimensions to all things simmered in it.