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My Cookbook, Sunway Giza
January 31, 2012

My Cookbook, Sunway Giza

Messy but good

I’m one of those people who dislike paying RM20 for a plate of CKT when I can get the same thing (or better) for RM5 at a coffeeshop. That said, ambiance plays an important role when it comes to meals with friends and loved ones. Seriously, how many of us can maintain a good conversation for a few hours in a humid coffeeshop?

My Cookbook in Sunway Giza has been on my to-eat-list for quite some time and I finally paid this place a visit with Cheryl and rif. This restaurant serves modern Malaysian dishes in a cosy ambiance, and of course, at a higher price. The owner John Teo invited us over for dinner and boy, we ate well that night!

The four of us shared a starter of chicken satay, soft shell crab with crispy salad and spicy plum sauce, black eye peas cake with salted yolk and cookbook chilli and smoked omega eggs with caviar and shimeji mushroom.

Smoked Omega Eggs with Caviar and Shimeji Mushroom

Soft Shell Crab with Crispy Salad and Spicy Plum Sauce

The smoked omega egg (RM8.90) was a fairly simple starter but what made it delicious was the drizzle of truffle oil (not included) John added on top. Almost everything tastes better with truffle oil, don’t you think? I found the soft shell crab salad (RM12.90) pretty decent. Fried till crispy, the crab went well with the crunchy greens and piquant plum sauce.

Chicken Satay (6pcs)

Black Eye Peas Cake with Salted Yolk and Cookbook Chilli

The chicken satay is a new addition to My Cookbook’s menu and I hope it stays. For RM15.90, you get 6 large sticks of skewered meat which isn’t cheap, but reasonable considering the portion. There was plenty of chicken on the skewer and each bite was meaty, tender and succulent. Very tasty with the chunky peanut sauce. rif enjoyed this most among the starters. The black eye peas cake (RM8.90) had salty accents from the salted egg yolk. If you’re a fan of wu tau koh, you’ll love this.

Assam Prawn Salad

Every now and then, My Cookbook dishes out new items and the assam prawn salad (RM15.90) is one of them. The prawns were fairly fresh and the sauce packed a wallop of flavour. I found this just ok, but rif and Cheryl liked it. John ordered the crispy chicken roll and fragrant rice (RM15.90) which was a glam version of the coffeeshop chicken rice. “I’m not a fan of chicken rice,” I told him.

Crispy Chicken Roll and Fragrant Rice

Double Boiled Chicken Broth

“Try this chicken rice, and you’ll be forced to eat your words,” he replied. John was right. The chicken roll was lovely – with crispy skin and well-flavoured chicken flesh, while the rice was fragrant from the chicken broth. Also delicious was the double boiled chicken broth that came with it. If you’re used to eating RM4 chicken rice every day, you will find this expensive. But if you’re open to trying new things (and are willing to spend slightly more on local food), give this a try.

Fried Kuay Teow with Duck Egg

Fried kuay teow is good, but fried kuay teow with duck egg is even better. My Cookbook’s version uses duck egg, and the noodles come with three large prawns at the side. The kuay teow was fairly fluffy and the flavours were well balanced. Not as much wok hei as I hoped it would have, but still pretty tasty.

King Prawn Noodle in Prawn Bisque with 45minutes Poached Egg

I expected the king prawn noodle (RM26.90) to be fantastic after hearing raves from people who tried it. It wasn’t bad, but not mind-blowing either. The bisque was thick and savoury with a sweet flavour from the prawn heads but the king prawn was unfortunately, not as succulent as it should be. This came topped with My Cookbook’s famous 45-minutes poached egg which I happily ate.

Stir-fried Hor Fun and King Prawn with Fish Fillet in Crab Roe Sauce

What impressed me was the stir-fried hor fun with king prawn and fish fillet. For RM29.90, portion was large enough to feed two adults. I liked that the crab roe sauce was eggy and thick, and greedily lapped up every bit of it. The hor fun was smooth and seasoned evenly, while the fish and prawn was adequately fresh. This was hands down my favourite of all the mains.

Lemongrass Jello with Fresh Fruits

Barley & Soy Bean Milk with Homemade Black Sesame Ice Cream

Desserts were lackluster compared to the mains and starters, I felt. The lemongrass jello (RM9.90) was refreshing, but hardly memorable. I didn’t care much for the chilled avocado puree with yam ice cream (RM9.90) and barley & soy bean milk with black sesame ice cream (RM9.90). These tasted a bit tbland after all the rich food.

Chilled Avocado Puree with Yam Ice Cream & Homemade Black Sesame Beancurd

Iced Red Bean

While I wasn’t impressed with the desserts at My Cookbook, it was hard to find fault with their starters and main courses. It is true that prices are slightly pricey for local delights, but you also get a generous portion (at least for the items I tried) and quality ingredients. Plus, the ambiance is nice. Expensive or not, you decide. :)

Thanks John, for dinner!

Ambiance: 6/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 6.5/10 (pork free)
Verdict: If I had pick one dish, I’d recommend the stir-fried hor fun with king prawn. If you’re dining in a big group, order more dishes and share.

