Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ : You, Karaage, Me, Udon

Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ
Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ

“I must take you to try this place near Old Klang Road, got this good Japanese noodle?”

“You mean Taman Desa? “

“Eh how you know this place?”

I smile secretively. “Good Japanese udon right?”

“Yes, yes! But what I like is the fried chicken though”

“Oh you mean karaage

“Er, I think so, the fried chicken lah! How you know this place one?”

“I ate there once with a friend

“Yes, we must go! I miss the fried chicken!”

“and I miss the udon! Ok let’s go on weekend”

But being us the pj-lites, who seldom get to go out of  our comfort zone, call us busy, call us lazy or just call us snobs, we always move around the confine of PJ area with some exceptions of bangsar, we end up not going there weekend after weekend .

Fast forward few weeks later, Y message me online.  “What’s for dinner?”

Looking at the time, it was almost quite late for dinner as I am still in Cyberjaya, the concrete jungle.

“If only we can go for the Japanese fried chicken”

Suddenly a light bulb appear on top of my head (hey it’s been a while eh)

“I heard  that it has a sister restaurant in Jaya One”

“What??!? Really?”

“Wait let me check if they have your favourite chicken”

Marufuku Ambiance @ Jaya One, PJ

Couple of googles later and visiting my few favourite food blog (yes this place have been blog almost to death), I confirmed and so off we went there with anticipation. Once reaching, thanks to also directions from the blogs (they are always so handy, especially now with iPhone nation, we check in online at every whim on the palm of our hands). Once we sat down I promptly ordered my favourite udon soup with egg and seaweed, while she promptly ordered her karaage of course.

Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Unpretentious and fuss free fresh udon noodles served in a fish based broth carefully made. This is what we would call comfort in a bowl. The best udon I’ve ever eaten is in an outskirt town near Osaka, Japan, the next best udon is found here (or also the one at Taman Desa). This would make me happy enough as knowing it is almost impossible for me to return to the place in Japan for a quick fix. I love the fishy broth that are not too salty (and I have low tolerance for salt), and the springy fresh udons. Good food is just the clever play of throwing together few key natural tastes, nothing too fancy but something enough to leave an impression. Mmm, this is probably the criteria for a good man? Pardon me for going out of topic.

Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Now on to the other hand, Y ordered the dry version of Udon, which I must say is much more complex in taste and flavour. She does prefer something of such, with more saltiness, sweetness or even spiciness, she almost always go over the top for things, and almost like her choices in men? We start to see a pattern with men and udon here, what do you think?

Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

But the main thing here for Y would be the karaage. She being her, rave and chomp and rave and chomp on her what she called fried chicken. Looking at her eat you would almost be convinced that she is eating some kind of happy drug. I would say that I have eaten better karaage, where it would be less oily and more crunchy when fried in the right temperature (yes I am quite a snob (again) when it comes to fried stuff), but the version here is quite alright, and Y obviously love the taste. If the dried udon for her is a marriage, then this would certainly be an affair.

Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

There are also other types of noodles and fried stuff that you can pick from the menu, not extensively but just good enough not to overwhelm you. Some restaurants just have so many choices it baffles the mind and make one wonder which items are really good. Stick with good amount of variety and does it well, it will certainly keep the customers coming back happily. Though Marufuku does not have the same authentic ambience as its elder sister in taman desa, I would have to be contented with it for now as I think it might be a bit ironic to venture out of comfort zone just to get a dose of comfort food.

I would of course venture out if I to meet LFB, the friend who in the first place introduce me to this not-so-secret place anymore, also possibly thanks to him and his PR skills. So let me help to spread it further, try it at Taman Desa if it’s not out of your comfort zone, else head over to

Marufuku Udon
Blk L, Unit 18, Level G,
Phase 1, Jaya One
No 72-A, Jalan Universiti,
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603- 7957 6368

Sanuki Udon
No.9, Jalan Bukit Desa 5
Taman Bukit Desa
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-7980 3704

Vietnam Kitchen @ One Utama : Family for Comfort

It is crazy. Almost every time my family and I went to One Utama for dinner, we will end up inevitably in Vietnam kitchen. We would always start with some wishful thinking, saying let’s go dinner in One Utama. Why? Oh we want to watch movie after or there is something to buy or it is raining, are the usual reasons for a family, especially one with a baby boy (which always serve as the ultimate reason/excuse to everything including being fashionably late).

