Is Mookata set to boss the competition?

Is Mookata set to boss the competition?

Mookata or mu kratha comes from mu (Thai for “pork”) and kratha (“pan”), which is where Boss Mookata gets its name from. The restaurant is located at a corner of Taman Perindustrian KIP, the growing commercial area in Kepong.

But mookata isn’t your standard Thai fare; it manages to fuse the styles of Korean BBQ and Chinese steamboat.

I like the way it uses the same source of heat (the traditional charcoal style) to create two different versions of cooking: one which is air-fried and the other in a soup stock.

Although it is believed that it came from Korean BBQ grills, the idea has already caught on in Thailand and Singapore. In Malaysia, a number of these restaurants have already started to appear, but whether this will be the next big trendsetter depends on local foodies.

According to restaurant proprietor Jason Tan, a small dinner set includes two packs of white marinated pork slices and a pack of black pepper marinated slice, Japanese tofu, crab sticks and fish balls.

“This costs RM38 for the dinner set, enough for two adults. The bigger set costs an additional RM10, but it has four packs of white marinated pork slices, one pack of black pepper marinated slices, Japanese tofu, crab sticks, fish balls and an unlimited supply of glass noodles, kangkung and Chinese cabbage (or pak choi).”

The ingredients can be cooked either on the air fryer pot, or in the soup, and for those who like it spicy, Boss Mookata prepares its own Thai style chili paste.

Another of its signature dishes is the snowflake steamed fish (雪山飞狐) that is stuffed with lemon grass and rock salt to preserve the moisture inside the fish so that the fish is juicy at all times.

Their lemongrass chicken wings is separate dish by itself, but they have green chilli that goes with

For now until February 3, Boss Mookata is hosting a competition to win an iPhone 8. All you need to do is to take a photograph and post it on your Facebook.

Restoran Boss Mookata is located at No 1 (Ground Floor), Persiaran KIP 3, Taman Perindustrian KIP, 52200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 014-3420 300
Business hours: 5:30pm – 12.00 midnight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bossmookata/
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/BNmSNtDqQH22
Waze location: https://www.waze.com/location?h=w2860pkfj

Are you also made in Penang?

Are you also made in Penang?

Penangites are known to be very fond of their own state; they love their curry mee, prawn paste, nasi kandar and what have you. When I wrote this article about my observations of Penang, it attracted some 685 shares!

For instance, Penang has its version of Hokkien mee which is again different from the thick, round noodles cooked in soya sauce that I am used to. And a former colleague of mine, who usually stays quiet in our foodie chat group, surfaced like a submarine when Penang was mentioned.

As such, it is no wonder why someone has come up with a Made In Penang Interactive Museum (Mipim), which I think is really a smart way of helping people to rediscover the state, its past and present.

With 3-D artworks, they have turned the otherwise stately Behn Meyer Building in Weld Quay into a fascinating place for both tourists and photography enthusiasts.

Personally, I think they should shed the idea of a museum, because the term belies what a fun place it is for both children and adults.

We have been to other places which feature 3-D art, but Mipim is touted to be the first and the largest 3-D museum in Penang. Besides the fun of posing for the camera and later admiring how on earth you managed to hang on to the roof while Spider-Man rescues you, you get to learn both the history of the island and the lifestyles of its locals.

It makes it so much easier for us to explain to our computer-savvy children the history of Penang when they can pose as clog-makers or play glass marbles in this first-of-its-kind museum in the state.

Even locals like myself find it useful to bring my children to show them how the early part of our state’s history. It will only be a matter of time until all these legends and traditions are lost if we do not share them with our children.

For example, I remember vividly how a bullock cart looked like when I was very young boy, but my children would likely not even know how the cart can balance on two wheels!

With just one visit to Mipim, we can see the entirety of Penang – its history, cultural diversity and some iconic places – in just a couple of hours. It has five different sections, namely the Great Wall of Penang, the Miniature Local Trades, Miniature Weld Quay (where you still see Uncle Francis in his British costume), Interactive Theatre and my favourite, the Trick Art Gallery.

In traditional museums, exhibits lay flat and don’t come alive. But the idea of “see, don’t touch” simply does not exist here at Mipim. What you can see, you can touch – and better still, they encourage you to take lots of photographs to bring home memories about Penang.

I am willing to bet that word of mouth will soon spread about Mipim, like a scout ant telling its colony where to find the sweet stuff.

