March 31, 2011

Restaurant Woo Ng Kee: Old School Charm

Lately, my foodies have been patronizing traditional comfort food in our area and I just realized that food is also crucial in bringing back special memories or recording precious moments in life…

What do we leave behind when we are long gone from now? Our heritage and culture in many forms from our fore fathers and ancestors! What better way to reminisce about our past than boast about the food that was created by our family…J

Recently, I had dined at Restaurant Woo Ng Kee and was amazed to see how the owner proudly made a statement of “This restaurant has been in my family for three generations with a history of over 60 years!” This truly shows the integrity and honor of a man who bears the precious memories of his roots and to be able to share them today is a remarkable journey for him and his family. Woo Ng, the first generation hails from Guangdong, China. Hence, the restaurant was named after him.

The restaurant simple and minimal decor with traditional red table cloths and tiled floors.

Couldn't resist these gorgeous colors of red chilies, garlic and chili padi!

Divine looking roast meats hanging by the kitchen window nook.

As usual, we requested their house specialties as we felt that the only way to really experience one’s heritage is to let the owner show you their creations. Mr. Ng has a wonderful sense of creativity as he gives his dishes special names to reminisce his era’s music, quotes and etc…

First dish was named after a famous 70’s song ‘Mei Lan, Mei Lan, Wo Ai Ni’. The dish comprised of crunchy Kai Lan vegetable sauté with a mixture of sweet and salty ‘Mei Cai’ and minced pork, hence the name of the dish. A nice balance between sweet and savory, the dish shouts classic! The crunchy greens of ‘Kai Lan’ added a great texture to the dish.

House Special Fish Head Curry came piping hot in a copper pot. This is rare as we don’t see much copper pots around anymore and copper pots really maintained the heat of the curry well. This version is unlike the Indian version. It had a very unique curry paste that was mild and creamy with an undertone of belachan detected. The dish uses fresh coconut milk to give it the signature smooth and luscious gravy with a beautifully medley of veggies and fresh fish head pieces. As it was mild, I can see several tables with children eating this dish itself!

When ‘Loong Seng Sei Poh’ arrived, first impression was that this looks like those eight-course dinner veggies. However, we found a hidden delight beneath that appealing mount of delights. Melt-in-the-mouth slices of pork belly braised with yam and peanuts were warmly nestled with braised ‘Tau Kan’, mushrooms and slices of abalone. What an ingenious way to present two dishes into one! Full of savory flavors from the pork, I doused my rice with the gravy and ate the pork belly with gusto! I just love the pork belly and peanuts to death!!

Duo variety of ‘Thai Sek Far Tiew Kai’ showcased a crispy skin roast chicken and a Thai style salad of shredded chicken. Traditional roast chicken with crispy skin reminded me of those good old days where food was basic and simple to enjoy the chicken essence. Thai salad of shredded chicken was average with a mixture of shallots, chili and Thai sauce.

Owner recommended ‘Chu Pang Kau Yau’ to us and this ignited our curiosity on the dish. It’s actually a Braised Pork Knuckle dish simmered in light spiced sauce, served in a copper pot again. Taste was average for me as I prefer the earlier pork belly with peanuts.

Since we had spied some gorgeous ducks hanging in the kitchen window earlier, we had to try them. Woo Ng Kee Roast Duck was lovely and there were some red pickled ginger to accompany the duck. Fragrant and moist, the duck was scrumptious! I was told that their duck had to be marinated over 12 hours before roast.

Restaurant Woo Ng Kee can be categorized as old school class. Family run-business, one can be assured of classic dishes and comfort food. Recipes handed down from each generations are safely guarded, thus one can be sure of hearty and classic dishes injected with a little humor and creativity. Good place to bring family for hearty and classic dishes!

Restaurant Woo Ng Kee
545, 546, 547, Jalan E3/7,
Taman Ehsan
Selangor, 52100
Tel No: 03-6274-2305

March 27, 2011

Pin Xiang Restaurant: The Other Side of Alan Yun

Who could have thought that renowned Malaysian actor, Alan Yun, likes his food simple and traditional?

