Pastries that are authentically Aussie

Pastries that are authentically Aussie

For the most part of his early years, Malaysian pastry chef or pâtissier, Justin Wong developed his love for pastry under the tutelage of mentors who had backgrounds in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Colleagues whom he had worked with were both very passionate and inspiring in patisserie. That formed the bulk of his attitude towards work.

He spent ten good years of his early career working in Melbourne – the first three years with Singaporean-owned Stamford Raffles hotel in Melbourne, followed by another seven years with The Sofitel Melbourne, where he had developed a strong passion for Australian patisserie.

Since setting up Miss Ellie Tea House in Taman Melawati with his mother, Justin has become well-known for his scones. They come in four standard flavours, namely Plain, Raisin, Oat and Chocolate.

“There are also the seasonal variants from time to time, but based on the record of sales, most local patrons prefer our White Chocolate and Cranberry Christmas Scones,” he elaborates.

The 32-year-old graduated from the William Angliss Institute of TAFE in Melbourne, with a Certificate IV in Patisserie. That is, for your information, the highest certification available for tradesmen in Australia, just short of a Diploma in the hierarchy of academic certification.

Although the diversity of cultures and its cuisines in metropolitan Melbourne have mesmerised and moulded this young man’s life, it is the opportunity to learn from great chefs that he treasures for life.

For example, Filip Tibos, a former Belgian chef residing in Melbourne, trained him to be his scone-maker and now Justin’s scones are, in fact, his personal homage to him pâtissier Filip.

Justin reminiscences: “Scones are one of those really simple things that are widely made in homes in Australia, but it was Filip who taught me the special technique that could elevate a recipe to soaring new heights.”

To make a good scone takes a lot of skills and patience, and this is why Justin is so passionate about his scones.

“I would say our scone is what it is because of a combination of reasons”.

“Firstly, the recipe and ingredients must be excellent. Secondly, the technique applied to its making at every step of the way is stringently repeated every single day.

“This results in the third factor: consistency. Ultimately, it’s all about pleasing the diner.”

Besides the scones, at Miss Ellie Tea House, Justin has also introduced a good variety of other pastries, desserts, breads and other baked goods. This is why besides the lunch hours, people do go there for afternoon tea just to enjoy his patisserie.

As I put together this piece of article for our Waltzing Matilda food trail, I am already drooling over the mention of his Pandan Panna Cotta (RM7.50), Vanilla Crème Brûlée (RM9.50), White Coffee and Chocolate Parfait and Strawberry Cheesecake.

Occasionally, he makes one or two special dessert such as his Ginger Crème Brûlée. When durians are in season, his most popular special is the Durian Crème Brûlée.

Other baked offerings include the Salt Caramel Fudge Cupcakes, Flourless Orange and Poppy Cake, Passionfruit White Chocolate, Australian Carrot Cake, Baked New York Cheesecake (with a milk chocolate version) and Passionfruit Calamansi Tart, to name a few.

A good time to check out Justin’s range of patisserie while enjoying it with a pot of Earl Grey is just after the lunch hours, when there are fewer guests.

 

Miss Ellie Tea House is located at No. 7 Jalan H3, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur.

Business hours: 10am-7pm (Tuesday – Thursday) Friday – Saturday (10am – 9.30pm) Closed on: Sundays and Mondays

Tel: 03-41620113

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/missellieteahouse/

Waze  location:  https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.22315&lon=101.72537

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/scZj1RARPKn

The other articles on our Waltzing Matilda food trail series:

Penang Curry Mee at Restoran Tong Siang one of better ones in town

Penang Curry Mee at Restoran Tong Siang one of better ones in town

I have always enjoyed Penang curry mee, but there are too many versions of it and everyone is claiming theirs is ‘authentic.’

What sometimes puts me off is when some Penang purists say that non-Penangite foodie fans do not know to differentiate between the authentic Penang curry mee and from those that are

“good only for non-Penangite taste buds.”

 

Enough of the arguments, I am sure no two equally well-known hawker stalls in Penang selling the local Penang cuisine, would be able to produce exactly the same taste in order to claim theirs is more authentic than the others.

Therefore, I have decided that this is all but a myth especially when one hawker is trying to put down the other. Taste is very subjective; it is all about the individual’s personal preferences.

Some like it spicy, but I prefer the milder curry that goes with the noodles. Occasionally, I would ask for a mix with bee hoon for a change.

