Thursday, July 31, 2014

Japanese Street Food Promotion with Sushi King

こんにちは、みなさん!食べたいですか。

Hello peeps! As you can see, I'm trying hard to practice my Japanese as much as I can and the above says HELLO EVERYONE, WOULD YOU LIKE TO EAT? Back to back food posts, hooray! 

 Sushi King, Sunway Pyramid. Thanks for the picture, Isabel!

 Street Food is THE thing now in Japan!

You know how we have our "pasar malam" all year round with street food galores just waiting for us to devour? It's the time of the year for the Japanese right now because it's summer and they have street foods being sold openly everywhere! To celebrate the spirit of Summer in Malaysia too, Sushi King has introduced the Japanese Street Food Promotion from the 1st of July till the 31st of August 2014. Luckily for me, Tania decided it would be nice to have us (Senri, Isabel and I) join her for a "makan" session at Sushi King, Sunway Pyramid just to try the menu out! Hello, nobody rejects Japanese street food!

Pumpkin tempura @ RM 5 a plate

 Spicy edamame @ RM 4 a plate

While it first made its appearance in May, the pumpkin tempura has become something that everyone enjoys so it's going to stay for a little bit more. Imagine, slices of battered pumpkin that's deep fried before they're put to your table top. We all loved how it tasted actually; slightly sweet with that crispy bite that wasn't overly oily. In fact it was so good, we shamelessly asked for seconds! The spicy edamame with chilli flakes and bits of dried shrimp was a different twist from regularly plain edamame because of the spicy kick it brought. I think this would suit the Malaysian palate well actually because it gave me that bit of local feel as I scurried through the skin for the peas inside.

Spicy Salmon Nigiri @ RM 5 a plate

 Unagi Nigiri @ RM 5 a plate

Much like the spicy edamame, the spicy salmon nigiri featured a dollop of chilli flakes on top of fresh salmon slices. I would take this over regular salmon actually because I liked how the chilli flakes masked away the fishy smell that salmons sometimes brings. Yes, I am really picky when it comes to these smells and the spicy salmon nigiri really hit the spot of a balance between being spicy and tastefully fresh. And great news if you're a fan of unagi nigiri because it's now on offer for RM 5 instead of RM 6! The delicious sliced eel nigiri is really delicious with wasabi and shoyu so don't miss out okay?

Kushiage Moriawase @ RM 11.90 a serving

Served with okonomi sauce for dipping

Takoyaki Tempura @ RM 6.90

I am generally someone who loves tempura foods be it seafood, meat or vegetables so the kushiage moriawase that features 5 types of Japanese skewers truly hit a good note. The mix included skewered prawn, scallop, chicken nugget, mushrooms and long beans and the okonomi sauce that's traditionally used on okononomiyaki (Japanese pancake) was really good rather than just normal tasting tempura dips. As for the takoyaki tempura, it's definitely different from grilled takoyoki that you get from the stall in front of AEON usually but instead this one gave a delicate crunch from the tempura batter that was used to coat the octopus ball. Two thumbs up for good changes, Sushi King!

Chicken Tonpei Yaki @ RM 9.90

I must, must, MUST rave about this! Rather famous for its features of shredded cabbage and crunchy fritters wrapped with a thin piece of egg roll topped with okonomi sauce and Japanese mayo, the Chicken Tonpei Yaki is seriously just THE item to order while its on the menu! I loved how excellently grilled the chicken was and the entire mix was just amazing! For those who prefers beef, they also do a beef tonpei yaki at the same price! Can I please eat this everyday? Pretty please?

Kushiage Bento @ RM 16.90 a serving

Chicken yaki udon @ 13.90 a serving

If you're someone who looks for something a little extra every time you walk into an eatery, you should really consider the kushiage bento that consists of salmon steak, skewered prawns, scallops, chicken nuggets, mushrooms and long beans with an okonomi dip! If you're a small eater like myself, consider sharing for a good value, it's not too bad! If you're not too big on rice however, don't fret. There's always the chicken yaki udon for you to have! The chicken yaki udon with deep fried chicken nuggets on Japanese wheat noodles fried with okonomi sauce and mixed vegetables is a good pick if you're looking for a good bite for the day (or night!).

Ramune @ RM 6.90 a serving

video
How to pop open your Ramune 101 by Tania

Thirsty after all that food? There's always Ramune to save the day! It tastes of a lemony concoction but this popular carbonated drink is only available during this period so be sure you're there to get all the Ramune you can while it lasts! In fact, opening up the Ramune is half the fun already! 

Chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream @ RM 5.90 a serving

Featuring chopsticks from Senri as well as fingers from Tania and Isabel, the chocolate brownies were a side order that I thought would end my meal perfectly. I thought it lacked a little bit of a crispy bite to brownies but was otherwise really yummy because of how warm it was with a dollop of cold ice cream. 

Sushi King even has set meals or better known as #SharingMoments for groups of 2 or 4 that comes with food and drinks that will definitely make you enter hungry and leave happy! Plus if you spend more than RM 80 in a single receipt, you'll get a Matsure mini hand fan for free!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Food Adventures: Indulge @ TGV 1U

The long weekend has arrived and you know what's the best thing to do with that? Indulge. To immerse yourself in fun, food and do nothing for the rest of your hours. Sound good to you? Sounds amazing to me! Can I put everyone to their imaginations now?

And just INDULGE.

Imagine just laying on a reclining chair with your feet propped up, a warm blanket shielding you from the cold and having food served in a little Bento box while catching the latest movie on the wide screens. Before you're thinking I have gone completely nuts, let me just say it is possible. Set in 1 Utama's TGV Cinemas, INDULGE is the latest unique cinema concept that stands apart from regular cinemas.

A private ticketing counter.

A hall that fits just between 32 to 40 people.

Comfortable reclining seats that seats 2.

And your personal call-waiter service!

That's right, INDULGE features its own ticketing counter; away from the ones where you have to line up with people who have no concept of personal space as well as an exclusive hall that accommodates only 32 to 40 people at a time so you hear less people coughing through a good movie. You can even recline your seats so you get to sit like a boss (literally) and call for "waiters" to give you food and drinks! Talk about having a grand movie time, right?

But seriously, what's a good movie without good food? Luckily for me, Tania was invited for sneak peek experience to INDULGE's food and cinematic experience and she decided it would be fun to take the lot of us over too. *Coughs* The lot of us being Senri and Isabel as well, just in case you think a huge bunch of us trampled over to TGV Cinemas.

The lounge area of INDULGE.

And a dining area, if you may.

While I arrived late for the experience, (Curse the after-work traffic, it took me an hour to get to 1 Utama from my office when it usually just takes 5 minutes!) I was still lushly invited by the friendly staffs of INDULGE into the warm and jazzy area for a food adventure that didn't feel like any other.

Grape soda for the night. Not overly sweet and fairly tangy to boot.

Smoked duck salad.

Pumpkin salad.

If you've known me enough, you would know I am a no-vege person. I despise vegetables down to the very core unless they're of certain picks such as brocolli or Hong Kong "kailan". That said, the smoked duck salad served with mesclun greens, capsicums and skewed with kiwi and balsamic dressing was pretty good. The smoked duck slices were really good at least. The pumpkin salad with honey roasted pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and capsicums with balsamic dressing were also delicious, something that took me aback considering how thick I thought the pumpkin would have been. The balsamic vinegar did give it a light twist to the dish, making it less boring.

Stuffed potato skin.

Our entree included stuffed potato skins with turkey bacon and mozzarella, a change from usual potato dishes I've had. Here we see at least one and a half potatoes and I love potatoes so this is a great plus for me. It wasn't overly salty and you could just eat it without anything else. Perfect for movie time if you ask me. Unfortunately, I was so immersed with eating that I totally forgot to take pictures of the delicious lamb koftas; lamb patties served with green salad. I can however tell you that it was a tad bit salty but it didn't give out a gamey smell so it was pleasant enough to have.

Grilled lamb rack.

Here's our first main course, the grilled lamb rack with seasonal vegetables and rosemary sauce. I'm not a huge fan of lamb mainly because I don't like the gamey smell and unfortunately for me the lamb that night did have the gamey smell but apparently for Tania, Isabel and Senri it didn't. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to the scent but it didn't pique my interest as much.

Grilled salmon.

This came with seasonal vegetables and lemon butter sauce as well as mashed potatoes to die for. I loved the lemon butter sauce that was thick enough to take away the fishy smell of salmon (If there was any at that moment) and still had a sour twist towards the end of the bite. The salmon wasn't overcooked, a sign that the someone in the kitchen definitely knows what he or she is doing with this fish! And kudos also to the one who made the mashed potatoes because the only other person whose mashed potatoes I have ever complimented is Chef's and that's saying a lot! I have a spoiled palate, I'm sorry.

Cajun chicken.

If you're hungry and you're at INDULGE, get the cajun chicken dish. Served with potato wedges, the grilled boneless chicken thigh with cajun seasoning is a sure fire winner of the night. It was flavorful and the scent that it brought as it danced in your mouth is something that isn't something you'll find in regular eateries. I liked it a lot and this cajun chicken indeed put everyone to a higher level of cinematic foods.

