Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Chill at Uncle Chilli's

If you're looking for a place to chill with good booze and music, yet still have a hearty meal, Uncle Chilli's is the place for you. I came here once when we had the previous food review Toh Yuen, which has to-die-for Chinese food and if you have not read about that yet you must here, and that time I had a had a great time, performances were great and drinks kept on coming! But it had never occur to me that one can have a complete meal right at this place itself while still enjoying the drinks, the atmosphere and the crowds.


I must say it is a bold concept by the Hilton PJ folks, but the bold achieves great things right, so hopefully this concept works out. I had a great time there and had been thinking of right occasions to bring my friends as well. This is the kind of place where you just want to go for a good meal, have a good chat and then continue to party without adjourning to elsewhere. Beware though if you plan for a quiet night of talking, you would need to leave at night before the live performance starts.

So with bold concept of the place comes bold concept of food? Not quite so but I must say I totally enjoy the unpretentious and hearty meal that they offered here in Uncle Chili’s. We started off with Caesar salad, I for one was never really a fan of this salad, but this one here has the right balance on balance of creaminess yet fresh, but I think the winner was the perfectly cooked egg, just the right softness with slightly gooey yolk, ah who would have thought the best food in life is one of the most basic one at that, and it could only have been better if it was a perfectly poached egg instead. Hah, pardon me.


Then on came the Crab Bisque, such indulgence for an appetizer, but nonetheless it was delightfully rich, creamy and smooth to the palate. I would definitely order this if I come again, only that this time I might request for less salt.


Then came the excruciating decision making part, where we had to decide between seemingly delicious mains – Uncle Chili’s burger with guacamole and spicy salsa (just typing this makes me want to have it now) or Tomato glazed black cod with seared scallop in saffron broth (sounds truly elegant and inviting) or braised lamb shank with onion confit (definitely sounds like comfort food to me). So after gnawing and gnawing on my fingernails, I came to conclusion to go for the black cod, but of course after we had a compromise with the rest to order burger and lamb shank for sharing. Ah, how apt, this tham jiak was excited at the prospect of trying everything!

But first with her choice, she was very please indeed, as it was definitely the best of the three, at least for her, as the saffron scented broth was really flavourful while the cod and the seared scallop was exquisitely soft yet toothy. The beans were also a clever addition to the texture dimension of the entire dish.


As for the rest of the mains, the Uncle Chili’s burger holds true to its name for being a signature dish, standing tall and wide, it holds promises of huge juicy meat patty with loads of generous filling squeezed in between it. The fries were also addictively good as it were crisp and nearly devoid of oil. Though I must say I would have preferred better kick of salsa and guacamole, the main star as we can quite see was actually the burger itself.


Besides that, the lamb shank was good, as the meat was soft and juicy while swimming in a good measure of broth. The sunny side up egg gave it a little perk too.


Of course then, after a full and satisfying meal, will then come the next favourite moment for this tham jiak – the dessert! I find it that, no matter how full one can be from all the food, there is always a spare room in there that has the space for desserts. Is it only me or is it so for everyone else as well? I hope you would agree cause it would be quite a shame to miss the dessert here as the one we had was pretty good. Nicely assembled was the warm chocolate pudding with amarulla pudding, which is topped with a peanut butter crunch and then piled on with macadamia nut ice cream. Is your mouth watering yet? The whole assemble was cleverly thought out, with enough crunch, slightly warm creaminess and chocolatey sweetness atop with some cold ice cream.


So there goes, a nice dessert to end a nice meal of the night which was started with some nice appetizers, but of course the most important of all, was accompanied by a nice bunch of people to make it a truly enjoyable dinner. Once again thanks to the lovely people in theQguides.com and Zest PJ for having this tham jiak enjoy another wonderful meal at Hilton PJ.

Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
Menu

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Tale of Tutti 'Chocolatey'


I went up the stairs of a shop lot somewhere in TTDI, in hopes to do threading which is most likely the only single girly-pampering thing that I do, and only to be met with a locked gate. Then it hit me, a distant memory of the last round I was there, the lady mentioned that they would be shifting, but for me the life of me I could not remember where she said exactly but it is suppose to be somewhere in vicinity of TTDI. So I walked down and head directly across the road with a spring in my step. How come? Because I am heading towards dessert that would at least dampen the disappointment in my heart. 


