Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fast & Easy: Bread & Butter Pudding

Learn how to make bread and butter pudding with a twist.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tips on picking a good durian - The Star


DURIAN lovers take note! Before you fork out some hard earned cash for the King of Fruits (which incidentally, is costlier this season due to the lean harvest), there are some general tips on choosing a good durian.

According to Bao Sheng Durian Farm co-owner T.S. Chang, several factors including the size, colour, texture and appearance are good indicators of whether you are getting your money’s worth.

“When it comes to durians, bigger is not necessarily better. Smaller ones will have fewer fruits but they are often tastier and more fragrant.

“In the old days, people preferred Thai durians because the flesh is thicker. But in recent years, the vote is for Malaysian (or more precisely, Balik Pulau) durians because they are more fragrant, thanks to Penang island's optimal soil and weather conditions.

“True durian connoisseurs look for quality rather than quantity,” he told StarMetro du-ring a visit to his estate in Sungai Pinang re-cently.

He also advised customers to always “inhale”.

“Pick up the fruit and hold it close to your nose.

“Look for the fruit that omits the strongest and most overwhelming (which non-durian lovers will describe as pungent) scent.

“If the scent is strong, it means that the fruit is ripe. Once you are happy with the strong scent, shake the fruit – a good fruit will have an echo because the flesh inside is not stuck to the husk,” he smiled, adding that fruits with a yellowish hue were not fresh.

“Brownish and greenish durians would be your best bet. But to be sure, take a closer look at the stem – if it is green and damp, it means that it has just dropped off the tree. Within a few hours, durian stems dry up,” he explained.

Chang also revealed that fruits from older trees were better than those from younger ones.

“Durian trees can bear fruit until they are about a century old. Unfortunately, unless you are an expert, you will have to ask the seller whether the fruit is from an old or young tree,” he said.

“Finally, once you have made your selection, tell the seller to make an incision to allow you to have a peek at the flesh inside.

“What we are looking for is a wrinkly texture. Also, use your finger and poke the flesh lightly – the thin layer of ‘skin’ should not break,” he added.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Restaurant offers discounts on crabs in conjunction with its anniversary - The Star

May 12, 2008 By THO XIN YI (

Good combination: Sweet & Sour Crab served with homemade man tou.

HERE’S a piece of fabulous news for crab lovers – Green View Restaurant is serving its famous crab dishes at a discounted price!

Its director Tan Jau Wey said the not-to-be-missed promotion is held in conjunction with the restaurant’s 15th anniversary.

“The usual price for our green crabs is RM60, RM70 or RM80 per kg depending on their sizes, but now it’s only RM40, RM50 or RM60 per kg. This is our way of showing appreciation to our loyal customers,” he said.

The promotion, which would go on for the next three months is valid for dine-in only.

Tan said they have 10 ways of cooking crabs and the Salted Egg Yolk and Sweet and Sour styles come highly recommended.

“For the sweet and sour version, we use tomato, chilli sauce, cubed ginger and sliced chilli. And it’s served with pan-fried man tou (bread rolls) for customers to dip in the sauce. It’s really tasty,” he said.

A good way to start the meal: Crispy Honey Sotong.

As for the Salted Egg Yolk Crabs, the crabs are covered in thick salted egg yolk paste cooked with margarine, ideal milk and curry leaves.

“Our crabs are imported from Indonesia. When the crabs are delivered to us, we check thoroughly to make sure that each is full of flesh,” said Tan.

Other than crabs, the restaurant is also renowned for its Sang Har Mien – deep-fried wan tan mee topped with king sized udang galah and served in stock gravy.

“Our Sang Har Mien is different because we cook the noodles in boiling water before frying it slowly with oil. And our gravy is sweet as the stock is made from boiling old chicken and bones,” said Tan.

The other signature dishes include Crispy Honey Sotong (squids) and Crispy Pork Knuckle.

Rich creation: Salted Egg Yolk Crabs covered in thick salted egg yolk paste cooked with margarine, ideal milk and curry leaves.

“Only tentacles of certain sizes are used to ensure the right level of crispiness when we deep-fry the squids. They are then tossed with our special honey sauce which contains bird’s eye chilli,” he said.

The pork knuckle is marinated with coarse salt for two hours and it is braised for another two to three hours.