But I would strongly suggest that Tourism Penang or the state government approach virtual reality experts to create new experiences for visitors, like polysensory intermedia displays.

And maybe even a change of name too – something like “Penang in a Nutshell” or just “P-I-Nang”!

You can read more about Mipim by checking out their website or Facebook page.

The Made-in-Penang Interactive Museum is located at No.3 Pengkalan Weld, George Town.

Tel: 04-262 6119
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm
Website: www.madeinpenang.my
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadeInPenang/
Waze: https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=5.41676&lon=100.34387
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YKBhtk2y2eU2 

For those planning a trip to Penang next time, check out this website:
http://www.penang-discovery.com.

Dining with Caesar at Umi Restaurant Komtar

Dining with Caesar at Umi Restaurant Komtar

Caesar took time out from maintaining law and order among his fellow apes in San Francisco to dine with this band of human survivors, all the way here in Komtar, Penang.

Turns out, the star of Planet of the Apes is a fan of authentic Malay cuisine, which is how we found him at Umi Restaurant!

Either he was scouting locations for a sequel, or just enjoyed the good food and wonderful guests surrounding him.

When we asked him to recommend some of his favourite Malay dishes, Caesar, without hesitating not only recommended what we could have for lunch, but also introduced to us to Umi’s outlet assistant manager, Ayu Yusoff, and the chef who works behind the scenes, known to his guests as only Chef Nasir.

Signature dishes

Caesar and I appear to share the same taste buds. When I tried the chicken soup, I immediately gave my thumbs-up to him over at the next table. Although simple, it was tasty enough to renew our energy levels after an exhausting day exploring all the interesting places at Komtar, especially the Jurassic Research Centre and the Rainbow Skywalk.

“This is great, Caesar! Thank you for recommending it,” I called out.Caesar responded with a wink, and asked to try the masak lemak pedas.

Before I could reach out for the prawn, my son had already harpooned it with his fork. “Wow, this is really yummy!” he exclaimed. Was he able to take something as spicy as that? Anyway, another thumbs-up to Caesar for his recommendation.

According to Ayu, this is the authentic Negeri Sembilan style of cooking curry prawns.

“What I like my guests to know is that not all Malay cuisine is spicy. We can tailor it to the guests’ requirements. They can ask our chef to cook something less spicy and it tastes just as good.”

Ayu tells us that there’s another style we have to try, and showed us the asam pedas Melaka, which comes adorned with a bunga kantan (or red ginger lily).

For children who cannot take the heat, Ayu recommends the nasi goreng bunga kantan.

“Our fried rice is slightly colourful. The reason is because when I was growing up, I did not like to eat rice, but my mother would add some colours to it so that I enjoyed eating it.”

In fact, the name Umi is Arabic for “mother.”

“This is why we are trying to introduce our traditional home-cooked food for more Malaysian families to enjoy. Food taste is very subjective, some is acquired; others, you will naturally like it because you have never tasted it before.

“This is also something that our Malay foodie fans can share with their friends. It is nothing like tasting the real thing than just reading or talking about it.”

Most of the dishes here at Umi Restaurant are Ayu’s own recipes, which she picked up over the years from her mother, sister and aunt.

“Over the years, I have learnt to cook food that we have always enjoyed, and we like to share it with those who know how to appreciate home-cooked Malay cuisine from different parts of the country.”

Besides the dishes we tried, Umi also serves ayam percik Kelantan on their set lunch menu. It is served with steamed rice, keropok Kelantan and local sambal belacan, air asam and kerabu.

They also have asam pedas siakap, sambal tumis petai, gulai kambing kawah and udang galah bakar. But for the special beef rendang, guests will need to pre-order the dish in advance.

Besides the lifesize Caesar mannequin at Umi, guests can also dine and take photographs with Mr Bean, the original Ronaldo and the Captain of KTX from Train to Busan.

Umi Restaurant is located at Level 5, The [email protected], just opposite the Jurassic Research Centre.
Tel: 04-2623800
Business hours: 10am – 10 pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UmiTheTopPenang/
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/T7QnXqv4LDn
Waze: https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=5.41478&lon=100.32977

Tanah Aina is about Conquering New Frontiers

Tanah Aina is about Conquering New Frontiers

Anyone who has been to Taman Negara would agree with me that Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya in Raub is nothing but a pampering holiday eco-resort, specially designed for families with younger children.

