Ah Teck Chwee Kueh (Steamed Rice Cakes) @ Jalan Yahya, Muar

Chwee Kueh (水粿 – ‘Water Cake’) is a food that is relatively non-existent in the northern and center region of Malaysia. To get a taste of this fast-disappearing snack that is usually eaten for breakfast, you need to head south to Johor or Singapore for the best ones – where they are still commonly eaten by the locals.


There are three parts to a Chwee Kueh – steamed rice cake, minced preserved radish (‘chai po’) and chili sauce. Having tried both local and Singaporean Chwee Kueh, I could say that both countries’ versions are actually very similar. The only notable difference would be on the sweetness of the preserved radish and the spiciness of the chili sauce.

Muar Chwee Kueh

One of the few standing Chwee Kueh stalls in Muar could be found at Jalan Yahya, just in front of the Toto shop. It is only open in the morning and has been a local favorite for breakfast for many years. The price is really cheap too, 10 of these delectable morsels cost only RM2. You could opt for 5 pieces for RM1 too if you want.

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Marutama Ramen – Best Ramen in KL @ Farenheit 88, Bukit Bintang

Out of the few ramen restaurants I have tried in KL, Marutama Ramen is probably my favorite so far. And it is quite frustrating for me to know how good they are so late, given that they have been around for more than 2 years. As I know there are two branches currently, the first opened at Farenheit 88 in Bukit Bintang while the second one can be found at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya.


Compared to the other ramen places, Marutama’s menu might seem to present more options but for the ramen, the choices are pretty straightforward. Basically you just need to decide on the broth (either spicy or non-spicy), toppings (chashu or pork belly – the latter is oh so good) and also whether you want extra marinated eggs (Ajitsuke Tamago).
If you love these ramen eggs and can’t get enough of them like me, I say go for it. Marutama cooks them perfectly with a deliciously runny yolk in the center, definitely a notch better than the others. One thing though, there’s no bamboo shoot in the ramen here. Not that I am complaining since I don’t particular fancy them.

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Maxims Genting Hotel @ Genting Highlands

Ever wondered what is inside this building at Genting Highlands? For someone who has always stayed in First World Hotel, all I knew about it is that there are some shops and restaurants, a casino and a much classier hotel. And little did I expect I would get a night’s stay at the said hotel, moreover, courtesy of Genting.


I was there recently to help promote their participating restaurantsMIGF menu and a premier room in Maxims Genting Hotel was provided during my short stay. Needless to say I am more than happy about the arrangement, as Genting has always struck me as a company that treats its guests well, true if based on my personal experience dealing with them so far.


Reception and lobby area.

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Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo Steamboat Restaurant @ Kota Damansara

Following a complete facelift and revamp, the steamboat restaurant formerly known as Xin Chun Seafood Steamboat Restaurant at Kota Damansara has been rebranded as Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo. They have a new slogan too called ‘The Joy of Sharing’ that well, you know, refers to the food and happy moments shared with your companions over a steamboat meal.


Ba Sheng Zai used to look like the ordinary run-of-the-mill steamboat restaurant, open air and the tables are equipped with conventional gas stoves. Now, the restaurant is fully air-conditioned, looks vibrant and uses flat electric stoves for cooking the steamboat. The differences between pre- and post-transformation of the restaurant are quite striking if you compare them side by side.


The Silver Pomfret set @ RM53/pax (min order 2 pax) was highly recommended for dining couples, especially if you love seafood. It does sound a little pricey but that thought will go away as soon as you see the mountain of seafood given. When I first saw the set my mind went “wow, we are going to finish this?” Well, challenge accepted.
Aside from a few pieces of Japanese tofu and beancurd, seafood makes up for the rest of ingredients. And the best thing is that most of the seafood is live from their tanks (except scallops and mussels) so you can be rest assured of their freshness. And as per the standard steamboat set, some yee mee, bihun and eggs are also included as well.

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The cross-cultural ingredients that make delightful Malaysian food

One of the joys of visiting Malaysia is taking in the mix of cultural influences that has shaped the country. Colourful Hindu shrines, mosques and Chinese temples jostle for our attention in the space of just a few hundred metres and these influences have helped to create some truly delightful cuisines that are unique to Malaysia.

