Nothing beats the Vergine when it comes to fresh food

Nothing beats the Vergine when it comes to fresh food

At The Vergine (Italian for ‘Virgin’), they like things fresh from the oven.

Anything fresh and “virgin” such as the virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil, is supposed to taste better.

In fact, after two years, The Vergine has decided to launch a fresh new set of dishes. This has brought delight to regular customers such as Jenny Ngiam, who has tried nearly every dish at the Vergine.

“Now, that they are starting to serve sea bass, I like the way they prepare the Pesto Mint Oven Baked Seabass (RM22.00) served with baked potatoes,” she said.

Taste is very subjective. I personally prefer their Lemon Dill Pan Seared Seabass (RM24.00) with sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. When I find the fish is too bland, I like some good gravy that goes with it.

The next new offering from the Vergine is their newly launched Vergine Cheese Burger (RM18) which comes with beefy patty, bacon, tomato, cheddar and mayonnaise with sautéed potato. The moment I tasted it, I know it appeals to the taste buds of my children but not enough to go for everyone.

The other new dish is the Lemon Honey Glazed Pork Chop (RM26.00) with sautéed vegetables and crinkled fries. Portion is a little too big for one person, but before long the whole piece was gone as different people had a piece each. The way it is prepared makes the pork chop a lot juicier than what I had expected on first impression.

For starters, I particularly like their Prosciutto Ham Crostini (RM14.00) which comes with wholemeal bread tomato, basil, pesto and ham. It is what gives me the oooumph for a salad, so if I decided for the day to eat nothing else, this would it! They also have from their old menu, the Tropical Salad (RM10.00) which is a mixed salad with a honey dressing, orange, dried cranberries and honey dew.

Worth trying out from the old menu which I hope will remain is their wild mushroom soup (RM10.00) which is rich in mushroom, which I thought would give me the real oooumph if they put a little more salt and perhaps pepper to it. But it is really up to one’s preference. For that same reason, given the new soup on the menu, I would go for their Minestrone Soup (RM15.00), because I also enjoy the way the croutons are prepared.

In fact, I think either one of these two soups goes well with their Creamy Pork Pot Pie (RM15.00) – where the pork sausage is served with mixed vegetables with cream. I give this the big thumbs-up, especially when it is still fresh from the oven and hot. As they always say, ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ – wait till you try it!

The biggest disappointment I would say is that this signature dish had to be shared between three of us, but that means when I get to go back to this family restaurant at Desa Aman Puri again, I would order the same dish with no hesitation. This time I will make sure it is all for myself.

Jokingly and feeling nostalgic of childhood times, one of the food tasters said: “Pot Pie by Popeye (referring to the cartoon character of Popeye the sailor man) definitely tastes yummier than what Bluto could offer today! Darling Olive, I wonder if this will make me strong like the good old spinach.”

Children who have never watched Popeye should be given to the introduction to it, as the Popeye episodes are now available online to understand their grandparents’ era.

So, despite the launch of a new set of dishes last Sunday, their old repertoire of dishes remains, as they have already their own followings. I cannot agree more.

Good thing is that, according to one of the partners Patrick Tam, the new launches are only part of their soft launch.

“We are gathering feedback from our clients to further improve ourselves,” he said.

You should also try their Al Pesto Spaghetti (RM15) which comes with pesto, chicken and mushroom. Their Bacon and Potatoes (RM10.00) which comes as baked diced potatoes with bacon and rosemary can also be a good starter.

For lunch, when you feel like taking nothing but salad, try their Grilled Chicken Salad (RM15.00) which comes with chicken, capsicum, onion and honey mustard dressing, when you feel you have the appetite for something heavier, ask for their Lemon Thyme Chicken Chop (RM18.00).

The Vergine has two floors. It is located at Block L-3- 25A, Jalan Desa 2/4, Desa Aman Puri.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

At Kung Fu Restaurant, Great Cooking is Like Martial Art

At Kung Fu Restaurant, Great Cooking is Like Martial Art

Usually I would not travel as far as Cyberjaya for food, but nothing is more compelling than to check on some good restaurants there especially after a visit to the administrative centre of Putrajaya.