I am sure most Penangites would give me a weird look, when I ask to replace the pig blood curd, cockles and the squid with Tahu Pok, because they say it is not authentic Penang curry mee, but that’s how I like it.

Because they have grown up becoming acquainted with certain hawker stalls and developed their likings based on the way the local cuisine is prepared a certain way, it does not automatically become the benchmark for what is good.

The moral of the story is: wherever I could find a place that serves reasonable good Penang curry mee, I would try it and judge it based on its own merits.  

Recently, I discovered another place in the Klang Valley where they serve good Penang curry mee which is worth checking out.

Initially, I was not impressed. Although they have been in business elsewhere for the past 15 years, Restoran Tong Siang in Desa Aman Puri only started two years ago. With people already flocking there during lunch hours, I could not help but take my friend’s word to check it out.

During the food review session, another foodie fan and I agree that the Penang curry noodle here is something that we would strongly recommend.

Its restaurant operator, Tan Lay Peng may not be from Penang, but her Penang curry mee beats others that I have tried in the past, including the ones that some claim to be ‘authentic’.

To get to the taste that I liked, I had to ask for a little more soup, as I personally prefer it to be less spicy. When it was less spicy, I gave it the thumbs up! Yes, this is how I like it and I enjoyed every bit of the soup, even to the last drop of the soup.

 

To get to the taste that I liked, I had to ask for a little more soup, as I personally prefer it to be less spicy. When it was less spicy, I gave it the thumbs up! Yes, this is how I like it and I enjoyed every bit of the soup, even to the last drop of the soup.

I later learnt from Lay Peng that she buys the raw ingredients directly from their regular suppliers from Penang. Maybe, that’s the reason why her Penang Curry Mee has been her bestseller for so many years albeit not originally from Penang.

Besides the Penang Curry Mee, Tong Siang is also famous for its Penang Assam Laksa. This was based on our observations when we were there during peak hours. On every table, there was at least one customer ordering it. They also serve Mee Jawa here.

Most of the recipes of these cuisines originated from Lay Peng’s 88-year-old mother, Hau Yock Chiyau.

“My mother is Hokkian from Bidor,” Lay Peng says. “She is adept at cooking, where even the simplest of dishes can be cooked to perfection.”

 

Here at Tong Siang, they also serve ice shavings with Red Bean and Yam as a dessert. I particularly find their Yam with ice shavings and glutinous rice. According to Lay Peng, the black glutinous rice is prepared using a slow cooker before it is added to the shaven ice.

What is interesting is that the restaurant has also been reviewed by a Japanese expatriate and its Soy Sauce Chicken rice appears to receive the thumbs up. My invited guest and I agreed with that review wholeheartedly.

The prices here for the noodle dishes are between RM7.90 and RM8.90, while a plate of rice with either the rendang chicken, green curry chicken or curry chicken is about RM8.90 to RM9.50.

So for the Penang foodie purists, if you ask me whether this restaurant serves authentic Penang cuisines, my answer is:

“It depends on one’s own taste buds. Never underestimate this restaurant.”

 

Based on Lay Peng’s explanation, the name Tong Siang was picked for the restaurant because it means `coming from the same hometown.’ So, whether from Bidor or from Air Hitam, we are all talking about the best local cuisines that most Malaysians know best to enjoy.

“The name was chosen as it evokes a sense of familiarity and camaraderie. This allows those who patronize our restaurant to feel a sense of belonging, wherever they may be from. The food has a classic and traditional taste which brings a feeling of having gourmet food back at one’s hometown,” she says.

Restoran Tong Siang is located at no 3-28, Jalan Desa 2/4, Desa Aman Puri, Selangor.

Business hours: 10AM–9PM (7 days a week)

Tel: 03-6273  6915 / HP:012-210 5273

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Restaurant-tong-xiang-%E5%90%8C%E4%B9%A1%E7%BE%8E%E9%A3%9F%E5%9D%8A/199354243437579

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/2hPEHmhr4212

Waze location:  https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.20917&lon=101.61585

Good suggestions for kids and places to eat

Good suggestions for kids and places to eat

With school holidays just starting, parents with young kids have lot to plan for places to visit.

Here are some suggestions for both children and parents. To start with, most urban kids may not have taken the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).

