May 31, 2015

Thai Camp @ Taman Paramount

Small Thai Café with Big & Bold Flavours!

Talk about Thai food and I am literally always drooling at the thoughts of flavours of savory, sweet, spicy and sour bursting in my mouth! Now I have always enjoyed Thai food, especially Thai restaurants that serves up bodacious flavours of Thai cuisine. If I didn’t feel any sensations of sweat or kick, it’s not my kind of Thai food!

This post is way overdue since I had it in December last year. Still, it is a drool-worthy post that deserves the attention of all Thai fans like me. Thai Camp is a small Thai café run by husband and wife team. Nic runs the front of the house while his Thai wife runs the kitchen. The dynamic duo is very humble and friendly when I met them that evening. Everything dish is prepared and cooked by his wife together with some family help. This is already a plus point as diners are assured of authentic and home cook dishes when dining at Thai Camp.

Thai Camp is pretty small. It occupies a small shoplot in Taman Paramount and only has few tables so go early or call for reservations if you have a big group. The café is nicely bright and with minimal décor but there are really nice 3D art murals painted all over the walls by Nic’s friend. Don’t be fool by this small café as the Thai dishes serve here are genuinely authentic, rustic and bold in flavours.

The menu features a long list of Thai dishes as well as a good list of beverages. Thai Camp serves a lunch menu and a dinner menu together with a light supper menu. The menu is also devoted to happy porky fans like me with many Thai dishes showing of the hog. We went wild with our meal that night, tucking into hearty and rustic dishes of beckons for steamed rice.

While waiting for our dishes to arrive, we sip on Thai Iced Tea (RM4.90), Iced Green Milk Tea (RM4.90), Iced Lemongrass (RM2.50) and Iced Pandan (RM2.50). I am such a fan of Thai Iced Tea and the version here is creamy, sweet and milky.

We simply loved the Moo Sam Chan Yang (RM22) or Grilled Pork Belly so much, I believed we had a reorder of this dish. Look at its glorious char and caramelized edges on the pork belly! It’s succulent and flavourful on its own but dipped it into that lethal looking chili sauce and you get even more punchy and spicy flavours. Must- order…

Phad Kra Pao with Roasted Pork (RM20) is pretty sinful. Though it’s oily, the dish still tasted moreish and tasty. Laced in a dark soy sauce with chilies and aromatics, the roasted pork and long beans goes so well with rice.

Thai Camp’s menu showcase quite a list of fish dishes and we had three from the list. The first one is the classic Pla Neung Ma Naw (RM35) which is Steamed Fish with Chilies and Lime. Whole tilapia is covered in loads of minced garlic and chili, steamed with napa cabbage in lime stock. It looks innocently pale but once you tasted that stock, you’ll be hit with strong notes of savory, sweet, sour and spicy. The load of minced garlic made the dish spicier and garlicky so one gets some extra kick of shiok-ness.

If you are one to enjoy fried fish, then you may want to try Thai Camp’s own creation of Pla Sa Mhun Prai (RM35) or Thai Camp Fish. Whole tilapia fried till crispy and topped with a mount of peanuts, fried shallots, onions, mango and a savory fish sauce dressing. I enjoyed the various textures in this dish and thought it was a creative touch to the salad inspired dish. There is lots of aromatics in the dish, giving it a complex textural edge.

Pla Tod Yum Ma Muang (RM35) or Deep Fried Fish with Mango Salad is another good choice as this one is crowned with Thai mango salad. This dish has vibrant flavours with good hit of citrusy notes with the mango. There is also lots of peanuts and coriander in the salad which is what I love in Thai salads.

We obviously cannot dine Thai without the essential Tom Yum Ta Lae (RM25) which is Seafood Tom Yum. Thai Camp’s Tom Yum passed with flying colors. Served piping hot, the Tom Yum has lots of fresh prawns, squid and fish swimming in a creamy and spicy Tom Yum broth. It is super sourish with light creaminess and redolent of chili heat that will make you sweat with every sip. It’s my kind of Tom Yum! Damn shiok….