I had the opportunity to sample Alan’s new investment of a Chinese restaurant in Aman Suria recently. Pin Xiang Restaurant, newly opened for two weeks, was surprisingly packed when I got there. News sure travel fast about good food, that’s for sure!

Simple décor and al fresco, the restaurant was bright and comfortable. Plenty of fans to cool its customers, Pin Xiang had some of its wall panel decorated with its dishes that set me drooling before dinner.

As we were seated, I couldn’t help but notice cans of BOSS Coffee, all beautifully centered, looking icy cool and invigorating. Ah…I almost forgot that Alan is the new ambassador for BOSS! J Lucky us as we got to try out all the flavors there that night. Out of its three flavors of Original, Mocha and Latte, my favorite was Latte because it has a nice balance of milk and coffee. What’s yours?

Candid shot of Alan playing host to other tables. Charming eh? J

We had the honor of sitting on the same table as Soo Wincci, actress and singer, and Isaac Ong, one of the Top Male Models in Malaysia. Soo was gorgeous with fair complexion and exquisite features. Isaac was stylish in his own aura and is quite humorous! Alan was charismatic as usual.

Fu Chuk Yi Mai’ or Fresh Beancurd Sheet with Barley came highly recommended by Alan. It was indeed delicious as the concoction was perfectly thick and smooth! One more please…

First up was Fresh Sauce Intestine. This one got everyone’s vote as the flavor was garlicky and spicy. Lightly poached and adorned with lots of fresh garlic and chili, this dish had a really nice crunchy texture to kick off our meal.

Salted Egg Mantis Prawn had crispy mantis prawns swathed with a creamy coating of salted egg yolk. Creamy, luscious and a hint of heat,   the sauce was fairly good but I felt that the mantis prawn was over battered, hence I cannot really taste the mantis prawn itself.

A lovely mixture of veggies represented Mixed Eight Treasure Vegetables. Lovely texture and lightness showcased the dish to its best. My only gripe is the lotus root was over fried.

House Signature Village Chicken was scrumptious! It’s quite a task to find really good ‘kampung’ chicken but this is delicious! Fresh and firm, the poached chicken had a good chicken essence and the accompanied soy sauce was fragrant and mellow.

I love Pin Xiang Special Fried Tilapia! A perfectly executed dish with extra crispy out front but soft flesh inside, the Tilapia was fresh and sweet. Chef was bold to top the fish with loads of chunky fresh garlic and a really well balanced sauce. Unpretentious but straight and bold, this dish is simplicity at its best.

Another crowd favorite was Champagne Ribs. Glamorous looking spare ribs, nested snuggly in a carved watermelon bowl was flavorful and superb! Ribs were nicely coated with a slightly sweet and savory sauce. Balls of fresh watermelon on the side lend a sweet and freshness taste to the ribs. A must-order in Pin Xiang!

Yam Ring with Sweet and Sour Pork features two traditional dish combined into one. Sweet and sour pork was average as I had better ones. Yam basket was excellent as the yam texture was fluffy and creamy. I am not sure combining them was the greatest as I still prefer ‘kung pao’ style with yam…J

Prawns are one of my favorite seafood, so I was looking forward to this dish of Tasty Soy Sauce Prawns. The dish lived up to its tasty name! Fresh sea prawns was juicy and really sweet. A thin coating of soy sauce really enhanced the whole dish successfully. I had three juicy ones… ssshhh!

Steamed Frogs with Ginger Sauce was presented warmly beneath a burner. Fresh and meaty frogs were nicely steamed and smothered with a spicy ginger sauce. Isaac loved this dish and devoured this with delight!

When I thought I couldn’t eat anymore, a lovely fragrant dish of Stir Prawns or ‘Kon Jin Har’ makes an appearance…hehehe. Of course, I couldn’t resist and had one. This dish as was lovely as its other prawn dish.