Sighing, I would then pretend and ask “But where would we eat?”

My dad would pretend to answer “Oh don’t know yet?”

As if on cue, I would answer “Alright, we’ll see then”, with a resign note.

We would then try to act oblivion and with hope that when we get there we will decide on somewhere ‘else’ to eat but in the end we would somehow, someway we would decide on good old Vietnam Kitchen. Not that it is a bad thing because due to the numerous times that we have dined there, it has somehow became a sort of comfort food for us family. It invokes the sort of sense of security where you know what you would be getting anyway and what you would want to order without having to rack your head over the menu with. And almost always that you know what to expect out of the meal. With this, we have somehow minus out the angst that sometimes come with eating out, which instead let’s us focus on the gathering of family aspect itself. Moreover nowayears, with the new addition to the family, we do indeed need a lot of extra focus; it is quite amazing how a little package can bring so much more to what there already is.

It is true that sometimes, something that we have so much off we would actually overlook, thus you can see why the lack of pictures for this place that I have been more times than any other places that I have reviewed here. Nevertheless the food is enough to comfort no matter how many times we have been there. Though I must say it used to be better, bigger portions and better fried spring rolls, but still it is worth to go for affordable Vietnamese food or if you and your family have no idea where to go and need some kind of fall-back plan to keep the peace.

Vietnamese Bun
If I am ever going for a single dish for myself, I would always go for the Vietnamese bun that I find oh so light and easy to eat. It is almost like an Asian noodle salad, rice vermicelli served on a bed of fresh sliced greens (normally cucumber and carrot), topped with either grilled chicken or pork, herbs, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. This Vietnam Kitchen version comes with sliced fried spring rolls too. Then it is served with the Vietnamese popular condiment – Nuoc cham (fish sauce mix with lemon, garlic, vinegar, sugar and chili), for you to drizzle over the dish generously. Ah, just describing it makes me want to go get one of these refreshing dish for this hot day.

Pork ball noodle soup and Beef noodle soup
My dad on the other hand would always go for his soupy goodness, sometimes my brother in law will follow suit, which is the pork ball noodles, which comes with smooth rice noodles and clear but flavourful soup. Meanwhile, though my dad being a non-fan of beef, there is also the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup here. It may not be the best of its kind but for the variety that this restaurant is serving, it is good enough for its kind. It is the usual famous Vietnamese noodle soup with thick broth and smooth noodles.

vietnam kitchen platter
Vietnam Kitchen Platter

House platter
Besides that though we almost always order the house platter which is a somewhat like my Vietnamese bun but deconstructed and with addition of more meats like grilled shrimp wrap around sugar cane and meatballs. Also it comes with fresh big greens and rojak-like dark sauce for use to roll the fillings together in a rice paper. Yes, it is kind of like the Vietnamese version of our popiah.

Set menu/dishes and
There were few times that we had ordered from set menu before when we are eating in larger crowd but I personally think that the ala-carte dishes are better.

All in all, after the meal each time, everyone would be happy and then get on with their reason for being there, but one thing to give warning to if you are in a similar situation like mine is, do not start walking around with a toddler to entertain him for you might succumb to his/her seemingly innocent big brown eyes which sparkles at a certain thing which would end up with you having a lighter wallet. You have been warned, bout the toddler of course and not the meal, do try it if you are ever in One Utama and like us have no idea on where to eat in there.

Vietnam Kitchen
Bandar Utama Shopping Centre
S312 2th Floor Highstreet,
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama Damansara
47800 Petaling Jaya
0377241336

Hainanese Pork Chop : Newember

N is for November. N is for new.

How apt. Cause November is when I need to start anew. A good friend hybrid this name for me when I wrote that November = new, and then told me I should so write a post on it, which I totally agree. This would be the month of renewal for me, the month where I put back the scattered train coaches back onto the tracks. The rail is still going, the journey have not ended. The destination is important but after all, it is the journey that counts.

