Wednesday 25 January 2012

Review: Reunion Lunch at Sek Yuen


Today's the third day of the lunar new year. How has the new year gone so far with you? Am sure all the visitation filled with feasting, drinking, and gambling are still on going. This year, we have asked my mother not to toll herself to cook our reunion lunch. Since I knew Sek Yuen Restaurant, the legendary old school Chinese restaurant in Pudu which is still using firewood stoves, would be open for lunch on new year's eve, I booked a table for 10 to feed the family and even pre-ordered the food. We preferred the non-aircon side as we find the servers were more jovial and helpful.

Long queue

I walked in from the back and saw a queue right till outside the doorway. Wow whatever is that for? As I walked further in... ahhhh... they were queuing to take-away yee sang (raw fish salad) and pei pa duck (a type of roast duck). Then we saw a familiar face and turned out to be my brother's friend. She said she queued for 45 minutes just for one pack of yee sang, hmmm...

Non-Stop Slicing

The pace at the yee sang station is frantic! There were 2 people assembling the yee sang onto plates and the take-away orders. 2 - 3 people preparing the pomelos, crunchy nam yue crisps and an uncle busy shredding carrots, radish, and etc away. Just to note, all these are done using a well-worn cleaver by hand and grated using a mandolin and as we sat down for our entire 2 hours lunch, he has been slicing non-stop! I've a video of him here shredding kaffir lime leaves, just check out the speed!

Yee Sang Station

It took quite a while before our yee sang arrived. Dad prep the fish (only one type available here is sang yue - snakehead) by squeezing in the lime juice and toss in the white pepper powder and 5 spice powder. Then he add the fish onto the colourful and myriad ingredients of shredded radish and carrots, sweet pickled young papaya, pickled ginger, pickled leeks, deep fried yam strips in red and green, pomelos sacs, nam yue (red fermented tofu) crisps, coriander leaves, toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. The dressing is a concoction made of plum sauce.

Yee Sang

Once the fish, dressing and some peanut oil are poured onto the yee sang, everyone at the table would grab their chopsticks and start to toss the yee sang whilst spewing out all the good sayings in Chinese wishing everyone good fortune and best of health. As my youngest brother devoured his yee sang, he declared that this is the most authentic and very old school tasting yee sang he has ever had! We all agreed with him ;-)

yee sang collage

Next came the signature Pei Pa Duck. "Pei Pa" is actually a Chinese musical instrument. The Pei Pa has a halved pear shaped sound box, a crooked neck with 4 - 5 strings. Hence the name of this roast duck dish.

Image from Cultural China 

Normal roast duck would be roasted whole but Pei Pa Duck has the body flatten and spread out like the sound box of a Pei Pa, while the head is the narrow part of the body. The duck is then seasoned and air dried before roasted in firewood here in Sek Yuen. The taste was great but the texture of the meat is a little on the tough side. My mom commented that usually Pei Pa Duck is not so meaty and flatter which I agree with her. Maybe the duck is a little on the large side as the other time we ate, it wasn't so meaty.

Pei Pa Duck

We have a beancurd dish which consisted of Yue Wart (fish paste), Dau Kan (beancurd sheets), Tofu (beancurd). Quite plain and ordinary. We also have a platter of Hai Joe (crabmeat balls) which is made of a mixture of crab and pork meats, wrapped in beancurd sheet and deep fried. Sorry no photo of them.

Yue Wart, Dau Kan, Tofu

This signature vegetarian dish of Kah Hiong Chai (Hometown Vegetarian literally) is everyone's favourite. Everyone concurred that it's very very fragrant of nam yue (fermented red beancurd) and well seasoned.

Kah Hiong Chai

I took the recommended Thai-Style Deep Fried Garoupa since we would like to have a whole fish for reunion as opposed to BoiBoi's fave of Sweet and Sour Fish Slices. This didn't went down well as the fish is over fried making it dry and there's too little Thai sweetish and sourish gravy to go round.

Thai -Style Deep Fried Fish

As we already have Pei Pa Duck, we opted for 8 Treasures Trotter instead of Duck. The trotter is fork tender and stuffed with delicious fillings of chestnuts, gingko nuts, lotus seeds etc making up 8 ingredients in the fillings enough to name them 8 Treasures. Given a choice, I would go for the duck as there were more meat where else the trotter is mostly skin and fats as most of the meat has been removed to put in the stuffings.

