Sunday, March 18, 2012

Platinum Pork Leg Stew on Rice, Pratunam, Bangkok

This Khao Kha Moo (Pork leg stew on rice) was a gem of a find stumbling around Pratunam while on lunch break from Death Shopper 2.0 at Platinum Shopping Mall. The dish itself is quintessentially Thai, and they're everywhere on the streets of Bangkok. I've tasted many wonderful versions of this dish, yet this remains by far the most impressionable.

The local lunch crowd packed this place to the rafters, but service didn't miss a beat. Within a minute or two, we had our orders taken and drinks served, and shortly after that, this beauty arrived...

...melt-in-your-mouth pork, laced with buttery fat, served on top of rice drenched with pork-infused gravy with the requisite stewed hard-boiled egg and chunks of preserved vegetables. Out of this world!

The Khao Kha Moo stall shares the limelight here with a wantan mee stall, which appeared to be just as popular. Can't miss it, don't miss it!

4/32-33 Soi Petchburi 19
Pratunam, Bangkok

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sundays at Sassorosso, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng

Sassorosso, a not-so-new, cute little Italian joint, is tucked in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, a bit unassuming on the outside but lovely once you enter. The good folks here (who also run Giovino's) have a Sunday lunch deal that we finally got around to trying.

We went for the semi-buffet deal (includes appetiser & soup buffet, ala carte mains and dessert). Had a hard night prior so sadly, the booze option was wasted on us (top-up RM50++ for free flow of prosecco and wines).

Here's what we missed. If you're thirsty and you know it, clap your hands!

Buffet spread of salad...

... tortilla, pasta, clams in wine broth...

...cold cuts, grilled vegetables and fresh greens. We were well stuffed by the time we worked through this. Missing in the pic was a steaming cauldron of fresh green pea soup.

Hui's Grilled Jumbo Tiger Prawns. Jumbo awright!

My Pan Fried Sea Bass with potato crust. Truffle butter sauce was a lil' weak but not a complaint really. This was well-executed.

Mei Shean's main, Pan-seared calf-liver, was a formidable deposit of vitality, oozing juice, blood on a bed of mash. Too rich for a single sitting and half of this had to go back to the kitchen.

The sweets, (clockwise from top: Millefuille, Pannacotta and Creme Brulee) went largely under-appreciated as we simply were sated beyond negotiation.

Enjoyed our afternoon at Sassorosso, and during this time, eyed plenty of families enjoying a slow, lazy ala carte lunch. The deal does come in huge portions, with great service at RM118++ per head (without the booze but with free flow of fresh juices; RM168++ with the booze, totally recommended!)

Sassorosso Italian Restaurant & Wine Retailer
9 Lorong Yap Kwan Seng
50450 KL
Tel: +603-21166 6428

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eating in Bhutan

Culinary Bhutan is defined by simplicity, in its most primitive form. Being visitors of the government-sanctioned variety, however, we had to put up with tourist-standard fare throughout the trip. We relied on our guide to bring us to eateries that catered to tourists, and these were not always the most riveting of ventures.

Our first meal, upon touchdown in Paro, was a preface of what was to come.
Clockwise from left: Ema datshi (national chilli & cheese dish), chicken curry, fried potatoes, red rice, buttered vegetables.

Ema (chilli of a pudgier variety, looks like chilli pepper), ennobled ingredient in the Land of the Dragon. The Bhutanese love their chillies, make no mistake.

We saw Ema everywhere - on the rooftops of homes, by the road, and most extensively, in our food. I'd dare say most meals, this was the only ingredient to which our surfeited palates, used to overpowering flavours at home,
responded with gusto.

There were a couple of notable meals. At Bhutan Kitchen, a local restaurant in the heart of capital Thimphu, the standard tourist buffet is fresher and tastier than most.

Upon request, our guide goes one step further and orders us Phaksha laphu (dried pork fat slices with turnip and of course, chillies). Dried pork is a staple in Bhutan and while it requires some heavy-duty gnawing, it adds a different flavourful dimension to the meal.

Up over at Phobjika Valley, about 3,000m above, where we drove hours to catch a glimpse of the revered black-necked cranes , we were treated to a delicious, spartan home-cooked meal of white rice, red rice, Ema Datshi and a dried pork and dried/cured vegetable dish.

On our last day, en route the drive to and from Haa Valley (worth omitting from your itinerary, by the way), we stopped for a picnic which neatly wrapped up our Bhutanese food experience. A caterer had prepared mountains of rice to go with (from top left): fried hard boiled eggs, spiced potatoes, Ema Datshi and a beautiful, milky sliced pork curry.

For those hoping to visit Bhutan and eat well, here are a few tips:
  • Research and figure out what's on offer. Unfortunately, there aren't that many good, visual sites (or last I checked anyway) but this is as good a place to start as any.
  • Be forthcoming and vocal from the start to your guide on your food preferences and what you hope to try. The daily tariff (which is no cheap ticket by any travel standards) that covers your meals should enable your guide to work around those.
  • Manage your own expectations. Bhutan is a once-in-a-lifetime journey that requires some personal effort and investment on the visitor's part. Be prepared to embrace whatever comes your way, utterly-tasteless-meal-enroute-excruciating Tiger's Nest hike or otherwise!
  • If you don't like chillies or cheese, learn to deal! Both these ingredients anchor Bhutanese cuisine and you could do a lot worse than to digest them with relish!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cod Fish Hash & Full English Breakfast, Oriole Cafe & Bar

So how did the start of your 2012 feasting go? Mine got off with a gentle Singaporean nudge in the right direction, a quiet breakfast at Oriole, nestled within Somerset.

Just what the doctor ordered after one beer tower too many on the first day of the new year - Cod Fish Hash. Of course, any combination of potatoes and eggs would have done the job, but to do a magnificent one, you need to pair them with beautifully smoked fish. I need to find a place to procure smoked cod in KL; requires a bit of work, but this is something the most austere of kitchens could and should attempt to whip up.

Full English Breakfast was good, not great, but good. Crispy bacon lent this some star power, because for some reason, bacon has ceased to be crispy at all pork-friendly joints in KL. Bacon is not bacon if it ain't crispy. Understand, muppets?

Easy breezy beautiful

New Year, ya got me eating out of your hands already!

Oriole Cafe & Bar
Pan Pacific Serviced Suites
Somerset Road