Monday, 13 January 2014

The best Arabian food in Kajang

Of late there have been several new Arab / Middle Eastern restaurants sprouting up in Kajang. The majority are located in the Sg Chua area where there a number of flats/ apartments occupied by the Middle Eastern community.

I still have not learned to distinguish Lebanese, Egyptian, Moroccan, Turkish, Syrian or Greek cuisine. I have a feeling its going to be difficult task, like trying to distinguish the different Malay specialities from different states in Malaysia. So any feedback, comments would be appreciated.

Which is your favorite? Some of the choices out there include:-
1. Tareem Hadramawt Restaurant at Taman Sepakat Indah 2
2. Al Diafah at Taman Putra Kajang
3. Arabian House Restaurant also at Taman Putra Kajang 

Drop me a note in the comment box. Cheers.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Kg Koh chilli sauce, direct from Sitiawan

Happy New Year everyone!

Our Christmas outing for 2013 was to Sitiawan, Perak - home of the famous Kg Koh chilli sauce. We always have a bottle of Kg Koh chilli sauce at home to go with dim sum and fried foods. We did not get to visit a chilli sauce factory, but we made it a point to visit the Kg Koh wet market to stock up on some sauce. Here's what we got:-
The collection of Kg Koh chilli sauce bottles
Now you may be able to get Kg Koh chilli sauce almost anywhere in Malaysia, but there is one brand that is only available in Kg Koh itself.  It's the one in the middle in the photo above, NKJ's -
NKJ's, only found in Kg Koh, Sitiawan
It's thicker in consistency, more pungent and with a more pronounced garlic flavor. It's my pick between the 3 Kg Koh chilli sauces that we found. Do pick up a bottle if you're in Sitiawan. You'll find it in most provision stores there and you can even get them in six-packs, tied up with raffia string. Real old-school style.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tien Pin Restaurant - Hainanese Taste

This small unassuming restaurant has been around for a few years and we have actually passed by on numerous occasions without really giving it a try. It was only a few months ago that we started patronizing this restaurant.
The unassuming facade of Tien Pin
Our first choice was Mee Pok (stated on the menu as Mee Pork-sic-RM6.00) which is similar to Hakka Noodles, something thats not so common in Kajang. Its basically flat wheat noodles topped with minced pork with a nice dollop of crispy pork lard and some spring onions. Mee Pok is common in Singapore whilst Seremban has my favorite Hakka Mee stall at the market complex. At Tien Pin, the mee pok is served with a bowl of soup on the side containing fish ball and fish cakes. They take pride in their handmade fish ball and fish cakes which contain no preservatives. These have a nice springy bite and a clean taste.
Mee Pok aka Hakka Noodles
 We also had their Curry Noodles (RM6.00). Pretty decent version with the same fish ball and fish cakes but with added tau foo pok and foo chook.
Curry mee (with green spinach noodles)
On return visits, we discovered the real star of this restaurant - the Fried Fish Noodle and Chee Cheong Fun (RM7.50). Fish noodle is their homemade fish paste formed into the shape of noodles. This is then stir fried with rolls of chee cheong fun (flat rice noodles), bean sprouts and spring onions very much like the ubiquitous char kuey teow. The result is a truly flavorful dish with varying textures - soft rice noodles, springy fish noodle, crunchy bean sprouts etc. I like to take my time, unrolling each piece of chee cheong fun to soak up the tasty gravy. Highly recommended. 
The highly recommended Fried Fish Noodle & Chee Cheong Fun
You can also order Stuffed Tau Foo or other Yong Tau Foo items which are stuffed with their signature fish paste.
Yong Tau Foo items
The coffee here is kopitiam style-thick and sweet. It's a great place to have breakfast, especially on hot days when you really appreciate the air-cond environment. Tien Pin is located behind the AmBank Kajang Branch at Section 10, Jalan Bukit (near the Kajang Convent school).