8 Treasure Trotter collage

All 10 of us are impressed nevertheless with the old school offerings with tastes of how they were like when we were young. All the above dishes with one big bowl of rice (dai dau farn :p they usually serve small metal bowls of steamed rice but if there are too many people, they serve rice in one large bowl) and tea came up to RM299.80 (sounds prosperous already!). 

Don't miss this Chinese New Year to pay a visit to Sek Yuen for authentic old school yee sang and dishes. I'll post more of Sek Yuen later of the other dishes we have on normal days.

Sek Yuen Restaurant
313-315, Jalan Pudu, KL
Tel: +603 9222 9457 (non-aircon)
+603 9222 0903 (aircon)
(You'll have to call the correct number to make your reservation of the section you preferred!)

Sunday 22 January 2012

Xin Nian Kuai Le

CNY greetings

Xin Nian Kuai Le from our family to yours!

Friday 20 January 2012

Valentine's Edible Bouquet by Just Heavenly

February is looming and it's always the dreaded month for love birds as they scratch their head on getting suitable Valentine's Day gifts. It's certainly not an ideal time to get real flower bouquet as it can get really exorbitant! How about this edible bouquet by Just Heavenly? In many ways, it appeals to the heart as well as stomach to the practical mind of Asians. Instead of spending RM100 on flowers that will wilt in a couple of days, these Chocolate Cupcakes are definitely unique... I'm sure they will melt the heart of your dear darling.


The Scarlett (as in Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the wind) at RM100 consists of 8 "Red Roses" of moist, chocolatey, Heavenly Chocolate sit atop a glazed ceramic pot, decorated with organza ribbon. Delivery is available for RM30 to points within KL City. T&Cs apply.

Call 03-22879866 or 03-22849866 to place your order early.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Yoghurt Fruit Cake

Yoghurt Fruit Cake

I came across this Yoghurt Fruit Cake recipe in a magazine some time back which I've wrote down in my notebook as I've never seen a fruit cake recipe that uses yoghurt and nary a spice was added. Capt'n Hook had always like his fruit cake to be super moist. Knowing that yoghurt in cakes will produce a moist cake, hence I set out to try out this recipe recently. The original recipe called for just golden raisins and cranberries but since I have a lot more of stuff in my fridge, I set out adding more fruits and some nuts as well.

We're quite pleased with the outcome and would be great for this festive Chinese new year. Here's my version of the recipe. Kindly excuse the weird numbers of the weights as I've gotten them converted to metric.

Yoghurt Fruit Cake

90g golden raisins, roughly chopped
30g cranberries, roughly chopped
30g dried apricots, roughly chopped
30g mixed peel
Zest from 1 orange or lemon
3 tbsp brandy or rum or cointreau

150g butter
70g sugar
170g flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
6 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Handful of toasted walnuts, break into halves or quarters (sorry I forgot to measure :p)

1. Mix (A) thoroughly, place in an air tight container and leave overnight in the fridge.

2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Leave aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Then add in eggs one at a time, mix well before adding vanilla essence.

4. Fold in flour, alternating with yoghurt. Mix in dried fruits mixture and walnuts.

5. Pour batter in 9x4x3 inch loaf pan. Level surface and make a slight depression in the middle.

6. Bake in pre-heated oven 160ÂșC for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Test with skewer which should come out clean. Remove from oven and leave to cool for about 5 minutes before turning out to cooling rack.

7. Once cake has cool down, turn over and prick holes all over cake with skewer. Brush or pour small amount of brandy or rum or cointreau. Wrap with one layer of cling wrap followed by foil. Keep in the fridge for a few days for the cake to mature before eating.

Tip: It would be easier to slice a fruit cake while it's cold with a serrated knife rather than room temperature.

Monday 16 January 2012

Just Heavenly's Good Fortune Arrives

It's very very close to Chinese New Year but have you done your gift shopping? If not, why not give your love ones exquisite cakes, cookies or hampers from Just Heavenly?

