Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dolly Dimsum - Concept Well Executed

Whoever the owners are, they have done a fantastic job. They have managed to get so many things "right". The halal dimsum concept does not really attract me at first, I mean, quite a number of dishes required pork or pork lard. However I was pleasantly surprised - and also there are a lot of Malays who actually love dimsum.

First outlet at Avenue K. If you cannot get there, there is a new outlet at Nu Sentral.

Things they got right:

1. Decor - its modern chic meets understated Nyonya Baba, I esp like the latter part. Too often when its Nyonya Baba the whole shebang screams at you. The ambience is wonderful. Its not "expensive" and neither is it cheap. Just inviting.

2. Food range - good extensive list. Can take out the beancurd roll in sweet and sour sauce - does not belong anywhere on earth.

3. Most items were pretty good to excellent. The TDF item (to die for) has to be the Egg Custard Bun (salted egg caramel filling). Its heavenly. The hargau was exceptional too.

4. Service staff well trained and service was swift unless its peak lunch hours.

5. Tea selection was well thought out, not your low-grade stuff. Prices overall is akin to "city dining prices", not cheap but not overly expensive.

Overall, very well done.

Avenue K outlet opens at 11am, Nu Sentral outlet opens at 10am. I would go during weekends (early) for unobtrusive service and less crowds.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Must Watch Cantopop Concert June

If you like Cantopop, and you like to support amazing local talent ... you must go to this concert.

1 st & 2nd June 2016 @ NoBlackTie ... 9pm-11pm

Cover: RM60 without drinks

Trust me, she is my god- daughter ...

Friday, May 06, 2016

Borneo Asian Food by Sugarbun (Opens 9 May2016)

Let's be honest here, most of us who have visited East Malaysia find it hard to get good food there. Its not that they do not exist but rather we do not know where they are located. Sugarbun has had a long history and footprint in East Malaysia. However it is not the usual Sugarbun outlet that is opening here. Its the holistic approach to present very good East Malaysian food types in the form of a multi station restaurant concept, Borneo Asian Food.

I had the opportunity to taste almost every single item on the menu the other day for "food tasting". Here I have to say that I have not been paid to write this and actually they did not even ask me to blog about this.

A lot of thought and planning has gone behind the dishes, though most are simple stuff but the ingredients are well sourced with plenty from eco farms in Sabah. Trust me when I say the fish dishes were superb. It will probably take you 3-4 visits to try all dishes but its worth it.

I think Borneo Asian Food will be a success because there is a huge gap in the culinary stratosphere, even in the abundant foodie paradise that is in the peninsular. Maybe they will even get reprimanded by the government tourism offices in East Malaysia for being too successful - thus causing many not needing to travel to East Malaysia for food ... but of course there is still the scenery and fresh air to look forward to.

Let's drill down:


This is from Sugarbun's original kitchen. Suffice to say their Broasted chicken is excellent, seriously better than KFC. they also have a sambal fried Chicken which is not bad. 

Why their chickens taste better ... its broiled then roasted, which strips off a lot more excess oil  thus the skin is crispier and you do not get the oily jelly feeling from KFC. The seasoning is pretty tasty too. 

A popular chicken dish is their Kano chicken, which may have been very popular among East Malaysians but may not suit the taste buds of West Malaysians as its a bit tomatooey, but I am sure some may like the taste.
Broasted Chicken 9.5/10
Sambal chilli Chicken 9/10
Kano Chicken 7/10


Their fish section should be the most popular once patrons get a taste of the fish. The garoupa fish soup is outstanding - taste of the sea and the garoupa tasted better than even live fish (if thats possible). According to the manager, all their fishes are "blast-freezed" which is technically the best way to preserve fish caught from the sea. Killing it while alive actually may cause their flesh to tighten up. You can have it with meehoon or served with soup of just fish and soup - all outstanding. Seriously the whole shebang is among the best "fish based soup" I have tasted. Its a lot like the fish head meehoon but better - you can see why as they do not need to fry the fish at all (which is a masking tactic for lack of freshness). I can have this everyday.