The sauce from the braising is served together with the dish later.

“You can either eat the pork on its own, dip it in the sauce or the Thai chilli sauce,” said Tan.

GREEN VIEW RESTAURANT, No.6-8, Jalan 19/3, 46300 Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7958 1076/7954 9263). Business Hours: Daily, 11am-11pm. NON-HALAL.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers, happy mother's day. You are the greatest mum.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Smell of a sweet deal - The Sun

May 8, 2008 by Mei Choo

Delectable desserts that come with the sweet, strong aroma of durians at
Sweet Chat’s A Royal Affair promotion for the whole month of May.

THERE’S a little open café tucked at one corner of South Court in Mid Valley Megamall that’s serving a right royal feast for this whole month.
Situated just two floors below GSC cinema, Sweet Chat Café is ready to set mouths watering and noses twitching at its offerings of the king of fruits in eight delectable desserts during its A Royal Affair promotion.

That’s right, lovers of durian can now partake of the fruit in all its aromatic freshness in the cool comfort of a mall. There’s the outlet’s crowd favourite of durian pancake – little nuggets of durian flesh wrapped in a wafer-thin pancake; chilled pulut hitam paste with durian – dollops of boiled mashed pulut hitam and durian flesh served together with coconut milk; and the ever-popular durian cendol.

New on the menu are durian with such interesting combinations as grass jelly, scones, soya bean jelly, almond cream and bubur cha-cha.

The price? From RM6.90++ onwards but says Sweet Chat’s franchise manager Lim Siew Lay, during this promotion, the outlet is offering the durian pancake at RM5.50++, and cendol and pulut hitam at RM6++.

She adds: "Our customers love these three durian desserts which prompted us to go further with the fruit in this promotion."

Brand manager Kwan Lynn-Ee says they experimented with the combinations for a month before deciding on the five to add to the menu.

Sweet Chat is a halal café serving desserts and light meals set in the style of Hongkong cafés. Opened in June last year, the outlet is the first of this new sideline for parent company TCRS Restaurants Sdn Bhd, which runs the popular The Chicken Rice Shop franchise.

Two more branches are in the pipeline, targeted at malls in the Klang Valley.

TCRS director Wong Kah Lin says their intention is to make Sweet Chat a third stop for their customers after their home and office; a place they can go to for a bite and chat.

Besides serving desserts (a selection of 26 ‘sweet endings’ both hot – such as almond cream with tong yuen, sago pudding and gandum; and cold – like red ruby, tutti fruiti grass jelly and strawberry volcanics), the café also offers tuna and chicken sandwiches and other light meals.

They include baked veggie with creamy white sauce, topped with cheese and served with nachos; melties which are toasted focaccia bread topped with melted cheese and a choice of barbecued chicken or chicken bologna with nachos; and honey BBQ chicken burger (sumptuous whole cut of honey barbecued chicken chop in a bun with tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce with a side serving of nachos).

There are also a noodle salad that comes with a spicy Turkish dressing and spaghetti with black pepper chicken or spicy oriental minced chicken.

Not to be missed is Sweet Chat’s latest offering of spicy smoked beef pasta which is an adaptation of the Negri Sembilan dish of masak daging salar chilli api. The pasta has the hot tang of chillies with a strong kunyit taste while the smoked beef is meltingly tender.

Customers can enjoy these meals a la carte (from RM9.90++) or opt for the delectable sets (from RM14.90++).

Another must-try is the yam cake (RM5.50++) which is "just the way grandma makes it" with plenty of yam and served with a special chilli sauce.

The café also has a wide choice of drinks, from hot tea by the pot, and coffee like a local latte or Brazilian coffee, to cold thirst quenchers that range from fizzy sparkling juices to shaved ice concoctions and iced Irish coffee. Prices start from RM5.90++.

Sweet Chat can seat 76 people at a stretch and is open daily during mall hours.

Sweet Chat is located at Lot F-039, First Floor, South Court, Mid Valley Megamall. For details, call 03-2287 2798.

Mothers eat for free - The Sun

May 8, 2008

Attention all mothers! On Mother’s Day this Sunday, you can eat lunch for free when dining with three members of the family at either Chatz Brasserie or Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant, Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur.
Boasting an impressive buffet featuring over 80 items, Chatz Brasserie offers some choice fare including pasta and waffle stations, salads, carving station, grilled meats, cold cuts and dim sum.