Despite being told that Tanah Aina is a beautiful place, we were initially hesitant to check it out. For nearly eight months, we had to battle with questions like,

“What about security issues? What about the mosquitoes and the leeches? What about snakes?”

The thought of leeches was enough to scare us from going jungle trekking. We also could not bear the thought of having children play in the waterfall where all sorts of natural disasters could happen at the spur of the moment.

We have heard of even adults drowning in waterfalls, when at the spur of the moment, there is a sudden rush of water coming from heavy rain up on the mountain.

To put it in another way, making the decision to just go and check it out was all about conquering new frontiers and overcoming fears of the unknown when dealing with one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests.

That is why I admire the parents of 3-year-old Jaymee Ang. During our stay there, we met Dennis Ang and his wife, Jo who took Jaymee and her 5-year-old brother, Jayden to the camp. Apart from another younger baby, Jaymee was probably the youngest camper during our stay last weekend.

Let me tell you a little secret, but I believe you will laugh yourselves into stitches. What made us decide on this excursion was when my wife and I saw how excited the kids were when they saw some chicken running about freely as we drove into Eight Acres in Raub last year.

Eight Acres was more of a farm than a jungle resort, but we thoroughly enjoyed the experience ourselves; it was getting us one step closer to Mother Nature.

Great Experience

Personally, I prefer the concrete jungle than the tropical rainforests, but for the sake of the children’s exposure, we agreed to spend just one night at Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya.

The moment we arrived, I started to love the idea of being in the jungle. Just listening to the sound of birds chirping and crickets producing their sound at night was simply mesmerising. The sound from a nearby waterfall added to the untold beauty of Mother Nature herself.

I was beginning to enjoy the environment the moment we arrived at Tanah Aina. There was no traffic jam, no Internet connectivity and no distractions from phone calls and Whatsapp messages.

Friendly and courteous staff at the resort made the stay pleasant throughout the entire period. Strangely, but believe me, my biggest satisfaction was to be able to have a siesta beside the stream. There was nothing like feeling re-charged after my battle-worn body could hardly drag itself onto another flight of stairs.

On Day 1, the kids were complaining of boredom as it had been raining in the morning and they could not join any jungle trekking or water trekking activities. However, on Day 2, after a few hours out in the jungle, to our amusement, they told us that they loved the adventures they had had in the tropical rainforests.

The only thing that no one dared to attempt was the leap of faith, which was a plunge into the green emerald lagoon from a 6-metre high platform. I repeat: A free fall from some 19 feet (for those who are more familiar with the Imperial system) splashing right into the water!

With the safety vest and the guides always there to haul you up, in case you were about to drown yourself in the lagoon, yes, we knew it was safe – especially since hundreds, if not thousands of others, have done it before – yet none of us dared to take up the challenge.

The leeches? Yes, they will always be there, but the children were taught by the guide how to avoid being bitten by the leeches. They now know that apart from sucking our blood, leeches are not that harmful after all.

In fact, my son had done some research on his own before we went to Tanah Aina. He showed us (be prepared to cringe as you watch) a video clip on YouTube that taught him how to deal with the bite from 12 leeches.

For most parts of the jungle trekking, there were safety features that children and adults alike could depend on. At some spots, they have to learn to do their balancing acts but of course with some help from the jungle guides.

What I admire was the primitive looking chalet that we were staying in. It was simply beautiful and posh for a chalet in the middle of nowhere. Although it does not have attached bathrooms or toilets, the shared facilities are clean and as good as those in a five-star hotel.

It was like living in what I imagine to be a ‘mahligai’ (palace) during the ancient Malacca sultanate era. The interior decorations transformed the chalet into a posh little palace bedroom by the riverside. They also have dormitories for singles who wanted to camp out at the eco-resort.

The buffet lunch and dinner were all cooked in-house and we had all our meals just beside the river. Delam River is, in fact, the only Class 1 river left in Tras District Area.

Its water is crystal clear on most days but whenever it rains, the water is slightly murky, but not to be mistaken as being ‘dirty’ or ‘polluted’; or else, all the ikan kelah and tengas in the river would have died!

We had the mosquito repellent which was more than enough to keep the few mosquitoes away. As for snakes, none was spotted at Tanah Aina, except one which ironically crawled under my wife’s car when parked in Lorong Travels, Bangsar!

Best to Go in a Group

Coincidentally when stayed at Tanah Aina, a group of chief executive officers (CEOs) were also there. Led by their team leader, Quek Choo Teng of The Torch Adventure-based Learning Sdn Bhd, and her husband Dr H.N. Law, the CEOs came from all around the country to spend a weekend to draw out their plans for 2018.

