vkeong’s The Best and The Worst of 2009

How time flies, 2009 is already coming to an end. This year I have written 156 posts, which comes to an average of 13 posts a month, or 3 posts weekly – quite consistent I think lol. To sum it off, 2009 has been a good year for my Food and Travel Blog, as I have finally managed to achieve a traffic of 2 million hits a year, with 60k uniques a month. You, as the reader is the reason why this could possibly happen. So I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. THANKS!

Some of the most surprising things that happened to me were offers to host a short tv show, to be a food planner and to write for food magazine. To be honest I couldn’t have imagined my blog would have this type of attention when I first started.

But in the end, I have to decline all the offers because I had to go to Singapore to work. Besides that, I have also made the decision to stop accepting the so called “invited reviews”, because I find it hard to stay true to my opinions.
Anyway, looking back at what I have said at the end of 2008, that I wanted to focus on writing more on hawker and street food, I am glad to say I managed to fulfill it – although I did sway a little during the mid-year lol and blogged hell a lot of buffets.
So, this will be my last post for 2009 and instead of writing a new post, I’ve decided to compile a list of the good, bad and worst of my ‘eats’ and travels done in 2009. Just to be clear, the items mentioned below are from the list of stuff I have blogged in 2009 only, doesn’t mean it’s the best of the best yeah lol. Here goes!

BEST CHICKEN RICE

tian-tian-hainan-chicken-ri
Singapore: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Centre

Tian Tian’s Chicken Rice is indeed very delicious and flavorful that it can be enjoyed even on its own. The rice’s firm texture played an important role too, giving it a nice biting sensation. Seriously, I did not expect rice could taste so good.

roast-chicken
Petaling Jaya: Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice @ Kelana Jaya

Kee Kee’s chicken is bigger in size with yellower than usual skin, that’s because the birds used are claimed to be corn-fed. And although the chicken was chopped into big pieces, it was still tender and juicy, even the breast meat! I really enjoyed it. I think the secret is to not fully cook the chicken, this is pretty evident from the meat’s slight pinkish color and the trace of blood visible in the bones.

BEST SATAY

chicken-satay
Halal version: Haron Satay @ East Coast Lagoon Food Village

What makes Haron Satay really stand out is the marination of the satay meat. I just never tasted any juicier, tender satay that could be so flavorful even eaten on its own. Even after being dipped into the peanut sauce, the meat’s marinade dominates the taste through the burst of flavor upon chewing. Simply delicious.

pork-satay
Non Halal version: Kwong Satay @ Geylang Lorong 29

The primary reason I liked Kwong Satay so much is because it tasted very similar those in Malaysia. Each stick of satay is priced at $0.40 each, a slight increase from the old price of $0.35. Being affordable and delicious, it easily became one of the bests satay I have had so far.

BEST PRAWN MEE

tiger-prawn-soup
Singapore: Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles – $10 Premium Prawn Noodle

The soup served in the mini wok has a much redder hue as well as a sweeter, prawny flavor – seems to be prepared using a more intense stock. While waiting for my order I observed the preparation process. I noticed the tiger prawns were cooked by swishing them in a separate pot of soup, which could very well be source the extra flavor.

penang-prawn-noodle
Petaling Jaya: Penang Prawn Mee @ O & S Coffee Shop, Taman Paramount

At Taman Paramount Petaling Jaya there’s already an impressive prawn noodle stall that can beat most of the Penang ones. I was at KL three weeks ago to meet up with some friends and we had our lunch at O & S Coffee Shop.

BEST NASI LEMAK

village park nasi lemak
Village Park Nasi Lemak @ Damansara Uptown

If you like your nasi lemak with extra ingredients then you gotta give Village Park @ Damansara Uptown a try. Besides plain nasi lemak, they offer various dishes as additional add-ons like ayam goreng rempah, sambal udang, sambal petai and even rendang.

BEST AIS KACANG

ais-kacang
Penang Road Famous Cendol & Ais Kacang @ Jalan Raja Uda

I have to say they really did not skimp on the ingredients as generous amount of peanuts, red beans, grass jelly, sweet corn and atapchi were given. For me it’s super valuable. There’s simply no way you can purchase a bowl of Ais Kacang laden with so much toppings for only RM3.50 in KL.
The soft shaved ice, sweet tasting with a hint of refreshing Sarsi flavor was a perfect treat in the hot afternoon. Every mouthful taken is met with interesting textures of the crunchy peanuts, tender-soft red beans, smooth grass jelly and chewy atapchi. Just great.