Here is an overview of the three main Malaysian cuisines but to really understand them you just have to try them. There are some classic dishes described and some recommendations for the best places to try them but if you follow your nose, keep your eyes peeled for restaurant vouchers and your ears open for where the locals are heading then you should not go far wrong.

Classic Malay cuisine


Aromatic blends of chilli, lemon grass, pandan leaves, daun kesum (laksa leaf), turmeric and bunga kantan (wild ginger) are just some of the spices ground up and sautéed to create the mouth-watering rempahs (spice pastes) that form the basis of many Malay dishes.

Look out for ayam goreng kunyit (deep fried chicken marinated in a base of turmeric and other spices), ikan asam pedas (fish stew flavoured with tamarind, chili, tomatoes, okra and daun kesum), rendang (a spicy meat stew – originating from Indonesia), curry laksa (a coconut-based curry sauce) and sambal sotong (squid cooked in a sambal-based sauce made from chillies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and a shrimp paste known as belacan).

    Where to try Malay cuisine:

  • Di Atas Sungai (Penang)
  • Ibunda (KL)
  • Kafe Bawang Merah (Selangor)

Mamak cuisine


The large ethnic Indian population in Malaysia means there are subtle twists on classic Indian dishes that have appeared throughout the country. Whilst South Indian dishes abound so do those that are the result of Indian Muslims adapting their dishes to local surroundings and these are known as Mamak cuisine.

A great culinary experience can be had at buffet-style Mamak eateries called nasi kandar which adopt the Indonesian nasi padang concept of charging you for only what you have eaten. You can expect fluffy white rice, a variety of succulent, spicy curries and a selection of breads, papadums and pickles.

    Where to try Mamak cuisine:

  • Haji Shariff Cendol (Negeri Sembilan)
  • Madam Kwan Midvalley Megamall (KL)
  • Restoran SS2 Murni (Selangor)

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Savory Bistro @ The Fare, Mont Kiara KL

Went to Savory Bistro at Mont Kiara for my birthday few weeks ago. Initially I wanted to have it in one of my favorite steakhouses in KL but too bad the weather has not been cooperative especially on Fridays, which means getting stuck in long traffic jam trying to get in and out of the city. Wouldn’t want that to be part of the celebration experience now, would I? Overall the food was satisfying with room for improvement and we enjoyed the live band.


Cream of Pumpkin @ RM13 – a delicious soup featuring scallop and garlic croutons. Thick, creamy and flavorsome.


Calamari Fritty with Dill Tartar dip @ RM18 to warm up our stomach before the mains. Fresh with a crunchy coating that does not feel greasy at all.

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Magenta @ Publika, Solaris Dutamas

The old B&W family photos hanging on one of the walls are a good indication that Magenta is indeed a family run restaurant. Its minimalist decor with highlights of magenta color is classy and inviting alright but unfortunately we felt most of the food we had fell short of expectations.



Familiar Western dishes dominate the menu which also contains a tiny selection of Asian favorites such as Thai fried rice. The owners seem to have soft spot for Hainanese food too, as Hainan style Chicken Rice and Chicken Chop are also available.


Mango Prawn Cocktail @ RM16. The sweet and succulent prawns are enjoyable but the mango bits are tasteless and do not add any real flavor.

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Penang Hawker Food @ Gurney Delight Cafe, Kota Kemuning

I am extra picky when it comes to Penang food found outside the state – whether in a hawker center, cafe or restaurant. Most of them are just bad if compared to the real deal, which is understandable so I have always distanced myself from such places. So, are there really no good eateries in Klang Valley to cure the homesickness of Penangites? Well, there is one called Gurney Delight Cafe at Kota Kemuning.
The menu features all the familiar Penang’s signature specialties such as Assam Laksa, Hokkien Mee, Char Koay Teow, Curry Mee etc and they are reasonably priced @ RM5.50. Well, except for a few that are more elaborate.


The Hokkien Mee (also known as Prawn Noodle in the rest of Malaysia) is a must try here, true to the authentic Penang style where the soup is already mildly spicy on its own – so tasty we slurped up every last drop. Price wise it is more than reasonable considering the generous amount of toppings that include some pork ribs as well.