Others include creamy pumpkin soup with rissole-smoked chicken, wood-fired pizza with various toppings as well as a mouth-watering selection of desserts.

The buffet also includes refreshing beverages such as sugar cane, soya bean cincau, honey lime and longan.

The buffet is priced at RM58++ per adult and RM29++ per child (12 years and under).

Over at Si Chuan Dou Hua, mum and family can enjoy the authentic spiced flavours of Sichuan cuisine in a six-course set lunch.

Priced at RM58++ per person, the lunch includes delights such as the trio cold combination platter, braised abalone, sea cucumber with green vegetables and superior oyster sauce, steamed drunken cod fish, yam fried rice, and double-boiled American ginseng, snow fungus and almond seeds.

Besides eating for free (terms and conditions apply), mothers attending the luncheon are entitled to enter a lucky draw for a chance to win a chef for a day. The chef will whip up a gourmet meal for the lucky mother, her family and/or friends (up to five persons).

Who knows, along the way, mum may pick up a cooking technique or two.

The buffet luncheons are available from noon to 2.30pm. – Prakash Jayakumar

For details and reservations, call 03-21470 088, ext 6350 (for Chatz Brasserie) and ext 6352 (for Si Chuan Dou Hua).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alive with the sound of music


THE Penang Botanic Gardens’ Quarry Gardens took on a carnival vibe over the weekend with revellers en-joying the Penang World Music Festival.

The event returned to the gardens for a second instalment, bringing in a whole new line-up of artistes from across the globe.

The festival started on Friday evening on a spiritual note with Penang-Australian band Dya Singh’s beautiful Sikh hymns.

The audience was then charm-ed by Irish band Teada’s fast-paced joyous tunes.

Revellers flock to the Botanic Gardens to enjoy the Penang World Music Festival. Bands from all over the globe like Afenginn from Denmark (inset) mesmerise everyone.

Viva Mexico:Mono Blanco introducing the audience to Son Jarocho music.

Rhythm of the night:Revellers dancing to the beat.

Terengganu’s Kumpulan Den-dang Anak serenaded with music full of passion, heart and soul while Mexican band Mono Blanco introduced their listeners to the melodious Son Jarocho music of Veracruz.

The funky and humorous Danish band Afenginn continued the concert with its intoxicating energetic performances of Nordic folk music before Salem Tradition of the Reunion Islands filled the Quarry Gardens with wondrous vocals and rhythmic beats.

The second night kicked off with Malaysia’s own bamboo band, Kumpulan Kinabalu Merdu Sound from Sabah that delivered indigenous music played on homemade wind, string and percussion instruments.

Badila, a band of three cultures - Iranian, Indian and French – gave a culture-packed performance with its enthralling dancer and her continuous twirling.

While the Irish lads of Teada returned with more wonder- ful tunes, Canadian band Ga-lants, Tu Perds Ton Temps presented their audience with a cappella Quebecois folk songs for women.

Kuala Lumpur’s Diplomats of Drum stood out with its modern tunes played using traditional instruments collected from different continents like the Scottish bagpipe, Malay gendang, West African djembe and Punjab dhol.

Chants never sounded so explosively good until Croatian ethno-rock band Kries hit the stage to close the second night. Their performance was hypnotic and addictive.

On Sunday, the final night, Tibetan band Techung sang songs of freedom, while American band Balfa Toujours gave revellers a taste of Cajun French music.

French band Lo Cor De La Plana gave music fans more French songs accompanied only by percussion beats, handclaps, and feet taps and stomps.

After a revisit to Denmark with the eccentric and ever fun to watch Afenginn, Kenyan group Kenge Kenge ended the musical journey with its benga (something beautiful) music.

The men and women of Kenge Kenge, and their wonderful display of showmanship and humour throughout their performance certainly gave the show a very happy ending.

Over 10,000 people attended the three-night music festival.

For the second year, the World Music Festival brought revellers nothing but joy, excitement and wonderful music which acted as a bridge to different cultures.

The only thing missing from the event was the rain, which was a good thing.

The 2008 Penang World Music Festival was organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Malaysia and the Penang Tourism Action Council (PTAC), and sponsored by Eastern and Oriental (E & O) Hotel, MBF Cards, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and Air Asia.