3 minutes earlier
I was driving slowly passing through the road where the TTDI pasar (market) stalls had started their business really early of the day, it was barely evening yet. I was looking left and right, trying to keep myself entertained while I crawled across the street, maneuvering skilfully around the flocks of people that were walking around mindlessly. Then suddenly a bright little shop caught my eye and my heart leap to my throat, Tutti Frutti! There was a sudden flashback.

Few weeks earlier
I scroll through the post about Tutti Frutti in TTDi at masak-masak and think to myself, finally a frozen yogurt chain in Malaysia (again?). This shop is at least somewhere I can relate to and might be able to go when there is a chance. So I happily note it down in my tham jiak memory, salivating at the thought but right after forgot about it as usual. I actually do have an extremely long list of food to try in this part of the memory.

Back to the Moment
Apprehensively I push open the glass door, to be greeted by a clean white interior and few industrial looking silver ‘machines’ and a counter embedded with containers that holds many goodies and delights. So I walked over, looked at the available toppings, zooming in straight on M&M lookalikes and then a lady came over to greet me and sort of explain to me shyly while I listen shyly so you see, so I was even more apprehensive when I approach the huge industrial frozen yogurt dispenser. I pick up the paper cup in oppose to the plastic one because partly because of the cute red printing but mainly it is because it is much bigger. Bigger cup more yogurt! So firstly I pull the lever, too soft and the shy lady ask me to pull harder, so I did and to my delight it start squirting out McD ice cream look alike, and being first time I sort of stopped too late and got huge amount of the original flavour. Oh yes, I picked that besides the choices of probably 6/8, flavours  few that I can remember are original, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and kiwi. Naturally I picked chocolate (my favourite!) for the next flavour, you can mix as many as you like as they charge by weight, so less chocolate this time as I got better control of the machine, and then head on to the toppings counter. Next I pop in M&M’s lookalikes and some mini versions of Coco Pops, ah I should have made this a chocolate indulgence but oh well. Then I placed it less apprehensively onto the weighing scale by the cashier and was guessing the price in my mind when I was told - RM12.50! (priced at RM5.30/100 grams)


And oh boy, the chocolate was oh-so-good, chocolatey, creamy and smooth; you would not believe you are eating yogurt (healthy one at it)! And not to mention my chocolate toppings! But the original though was bit disappointing, not as smooth, sort of tangy, it was good but not addictive enough. I wished I had more of the chocolate and less of this, but I may be biased here, I am a chocoholic. Though I must say the selections of topping is quite limited and unappealing, especially the ‘fruits’ one as it is mainly cocktail look alike, and the gummy bears do look less fresh and sticking to each other. I might give this outlet another chance again even though the price is a bit steep, if not for the toppings then definitely for the chocolate yogurt! Of course the sort of M&M’s and mini coco pops are also good sinful additions that calls for me!

Tutti Frutti (same row as KFC)
11, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur.
037725 2101
11am-11pm (if I am not mistaken)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Cyber Series 2: Hot, Hot Dengkil Chilli Fish


Me, becoming a spicy eater
Once upon a time (was it that long ago?) when I was still a little kid and growing up in Taiping, I used to be one of those Malaysians that people would say to “What! You cannot eat spicy ah? How to be Malaysian like that?” So sheepishly I would smile and then continue with whatever I am eating. But now, after intensive trainings due to my tham jiak-ness where I would brace myself to eat spicy food just because I want to try it or I like to eat it so I have to feast with tears welling in my eyes, nose sniffing all the way while mouth keep opening and closing like a fish out of the water, and then further more I add in gung-ho when eating out with A and M during our Bangkok working days, I want to show I can devour all things spicy in Thai and boy do the Thais know their chillies, I became one of those who can eat nearly all levels of spiciness without subjecting to tears and rushing for a gulp water.