2nd must try – Hokkien Char, something that is underappreciated outside Penang. So far as reputation is concerned, this dish is equivalent to the KL’s Hokkien Mee, which kind of explains why they don’t do well in each other’s territory. Seasoning aside, both of them actually share quite a number of similarities since they are of Hokkien origin. Taste wise, Hokkien Char emphasizes more on the seafood flavor and the quality of sambal belacan, whereas a good Hokkien Mee is usually judged based on the ‘wok hei’. Regardless, they must be topped with ‘chee yau char’ and eaten with a dollop of sambal (the soul of the dish) for maximum enjoyment.

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Hometown Steamboat @ Bandar Menjalara, Kepong

Our next stop in conquering the steamboat restaurants in Kepong is Hometown Steamboat at Bandar Menjalara. From what we have observed thus far they could be the busiest steamboat place in town and the crowd is still going even though they opened a few months ago. This was also the first time we had to queue for steamboat and we were given a number to wait for our turn. Luckily the turnover was quite fast so we only waited for about 10 minutes for our table.


Their a la carte menu is reasonably priced, food is fresh and they have a variety of soup bases to choose from. We only tried the clear and award winning Tom Yam soup and I have to say the latter is really good, definitely a must try for Tom Yam lovers. So with so many good factors it is no wonder they are so popular. But the service could be faster.


Instead of serving only one standard steamboat set, there are a few other sets you could choose from and each of them come with different ingredients and pricing. For example if you choose the single set @ RM16.80 shown above (the only set which you could order 1 pax portion) it will be the very generic type while the Seafood Set @ RM16.50/pax has a better selection of seafood with clams included. Another set is the Ketam Crystal Ball set @ RM15.50/pax that has more processed food – you get the drill. For dessert, ice cream fondue is available.

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Presto – The Fresh Supermarket @ Citta Mall, Ara Damansara

Last weekend we were at Citta Mall for breakfast and noticed a new supermarket called Presto. Since it was quite a heavy breakfast we thought why not take a stroll through the supermarket to see what it has to offer. The supermarket’s layout is well presented, looks clean and tidy with a welcoming atmosphere.


The usual groceries, personal care and household items could be found here but Presto strongly focus on imported products like fruits, vegetables, snacks and beverages – especially the last two. So this is a small haven for adventurous food lovers (like me) looking to try new brands that the usual chain supermarkets don’t carry. As for me, I am always on the hunt for new instant noodle flavors.



Presto’s tagline is ‘The Fresh Supermarket’ and this is clearly portrayed as the fruits and vegetable section greet customers as soon as they walk in. I like how the names of the different sections are displayed with big and bold letters, makes it easy to find what you want.

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Char Siew @ Jia Jia Lai 家家来, Jalan Peel Cheras

Jia Jia Lai / Kar Kar Loi is a road side stall along Jalan Peel that is famous for their char siew, roast pork, steamed Tilapia and braised chicken feet. It has received unanimous praise from most of the people who had eaten here, but unfortunately our experience was not as great as expected. As far as char siew is concerned, I think this place might be a little over hyped.


We wanted to order the roast pork as well but was told that it is only available after 12.30pm. So we settled for char siew, steamed Tilapia with assam sauce and braised chicken feet. The complimentary soup is super tasty for a reason – heavily laden with MSG, so much that one small bowl is enough to leave you dry mouthed afterwards.



The Char Siew looks great and all and you would probably think it tastes awesome, well only true for the juicy and fatty portions. I honestly could not bring myself to enjoy the leaner parts which are tough and chewy. Personally? I would say that the Char Siew I had recently at this Jalan Ipoh Wantan Mee stall tastes better, especially on the texture.

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Dim Sum @ Chuai Heng Restaurant, Jalan Bukit Bintang KL

Given the countless places that serve dim sum in KL, I seldom revisit a particular restaurant within a short period of time as there are always more to discover. But I made an exception for Chuai Heng and had my dim sum brunch there for two consecutive weekends because their dim sum is really good, albeit slightly higher priced than the rest.


The restaurant might look normal from the outside but the interior is actually quite grand with a welcoming appeal. Dim sum is ordered using an a la carte paper menu and prepared to order so they always taste warm and fresh.


I absolutely love the Siu Mai @ RM7.80. It sounds expensive but the good thing is that each basket contains four pieces instead of the usual three. Each of them are made of some minced meat and least three pieces of sweet and succulent prawns with the desirable crunchy texture.


Some pumpkin slices add a different twist to the Steamed Pork Ribs. This is very tasty as well, but alas, we felt it had more bones than meat.

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