Friday, November 14, 2014

Crab Factory, Original Louisiana Boil: A Thanksgiving Extravaganza Lobster Feast

An Oceanic Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving holidays are just around the corner for those who celebrate the festive abroad in Western countries. I love Thanksgiving holidays. It has the warm autumn feel of festivity that echoes the Christmas holiday coming soon. Living in the states for a good six years, I spent six precious Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. It is indeed a big affair and just like our traditional Malaysian holidays like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali, all families head on home to gather for the festive holidays. Traditional Thanksgiving is celebrated with a big fat juicy roast turkey and trimmings. Well this Thanksgiving, you might just want to bend the rule here…

It’s my first visit to Crab Factory, Original Louisiana Boil at SS2, Petaling Jaya. Taking a spot facing the McDonalds in the famous SS2 square, Crab Factory is the brainchild of T.Y. Ooi. After taking a holiday in the states, T.Y. and her pals came back and got excited in bringing a taste of Southern Creole and Cajun flavours with seafood to Malaysians. Developing the recipes, snagging quality seafood from reliable suppliers and the rest is history as they say in the makings, Crab Factory was born.

Walking into Crab Factory, one is immediately at ease with its modern industrial décor from brick walls to cool grey walls and flooring, lots of decorative wheels, chalkboards, industrial lightings and wood mixed steel furniture. Right away, one knows that we should all just leave our prim and proper manners out of the restaurant.

At Crab Factory, one should feel like you are at someone’s home in the States where many would gather for a big seafood feast of crawfish boils and lobster boils. It is only fair that one should also dine like how it should be for every seafood boils back in the southern states to get the full experience. So be prepared to dine with your hands (your best tool definitely!) and the fact that there is no plates and utensils available in the restaurant except for small paper trays and plastic bags. Once the seafood appears, pour out all the seafood in the bags onto the table and dig in…

Ordering is simple, pick your seafood and then pick a sauce. Throw in some sides and bag buddies and get downright dirty delicious with your hands! Oh… put on the Crab Factory apron if you’re worried about your clothes but hey, let’s not sweat the small stuff for great food…

Since its Thanksgiving week, Crab Factory has been running their Thanksgiving Extravaganza Canadian Lobsters promotion. A big sweet treat, this Thanksgiving Extravaganza feast priced at RM145++ offers two Canadian Lobsters (1KG) steamed with King Mushrooms, Potatoes and Corn in a glorious Garlic Butter Sauce.

What a treat! This certainly makes a nice change from the usual turkey for the festive so I am pretty sure many will also attest to this since we are after all Malaysians and we do love our seafood.

The two lobsters are very good in sizes and when the bag was opened, a wharf of garlicky buttery aroma filled the air with much deliciousness. The lobsters are gorgeously succulent and cooked well. The oceanic sweetness coupled with the tender meat brought me back to memories of my sister and friends backyard seafood escapades where we would try and whipped up seafood boils and just literally dive into seafood oblivion. I enjoyed the lobster also because the garlicky butter sauce didn’t mask the lobsters but rather enhanced the sweetness of the crustaceans.

Check out the amount of lobster roe in this crustacean! Feeling rather smirk at the sight of such indulgence…

The bag buddies of potatoes and corn is quite the standard for any lobster boils and the addition of the firm king mushrooms added a nice local touch. After a good soaking, these bag buddies are buttery and yummy.

Now if lobsters aren’t your thing, then surely there is plenty of seafood to keep you happy. Crabs, meat crabs to be exact, comes in several sizes with its own price tag based on market price. Ours was steamed drenched in Crab Factory’s Signature Southern Bang sauce with a medium heat level. There are four levels of heat so choose your poison from Mild, Medium, O’ly Crab and Death Valley. Death Valley is pretty much suicidal if you can’t take spicy at all…

Our crabs looked ferociously spicy and red. One taste of the sauce and I can feel a little sweat starting. I happen to love spicy food and thinks my heat level is pretty good but this medium heat level is pretty much a kick in the heat sense. So make sure to go slowly and choose wisely if you cannot take too spicy. The sauce is pretty much addictive. The more you savor, the more you are hooked. I find myself going nuts about the meaty sweet crab with the knock-your-socks off Southern Bang sauce. The sweating goes off once your flavour sense adjust to the heat and that’s when pleasure comes in. I should go braver once day and take on the two higher heat levels in my next 3kgs of crabs…

Besides just being spicy, the richness of the sauce has a lovely lemony tang and lots of peppery notes. It’s piquant and simply moreish too. Corn was the bag buddy for the crab and it is a great one because the sweetness of the corn goes really well with the spicy sauce. We enjoyed the sauce so much, we jokingly ask for bread to mop up the sauces.