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee said at a press conference on Saturday that the event generated a lot of interest locally and abroad, with international bands offering themselves to the organisers.

Wee said the festival in Penang was de-linked from the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, as the performing bands for both events were completely different, unlike last year.

PTAC chairman Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen, who was also present, said a certain standard for the event had been set and it must be maintained, if not heightened.

She also said a larger crowd could be expected at next year’s World Music Festival, which will start from Labour Day until May 3.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Side dishes add spice to King Pie - The Sun

May 1, 2008 By T.K Letchumy Tamboo

THOSE on a lookout for a complete and wholesome meal which can be enjoyed at any time of the day can now rejoice because King Pie has just the thing on hand.
The largest pie franchise in Malaysia has made good its tagline of Make It a Meal by introducing more side dishes (left) to go with the pies. New are coleslaw, mashed potato with black pepper chicken gravy, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and fruit salad to add to the chips.

"The market in Malaysia is moving towards side dishes and that is the reason why we came up with these additions," said David Topper, the regional operations manager of King Pie.

When combined with King Pie’s assortment of pies such as the best-selling chicken mushroom pie, pepper steak pie, apple pie, lamb and mint pie, and salami and cheese pie, the new side orders make it a perfect meal.

The pies are made with top quality meat cuts and original spices from South Africa and come in three sizes – the snack-sized Just Munch, medium-sized Traditional Munch, and large Super Munch.

King Pie currently has four outlets in the Klang Valley.

Currently, King Pie is offering The Super Deal Combo Meal at only RM9.90 until the end of May which comes with two complimentary 20ml limited edition bottles of Lingham’s chilli sauce.

The combo meal offers a Traditional Munch pie with half portion chips and 16oz Pepsi at all King Pie outlets except for Pavilion KL which gives Lipton Iced Lemon Tea instead. The drink can be upsized to a 22oz for an additional 70sen.

Treat her like a queen - The Sun

May 1, 2008

It’s that time of year again where we honour mothers. For Mother’s Day this year, Crown Princess Kuala Lumpur has come up with specially-created menus to help you treat your mum to a divine meal.

For one price, mum can indulge in an elaborate high-tea spread from both Café on the Tenth and Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant. The kitchen team is preparing a variety of local and international favourites.

Café on the Tenth will serve up a long list of appetizers, delicious selection of hot dishes and mouth-watering desserts from local kuih to freshly-baked cakes and pastries.

Meanwhile, Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant will feature a wide variety of hot and fried dim sum and authentic selection of Chinese cuisine. A la minute stalls featuring teh tarik, a selection of local favourites, roti bakar, and many more varieties are also available at the poolside.

The afternoon will also be filled with fun and laughter, lucky draw prizes, surprise door gifts and much more. Fun games will also be available for mums to showcase off their hidden talents.

The Mother’s Day Hi-Tea at Crown Princess Kuala Lumpur on May 11 is from 12.30pm to 4pm and priced at only RM48++ (per adult) and RM24++ (per child and senior citizen).

If your mother prefers an all-out Chinese dinner, Crown Princess’ master chef Simon Chin from the Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant has created a delicious nine-course Mother’s Day Set Menu priced at RM688++ (per table of 10 persons).

This special menu, dedicated to the day’s special woman, is created with a touch of home recipes in mind to ensure mum is pleased. This menu is available for the whole month of May.

Among the dishes in the menu are braised shark’s fin soup with crabmeat and dried scallop, deep-fried pei pa crispy chicken with prawns, fried tiger prawn with spicy gravy sauce, and fried rice in lotus leaf.

Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant is open for lunch from noon to 2.30pm, and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

For inquiries and reservations, call 03-2162 5522 ext 5503 for Café on the Tenth and ext 5511 for Spring Garden Chinese Restaurant.

Nostalgic trip down food lane - The Star

May 1, 2008

Food Trail By SAM CHEONG

JALAN Raja Bot is a place that is close to our reporter's heart. Having spent nearly two decades around the neighbourhood, revisiting this place has invoked plenty of nostalgia.

For starters, this area is connected to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and with its proximity to Jalan Chow Kit it's often mistaken for 'pasar Chow Kit', considered notorious due to gang fights in the early 70s.