I managed to snap a sumptuous looking Ginger and Scallion Beef with Hor Fun that was ordered for another table. Just couldn’t resist this lovely looking dish. I didn’t have any but was told that it was beautifully cooked with smoothness of the sauce against tender beef.

Group photo of the owners of the restaurant with Alan, Soo, Isaac & Peter!

Pin Xiang reflects an authentic and home-style restaurant, serving comfort food which one can consume on daily basis. Alan mentioned that he prefers such comfort food, thus the investment in this restaurant as he believes that the restaurant has great potential serving authentic food at its best!

Reasonable priced, the dishes are of good portions and service is brisk.  No wonder the restaurant is packed! They serve crabs and more luxurious dishes such as shark fin and mini ‘Fatt Tiu Cheong’ as well. The restaurant also serves roast meats for lunch. I definitely have to come back to try all these with my family.

Everyone had a wonderful time and there were much mingling and fun conversations among us. I also got to know other bloggers and invited guests. The meal ended but most of us stayed chatting till late.

Thank you to Alan and Sidney for the lovely evening!

Restaurant Pin Xiang
H-18-G, Jalan PJU 1/45
Aman Suria, Damansara
47301, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603 8945 8733
Fax: 603 8945 5733
(Non Halal)

* Restaurant located next to Lotus Indian Restaurant.

** Alan was a perfect host and I swear the man has no bad camera angles! He looks good at every angle… hehehe!

March 21, 2011

A Good Fishy Tale: Moon Sing Restaurant

Being foodies, we are always looking for food adventures yet to be discovered. One fine weekend, armed with an empty stomach and a knowledgeable guide, we went food hunting around Desa Aman Puri area. Somehow we ended up in the Taman Perindustrian KIP area nearby Desa.

It was a quiet area as the shop lots were facing a row of factories. Suddenly, we saw this banner that states mountain water fresh tilapia for RM10 at Moon Sing Restaurant. Foodies could never resist a good deal when we see one! Without much encouragement needed, our driver quickly parked the car and the whole gang marched right into the restaurant.

Minimal décor, the restaurant looks clean and the walls were filled with many pictures of fishing expeditions. Our server came over and started recommending fish specialties as these were their trademark. Orders were quickly sent into kitchen and we sipped their house drink while waiting for the food to arrive.

Bukit Tinggi Passion Fruit with Assam Boi Juice was really refreshing and lovely. Nice balance of sour and sweet, the crunchy passion seeds also provided a texture to the drink.

As the restaurant were not busy, we got talking to the owner and were told that almost all the main ingredients were brought in from Bukit Tinggi. The whole area has nature’s blessing of fresh mountain water to supply its nutrients, hence the whole environment produces fresh and bountiful fishes and vegetables.

House Special Claypot Tilapia (RM12) fresh from Bukit Tinggi’s river was brought out with a sizzle. As soon as the claypot lid was lifted, a wonderful savory aroma filled our table. We quickly snapped our pictures and dived right in. The flesh was firm and sweet. No mud smell detected and the minimal soy sauce really enhances the overall experience. We had to scrape the pot clean of its sauce. Despite the minimal sauce, the fish was really enjoyable and well flavored. We could taste the freshness of the sweet fish. Thumbs up from everyone and we agree that we could just have this fish alone with rice for lunch as the price is very reasonable.

Crispy Fried ‘Ma Yau’ with ‘Ham Choy Taufoo’ Sauce (RM20 onwards depending on size) reminded me of ‘Kah Heong Choy’. This dish really reflected traditional kampong recipe as it has basic simple ingredients all harmonized beautifully. It has the elements of sweet, sour and savory with the balance perfectly executed by the chef. I especially adore the pickled veggie and beancurd. J

When Baby French Beans with Crispy Pork Belly (RM18) was served, it was a dreamy sight to behold! I mean seriously, how can one not love this picture? Crispy pork belly tasted sweet and crunchy against lightly fried crunchy baby French beans was a delight to savor. This is definitely one veggie I don’t mind eating at all…ahem ahem!