Nutty tortilla banana.

Panna cotta.

Desserts! My favourite time of any meal. Seriously, I think that desserts should be served twice in every meal; once before meal and once after meal. If you'll put it in the middle of the meal, I'd have it too! The nutty tortilla banana was filled with peanut butter, cornflakes and freshly sliced banana and that's saying something about someone putting in everything good into one. Peanut butter and sliced banana? Hello, that already sounds delicious doesn't it? Now about that panna cotta, I would love another right here, right now. The Italian cooked cream topped with raspberries and the tangy sauce was equally thick and appetizing at a good scale. 

Good food for a good night with great company? That's indulgence at INDULGE at its finest.

What's coming soon? Good movies, that's what!

We were also invited to experience the INDULGE cinemas and were pleased with everything we were treated with. Call it passionate everyday thoughts but it isn't everyday when you get treated like queens and have personalized staffs of TGV come and tend to your every need with a tap of the button. Oh, and you know what made my night extra good?

A lucky draw with name cards!

And tickets for the winner...me.

I am not exactly the luckiest person around but that very night, I snagged home 4 of these "Air Force One" tickets that entitles me free passes to any movie in any TGV cinema. I've promised to take Tania, Senri and Isabel because we did go for the sneak peek together and cause I personally enjoy their company especially after long days at work. Some friends are unexpectedly close with you, right? Imagine just 20 minutes before the lucky draw, I was telling them to pick out the ONLY purple name card in the bowl. *Grins*

Now if you're thinking of a good movie time, tickets are on sale at only RM 45 per seat (meals not included) and you can get them on www.tgv.com.my or at via the TGV Cinemas' Movie Buddy app on the Apple store and Good Play Store. Or you could just go grab your tickets from the exclusive ticketing counter where you don't have to rub shoulders with people who don't know the meaning of personal space. Seriously, people. Stop coming so close. Personal space.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amante Charity Fair on the 7th of September

Hello peeps! I know I've been popping in and out the blog and it's probably getting a little annoying but give me props for trying. I mean, wouldn't it feel good to do something good? Which is why I'm going to tell you about the Amante Charity Fair happening on the 7th of September 2014 from 10 AM till 6 PM at Amante Kota Damansara!

But before you get the juicy details, here's an insight on the organizers and the event. Amante Nail Spa is a superlative spa for women, housing popular beauty and wellness needs. The proceeds from this fair will be donated to GOOD SAMARITAN HOME - Home for Children in Malaysia for education. These funds will give a good leap in making learning possible for students of all ages; be it from pre-school to graduate schools, providing basic education to those who need it the most.


Now considering it is a fair after all, what fun would it be without booklets and such? Come on, that's the true spirit of fairs, right? And that is why you should get the Amante Charity booklet for just RM 35, consisting of 7 x RM 5 cash vouchers for you to purchase treatments, activities, food and enjoy games plus a BONUS "Thank you Hot Stone Massage treatment" worth RM 88! Hello, doing good to feel good anyone?

So yes, it's time for you to get those Amante Charity Voucher booklets! But how?

1. You can grab it from the nearest Amante outlet. Do check out www.amante.my for a list of locations near you.
2. If you don't quite have the time to head out to any of the nearest Amante outlets, you can also secure your booklet by transferring or banking in to Amante Beauty Care Sdn Bhd (MAYBANK ACCOUNT NUMBER - 512491131743) and send the note or bank-in slip to amantecharity@gmail.com. Remember to leave your name, e-mail address and mobile number or they won't know who you are! Your booklet will be ready for collection at the Amante Charity Fair!

Now set these details in your phone, because they're really important or else you'll miss out on the Amante Charity Fair!

7th of September 2014
10 AM - 6 PM 
Amante Kota Damansara

Okay bye.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Birch Plaza @ Times Square Penang, Georgetown

It's the weekends again and I am still on a Penang recovery state! Gosh I would have never imagined that I would enjoy Penang so much, especially now that I no longer frequent it yearly. I guess this is how people are; we tend to only appreciate something when we don't get it anymore. Urgh, lesson learned!

So if you've remembered from my previous blog post, I was in Penang over the weekends and we stayed at the Birch Plaza that's just above Times Square Penang in Georgetown. Location wise, it's the best place ever besides the Heritage zone (Armenian Street and such) because it only takes you 5 minutes to walk down to Komtar and you'll get to Penang Road in about 10 minutes. All this, just by walking!

