Kedai Kopi Kow Po @ Bentong

11 09 2011

During the long Hari Raya and Merdeka holiday break, me and my friends decided to travel up to Bentong for a food trip. It was an impromptu decision after finishing our breakfast at Pan Heong on that Sunday morning.

Although I haven’t been to Bentong before, I did recall that it is famous for the ABC ice-cream (shaved ice dessert) from my childhood days. Therefore, I was really looking forward to try it out as I love to indulge myself with this wonderful Malaysian dessert.

Kedai Kopi Kow Po is located opposite of the bus station in Bentong town and along the same row as Hong Leong bank. I am not too sure why there is a Mickey Mouse character on its signboard, but it sure serves its purpose in catching the attention of passerby if that is the reason behind it. What is even more odd is that it is called ‘Kedai Kopi’ as the shop strikes me as a cafe more than a coffee shop.

Anyway, the star attraction is their famous ABC ice-cream (RM 3.80) and that was what really matters.

Although it was really crowded that day, the table turnaround time was quick as customers will leave as soon as they finished consuming their dessert. The restaurant is manned mostly by family members and we were served by an elderly lady. When she asked what we wanted to order, I remember jokingly said “Any flavours lah….” and she promptly brought out all six ice-cream flavoured ABCs (Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Vanilla, Sweet Corn, Strawberry, Pandan) when there were only four of us.

On the side note, I was disappointed that the Durian flavoured ice-cream which is their best seller was already sold out by the time we reached there before noon.

The first thing I tasted was the ice-cream and it didn’t bowl (pun intended) me over. It was underwhelming without much sweetness or flavour. I am not too sure if these home made ice-cream were supposed to have a lighter taste but there was a distinct lack of ‘ummphh’ in it.

But to be fair, Kow Po’s home made ice-cream has a smooth texture and apparently, I heard it is made from natural ingredients. So this may explain why it has a lighter taste compared to what I am normally accustomed to.

The ABC was also average. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly outstanding either. One of my main gripe was that the gula melaka (palm sugar) wasn’t concentrated enough. I still prefer Weng Kee ABC at PJ Old Town.

Our group also ordered the jumbo platter (RM 8.40) which consists of three scoops of assorted flavour ice-cream. I like the coconut flavoured ice-cream as it has a nice natural flavour. Sadly, the peanut version has a strong weird taste to it (like some salty almond aftertaste).

I have to be fair here. Some said that Kow Po’s standard has dropped while others claimed that their home made ice-cream is supposed to have a lighter and natural taste without any artificial flavouring. Since it was my first visit there, I can’t really say for sure.

I guess it all comes down to personal preference. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you would find the their ice-cream rather underwhelming. But if you appreciate lighter tasting ice-cream, then Kow Po would be a great place to eat.

Still, the friendly uncle who had a chat with me said that he sells an average of over a 1,000 bowls of ABC a day.

It was also a sight to marvel on how quickly he prepares each bowl of shaved ice.

Kedai Kopi Kow Po
No.2 Bentong Heights
28700 Bentong
Pahang

Tel: 09-222 1258 / 016-931 0391

Business hour: 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.

Location Map





Big Big Bowl Cafe @ Kepong

9 09 2011

When I first Googled about Big Big Bowl Cafe, there were already numerous blogs raving about their Hakka Lui Cha being the best in town. I felt that it was interesting to try it out although admittedly, I haven’t eaten Lui Cha in my life (despite my mum being a Hakka herself). Lui Cha means pounded tea where an assortment of tea leaves are pounded until it turned into greenish liquid. The liquid or what is commonly termed as the soup, is consumed with either rice or noodles top up with peanuts, bean curd and vegetables.

Depending on how you view the cuisine, it could be either a sumptuous meal (if you are a Hakka or Hakka food lover) or an odd mixture of gooey green liquid with rice or noodles (if you never like seen this dish before).

I kept an open mind when the Lui Cha (RM 7.50) was served as curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to try it out for my first time (and possibly make my mum proud.. lol). And my verdict? There was a strong taste of basil and mint infused inside the soup which took me a while to get used to it.

From what I understand, the soup is made using the restaurant closely guarded family recipe. Moreover, there is no preservative which will certainly delight health conscious foodies out there. The Lui Cha is served with eight different type of ingredients including peanuts and ‘choi poh’ and painstakingly pounded although I believe it is now done using machine. After being enlightened over the technicality aspect of the dish, I started to like it better and even ordered an additional bowl of white rice to eat. From what I heard, most Hakka restaurants out there do not make soup as thick and flavoursome as the one in Big Big Bowl Cafe.

