Friday, 27 November 2009

Johnny's Resturant (Halal)

I like this place not because it bears my home-name (Johnny), but because it is a kind of poor man's version of the more upmarket Coca Thai chain of resturants. If you've been to Thailand, you would have come across a very popular local chain called MK Restaurant, which is the Thai poor man's version of Coca Thai. Coca Thai, if you are not aware, is an international chain of Thai restaurants which pioneered the 'Thai Suki' (an adaptation from the Japanese Sukiyaki?). This outlet is the nearest one to Kajang and is situated within the AEON Cheras Selatan shopping centre in Balakong.

They are famous for their steamboat ('Thai Suki') which is a hot pot with clear stock for you to cook your own choice of ingredients. These may include the basic seafood (prawns, fish, squid etc), meat (chicken paste, chicken slices, beef etc), vegetables, tofu, fisball and meatballs in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours and some noodles and raw eggs to finish. After cooking all the fresh ingredients, the stocks becomes sweet an flavourful. You must save some ingredients to eat with the noodles and the delicious stock at the end. Slurpy goodness.

So what sets Johhny's apart from our local Ali, Ah Chong and Anand's steamboat places ? Once again - it's in the sauce ! The chilli sauce here, just like the sauce at Coca Thai, is a trade secret and is a true taste of Thailand - sweet, sour, hot and salty all at the same time. I can finish a whole bowl of the sauce on my own with the steamboat. But be prepared with tissue paper as it is suitably pungent, in true Thai tradition.

Also worth the trying are the side dishes of mango salad (watch out for the fiery hot chili padi inside!), chicken wings and pineapple fried rice. You will also need a sweet Thai dessert to cool your scorched tongue after all the chillies.

Check their website for a location near you :

or if you want the upmarket version, look for Coca Thai:

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Happy Happy Cafe - Loh Mee

UPDATE : As at mid-2012, the Loh Mee stall has moved out of this restaurant and only operate at the coffee shop in Sg Chua.

Situated inside Happy Happy Cafe is one of the best Loh Mee stalls in Kajang. The owners started off in a coffee shop in Sg Chua. After establishing a faithful following there, they relocated here, in a corner coffee shop near the AmBank Kajang branch.

It's a pretty basic loh mee ; thick chewy noodles, starchy sauce with egg, pork slices, prawns and some green vegetables. It's tasty and the Myanmar (?) helpers have mastered the art of dishing up the noodles efficiently. So what sets this loh mee apart from all the rest ?Well, it's the chilli sauce that accompanies the noodles. It's a damn potent version. Make sure you have a glass of iced water ready before you try this !

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Restoran Kajang Prima - "Boxing Chicken" stall

This is a coffee shop located in Taman Kajang Prima, off Jalan Semenyih, somewhere behind the HSBC branch office. It has many hawker stalls inside, but what is outstanding here is the stall selling noodles and an exceptional "boxing chicken". It's the best you will find in Kajang. The Cantonese noodles and Hokkien mee are pretty good too.

It's a very limited menu but give it a try and I'm sure you'll be hooked.

Restoran Nasi Ulam (halal)

Thanks to a tip from TomTom, I ventured to Bandar Baru Bangi in search of a good nasi kerabu (or nasi ulam). Situated beside the old Pro-Jet petrol station (near the Warta shopping centre) are a block of shop houses. Look for a Ramly Burger retail outlet and a few doors away is Restoran Nasi Ulam. Having a name that indicates that it specialises in nasi ulam, my expectations were actually pretty high. I packed one nasi ulam and one nasi dagang, just to sample the fare. Nasi ulam with ayam percik and nasi dagang with ikan tongkol (?) and a piece of ayam goreng berempah. I must say that at RM12.50, it was pretty steep for a breakfast. The verdict ?

The nasi ulam was tasty but certainly not the best in town. Sadly it would not make my top 3 in Kajang.

The nasi dagang was not up to mark. The fish gravy lacked flavour and there were no pickled cucumbers to accompany. Thumbs down. The ayam goreng berempah however gets the thumbs up.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Nasi Lemak @ Section 5 Bandar Baru Bangi (Halal)

Waking up early in the morning dreaming of nasi lemak, I really was in search for the best nasi lemak in Kajang town. Most nasi lemak as I know it, disappoint me - nothing seems consistent, when you find one, it does not last more than 3 months, so here I go again, searching for the best!

I was told about this nasi lemak stall in Section 5 Bandar Baru Bangi (on the way to UKM via Jalan Reko, turn right into Section 5 which used to be West Country Estate) just beside the Shell station. About 100 meters down the road on the right hand side, this Makcik sells Nasi Lemak sandwiched between 2 Indian stalls.

At first glance, it looks all plain but I immediately noticed, she used double banana leaf base to wrap her nasi lemak - she was not stingy! Rice was hot and plentiful and the sambal look mouth watering. I asked for 2 packs (hey! this is part of my work, how else can you write a review?) just to sample both her beef rendang and the sotong sambal, each packed separately. Again, her servings of rendang and sotong sambal was plentiful. Total cost for 2 packs - RM6! Cheap? I thought so - considering the quantity she gave me. It could easily make 4 persons very happy for breakfast.