One mother, Victoria Cheng said it was a great time to bring her two children, 9-year-old Elvie and 6-year-old Emmanuel Lee to visit places like the Central Market.

“We took the MRT from Bandar Utama,” she said. “It was fun. After visiting the Central Market, we walked around Petaling Street. Usually these places are hard to get a good carpark.”

Near to the Central Market, there is a well-known beef noodle stall, Lai Foong, which has been operating there since 1956. It is one of the oldest beef noodles stall in Kuala Lumpur.

Using the MRT, one can also get to the National Museum especially for children who will be introduced to History (Sejarah) as a subject from Primary 4.

People living in Ipoh can also now come down to Kuala Lumpur for a weekend using the KTM electrified train. Getting around the federal capital is also easy using the monorail, MRT and KTM trains (especially to the suburban areas). To get around using public transport, suggest that you download two useful Applications – MeterOn and My Journey App.

From November 29, another interesting infrastructure is the Rawang bypass which is an elevated four-lane dual carriageway which cuts across Taman Warisan Negeri Selangor touted to be third largest park in Peninsular Malaysia.

Since it is right here in Selangor, what interests me is the fact that one can be

“driving alongside treetops or above them on the elevated stretch!” Read more about it here.

 

If you are making a day’s visit to the National Zoo, make sure that you also drop by one of my favourite tea house for now. Miss Ellie Tea House, which is located at Taman Melawati, is a cosy little place for Western meals, desserts and pastries.
For others who like a relaxing morning going for some fishing, you can visit Kundang Tasik Biru to check out the fish farm there. For lunch, check out the grilled patin at Mamimia Patin Champion in Laman Melati Kuang, which is just a short distance away from Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh.

Day trippers from the Klang Valley can spend a day’s outing in Seremban. Despite having only a few ostrich compared to the early years when it first started with 70 ostriches back in 1997, Jelita Ostrich Farm in Pantai, Negeri Sembilan is still an attraction to young children. To find the place, use either Google Map or Waze.

The visit is educational as children get to learn about these ostriches which were imported from South Africa. For example, did you know that the ostrich egg can easily take the weight of 200kg?

On the way to Jelita Ostrich farm, there is also a good idea to stop by Ayam Panggang Kenyalang for lunch, then just before returning home, check out either Lucky King Bun Restaurant or if you prefer seafood, try out Seremban Seafood Village.

If you stay overnight in Seremban, on your way back to Kuala Lumpur, you should check out Putrajaya’s latest theme park – the Putrajaya Skyrides Festivals Park, touted to be the country’s first and biggest tethered helium balloon theme park.

Another place worth checking out is the MyFarm Outlet which is located at Jalan P9, Presint 9, 62250 Putrajaya. (Location on Google Map or Waze). This is where you get fresh meat and vegetables.

Another new addition in Cyberjaya is the Dash Box Hotel, which I understand from some parents, is also a great place to visit. It is a fusion of industrial chic and street art.

We have not visited Dash Box Hotel yet, but according to Kung Fu Restaurant manager, Winnie Chan during the school holidays many families who read about their food in Malaysiakini’s Voiz Asia, also come by for either lunch or dinner.

Families who will be having children going for their pre-university programmes should also check the Open Days at both Sunway University to check out their “spacecraft” futuristic style auditorium and Taylor’s fabulous Lakeside Campus.

Business agility helps Yen Shabu Shabu to sustain itself

Business agility helps Yen Shabu Shabu to sustain itself

When Yen Shabu Shabu restaurant started in Bandar Menjalara in 2010, the owners had intended it to be an authentic Japanese restaurant. However, local taste buds were not ready for it, so Yen Shabu Shabu adapted itself to suit the local tastes.

After nearly eight years, business is still good. On an ordinary weeknight, the restaurant was still packed from as early as 7pm when we were there to check out the place.

Surprisingly, most of the tables were occupied by young people in groups of threes and fours who came for the buffet dinner. By the time we were about to leave, there were already guests waiting to be seated.

Although it can no longer claim to be a Japanese restaurant, its owner, Jack Chan says the restaurant runs on the concept of shabu shabu, which is common to both Japanese and Korean diners.

It is not the usual steamboat, because guests can either pick the set plate for three or four adults, go on buffet or pick their choices from the conveyor belt (similar to some Japanese restaurants).

