Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dim Sum @ Tim Ho Wan Malaysia 添好運, The Boulevard, Midvalley, KL

Tim Ho Wan 添好運, Hong Kong's most famous Michelin-star dim sum restaurant has finally arrived on Malaysian shores, and will opening its doors to the public tomorrow (28th November) at 11am. Their first outlet is located at The Boulevard, MidValley (right opposite the water fountain in front of The Gardens Mall). I was delighted to be invited to experience Tim Ho Wan's dim sum in Malaysia at their pre-launch lunch event today.

Tim Ho Wan's 添好運 name means "add good luck" in Cantonese and its first hole-in-the-wall outlet in Mongkok, founded and run by Chef Mak Kwai Pui (麥桂培) earned a Michelin-star in its first year of operation. In their overseas outlets, people would queue up for hours just to get a taste of the delicious dim sum. Seating at the Malaysian outlet is also on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The menu at Tim Ho Wan Malaysia features their signature items, the "Big 4 Heavenly Kings", vermicelli rolls, steamed items, deep fried items, rice, congee, vegetable and desserts. Despite the restaurant being full with invited guests, service was polite and efficient.

Not to be missed is the famed Baked Bun with BBQ Pork 酥皮焗叉烧包 (RM10.80). I have drooled over these whenever my friends have posted them on Instagram/Facebook and am glad that I have finally gotten the chance to taste them. The baked bun has a crisp yet fluffy exterior and slightly sweet tasting with a savoury, meaty filling. Really good, I have to say!

Crisp, fluffy, sweet and salty.. all in one!

Beautiful crisp golden exterior... ;)

Their other signature items include the pan fried carrot cake 萝卜糕(RM9.80), steamed egg cake (RM7.80) and vermicelli roll with pig's liver (RM10.80). We super love the steamed egg cake 马来糕, which apparently takes 3 days of preparation for it to become soft and fluffy. Indeed we love the soft texture with a nice caramel flavour. Baby D, who is on his first food review with mummy today had almost the whole one to himself. A must-try!

The vermicelli roll with pig's liver was a bit too gamey for my liking, I'd stick to the regular ones with BBQ pork or shrimp next time.

All mine :D

We also enjoyed the Braised Chicken Feet with Abalone Sauce (RM9.80) - the chicken feet here have a more bouncy texture and is wonderful paired with the sauce. Comes in 4 generous pieces.

This was my mum's favorite, steamed spinach dumpling with shrimp (RM7.80) with smooth, translucent skin. Tim Ho Wan prides itself in using only fresh and quality ingredients, and their dim sum is made to order to retain dim sum's flavour and texture.

Love the spinach and shrimp filling!

Another must-order for us when eating dim sum, siew mai aka pork dumpling with shrimp (RM10.80). Simple but well executed.

Pork rib with black bean sauce (RM8.80)

 The wasabi salad prawn dumpling (RM10.80) - crisp and juicy, topped with ebikko and wasabi mayo sauce for a spicy kick.

The next 3 items I did not try, took the photos from our neighbour's table ;)

Prawn dumpling (RM11.80)

Vermicelli roll with BBQ pork (RM12.80)

Beef ball with beancurd skin (RM7.80)

There are 2 desserts to choose from, the mango sago pomelo (RM8.80) and tonic medlar & osmanthus cake 杞子桂花糕 (RM6.80). The mango sago pomelo was really good and refreshing, and not too sweet either. At first we ordered one bowl to share, but it was so yummy, we had to order another ;)

Jelly on a plate, wibble wobble... ;)

Tim Ho Wan's Malaysia menu

My Top 5 Must-try items from Tim Ho Wan are: baked bun with BBQ pork, steamed egg cake, steamed spinach dumpling with shrimp, wasabi salad prawn dumpling and braised chicken feet with abalone sauce.

Opening times: 11am to 10pm (last orders 9.30pm).

Serves Pork.

Price: Prices start from RM7.80 for dim sum items.

Location: Tim Ho Wan, 27-G, Ground Floor, The Boulevard, Midvalley Megamall, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (opposite the water fountain in front of The Gardens Mall)


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baby Sumo Birthday Week #2: Rakuzen Japanese Restaurant @ Publika, KL

The birthday celebration continues.... and since both my kids love Japanese food, we visited Rakuzen in Publika. Rakuzen has been around for many years, but this is actually our first time visiting, although we do visit their sister restaurant, Kita No Zen in The Gardens Mall on a weekly basis.