New is a very positive word. New signifies birth, like a new born child crying when it got to this world in shock and then marvel at all the sights, sounds and smells around him. From then on a child will grow with curiosity where everything is like anew, everything is exciting, everything seem like a big opportunity for exploration. When was the last time you see things from the eyes of a child?

November – autumn, fall, rainy and cooling, depending on where you are in this world. The old would have to go before the new can come in. November had always been a quiet month for me, it is neither the end yet, no that’s for December, but yet it is definitely neither the beginning of the last quarter of the year. It is normally the month where people take the last opportunity to mellow a little, slack a little and wait for the holidays to come. It is just like how in autumn the trees shed the leaves; here human will shed their burdens. As for me, I am throwing in spring for this autumn. I would shed the leaves and grow new flowers. Flowers bring joy.

Life is a long road of journey, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.

****

There was a period of time when I had to take care of my dad after his heart operation and I must say cooking for him at that time is definitely mind-boggling. There are many food restrictions, some medically so and some motherly so. Yes my mother in all her Chinese ways manage to come up with lots of things that a person recovering from operation should not consume, never mind that I insist on a scientific explanation, her because-I-say-so shoots every logic into oblivion.

So armed with limited choices, and after rounds of cooking the usual home cooked Chinese food, I was thinking to cook something new, something that I totally pick out of the air for him. Yes new is the theme we are talking about here. Somehow, with whatever I can forage in my sister’s kitchen and what I had bought beforehand, I manage to whip up a Hainanese inspired pork chop.

I must say though this recipe is the typical example of Chinese cooking, it’s a little bit of this, a dash of that, a sprinkle of those and many, many finger dipping tasting into the hot sauce to come up with the right taste, so all the best if you are to attempt this and may you whip up a pork chop ala your own. So do read the following recipe as a gauge on how you may approach this and you go from there. Let your creative taste buds take charge!

Pork Chop ala Rokh

Ingredients
2-3 pork shoulder in slices
1 big onion
3-4 cloves of garlics

Sauce mix
Lots of splashes of soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil
Few dashes of rice wine
2-3 tbsps of tomato sauce
Mix water to taste

Punch the pork shoulder till soft and tender
Marinade with salt, pepper and mixed spice
Cut big yellow onion and few cloves of garlic into slices
Then mix for the sauce: Soy sauce and rice vinegar (few big splashes), sesame oil (few small splash) and tomato sauce (about 2 tbsps) and water add to taste
Pour in some olive oil and then pan fry the pork chop till no longer pink on both sides. Set aside
Using the same pan, throw in the sliced onions and cook till caramelize, add some olive oil if needed. (Do make sure it is nicely browned and caramelized as this would make or break the dish, google for some instructions if you’re unsure)
Next throw in the sliced garlic and stir fry some more till the aroma fills your nose
Then pour in the sauce mix and bring to boil, at same time start dipping, tasting and add on stuff if needed
Turn off the fire and pour the sauce over the cooked pork chop and voila!

****

Yes I know that newember have come and gone, but why is this post only up in January? Let’s just say in my time of recuperating and time of renewal, I kept this post aside as quite a sacred thought to myself. Now that I have been renewed, I find it liberating to post it up. Do not let my idea of renewal be constraint to November, as I believe many of us takes January for this wonderful ritual. We all need it once in a while, so what’s your renewal for 2011?

Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ : A Taste of Kampung

Buka Puasa, which means literarily ‘to open the fast’, is done in the month of Ramadhan. Malaysia, has a big percentage of people who are Islam that observes this fasting in the day and break their fast at Maghrib (sunset) prayer time. Being part of this multi-cultural country, the rest of us non-Muslims couldn’t help but also join in the feast that comes with the buka puasa. These elaborate meals are mostly for the community to get together and nurture fellowship. In Malaysia it also tops to nurture the sense of Muhibbah (living in harmony) between all of us. Here for the elaborate meals we can have from the roadside Bazaar Ramadhan (local food market that only opens during these times) to restaurants featuring various promotions to fine dining and buffets that cater specially for this. At these times the feasting was great as various hard to get authentic local dishes will gather in one or few places for us to savour.