Their set plate is priced differently for the lunch hour at RM29.50 (Nett RM31) while dinner time its signature set for two pax is priced at RM37.99 (Nett 39.90). Individuals can also ask for their set lunch from RM9.90 or set dinner from RM11.90. Buffet is at RM39.90 nett per pax.

They also have snacks including golden buns (RM1.30), BBQ honey pork or chicken satay (RM1.30), chicken wings (RM5 for two pairs), Penang lobak (RM1.30), which are served on trolleys, reminding me of the dim sum restaurants.

This is what makes Yen Shabu Shabu stands out from the rest of the steamboat restaurants.

They use warm light to create a nice cosy feeling of the restaurant. It is eating in style that I guess is the reason why young people are attracted to it.

Besides that, unlike most local steamboat restaurants, this one is airconditioned which makes its ambience more comfortable to dine in – a real plus point for me especially since I have the tendency to perspire a lot when taking something spicy.

Unlike the steamboat ingredients sold in supermarkets which come from one same supplier, Jack and his food tasters specially selected some of the best ingredients from different suppliers to serve their clients.

For the soup, there are four choices to pick from – imitation abalone, tom yam, Chinese herbal or Dong Yan and Qufeng pepper soup.

Yen Shabu Shabu is located at Unit 1-02.10, Jln Menjalara Idaman 1(1/62A), Bandar Menjalara ,52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia .

Tel/ Whatsapp: 011-2685 4790 / 016-338  7237

Business hours:
Sun – Tue (5.30pm – 12.15am)(Lass call 11.15pm)
Wed – Thu (11:30am – 3pm; 5.30pm – 12.15am) (Last call 11.15pm)
Fri (11:30am – 3pm; 5.30pm – 3am)(Lass call 1.45pm)
Sat (5.30pm – 3am)(Last call 1.45pm)

Honey Chicken popular since 1974

Honey Chicken popular since 1974

With the number of food reviews that I have done, sometimes, it is a real tough decision just thinking what to eat for a simple dinner.

Malaysians are truly blessed with a wide variety of choices. Being the melting pot between East and West, for the foodie fan have some of the widest variety of food choices to satisfy the taste buds.

Craving for a good plate of Nasi Briyani, I noticed one particular Indian Muslim (Mamak) restaurant which was listed on top ten Nasi Briyani by TripAdvisors.

Honestly, I have always seen lots of people there, but never attempted to try out the food until I started reading the reviews by others.

Lesson learnt from here: Never underestimate what appears to be just an ordinary cornershop Mamak restaurant like Restoran Mahbub is capable of producing.

Here, although I can find better nasi briyani elsewhere, it is their signature dish, the honey chicken (ayam madu) which gets my thumbs-up all the way. A plate of nasi briyani and honey chicken is RM15.

Although being health conscious, I try to cut down on sugar, here they use honey and perhaps a little bit of chilli to prepare the chicken drumstick.

The moment I took the first bite, my eyes brightened up and a smile spread across. It was indeed delightful and so “refreshing” to have a delicious piece of chicken after a stressful day.

This is one which I think has a lot of potential to satisfy many taste buds. Let’s put it this way – when you walk into Restoran Mahbub, you have not really enjoyed the food here until you try their honey chicken.

According to 32-year-old owner, Omar Farook Ali the Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu (Honey Chicken Briyani) has become the best signature dish since 1974, the year when his grandfather, Mohammed Yusuff first set up the restaurant in Bangsar.

It was known back then as Restaurant Sharifa, but it became officially known as Restoran Mahbub in 1995.
No wonder the Honey Chicken was so good as Omar explains further:

“The restaurant has gained popularity as having the best Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu in town since 1974. This is my grandfather’s secret recipe.”

It was followed up by their Nasi Briyani Ayam Bukhara (RM15.50), which made its first debut in 2000, something that we will try later. By the time were there, they had run out of the Nasi Briyani Ayam Buhara.

However, my 9-year-old boy whom I encourage to develop his own opinion, likes his nasi briyani differently. He prefers it with his favourite fried chicken (RM15 a plate of nasi briyani and fried chicken). See his blog.

For those who cannot travel that far to try their nasi briyani, it is possible to buy their Briyani Box, which can be ordered and delivered to the home.