No plain bread but Crab Factory has Homemade Garlic Bread (RM7.90) available which we ordered to mop up the crab sauce. Pretty satisfied as the toasty garlicky bread matches the spicy sauce heavenly!

Next up, 500grams of Prawns in Jamba Jamba Sauce on medium heat level was pour out all over our table. The prawns are firm and bouncy with a very delectable hint of sweetness. The Jamba Jamba sauce is a tomato based sauce and has lovely sweet, sour and spicy flavours. Ok so I lost count of how many prawns I devoured that day but who could blame me as these were just irresistible.

We also took on 500gms of Australian Yabbies in Garlic Butter Sauce. The contrasting bright red with the sunshine yellow butter sauce is so pretty on the table. These yabbies were of a good size. As I plucked off the head and proceed to suck out all the divine flavours, I was telling myself how much satisfaction I was having right there at that moment. The sauce allowed the yabbies to really showcase the natural sweetness and also enhanced the creaminess of the yabbies. This one was RM88 but truly worth the price tag because I have never tasted such big and sweet yabbies here in Malaysia.

Other sidekicks we tried, golden crispy Fried Baby Squid (RM10.90) and Hush Puppies (RM8.90). Absolutely flawless, the crunchy lightly battered Cajun flavoured squid is super yum. When I saw the Hush Puppies on their menu, I literally beg for it. I had a few good ones back in the States and have missed this so much. Not many know how to appreciate these golden fried oatmeal balls but I really enjoy these here. I can taste some spices in the Hush Puppies and these have a medium dense oaty texture. Try it because who knows, you might like me!

Crab Factory has plenty more to offer than what I have tried. There are 17 types of side dishes from Southern Chicken & Waffles, Fish & Chips, Prawn Remoulade, Southern Heartwarming Gumbo Soup, Fried Okra and more… all the comforting Southern dishes. Seafood list goes beyond our normal expectations from the hefty priced King Crab to Slipper Lobsters, Amaebi, Japanese Snails, Baby Octopus, Mussel, Scallops and more. Don’t forget to add on more bag buddies to the seafood. During lunch hours, Crab Factory serves up quite a few variations of pasta with seafood. To complete all the seafood, Crab Factory has a long list of beers available to keep everyone happy!

So if you’re thinking of a Thanksgiving celebration with a seafood twist, head over to Crab Factory to check out the value-for-money Thanksgiving Extravaganza Canadian Lobsters promotion available from now till 30th November 2014! Burp…

21, Jalan SS2/64,
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7865 5850

Business Hours:
Mon, Wed & Thurs: 3.00pm - 11.00pm
Fri, Sat & Sun: 11.00am - 11.00pm
Close on Tuesdays

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fu-Rin Japanese Restaurant, Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie: Boston Lobster Delight

The King of Crustacean Goes Japanese!

Seafood has been taking the town by storm lately. Surely this is no surprise since we all love our seafood! Well here’s one more seafood promotion that gourmands should check out…

Fu-Rin Japanese Restaurant, located at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie, has been serving up scrumptious Japanese cuisine for the longest years that I could remember. Faithful followers will attest that Fu-Rin, an award winning Japanese restaurant, is the restaurant to go to for Japanese cuisine with a modern twist from its freshest cut of sashimi to its main dishes and more. Starting November this month till end of December 2014, Fu-Rin is proud to showcase the king of crustacean, Boston Lobster prepared in several ways in their Boston Lobster Delight promotion.

Before we take on the lobsters, here’s what Fu-Rin also has available to tempt your senses. Just like its ambience and surrounding, Fu-Rin offers dishes that evoke a sense of Zen flavours. All of their dishes are beautifully created with the finest and freshest ingredients from land and sea. The Sashimi Bar alone is a plethora of fishes and seafood.

Wine is also available at Fu-Rin to be paired with Japanese cuisine.

And so it is without any doubt that we should start any Japanese meal with a platter of Sashimi Moriawase! Showcasing thick glorious cuts of Salmon, Yellowtail, Snapper, Scallop and Sweet Amaebi, the sashimi is served on ice to keep chilled. The sashimi is divine, tasting wonderfully sweet with hints of oceanic notes of the sea. Even the prawns, which I am not really a fan off, were firmly gelatinous with much sweetness in every bite won my heart.