Spicing up work-life in Cyberjaya
As I mentioned about A and M, they were actually my ex-colleagues from the heydays of Bangkok traveling, the time I learn up the skills that had so far determined my path in my career, and also apparently the time I sharpen my skills of ‘spicy eating’, and then after that we three have parted in our own ways while still keeping in touch and somehow after that as fate has it, we three united once again in, of all places, Cyberjaya, where A became my colleague once more while M became a ‘neighbour’. So naturally we three goes out for feasting again, like how we did in Bangkok, and my tham jiak-ness is definitely nothing foreign to them at all after witnessing my eagerness and passion in surfing, noting down and going all around for food. Before I join the Cyberions, A and M have been quite a while at that location, therefore sparing me of all the hard work of hunting for good food and solving the ultimate question of what to eat in Cyberjaya!

A name in context
There is one story though that I think worth mentioning in this post due to its appropriateness of the context and story wise. During our time in Bangkok, there was once we were out eating with a client, a Thai guy and he called my name as such “lah cheeelll”, which amused them immensely as A thinks that it sounds like him calling me la jiao (chilli in Mandarin) and thus the name was coined to me. After numerous times of calling me la jiao, soon it morphed into once a while calling me by the name lat jiew (chilli in Cantonese) because we normally converse in Cantonese.



Finally, the hot, hot chilli fish!
Therefore, A happily said one day when we were heading out to lunch “lat jiew, I am taking you to eat lat jiew yu (chilli fish)”, while snickering away. Yes I may be rolling my eyes at the lameness of the joke but secretly my heart skip a bit at the exciting thought of eating both of my favourite things together – chilli and fish. This particular dish, when mention with chilli, it truly meant chilli whereby you will be presented with kon chin ma yau (fried threadfin fish till dry) swimming (pun not intended) in a thick slightly sweetish sauce that is laden with loads of chilli padi (bird eye’s chilli) and red chilli sliced thinly. Just looking at it may make a non spicy eater seized up, but don’t let the mini chillies deter you, this dish is in fact not really spicy, just with hint of it and it goes really well with the dark sweetish sauce and superbly crispy fish. Although I must admit that I have long since surpass even my own expectation of my ability to eat spicy stuff, where nowadays I can eat hot dishes without breaking a sweat while people around me had started imitating the ‘fish out of the water’. Nevertheless, trust me on this fish, it was so worth the spiciness if you’re afraid and I have seen even M, the one we used to laughed at for not being able to take spicy food, enjoys this dish happily.





And the lesser accompaniments
Also for this place you may ordered the usual Chinese eatery dishes of stir fry vegetables, my favourite would usually be the cheng chao fan shu yip (clear stir fry sweet potato leaves), but once we were recommended to try their steamed beancurd embedded with fishballs on a bed of lettuce leaves, something special but not what I really like, especially that I have a high standard when it comes to fish balls, they have to be rich in taste of fresh fish. The rest of the dishes I tried were mostly home cooked style, the ku lou yok (sweet sour pork) does not make the cut for being too floury and sweet, but thankfully the stir fry pork with ginger was good with real home made feel.

Burp, Dengkil rocks!
So it seems Dengkil boasts many good foods, like the nasi lemak that I talked about, if you know where to look. Lucky me to have A and M showing me around, so now I passed on yet another humble and assuming yet amazingly delicious food to you who may scratched your head on what to have for lunch or dinner if you are a Cyberion or just happen to be around the neighbourhood of Cyberjaya or Putrajaya.

Restaurant Sin Ki
Jalan Besar,
43800 Dengkil,
Selangor

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Taste of Happiness and Freedom

Every animal has its place in this world. Every animal has its right to live. So does a chicken. If needed to be bred for food, then at least they should be bred humanely. Free range is the way to go, where the chickens are free to roam the plains and live the way they would want to live, well yes in certain confined parameters, but who doesn’t live in such parameters, even us do. Anyway back to the chicken, so have you ever thought about those chickens cooped up in a tiny cage barely enough for them to stand straight all their live and then slaughtered for food? How can one eat an unhappy chicken? In fact does the chicken even know it is living? In light of current movements where we start to understand where our food comes from, and we start to care where and how it comes to right in our plates, then definitely we need to know that even if those we consume are in the food chain and in course with nature, we should at least have done that in most humane way as possible. Even animals killed another animal with grace (mostly), and so we should likewise have done the same, be it we hunt them or more ubiquitously now in modern times where we rear them.