Just a short drive from Putrajaya, Shaftsbury Square which houses the Kung Fu restaurant has ample of parking lots in the parking block just behind.

I picked Kung Fu restaurant because despite getting a few negative comment, it has been getting a lot of good reviews as well in TripAdvisors. What was most comforting to see when I walked into the restaurant was that every table was occupied during lunch hours.

Food taste is always very subjective, and sometimes, the reviews put on social media is partly due to just one bad experience by the client, and it may not even have anything to do with the food or its prices.

According to restaurant manager, Winnie Chan, although the restaurant is located at Level 3, the restaurant is often packed for lunch. For one, eighty percent of their menu are prepared using steamed cooking instead of deep-fried; the other reason is because the ambience is good.

Clients can pick the airconditioned environment indoor or the alfresco dining outdoor on Level 3, away from the busy street below.

Some of the expatriates from India also eat here often. When met, one of them said that he has been eating in this restaurants for the past few years and never get bored with the food.

There were other locals I met who said that they like to hang out here because they enjoy certain dishes of their own likings.

For lunch, I find that the coconut herbal soup a healthy starter. It is freshly prepared using the steamer and still kept warm when served, although I would have preferred it real hot so that I can enjoy every sip of it.

Because it is sometimes hard for the chef to find coconuts of the right size, they can only sell a limited number of coconuts in a day.

“A family who loves the soup usually orders eight coconuts one day in advance because by evening, most of the stock would be over if they do not pre-book,” Chan says. “It is also very tedious to prepare the soup. The coconut must be of the right sizes, too!”

For the dishes, the Baba Sauce Fish is still my favourite. I like the way it is cooked with lemon grass and petai, and the fact that they only use the grouper. This is the dish that gives me the ‘oooummph’ factor that spices up the rest of the day for me. I would not trade this dish for anything else.

The grouper that they use for their Kampung-style Giant Grouper dish is from the deep sea of Sabah, with the smallest being sent to the kitchen here is about 40kg and the largest so far is 80 kg.

Their two other signature dishes are definitely worth the try – their Curry Spare Ribs and the Dongpo Pork Belly. Although I merely wanted to taste a small portion of each dish initially, the fact that I took another last bite before leaving clearly shows that the two dishes are somewhat irresistible.

Kung Fu Restaurant is located at Level P3A-12 & 13 (or 4th Floor), Shaftsbury Square, Persiaran Multimedia, Cyberjaya, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Tel:
03-83221660
Business hours:
11AM–10PM (six days a week, closed on Sundays)

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Seremban Seafood Village Still Popular After 30 years

Seremban Seafood Village Still Popular After 30 years

Despite more seafood restaurants being set up, Seremban Seafood Village at Jalan Tuanku Munawir is still packed with guests who love to savour its famous crabs here.

There are some that claim to be branches of Seremban Seafood Restaurant, but according to the restaurant owners, they have only one outlet in the whole country.

It is run by three brothers – Kong Min, Kung Choy and Kong Yoke Keong. The eldest sibling, Kong Min had worked as a chef for more than 40 years, and Kung Choy, 53, and his younger brother, Kong Yoke Keong, 50, have some 30 years of experience as chefs each. So, in total, they have about a century of cooking experience.

Judging from the response from their clients through the years, their signature dish is the BBQ Crab dish, which uses the Ketam Batu imported from Indonesia. It is best eaten on its own for the gravy taste although some may prefer it with the Kong brothers’ special chilli sauce prepared using fresh milk.

Despite more seafood restaurants being set up, Seremban Seafood Village at Jalan Tuanku Munawir is still packed with guests who love to savour its famous crabs here.

There are some that claim to be branches of Seremban Seafood Restaurant, but according to the restaurant owners, they have only one outlet in the whole country.

“Over the years, we have developed over 30 different ways to cook the crabs,” he added

“It depends on our customers, whether they like it hot and spicy, or steamed, or cooked with salted eggs, black pepper, herbal, or fried with Tom Yam.”

The “Kam Heong” crab dish is prepared using belacan and curry is also a favourite among the patrons. “Because our crabs are fresh, they are tastier,” added Kung Choy.