Friday, 8 February 2013

Takuya Japanese Restaurant

Our first visit to this new Japanese restaurant in Sg Chua:-
The set with salmon sashimi and stir fried beef (RM22). Came with salad, miso soup, cold tofu and chawan mushi. All were decent but not particularly outstanding.
Ros had the set with tempura prawns and unagi (RM28) with the same side dishes. Unagi was good but tempura was oily and the oil has a certain smell (overused oil?).
Close-up of the unagi
We also tried the a Spider Maki (RM22) which is a crispy fried soft shell crab roll with avocado slices. The soft shell crab was crispy but the roll was not well made, causing it to break up when picked up. Overall, it was pretty average.
Spider maki
They had some sad piano music playing when we got there and it depressed me to the point that I had to ask them to change the music. Not the right music for a Japanese restaurant.Overall the food and experience was pretty average. They won't beat Koya in Bandar Mahkota for the crown for best Japanese restaurant in the Kajang area.

Location : No 9-G, Jalan Berjaya 11, Taman Berjaya, Sg Chua, Kajang
Contact : 03-8734 1818
No pork served

Monday, 24 December 2012

The best places to eat in Kajang for 2012

As we come to the end of 2012, we would like to list our favorite restaurants. These are the places that we keep returning to. These are listed in no order of priority. Click on the links to take you back to our earlier reviews.

Chinese Restaurants
1. Wan Fatt behind Jalan Mendaling, Kajang -they are scheduled to move from their current location soon as the premises will make way for the MRT project. We will keep you posted on their new location.
2. Sing Kee at Bandar Teknologi, Jalan Semenyih
3. Min Kee at Broga – our regular family gathering place, great for the braised eight treasure duck
4. Fook Loy in Sg Chua
5. Sin Tai Mah in Semenyih, famous for their ‘lai sar yee’

Indian Restaurants
Unfortunately, we are still looking – please send us your feedback if you have found any worth mentioning.

Malay Restaurants
1. Satay Haji Samuri, the flag bearer for Kajang satay
2. Satay UK in Bandar Baru Bangi, good not only for satay but also for their signature Urat Ketin (UK) soup and Malay dishes.

Thai Restaurants
Only one worth mentioning - A’Wet Thai at Sg Chua

Indonesian Restaurants
These are sprouting up everywhere now, mostly selling Ayam Penyet. But our pick is Rumah Makan Cibiuk at Taman Putra, Sg Chua – possibly our best new find of 2012.

Japanese Restaurants
Koya Japanese Restaurant in Bandar Mahkota, Cheras. Pretty decent Japanese food at reasonable prices.

Happy eating and do keep the suggestions coming. Happy New Year!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The best Loh Mee in town at Restoran Y, Balakong

Once in a while, you come across a hawker stall with food that's good enough to make you take a 15 minute drive just to taste the fare. Such is the case with the Loh Mee stall at Restoran Y in Balakong.
 Located just behind the AEON (Jusco) Cheras Selatan, the corner coffee shop has many hawker stalls selling the usual stuff like wan tan noodles, curry mee, chap fan, Western food (which is popular) etc. From our first visit here, we were attracted by the sign reading "Ulu Yam Loh Mee".
For those of you who are not aware, Ulu Yam is to Loh Mee what Kajang is to Satay.
The Ulu Yam Loh Mee
The loh mee uses a hand made noodle which we understand from the stall operator, is sourced from Ulu Yam directly. The noodle has a nice texture and consistency which sets it apart from the usual machine made variety. The other tell-tale sign is the irregular size of the noodles, the result of being hand made. The gravy is thick and tasty with slices of pork, prawn and vegetable. You can also choose to add some "XO" wine to enhance the taste of the noodles but it will cost you RM2 more. The noodles are good with or without the XO wine.
The Spare Rib Noodle with Yam
Another good choice here is the Spare Rib Noodles with Yam. The spare ribs are cooked with the yam slices until both are soft and tender. The ribs practically falls off the bone whilst the yam will melt in your mouth. The thick gravy is good to the last drop and best enjoyed with a nice dollop of their pretty good sambal.

If you are ever at AEON Cheras Selatan and looking for something good to eat, take a walk outside to this place and I'm sure you won't regret it. Merry Christmas everyone and happy eating.

