Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our new jacket

Thanks to Babe in the city and finalsense, we finally took the plunge and changed our blog's outlook. So comfortable with the old coat that it was actually heartbreaking to cut the tie. Had been working with it everyday for the past 4 months!

The new look is a little bare now. Please bear with us. There are still so much tweaking and fine-tuning to be done. That will certainly take a long while because there are so much to learn and we are on a trial and error roller coaster. If there is anyone out there who can help please do drop us a line...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I love Charlie

I am in love.

His name is Charlie.

He's a Gemini.

He's Chinese royalty.

And because of him, I finally believe in love at first sight.

I never thought I could love another after Sam. But Charlie's changed all that now.

We're as different as chalk and cheese, but when we met, it was like kismet.

I can spend all day just talking to him, hugging him, reveling in his company and just enjoying the fact that he makes me laugh. All the time.

Charlie's my Godson. I think I'm gonna get Charlie a Godbrother. Soon. Very soon.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Kedai Kopi Dat Seng @ Inanam

Mee Suah, 麺线 Rm 6.50
In a stall in this coffee shop, I found the best Foo Chow mee suah in chicken wine soup.
Everything was right about this bowl of goodness, from the meaty mushroom to the perfectly cooked mee suah.
The aroma of the wine in the soup was intoxicating, yet so light and flavourful.
AND, the best part, I did not get the MSG syndrome like all mee suah eaten outside of home which never fail to give me a dose of heart palpitation and then, the need to drink gallons of water.

Another of my favourite, Foo Chow kon loh mee. This mee was laced with the most fragrant fried shallots and its oil. Very lightly seasoned but perfectly done. The chicken was smooth but too bad not corn-fed. Rm 4

They also serve a herbal chicken soup mee suah which I am dying to try. Next round!

Also in this shop, K found a very good creamy tomyam.
It had all the essential herbs and aroma.
The right balance of sourness, spiciness, heat, flavour and texture which he described as 'smooth'.
The prawns although small in size were very fresh and cooked just right.
For Rm 5.50 only they were very generous with the prawns and fish slices.

They also serve fish head noodle soup with 'ham choy' pickles ... Rm 5

or bitter gourd. Rm 5

This is the dish that brought us to the shop, stewed fish belly and stomach.

Betty told us about this great dish of fish somewhere in Inanam near the new bus terminal but could not remember the name of the shop.

We were at the vicinity one morning and decided to check out the place but found so many coffee shops in that area.

Following my dad's rule of thumb, we sourced out the crowded shops.

Finding it was no problem but getting a seat was, it was full and with a few customers standing waiting for the next available seat. Settled for a roast shop next door that was lacklustre.

Undaunted, we try again few days later and finally, got our long awaited meals in this shop. So many good treats in one shop, no wonder it is always packed.

The coffee shop and the stall open 7 days a week but only for breakfast and lunch until about 3pm.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Japanese Mid Autumn Festival

The worst part about being away from home is 'celebrating' the festivities without the family.
So, to minimize the depression this Mooncake Festival, I was determined to have a good dinner.
Here's where Kura Japanese Restaurant at the One World Hotel (next to One Utama) comes in.
The food was AMAZING and my sadness was lifted.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Deep fried chicken cartilage. Very very yummy. (RM15)

Crab stick salad in a miso base, with lots of salmon roe. To die for. (RM30)

Salmon Sashimi

The set we ordered normally comes with both tuna and salmon sashimi. but since i don't like tuna, they were very happy to change it to salmon which was amazingly fresh and tasty.

Mixed Tempura

So delicately crispy. It almost melts in the mouth.
Sashimi and tempura came as part of a set dinner. (RM48)

A very happy me.

And some mooncake, at home. I've finally gained some sort of willpower and stopped eating 3 whole mooncakes at one go.

Zhung Chiew Jie Kuai Le, everyone.



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sabah's very own Longans

Local longans from Tuaran

These longans are a cross between the old local ones we grew up with that were small, sweet, juicy with very thin flesh and the big fleshy ones from Thailand.
They are sweeter and juicier than the Thai breed and the only lacking is crunchiness in the texture of the flesh but the juiciness more than made up for that.

They are the same size as the Thai's and with thick succulent flesh. Very impressive. Now, I hope we get enough from our own backyards so that we don't have to import anymore of those laden with preservatives .

Longan (龍眼-dragon's eye)

Words failed me here, so I'll let this picture speaks for itself.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Cempedak Fritters

Fruits from the backyards

Got these lovely fruits from Pit Fung, my sister who resides in Tuaran. Cempedak, longans and seedless guava are all from her friends' backyard. The local oranges are from the backyard of Mr. Pang, a friend from Keningau and the custard-apple from our own backyard. We are truly blessed.


A cousin of the more popular jack fruit. Not one of my favourite fruit as I find it too sweet and texture wise, too mashy. My late mother was the only person I know who would eat the fruit as it is. For most of us, the fruit is only palatable when deep-fried in batter much like pising gorang, banana fritters.

Peel the outer skin to get at these luscious fruits.

Make a batter of 2 C flour+1 heap T cornflour+-1 1/2 C water+salt+1T cooking oil, mix lightly. Coat each seed with batter and drop into hot oil to deep fry. Lower heat when crust is formed and fry slowly for about 10 minutes to ensure the inner seed get cooked. This will take a while if you want a nice soft powdery nutty texture inside.