Though it’s not as popular as its famous sibling of Tom Yum, I am a big fan of Tom Ka kai (RM22) or White Tom Yum Chicken. This one is actually a coconut and galangal soup. It is very creamy and spiced up with galangal, lemongrass and other aromatics. The soup is also sourish from the addition of lime juice and is usually served with light heat from cut fresh chilies. I loved mine spicy and so I often add Thai chili flakes to kick it up another notch. Thai Camp’s version is beautiful in every spoonful. It is rich, creamy and well scented with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and dried chilies. There are lots of tender chicken pieces with oyster mushrooms in the soup too.

Thais do make one of the best omelette around. I have yet to find out their secret but I have dine at many Thai places and their omelettes are usually golden with crispy edges and fluffy eggy insides. Kai Jeaw (RM10) which is Omelette with Minced Pork is a winner with everyone. Its pretty much basic omelette with minced pork but it sure tasted yummy.

Kai Yeaw Ma Kra Prao Grob (RM20) or Crispy Preserved Egg with Phad Kra Pao is a pretty unique dish of lightly battered fried century egg wedges stir fried in the classic Thai basil sauce. There are minced pork, long beans, chilies and lots of crispy fried Thai basil as well. The unique wobbly texture and flavour of the century eggs is something you’ll either enjoy or don’t. I like the century eggs in this dish as it gave the dish an unusual texture and taste to the dish and it seemed to match well with the distinctive Thai basil aroma and taste too.

Yum Kai Dow (RM18) or Fried Egg Salad with Seafood is another salad with an eggy twist. It’s basically a seafood salad with fried eggs in it. The salad as prawns, squid, minced pork and fried egg pieces dressed in the usual spicy sour Thai dressing and aromatized with onions and coriander. I actually like the egg pieces a lot in the salad and found myself picking for the eggs especially.

The only dish I was a bit weary off was the Nham Moo Yang (RM16) or Grilled Pork Sausage. I usually love sausages but this one had a really pungent garlicky and sweetish note that didn’t work for me. It is also served with extra raw garlic and chili. Others seemed to like it so I guess its just a matter of taste preference for this dish.

If I have to rave about one dish that I would return to Thai Camp for, it would be Kaeng Hung Le (RM22) which is Northern Thai Curry. It’s my first time tasting this and gosh it is so delicious! Pork belly cubes are simmered in a Thai Northern style curry till it melts-in-the-mouth. The curry is not like our usual heavy creamy based one but rather a lighter version of non-creamy based curry broth. I enjoyed the flavours of the vinegary curry broth which has a good balance of savory and spicy with sourish notes. As it is sourish, it actually cuts the richness and balance the fatty pork belly really well. I can taste ginger in the dish too. There is something really unique about the dish and I had fallen deeply in love with the taste and not to mention the soft pork belly. Definitely a must-order at Thai Camp!

We were told that Thai Camp has a light supper menu which they serve to those who wishes to enjoy something in between meals. We tried their Toast with Tom Yum Mix Chicken Floss (RM2.90) and Toast with Butter Milk (RM2.90). The first toast was pretty interesting in flavours of spicy and savory while the second was sweet and dessert-like. Both are different as one is savory and one is sweet. It might be worth a try if you are feeling puckish for some snacks.

Since my first visit, I have also taken my whole family back there for a big feast. My other visit was just as good as my initial. The only thing was that my second visit didn’t have my favorite Northern Thai Curry, which reminds me now that it’s time to go back for my craving of Thai Camp’s big and bold flavours!

37, Jalan 20/7,
Taman Paramount
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor D.E.
Tel: +6012-345 1768

Business Hour:
Wed to Fri    12.00pm – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 10.00pm
Sat & Sun    6.00pm – 10.00pm

May 29, 2015

Two Scones One Cup @ Section 17, Petaling Jaya

A Delicious Blast from the Past

It all started with friendship but it became more than that… Five good friends - Horng Qing, Kun Quan, Eugene, Nicholas and Natasha decided to pursue a dream of owning a café together and that was how Two Scones One Cup was born. Armed with one of their mother’s recipes for classic baked goods, the five set sail on a delicious journey in serving up hearty and comfort food in Two Scones One Cup, located in a housing neighborhood in Section 17, PJ.