Location : Corner coffee shop behind AEON Cheras Selatan, Balakong.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Rumah Makan Cibiuk

Kajang is honored to be the location of the first Rumah Makan Cibiuk franchise restaurant in Malaysia. Originally from the Cibiuk district in the Garut region of Java, the restaurant has expanded to over 40 franchise restaurants all over Indonesia. From their website, the story goes that  the Malaysian entrepreneur who opened the restaurant in Kajang, first ate at Cibiuk's Bandung outlet during a shopping trip there and was so enamored by the food, inspiring the set-up of the franchise here in Malaysia.

Cibiuk has the tagline "Rajanya Sambal" which can be translated as The King of Sambal or The Sambal is King (you decide). And the sambal literally takes center stage, placed on a pedestal in the middle of the restaurant, where you can help yourself to a variety of sambal and fresh salad (lalapan or ulam). Be warned that some of the sambal really pack a punch - think tongue numbing pungency and profuse sweating; you get the picture.

Varieties of sambal with some fresh salad
Various rice sets are available for single diners, two or four persons. There are also a-la carte options which we have not explored yet. First up was the Nasi Liwet Kastrol (for 2 persons). The menu really could do with a translation of the unfamiliar Indonesian terms in English or Malay as I had no idea what Nasi Liwet or Kastrol was when I first ordered this. Nasi Liwet turned out to be rice cooked in chicken stock and coconut milk and topped with fried shallots, cili padi (birds eye chilli) and some fresh basil leaves. It may be close cousin to our own nasi lemak and the rice was tasty enough to be eaten on its own. Kastrol is actually the pot in which the rice is served in.
The nasi liwet served in a kastrol
The set came with fried chicken, tempe, tauhu, salted fish (although the tempe was missing in our set), lalapan and more sambal. The fried chicken is done perfectly in true Indonesian style, piping hot and crispy on the outside and moist and juicy inside. The chicken is not the broiler variety and has a nice texture and bite, possibly a kampong (free range) variety. This was a great choice for us to begin your journey into Cibiuk's Sundanese cuisine and is highly recommended.
The nasi liwet set for 2 persons
On another visit, we had the Nasi Bakar Pulen Komplit set. The nasi bakar is actually cooked rice rolled in a banana leaf  wrap and then grilled. The grilling imparts the aroma of the banana leaf into the rice. The rice was nice and tasty too, almost like the tasty nasi liwet we had before. The grilled chicken had a nice caramelized outer skin, partly due to a sweetish sauce the chicken had apparently been dipped in. The tempe, tauhoo and lalapan made an appearance here too. This too is a good set which we highly recommend.
The nasi timbel ayam bakar set
Another rice set that we have tried is the Nasi Timbel Komplit Lele Goreng. I was told that nasi timbel means rice wrapped into a packet. And that was just what it was, plain white rice wrapped into a packet with banana leaf. Lele goreng is the ubiquitous Indonesian favorite ikan keli  deep fried until crispy. Accompanied again by the tempe, tauhoo and lalapan. It was good but not particularly outstanding.
Nasi timbel komplit lele goreng
If you like some soup to accompany your meal, you could try the Sop Buntut literally translated as Backside Soup. Don't worry though, it is actually a flavorful Oxtail Soup served with several thick slices of fried emping floating on the top. Good but not outstanding.
Sop Buntut
A really good antidote after all the fiery sambals is the Jus Alpukat which is Avocado Juice. This is dependent on the availability of avocado which I was told is shipped in regularly from Indonesia. Do check if it is available as the creamy avocado really soothes the burning tongue after the pungency of the sambal takes effect.
Jus Alpukat
Prices are pretty reasonable and Teh-O is served gratis (free). The new restaurant is open sided and is thus airy, cool  and comfortable at dinner time. Low tables are available for those who prefer to sit on the floor (on a raised platform) for a more authentic kampong feel. 

Overall, this is one of our best finds for 2012 and I'm sure it's a place we will be returning to more often in 2013, especially to try their a-la carte menu. 

Location : No 1G Kajang Putra, Jalan Putra 6, 43000 Kajang (it is located near the Sg Ramal Toll booth off the Silk Highway. Easiest way to get here is via the Silk Highway from Jalan Bukit, Jalan Reko or Sg Chua heading towards Putrajaya, exit just before the Sg Ramal Toll and the restaurant is just on the left side of the highway).
Contact : 012-4570061 / 012-3617348
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