Thursday, May 25, 2017

YummY! - Creative Fusion @ Manja Old Malaya

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Creative Fusion @ Manja Old Malaya
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - May 2017
Allow me to take you on a trip, a notstalgic trip down a memory lane that's called Old Malaya. Yes there is such a lane right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur that will evoke memories of old times from decades ago..... AND it comes with a bonus of very good food with a fantastic view.

OLD MALAYA is a short row of shop houses along Lorong Raja Chulan, a lane which although is within the centre of the city, is surprisingly quiet - no overly bright lights, no roar of traffic; which makes this place just perfect for some good classy dining. The houses here had previously been abandoned and derelict; but have now been tastefully restored and even painted a stern white to reflect the colonial era. But there was nothing stern about the place, it was in fact a cosy place to comfortably wine and dine away the hours.

We were at Manja, one of the outlets within the row, it's a place that offers very good food, one of East meets West fusion which had been very creatively prepared by the chefs. Indoors, the restaurant have been very comforatbly laid out, walls with strong colours and a couple of large posters hanging there to balance off the strong tones.

We opted to sit at the garden, with the KL Tower looming over us. Yes it really stood tall there, like a big friendly giant overhead and with it's bright dancing colours building up our appetites. It was a surrealistic experience - dining at a old colonial setting with the tech of modern day right atop us!

The food here is neo-fusion, with interesting names that gave hints of what is to come but never revealing all until one takes the first taste. Some give a startling oomph, while others have their flavours slowly settling in. Let's start with this Negombo Stir Fried Crab With Mantou. Negombo is a beach town in Sri Lanka and the crabs are Sri Lankan mud crabs. Mantou originated from China.
Hah! This is the first time I am having a Sino-Sinhalese fusion!

The Mantou is one of deep-fried style - here they looked handsomely brown with smooth curls. The outside is cripsy and gives a good slightly-crunchy bite. The curls swirl inward to become softly breadish, just nice to absorb the tastiness of the crab combo.

And in this large bowl is the crab, de-shelled with its stringy meat cooked the Sinhalese way : with spices, bean paste, pickled onions and chilli, infusing their mouth-watering flavours into the meat. It's not overly spicy, just enough to give that tiny sting to the palate. It's a good blend, the soft spicy crab balanced off by the cripsy-breadish Mantous.

Now this is another curious dish, Bayam & Escargot - this time its a fusion of French snails with Malaysian bayam (Spinach), and served with toasted Italian focaccia dotted with a sprinkling of garlic.

The escargots were cooked with the finely cut spinach in lobster oil that gave an underlying creamy flavour. The escargots had been de-shelled and were sitting comfortably on the spinach waiting to be scooped up and .....

... spread over the focaccia. And Wahlah! And another good blend hits our palate!

The Saffron Snapper & Scallop Ravioli looked a bit lost cutting it's way across this large white plate, AND Hey! Where's the fish? But don't let this "lost" dish fool you; one scoop of the fish (which was hiding inside the ravioli) with the yellowish saffron cream sauce, and all misgivings are replaced by respect.

The sauce slowly works its way in as I sank my teeth into the ravioli-fish. This is a triple-fusion with a local snapper, Itallian pasta, and large U10 scallops from the States. My only grouse was that the wonderful scallops were overcooked thus not that juicy.

Taking a break, I look skywards letting the shifting colours of the KL Tower clear my mind, getting ready for more flavours to come.

This Pommery Lamb & Hummus sat there comfortably, its rack like fingers called out to me seductively. This time it's a blend of New Zealand lamb with the Middle Eastern hummus.

This was our best dish of the evening, the lamb was nicely done with a good crusty layer leading to a soft juicy inside. We took small tasteful bites of it while enjoying the view.

This Taiping Duck & Garlic Fried Rice got me wondering. Does the Taiping meant that it originated from Taiping or reflected the Taiping Rebellion by it revolusionary combo? Those in the know will say that the duck came from the Malaysian town of Taiping.

For me I will take both meanings. The food here is quite revolutionary while Trong, nearby to Taiping, is renown for the many farms that breed good-tasting ducks.
The garlic fried rice was very good, with a generous amount of garlic to give a heady zest, and the roasted duck was equally good, well roasted with the right amount of duck fat below the crispy skin.

To round of the meal, we had this Mint-Lime Freeze, a simple but very refreshing quencher topped off with sugar at the glass rims.

Click here for their Menu & Prices. , which includes creative dishes for lunch, dinner (in large, medium and small plates) and a plethora of fusion local cocktails, wine and beer.