So here I introduce to you about a company called Sunshine Chicken (how apt!) with a heart that owns a 15 acre farm up in the highlands of the outskirts of Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Although a fairly new company, they had definitely started on the right foot in my own humble opinion, where they retain a sort of kampung (village) environment of lush green fields and fresh clean air as their setting for free range chicken farming. Here is sort of like chicken utopia, where they are allowed to live almost freely as animal. According to Sunshine Chicken, “Happy Chickens makes tasty chickens! Stress free means toxins free, makes our chickens taste more like chickens and less like something manufactured. “ . Also one key point to note was that they fed their chickens the natural ma cho, which literary translates as horse grass, it is well known in our Chinese community for its good natural properties. Even at home, J’s mum plant ma cho for own consumption, where she would boil the stalk parts for a refreshing drink! It tasted like light sugar cane water minus the whole load of sweetness. If you think this has already been special enough, wait till you hear about the castrated chickens. That’s right, castrated, and which they are also known as a Capon. According to my favourite information site online, the Wikipedia, the castration produces a unique type of poultry meat where the male would accumulate more body fat and in overall often to have more tender, juice and flavourful meat in comparison to a normal chicken.


Being a tham jiak, and having a huge good bunch of foodie friends, allowed me to explore this wonderful happy and fatty too in some, chickens, where indeed it was seriously tastier, I kid you not. Thanks to Babe in City - KL and Gerald, who organized this great outing and for inviting me to it. As we can read at babe’s blog, we all have gathered at Kedai Makanan Chef Tam in Selayang, I got there easily thanks to my GPS. Here we were served with both the aforementioned special chickens. We had the ma cho kai roasted deep fried and then hung to dry. Indeed such a unique preparation that had most of us thought roasted, no wonder it had such crispy skin yet do not taste oily at all! Thumbs up to the chef! As for the capon, we had it at its natural best, where it was just simply steamed with some salt – steamed yim kai. And for this, I may so attest to what had been explained by dear Wikipedia, it has a superb texture which is toothy yet juicy! With accompaniment of the minced ginger that pack a punch and a flavourful soft rice that was cooked with the steamed chicken broth, I swear I could eat just these as a meal itself!


But apart from the chicken being the main thing of the entire affair, somehow the seafood does take a piece of their own 15 minutes of fame. With fresh seafood sourcing directly from their famous neighbour Jin Chwan Seafood Garden, we get to eat the fresh, plump and creamy oyster which was one of those rare ones that does not have the sang mei (the sort of metallic taste that you get when eating seafood that are not fresh). We also had the steamed Garoupa from Sabah which was in another of Chinese simplicity to present the best out of the fresh fish.


Also to accompany our meal, and also to probably clean our palate from all those indulging food, we have the tofu and the stir fried green vegetable. I really liked the tofu where it was fried to create a ‘casing’ that gave a light crunch before you get to the smooth silky part. I truly enjoy this humble dish, which may actually be not so humble anymore judging the skill needed to prepare it.


This meal has truly been eye opening, I learnt a lot that when one cares where does the food comes from, be it free ranged animals to live fresh seafood, it does wonders to the end product of the dish. Like the philosophy I hold to when it comes to cooking, get the best and freshest ingredient, half the job has already been done to make the dish good even before you cook it. Therefore, try free range chicken if you want to cook up a feast, you may get them from Sunshine Chicken through these places or contact Gerald if needed. As for those who would like to savour them with skills of a chef, I would certainly recommend you to try out Chef Tam’s.

Kedai Makanan Chef Tam
6A Jalan Bidara 2/4,
Taman Bidara, Selayang.
603 6138 8751
12pm-3pm, 6pm11pm

Jin Chwan Seafood Garden
9 Jalan 2/4,
Taman Bidara, Selayang
603 6138 2633
Business Hours:
8am-10pm

45-2, 2nd Floor, Jalan Menara Gading 1,
Medan Connaught
56000 Kuala Lumpur
6039102 3950

Here are some of the lucky tham jiaks at that time:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to Earth