Sashimi Carpaccio Aburi is a modern take on the classic carpaccio. Assorted fish is sliced ever so thinly before rolled up with a creamy filling of salad and masago and finished with a light torch to give the fish a smoky opaqueness. A drizzle of Tare sauce balanced up the creaminess of the sashimi. This was so good, we had another round of it…

Another roll that also peak our interest was the Fu-Rin Creamer Roll, an assorted seafood roll with mayonnaise. Looking like a hot mess, the rice roll had a filling of tempura battered seafood, lettuce and cucumber. It was then smothered in an eggy mayo sauce, topped with tempura flakes, torched, sprinkled with pink peppercorn and drizzled with sweet sauce. The combination of flavours and textures are pretty much awesome with loads of luscious and creamy notes, burst of spicy peppercorn and savory sweetness.

These golden Ebi Tango Furai balls sure looked adorable. Made with minced prawns, these were lightly breaded and fried to a lovely golden color and served with sliced cucumber and cherry tomato and a spicy tangy cream sauce. The prawn balls have a lovely firm and springy texture with lots of sweetness.

Wasabi Beef was a crowd pleaser that evening. The few of us just couldn’t get enough of the thinly seared and slice beef served on a bed of finely shredded radish, onions and doused with a wasabi tinged ponzu sauce. The tender beef has a melt-in-the-mouth texture while the savory tangy wasabi sauce is an explosion of flavours in the mouth. I personally love the addition of wasabi in this classic dish.

This chicken looked so good with its presentation! Pan Furai Wafu Teriyaki has a whole boneless chicken thigh marinated in Japanese flavours and pan fried to an amber golden brown. Juicy and tender, the chicken is served with pickled thinly sliced cucumber. Sufficiently decent and great for everyone of all ages…

Our highlight of the night was Ise Ebi Teriyaki, Lobster Teppanyaki. Looking at the crustaceans left us all in awe. The Boston Lobster was split open and cooked teppanyaki style with butter soy sauce. It was finished with an egg batter and drizzled with mayo and sweet sauce. One can definitely tell how good this already is. The lobster meat was tender and sweet. Chunks of the meat are well flavoured with the combination of the savory, sweet and creamy flavours. The egg on top is also pretty much addictive.

I should have taken a photo of the lobster meat but as soon as we all took a bite, this was just polished off in a jiffy. Proof is in the pudding, it’s just that delicious!

More lobster showed up in Ise Ebi Miso Shiru, Lobster Miso Soup. The favorite miso soup is coronate with the king of crustacean as well. I could taste the light sweetness of the lobster in the nutty miso broth and there were chunks of lobster meat in it too. Indeed a miso broth fit for royalty…

We ended the evening with a simple note of Yaki Soba. The buckwheat noodles are prepared with classic flavours and come with cabbage, fish cake, seaweed and bonito flakes.

Boston Lobster Promotion Set starts from 1 October – 31 December 2014
Set includes appetizer, soup, main course and dessert and is priced from RM 395.00++(4 person).

Contact Fu-Rin Japanese Restaurant at +603 7802 5245 or email to for reservation and more details on this promotion.

Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie
Ground Floor 1, Jalan Usahawan U1/8,
Seksyen U1,
40250 Shah Alam, Selangor
Tel: 603-7802 5288

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SWAG Bar & Gril, PJ Palms Sport Centre: Let's Have a Swagging Time!

Swagging Out After Work Hours!

After a long day at work, I am always literally bumped out. It’s about those after work hours that I crave to hunt down a place to chill out and enjoy some familiar classic comfort food. When I heard about SWAG Bar & Grill from a friend Karen, some of us met up there one evening after a horrendous traffic nightmare in PJ area. Located at the PJ Palms Sport Centre which is situated along the famous A&W fast food in State PJ, SWAG Bar & Grill is actually located in the sport centre itself.

Upon arrival at the sport centre, my younger college years suddenly came to mind. Hey, this is where I used to hang out when I was in art school and we use to visit this place and the famous fast food chain to kill time after school.  Though management has changed, the place is still pretty much familiar. A large swimming pool is the main attraction at that sport centre and to get to Swag, we had to past the pool. The scene that evening was pretty much soothing with the dark midnight blue sky looming over the pool area. There were quite few people lounging and also swimming and the sound of laughter, water and music calmed me down immediately. As I walked towards Swag, I felt at ease already despite the earlier traffic experience.

It was always a dream to own an eatery cum bar for the owner Sudip Thiagi. Despite his background in other industries, he confessed into the F&B dream and how he wait till the right opportunity and time came up. We met up with him since he knew our friend Karen for an evening of food and chilling out time. When asked why he named his place SWAG, he casually said it came up when they were thinking about names and somehow it got stuck as they were always referring to the place way before it was setup as SWAG. Well indeed, SWAG is an addictive urban word that got many hooked too as it was deemed a pretty cool word when it was created then.