 You'll need an access card to get into the lifts to go to the units. Good security!

 Lights of Penang at night! Gosh I miss looking out to this!

And then this is my morning view! How can you not love this place?

I was actually pretty shocked to see a view like this one, probably because we stayed on the 11th floor. It was quite the sight to wake up to seeing the pool and a jacuzzi...which we didn't quite go to. Still a very pleasing factor if you're staying longer than just over the weekends because you know this is the kind of amenity you will get after a long day out in Penang.

Our units consisted of 2 bedrooms, 1 attached bathroom and a common bathroom, a huge living space, a kitchen and a laundry room. Yes, you read that one right. They actually provided us with a clothes rack and a washing machine, possibly for those who are going to be there for a longer time.

The master bedroom consists of a king sized bed and 3 REALLY comfortable pillows. Bed was also at the right size to fit 3 girls.

Closet space and a plug point modified for me to charge my phone instead of powering the light.

The boys' room. Clearly I didn't bother with presentation. It's fitted with one single bed and a single bed.

And bright lights from the big window on the side along with a cupboard.

The bathrooms were actually of a decent size, quite a shocker for me because I was expecting minuscule bathrooms since my grandparents' place didn't have that big a bathroom. We even had to fight whenever we went back for Chinese New Year so this was really surprising for me.

Master bathroom. It's sized decently if someone has to actually use the toilet and someone else takes a shower. But uhm...who does that now?

A bathtub in the master bathroom! I used this for a bubble bath on Sunday morning!

 The share bath on the outside that's decently sized for shower and "businesses" per say.

The most surprising factor of the entire unit however has got to be the size of the place. It was huge!

We had a proper dining table, clearly full of our stuff.

 Lots of roomy space! Television, sofa set, coffee table and extra space for everything!

I completely forgot to take pictures of the kitchen and laundry room though because I was overly excited over everything there is! But trust me on this because it was really a joy to be staying at Birch Plaza @ Times Square Penang.

Our stay costed RM 350 odd a night and when we split amongst ourselves, we each only had to pay RM 100! We were in the heart of town, the amenities were great and it's affordable. And the caretaker of the place, Victor was also a whole lot of help over the entire trip. We corresponded on e-mails, phone calls and he was really nice when we met him on the morning that we checked out.

If you're drooling over renting the unit already, you can get to Victor at 019-470 0141. He's promised to hook us up to good deals in the future so maybe if you're lucky, you will too!

P/S: The only down side to the unit is the horrendous levels you have to drive to get to the parking lots but they're really safe and you don't really need to take your car out all the time when you're in Penang. Experience it the Penangite way with bicycles and walking!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Penang In A Day

Cue the blog abandonment, sorry not sorry kind of message. Truth is, I find it so difficult to sit in front of my laptop after work nowadays because I've been looking at the work laptop all day long. I shouldn't however use that as my excuse so I guess I really am a little apologetic on my 10 day strike. Oh but here's a photo heavy kind of post about life over the past weekend!

Midnight road tripping!

Following an entire month's worth of planning along with back and forth decisions, the QWERTY trip to Penang finally materialized and I shot off to Penang with the lot of friends right after work last Friday! The ride took us just a little over 3 hours which was a shock considering how it's a long weekend after all. We met up after a go-around in the island and got into our apartment unit at Birch Plaza, Penang Times Square.

It's in the heart of downtown, a 5 minute walk from Komtar and this is our view from the hall!

I insisted that we stay a little closer to town because that's where everything is; food, fun and everything awesome. Birch Plaza was a find from Becky and Kat's epic find and in all honesty, it's perfect. But I'll really just talk about that in a separate post. Today it's all about the eats and the company!

Char Koay Kark @ McCalister Road.

We started our Saturday morning with the food trail as planned and went for char koay kark (Fried carrot cake) that costs RM 3 a plate. I guess I can't say it's expensive since it's priced around RM 5 in KL but the taste of the koay kark really didn't justify its price. While the egg was flavourful and the bean sprouts were crunchy, the koay kark was completely bland. I didn't even know what I was biting into and that should just say something because it means the stall needs to be labelled as fail. Funny enough though because a LOT of people seem to go there for this even when it's not tasty at all. Tourist spot much?

Penang Road Cendol.

Drowned away that part of a morning disappointment with the famous Penang Road Cendol that now costs RM 2.40. I remember when it was RM 1.60 at a point in time. I guess that's how long my family has frequented this place because the man even owns a shop for his customers to enjoy cendol in right now.

And half of Edward in the picture. Becky took this, she's totally half American right now and needs to record down places she has been in Malaysia!