They also serve a milky version of the fish soup, which to me clouds the freshness of the soup a bit but that version would be closer to the local fish head meehoon.

But seriously, if you go to a full service Chinese restaurant, be prepared to pay 3x for these dishes. Great value.
Garoupa Fish Head Soup 10/10
Group Fish Head Milky Soup 8.5/10


This deserves a separate mention as they are very proud of their Eco farms for this fish. Its actually tilapia, which has had a lot of bad viral news of late. However, these tilapias are from their eco farms in Sabah. It has to go with rice as its fried to a crisp, the meat is juicy and sweet, and goes so well with their two chilli sauces - both made in house with distinctive Sabahan flavours. Its always fried till golden brown, crispy and I keep seeing people eating everything right down to the bare bones of the fish. We know how good well fried seafood can be dipped with the right chilli - thats the mantra.
Eco Fish with Rice 9.5/10


ASSAM FISH HEAD - A very decent version. 9/10

MUSHROOM CHICKEN SOUP - Don't be fooled by the common sounding dish, this surprised me on many levels. Together with ginger, it comes together very well, much like Drunken Chicken Ginger broth but there is no wine here as its halal. Still, the broth presents a flavour that reminds me of that dish and more. I guess I do not have to go to East Malaysia to get this dish ... as I certainly haven't found it in West Malaysia ever. Great find.  10/10

SARAWAK LAKSA - Unfortunately I did not get to take a picture of the dish but its more than excellent. Certainly not watery like some of the other versions we get here. Has depth of flavour in its soup base. Might not be the best Sarawak laksa I've had but this will do.  9/10

FRIED CABBAGE with DRIED PRAWNS - This is a simple dish but they do it oh so well. Must be the dried prawns, which is not that salty but very aromatic. Just a simple cabbage with fried prawns, you didn't know it could be so tasty. Best way to have it is with fried meehoon. Spectacular yet simple.  10/10

SABAH SEAWEED - Its a popular product in East Malaysia, and they have introduced it as a refreshing salad, or you will also come across it in their luxurious "ice kacang" - its got a good crunch to it. Btw the ice kacang is pretty good too and they use "attap (palm) sugar" which is aromatic but less sickeningly sweet.

SEA SALTED MACKERAL/SARDINES - We go to East Malaysia to try their seafood , just try these two dishes and you get really fresh seafood, now at decent prices without having to go to a Chinese restaurant with live aquarium. 9/10

Menara Hap Seng,  Level 1
Jalan P. Ramlee
Monday-Friday    7.30am-8.00pm
Saturday              10.00am-2.00pm
Sunday                 Closed

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Eye In The Sky - Must Watch

This has to be one of the best films I have watched for the last few years. Not only was it entertaining, it had so much more to offer the audience.

Firstly, kudos to Malaysian government for not tinkering with the movie, heck if it was banned... most would kinda understand. To allow the movie in says a lot, in a good way. That we understand fanatics and we are against them.

The premise of the story is simple enough. Kill off a few on the top of wanted list, who happens to be radicals sending suicide bombers all over. Hence the subject matter is already relevant. But the movie brought it home to us in terms of recklessness, sheer insanity of the motive, and the depth of collateral damage.

Its kinda like James Bond except there is no James Bond. The acting was superb. What was supposed to be a simple target and kill turned into a humanity vs military professionalism vs diplomatic mess. Very real indeed.

How critical decisions cannot be made in a committee. What is responsibility, what is reprehensible. There is the commander, there are the politicians, the pilot who pulls the trigger ... you replace them with a different person... each will have differing levels of "humanity vs professionalism" that they bring to the job. 

Its a MUST SEE because it is highly entertaining, gripping ... yet make us all rethink the sheer madness of fanatics, and the awful collateral damage. As someone said about the recent suicide bombings ... it is no longer adequate to call them "suicide bombers".

Go watch the bloody movie.

btw .. Helen Mirren was outstanding.

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