Take a look at the catalogue and remember to place your order soon, like really soon. You'll need to place your order 4 working days in advance but there are some instore items that you can buy, well just in case you didn't have time to place your order. The hampers need to be ordered in advance though as they won't be available at the stores. (Click on the pics to view larger pics)









Friday 6 January 2012

Review: House of China @ Kepong


It's always a headache whenever come to dinner time especially with the entire family in tow. Most of the time, we do not wish to travel far and the amount of eateries in Kepong these days is really mind boggling! So came one day the same question - where to eat??? Since I've read about House of China in the papers which served a rather interesting "squirrel" fish that I guess BoiBoi would love, so we decided to head there to give them a try.

House of China 01

House of China is located at the shoplots within the perimeter of Carrefour Kepong. It's quite easy to locate and it's the same row as the TCM hospital at the corner. When we enter the double shoplot, the entrance is adorned with various Chinese antique and decorative pieces and we were greeted by Chinese waitresses. Looks like everyone is of Chinese nationals including the man at the cashier counter and we were told that the chefs are one of them too. So now we know why the name and the dishes that they're serving here.

No doubt House of China doubled up as a Chinese antique and decorative store with a nice ambience with the play of lightings, it's sad to note that the tables and chairs for diners are of the ordinary tables and PVC wrapped chairs. It would have been complete if they have used matching tables and chairs at least.

House of China 02

A nice thick menu is a nice touch with menu in English, some with pictures especially for bananas like us. There is no problem placing our orders as the waitress who took down our order was utmost patient and willing to explained to us the dishes.

House of China Menu

Bittergourd Stir-fry with Salted Egg Yolk (RM15) is always a firm favourite. The crunchy slight bitterness of the bittergourd coupled with creamy salty yolk combination is sheer brilliant!

Stir-fry Bittergourd with Salted Egg Yolk (RM15)

Our second vegetable dish was this Stir-fry Paku Pakis with Belacan (RM12) (does the Chinese have such dish back home? *chuckle*). After a few bites, I find the fern shoots leave a slimy and numb sensation inside my mouth... my brother declared that this is not the usual fern shoots but Midin, a kind of wild ferns found only in Borneo Island or Sarawak! How did they got onto our plate? I've never tasted Midin before but since he has stayed in Sarawak for 2 years, I guess he could tell the difference. He said Midin leaves that sensation in the mouth. Hmmm, is it true?

Stir-fried Fern Shoots With Belacan (RM12)

Then we have this incredible melt-in-the-mouth Mui Choy Khau Yoke (RM35) (braised pork belly with preserved mustard cabbage). House of China's version have paper thin pork belly slices with the right balanced of tasty mui choy as some places have overly salty mui choy. I usually don't eat fatty parts where I removed them before eating but had a hard time doing that and succumbed to the entire fatty slices *gulp*. The only thing is there isn't much belly slices to go around.

Mui Choy Khau Yoke (RM35)

The star of the day supposedly this Sweet & Sour "Squirrel" Fish (RM32). Tasted just like normal sweet and sour fish just that the body of a tilapia fish is scored into diamond shape pieces and the fins were placed strategically on the head, deep fried to create this conversational-piece of fish that looked like a squirrel. Guess whose favourite dish it was?

Sweet & Sour Fish (RM32)

Sun Xin (Fairy) Chicken (RM28) is essentially a version of herbal chicken. Not sure of the herbs used but this tender and smooth chicken tasted slightly different from the usual herbal chicken, maybe because this is a drier version and not so soupy. I can't remember if we have half or whole chicken but I think it's half :p

Sun Xin (Fairy) Chicken (RM28)

Our only gripe about this place is their portion size. It's really kinda smallish for the price they charged. Hence we have to order an extra dish. We opted for a Dry Wok Fry Squid (RM22) which I think has a bit of Sichuan pepper corn that did not give a totally numbing effect but lend the squid quite fragrant.

Dry Wok Fry Squid (RM22)

There were 6 adults and one child with 5 bowls of white rice, a pot of Chinese tea, 2 glasses of warm water (RM1 each!!!) plus the dishes above costed us RM169.60.

