Friday, 31 August 2012

Restoran Woo Ng Kee, Taman Ehsan, Kepong, Malaysia

Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Claypot Braised Fish Head
Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Prawn, Village Chicken and Abalone in Gelatin
Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Crab Dumplings
Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Fish Head Curry
Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Stir Fried Kai Lan and Preserved Vegetables
Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Roasted Pei Pa Duck
Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Hakka Fermented Bean Curd Fried Pork

Restoran Woo Ng Kee, Taman Ehsan, Kepong

Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Restoran Woo Ng Kee
Hari Raya long weekend is the perfect time to explore the outer reaches of Kuala Lumpur. With people departing the city en masse, the streets are left traffic free, turning what might usually be a 90 minute grapple through traffic, into a smooth 20 minute sail across town. Journeying through Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Kepong (best avoided at 6pm at all costs on a regular weeknight), we breezed all the way to Taman Ehsan, Kepong, for a much talked about meal at Restoran Woo Ng Kee.

Friends had told us that Restaurant Woo Ng Kee was like stepping back in time 50 years. Mr. Woo, owner and chef, runs the third generation of this Chinese restaurant and specializes in traditional dishes from the past. Fare that was popular in the 60s and 70s reappears in the limelight to the thrill of many. Noisy, bustling, full of life, we entered Woo Ng Kee and soon discovered where those that didn’t depart the city for the long weekend were eating. Dishes clashing and people chattering, the restaurant was abuzz. As with many Chinese restaurants, the best dining option is with a bunch of friends and family so that you can try many recipes.

Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
The Menu
Arriving with a bunch of local friends who know the charming Mr. Woo, we were lucky to have guidance through our meal – even if some of the direct translations from the menu were along the lines of “Pig and Dogs Friend” for “Braised Pork Knuckle.” Chef Woo is clearly proud of his dishes. Appearing with every plate, he attempted communication with us in a few words of English, animated expressions, and dramatized actions. A ‘thumbs up’ followed by a questioning expression was usually followed by a mirrored ‘thumbs up’ from our side resulting in an even bigger smile and nod of the head in return.

Claypot Braised Fish Head was the theatrical beginning to our experience. Perched upon a gas stovetop, a broth was poured dramatically over a ceramic pot of fish and vegetables and then covered and allowed to simmer. Entranced by the aromatic scent of herbs wafting from the centrepiece we waited for the contents to become tender. Water chestnuts, wolfberries, red dates, dried scallops, ginger, white fungus, dried squid, straw mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, grouper head and rice wine made up the brew. The lead in to our meal had us hooked and I think hubby and I could have been quite satisfied with another bowl of the fragrant rich soup and had been done for the evening. Our foodie friends though, had other plans.

Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Fried Rice
A star-studded line up of Chinese classics followed: Prawn, Village Chicken and Abalone set in a gelatin served with century eggs and pickled ginger reminded me of my childhood and my grandma’s famous meat brawn; a luxurious Fried Rice packed with finely chopped bacon, crab, scallops, eggs and showered with spring onions; Roasted Pei Pa Duck, butterflied and crisped to perfection served with a sweet plum dipping sauce (smiling I remember making a great companion for my Chinese dinner companions as I dove in for the leanest pieces of meat while my buddies leapt in for the fattiest more flavourful pieces with the most skin); Stir Fried Kai Lan with preserved vegetables; Braised Pork in an intense sticky herbal sauce baked in a brass pot so tender it slid off the bone; Fish Head Curry in a rich and creamy gravy best soaked up with steamed rice and; Crab Dumplings wrapped in bean curd sheets steamed and then deep fried. As plate after plate materialized, it was toilsome to maintain any inkling of common sense. Knowing we needed to pace ourselves if we wanted to try it all, it was difficult to consume just a small portion as each dish seemed to cause bells to chime from our taste buds upon introduction with every new offering.

Woo Ng Kee, Restoran, Chinese, Kepong, Taman Ehsan, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head, best roast duck
Braised Pork
The last dish, Hakka Fermented Bean Curd Fried Pork, threw hubby over the edge of excitement into a salivating stuper with its crisp deep fried exterior and juicy core. On the other hand, it tossed me into a panic calculating how many kilometres I’d have to run the following day to counterbalance the calories. Hubby plunged in like a professional diving from the high board. I gingerly entered with caution taking the smallest piece possible hoping that I’d have some self control to just taste one bite. I needn’t have been so heedful as this common favourite was quickly devoured by the rest of our dining party leaving everyone with full tummies and an experience to be remembered.

Thank you to Mr. Woo and our dining companions, Sidney and Jenn, for an adventure we would never have managed on our own.