6, Lorong Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mobile: +6012-373 7063
Hours: 11:30am to 2:00am (Everyday)
GPS: 3.1505, 101.70436
(Click here for Google Street View)

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

YummY! - Authentic Korean Sashimi @ Seongsan-ri Jeju Island

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               Jotaro's Food Review              
Authentic Korean Sashimi @ Seongsan-ri Jeju Island

Seongsan Ilculbong, Seongsan-ri, Jeju Island, South Korea - March 2017
We were on a round Jeju Island cycling tour, and one important stop was Seongsan where there is a Korean Cycling Passport Station and nearby is the famed Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. Most will stop near the port that ferry people over to Udo Island for lunch. There are many seafood restaurant here; we had ours at Hyundai Restaurant which serves Korean-style Sashimi.
The photo above is that of the Sliced Raw Silver Hairtail Fish.

Short of time we did not get to visit the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. It's a extinct volcano with a green plateau within it's crater. But eating at the Hyundai Restaurant was one which was also a culnirary lesson in Korean Food. Read on to learn something about it too.

A view of what we ate, we will come to details later on:
Top centre is raw fish noodle.

The greenish dish at the second row is Wasabe Rice, next to it is Salt Grilled Mackerel, and one the left is Abalone Seaweed Soup.
Centre bottom row is Raw Crab Marinated in Soy Sauce. Other small dishes around are Banchan, Korean side dishes that comes with the main course.
Not shown in this photo are the raw fish, which will be show as we go along.

We kicked off with this nicely presented Slice Raw Mackerel, called in Korean Godeungeo-hoe (고등어회). Gudeungeo is Mackerel and the suffix hoe means raw.
This raw fish was very fresh and slightly sweet.

The raw fish were sliced and laid out onto these glazed porcelain holders with flowery patterns on top. I had initially thought that they were some kind of jelly (Greedy me, hahah!).

Next was small slices of Raw Small Silver Hairtail Fish called Galchi-hoe (갈치). These were really thin slices. Both the raw fish did not come in large quantities and eating them by themselves would not make a full meal.

Fortunatley, the meal came with a couple of bowls of Wasabi Rice topped with shreds of Mareun-miyeokdried seaweed (마른미역); and Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe). But then....  there we were, greenhorns in eating Korean Sashimi were wondering how we should be eating these.

Luckily, one of the owners (a pretty Korean lady) saw our predicament and came around showing us how to eat. I was paying full attention to her instruction but at the same time stealing glances at her pretty face... Heh heh!

The trick is to lay out the Wasabi Rice onto the provided Pirella Leaves, put some Banchan and top these with some of the raw fish; and them roll the whole thing up to be eaten Ssam-style!
Nifty yah?

Thsi is the Salt Grilled Mackerel, Godeungeo-gui (고등어구이). The ones served here were very fresh, but I would had liked it more if it was cooked caramelised-style .

The Hoe-guksu Raw Fish Noodles (in full it's called Hoeguksu Halmaejip, 회국수할매집)  came with slices of raw fish (of course), shreds of greens and top with slices of carrots and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The whole dish was stirred with some kimchi sauce that was not to spicy or sourish, in fact it had a nice sweet based. I like this noodles very much.

Oodles of noodles stretched very long to be served to individual plates.

The Abalone Seaweed Soup (Jeonbok Miyeok-suk , 전복미역) came with loads of seaweed and fresh abalone (Jeonbok, 전복). With a combo of salty seaweed and sweet abalone, it was a very tasty and good soup.

The abalone (Jeonbok, 전복) was very fresh, and cooked together with their shells.

This Raw Crab Marinated in Soy Sauce (Ganjang-Gejang, 간장게) was one dish most of us dare not savour, it was really alien looking to us.

Another look at the alien (Ganjang-Gejang (간장게). Fenn did try it, took one mouth said it had an odd taste and then did not continue on. Urghs....)

Below are Hyundai's Sashimi Restaurant's menus together with their pricing:
Their special menu, Menu A is for two pax, and Menu B is for three pax. This was what we went for, one of each for the seven of us.

The Main Dish Menu 1.

The Main Dish Menu 2.

The Main Dish Menu 3, a couple of abalone and sea urchin dishes.

Their Mackerel Menu.

Their shopfront advertised themselves as a Slow Food place servining traditional seafood. I think they meant say eat at a leisurely pace 😆.

Hyundai Sashimi Traditional Seafood Restaurant
360 Seongsan-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Mobile: +82-010-5590-2128

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / FootSteps / YummY! / Korea 2017 Korean Food / Authentic Korean Sashimi @ Seongsan-ri Jeju Island
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