“Here, they will have no distractions from urgent phone calls, or feel the need to respond to in-coming short messages services or emails,” Quek explains.

“Besides preparing them mentally, the jungle and water trekking also prepare them physically to face the challenges in 2018.”

Quek says she has brought groups of corporate people for short seminars, including those from Singapore.

“So far, most people have found the place conducive for such workshops,” she added.

When she brought her extended family together for a reunion last year, everyone enjoyed the environment, the activities and the adventures.

Among the activities include the Morning Walk (7am), Waterfall Trekking and Leap of Faith (2.30pm), Video Save Our Rainforest (9pm) and Night Walk (9.30pm).

Suggestions:

During the school holidays, it would be great for a few families to come together for at least a night’s stay here to allow their children to experience what it is living in the tropical rainforests. The dry season is a better time to visit Tanah Aina.

Expatriates who have never experienced living in the tropical rainforests will find this a great experience. Honeymooners do stay here for their honeymoon, as I could observe from the way a young couple spoke to each other.

After the brief stay at Tanah Aina, I suggest you drive to Raub town to enjoy their well-known Ratha Raub Curry Fish head. Kow Po Coffee Shop in Bentong is the other stop to enjoy the famous Bentong ice-cream.

Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya eco-resort is located at No. 8, Jalan Tras, 27600 Raub, Pahang.

Tel:  016 609 0493 (Ms. Juliet), 016 215 9252 (Ms. Hannah) or 016 216 9252 (Mr, Haidhar) 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Website: www.tanahaina.com

About Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Eg4w4y66Fo

Waze: https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.68059&lon=101.83249

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/wu75eT6xyDN2

Oh Raub, your original fish head curry is still mesmerising…

Oh Raub, your original fish head curry is still mesmerising…

No one can ride into the little town of Raub without noticing a corner shop painted in bright orange that has since become the humble beginning of this famous Ratha Raub Fish Head Curry.

It is located some 31 kilometres from Bentong heading northwest toward Lebuhraya Kuala Lumpur – Gua Musang.

Along this stretch of roads, there are a number of durian plantations; therefore, expect to stop by the roadside to pick up some durians or eat what you can on the spot, if you are a durian lover but reserve some room for the savoury Indian dishes at Ratha Raub.

This is the place where Malaysians of all races come together to enjoy the town’s specialty delicacies.

Originally from Kelantan, its owner, M Rathakrishnan settled down here in Raub and started his own restaurant in 1982. His fish head curry and chicken curry soon became his two main signature dishes that attracted both locals and domestic tourists.

When we arrived there after an overnight’s stay at the beautiful eco-resort of Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya in Raub, it was already 1pm. I suspect most of the people here are domestic tourists from all over the country.

Although the journey was another 17km away from Tanah Aina, it was worth the trip because the curry fish head was simply delicious. It was spicy, yet it tasted great. I strongly recommend this delicacy which has made Ratha Raub so famous. The curry chicken is just as good.

Surprisingly, the curry used for the squid was different in taste compared to the fish head and chicken curry. It is less spicy and tastes slightly sweeter, perhaps to cater to younger children.

With the main dishes, I was hardly interested in their pickled vegetables initially until my son tried it and told me it tasted really good.

When met in person, the man himself told me that he has good news. Today, after 35 years, Ratha Raub is touted to make waves in Shanghai with its first batch of curry paste being exported to Shanghai, China.

“So far, the order has been successful,” Ratha said. “We hope to fulfil this first order soon and going for more orders.”

If the curry paste takes off in China, this is a proof that Malaysian cuisines especially a small town like Raub can become well-known overseas even in China, especially in a metropolitan like Shanghai.

The secret of his success? “We quality control our products very strictly,” he says. “There is a difference between chilli imported from China and those from India,” he explains. “Although they are from the same stock, perhaps it is the soil that makes the Indian chilli a lot hotter than those produced in China. This is why we are always very strict with the raw ingredients.”

The legacy of 35 years created by Ratha since 1982 will continue for many years to come

Restoran Ratha Raub is located at No 82, Jalan Tun Razak, 27600 Raub, Pahang.

Tel: 09-356 1651

Business hours: 7:00 AM – 11:30 PM

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

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HTnwBU8xx7B2

Waze location:
https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.79133&lon=101.85732

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