Reason to visit: traditional Chinese dishes from the 70s, Roasted Pei Pa Duck, Fish Head Curry, Claypot Braised Fish Head

Restoran Woo Ng Kee 
545 - 546 Jalan E3/7
Taman Ehsan
52100 Kepong
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Malaysia
+6 03 6274 2305

Thursday, 30 August 2012

DISH, Weekend Tapas Brunch, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Turkey Ham and Cheese Croquettes

DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Steak
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Black Angus Beef Burger
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Humitas
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Prawns
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Tomato Risotto with Olive Tapenade
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Citrus Cured Salmon with Horseradish Ice Cream and Pickled Beetroot
DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Caramel Chocolate Delice with Lime Ice Cream
DISH, Weekend Tapas Brunch by Chef Steve Allen

DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow
Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc
Dish proposes a unique twist to the usual, over indulgent, bubbly brunches around town. You’ll still have plenty of opportunity to gorge yourself, just in a slightly more refined manner. A complete tapas menu, Spanish in style, but not in cuisine, Chef Steve Allen has taken the merry concept of ‘lots of little dishes to share’ and given it his own unique content. Be prepared for eggs benedict, risotto, burgers and desserts all served in bite size portions. Only elevating the fun is the addition of free flow bubbly, wine and beer.

The DISH Weekend Tapas Brunch promotes a casual dining scene featuring fine food as the protagonist. Come as you please, shorts, slippers, dressed to the nines, anything goes. The people are just the backdrop and the tapas the stars in this screenplay. DISH is all about good food in a relaxed setting.

DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Cappuccino and Flat White
Creator of the leading actors, in the form of a tapas menu, is Chef Steve Allen. After 10 years of working with the infamous Gordon Ramsay you might expect a more sinister character. However, Chef Steve is quite the antithesis of the notoriously grumpy master chef. He is much rather a cheerful gentleman, who loves to travel and explore. The only characteristic the pair do have in common, as far as I can see, is that of masterful food preparation.

Reflecting his love for travel into the menu, you’ll see the influence from a trip to San Sebastian Spain in the serving of many small plates (tapas) and, travel around the world interpreted into actual cuisine. Risotto from Italy, humitas from Argentina, local appeal with chili padi and of course a strong Western influence in the form of eggs and burgers can all be sampled as many times as you please.

First taking care of our drink orders, we were happy to see freshly squeezed juices, sparkling wine and decent drops of red and white too. Choosing grapes from regions that usually do well with that varietal is nearly a fool safe method for decision making.

Shiraz from South Australia and Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand were wise, easy drinking, crowd pleasing options. Habitually we started with sparkling, cleansing our palates and providing an agreeable accessory to the egg dishes. Later, switching to the Ketu Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011, we noted the delightful companion it made to the salads and seafood. The Cranswick Estate 2009 Shiraz was a timely switch to savour the beef, lamb and rich chocolate desserts. The Tiger beer didn’t much interest us, but concluding with a well-brewed coffee, took off the slight sluggishness accrued from our culinary extravagance.

DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Lamb Kofta
The tapas menu is divided into 10 categories: Organic Eggs; Croquettes; Soups; Salads; Pasta/Risotto; Meat; Fish; Vegetarian; Shellfish and Desserts. We did our best to sample across the 35 choices and fared quite well for only two stomachs. Amazingly, we didn’t meet, not even one unsatisfactory dish.

We did come out with a few favourites though: Eggs Benedict; Turkey Ham and Mozzarella Croquettes, Pumpkin Soup with Truffle Wild Mushrooms and Parmesan; Avocado and Crab Salad; Sweet Corn and Chili Padi Humitas; Green Guava Crumble with Caramel Ice Cream and; the divinely rich Caramel Chocolate Delice with Lime Ice Cream (all ice creams are made in house). While all of the dishes mentioned above would easily be in the running for an Academy Award, there are two that I would award an Oscar.

DISH, tapas, weekend brunch, bubbly brunch, wine, Kuala Lumpur, breakfast, free flow, Gordon Ramsay
Strawberry Trio
The Citrus Cured Salmon with Pickled Beetroot and Horseradish Ice Cream was a complexity of delicately balanced flavours and textures and, the Black Angus Beef Burger with Mustard Mayonnaise and Tomato, not only looked cute enough to gobble in one bite, was gobbled in one bite while searching out the waiter to order more. As my dining companion said, “Next round we can just order 10 of those straight up.”