Or, those living in and around Damansara Damai will find Restoran Mahbub’s second outlet within their reach, and better still, it is open 24 hours seven days a week. Using waze, this is accessible for outstation guests who are using the New Klang Valley Expressway (exit at Sungai Buloh). Even this restaurant has been operating since 2004 after Omar’s father Datuk Seeni Abdul Kadhar and his sibling Mohamed Sidek further developed the family business.

With Omar as the third generation helming Restoran Mahbub, there are currently attempts to modernise it.

“We received the SME Entrepreneurs 2017 award recently,” he said. “Another feather added was the SME MIMCOIN (Successful Family Business) 2017 award.”

 

Apart from their nasi briyani, I would also recommend their Roti Canai Special. Although I would usually take thosai, their Roti Canai Special (RM4) is great way to give the roti canai an innovative touch but what is important is that the taste, too, was good.

Damansara Damai

The Damansara outlet is located at L-013A, Jalan PJU 10/2A, Vista Shop Damansara Damai, Sungai Buloh.
Tel: 03-6157 2587 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week (Damansara Damai)

Bangsar

Bangsar outlet is located at No. 15-17, Lorong Ara Kiri Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar.
Tel: 012-6231 786 (For Catering Service).
Tel: 03-2095 5382 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 7am – 1am / 7 days a week (Bangsar)

MIDO Korean BBQ is authentic Korean

MIDO Korean BBQ is authentic Korean

The taste buds of the Koreans can tell better than most Malaysians do when it comes to picking which is authentic Korean restaurant and which is not.

I sought the help of a Korean lecturer, Dr Lee Chul Woo to help out with our Authentic Korean food trail.

With the background information that he is providing about the Korean culture, we hope that Malaysians can better enjoy it the way the Koreans enjoy their cuisine a few thousand kilometres away from home.

We kicked off the food trail with MIDO Korean BBQ in SS2 Petaling Jaya. Its managing director, Cho Youn Ho, a young 30 plus year old man, is in fact, an engineering graduate from Taylor’s University who now sees his greater passion in the food and beverage business.

 

With Malaysia as his second home, Youn Ho decided to return to Petaling Jaya to set up the MIDO Korean BBQ. When we met with Youn Ho, we were already half way through the meal; he had arranged for his staff to serve us with some of his signature dishes.

The evening started off with some cold Shikye, which is a traditional Korean drink. The drink is a great way to chill away especially after a hot day. The drink is simply rejuvenating and refreshing.

A fellow student friend of mine, Chua Eng Keong managed to join us to try out some of the Korean cuisine. Chua is also a foodie fan. He particularly finds the Ginseng chicken soup (RM48) to be one of his favourites.

The chicken leg and pork BBQ (RM28) is served alongside with the lettuce. Without Dr Lee’s guidance, we would have just taken the chicken leg and pork BBQ meat separately only to find out that the meat was to be eaten together and wrapped in the leafy lettuce. What a healthy way to eat!

Between the pork and the chicken BBQ, all three of us prefer the chicken portion of it. The way it was done and the sauce that comes with the BBQ meat gives it just a perfect taste to the taste buds, coupled with the freshness of the lettuce.

Since this is a Korean BBQ restaurant, its signature dishes are mainly BBQ signature dishes. However, what I like is that they also serve vegetable salad in the house and it comes along with any BBQ dishes. I particularly like the Korean sauce that comes with the vegetables. This is all about eating healthy.

Typical of Korean restaurants, the banchan refers to a variety of dishes served in small portions. This is unique in Korean cuisine which helps to whet the appetite.

The banchan and an ice-shaven dessert known as Bing-su are also on the house when you dine at MIDO. Bing-su is the equivalent of our Malaysian ice-kacang but it has a different sort of ingredients and worth trying out.

What I like about MIDO is that it is not only to enjoy the food but children get to expose themselves to the Korean culture. Unfortunately, during the food tasting session, my children were unable to make it.

Before the meal, Eng Keong managed to put on the Korean traditional costume for a photography session. As a special request, he was allowed to pose with the costume enjoying the Korean cuisine.

To make it a more enriching experience for Malaysians, I am suggesting to Youn Ho to get his staff to adorn the Korean costumes themselves and speak a few simple Korean phrases.

MIDO Korean BBQ Restaurant is located at 11 Ground Floor, Jalan SS2/64, Petaling Jaya.

Tel: 03-7865 9779

Business hours: 11:00AM – 11:00PM

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/midokoreanbbq/

Waze location:  https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.11922&lon=101.62052

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