The restaurant is pretty spacious, and we were seated in one of the booths. Service is fast and efficient. Similar to Kita No Zen, they offer a la carte menu as well as set lunches. There are around 20 set lunches to choose from, and with the set lunches, you get miso soup, chawanmushi, pickles, appetizer and fresh fruits for dessert. Really good value for money.

Hubby went for the salmon sashimi zen (RM23) which came with the standard plate of 7 fresh, luscious slices of sashimi.

My kids favorite - saba teriyaki. We love the fatty belly part - so yummy when grilled, almost melt-in-the-mouth. Saba teriyaki zen (RM23).

I went for the Sake oyaki zen (RM30), which is something I cannot get at KNZ - essentially this is a chirashi topped with 3 types of salmon - thick slices of salmon sashimi, salmon belly as well as ikura (popping delicious salmon roe). Totally satisfying!

Thanks Hubby yet again for the birthday lunch!

Please visit their website for full list of restaurant locations and opening times.

Opening times: 12.00pm - 3.00 & 6.00pm - 11.00pm daily.

Price: Reasonable.

Location: Rakuzen, No. 6, Lvl G2, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 KL (near MPH entrance).

Tel: 03-6411 0822

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Recipe: Korean Grilled Chicken (Bobby Flay)

Eaelier this month, I tried and posted a Korean-style marinated steak recipe from Bobby Flay and today, I am posting yet another Korean-inspired dish from him - Korean Grilled Chicken (one of his most popular dishes on Food Network). Looks like Bobby Flay is a fan of Korean flavours!

For this recipe, Bobby Flay uses a whole chicken but I opted to use chicken maryland instead since I find that drumstick and thigh are best for roasting and the cooked meat is moist. The meat is marinated in a mix of Korean red pepper paste (gochujang), light soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger and garlic. Only 1/2 heaped tablespoonful of gochujang is used in this recipe, so I would say this is pretty mild but just perfect for me since my kids would be eating it too. By all means double or triple the gochujang quantity if you prefer a spicy kick.

The chicken is left to marinate for 4-8 hours, then oven roasted until a beautiful golden brown. You can also grill the chicken if you prefer. The chicken is then served with some of marinade sauce which has been reserved. In his original recipe, Bobby Flay serves this with some tortilla wraps, but butterhead lettuce works just as well. Simply wrap the chicken in some lettuce, top with dipping sauce and enjoy!

A very easy chicken recipe, with big flavours. 

Korean Grilled Chicken
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from Bobby Flay
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

4 chicken maryland, separated into 8 pieces

For the marinade
1/2 cup low-sodium light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

To serve
4 (6-inch) flour tortillas, warmed (optional)
or 1 butterhead lettuce, leaves washed

1. Place the ingredients for a marinade in a bowl and whisk together. Add half of the mixture to the chicken, then turn to coat. Cover and let the meat marinade in the ridge for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

2. Add the spring onions, sesame oil, black pepper and sesame seeds to the remaining marinade and reserve as a dipping sauce for the finished chicken.

3. Preheat oven to 180C (roast mode). Line a baking tray with foil, then arrange chicken on tray in a single layer. Place in oven and cook for 25 minutes, until cooked through and skin is crispy and golden brown. Arrange chicken on a platter, and serve wrapped in tortilla (if desired) with dipping sauce on the side.

4. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on the grill or BBQ.

Note: You can also serve the chicken with some lettuce. Wrap the chicken in the lettuce with some dipping sauce.

I am submitting this to the "Cook Like Bobby Flay" event which I am co-hosting with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Grace of Life Can Be Simple. To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from any Bobby Flay websites or cookbooks for the whole month of November 2014.

Your post must be a current post i.e. posted in November 2014 - please do not link older posts.Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Grace of Life Can Be Simple and Baby Sumo of Eat your heart out.

