Monday, May 24, 2010

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands, situated 1500 meters above sea level was a welcome change to the sweltering heat of Kuala Lumpur. The weather was a lovely 25'C once we got up to the township of Brinchang. Along the drive up we stopped for a short break and a cuppa tea at Cameron Bharat Plantations.

Cameron Bharat Tea Plantations

Cup of Tea at Cameron Bharat Plantations. Their tea are marketed under the name of Cameron Valley.

We spent some time visiting the Strawberry Farm as dad had to go speak to the manager about supplies to the cafe (my dad runs a cafe/bistro in Melaka). The strawberries were very small compared to the ones here in Australia but maybe cause we only saw the baby plants. Unfortunately I don't have any pics to show you.

Dinner time! We headed to O.K Tuck Steamboat in Brinchang.

Shop Front

We ordered Steamboat for 2 (RM35) . In this picture prawns, chicken, oyster mushroom, enoki mushrooms and fishballs.

If you can't tell this is the other side of the plate which has dried tofu, fish and some vegies. All ingredients were very fresh.

We choose two types of soup base; tom yum soup and chicken soup.

Noodles and egg to go with the steamboat.

Steamboat for 2 is not enough to feed us lot so we ordered a few more dishes to complete the meal.
Medium Pork Ribs with Beer (RM 20) - This was just superb. The sauce was very moreish; sweet and salty. I just couldn't stop wanting more.

Medium Deer Meat Fillet cooked Black Pepper style (RM 20). The deer fillet was tender and succulent with a lovely coating of black pepper sauce. Delicious!

Our last dish Assam Fish (RM 6/100g). Fish deep fried till crispy (where you can even eat the bones) and coated with a lovely assam sauce. Assam is a Malay word that means sour thus it makes sense for the sauce to have a sourish tang to it.

I didn't expect to find such great food in a touristy spot but O.K Tuck blew me away with its fantastic cooking and fresh produce.

15-16 Main Road
Cameron Highlands
Pahang Malaysia

O.K Tuck Steamboat Restaurant
Mainstreet Brinchang
Cameron Highlands
Pahang Malaysia

Tel: (05) 491 2380

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Na Bangkok

H and I dined at Na Bangkok almost 2 months ago but I've not had the chance to post about it due to the many eating adventures in Asia (which I've still to complete). I know I know - no excuses.. Will try to ramp up my posts but no promises ;P

One night 2 months ago H and I decided to drive out to Maroubra to find somewhere new to eat and found Na Bangkok along Anzac Parade. We were enticed by the different varieties of Roti on their menu but ended up not having any at all! :( We will definitely be back to try them...

The Roti page of the Na Bangkok menu

Squid Skewers ($3ea) - Fresh squid on skewer marinated with pepper and sesame oil. The squid was cooked over a charcoal fire giving it a lovely charred flavour. The only disappointment was that not all of the squid was evenly cooked.

Kanar Moo Grob ($12.90) - Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli and Crispy Pork Belly with Garlic and Chilli in Oyster Sauce.

Special Fried Rice ($12.90) - Thai style fried rice with prawns, chicken and egg. The fried rice was nicely done with a slight charred flavour and tasty to boot.

Fearing the above was not enough we decided to order Sai Krok ($8.90) which is North-Eastern style sausage w/ minced pork, rice and garlic served with fresh chilli and ginger. I found the sausage too pungent for my taste as it there was a whole lot of garlic and vinegar.

Na Bangkok
2/888 Anzac Parade
Maroubra 2035

Tel (02) 9315 5400

Open 7 days
Lunch: 12pm - 4pm
Dinner: 5pm - 10pm

Monday, May 3, 2010

Champ's Bistro @ Centrepoint Bandar Utama

Champ's, voted as one of the top 30 restaurants in Malaysia by the Miele Guide is pretty good by my standards. Whilst I've not had the opportunity to try or even been to the top 30 restaurants voted in the miele guide (I've been living away from Malaysia for the past 10 years) their Prawn Noodle is DELICIOUS!

Hokkien Prawn Mee (RM 18.90) - This is one of the best soup I've had as it's light and has just the right combination of prawn to pork ratio. The dish is served with 3 huge and very fresh prawns and generous serves of pork meat with a sprinkle of fried shallot. Delicious!

My sis had ordered the Penang Fried Kway Teow (RM 16.90). This has a lovely charred flavour which all good fried kway teow should have. Again the dish was served with bigger than normal fresh prawns which you don't normally get at the normal hawker stalls / centre.

Overall the food is delicious although very pricey compared to what you'll pay at the hawker stalls. I can tell however that Champ's uses quality ingredients in their dishes thus creating a superior taste. I will definitely be back for more delicious prawn noodles.

Champ's Bistro
Lot F10, 1st Floor Centrepoint
Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya Selangor

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quorn Product Launch

Here I was, getting my feet out of the cab thinking, why did I agree to go to a non-soy vegetarian food product launch? Daphne had been invited and asked me to come along for the experience so I thought it would be something different.

When I got out of the cab, the smell of food (the non-vegetarian kind) and clanging of wine glasses from the next door Clock Hotel was more inviting at that moment. We're in Surry Hills for goodness sake and I'm a carnivore when placed in the food chain.

