Jan 26, 2012

Sheraton Celestial Court : The Unorthodox Renditions of Yee Sang

Have any of you asked yourself, "What is Lou Sang and why do we Lou Sang?". Chances are 9 out of 10 of Chinese could simply pass it off with some generic answer but the thing is they do not have a single clue on how it comes about and most often than not,  they shrug it off as if it ain't big deal. No, this is definitely not the way.

The act of tossing Yee Sang, Lou Sang, is originated in Guang Zhou, China, in celebration of the seventh day of Chinese New Year, Renri or People's Birthday. Made of strips of raw meat, shredded vegetables and a variety of sauces and condiments, the raw meat in Yee Sang is the primitive symbol of the birth of humankind, which also homophonically represents the increasing abundance in the modern days.



Instead of the off-the-shelf Yee Sang which you could easily grab from supermarkets, one could conveniently go to most Chinese restaurants and order the same but the clever you should have known better that there are better ones out there.

Of tuna fish with thai mango sauce, of Norwegian salmon, China pear and black caviar with traditional plum sauce, of abalone with orange mayo sauce, Sheraton Celestial Court has invented its unorthodox renditions of Yee Sang that would appeal to the trickier taste buds. Being a modest adventurer, I opted for the tuna fish with thai mango sauce, which is a slight deviation of the usual.

The absence of the sweet note of traditional plum sauce was aptly replaced by the natural taste of thai mango sauce, which was tangy and spicy at the same time. Besides the symbolic reason for raw tuna, it balanced out the flavor of the dish by its subtlety in texture and taste. Something worth noting was some of the Yee Sang ingredients were made fresh, which partially contributed to the refreshing and mildly sweet taste of the Yee Sang. I would definitely give extra bonus point of fresh ingredients, what about you?



Despite the fact that Guang Zhou being the origins of Yee Sang, what most of the Chinese might not know is that Malaysia is the one started this Lou Sang trend years before Singapore adopted the same. Yee Sang Yee Sang, the higher you toss it, the better off you would be. Don't we all love abundance, prosperity and vigor?

Jan 23, 2012

BCard : An ideal gift for your loved ones

A twist of fate was purposefully crafted from the very first place, that two individuals would meet each other two years ago and bump into each other one year after, which was when the final picture was revealed to all. Both of us are deliverable in the process. It wasn't an easy process; we fought, we cried, but we recollected the broken pieces and moved on.


26th Jan was neither a festive day nor a special day worth celebration of for the past 22 years in my life but Him being in my life changes the whole ball game altogether. Tough decisions, if you asked me, on what should be the perfect gift or where should be the perfect place for His birthday celebration, which fit within my budget. Even He himself would hesitate for the longest time ever.

Of course I wouldn't be able to afford everything that He wants, considering the differential ratio between our salaries. Perhaps a lifestyle reward card, which allows instant redemption of points on food and beverages, books and magazines, would be an ideal gift as he loves food (more than he loves me?) and casually enjoys reading self help books and magazines (He is practical that way :)).


Similar to Bonuslink card that most would have, I came across this BCard, which allows you to accumulate point as you swipe, and allows you to redeem cash discounts at BCard merchants, partially and instantly. No registration fee, No application for redemption and No waiting of delivery of vouchers are required for a lifetime membership. Alternatively there is this BGift Catalogue which you could redeem your points for gift vouchers too.

I think we could use some fine dining at Sampling at 14th, shop for magazines at Borders, fly on Berjaya Air or stay in Berjaya hotels for a casual getaway. All in all, it sounds perfect to us. I guess there is no slight hesitation that I should fill up the BCard application forms for both of us now.

Jan 15, 2012

Favola : Dainty Ravioli with Truffle Butter Sauce

Growing up in a Chinese family, rice has always been my staple food. Pasta and pizza were not incorporated in my dictionary of life, until I started to get exposed to amazing dishes made of creamy mash potatoes, baked cheese, and some noodles that resemble pan mee, at the age of 12. I used to anticipate some great homemade dishes made by cousins, whom used to stay abroad for couple of years. Ever since then, there is this hidden italiano side in me that I could not help to fall in love with italian cuisine.

Undeniable as most would agree, being with a relationship does have some perks. Thankful nevertheless, it was Him who brought me to this ristorante italiano, serenely resided on the 8th floor of Le Meridien Hotel and that was officially my virgin experience to dine in a proper italiano restaurant, namely Favola. Decorated with mystical Venetian masks, Favola (which means fable in Italian)  has a rustic Italian setting reminiscent of the renaissance era.

What greeted us warmly was the various looking bread served with three different dips. The texture of the bread was perfect : crispy on the outside but tender soft in the inside, which I wish I could have it refilled for free! Two of the dips were unusual but paired well with different bread, lest the olive oil dip would seem a little unimpressive. All other dishes aside, I would surely come here again, just for the freshly baked bread!

We ordered Capesante Scottate, which sounded promising as depicted : seared jumbo sea scallop with sautéed white mushrooms trifolati and truffle; and we were right about it. It was served with four giant scallops, crowning on top of foresta of sautéed white mushrooms trifolati and truffle.

My first tentative bite was proven unnecessary as the scallop fallen apart without much effort. Slightly chewy as it should be. The texture rendered some difficulty to capture the essence of the sauces, of which the mushrooms came into play. The mushroom was cooked just to the right wellness, neither too raw nor well. All the essence was well trapped in the foresta of mushrooms which was meant to be eaten with the scallop. I was delighted, this was probably the best scallop that I have tried in my life.