House of China
33 Jalan Metro Perdana Timur 6,
Taman Usahawan Kepong,
Kepong Utara, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-6259 9909
Business hours: Daily 11.00am to 10.00pm

Thursday 5 January 2012

Review: Ninja Joe (Pork Burger)


Ninja Joe

Let's start the year with something porky. It's just some fast food in the form of burgers, nothing fancy but these pork burgers by Ninja Joe really rocked our bellies. They have been around for a while, just that we never get to blog about it earlier since almost every non-Muslims in the blogsphere have written about this joint.

Their set ups are pretty simple and seriously this is a home grown brand even though banging on a ermm Japanese theme and they're not a foreign franchise. Even their menu is quite basic with just 3 types of pork burgers to choose from which is great so that people who are indecisive can quickly make up their mind :p, a few side orders and a small selection of drinks and ice cream.

The basic burger is named Ninja that is just pork burger patty on a split bun with tomato slice and lettuce. The specialty is the choices of sauces available ranging from original, oriental, teriyaki, spicy, black pepper and sweet & sour. The Ninja is rather small in size, for myself, one Ninja would be sufficient but for Capt'n Hook... he can go between 2 to 3 Ninjas. I supposed it must be due to it's sheer size, the pricing comes in either solo, 2, 3 or 6 with the price of RM5.50, RM9.90, RM12.90 and RM29.90 respectively. So far I've sticked with either original or teriyaki sauce which both were great with the pork burger. Not very sloppy but good enough.

Solo Ninja (RM5.50)

Even our BoiBoi likes one and he does not go for the normal ones aka Ninjas. He has such a good taste bud that he tends to order The Big Boss or Brucely. Now, I'm beginning to wonder aloud as in what would "The Big Boss" or "Brucely" have got to do with ninjas or joes? (Note that "The Big Boss" and "Brucely" sounded like a reference to Bruce Lee, perhaps the owner is a big fan of Bruce Lee Xiao Long!)

The Big Boss (RM8.50) has pork patty, a fried egg, onion slices, lettuce and tomato slice in between buns. You can opt to add bacon for RM1 and cheese for RM1. For BoiBoi, he usually would ask for both! I think he's on a grow spurt these days. I'm cringing that he may get taller than me by the end of the year for now his head had reached the top of my ear!!! That means I've to get new sets of trousers for him *sobs*

The Big Boss with Cheese & Bacon

Then there's the Brucely (RM9.90) which I quite like too, the difference is instead of pork patty, this burger has a slice of pork chop, tomato slice and lettuce. Again one can opt for the extra bacon and cheese with the addition of RM1 each. Even though it's a piece of pork chop, rest assure that it's very tender and juicy. Sorry no pic on this one cos I can't find it :p

For all pork burger orders, just pay an extra of RM3.90 for the set that would include a cold drink and fries or RM4.90 for Zing Soda and fries. We didn't quite like the thick fries so we usually do not take the sets. I've asked for Zing Soda once which you can see in the first pic, I think that was an orange flavour. Just the usual soda with added orange syrup for flavour. The thing I like is I could actually get green tea to go with these lovely pork burgers.

I've ordered one of the sides, a Shuriken (5 pieces for RM4.90). I was given a number plate as they need to fry them up upon order. Even arrived piping hot, these potato and pork croquettes are really disappointing. The texture is mushy and very oily. After that one experience, we just couldn't be bothered with the fries and sides and straight hit the pork burgers.

Shuriken 5 pcs (RM4.90)

I'm so glad that there are more Ninja Joe branches these days with the latest being opened in 1 Utama. Other than that it can be found at Tropicana City Mall, Sunway Pyramid and The Gardens. Our only gripe is The Gardens outlet does not have a wash basin to wash our hands before and after a burger or two. Not very convenient as we need to wait for everyone to finish up before heading towards the washroom to wash our hands. Thank goodness there's one at Tropicana City Mall and I think Sunway has it too but I can't really recall. We haven't been to the one at 1 Utama and I really do hope they have one install in this outlet due to convenience and hygiene reason.

Ninja Joe's Branches:
  • LG-233, The Gardens Mall (Mid Valley)
  • LG-113, 1 Utama Shopping Mall
  • First floor, F1.93-95 Sunway Pyramid (Next to TGIF)
  • LG-18, Tropicana City Mall
Opens Mon - Sun 10.00am - 10.00pm

Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012