To enjoy the crabs, you have to forget your table manners and just use your fingers, instead of forks and spoons. And if you think it is prepared in the same way beef or lamb chops are barbecued, you might as well forget about eating crabs.

With thick shells, Kung Choy said there is another way the crabs are barbecued. “We use the Chinese wok instead of the barbeque grill set,” he said.

The bigger crabs can weigh anything between 700 and 800 grams, whereas the smaller ones are around 400 to 500 grams. It may be costly depending on the season, but it is worth trying the bigger crabs especially for those who want their crabs to be meaty.

Another of their signature dish, the Marmite Crabs which uses Marmite as the condiment. In the review written by a guest on TripAdvisor it is true that one would hardly think of using Marmite as a condiment but it gives a great taste when used to cook crabs and even the chicken.

“If you are looking to have a crabby evening, you definitely have to be here! I’ve never tasted such a good Marmite Crabs!” he wrote.

 

Besides the famous BBQ Crabs, they also serve the deep-fried prawns marinated with soya sauce. It is slightly salty and most importantly it tastes fresh.

“Like our crabs, we also have many different ways to cook the prawns,” said Kung Choy.

“We have deep-fried prawns, sweet and sour prawns, and prawns marinated with salted eggs. In all, you can choose from a long list of 30 different tastes from our prawns menu.”

Another dish worth trying out is the squids (or even prawns), which are deep-fried with salted duck eggs and batter. It tastes crispy, moderately salty and most suitable for young children.

A number of day trippers from Kuala Lumpur would end up having their sumptuous meal here before returning home. After all, the drive is just one hour away on either the PLUS or the LEKAS highway.

It is hard to imagine that the crab business can be so good that after 30 years, people still eat the crabs here. When the restaurant first started in 1983, the Kong brothers were the only ones selling crabs in Seremban.

People were teasing them saying that the business would not take off. Back then, it was known only as Restoran Makan Seremban, but it has evolved into its new name and concept as the Seremban Seafood Village. When the business picked up subsequently, other restaurants also started jumping into the bandwagon, but they are not doing as well as the Kong brothers.

At a time when there was hardly any social media, when I first met Kung Choy some ten years ago, he told me: “Our reputation was built on word-of-mouth.

Seremban Seafood Village restorant is located at N45 (or No 190) Jalan Tuanku Munawir, Seremban. Tel: +60 6-764 1260. Turn towards the backlane and there are ample parking there.

Business hours: 12 noon – 1 am seven days a week.
Waze: https://waze.com/ul/hw22rx9d2s

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Famous SS2 Porridge has a new look, but porridge tastes just as good

Famous SS2 Porridge has a new look, but porridge tastes just as good

When Alex Lock May Onn started operating his stall in SS2/1 Petaling Jaya more than two decades ago, his wide variety of porridge was one of the most popular ones in the Klang Valley.

He was operating the stall with his wife and younger son, Kenny Lock Weng Heng. After they moved to Kelana Jaya, I lost touch with Lock. Just three months ago, Restoran Kenny’s Food Cart was launched in June at Aman Suria Damansara and it has attracted a lot of the old clients.

The son, Kenny still maintains the food cart that was used in SS2 food corner when Alex was operating the stall. Alex has since gone into retirement and Kenny, together with two other partners of the same age, 32, are working hard at building up the business.

When I first met Kenny, he was only 23 years old. He had joined his father’s business after finishing his Form Five.

 “My father needs someone in the stall, and I always like to cook,” he told me. “I have never regretted doing the business.”

I am glad that he is back in business with the porridge served with white snapper, salmon porridge, fried paste, fried fish paste, shredded chicken, chicken breast, minced pork, oyster and peanut.

Their signature dish is still the same Boat Porridge (RM8 a bowl) served with century eggs, peanuts, fried fish paste and ikan bilis, but Kenny has added another two more signature dishes to his repertoire which are really yummy and worth trying – the Lardy rice (RM8 a bowl) and the Cantonese Lao Tze Fun (RM7.50 a bowl). Prices here are between RM7.50-9.50 a bowl.

In 2010, their chicken porridge was only RM3 a bowl and the Boat Porridge was RM4.50 but that was when they were operating from the hawker centre in SS2/1.