Happy cooking! Do check out the other bloggers recipe below:

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Baby Sumo Birthday Week #1: Cilantro Restaurant, KL

Every year for my birthday, Hubby would spoil me to a few nice meals in the run up to the actual day. The first venue that we picked was Cilantro KL, having had many nice meals here in the past.

Every Fridays, they do a 4-course lunch for RM150 nett, which includes a glass of Prosecco as well as coffee/tea. And of course, not to be missed here is their amazing truffle butter... don't be shy and slather on your bread. You could always ask for another and they would happily oblige ;)

The amazing truffle butter

To start, we had the Cold Capellini with Hirame and Aosanori. This was my favorite dish of the afternoon - loved its simplicity yet bursting with umami flavours. The delicate fish was topped with some kickass wasabi and crunchy seaweed. Fantastic!

The second course is a warm starter, Nipah Crab with Piment d'Espelette Soufflé. I wasn't too impressed with this dish, especially since the souffle was tiny and looked deflated, and I found not one, but three pieces of crab shell in my plate. Certainly not acceptable for a fine dining restaurant.

For mains, I had the Grilled Angus Beef with Mushrooms while Hubby went for the French Pigeon with Foie Gras. I enjoyed the grilled beef, very nicely cooked, but next to the grilled beef there was also a piece of braised beef (not sure which part) but it was tough and felt a bit out of place. I would have been happier if it wasn't there. Hubby's main course was good and a nice change since it's not everyday that he gets to eat French pigeon.

Dessert was also a non-event for us, Roasted Apple with Caramel Ice Cream and Tuile. All I got from eating the ice cream was a burnt aftertaste (we've had their caramel ice cream before and it definitely doesn't taste like this). Hardly exciting.

So, we ended up going to The Deli (also in Micasa Hotel and operated by Cilantro kitchen) and ordered a strawberry meringue with vanilla ice cream. A sure-winner, this definitely perked our moods up again.

Thanks Hubby for the birthday treat!

Opening times: Lunch - available on Fridays only. (12.00pm -2.00pm). Dinner - Monday to Saturday (6.00pm - 10.30pm). Closed on Sundays.

Service: Good.

Price: RM150 nett per person inclusive of glass of Prosecco

Location: Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar, MiCasa All Suite Hotel, 368-B Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2179 8082

Website: (Lunch menus updated weekly)

GPS Coordinates: 3.162273,101.719548

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Kids Gardening/Crafts Project: Cress Egg Heads

School's out!

As a parent, I understand that parents will be busy finding interesting activities to fill up their children's days. A really fun and cool activity to do with your kids is making these adorable, cute cress egg heads.

Fun gardening and craft activity to do with your kids

Children will get to learn about gardening (how seeds germinate and sprout), responsibility (they must remember to water their cress every day) as well as being creative (decorating their egg heads' body). My kids were definitely very excited doing this project and watching their seeds grow. Every day after they arrive home from school, the first they do is check on their sprouts and water them. I also joined in the fun and planted my cress in a shallow plastic tray (round ice cream cover would work well).

What you will need:
♥ Egg carton
♥ Empty eggshells half
♥ Cotton wool
♥ Spray bottle
♥ Cress seeds or other small seeds such as chia, mizuna, arugula, flax.
♥ Several toilet paper roll
♥ Marker or magic colour pens

You can get mizuna, arugula or cress seeds from gardening shops (like Ace Hardware) or gardening websites and chia and flax seeds can be found in organic food shops.

What you need to do:
1. First, you will need to draw a face on the eggshell halves with the markers (broken edge should face up).

2. Stuff the egg shells with cotton wool and spray with water until the cotton wool is very wet.

3. Arrange the egg shells in the egg carton and then sprinkle on the seeds onto the cotton wool. Spray once more with water and leave in a sunny spot. Since Malaysia climate is quite hot, it is recommended to spray twice a day - it is important to keep it moist or else the sprouts will dry out and die.

4. Wait for about 4-7 days, your sprouts should have grown quite high by now.

Day 2

Day 3

5. Decorate the toilet rolls with marker pen (buttons/ties/ribbons) then balance the cress egg heads on top of the tube. You can give your egg head a haircut  whenever you are ready to harvest some for your sandwiches or salads. ;)

Have fun!