While many opted to go with the latest and creative dishes of fusion that is served in many cafes, Two Scones One Cup takes on the pure old school and childhood treats as part of their concept. The menu is filled with a good selections of light meals and main courses as well as homemade scones and cakes. Besides the food, the ambience is pleasant and cozy.

The café is fairly spacious, filled with lots of white and has a wall of creative musings from everyone. The café is designed well to show off a lovely counter for baked goods and has all the seating surrounding the bar. The interior is modern and simple. One can choose to dine in the cool café or alfresco at the patio nicely filled with walls of green shrub for privacy. The patio area is also perfect for garden parties or private parties.

There’s plenty of drinks to quench your thirst. I had a refreshing Cucumber Lime (RM10) and was pretty happy with it. There’s coffee, tea, soda, juices and coolers as well.

It is indeed pretty difficult to find good scones. Scones should be crumbly in texture but not too dry. They usually have a buttery note too. When I saw the heaps of golden baked scones at the counter, I was pretty sure that I am in for a treat of scones. There are always several varieties of scones available daily. When I was there that evening, there was Original, Raisins, Cranberry and Matcha.

The scones look utterly delectable. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into these golden beauties served with their own homemade spreads. An order of 2 Scones (RM9) comes with your choice of clotted cream, butter, jam or kaya.

Our Cranberry and Matcha is delish! The scones are buttery, crumbly and light. I adored them with clotted cream while the kaya also is really yum…

Two Scones One Cup also has a Tea Set (RM49.90 for two person) available. 

One gets a lovely array of Scones, Orange Cake, Marble Cake, Petit Sandwiches, Carrot Walnut Cake and Macaron served with your choice of tea. The cakes may vary depending on what’s freshly out of the oven that day.

Savoring the cakes at Two Scones One Cup brought me back to my childhood days. Cakes were simple but made with quality ingredients. There’s nothing to hide behind a butter cake but good butter and fresh eggs. The cakes here reminded me of how good simple cakes used to be. The Orange and Marble Cake was buttery and has a fine texture. It is cakes that I can savor happily. It’s not too sweet and tasted so rich in flavours. The Carrot Walnut Cake was good too as it is moist and aromatic with cinnamon and other spices. The café even has Victoria Sponge, a British classic of sponge cake sandwich with jam and cream. Other baked goodies include brownies, cheesecake, kaya swissroll, kaya cake, cream puffs and more.

Whether you dine-in or take them away, these are old fashion cakes that are just honest-to-goodness delicious. It may not be any fancy cakes but its cakes that I can enjoy daily…

Besides their classic baked goods, Two Scones One Cup also has a solid list of local and Western dishes plus sandwiches and light snacks.

Tuna Croissant (RM8.90), simple but made well. Buttery and flaky croissant stuffed with creamy tuna and greens, served with side of fries.

It is when you can’t decide which appetizer to order or if you are dining in a group, then Mix Platter (RM17.90) is a decent choice for some bites. Light crispy squid, chicken wings, hotdogs and fries made up for the platter.

Spicy Cream with Seafood Spaghetti (RM16.90) came with generous seafood in a rich creamy sauce. This one was a lovely surprise as it had a good kick of heat in the sauce. Spiked with chili padi, the sauce is luscious and scrumptious, making it also easy to enjoy as the heat balanced up the creaminess. Good injection of our local touch in the pasta dish!

We were recommended their Nasi Goreng Kampung (RM8.90) and we were really pleased with the dish. It has a good breathe of wok while the rice is fluffy, well-seasoned and studded with seafood and egg. I like the flavours a lot as it has a nice layer of heat and savory notes. The rice is also served with an extra sunny side up egg, crispy anchovies, greens and a spicy sambal. Simply a must-order…

There are also Western classics like Salmon Steak (RM29.90), Chicken Chop (RM15.90) and Lamb Rack (RM24.90). For salmon, make sure to tell them how you like it prepared else it will be well done for you. Overall, the dishes are well-seasoned and flavourful while the portions are really value-for-money. The proteins are served with mashed potatoes or fries and greens. The café even has an All Day Big Breakfast set priced at only RM12.90.