I felt like as if I have dropped out of this Earth. Does transitioning of years (man-defined even but with backings of astrology sorts of course) has anything to do with it? Does everyone fall out and return just like me? Or am I the only one? < insert mysterious tune at the background > Since we are at that , why not ask who am I? Where does the world comes from? Pardon me as I have been a tad philosophical recently due to reading a really good book that weaves the history of philosophy together in a 400 page story – Sophie’s World. The amazing thing is, a good friend introduced me to read it, so I went in search in the MPH bookstore and found there lonely one book and quickly grab it and ran to the counter with it under my sleeves lest somebody came to fight with me for it! I got out alive and thus been enjoying reading tremendously. Just about weeks later, I casually saunter into the same MPH bookstore, and walk around, lo and behold at the middle of the store on the tables where they usually showcase pick of the week or bestselling books, there are mountains, yes mountains!, of Sophie’s World stacked up on the table mocking me. At that time I was wondering if there is a conspiracy following what I read (such arrogance) but now on retrospect (writing does this to me), it seems then that they normally feature books that they just restocked (I bought the last one remember) so maybe to just get the books moving! Bah, I hope this assumption is wrong as we would not want our ‘pick of the week’ to be actually truly ‘new stock of the pick’, it takes the novelty out of it, it would even be slightly, just slightly better if it is ‘rokh’s current reading’ right?


Anyhow, back to Earth for me, we should be talking about food! See how I explained that I have dropped out of Earth, it seems I am still floating in and out of it, I wonder when I would settle down. Nevertheless, the world keeps spinning, people keep eating and I am still tham jiak. So just to kick start the year, I am reviewing this dear little blog of mine, after the four years anniversary, I found that there are few popular posts of all time in this blog, and I feel that it would be nice to share a little glory of this humble blog of mine, and also to put into retrospective where I want to head this blog towards. So without further ado, let me present you Tham Jiak’s top 8 (8 because Chinese New Year is just around the corner and the number 8 is especially auspicious for us Chinese, as it has the same homophone as ‘fortune’) blog posts:










Bak Chang
Oh this was definitely one of my own favourite posts too, as I learnt the ‘dying’ art of making Chinese bak chang. I was really worried then soon one day this will be lost to our current and future generations, as many now choose to purchase the commercial ones or eat at restaurants rather than make their own. Making them with Lai Ma that time was truly exciting and in short, though this may make me sound real young and over enthusiastic, simply awesome! I love how we had walked down the street from her house to an old wooden tim chai (sundry shop) nearby to get the bamboo leaves and the peas to the whole process of preparing all the ingredients which seemed like an endless list of things, but when you get down to it, it isn’t all that immense after all, then to the cooking of the meat and then frying of the rice to scooping all of the fillings onto the leaves and to what seem like my honest attempt to wrap them all in and then lowering them into boiling water while uttering some sort of prayer that it will not all turned loose and became a huge mess. After the whole endeavour, the bak chang came out perfect and somehow it tasted extremely good, thanks to all the heart and sweat poured into it. So go on and read about it all here, and who knows, you may make a resolution to make one for yourself this year?


Penang Food Diary
Oh how can I forget this food adventure of J and mine, at the food haven up north of Malaysia. Thinking back on all the food we had consumed in a span of one day, and yes ONE day, makes me shudder. I felt I had ate for the entire week! One of the most memorable dishes that I had in Penang that time, apart from my all time favourite Kek Lok Si laksa of course, is the Mee Mamak. The sinful plate of red stir fried noodles has a huge myriad of flavours all packed into this seemingly simple dish. Now I have a sudden hankering for it. Ah, it will definitely be on top of my list if I ever go visit Penang again.










Teochew Steam Fish
Ah, so it seems that a lot of people googled for this recipe and I hope it did certainly helped many of them to have this dish grace their dinner table and feed many tham jiaks out there. Though I would have loved to re-enact this dish instead with a huge fresh fish, but nonetheless what I managed to concoct the other day remained fresh in my mind. The recipe was definitely a keeper and one day I shall attempt it again when I get my hand on some good fish.










This was definitely one of my favourite attempted recipe, one that is truly Chinese yet able to satisfy my sweet tooth. Since young I have loved this dainty dessert and especially so after the Portuguese egg tarts made their inception in Taiping. Although this recipe of mine was not of my favourite Portuguese egg tart (the idea of puffy crust still scares me, but one day I shall brace it like how I did for my Sponge Cake), but I still love the soft eggy and slightly sweet filling and the cookie-style crust was quite good too.