We had another veggie which was recommended by the server that was fresh and nutritious as well, ‘Tin Chat’ Vegetable Soup with Ginger, Mushroom and Goji Berry (RM8). Simple fare of a plant that is called ‘Tin Chat’ leaves, not to be confused by another root also called the same name, was boiled with shredded ginger, sliced mushrooms and ‘Kei Chi’. Server said this soup has natural nutritional values for our body. The leaves, grown wild, were picked fresh from Bukit Tinggi and brought to the restaurant when available.

We requested for a fresh leave as we have never come across this before. When cooked, the leave is quite similar to sweet potato leaves texture with a slight slippery smoothness of the leaves.

Bentong Chicken (RM15) was another ‘Kah Heong Choy’ that showcased the local ingredients available around that area. We didn’t know what to expect when we ordered this but this was certainly a nice surprise. Local fed Bentong chicken was stir fried with lots of spring onion and ginger in a ‘Keong Yong’ sauce. ‘Keong Yong’ sauce is made from lots of ginger pounded and cooked with coriander and spring onions with oyster sauce. We were told Bentong ginger is used here for that extra gingery oomph! Firm and with a bite, the chicken breast pieces were yummy as I nearly walloped most of this dish. Now I know what to do with my leftover steamed chicken and ‘Keong Yong’ sauce… hehehe!

We couldn’t resist another fish dish when we found out they had Assam style. Since the Tilapia was such a great value, we ordered the Assam Steamed Tilapia (RM10). Another winner because the fish was sweet and the spicy sourish sauce really perks up the whole dish. There is plenty of sauce to flood my rice and we love this kind of flooding…hahaha. Everyone raved about this fish and we had a hard time deciding which flavor taste better. Our conclusion is to order these entire flavors again since prices were so reasonable!

Our verdict was what you see is what you get here at Moon Sing. Simple fare, fresh and so affordable, this place is such a hidden surprise. Unlike places that offer cheap prices for tilapias but compromises on the quality, this one really honored it freshness and showcased the fish at its best.

If you are in the mood for some simple ‘Kah Heong Choy’, do try to find this place because the food is sincerely good and homemade. The location may not be as popular but the food is worth the search. They also have special catch of the day fishes, hence do ask the server for recommendation. I m bringing my family back here for sure…

Location map for the restaurant 

Moon Sing Restaurant
No 41, Jalan KIP 2
Taman Perindustrian KIP
52200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel No: 03 62751037 / 017 2075271 (Ms Cheng)

Business Hours:
Mon – Sat  10am to 10pm
Sun           12pm to 10pm
(Closed on every alternate Tuesday)

March 18, 2011

Homemade Seafood Galore Party

This is an overdue post from the CNY holidays. Our family gathered at one of my relative’s house for a seafood feast. We certainly went all the way and no expense was spared as the whole meal was so luxurious with precious seafood. Mother in law (MIL) was generous to cook up this lavish feast for all of us to enjoy!

**Beware of drooling pictures coming up…J

Check out our spread of homemade goodies...we needed two tables to spread them out.

Second table of goodies…I had a hard time deciding which table to sit…being the kiasu me!

Being a typical Chinese family, of course, soup is a must for my family. If there is one dish that is always on our table each day, it is a good pot of homemade soup! There is nothing more comforting than homebrewed soup which can really whet our appetites and sooth our tiredness each day during dinner. One can drink at peace knowing that all ingredients are natural, clean and without the amount of msg often used out in the market. Therefore, when it comes to a special holiday occasion, MIL spared no expense and prepared us a lavish double boiled soup fit for royalty.

MIL bought two types of abalones for this soup as she wants to experiment on which type taste better. The huge whole abalone in the picture is from Mexico. There are another small ones, which has been sliced up, are from New Zealand. Verdict? Mexico abalones are tastier. She also added some kind of clams and plenty of dried scallops. One more sumptuous ingredient is the cordyceps. It’s the dark shriveled caterpillar looking stick on the left of the picture. MIL said this soup is good for health because of the cordyceps which has so many health healing values.