The claypot rice wine chicken RM15.50 (regular) RM20.50 (big) was another dish which I seldom eat. This is because the soup carries a concentrated taste of ‘wong chau’ or Chinese wine which doesn’t  appeal my taste bud.

Surprisingly, the claypot rice wine chicken at Big Bowl did not have strong wine flavour. On the contrary, it was much sweeter. According to Angie Lim who is the Operation Manager of the cafe, better quality wines will tend to taste sweeter which is how authentic Hakka rice wine chicken should be done. What is even more special about the dish is that the wine is home made by them.

The claypot vinegar trotters RM15.50 (regular) RM20.50 (big) is another popular dish at the cafe. I will be honest to say that I never like eating ‘chu kiok cho’.

When my mum prepare this dish, I will request her to cook a separate meal for me to eat. Perhaps the sourish smell emitting from the claypot wasn’t exactly what I would term as yummy. Well, at least I did try a few pieces of the pork at Big Big Bowl Cafe and the experience wasn’t that bad.

The soup was sweet with a tinge of sourish taste as how I expected it to be.

The cafe also recently introduced a new dish called the claypot siam style pork belly RM13.50 (regular) RM16.50 (big). This one reminded me of those Kung Pow style cooking with dark sauce and dried chilli. But what made it different was the inclusion of Basil leaves which lends an interesting taste of clove-like flavor with spicy chilli. I like this dish a lot.

What is even more interesting to note is that the all the dishes that are served with claypot are made instantly to ensure that they are served fresh from the kitchen.

Belacan fried lady finger (RM8) is also one of my favourite dish. The lady finger was big and crunchy while the sambal packs a punch.

Aptly called seven veggie pan mee RM5.50 (regular) RM8.50 (big bowl), the noodle is made from seven types of vegetables without preservative or colouring. This means that the noodle is full of wholesome goodness and fibre.

The soup is boiled only with ‘ikan bilis’ or anchovies without any pork and thus retaining the traditional taste of pan mee soup. While the soup was a bit plain to me, the seven veggie noodle was flavoursome as a result of the blended vegetables and this sort of makes up for the lack of soup taste.

I guess we are all too spoilt with eating MSG laden food huh? The bigger portion is served with a big bowl and thus the name of the restaurant.

Angie told us that her cafe started with selling only Pan Mee before adding a host of other cuisines to cater to the larger audience. She also mentioned that the pan mee dough are kneaded daily to ensure freshness.

The signature curry pan mee RM10.50 (regular) RM13.50 (big bowl) was my favourite as I love the taste of the curry soup.

Apparently the curry paste is also home made as well. The curry soup wasn’t too spicy and it has a nice sweet-ish flavour to it.

Perhaps owning to my half-Hakka roots, I am used to eating this sort of curry mee prepared by my mum. Love it.

The udon special with sambal / black pepper (RM8.50) was nicely presented with a layer of egg wrapping around the noodle like pattaya fried rice. Thumbs up for the food presentation. This is a new dish catering for the younger crowd that prefer something special. I didn’t really eat much as my stomach was half bloated by the time it was served.

Finally, our dinner ended with the signature mix platter (RM 19.90) which comes with fried pork, marmite chicken, fried dumplings and toufu with peanut toppings.

Personally I like the marmite chicken the most which can be ordered separately.

Being an eatery that specialises in home cook food, it is easy to recommend Big Big Bowl Cafe to health conscious foodies.

Given the popularity of the Lui Cha at Big Big Bowl Cafe, Hakka food lovers ought to give this place a try.

Big Big Bowl Cafe
No. 31, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat 2 (Opposite Jusco Kepong)
Taman Usahawan Kepong
52100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 012-211 5564

Business Hours:
Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. till 9 p.m.
Sat – Sun: 11 a.m. till 10 p.m.

Close on every alternate Tuesday

Location Map





Pan Heong @ Batu Caves #2

8 09 2011

It is rare that I blog about the same restaurant twice in a short span time. No, it is not that I am running out of ideas on where to eat but rather, Pan Heong’s Wat Tan Hor (Flat Rice Noodle with egg gravy) is awesomely delicious that it is hard to resist not wanting to have another plate of the silky smooth flat noodle with thick egg yolk based gravy.

Yes folks, the food at Pan Heong is that good and this was clearly seen from the massive Sunday morning crowd who were all lining up patiently for a table to sit when I was there during my second visit. Make sure you order a plate of Wat Tan Hor as this is their signature dish. The first thing you will notice is how yellowish the gravy is.

The texture is akin to half boiled egg; thick, concentrated and mouth-watering.

While I am singing praises about its gravy, the noodles deserve some accolade as well.