The DISH Weekend Tapas Brunch is available every Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon until 2:30pm. Prices are: RM179++ for unlimited tapas plus free flow red/white/sparkling wines, Tiger beer and fruit juices; RM99++ for tapas and juices and; children 6 – 12 years of age are charged RM49++

Reason to Visit:  Weekend tapas menu with free flow sparkling, red and white wines

Dish
Ground Floor
Dua Annexe
213 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2164 1286

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Bintang, Malaysia



Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, Mooncake Class by Caning Jaramillo

Recently we had the fortune to return to Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur's non-halal Chinese Restaurant. This time round we discovered one of the most prized foods in the Mid-Autumn Festival, the mooncake. Also known as the Reunion Festival, it is traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month which falls in either September or October. Second only to the Spring Festival, it is a time when Chinese people travel from the far corners of the country or globe to reunite and dine with their family.

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur, on this occasion, is featuring authentic mooncakes made from traditional Chinese recipes. There are a whole range of temptations. Fruit and Nut, Red Bean Paste and Pure Lotus with Single Yolks are just a few of the highlights. For those with more contemporary taste buds, the menu offers Mini Snow Skin Mooncakes with Passionfruit, Durian, Spirulina and Green Tea Lotus Paste flavours.

Not only were we blessed with the chance to sample the various kinds on sale, but we also had a lot of fun participating in a mooncake making class. Each of us was able to try our hand at forming a Mini Snow Skin Mooncake with Passionfruit and Lotus Paste. Under the careful guidance of masterful and cheerful chef Thye, participants learned to roll and manipulate the cottony charcoal skin around the firmer tangy centre, finally moulding it into the template to produce their very own mini snow skin mooncake to take home. While some students were more proficient than others, all were clearly entertained by the experience. The resulting fleecy ebony mound encasing the tart passionfruit paste was polished off by my sweetie before we even got home. I, on the other hand, thought a tropical pairing with a Caribbean rum was more appropriate and delighted in trying slivers of mooncake with sips of a nightcap of Venezuelan and Trinidadian drops.

Prices for the Fortune Mooncake Gift Box are RM112++ per box of 4 items and, the Full Mooncake Gift Box is RM108++ for 8 items. Those who prefer to pack for a simple reunion can choose from a selection of mooncakes with prices range from RM12.80++ to RM29.80++ per piece.

A filling Chinese meal before the class meant we were more alert and ready to cook (without too many fingers going from the batter to our lips). The dishes that made me smile were the Barbecued Roasted Pork with Honey and the majestic Homemade Bean Curd with Angled Luffa Gourd and Scallops so tender and juicy that I began whistling the song of a morning bird.

Reason to visit:  Passionfruit Mooncakes, Barbecued Roasted Pork with Honey, Homemade Bean Curd.

Lai Ching Yuen
First floor
Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2117 4888
lcy@grandmillenniumkl.com

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Where to Stay, Eat and Spa in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, where to stay, hotel, restaurants, spas, best
The Yum List's Recommendations for Langkawi

The tropical island of Langkawi is just over an hours flight from Kuala Lumpur and easily accessed via three airlines - Fire Fly, Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines all fly direct. With duty free status, jutting hills, secluded beaches and a wealth of options to eat, stay and spa, the island offers something for everyone.



hotel, resort, accommodation, Langkawi, where to stayWhere to Stay

Casa del Mar, Pantai Cenang - absolute beachfront accommodation providing attention to detail that only a luxury boutique hotel can offer.

Bon Ton, Pantai Cenang - a unique stay in original local housing with modern conveniences while maintaining rustic appeal. Profits go to funding the only animal shelter on the island through the LASSie program.
where to stay in Langkawi, accommodation, hotel, resort

Temple Tree, Pantai Cenang - a sophisticated rustic experience in a quiet relaxed location. Stays here provide funds to help the animals of Langkawi through support of the LASSie program.

Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa, Kuah - breathtaking views, comprehensive facilities and a complete wellness experience.


Where to Eat

where to eat in Langkawi, restaurants, seafoodLa Sal, Casa del Mar - innovative menus enjoyed under the stars with your feet in the sand and the sound of the sea lapping the shore. Don't miss the Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup, Tuna Tartare with Langkawi Goats Cheese and Black Truffle Vinaigrette, King Prawn and Squid Risotto, Crispy Skin Salmon, Australian Beef Fillet and Creative Cocktails.

where to eat in Langkawi, restaurants, nyonya, mezze platterNam, Bon Ton - a unique location to view sunsets over the lagoon. Don't leave without trying the Nyonya Laska, Nyonya Tasting Platter, Mezze Platter, cocktails and desserts.

Straits Club, Temple Tree - delicious food on the verandah of a restored traditional home. Must order the Nibbles for Two, Chicken and Chestnut Samosas, Cannelloni of Lamb, Zatar Seabass, Caramelized Beef Short Ribs and home made Ice Cream.