Therefore when I was invited to have a Ramadhan buffet review in Paya Serai, Hilton PJ, I knew I would be in for a great feast and thus accepted eagerly. Boy was I right! The buffet spread headed by Chef Noor Hisham definitely did not disappoint as it offers extravagant spread of over 100 local and international cuisines. Apparently it changes every week but at the time that I went is enough for me to think that I covered most of the important dishes in Malaysia. As I walk from the buffet line inside to the outside where they had set up mini stalls, nicely decorated with kampung (village) style and serving local delights had me gush with excitement, mentally noting to taste everything, well almost.

As I was taking pictures earlier before the buka puasa starts, a man was curious to why I was doing the picture shootings thus I explained that I am a food blogger here for review. Then straight away he gushes on with the reason why he came here for buka puasa and it had been one of his favourite choices because here is where you can find the real authentic taste of Malay food. He added that you may find the same dishes in other buffets but none can compare to the real taste here and to top it off the variety we can find here as well. Being suddenly really tham jiak and focusing on what I would eat soon I actually forgot to ask the name of this young man that gave me the secret information, thus I hope if you are reading this and you recognise your praises do drop a comment here!

Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ
Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ

Armed with this new information, I resolved to taste all the local Malay dishes above anything else. Here you would be able to get all the authentic kampung dishes in one place! I started with the scrumptious appetisers of Buah Jeruk, Acar Rampai, Kerabu Pucuk Ubi, Kerabu Nangka, Taufu Sumbat and Sup Ekor. I am totally a fan of all these acar and kerabu dishes, which are sweet, sour and slightly spicy, it is a delight to the tongue, truly something Malaysian. Honorouble mentioned also goes to the Sup Ekor (oxtail soup) that was so rich and flavourful, I just had to lap it all up.

Main Course, Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ
Main Course, Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ

For the main course I zoomed in on all the Malays dishes again, ranging of Nasi Lemak with sambal sotongbeef rendang, ikan masak lemak (fish curry), assam prawns, lemang, serunding daging (dried beef flakes), kacang botol and satay. At the ‘live action’ stalls that I mentioned, you get chefs cooking and serving you freshly made food Kambing Panggang, Roti Jala, Putu Piring, and Murtabak. Here notably with tham jiak stars was the nasi lemak with sambal sotong (spicy squid) as the sambal was really good and the sotong cook till tender, it was almost perfect except the absence of wrapping in banana leaves. Another noted was the roti jala was done really well too, I had second helpings of it. The satay (barbecued meat on stick) were tender yet crunchy on the outside got the thumbs up from me.

Dessert, Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ
Dessert, Buka Puasa @ Paya Serai, Hilton PJ

At the end for dessert, time for me to open up the other section of my stomach, we had so many local choices again like Bubur Pengat Pisang, Bubur Durian and many more Buburs in a row, freshly made Apam Balik, Tapai Ubi and Malay Kuihs. From here I must say I love the Pengat Pisang which was not overtly sweet as the usual that I found and the texture of it was just right, and the Bubur Durian, which was also not too sweet and with the pungent taste of this king of fruits that doesn’t overpower but it doesn’t hide as well. A second helping of this Bubur Durian seals my kampung feast of tonight nicely.

Thanks again to Frat and the lovely ladies of Zest PJ for the invite to this wonderful Ramadhan buffet. Indeed it was a scrumptious meal and it made this tham jiak very happy to be able to taste so many authentic Malay dishes at one go. For those who would also want to buka puasa here or just to join in the fellowship as well, here are the information:

First 3-days of Ramadhan
Adult: RM75++
Child (below 12 years old): RM45++
The next one-week
Adult: RM99++
Child (below 12 years old): RM59++

The following weeks
Adult: RM109++
Child (below 12 years old): RM69++

More information at Zest PJ

Paya Serai
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia
603 7955 9122 extn. 4260/1