"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.
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 »
So its official! FriedChillies.Com is a nominee for the Le Cordon Blue Media Awards 2010 under the Best Food Website Category
. I got an email from the committee last week but they told me to keep it a bit hush! hush! first because they have not made it official. Then Robyn of EatingAsia tweeted it. Well, I guess that there's no secret on the Internet. Thanks anyway Robyn!
I guess that it's a honour being nominated by a panel of jury of over 50 industry professionals around the world. We are also lucky as I think the nomination also reflects the huge interest the world now have on Asian and Malaysian cuisine. I would like to humbly say that there are better food websites out there than us, sites that inspire us (and these are local sites that talk about Malaysian food) but maybe the jury saw a site with potential and decided that this is worth a good nomination. We'd like to thank the Le Cordon Bleu Media Award Juries for this. Can we win? I seriously don't know. Have you seen the other Food Website nominees?
SBS Food by SBS Television, AUSTRALIA
Amazing Ribs.com by Craig Goldwyn, USA
Good Food Channel by UKTV, UNITED KINGDOM
Australian Tropical Foods by Australian Tropical Foods, AUSTRALIA
Fresh… Continue reading »
"A burst of exciting flavours"
The menu has a large mix of Asian and Western food. I was happy to see a pretty extensive salad menu, one of my favourite treats especially on hot days when a heavy meal just isn’t appealing. The Aloo Chat salad was the one that immediately caught my eye. So we ordered that as well as a burger and their specialty club sandwich.
Once the salad made its way over to the table I was a little confused by its appearance. It almost looked like a hot chickpea curry of some sort and I was worried it wouldn’t be the refreshing treat I had been anticipating. Upon first bite this was bursting with exciting flavours. The mix of creamy chickpeas melds well with the crunchy onions, greens, and little crispy pastry bites. The highlight of the dish though is the creamy sweet and soury yoghurt tamarind dressing. The pastry bites are like croutons that soak up the dressing and become chewy and gooey…yummy! This is just one of those dishes that will have you coming back for more.
I am a burger fanatic, and the burger here is quite good! The meat is extremely juicy and tender. It pretty much falls apart in your hands so you might want to eat it with a fork and knife if you don’t want to make a mess. The patty itself is mixed in with pine nuts for additional flavour. This comes with the usual toppings as well as pickles and cheese and a generous slather of mayonnaise. Delish!