Bangkok Food Post: A-Roi
Yes I do have to admit that, although I have been to Bangkok for numerous times, yes even at one point I am there more than I am in Malaysia, this had been the one of the very few post on Bangkok food, and it turned out that the crowd pleaser was the street snacks. I guess sometimes when one go to someplace too much, they took for granted all the good food that they can have all the time there and forgot to document everything down as if it is really precious. Looking back now, I really do miss a lot of Bangkok food, and someday I am so heading back there again (though I also had numerous time swore I did not want to go back after many, many flights), not just for the shopping, which was unbelievably cheap, but definitely for all the a-roi (delicious) food there. Oh I have a sudden vivid recollection of my favourite, one must be forewarned when reminiscing on food that it will leave a huge longing in the heart.










Char Siew
Now I know that so many people out there shared my sentiment to this meat call pork, and one that have been barbecued to point of charred skin but locked with all the sweet meaty juiciness inside. Ah, just trying to describe this special dish again makes my mouth waters. Anyhow, I have indeed wrote a long post of praise to it, so head on to read all about and where to get your hands, or rather teeth in this case on it, and the best ones at that. What are you waiting for?


Pandan Leaves
Although this post was also about Hak Lor Mai, the sweet Chinese dessert that uses Pandan Leaves, it seemed that the whole information in regards to pandan leaves was the main attraction to people. Probably I took this leave for granted, having it embedded in our various local cuisines from aromatic Nasi Lemak to kaya (coconut jam) to kuih-muih. It is no wonder that these plain looking leaves in disguise of a wonderful yet not intruding aroma that it imparts to anything it came in contact with, in this case cooking with would garner so much attention to this date. I am so grateful that it is one thing that is easily obtained in Malaysia.










Chee Cheong Fun: The Breakdown
It seemed that this guest post of mine from my dear friend L is here to stay definitely, with her extensive research and also eating of course on the many types of Chee Cheong Fun that one can find in Malaysia. We might not have covered the whole Malaysia entirely but even then, we have already manage to find four variations of totally diverse style and sauces, but all with the main ingredient of steamed rice flour sheets rolled up. I for one feel the need to inject here that, although I have tried so many of the types mentioned, the Taiping style Chee Cheong Fun is the best and shall always hold a special place in my heart, bias I may be, but it is really tasty, one must try it at least once in their lifetime!


So there you have it, the top 8 posts of this blog. From here I would announce my return to planet Earth, and I would like to resume some sort of normality, then again what is normal? Nevertheless, stick around a little longer as I have a long postponed write up on chickens, and I promised it is going to be interesting, think free range and castration (yes, you read this right). Till then, happy eating and cheers to a 2010 that would be filled with loads of good food!

Friday, December 11, 2009

And the Duck Goes

Best duck in Klang Valley? Possibly. Best duck in PJ? Most likely. Best duck in Seapark? Definitely! One day I had a chance to be around my favourite PJ area and so caught up with fellow housemate to eat duck at the famous Sunrise restaurant


For this place it is better to be early than be sorry. Once long ago, (did I say long?), when I was still in university, my friends and I had eagerly went there bout ‘normal’ lunch time, before 1pm and was told that all has been sold off. I was like ‘What!” and stared at the rows of duck hanging still at the stall and then I sweep the entire restaurant in seconds to be greeted by tables empty of ducks and patrons anticipating hungrily. So we shrug and left in disappointment. But after that I did have a chance to try it once or twice when I am ever early enough to catch the bird, literary. 


So this time imagine my delight when we were seated promptly and then ordered half a duck for both of us, my eyes bulging at the thought of it but who cares, I am ready to take on the challenge. Just when the duck came and is laid in front of us, crispy sin glistening atop tender juicy looking duck meats, all doubts went out the window. I am ready to devour it clean!