It took a couple of attempts to take the picture below as the noodles kept sliding off the pair of chopsticks. Hands down, this is the best Wat Tan Hor ever.

The Mee Mamak is no slouch either. While my other half said that there was a tinge of ‘kan sui’ (lye water) smell, I couldn’t taste it at all.

For a Chinese restaurant selling a dish which is more popularly known at Indian restaurants, I must say it is really impressive.

Just about every table at Pan Heong had a plate of Mee Mamak and that shows how good it is.

Sadly, the ‘Nam Yue Fah Yuk’ (deep fried pork with red fermented beancurd) wasn’t up to my expectation that day.

It could be that we spent a lot of time photographing the dish and it became cold under the fan. The skin was not crispy enough. Still it won’t deter me from ordering it again next time.

We also decided to try out their fish porridge for the first time after seeing customers slurping spoonful of porridge with ‘tin kai’ (frogs). We opt for the fish porridge instead and it didn’t disappoint me.

Chunks of fish meat and century egg can be clearly seen from each scoop of porridge.

Being a porridge lover, I find the texture just right. Not too thick, not too watery.

The fish meat was certainly fresh and though I never like century egg, I didn’t mind eating them at all that day.

This is the first time I seen crystalised century egg. Check out the texture.

It is really easy to recommend this place as my friends (and your truly) enjoyed eating the food that day. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with their signature dishes. I will definitely visit this place over and over again. Just remember to go there early to avoid the long queue.

Check out my first write up about Pan Heong here.

 

Restoran Pan Heong
No. 2, Jalan Medan Batu Caves 2
68100 Batu Caves
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 6187 7430

Business Hours: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m

Location Map





Magazine cover shoot #2

8 09 2011

Here is another indoor shot of Ice using Nikon CLS technique. Overall, it was a good learning experience for me learning how to shoot using off camera flash.





My first magazine cover shoot

7 09 2011

I had a indoor photo shooting session with Ice a while ago and didn’t had the time to process the pictures till now. It was actually my first time using Nikon creative lighting system to create the studio feel. This is one of the early shots that I did for her together with a mock up magazine design.

 





My journey so far…

7 09 2011

It has been a good one half year since I started this blog. It also marks the same time frame that I purchased my Nikon SLR camera.

Some of you may not know that I have an older blog which is now defunct as it was a mishmash of the earlier pictures I took with my first Sony Alpha 200 camera plus a lot of writings about my personal life.

Back then, I had no idea why I bought that camera other than the fact that I wanted to take better food pictures which my camera phone wasn’t able to. I was a trigger happy photographer back then.

Looking back at my photographic journey, I realized how much I have evolved. Instead of merely making snapshots of my surroundings, I have learned what Joe McNally termed as photographer with a purpose.

A photo has to be visually arresting enough to tell a story about the subject. Each picture should eloquently speaks about a theme or a story about the people, the place, the culture in pure visual language.

Admittedly, my ability to express that visual language is still in its infancy stage. I know that to express that language, that vision, I will need to constantly move forward, to learn how to communicate the story as clearly as possible with compelling photography.

This is where I believe MySelangor Story 2011 will be able to provide me with a good platform to chase after that vision. This tourism blogging trip will be an excellent opportunity for me to visually capture the people, places and culture in an all-expense-paid by Selangor Tourism. I hope that I will be one of the lucky participants to capture the many pictures that will inform the mind and move the heart of the people.

This is definitely a trip worth taking. Wish me luck!





Frontera Sol of Mexico @ Jaya One

5 09 2011

A few days ago, I was invited to participate in a food review session at Frontera Sol of Mexico which serves authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Apparently, the restaurant has decided to organise a food review session with a few bloggers to give feedback on their new dishes before launching their revised menu on the 26th September 2011. During review session, each blogger, including yours truly was asked to randomly pick a dish and give comments on how it fared. Bloggers will also get to decide what goes and what stays in the menu by inviting their friends to vote on the Frontera Facebook Page.

On this note, if you like my food pictures, please click ‘like’ on the following link here and here. Thanks a lot!

All of us were given a starter which consists of two soups, namely the Tortilla Chicken Soup and Chipotle & Mushroom Soup.

The Tortilla Chicken Soup is a traditional lightly spiced chicken soup with tomatoes and onions, garnished with tortilla strips, cheese and cilantro. I enjoyed eating the slices of tortilla strips which was wrapped with cheese. Taste wise, it was a good, hearty soup and will certainly delight soup lovers. Love the creamy texture.

The Chipotle & Mushroom Soup was described as a mildly spicy chipotle chili and button mushroom clear soup. However, mild was the last word in my mind as I coughed quite a fair bit when the soup hit my throat after the first sip.

