"Eating this was fate..."
On a rather rainy day in PJ, we found ourselves on Federal Highway in a jam. A quick detour brought us to the 222 Foodcourt. I used to come here for late night nasi lemak bungkus but rarely try the other stalls because most of them close shop by nightfall. Maybe because it's fate or because of the rain, the nasi kukus stall from Kelantan still had food at 6pm. First up was a heap of hot Malay-style fried chicken, sizzled in hot oil with curry leaves and spices- ridiculously succulent inside.
"Gosh this is good," exclaimed James, our resident fried chicken enthusiast. Indeed the plate was demolished within seconds. Curious, I walked over to the stall where a heap of hot fried chicken sat wantonly waiting on rattan tray. They also serve nasi kukus here, again normally finished by 3pm but today there was still a bit more left in the pot.
So a nice heap of nasi kukus, followed by a ladle of hot gulai daging tetel- the soft bits of leftover meat that's been cooked for hours in a curry-like broth. A side of sambal to perk up the gulai, a cucumber jelatah and a gorge-worthy portion of fried chicken on the side.
"Crispy fried slices of garlic!"
The menu here features over 200 dishes that blend authentic Japanese recipes with contemporary ingredients and flavours. The chefs here are known to produce personalized Kaiseki (course by course) style sets that fit to each person’s specifications. You can choose to walk in and leave your dining fate up to the chef or you can let him know that you don’t really feel like eating salmon and tuna today and let him work around those restrictions. No two are alike and this is what makes Xenri unique. Each dining experience there can be as different as you’d like it to be, or you can always note down your favourites and ask for those when you visit. There is also the Ala Carte menu on hand if you would rather play it safe.
To get a feel for the favourites we decided to go with the Mini Kaiseki and the Teppanyaki Kaiseki both priced at RM68++. Both Kaisekis start off with a chilled beancurd with marinated scallop along with three kinds of sashimi based on what is the freshest. The bean curd is made in house and is silky and delicious with the light sweet and sour applesauce it is paired with. The marinated scallop tops it off with a lovely bit of chew.
Next up for the Mini Kaiseki is the fried burdock chicken roll. It is my first time trying burdock, which is a type of root meant to be beneficial for all sorts of ailments. This is very popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. This roll is a piece of burdock wrapped with chicken and is then breaded and deep-fried. The best way to eat it is to just dip it in a bit of sea salt. Delicious! The Teppanyaki set has a wakame salad with yuzu dressing which is a refreshing pause in the meal. The citrusy yuzu stirs up the appetite and has us craving for more.
"Tender, juicy and full of flavour"
One evening I sent my car for a wash in an empty lot next to the Taman TTDI Jaya Mosque. Just across the street was a shop-lot area, and along the street, I saw various stalls already set up and flocks of people browsing through the delicious morsels on offer. Street food, so to speak.
This mini-bazaar of sorts is present every evening at this place, just opposite the TTDI Jaya Mosque. The mini-bazaar balloons to bigger proportions during Ramadan, but today, late April, there were only a few stalls selling snacks and drinks.
But it was a smoky-sweet aroma that made me cross the street to find an itty-bitty stall that was the source of the wonderful smell. I stopped in front of the stall: it was just a small barbeque grill, with long metal skewers of chicken wings, gizzards and ‘tongkeng’ (bishops nose) hanging inches above the grill, and a large container filled with chicken parts marinating in a mysterious liquid.
The stall had no name, just a sign listing what was one sale, and that was pretty much it; wings, gizzards and tongkeng. A gentleman, who stood diligently preparing the yummy chicken bits for the waiting customers, manned the stall.
I asked for a couple of wings (sorry but I don’t really like gizzards, or chicken butt for that matter) and waited a bit while he prepared them. He nodded curtly and proceeded to pull off two wings from a metal skewer hanging above the grill.
He placed the wings on the wire rack that served as the grill for the chicken to cook through, basting occasionally with the marinade juices. After about 3-5 minutes, he packed them in a generic clear plastic baggie. Now I had to decide if I should wait for my car to finish being washed and go home to enjoy the wings, or to gobble them on the spot.
"As crisp as a cracker"
Turkish cuisine is a mix of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Balkan cuisines. Many of the dishes look and taste similar to what you might find at a Lebanese restaurant but there are some subtle differences in spices used. Different regions in Turkey have their own dishes using what is available to them. The Northern cuisine is corn and anchovy based, while the Southeast is known for their kebabs.
We order the specialty bread known as lavas. This is also sometimes called cracker bread since it is puffed up and thin making it as crisp as a cracker. This arrives at the table puffed up like a pillow sprinkled with sesame seeds. I have a lot of fun breaking it apart with my fingers and eating it with the accompanying dip that resembles a tomato salsa. The tomato dip is packed with spices and has a wonderful heat to it. The crisp lavas hits the spot and gets my tummy rumbling for more.
I also order a side of hummus as I’m unable to resist the smooth creaminess of the blended chickpeas. The hummus here is satiny smooth doused with chilli oil and sprinkled with ground coriander. The coriander is what makes it taste a bit different from the usual Middle Eastern outlets. I like the added spice that is peppered throughout giving it a zing. This combined with the tomato dip on the lavas bread is heavenly.
Mr. Phang makes the best Malaysian tomyum in Holland we kid you not! And he learnt chicken rice from the chicken rice sifu himself in Sabah. Watch why Nyonya Express is an eatery you want to make a pit stop at when hungry in Amsterdam. You can also check it out here.
Join our host Iedil as he chomps his way through all kinds of juicy burgers from cheesy ones to the downright fiery. The only problem is to find room for the creamy milkshakes! You can also check it out here.
Instant noodle lovers get a load of this!
This week the 7th World Instant Noodle Summit took place at the KL Convention Centre. The leaders of the World Instant Noodle Association (WINA) met to discuss the future of instant noodles as a dietary staple.
Did you know that in 2009 more than 92billion servings of instant noodles were consumed? It is these numbers that are getting the instant noodle giants to look at what they can improve in terms of health, taste, convenience, hygiene, and price.
In general, instant noodles don Continue reading »