What makes this one of the best duck in town? One, as I heard from friends that are generally more sensitive to eating duck due to its ‘gamey’ texture and taste, they said that the ones over here are overall less rubbery and lighter in taste yet manage to retain the unique taste of duck. How does one began to describe the taste of duck? As for me, the tham jiak, I am all for either end of duck spectrum, but for this one, I absolutely love the juicy meat, rare in ducks, and crispy skin. Just look at the skin again! The sauce that comes with it also complements the crispy duck very well, definitely a dish that helps one finish up the entire plate of rice. Burp!
Now what are you waiting for? Go out there and get the possibly best duck in town!

Sunrise Restaurant
31, Jalan 21/1

Sea Park
46300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
03-7876 9689

Daily except Mondays, 11.30am till sold out

Friday, November 06, 2009

4 Years and Counting

I just realize, the last quarter of the year is like the best time for somebody to start a blog. What? You might ask. Well Tham Jiak, this dear blog of mine, has officially turned 4 years old, one week or so ago, on 27th October. Yes, it had been that long and the reason I said that it is like the time where people start blog is because I found some who are also celebrating their blog anniversary. How cool it is to celebrate together in the blogosphere with the famous llemongrass the queen of food blogs (and DSLR as I have heard) and Bangsar-babe the beauty queen (in all our hearts). It was them who reminded me of my overdue post to celebrate my dear blog's 4th year anniversary.


On reflections on this blog, it seem Tham Jiak has gently nudge itself from a baker who cooks and occasionally dines out to a full fledged diner who bakes occasionally and almost never cooks anymore. Am I happy about it? I guess it is just a phase of life, for I know I would always remember the joy of baking and cooking and someday would have the luxury again to indulge in these favourite activities of mine and stuffed my loved ones silly again. In the meantime, this tham jiak is contented in enjoying her eating adventures outside. Also for this year, one may have notice that tham jiak had came out of her closet and went out to meet the people behind those lovely blogs out there that she had diligently been following, and boy was she glad, as they have indeed added spice and colours to this tham jiak world of mine. Also I am starting to note that a large frequency of the posts are mainly invited reviews, yes I am happy to be able to come out and enjoy free meals who wouldn’t, but certainly the most enjoyable part is actually the companies, being able to eat among food enthusiasts and a what a bubbly bunch they are too.


There would be many more years for this Tham Jiak blog and I hope you would continue to join in the ride with me; it may not be as it always is but I sure do hope it will be an enjoyable one for everyone. For so far it has been an amazing ride for me!


Till then, happy eating!



Cuppacakes from Wondermilk, given to me by my best buddy L

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Lamb Affair

Quite a while ago, I dined once at Dubrovnik, on a company’s dinner and did not quite enjoy myself with the food served. Either we had all ordered wrongly, or that night the Chef has an off day or they were still new just then, the food did not quite live up to the expectation, especially at the price it was offered in. Thereafter, I have not return to the restaurant again. Then one fine day, I got invited by Frat and Alice George Communication to have a food review at Dubrovnik. My eyes perk up, memory flashes back to my old encounter and then decided to forget that and goes for a fresh start. After all, everyone deserves a second chance. And true enough, this was a deserving one.


Before I head on to talk about the food, let me explain a little of what Dubrovnik is, it is the only Croatian restaurant in Malaysia, named after a city and brought to you by Chef Zoran who has since moved to Malaysia since 12 years ago. Chef Zoran takes pride in making his own pasta and bread and even have a wood fire oven in the kitchen! The restaurant boasts clean and simple design, with clear lighting and plain white and dark bluish grey theme.


So back to the food! At this round of food review, as later also explained by the Chef, is that they are trying to showcase lamb, and how it can be cooked in many ways while holding true to Croatian style of cooking. We are served lamb in many forms from bare baked lamb to lamb baked in cheese to even lamb burger. Are you feeling hungry already? But before that, let us start with some carbs to line the stomach first. We were served with two hand-made pastas in completely different form and sauces.



From left: Spaghetti Ala Buzara and Prawn Orzo


I simply love the Prawn Orzo, because of the pasta. “It is not rice-pasta, it is pasta shaped in form of rice” I keep hearing it from Dina, General Manager of Dubrovnik and daughter of Chef Zoran, as we unassuming bloggers keep saying “oh it is rice pasta” whenever one asks another what is it. Anyway, I digress, this dish is amazing. The pasta shaped like rice is slight chewy yet with bite in small forms, it was in fact a delight to eat and not to mention the sauce complements it really well along with lovely big fresh prawns. Ah, I wish to eat this again! Dina was asking whether it is alright to put this on the menu (it was a new creation), and all of us reply with a resounding ‘YES!’ The spaghetti ala Buzara was quite good as well with lashings of olive oil, garlic and parsley, just that the Prawn Orzo got the bigger limelight.