After having such lovely bread and great scallops, both of us were charged with unwavering anticipation over our mains selection : Veal Escalope “Due Modi” and Manzo e Patate Ravioli. If it weren't because of the bottle of wine, we would have ran into kitchen in the state of delirium!

Finally, the veal had made its grandeur apprearance. Apart from "huge", no other words were more  appropriate to describe the portion served. It could have been more tender, juicier than what was served. It was not an easy dinner for him as He had to put up with the unyielding stubbornness of the veal, which had died with dignity. That apart, the sauce was intricately done with such complexity that dissection was alittle tricky than usual.

The same question, "Where is my ravioli?", kept looping in my mind. I wouldn't have known what is ravioli until I saw my Manzo e Patate Ravioli being served. I admitted that I was alittle taken aback, looking at how small portion mine was, putting side by side with his Veal Escalope “Due Modi”.

Easily countable with both hands, I had six demure looking hat-like potato ravioli stuffed with braised beef, swimming in the pool of black truffle butter sauce. To be frank, hearing the name "truffle" alone surmounted any other pastas that I was contemplating to try.

Flawlessly done, I love every single bite into the well cooked ravioli. I would have slurped the whole ravioli down but I did not as it would constitute shameless disrespect to the well braised minced beef. I noted a slight note of tomatoes in the braised beef which kicked in some natural sweetness into the dish.

The smoked black truffle butter sauce resembled the taste of foresta of sautéed white mushrooms trifolati and truffle in the Capesante Scottate, with similar intensity of flavor which I sought peace of mind. It was heavenly good that I was full before the fourth ravioli.

It is here at Favola, the fable, where you feel like heaven.

Jan 8, 2012

Gecko Gastrobar : Where alcohol falls in love with ice cream

If you asked me 10 years back, what ice cream is my favorite, that would be Cornetto.
If you asked me 5 years back, what ice cream is my favorite, that would be La Cremeria.
If you were to ask me now, what ice cream is my favorite, that would be Macallan 12-year old single malt ice cream from Gecko Gastrobar.

Ever since I was young, ice cream has always had its magical chant on me. Whenever I heard the not-that-lyrical ice cream songs playing in the neighborhood, my first instinct was to get mommy to get me one. I just couldn't help feeling excited about being able to lick on an icy cold ice cream, even now.

It was not until the later stage of my life that I was introduced to liquor, and started to appreciate them. Ice cream and alcohol, it would not have crossed my mind that both favorites of mine could be an incredible duo. As far as I know of, there is no restaurant that serves alcohol ice cream but this particular bar located at PJ Trade Centre, namely the Gecko Gastrobar.

I believe my first sip of Macallan single malt was when I was 20, which I remembered it was served neat. Strong and overpowering, it was not something I enjoyed back then. Slowly I eased into drinking neat single malt whisky and find it delectable. I enjoyed the tingles at different stages : the sensational kick at the initial stage, the spiciness on the tongue, and the subsequent heat attack in the throat.


Gecko's version of Macallan 12-year old single malt ice cream was something milder, this is for sure. For non alcoholic ladies and gentlemen (I guess?), this is not even a challenge as per se. The taste of Macallan was obvious, sans the kick, the spiciness and the subsequent heat attack, combined with the smooth and creamy of ice cream texture. My verdict is "Can I have more of this please?"

Beer is another acquaintance of mine in the subsequent stage of my life. I always had disgust over any beer for its gassiness, bitterness, and lack of kick. It was by chance that I was invited to have a taste of good tap in Tavern, GAB few months ago, and it was when and where I started to embrace the taste of beer, especially Guinness, being one of my favorite now.


What you see above is Gecko's Guinness infused ice cream. I could not help to suspect that Gecko could have did some background research on my preference, else how would they be able to strike every single favorite of mine? *curious mode*

Tasted a little bitter than I would have expected but the texture of ice cream remained the same. If I were to choose between Macallan 12-year old single malt ice cream or this Guinness ice cream, my answer, by default, would always be be former.

Now now, I feel like having one of the Macallan in this hot, steamy weather...

Jan 4, 2012

OpenRice : Malaysians' foodie juncture

OpenRice wasn't a name familiar to me, not until lately, where I was told it is by far the largest food directory in Hong Kong, and Singapore. With its ever growing appetite to hold more countries captive, the beast has landed onto the neighbor of Singapore, which is my home country, Malaysia.


My first impression of OpenRice was "Huh? Hoi Fan (in cantonese)?"
I guess most of us would be probably stunned for few seconds before you came to realise it is not a joke :D Sounds like a good prank no?

A : So yea, it is a directory, so what?
Me : So yea, put in your restaurant / food reviews now and get yourself rewarded!
A : Ma fan (Susah) nehh...
Me : Don't worry so much, very easy only!

Launched at 3pm Malaysia time on 3 Jan 2012, OpenRice Malaysia had finally made its RAWR and not only that, it came prepared with claws and armors!


Whenever you don't know what to eat, go to www.openrice.com.my
Whenever you want to find out a place that you heard of, go to www.openrice.com.my
Whenever you feel like criticizing or evaluate the food you just had for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner or supper, go to www.openrice.com.my

The change is imminent, please tell me you don't want to miss out this fight, not this time, our fellow Malaysians. It is time for you to be heard and share the bigger piece of glory!

So what are you waiting for? Go to www.openrice.com.my now!

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