My Cookbook (Pork-Free)
A-12, Sunway Giza,
No 2, Jalan PJU 5/14,
Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: 03-6140 6113

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Restoran Sedap Dan Murah, Melaka
January 30, 2012

Restoran Sedap Dan Murah, Melaka

This year was my first CNY in Malacca and I was surprised when I learnt that most shops open during this period. Apparently, they would only take a break after the 14th day. We had plenty to eat — dim sum for supper, pork satay for tea, mee rebus for brunch, nasi beriani, coconut shake, fried carrot cake and more.

A friend of rif’s dad recommended this place called Restoran Sedap Dan Murah, just down the road from the new Marvelux Hotel. In English, sedap dan murah means delicious and cheap. According to that friend, the asam fish was quite tasty, so we decided to have dinner there on the first day of CNY. Good thing his father called to book a table in advance, as by 7pm, it was a full house.

Asam Ikan Jenak

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I noticed people in Malacca eat quite early – some families were eating their dinner at 5.30pm! We tried the chicken cooked with dark sauce and mint leaves, sweet and sour pork in yam basket, kangkung belacan, chiew pai tofu and asam ikan jenak.

Sweet & Sour Pork in Yam Basket

The asam fish gravy was too sour and it overpowered the flavour of the fish. For RM42, I found this quite pricey as the portion wasn’t very large. I enjoyed the yam basket, but not the sweet and sour pork (RM22). The pork slices were adequately tender, but the sweet and sour gravy tasted like a mix of chilli sauce and tomato ketchup.

Mint Leaves Chicken

I like mint leaves in asam laksa and in lamb chops, but mint leaves with chicken tasted weird. It was the owner’s recommendation, and I didn’t find this dish impressive. The gravy was sticky and slightly sweet, with a strong minty aftertaste. Not something I would recommend; unless you’re a fan of mint leaves.

Chiew Pai Tofu

The tofu (RM12) was smooth yet firm and topped with fried shallots and chopped spring onions. Nothing to shout about. The same goes for the kangkung belacan (RM10), although I have to give them credit for the belacan — it was quite fragrant.

Kangkung Belacan

Overall, I found the food very average and prices were not exactly cheap. It could be because of the festive period; dinner cost RM115 for the above.

Ambiance: 6/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Average dishes but comfortable dining environment.

Restoran Sedap Dan Murah
No. 42, Jalan KLU-1,
Taman Kota Laksamana Utama,
75200 Melaka
Tel: 016 649 1123
GPS Coordinates: N02 11.836 E102 14.242

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Nasi Lemak & Ais Kacang, Kepong Wai Sek Kai
January 26, 2012

Nasi Lemak & Ais Kacang, Kepong Wai Sek Kai

Kepong is a place I avoid going to, because parking is often horrendous. It’s a different story when rif is driving, because I don’t have to stress myself going through small roads, alleys and squeezing into small parking spaces. We chanced upon this nasi lemak stall next to the Wai Sek Kai while looking for a parking spot – rif wanted mango loh.

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang and Egg

Unlike some of the stalls in the food court, there was a long queue at the nasi lemak stall. That was close to 10pm. We decided to skip mango loh and joined the queue for the nasi lemak. I was so worried they would run out of chicken rendang since many people in front of me ordered the nasi lemak ayam. Turns out, I was worried for nothing as I still managed to get a piece of chicken thigh. I paid RM4.80 for my nasi lemak with chicken rendang and egg; pretty reasonable by my standards.

The sambal and rice defines a plate of nasi lemak

The sambal and rice defines the nasi lemak. To that former beauty queen who tortured me tried to make me lose weight by asking me to hold off the rice and pretend that the egg white was ‘rice’, you might as well not eat nasi lemak at all. A good nasi lemak should come with sambal that packs a punch. It should be spicy, yet lemak with sweet accents from the caramelized onions. This sambal was almost there. I liked how it was spicy and sweet, but this sambal lacked the rich flavour which the one from Nasi Lemak Warong Sinarnor had.

That said, the rice was pretty good. It was fragrant and rich from the coconut milk, and the rice grains were fluffy and well separated. The ikan bilis here was slightly larger than the ones I’m accustomed to. They were fried till crispy perfection, and added a salty kick to the rice.

Almost sold out by 10pm

The chicken rendang was decent, but nothing to shout about. Cooked till tender, the chicken was well-flavoured by the rendang gravy but it wasn’t as spicy or fragrant as I had hoped it would be. Still, it went well with the nasi lemak. The nasi lemak stall opens from 7pm onwards, and most items are sold out by 10pm.

Surprise discovery: Ais Kacang

I also tried the ais kacang from the stall a few doors away from the nasi lemak stall. It was good stuff. For RM2.20, portion was huge and it was the tastiest ais kacang I’ve eaten in Klang Valley. The ice shaving was smooth yet not overly fine, and the combination of jelly cubes, red bean, sweet corn, milk and syrups was of just the balance. If you can ignore the possibility of rats or other pests walking around, do give this a try.

No-frills ais kacang stall

Ambiance: 2/10
Price: 6/10
Nasi Lemak: 6/10 (halal)
Ais Kacang: 6.5/10
Verdict: Pretty good nasi lemak and ais kacang. Portions are generous and prices are friendly on the wallet.

Kepong Wai Sek Kai
Jalan Antoi Kiri,
Taman Kepong,
52100 Kuala Lumpur

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