I haven’t tried but I was told that they also have a very good Nasi Lemak with Sotong Sambal or Ayam Goreng Berempah. Looks like a revisit is needed and soon too…

We ended with Chocolate Brownies with Ice Cream (RM8.50). It’s a darn good brownie with a crusty outside and gooey inside served with ice cream.

In the midst of modernization, I am really glad to see that the past has not been lost today. Two Scones One Cup still manages to remind us how good and delicious our past can be…

627, Jalan 17/8,
46400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 012-613 8200

GPS coordinates: 3.121960, 101.635346

Business Hours:
Opens daily from 10.30am – 10.30pm.

May 26, 2015

Boat Noodle @ Empire Damansara

9 New Dishes to Tempt You!

Our culinary industry has really been boosted by many international cuisine around the world in this era. With many being able to travel and with let’s not forget the speed and power of social media, the choices of cuisine available in our country is really mind-boggling. I am not complaining, in fact, I am happy as can be as one really need not travel far to get a taste of other cuisines in the world.

When Boat Noodle hit the F&B scene, the founder Mr. Tony Lim, also Executive Director, didn’t expect such a big welcome by Malaysians’ taking a huge interest in boat noodles or kuai tiao ruea. It is certainly not new to our country as these noodles are a national dish in our neighboring country Thailand.

The Thais also shares the same passion as we Malaysians in the food scene. Said to be have been served since 1942 according to Wikipedia, these noodles were served from vendors who lives along the Bangkok canals and uses their boat as their vehicle to travel. It is indeed a challenging task to sell noodles in a boat but I think the Thais have years of practice and has mastered the art of single handedly maneuvering the river currents and whipping up bowls after bowls of noodles.

Getting back to Boat Noodle, the menu started with basics of the boat noodles served in mini proportions. The concept to dare Malaysians on how many bowls of noodles one can eat seemed to have taken the nation by storm. Eager foodies like me would queue in long queues when Boat Noodles first open its first outlet Empire Damansara. As one waited in queue, the aromatic spices of meaty soups are tempting foodies and convincing them it’s worth the wait.

After more than a year, Boat Noodle still has it going for many. Visiting the original outlet in Empire Damansara, the place was still packed. Though the queue is not as long as before, business is still really buzzing. Wait staff scurrying around balancing trays of boat noodles as many are seen eagerly waiting and chatting. The air in the restaurant smells wonderfully comforting. We were here for a taste of their new menu. After months of sorting out the operations of Boat Noodles, this eatery has now grown to a staggering 9 outlets within a year’s operations and is also now able to offer diners more choices of Thai dishes.

As Boat Noodle import quite a fair ingredients from Thailand for authenticity, I was told that quite a few items were not available in their drink menu. I was still pleased though as there is a new beverage of Iced Blended Coconut added to the menu recently. The icy creamy smoothie is pretty amazing with its rich aromatic coconut flavour. It can be filling but I am not complaining… yum!

Before we hit the new dishes, we savored the signature boat noodles of course! Basically there are four variations of boat noodles served with two main soup broths of Pathumthani and Ayutthaya.

If asked to choose between beef or chicken, I seemed to gravitate more towards the beef for its richer and robust beef notes of the beef and its spices. I also prefer the Ayutthaya for its extra creaminess in the broth. I don’t mind the rest as I think they were all good on their own flavours.

A bowl of noodle is barely two mouthfuls but it is indeed fun to see how many bowls can one slurp up! I heard the record of the most bowls of noodles consumed at one go was 77 bowls for men and 74 bowls for women. That’s insane… especially for the women… whoever you both may be, my utter respect and salute to you!