The touristy photo we took. 
"We're technically tourists now" -Becky

The entire day was made to be impromptu and we decided the next touristy thing to do was to take photos at the Ernest Zacharevic murals around the Heritage Zone of Penang. I mean, it's the fad in Penang nowadays after all so why not just go with it? We did put a twist into the trip however as we decided that the coolest thing we could do is to rent bicycles and go around the area. 

Katrina found her cycling muse.

I cycled also, okay?

Well I lied. I can't cycle to save my life but the extremely nice uncle found a tricycle for me...which was passed on to Edward a little later because it was much more comfortable to hitch a ride with Jian! And this is why I am fat. I mean, come on! It was freaking hot that day!

And bike off!

Each bicycle was rented to us for RM 10 while the tricycle costs RM 12 and there were no time limits to how long we could ride it for. A map was included in every bicycle and locks were also given so we could keep them safe when we stopped at places and abandoned the bicycles. It's good idea for tourists actually seeing as that it's a good way to experience Penang.

Us in an alley because it's the only place free from cars.

Apparently it would have been much better if it was a Sunday because then the authorities would cordon away designated roads for a pure cycling day in the area so everyone cycles without worries of cars or motorbikes. We did have to scurry our way through cars and be really careful with motorbikes simply because it was a Saturday but they're seemingly nice to us anyway.

Us in front of the famous siblings on a bicycle picture.
From L > R: Jian Haw, myself, Wei Kin, Edward, Steven, Katrina and Rebecca

We have a thing for group pictures in front of sibling arts.

New favourite artsy shot.

I thought this was a good use of our bicycle too and Jian got a good gist of it.
 
 Becky and Edward in front of the mural on the walls of the Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop.

Most of us got a sunburn from the heat after a few hours and cycling and we decided to just forget about the hunt for all the murals around 2 PM; a time when we thought food would be a good idea. No surprise for those who would have guessed but I took them to the famous "mee goreng" shop at Bangkok Lane in Pulau Tikus.

Steven ordered a monster sized rojak for 7. This set us off RM 20 with tons of squid and too-die-for rojak sauce.

Super delicious mee goreng. The uncle is still as friendly; I saw him taking a photo with a girl as we arrived. Celebrity chef status maybe...

By this time we were fairly drenched because of how tired we felt from the cycling and sweating. I mean, it does get very uncomfortable to be sticky and sweaty after all. I had hoped for assam laksa from the coffee shop opposite the police station along that road too but they were sold out by the time we went ahead to order. I was truly disappointed that I didn't have any good assam laksa this entire trip. In fact the one Steven got on the same night for dinner was horrible but I'll get to that.

What we managed for the remaining of the day was to visit Batu Ferringhi all the way for the sake of the feeling of sand by our feet and to look out for the sunset by the beach. It sounded feasible considering how tired we were and it was too late to tour over to Air Itam for amazing assam laksa anyway. Again, still very disappointed.

One of those cliche feet on the sand shots.

No beach trips are complete without selfies, I suppose.

And none like a girly picture by the sunset, just for the fun of it.

We buried Steven too, just for the fun of it.

Granted there's tons more pictures of us and the beach but if I had them all here, you'll probably just stop reading my blog forever. So here's ONE of the gazillion sunsets I took that day.

Sunsets are pretty, okay? Don't judge.

We left soonest as the sun was gone and went back to our apartment unit for showers and prepared for dinner after because it was close enough to 7 PM anyway. While our initial plan was to go to Air Itam for o chien (Fried oysters with eggs) and pork satay, everyone was just too tired to move around and settled for dinner from a coffee shop along McCalister Road instead.

Feeding monsters.

I lost track of whatever we bought but the o chien, assam laksa and pork satay was actually quite horrendous. Plus the drinks from that place was horrible too so I guess it wasn't a very good end to the food trip. I wish we had more time for more food too but that's all we could manage as we fitted everything into a single day.

I suppose even when the food was terrible except for the mee goreng and cendol trip, it was the company that really counted. We had tons of laughs and made much more inside jokes that only we will now know because that's what friends are for right? We harass each other with stupid things then patch on horrors with good talks.
 
I had longed for a vacation, an escape that wasn't too expensive from the city life and hustles or work and I totally got it over this trip. It costed me not more than RM 250 for the entire weekend inclusive of accommodation and travel splits! 
 
I could do more weekends like these but until then...goodbye Penang.

More than anything, this trip taught me the value of friendship, of getting fat and of how much a retreat from a regular life brings. Next stop is probably Ipoh with Callie over another weekend. Maybe, just maybe...