We were warmly greeted by the staff at Mark's Communications on the ground floor and taken up the stairs to the open wooden deck on the upper floor blanketed by the clear night sky and lit by soft candle lights. There was a man playing a classical guitar strumming Spanish inspired tunes. My urge to be at the Clock Hotel was slowly diminishing. Next to the guitar-playing man, there was a table set up with a waitstaff waiting at the back eager to serve a variety of wine and champagne. My Clock Hotel urge is now completely extinguished.

We started talking to one of the Quorn representative while Ms S busily grabbed her first glass of wine. While we were chatting, the tapas were served with a plate of the Quorn Dippers being the first.
Chicken style Quorn dippers in a light crispy batter topped with a spiced beetroot and apple relish

As I took a bite into the Quorn Dipper, I was wondering to myself, why would they serve chicken nuggets in a vegetarian food launch? I started to look around and saw the array of boxed Quorn products and noticed one that read "dippers" and realised that was what I was eating. I tried a second bite and was utterly NOT convinced that it was not chicken meat! It tasted like chicken and the texture was exactly the same.

I asked the Quorn representative and she explained that this was one of their product and not made of meat for sure. I was then curious and she wouldn't tell me what it was. I asked for seconds as I was really enjoying the dippers and as I raved about how good it tasted, I couldn't refrain myself from calling it chicken nugget!

The Quorn Dipper tasted exactly like chicken nugget (texture and all) and it really went well with the Beetroot and Apple Relish.

Oven baked mini baguettes filled with pan fried Quorn sausages, caramelised onion and drizzled with a maple syrup and balsamic cream

As I was raving about the "chicken nuggets", the next tray came out and it was hot dogs. I picked one up and took a quick whiff. It smelled like hot dogs to me so I took one bite. The sausage unbelievably had the exact texture of the sausages that you get off your deli. I actually like the taste of this one better as it didn't have that somewhat "meaty" taste (I know, stupid me right?). But the highlight of the Quorn sausage over the meat kind was that it had a clean taste to it. Not oily at all!

A subtle taste of India-Tender Quorn pieces brushed with Tikka marsala and studded with lime wedges

The Quorn Pieces (chicken meat-like bites) were evident that they were not made of chicken or meat. While it is not distinguishable in other forms (dippers, sausages), when it comes to actual meat pieces it would be hard to emulate the real deal. The Quorn pieces however had the texture of meat with each bite. The texture changed as you chewed on and you would then know that it wasn't meat. The Tikka marsala sauce was a bit too tangy for my liking but I was there to taste Quorn and not the marsala sauce. =)

Gnocchi Bolognese Bakes - pots of rich Quorn mince Bolognese sauce, topped with fresh mozzarella and baked until golden then topped with baby gnocchi, shaved parmesan and fresh basil

This was one of the best dishes of the night and was Ms D's favourite next to the Quorn Dippers. Everything just blended well in my mouth and the taste was very well-balanced. The Quorn mince was exactly like chicken mince - the texture at the very least, as the taste was masked by the Bolognese sauce. I would think I was eating chicken mince however and there was a vegetarian gentleman who couldn't eat this dish as he felt the mince texture was too much like meat. There... how's that for how real the mince was!

Middle Eastern spices panfried with Quorn mince, dolloped with a fresh mint yoghurt and sprinkled with dukkah

This dish was delicious as it was cooked well with the spices to give that Moroccan taste. The Quorn mince in this dish was not as "meat-like" as the one used for the Bolognese sauce. I think the dryness of this dish made the Quorn mince more brittle. Unlike chicken mince, Quorn mince would not produce juice when cooked hence would not be as moist. I could be wrong but perhaps it may be more ideal for saucy dishes rather than pan-fried dishes.

[No picture for this unfortunately]
Spanish inspired slices of Quorn sausage nestled in a warm smoky paprika, tomato & olive salsa

The Quorn sausage in this dish was more evident that it was not meat as compared to the hot dogs. The texture of the sausage somewhat was different in this dish as I think for this kind of dish, the sausage needs to be "hardened" - this one was too soft. But that is just my personal opinion though. Wonder if they still had more of those hot dogs...

The musically talented gentleman responsible for the added ambience for the night

Sample of Quorn product

Sample of Quorn product - My favourite!

So how did the night end up? I was pleasantly surprised. I never realised that vegetarian food can be this exciting. I can now let all my vegetarian friends know that they can stop missing out!

I learnt a lot as well and I learnt that the main ingredient of Quorn is mycoprotein - food made by the fermentation of the fungus, Fusarium gramineurum. Mycoprotein is high in protein and a great substitute for meat. Quorn is not designed specifically with vegetarian in mind, it is also targeted for individuals who would like to reduce their intake of meat. Quorn is naturally low in fat, high in protein and has zero cholesterol. Almost all of Quorn product has the Heart Foundation Tick and is ideal for the health conscious consumers.

While Quorn has been around in the UK since the early 1960's, we were honoured to be one of the first few in Australia to be able to sample Quorn products.

Quorn will be available in Australian retailers in their frozen food section come June 2010. I'm creating space in my freezer now in readiness to stock-pile my Quorn dippers!
Available in your supermarket June 2010

We were invited as guest of Marks Communication.