Do also check out my posts under these labels for more ideas:
Cooking with Kids
Things to do with kids

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Michelin-Star Chef Mario Gamba of Acquarello Munich @ Mandarin Oriental KL

I was excited to hear that Chef Mario Gamba of Michelin-starred Acquarello in Munich was coming to KL and was even more excited when I received an invitation from the Mandarin Oriental KL hotel to attend a cooking demo and 7-course dinner at Mandarin Grill.

Chef Mario Gamba will be at the award-winning Mandarin Grill from 19 to 22 November 2014 and diners can choose from a 5-course dinner for RM498++ per person or 7-course dinner for RM698++ per person. There will also be a 6-course wine dinner featuring Chateau Cantemerle on 22nd November for RM598++ per person.

Chef Mario Gamba's restaurant in Munich, Acquarello was awarded one Michelin-star in 2000 and has been listed among the world's 100 best restaurants by Forbes. He has trained under Michelin-starred Chef Alain Chapel in France, Chef Heinz Winkler of Tantris and Chef Gualitero Marchesi. He is specially flown in by Qatar Airways with his assistant Chef Bastian Gebhardt to give diners an exclusive Italian dining experience.

Earlier at the cooking demo, Chef Mario Gamba shows us how to make a pea risotto topped with scallop saltimbocca and Amalfi lemon foam. He tells us that to make a good risotto, it is important to buy good risotto rice (either Carnaroli or Vialone Nano). During his cooking demo, he uses the 9-years aged Acquerello rice, which is often hailed as the "Roll-Royce of rice" due to its superior quality. The aging process guarantees a perfect stability of the starch within the grains, that is indispensable to exalt their qualitative and nutritional values.

Saltimbocca is given a twist by Chef Mario Gamba, as he tops the lightly seared scallops with raw tuna drizzled with sesame oil. Another tip that he shares is to add some acidity to the risotto, either by adding a splash of wine or white balsamic vinegar and butter to finish off the dish. The risotto was perfectly executed and by the time I finished eating it, I was certainly looking forward to the 7-course dinner that was to come.

For dinner, we were ushered into the private dining room in Mandarin Grill restaurant. To start, we were served a selection of bread with salted and smoked butter, followed by an amuse bouche of veal with tuna foam, his take on the Vitello Tonnato.

Our dinner venue, the elegant Mandarin Grill

During the cooking demo, Chef Mario Gamba revealed that in his Acquarello kitchen in Munich, he prefers to serve a light menu to his diners by using less butter and sugar. He also tells us that his favorite method of cooking is sous vide, as it is healthier and the flavours of food are sealed in. The veal in the warm veal filet salad was prepared with the sous vide method, and then served with artichoke, basil oil and truffle shavings. Yup, be prepared for a truffle extravaganza ;)

"You must try the gold egg later" Chef Mario Gamba enthusiastically tells us. And I can see why - the truffled egg is topped with edible gold leaf, celery mousseline, and Madeira foam. This was definitely my favorite dish of the evening - absolutely exquisite and bursting with flavour.

Chef Mario Gamba grew up in Northern Italy, and his grandmother used to make ravioli for the family on weekends. For the next course, we were served with a potato ravioli with sherry foam and white truffle shavings. I liked the texture that potato filling gives these delicate parcels and the sherry foam packs quite a punch flavour wise.

The filet of cod was served with a sauce made from duet of bell pepper coulis, topped with scallop cream, black truffle shavings and cannellini beans foam.  Super love the sauce, paired with flaky fish.

Cappuccino of Potato with Parmesan Foam and Truffle

The main course is a lamb loin in a crisp bread crust. Beautifully pink in the centre, this was served with a rosemary jus with ratatouille and baked eggplant praline on the side.

By the way, Mandarin Grill is also having a truffles promotion- RM180/g for white truffle, and RM90/g for black truffle.

And to end our wonderful meal, a gorgeous ricotta souffle served with Alba white truffle ice cream, pear coulis and Tahitian vanilla. The truffle ice cream was amazing, wish I could have more of that!

Thank you to Mandarin Oriental KL for extending the invitation to this exquisite dinner.

Opening times: 12pm to 2.30pm; 7pm to 10.30pm.


Price: RM698++ per person

Location: Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2380 8888

GPS Coordinates: 3.155514, 101.711555

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