Seasonal Tastes, Westin - panoramic Andaman sea views and a chance to dine under the stars (weather permitting). Make sure to put Cajun Lobster Pasta, Mediterranean Chicken Breast and Basil Tomato Soup on your order. The Super Foods breakfast buffet is one of the best on the island.

where to eat in Langkawi, restaurant, seafoodSpa by Night, Westin - proposals, anniversaries, romance - this is the place for it.

Tide Restaurant, Westin -  gorgeous seascapes. Try the Duck Spring Rolls, Roasted Hon-Shimeji Mushrooms Soup, Wagyu Pizza and Heavy Chocolate Mousse.

Red Tomato Restaurant and Lounge - excellent salads, home made breads, gluten free options. Prices of drinks truly reflect the island's duty free status.

Where to Spa

Langkawi, spa, treatment, massageThe Spa, Casa del Mar - high quality treatments utilizing home made natural ingredients at competitive prices.

Heavenly Spa, Westin -  spacious, peaceful, natural setting with a wide selection of treatments and trained skilled therapists.

Follow these links for more suggestions on Where to Stay in Langkawi and Where to Eat in Langkawi

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Sompton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Entrance
Natural wood décor, the sound of trickling water and gentle Balinese music mark the entrance to Sompoton Spa at the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur. Greeted by timid smiles and a warm reception, we were seated and presented with a comprehensive menu from which to choose our package. Elucidation of the sundry of options, accompanied by a sampling of scrubs and oils, soon led us to settling upon a package. Hubby signed up for the Recharge, myself for the Spa Goer.

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Flower Tea
The Recharge, lasting 80min for RM220, promised a foot bath, then an exfoliation with Tongkat Ali, a scrub made with “indigenous herbs and plants that have been used for many generations to improve energy and remove skin impurities.” After showering, the treatment would finish with a Signature Massage to alleviate tension and fatigue.

My Spa Goer package, RM280 for 8Omin, assured complete relaxation with a foot ritual, de aging salt mousse and shower, closing with a Luxury Massage. Wondering what was the difference between the two selections (other than promises of anti aging), we learned that customer service is the number one priority and that individual preferences can easily be catered for. I adapted my combo by choosing a tropical scented papaya scrub and hubby switched massaged style from the Signature to the Luxury.

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Pedicure and Reflexology Chairs
Massages come in three levels of strength with varying techniques. The Balinese massage is thought of as gentle and relaxing, the Luxury is considered medium pressure and the Traditional Malay as the strongest. There’s no hiding that we’re finicky when it comes to massage, both of us choosing the Luxury, a combination of Swedish, Japanese and Malay, but requesting maximum strength. Before heading off to begin our treatment, the receptionist reminded us that we could request more or less pressure from the masseuse at any time.

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Couples Treatment Room
Guided to a lounge area, a cool towel began to wash away memories of a long week of work and flower tea warmed our insides reminding us that the weekend had begun. Draining the last drop of tea, we were then led to a couple’s room furnishing a shower, jacuzzi, sink, two massage beds, two lounge chairs and a lockable wardrobe. After changing into disposable underwear and robes we sunk into the lounges where our feet were bathed in flower water and antiseptic salts, followed by an invigorating tootsie scrub. A choice of four aromatherapy oils, Rilex, Refresh, Muscle Ease and Rejuvenate, were appraised and we were then on our way to finding peace.

Sompoton Spa, InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, massage, KLCC, treatment,
Lounge/ Waiting Area
The whole body exfoliation was next. As we mounted the plastic lined tables I reminded myself that while I find the act slightly annoying (sticky, salty goo spread all over the body), I always appreciate that I’ve chosen the treatment shortly after I’ve washed the grains away and am left with a soft smooth epidermis. Scrubbed from neck to ankle, rinsed in the rain shower and, back on the just laid table, our breathing slowed as we mentally prepared for the core of what we had come for, a relaxing, tension easing massage. The temperature of the room was perfect. Balinese music spun continuously in the background. Being Friday afternoon, I drifted in and out of consciousness awakening de-stressed and soothed. Hubby, who was more cognizant, commented on the strength of his masseuse and even went as far to say that it was one of the best rub downs he has had.

Ginger tea wrapped up our experience and a heated towel left us with warm memories.

Reason to visit:  Spacious facilities, comprehensive treatment menu

In house guests receive a 15% discount on spa treatments
Open 10:30am - 11pm
Sompoton Spa
Level 5
InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2161 0939
+6 03 2161 0930

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