Although I didn’t like it initially, I gave the soup a few more tries and surprisingly, the taste of chipotle (which is actually smoked dried jalapeno) started to grew on me. The best way to describe the soup would be an acquired taste which taste better after a few more sips.

And here were my written comments (with ugly handwriting) ….

I also enjoyed dipping the nachos into the Chili Con Queso which is a Tejas-styled cheese dip made from American cheese, cheddar cheese & tomatoes.


Next up was the main course which was chosen randomly. I got the Texas Bacon Cheeseburger which sounded really exciting. The burger came with 200g of pure beef patty topped with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, dill pickles, melted American cheese & beef bacon.

The bacon was nicely cooked and the cheese was thick and flavoursome. The vegetables were crisp and fresh. My only gripe was the patty itself which was overly cooked. I was told by Mr Ramesh Vadiveloo, the manager of Frontera that the patty was char-grilled and as a result, the outer meat texture looked rather black-ish. However, he took my feedback positively and promptly asked the chef to redo the same dish again. The replacement burger was much better as the texture was evenly cooked. Still, I would prefer the burger to be a bit more moist and juicy. If Frontera could do that, they will definitely have a winner here.

Here are some of the additional pictures taken…

My other half took the Texas BBQ burger looked almost the same as the Texas Bacon Cheeseburger with the additional glazed with BBQ sauce on the beef patty and also onion rings.

The onion rings on top of the patty was a nice creative twist. Thumbs up for the food presentation.

Again there was nothing much to fault other than the dried patty which I mentioned earlier. (Again, it was replaced with a better grilled patty). Portion wise, the meal was great and the rest of the ingredients were fresh.

The proper way of eating the burger is to put the top half of the bun on top of the patty and onion rings. Be prepared to open your mouth really big as the burger is certainly huge.

And being true to its Tex-Mex origins, fries are served with jalapeno coleslaw.

This was how the burger looks like after taking a huge bite.

Finally it was dessert time and I got to eat try Black Label Sundae.

Initially I thought that the sundae was mixed with whiskey as implied by its name, but it was actually a chocolate chipotle brownies topped with Mexican caramel, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and cherry.

The whipped cream has a nice milky taste to it while the chunks of chocolate brownies at the bottom of the glass which was otherwise bitter became soft and sweeter after being soaked with the melted ice-cream for a short while. This is definitely a welcome dessert after a hot spicy meal.

Overall, it was an enjoyable food review session. I am sure that if Frontera tweak their new cuisines just a little bit more, they would definitely be great additions to their new menu. I would also like to thank Ramesh Vadiveloo, the manager of Frontera for his great hospitality throughout the food review session.

Frontera Sol of Mexico
No. 18-G-2, Jaya One
72A, Jalan Universiti
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Location Map





Yoke Peng @ Bukit Jalil

3 09 2011

While organizing my photos, I realised that I had missed out this particular picture in the previous post. It was the only picture I had of Yoke Peng in her black attire. Love the composition in this shot.





Majlis Berbuka Puasa @ Grand Dorsett

3 09 2011

On 24th August 2011, I attended a Majlis Berbuka Puasa organised by Grand Dorsett Subang Hotel. This was part of the Grand Dorsett’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative where orphans from Kanak-Kanak Rumah Kasih Rawang were invited by the Dorsett Community Care Committee to join in for the berbuka puasa (breaking of fast) event.

Mr. Leo Kuscher (General Manager for Grand Dorsett Hotel) gave a welcoming speech followed by a heartwarming Nasyid performance by the talented orphans from Rumah Kasih Rawang. Mr. Leo also presented a mock cheque to one of the caretaker from the orphanage before adjourning to the grandballroom for the breaking of fast.

The Ramadhan Buffet was very enjoyable with over 100 type of home cooked food to choose from. The Soup Gearbox which was served from a huge pot was unmistakably the highlight among all the local dishes available that night. I was told that the soup was cooked with spinal fluid which made the soup thicker and creamier.

I also enjoyed eating the Roti Bom which goes well with the thick spicy sardine gravy. Other dishes such as grilled lamb, ikan bakar, Nasi Arab, Popiah Taiping, Tempura and the mouth watering Ais Krim Goreng were some of my personal favourites.

On this note, I would like to thank Ivy (Create Studio) and Zarmila (Grand Dorsett)  for inviting me to this wonderful event.





Yoke Peng @ Bukit Jalil

2 09 2011

Yoke Peng was the last model to be shot at Bukit Jalil a few weeks ago. Although we had little time spent during the shoot, I was pleased with the overall pictures. Thanks for being a great model!








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