Haven't had these for years and I have forgotten how good they were.
The crispness at first bite, then the soft sweetness hits you together with the lovely aroma and last but not least, you get to the nutty core...oh... a lethal combo.
Once started I couldn't stop, I just kept going and had one piece after another. Later, felt so guilty that I just had to skip dinner.
Bryan loved it too, Keshia doesn't and Leanne will only eat until the flesh and discard the seed.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Leanne's salsa

The most delicious salsa

Cut tomatoes, big onions and cilantro into small pieces

Cut lime and dig out seeds

Squeeze lime juice into vegetables

Add salt, pepper, olive oil and mix

The best salsa

Love, Leanne

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Betty's Homemade Ping Pei Mooncake

This box of moon cakes is from my sister, Betty. As usual, she is the first one to remind us that the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) is just round the corner. This year it will be celebrated on the 25th September. Time does fly...

Betty not only cooks well, she has been making these awesome ping pei (snow skin) moon cakes for close to 20 years.

She first started making for friends and family but through the years, by word of mouth her moon cake culinary reputation grew by leaps and bounds and orders keep coming in every year.

Every year when the Mid Autumn Festival is near, the orders usually start coming in one month before the festival day itself.

She has to recruit everyone in her family (her daughters, sons-in-laws and sons) to fill the orders.

The ping pei skin and fillings for the moon cakes are all made by Betty herself with the help of Helen, her maid of more than 15 years and the rest of the family would then help with the moulding.

My all time favourite is this 'yin yang' cake with mung beans paste and red bean paste (tuasa) wrapped in pandan flavoured skin.

The savoury taste of the mung bean paste with an aroma of spring onion and slight saltiness compliments the sweet tausa so well.

With most of the commercial sweet fillings of mixed nuts, red bean paste, lotus-seed paste and salted duck egg yolks, the most I can manage is two small slices but this, I can eat the whole cake by myself!

The light purple moon cake is with yam (taro) paste. It is made of 100% real yam! Can actually see some bits and pieces of the yam in this picture.

Heather, this is for you. Yi Yi gave you a box too but since we can't get it over to you before these cakes expire (without preservatives they don't last that long, you know), we took the liberty to cut, took pictures and blog them for you to feast your eyes (also made some pu erh tea for you). Enjoy!!


Note: These ping pei moon cakes are meant to be eaten cold. By the time I was done with them, they had almost melted as can be seen from the last shot. Had trouble slicing them, thus, the rather messy result.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chow in Narita Airport

Stranded for eight hours in the airport is no fun at all, anyone can tell you that. But it did get better when we were given a meal voucher of 2000 yen each.
The thought of a Japanese meal was certainly more welcome than the inflight food.
We settled ourselves into a small cafe that had a menu that looked promising and we were not disappointed. Pretty good chow...

A chirashizushi set with cold soba and pickles

Sansai 山菜 soba (mountain vegetable noodle)

Very good miso ramen

Prawn tempura udon

Unagi with rice

Sauteed pork with mushroom and onions

All that plus a round of latte and green tea ice cream. The waiting time did feel shorter when the palates were busy.

Phew! At last, dished out all the goodies from our Japan trip. While doing these postings, it was like back in Japan again. Two trips for the price of one, not bad!

K and Jo

Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Takayama Eats And Dinner At An Izakaya

Another reason we chose to walk around town are the many eateries along the street, at almost every corner there is bound to be 'something' to try and as we only had this one day to try everything we did just that...


Okonomiyaki is sometimes referred to as a Japanese pancake or pizza. The batter and ingredients like vegetables, seafood and eggs are fried on both sides on a hot plate (teppan).

She topped it with a sauce (like Worcestershire sauce but thicker and sweeter - very similar to tonkatsu sauce), shredded nori, bonito flakes and Japanese mayonnaise. Yummy!!

There was a queue at the front of this restuarant and was packed when we first walked past and to us, packed means good food and a must-try. It has a take-away counter at the side and we tried some of its fare to whet our appetite...

This got to be the best thing we have had on this trip - chunks of dice-sized hida beef on bamboo skewers grilled to perfection. Every bite evoked pleasurable moans of ohs and ahs....So tender and so juicy!

Hidagyu sushi

The thin slivers of beef, cooked with a blow torch (see the last picture in the previous post - Takayama old town), placed on sushi rice and served on a tasty rice cracker.

Hida chuka - Chinese noodle in Hida

Later in the afternoon, we returned to the shop and finally managed to get a seat in the restaurant.

I had the hidagyu ramen. This Chinese noodle is unique to Takayama. It is served with a soup based of dried bonito and soy sauce. The ramen noodles totally out shined the slices of hida beef in this instant. They are thin (very much like soba), has just the perfect chewiness and to me, the best noodle I have ever tasted but thinking hard I can't recall any bad experience with noodles in Japan, ever! The soup looked dark and appeared salty but actually tasted very light.

K had the pork belly ramen. He didn't think much of the soup and I know why, he only like his ramen with miso-based soup.

Had more of the hidagyu sushi.

After all that greediness in the afternoon walk we thought we would go for a light dinner. So we chose an izakaya, a pub cum diner. It is a type of restaurant more for drinking and food served are catered more to go with drinks. It is less formal and all share the dishes rather than individually. Very popular among the Japanese.

The bar area

Waited for all the patrons to clear and snapped this shot. Just wanted to showcase the bar table top made of one single piece of timber cut lengthwise about 15-20 cm thick, 80 cm wide and 5 metres long!! That really got K drooling.

The izakaya quaint interior.

A most refreshing cold tofu dish with soy and garnished with chopped ginger, leek and dried bonito flakes.

Hidagyu again. Can't seem to get enough of these. Grilled to medium rare - so tender and juicy with every bite.
A grilled fish.

Fried tofu perfectly done in a wild mushroom broth.

Do as the Japanese do in Japan--drink! This sake was cold and really good (we were told that only in winter or if the sake is of inferior quality that it is drank warmed).

A lovely cold Sapporo beer.