This is my precious bowl of the final soup! I had two bowls of goodness. J

Soup was double boiled for about 7 hours on really low fire to bring out the clear lusciousness of the ingredients. The soup was really superb and full of the seafood flavors. Savory and warm, the soup has the aroma of the ocean from all the lavish seafood and really brought a sense of indulgence to all of us. At this moment, I really felt as if I m the luckiest person on earth…kekeke.

Sea cucumber pieces was lightly blanched and taken out of the soup to not over cook it. We only added the pieces of this in our soup once it was ready to serve.

Braised Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber, Mushroom and Pork Trotter were another magnificent dish from MIL. Braised for few hours on low fire, the flavor was robust and hearty. I love fish maw and certainly indulged quite a few pieces of this yummy seafood with its essence. Sea cucumber was average for me as I feel that these were not as tasty as the fish maw. This dish is a favorite among the elderly family members.

Castrated chicken or ‘Yim Kai’ was steamed and chopped up to pieces. I was shocked when I was told this is castrated chicken….hahaha. I mean can you imagine how to castrate a chicken and who discovered this? The price you pay for this also shocked me! A whole ‘Yim Kai’ can cost more than RM200 alone. Eh…I rather pay for seafood for that price. Apparently, I am told that this special chicken has a deeper and more intense flavor of chicken smell and the meat is firm and tasty. Unfortunately, this one we had was not as what I expected. It kind of fall short on the taste and the appearance did not look that great because it should have a smooth and natural yellow skin with white meat. MIL commented that she may have been con on this purchase because she had tasted some before and they were really excellent.

Family’s secret recipes sauce for steamed chicken which is made from fresh shallots, chilies, soy sauce and other secret ingredients…wink wink!

Steamed 7-Star Garoupa was contributed by uncle and again another expensive fish. Despite me being a foodie, I am really clueless on fishes and their prices. Simply steamed with ginger shreds and tomatoes, the fish was really sweet with a firm meat texture. Nice for elderly people but I prefer a stronger tasting sauce …hehehe J

Blanched Kai Lan provided us with some greens for that meal. Simply blanched and doused with soy sauce, this veggie is unpretentious goodness.

Stuffed Eggplants and Chilies were made by auntie and these were full of fresh fish paste, stuffed to the max, and pan fried with garlic and its own juices. These were gone in a few minutes and many requested auntie to make more the next round. One word…divine!

Stuffed ‘Foo Chuk’ or Beancurd Sheet was another popular dish from auntie. The fish paste was really fresh and bouncy, hence this really enhanced the whole dish to another level. Crispy and savory, I really cannot stop eating this dish.

Auntie also made Stuffed Taufu Pok with the same fish paste and this was another crowd favorite. I am told auntie also makes a mean Sui Kow, hence everyone requested for another round of makan for just these stuffed goodies!

Blanched Lettuce was our second veggie dish that was effortless but comforting. 

I always like to save the best for last! Our glorious star of the night was the Steamed Fresh Tiger Prawns with Ginger and Wine. Contributed by uncle, these crustaceans are humongous! I cheekily asked uncle if these are mutated prawns as the sizes really amaze me…hahaha. Minimal ingredients are added to this to really showcase the sweetness of the prawns. Sweet and full of orange hued roes, there was a fight among us to savor these crustaceans.

Check out the size of the prawn compared to my bowl of rice! I am not joking about the size…muahaha! Tastier than lobster meat in my opinion, the prawn was juicy, luscious and out-of-this-world. I had two pieces of these giant crustaceans. J

I really went to heaven and back with this meal….hahaha! I am blessed and thankful for this experience. A big Thank You to my MIL and relatives for all the effort in preparing this magnificent meal.

Leaving you with a quote that really summed up my food journey:

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
- Virginia Woolf

Life is simple and food is what makes me happy! What about you? J