My take on Kenny’s Cantonese Lao Tze Fun: Excellent. The Lardy Rice has just sufficient lard to make the rice tastes good, explained business partner, Ivan Teoh.
They also have a wide variety of noodles which Kenny personally cooks for the clients. There is the Sze Chuan Fish Noodles which is served along with some char choy, spring onions, ginger and pepper, and fresh Red Snapper.

Fish Head Meehoon, Fish Paste Noodles, Yee Meen Noodles served with shredded chicken meat and SS2 Cantonese Noodles are also still available.

Kenny’s Food Cart is now a partnership between Kenny and Ivan Teoh. Their restaurant is located at
K-G-11, Jalan PJU 1/43, Aman Suria Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Tel: 016-3755304.
Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm. Closed on Mondays

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Restoran Seat In Kent is known for great tastes and reasonable prices

Restoran Seat In Kent is known for great tastes and reasonable prices

Taste buds can be such a big contrast, when it comes to selection of preference for food.

While David Yong, a schoolmate of mine, picked the dish of steamed kampung chicken as his No 1 dish after a food review session at Restoran Seat In Kent in Desa Jaya, his last on the list was in fact my No 1 dish and the restaurant’s signature dish – the Nyonya steamed fish.

In fact, it was my wife who asked for the dish to be included, although she could not make it for the food tasting session herself. Like me, she loves the Nyonya-style of preparing the fish, with its perfect combination of slightly sweet and spicy tastes.

Admittedly, my friend then explained:“Well, I do not go for the Nyonya type of food.” That explains it! The steamed kampung chicken which was his No 1 dish was the last dish on my list.

Surprisingly, another schoolmate of mine, Richard Voon who simply falls in love with chicken rice anywhere and everywhere he goes, picked the steamed kampung chicken as his No 1, too.

“I have eaten steamed chicken and rice in many places, but there is something in this signature dish that makes it very unique,” he said.

The rest of us, of course, picked the Nyonya steamed fish as our No 1 favourite dish. I, for one, go for the great tastes as long as it gives me the “oooumph!”, it is good! But, I could also see my 9-year-old son still digging into the dish for the last bit of the fish when the meal was nearly over.

The Nyonya steamed fish uses only Red Tilapia, cooked with ginger, chilli padi sauce and lemon grass that gives it the sweet and sour taste that most Malaysians like.

In fact, Restoran Seat In Kent has been the family’s favourite for many years and each time we bring our guests to try out the food here, there are only the good comments and a great sense of satisfaction.

The prices are also reasonable, and for the five dishes that were served, the cost was an estimated RM186 (GST and other frills not added in yet). Besides the Nyonya steamed fish and the steamed kampung chicken, we had some of the other signature dishes – the Vietnamese Hotplate Pork Ribs, the Ying Yong Braised Pork Ribs, and the Red Homemade Mayonnaise Chicken4.

The Vietnamese Prawn dish is prepared as a curry dish, with chilli, ginger and carnation milk, instead of using coconut santan. It is also suitable for young children.

When I first wrote about this place some ten years ago, the restaurant was only a shack in Desa Jaya. When the shack was demolished to give way to a new commercial block, the restaurant had to move to Desa Aman Puri. This is the address (Jalan 1/1, Desa Aman Puri) that most bloggers still keep on their blogs and it is no longer valid.

The restaurant has since moved back to new commercial block in Desa Jaya, occupying a corner shop and there is plenty of parking lots in the area. This is one restaurant where Indian families also enjoy the Chinese-style cooking.

The wide repertoire of dishes here is simply fascinating. According to its proprietress, Chong Chu Moy, 38, from Melaka, they now have over hundred dishes and styles of cooking. With some creativity, a new dish can be put together for the table.

“This gives us a lot of flexibility to prepare the best of our dishes to suit our guests’ taste buds,” she said.

Her husband, Kent Gan Keng Chai, 48 is from Muar, Johor where they have a factory producing yam baskets.

In fact, Seat In Kent is also famous for its yam basket served with deep fried mantis prawns. The yam baskets are produced themselves, and guests can purchase these baskets to prepare their own dishes at home. They are also famous for their Marinated Steamed Pork Ribs, prepared using herbs and mushrooms to give it a natural sweet herbal taste.

