Time Out KL Food Awards 2010

I’ve always believe that good food establishments will last through the onslaught of economics as we all no matter what needs to eat, some of us wants to eat (yes, like me). We all have our own personal favourites for certain dish or certain cuisine. There are always the go-to restaurants when the cravings strike or when we need to entertain. There are also some place where it had swept us off our feet yet we know we can only go back once in a while, like playing a nice flirting game. Regardless of which, we always have our own love affairs with food and what’s the better way to show appreciation to them than having them crown with award as best in the country?

The coveted magazine Time Out KL (TOKL) is currently having their annual food awards, whereby thousands of KL-ites get to choose their favourite restaurants according to categories; this year in 2010 they have split it into 13 categories. Nominating has started and will end by September 16th with open fields where you can fill in whatever restaurants you want to and they will do the shortlisting for us. Then polls will be re-open in October 1st for us to vote the shortlisted ones in two stages and then onward to the eventual winner.

So head on here to the Time Out KL Food awards and submit your favourite restaurants. My trick is to write in the first thought that came to mind cause if I tried to compare with another, my head will burst. After all I am tham jiak.  Fret not if you could not submit all the fields as it is not mandatory so just key in your favourites and cross your fingers. Hopefully by awarding our favourites they will stay in business long for us to continue to savour the food and satisfy our cravings.

As TOKL says, every vote counts and this is the only food awards in Kuala Lumpur which are free and fair and voted by YOU, the citizens of KL. May the best restaurants win!

Update: Winners of TOKL Food Awards 2010 here.

TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch

Remember my first ever event? Remember when finally this tham jiak came out from her hiding place? Yes, it was TheQguides first event, where they get to know us the Malaysian food bloggers. Since then it was loads of fun filled activities and truly chowtut events thanks to the lovely trio of TheQguides – Frat, Jek and Lisa! Since then I have to say it was truly a wonderful ride for me and I would also say that I have in fact grown not only in tham jiak wise but in terms of friends as well. There are truly many good people out there, in this case Malaysian food bloggers or lovers that not only share my passion in food but also my penchant for laughter, having good times and just living the life.

TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch
TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch

7 months since the first getting to know each other session, quite a number of food reviews invited by them and several bookings on TheQguides.com for me since then, TheQGuides finally had its official launch! It was held at the TwentyOne Kitchen and Bars and in collaboration with the Best Eats KL book launch as well. That night was a blast, grace by many people from the celebrities to the media and to food bloggers of course, which I hung out with. We were served free flow cocktails and wine plus canapes which I gladly oblige, and yes we the food bloggers did sneak out for a meal down the road, we could not resist, and then rejoin the party for all the fun again!

In short, go now to TheQguides.com, sign up if you haven’t and find out all it has to offer and next go out to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of the Best Eats KL, it has all the scoops of what Malaysia culinary has to offer from your neigbourhood coffeeshop to the extreme fine dining!

TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch
TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch

By the way, at the launch, there was a competition which was a collaboration of both Frat Mustard and Aly who jointly wants to promote the Malaysian F&B scene and guess what, I won first prize! Yes, yours truly tham jiak won first prize and she could not wait to eat her way through it! A big thanks to Frat and Aly!

Photos credit to Frat Mustard (first picture) and Eric Cheong.

Asian Food Channel:Daniel Boulud @ Neo, KL

Daniel Boulud @ Asian Food Channel
Daniel Boulud @ Asian Food Channel

Once again Frat invited me for a food event (thanks Frat!), this time it is Asian Food Channel (AFC) premiering Chef Daniel Boulud’s documentary – ‘One Night in Singapore’.

I asked Frat that night in between the documentary, “Why is it one night in Singapore, when he is there for so many nights?”

He replied, after a pause, “Good question actually…”

Nevertheless, it was indeed a one night for me with Daniel Boulud, and a good one at that. Good one because I enjoyed meeting up with epicureans and bloggers alike, in fact I even finally, finally met Kenny for the first time (hi Kenny!), which was just awesome. It was also a good one because I thoroughly enjoyed the 1 hour show of Daniel Boulud showdown of “One night in Singapore” and then after that enjoyed a pretty good meal at Neo Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge.

Neo @ KL
Neo @ KL

But first who is Daniel Boulud, pardon me if you were to roll you eyes and think “duh, of course I know who is he”, but let me humour you as I have to admit I was not too sure who he is until this premier, and after that he had me, maybe not as much as Jamie, but he indeed had captured my interest to follow more closely to what he has to offer in the future on AFC. Short general bio-data is that he is a Chef-owner of ten-award winning restaurants and Feast & Fetes catering company. Hailing from France, he had expanded his culinary reach internationally, from Las Vegas to Beijing. He had a list of achievements in the culinary world with various awards, and to top it off he had himself authored six books and created his own television series – After Hours with Daniel. With such an impressive background, it was no wondered that AFC invited him for a special production in Singapore and I am glad they did because it indeed had further made Daniel’s presence felt In Southeast Asia, particularly now Malaysia.