Anyway on to the real limelight of the night that is the lamb, the lamb and the lamb. Yes you heard me right, the lamb! First up was the Lamb Peka, where the lamb was present at its most naked glory. The lamb is seasoned with pepper and salt and some special Croatian spice mix call Vegeta (mentioned in the brief recipe provided to us) and then placed on top of potatoes, carrots and celery and then slowly baked in the wood fire oven covered by an iron bell. Just writing the recipe makes me want to eat it again, though I must say the lamb was slightly on the salty side, other than that it would have been great! Then onslaught to the next lamb, which is lamb buried in mounts of cheese and tomato sauce and baked till it is all soft and ready to melt in your mouth – Lamb Goulash.



And it was oh so good, actually my favourite lamb (yes, of ALL the lambs) of the night, soft, tender, smooth, with the lamb taste still very strong through the rich sauce! Though I do wish I had better companions to eat with this rich dish or maybe to have a bread to mop up all the saucy goodness. After that came the youngest, or rather cutest lamb of all that is the Lamb Burgers. I just can’t help but smile at the plateful of mini burgers huddle together on a plate.


Smile!


So cute but still we need to eat it right, and chomp it down I did. It was good burgers I say! Love the mini buns which were like home made style, and the lamb was flavourful and good (though after a while it was slightly too salty again) and with the surprise feta cheese in the middle was a good finishing touch to this miniature delight. After when all was devoured and we rest a while chit-chatting, Frat nudge me and whispered “Do you want to have another burger?” My eyes lifted and look at them beckoning at me, so I whispered back excitedly “Yes sure!” So he took one of the babies and passed to me, everyone asked “Whoa, how many you had?” I answered cheekily “Just one and a half”, as my first one I shared with Ruth because I was afraid there weren’t enough to pass around (ok, I admit I was not sure if it would be good and I want to save my tummy for the rest of the food, ahem) but since it was good and we have more than enough left, I have another again. Besides, Frat offered me.


From Left: Cream Spinach, Sautéed Mushrooms, Baked Potatoes with Cheese and Spices, Sautéed Spinach with more Mushrooms


Along with the lamb, lamb and lamb, we also have some side dishes to go along with it. All of them were alright, not screaming creation, and truly just as sidelines. Among all the best were the baked potatoes, mainly for the flavourful crunchy cheese bits on the top. Then finally before we end the meal, Chef Zoran came out to meet us in person, gave a little speech and then proceeds to showcase the preparation of a dessert for us – Crepe Suzette. Just then I thought of my colleague who not too long ago asked me (yes, he found out this that I was tham jiak) where to get good crepe suzette in Malaysia, and so I look on with interest to find out if the one here would be good. I love the idea that Chef Zoran lavishly pour in the liquors of Cointreau and Brandy. When he pours in the alcohol everyone holds their breath for the flambé and boy, was it fiery! Though at that time the preparation seemed really simple but indeed I can see that the crepe has been prepared beforehand and to know cooking each crepe perfectly would have been time consuming. I enjoyed my crepe suzette very much, partly thanks to the generous liquors but also for the fresh and strong zest of orange that were added. (yoohoo, colleague reader of mine, yes you can come here to answer your cravings for crepe suzette!)



Ending with a sweet note, overall individual dishes as it came, I would recommend you to try out the Prawn Orzo (if it gets onto the menu), all the lambs – Lamb Peka, Lamb Goulash and Lamb Burgers, and ask for some bread or something light to accompany, call some good wine or cocktails, and then end with a sweet note of Crepe Suzette. Lovely! So if ever you decide to splurge and to taste Croatian food, do give Dubrovnik a try.

Restaurant Dubrovnik

J-0G-14,
2 Jalan Solaris, Mont Kiara,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tues-Sun 11.30am - 11.30pm
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