The Pathumthani Beef Thai Rice Noodle (RM1.90) and Ayutthaya Beef Thai Rice Noodle (RM1.90) is a bowl bursting with earthy rich notes of beefy flavours spiced up. The broths are both laced with aromatics such as star anise and cinnamon and one is creamy while the other is not. There is an edge of tangy flavours in the broth as well. The noodles are thin and smooth so slurping them is delicious. There bits of minced beef and half a beef ball in the noodles too. Chopped water spinach stalks and fried garlic added textures.

The Pathumthani Chicken Thai Rice Noodle (RM1.90) and Ayutthaya Chicken Thai Rice Noodle (RM1.90) was also good but the broth was lighter since its chicken. It still has got a good kick of the spices. There are some shredded chicken meat on the noodles together with the water spinach stalks and fried garlic.

Besides slurping bowls after bowls of noodles, one can now order other new dishes such as Thai Popeye’s Tempura (RM6.90), its water spinach leaves or kangkung in a light tempura batter fried till golden and served with Soot-Yot dip. Soot-Yot means awesome and indeed the sauce is pretty fabulous. It’s got a good hit of heat and is lightly tangy and moreish. I love the sauce so much I actually put it on my other dishes.

Next up, Kra-Pow Chicken Rice (RM11.90) is my all-time-favorite Thai comfort food. Its minced chicken stir fried with Thai Basil leaves and is served with rice and fried egg. It’s very common and can be seen almost everywhere in the streets of Thailand. The version here is pretty yum. It has a nice balance of savory flavours but it is the unique basil leaves that makes this dish unique.

I like simplicity in food because flavours tend to be more distinctive from its ingredients. Do try the Bangkok Ommelette with Sood Yot Sauce Rice (RM11.90) as it is a basic dish of fluffy golden ommelette enveloping steamed rice and served with the fabulous spicy piquant Soot-Yot sauce again. Simple but satisfying for me…

The skinny Chicken Wings (RM4.90) that arrive may look a bit sad in portion but it is delicious in flavours. It is well-seasoned and crispy. I didn’t think it needed any sauce and this is great for snacking… now give me 10 bowls of this lah…

Grilled Beef Meat Ball (RM5.90) and Grilled Chicken Meatball (RM4.90) are decent but nothing to shout about. Its good as fillers and great for those who loves meatballs.

Yum Mama (RM8.50), Yum Woon Sen (RM13.00) and Yum Meatball (RM8.90) are three new Thai salads introduced recently. Yum Mama features the classic Thai instant noodles salad studded with chicken sausage, crab sticks, onions and green vegetables dressing in lime dressing. Yum Woon Sen very spicy and has vermicelli noodles tossed with shrimp, crab stick, lots of onions and vegetable in the similar tangy dressing. Yum Meatball has meatball as the main ingredient of the salad in the same tangy dressing.

I really love their Thai Fruit Salad (RM6.90). The fruit salad is super spicy and is a vibrant bowl of fresh fruity flavours. Grapes, cherry tomatoes, corn and peanuts are some of the ingredients in the salad. It was so good, we had to order a second bowl!

If you are hankering for something sweet and light then the new dish of Sangkaya may be your cake. Steamed fluffy bread is served with Boat Noodle’s kaya, a thinner consistency egg custard that the Thais enjoy.

Another Thai dessert available at Boat Noodle is Ka Num Tuay (RM1 for 2 pieces), a lightly sweet and cream custard made from rice flour, coconut milk, pandan leaves and sugar.

It’s a nice touch to introduce more dishes to Boat Noodle fans as I am sure many will appreciate the more variety concept here. Malaysians do love varieties and the more choices the better for us I guess.

Boat Noodle has 9 locations now in Empire Damansara, The School at Jaya One, Ikon Cheras, Berjaya Times Square, Publika, Sutera Mall (JB), Gamuda Walk (Kota Kemuning), Klang Parade and D’Pulze Cyberjaya.

G3A, Heritage Lane,
Empire Damansara,
Damansara Perdana,
47820 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +6019-477 3119 / +6016-330 4762 / +6019-675 6138

Business Hours:
Daily 11.00am till 9.00pm