Nasi Lemak with Rendang
Lots of meat, more then one should be having for a light breakfast. Rendang was just right, not too hard or oily and very chewy. The serving of sambal was enough to make the heap of rice turn bloody red when mixed together. I never did like nasi lemak which was white due to the lack of sambal. Taste was great, though I would have preferred it a little more spicier. This coupled with my hot morning coffee, brought sweat rolling down from the top of my balding head - a sign of approval that the spice level was acceptable. My wish list, add more cucumbers, two thin slices was not enough la makcik ;-)

Nasi Lemak with Sotong Sambal
Makcik scooped a whole spoonful of sotong the dumped it over the nasi lemak which already had it's sambal on it. Mouth watering fiery red sambal was getting my attention, I needed my fix of nasi lemak and hot coffee soon. The sotong sambal did not disappoint as well. The sotong was not rubbery and tasted well cooked with the sambal infused in it. Tasty! More sweat! Good!

I finished off my coffee, and went on to make a 2nd cup to serve as the an after-burner for the double nasi lemak breakfast morning. For coffee lovers, let me recommend to you my personal favourite - and I think, this is the most unassuming coffee in the market. Tesco Instant Coffee + Tesco Coffee Creamer! The blend is perfect and I have ditched Nescafe and Nestle Coffee Creamer a long time ago. My morning starter - 1 tsp of coffee, 3 tsp of creamer and 3 tsp of sugar with freshly boiled water. Stir and drink immediately. Extra sugar in the morning is for the kick-start! Best way to end off a nasi lemak morning. Satisfied! Yes!

Friday, 13 November 2009


This is a recent visit to one of our Top 10 places to eat. It was an impromptu visit so we did not pre-order their specialty (the stuffed eight-treasure duck)
The atmosphere at the restaurant is very laid-back. The village folk are usually hanging-around having their meals here, and there always seems to be a table of old folks drinking tea and chatting. You can walk into the kitchen, have a chat with the Chef (Loo) and check what’s fresh or any specials available. Gd ventured into the kitchen and spotted a pot of ‘char yoke’ which he just had to try. Here’s what we had:-

1. “Char yoke” Braised pork belly with black fungus
This is a dish that is best pre-cooked and left for the fried pork pieces to infuse the gravy. This dish did not disappoint – full of flavor and with crunchy black fungus.
Verdict : Very good

2. Butter style deep fried fish
This style of preparation is usually done with prawns but we had it with deep fried tilapia fish here. This is one of their signature dishes as well. There are many fish ponds around Broga so you can be assured of the freshest and best tasting fish here. The butter bits were scrummy and every morsel was polished off.
Verdict : Excellent

A picture paints a thousands words, so from the photo of the fish bones picked clean, you can gather what we thought of this dish !

3. “Taufoo” soup
It was a cold rainy day and we wanted to have some soup. The Chef suggested we try this soup which he described as being similar to the sharks fin soup without the sharks fin. We found it rather bland as the other ingredients such as crab meat and chicken shreds had also been omitted.
Verdict : OK

4. Fresh green vegetables
Vegetables here are sourced from the vegetable farms around Broga. Fresh, crunchy and well executed.
Verdict : Good

It’s easy to spot Chef Loo. He’s the guy with a earring!
Location : 2795 Jalan Tokong, Pekan Broga, 71750 Seremban, Negri Sembilan
Contact : 016 381 8038 (Loo Thian Sing)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Restoran Ah Fatt, Raub

I was on my road trip again with two old buddies from school, this time we planned a stop over at Raub to do Restaurant Ah Fatt. I had three very good eating experience here prior to this, so I really was looking forward to it.

First up, was the vegetable - kailan. It is always nice to be served the vegetable first as we get to taste how lovely and fresh it really is. With all the meat and fish around, sometimes we don't appreciate the delicious vegetables.

Next up, river fish - for the life of me, I can't remember the names. I will find out and re-edit this blog. This was absolute heavenly - you can taste the freshness and the texture of the flesh is absolute heavenly. It was so inviting just tasting the sauce it came in..... I forgot to take a shot before indulging in it, thus the half eaten photo. My apologies.

River fishes found in popular restaurants in Kuala Lipis and Raub are just heavenly. It is a must have, in these towns. Be warned though, there are the farmed river fishes and the actual ones - you can taste the difference.

Since we were coming out from the chicken farm in Kuala Lipis, we decided to bring along a freshly slaughtered free range Ma Cho Kai and let Ah Fatt prepare us a meal. On two earlier occasions, Ah Fatt did a fantastic job with the Yim Kai (Castrated Chicken) - we all walloped it, some were seen scooping up every drop of gravy from the plate. Today was no different - he gave us a ginger gravy steamed chicken which was very well executed given the short time we gave him to prepare us the meal. We were advised, for something better, send the chicken an hour earlier and expect something better. That aside, the meat was chewy, nice texture, very nice taste and the preparation was just perfect. I am no fan of ginger dishes, but Ah Fatt did real good in making this dish perfect that it was not too gingery. Maybe it was the chicken too.

On the whole - a damn good lunch and I am certainly going back for more of Ah Fatt's specials. I was told, he is the most famous restaurant in Raub and host many local wedding dinners.

To find the restaurant, as you exit the town heading to Kuala Lumpur, KWSP is at the edge of Raub, Restaurant Ah Fatt is just behind KWSP - you can't miss it.

Highly recommended.

BTW. The best Yim Kai I have eaten was cooked by Ah Fatt, however the chicken came from Sunshine Chicken. Ah Fatt prepared the 4kg chicken in two styles, one was a plain steam chicken and the other was with a gingery spicy paste. Absolutely delicious - I now benchmark Yim Kai to this standard.