I must say that the quality has been maintained for the past ten years that we have been eating there. A picture of their best seller Nyonya steamed fish which I took back then can be compared to the one taken just last week.

Address:  Lot 1-1, Shop Parcel Jalan 16 (Off Jalan Pasar), Desa Jaya Commercial Centre, 52100 Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong. Tel: 03-6280 6022. They are open six days a week for dinner (3pm – 12 midnight), and closed on Mondays.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Seat-In-Kent-Restaurant-767384916634216/
Waze location:  https://waze.com/ul/hw28629knj
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/sQn7bH5Qoiv

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Lucky King Bun is Seremban’s Next Big Thing

Lucky King Bun is Seremban’s Next Big Thing

Seremban has always been famous for its beef noodles, roast duck, BBQ crabs and the siew pau but the Lucky King Bun is starting to make its foray into the competitive food business as the next big thing.

Previously known as the curry chicken bun when the idea was first mooted in 1997, it has since been rebranded, and now, it comes with a wide repertoire of seafood and other dishes which can be enjoyed in a cosy restaurant ambience.

Besides the Curry Chicken Bun, they also have the Yin Yong Bun and the Curry Pork Ribs Bun. Ying Yong, or the Cantonese for ‘Ying and Yang’, is a combination of Curry Pork Ribs and Dongpo Pork Bun all in one bun.

I particularly like the curry chicken gravy in the Curry Chicken Bun, which can dip your bread into or take with plain rice.

The Lucky King Bun was formerly done by one Madam Lew Yook Pit who has since passed on, and the business is now operated by her children.

When I first wrote about the curry chicken buns, I had the difficulty of putting a name to it. It was only known as Seremban’s Curry Chicken Bun, but after nearly ten years, I am delighted to see that a brand has evolved.

As a student of branding, I can see that their latest rebranding exercise will help to boost the business further, as it has a great potential for a bigger growth ahead

They even have a mascot on display in the restaurant for children to snap photographs with.

When we decided to check out their flagship Lucky King Bun restaurant at Bukit Kepayang in the new township of Seremban 2 last week, I delighted to learn that the restaurant would be turning two by November this year.

What amazes me is that despite catering to tourists from China and Singapore in bus loads, the restaurant has been able to keep the fine balance between good standards and both the restaurant ambience and their food prices.

Most importantly, the food is good and the portions are also big enough for ten people, costing only RM260 ++ for a table. It was indeed a sumptuous lunch after arriving in Seremban. Prices are still very reasonable by Petaling Jaya standards, making a day trip to Seremban viable.

There are eight dishes in the full course – the Dragon Tiger Seafood Pot, Curry Chicken Bun, Crispy Nest Salad Chicken, Honey Pork Belly, Salted Egg French Beans, Pumpkin tofu, Stir-fried Vegetables, Fu Yong Eggs and deserts.

The Dragon Tiger Seafood Pot is one of their signature dishes which comes with crabs, prawns, cuttlefish, clams and handmade meatballs, and a combination of milky and mild curry soup that even children can enjoy when served with the bee hoon and bean sprout from a hot boiling pot.

The Salted Egg French Beans is another of my favourite dish. Although it is a simple dish, I find the taste to be just great for me. The Crispy Nest Salad Chicken and Honey Pork Belly are also worth checking out.

Because the turnover of Lucky King buns, the curry chicken in it, for example, is always fresh and the bun has a nice soft texture to it. Being a newbie in Chinese food tasting sessions, my guest, Merilin Sarkar who is an international student with a local university, enjoyed the Dragon Tiger Seafood because of the different choices of seafood in just one dish.

Lucky King Bun Restaurant is located at:

No 28 and 29 Jalan MPK 6, Medan Perdagangan Kepayang, 70200 Seremban.

Tel: 011-3129 9393/ 03-6311755.

They are open six days a week from 11.30am – 10.00pm (closed on Tuesdays except when it falls on a public holiday).

The other Lucky Bun Restaurant is located at:

No 4366, Taman Aman, Jalan Besar, Lukut, Port Dickson. Tel: 06-6512392.

Check out their Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/luckykingbun/

Waze Location
https://www.waze.com/location?h=w22rrn4fv

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.