Sadly that I do not have Astro at home, but I do enjoy AFC once in a while when I had the chance back in my hometown or at my sister’s place. I have always turn to this channel whenever I am surfing Astro and I would have been satisfied with just this one channel, back in my mind though I asked myself why didn’t we have this back when I had the luxury to enjoy TV. But anyway, kudos to Hian Goh and Maria Brown, managing directors and founders of AFC, for bringing Southeast Asia’s culinary exposure up on notch, it was about time for us as we all know that Southeast Asia boast one of the world’s best cuisine and to say that food is the centre of our daily lives would be an understatement.

So back to my one night with Daniel Boulud, where I had a chance to mingle a little with some Malaysian bloggers while being served with refreshing lemongrass and tamarind drinks, before we were ushered into the room to watch the one-hour long documentary that AFC had worked so hard to produce originally by themselves. It does seem a bit odd for me at first to sit together with a group of people to watch a show that would be on television soon, but after that I was so absorbed in the show; I totally forgot where I was. The documentary was quite exciting to watch, especially towards the end where it leads to the full fledge course that Daniel had worked so hard to prepared, definitely a show worth to catch on AFC if you have the chance.

Food @ Neo, KL
Food @ Neo, KL

After the show, we all then continued to mingle outside while we were served with food by Neo. Though there were a few hit and misses, I did actually enjoy my meal in an overall perspective. As they were still relatively new, and was sharing kitchen with their sister Tamarind Hills, I would certainly return again for a slow dinner to truly savour and review the food here, and to see if the atmosphere had improved as at that time it was pretty hot and stuffy. Till then, I shall now look for more chances to catch Daniel Boulud on screen, I believe he has so much more to offer and besides, Hian Goh said that he was truly a man with humility despite his huge achievements, how’s one not to like that?

For more info on Daniel Boulud and what AFC has to offer, check out www.asianfoodchannel.com

All pictures above are courtesy of the talented Frat Mustard

Durian Fest @ Signature Kitchen

Durian, just mentioning this word makes me tremble inside with excitement. The kind of excitement that I feel I need to share with the world might not yet be understood by all. You see, durian is a kind of fruit that either one loves deeply or loathe completely, that is also if one have first got the chance (or rather many chances) to put one’s feelings to the test. Head over here to Travel Guide Malaysia (which I write for a weekly column on Malaysian food) to further read on what durian is all about in Malaysia, and how my relationship with it has developed over my life.

I have been deprived of this said King of Fruits since last year as I did not had the chance to hunt down for my favourite kind and indulge in them mindlessly. This year I was pretty lucky (ah this tham jiak is getting luckier it seems), as a good friend of mine, LH invited me to gorge on unlimited fresh, and by fresh I meant served directly from an ideal farm where the soil on the hill is fertile and the temperature is just right with enough rainfall, and also a huge variety, and by variety I meant many types of species including D24, D10, Golden Swallow and many more, at none other than Signature Kitchen’s very own Durian Fest! This is their 4th year in organizing such a fest, as it had been extremely well sought after, and why not if it is for durian? This fest is to bring Signature Kitchen’s clienteles, their friends and families together to of course enjoy durian feasting but at same time able to visit the kitchen showroom, which I took the pleasure of too. There I find myself poking around and imagining the kitchen that I would eventually have.

Durian Fest @ Signature Kitchen, Malaysia
Durian Fest @ Signature Kitchen, Malaysia

Pictures above courtesy of Signature Kitchen

Upon reaching there with Y, some of our friends are already there enjoying themselves, so I quickly sat down and attack! Then LH went and get even more for us to continue feasting, did I mention that this is like a durian buffet heaven? It is! Besides consuming copious amount of this evil fruit, I ate also copious amounts of the cooling rambutan to balance out the heat from the durian. How thoughtful of the organizers to let us indulge with less guilt. After that, I am still hankering for more soft, goeey and bitter kind of durian that is my all time favourite, so I head on to the booth, where all the butchering of various durians are carried out, choose my tried and tested D24 (which recently I had the chance to try out with J’s family at the famous SS2 durian area, but mind you we did not go for the buffet but selectively chose this species to indulge in with due pleasure at home), took some pictures for this tham jiak blog, much to the amusement of the amiable durian ‘slayers’, and then head back with the prize possession to my fellow friends. I found that only one of them who shares my love for bitter-alcoholic-fudge-like durian, while Y and L prefer the sweeter kind. Ah, all with their own due of love for durian, I am one happy to devour more of these for myself.

Lots of durians @ Durian Fest, Signature Kitchen, Malaysia
Lots of durians @ Durian Fest, Signature Kitchen, Malaysia

Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself very much in this durian buffet, thanks again LH, and I am looking forward to Signature Kitchen’s 5th installment of this yearly indulgence. Burp! Excuse me! Now this tham jiak is satiated for the time being for this year’s durian season, and will once again hunt for a fix of this strangely addictive fruit next one, hopefully feasting again in this durian fest.