Continue reading



Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant @ Kota Kinabalu – Live Seafood Tanks!

I just remembered these photos taken during my trip to Kota Kinabalu. It was a seafood dinner me and SL took together with KampungBoyCityGal at Ocean Village Seafood Restaurant (海王城海鮮村).
But before I continue, first let me just say that the food wasn’t spectacular and the price was very expensive, mainly because the restaurant is to cater to tourists mostly. I don’t think any Sabahan with the right mind would want to dine there and get chopped like us lol.

ocean-seafood-village

Then again, this post isn’t really about the food nor the prices. It’s about visiting perhaps one of the largest and most awesome seafood restaurant with the most live seafood on display in Malaysia. If you thought Bali Hai‘s display of seafood was impressive, wait till you see Ocean Seafood Village’s.

big-prawn-statue

A large prawn statue greets the customers at the entrance of Ocean Seafood Village Restaurant.

live-seafood-tanks'

Once we stepped into the restaurant, instead of making orders we made way to the live seafood area like kids who couldn’t wait to go to the playground. Our jaws literally dropped looking at the arrays of aquarium tanks housing the countless live seafood ranging from prawns to clams and fish.
The front rows mainly housed live prawns, mantis prawns at the middle, fishes at the back and clams on the side with crabs crawling around on the ground.

tiger-prawns

These red colored tiger prawns price increase ten bucks for every upsize: RM20 each for small, RM30 for medium and RM40 for large. Pricey? Oh yes, certainly. But do keep in mind that even the smallest prawns are at least twice the length of an average adult’s finger.

Continue reading



Coffee Ritual – Great Coffee, Delicious Crepes @ Section 14, PJ

This is actually the article or so called review I submitted to BestFoodJunction’s Restaurant Review Contest held earlier this year. Somehow the the magazine either went scammy suddenly, or they simply do not bother anymore, because there was no update on contest. Based on the contest’s rule, I am not supposed to publish this, else I’d be disqualified.
But since the contest is dead now, I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore. Besides, I spent a lot of time and effort writing this piece, and Coffee Ritual is really a nice cafe with great food so I am not going to let this go to waste. Enjoy!

For coffee enthusiasts who want to try something different with their favorite beverage, Coffee Ritual is not to be missed. Located at Section 14 Petaling Jaya, Coffee Ritual is one of the very few places where Single-Origin Coffee is available.
Being a coffee lover myself, I simply had to try it myself and also see how Coffee Ritual sets itself apart from the big players in the market like Starbucks.

coffee-ritual

Upon arriving we were greeted by the owner, Chin and his wife, the management duo of the restaurant. After being seated, I picked up the menu and started to browse through the listed items. While scanning the menu, I was amazed at how spacious the restaurant was.
Adorned with simple and appealing designs, a few hand-painted drawings of coffee workers were strategically placed on the walls. The interior decorations were complemented with a display of various time-honored coffee makers. To occupy the customers while their orders are being served, an array of magazines for various reading pleasure can be found readily available.

coffee-making-tool

Despite being a simple looking restaurant, Coffee Ritual has more than 40 types of coffee and over 60 potpouri of starters, main courses and desserts to choose from. For those looking for a complete meal, you would be pleased to know that set dinners comprising of soup, beverage, a choice of main course and desserts, are available at a lower than the normal price.
For any set dinner, you may opt to have specialty coffee like Cafe Latte, Cappuccino or Single-Origin Coffee for an additional RM2 – a sort of upgrade from the normal drinks offered. The same rule applies for combo meals, where an additional RM2 will grant you an upgrade to gourmet coffee.
For those looking for a less elaborate meal, they can choose from the combo sets instead, which come with a main course and beverage. Famished and totally spoiled with the choices presented, I had the dinner set while SL had the combo set. I felt it was a choice, since both of us get to sample the soup and desserts later.

mushroom-soup

For soup, I chose the highly recommended Cream of Fresh Mushroom. It was wonderfully flavorful, what a great opening dish! Bits of diced mushroom gave the soup a body and consistency, resulting in a desired creamy texture.

Continue reading