Traditional: Nasi Campur Berulam is one of the specialities at the Bot Market.

And when it comes to food, the Raja Bot area has a colourful reputation. In short, you will never starve because choices are aplenty covering dishes from all races. Naturalised traders of Indonesian descent have taken over many of the business outlets here as the older Chinese residents are slowly fading away.

The first thing you would notice at the Jalan Raja Bot junction, is the covered street bazaars offering food, textile and ornamental products imported from Indonesia and China.

Our reporter recommends two makan places here that had gained popularity with the regulars here. First, if you are a noodle lover and beef is your game -- there's 'Pak Ngah' bihun sup Utara.
Now, this trader made his name back in the mid-80s with his trademarked yellow-coloured turmeric-dyed rice noodles. What's good; is the sambal sauce that goes well with the rich and aromatic beef broth.

And please do not be squeamish when you see the stall owner's assistant adding cold water into the boiling soup where pieces of cow's lung and entrails could be seen floating.

Old hand: Uncle Soo dishing out his wet char koay teow.

If fear is no factor, ask for the bihun sup Utara campur dan tambah inti (soup noodles with additional cow 'spare parts') and at RM3.80 a bowl, the price is unbeatable.

To get the low-down our reporter caught up with Amir “Ghurka” Hamzah (he is often mistaken for a Nepali) who was busy slurping his bowl of hot soup noodles.

The 47-year-old retired Army personnel said he has been a regular at Pak Ngah's stall since the day he started. “Eh, you want good makan here, very simple. Just follow your nose,” said Amir in broken English.

Besides giving a detailed and rich history of the stalls at Raja Bot, the ex-soldier who now works as a factory hand said working-class people prefer to have their food around the area because of the cheap and good factor.

If you take a slow walk around this part of the city, you come across many food stalls that are densely packed, and the choices are aplenty. Most of the traders here are Malays and Indonesians.

From nasi campur to bakso and soto, Amir said people are comfortable with the choices.

Food for everyone: The pedestrian mall in Jalan Raja Bot is a favourite haunt for city dwellers.

Moving on, there is an older part of Raja Bot that few people are aware of . If you want Chinese food, there's the Jalan Haji Hussein covered hawker centre.

This old school makan place was at its height in the late 80s where good hawker fare like curry laksa, nasi lemak, yee yuen fun and char koay teow could be found.

Today, few remaining traders are in their twilight years trying to come to terms with the rapid modernisation. One particular noodle seller whom our reporter had become good friends with is Uncle Soo who owns a 'wet' char koay teow stall at the hawker centre.

Still popular: The Raja Bot market is one of the earliest wet markets in Kuala Lumpur.

Soo has been in business for more than three decades and armed with his trusty wok ladle, he put two of his sons through their tertiary education.

Coming back to his speciality, the man who is in his late 60s said he kept prices for his noodles at a standard rate of RM3 for a small helping and RM3.80 for the larger portion.

What is unique about the man's char koay teow -- is the ingredients. Instead of using 'koo chai', chinese sausage and shrimps, Soo fries his noodles with choy sum, taugeh, fresh blood cockles and eggs. This is a dish that's slowly fading with time. In the past, the central Peninsular had their own style of frying rice noodles and egg noodles. Many of such traders have either died or retired from the business.

Soo, who was a former taxi-driver picked up the art from his 'sifu' who ran the same stall at Jalan Haji Hussein in the late 60s.

“The man taught me everything he knew. I took over in the early 80s and have been maintaining it ever since. My customers are mainly Malays and some regulars who have supported me from day one,” he explained.

He said there is no such thing as retirement as running the char koay teow is the only means to keep him going. The modest trader offered his noodle dish at RM3. Our reporter found the small plate to be filling and nothing much as changed in terms of flavour, just the the lard and pork rind that made it rather tasty was missing.

Other noteworthy stalls at the hawker centre includes a curry noodle seller known as “Kehleng Mui Laksa Fun” (Indian girl curry laksa) that has a loyal following and the wantan mee stall located just a few metres away from Soo's char koay teow.

To get to Jalan Raja Bot, take the Monorail and get off at the Chow Kit station. The Malay warungs are located near the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman bus stop while Jalan Haji Hussein's hawker centre can be found in the ground floor of the City Hall Kuala Lumpur's administrative building in the neighbourhood.