I like SWAG. No frills, minimal décor, low warm lighting and yet utterly comfortable and cool, SWAG is a place one would love to unwind at the end of a long day. Though it doesn’t have the hip hop bling bling swag more connected with its original meaning, SWAG has an inviting appeal to those who are looking for comfort and cool place to dine, drink and chill. SWAG takes up space in a two level building. The level below is a casual dining room while the upper level has an open air rooftop bar that overlooks the city’s night view and sport centre. The dining room is set with cool grey walls while the wood and steel furniture, imported from Philippines, is spaciously set around with some modern art and décor pieces.

SWAG’s menu is pretty much listed on the chalkboard in the dining area. One can order to dine at SWAG dining room or at the bar. Serving up pub grub food with lots of giggle juices, the menu is beautifully comforting with sections of appetizer, burgers, sandwiches, mains, skewers, fish and nachos. Go Wednesdays and its ladies night with specials of all-you-can-drink cocktails promotion between 7pm to 10pm. Needless to say, we started the evening with our rounds of cocktails for some happy adrenaline!

Our giggle juices for the evening – Mojito, Pineapple Malibu and Cranberry with Vodka

To get our appetites going, we started with a Bruschetta Platter of Smoked Salmon, Mushroom and Tomato. The 6-piece platter goes for RM16 and showcase toasty baguette crowned the three classic favorite ingredients. These are easy to savor and go well with beer or cocktails. Sweet and juicy marinated tomatoes with herbs, earthy sautéed mushrooms and thick slices of salty smoked salmon is a great combination of flavours and textures. Each one compliments the other and makes a nice appetizer for those who want some small bites.

Our national dish also made an appearance on the menu, proving that Nasi Lemak is always in demand no matter what time of the day it is. SWAG Nasi Lemak is only available as a special on Sundays. For that plate, one gets fluffly coconut scented rice, fried spiced chicken, awesome sweet and spicy sambal and the regular sidekicks of egg, peanut, anchovy and cucumber. Pretty much predictable but that’s what makes its good dish with all the predictable yummy ingredients of our nation’s pride and joy. We love their fried spiced chicken so much that we told Sudip to put this on the menu as a snack dish.

One can’t be swag without having The Swag! Priced at RM22, the hefty burger has a thick and juicy beef patty with melted cheddar, beef bacon, caramelized onions, sesame seed bun and the usual condiments. It comes with a side of crispy potato chips, pickles, mustard, ketchup and tartare sauce. This American classic is beautifully executed and is pretty satisfying with its juicy and flavourful patty and all the works. Portion is very decent as it is big enough to satisfy big eaters like me.

While eyeing the chalkboard menu, I also spied other burgers like Super Moo Rio, Cheesy Chicken and Chiquita. From the Press, there is also Yolo (You Only Lamb Once) and Legen-Dairy freshly pressed sandwiches. If I were you, get an order of Chili Cheese Fries to go with all that burgers and sandwiches.

To be honest, I didn’t do justice on the photo of the Chicken Cordon Bleu. The dish is very delicious when savored hot. Chicken breast is stuffed with ham and cheese, breaded, fried and smothered in luscious cream sauce. When we took a piece of the chicken, we could see the melted oozy cheese that goes so well with the ham, chicken and cream sauce. This one is served with mashed potatoes and greens for RM24.

Carnivores would be thrilled with SWAG’s Angus Beef Sirloin Steak and Spicy Lamb Shoulder. Cooked to your liking, the Angus beef is chargrilled to a smoky and flavourful edge. It comes with the classic crinkle cut fries and sautéed vegetable medley. There are three sauces available of your choice from mushroom, black pepper and barbeque. The steak has a generous sprinkling of salt and black pepper making it tasty and succulent.

I personally like the Spicy Lamb Shoulder a lot. The lamb has a gorgeous tasty marinade and is nicely chargrilled with bits of caramelized edges. Still medium pink, the lamb pieces is tender with spicy notes. Lamb tends to have a strong aroma but this one didn’t and the spices have scented the meat well. Served with potato chips, side greens and an orange mustard sauce, the dish is hearty and satisfying. The pairing of orange mustard sauce is a bit unusual but it really goes well with the lamb and takes on a different flavour for the grilled lamb.

SWAG has an honest and inviting appeal. Ambience, food and drinks are pretty much decent and there is a sense of appeal that one will definitely return for a good bite or chill with friends. If you check out their Facebook, SWAG seems to be the ‘it’ place to host parties and private functions. Their rooftop bar and lounge even has a barbeque station should one decide to have a BBQ party!

1, Lorong Sultan, PJ Palms Sport Centre
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor D.E.
Tel: +603-79322307

Business Hour:
Tues – Thurs: 4.00pm to 1.00am
Fri & Sat: 4.00 to 2.00am
Sun: 4.00pm – 1.00am (Close on Monday)

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