Saturday, June 30, 2012

A delicious performance: Korean musical Bibap

Ingredients: break dancing, beat-boxing, and a heavy dose of creativity and humour!
Le chefs: Red Chef, Green Chef, MC Chef, Iron Chef, Sexy Chef, Rhythm Chef, Rookie, and Cutie Chef
The dish: Bibap---A South Korean musical


I recently attended this special performance, which was hosted by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) Kuala Lumpur Office, led by managing director Yun Jae Jin, in conjunction with the 2012 Korea Convention Year. Approximately 400 guests were treated to 80 minutes of bibap, a South Korean performance, which took the crowd on a musical and gastronomical journey with a delicious combination of beat-boxing and breakdancing, topped with a heavy dose of creativity and humour.
video
This is just a snippet of the exciting performance.

The story sees the Green Chef and Red Chef vying to be the bibimbap champion chef for the last order of the day.
Aiding them are the MC Chef, Iron Chef, Sexy Chef, Rhythm Chef, Rookie Chef, and Cutie Chef, who would probably not be hired as kitchen hands in real life as they seemed to be singing, breakdancing, and beat-boxing more than cooking!

Impressive beat-boxing!

Be prepared to be invited onstage to be part of the act.

The multi-talented cast and some of the invited guests taking a photo onstage.

It was so funny, we laughed till we had tears. 
The multi-talented cast flaunted their skills in beat-boxing, A Capella, break dancing and acting.
In the brochure, the “eatertainment” was described as “a peaceful and delightful dining experience”. It was delightful, but I can assure you that with props flying around, characters dancing and singing, the show was anything but peaceful.
Overall, I love Bibap. Thumbs-up! This is a must-watch show if you visit Korea,
To know more about bibap, visit www.bibap.co.kr

Horrible facial experience

I recently purchased a facial at a special price.
I wasn't expecting much because previous experiences (of discounted facials) proved that some facial therapist don't put effort in serving customers who did not pay full price.
This time around, I was rather satisfied; the facial therapist applied several masks and gave me a shoulder massage. It was painful when she extracted the blackheads though, I was near to tears.
I was promised a 3-hour facial; the entire process (including the lengthy pre- and post-analysis) was less than 3 hours.
After the facial, my therapist then pitch her sales talk and attempted to persuade me to sign up for a package.
If I signed up on the spot, I would get a special price; this is the usual tactic.
I hate to be pressured to make a decision in the spot so I said I will think about it.
She pushed on and said if I paid a deposit, she could keep the deal for me (wow, how kind of her... -_-).
I said I didn't bring much $ as I did not expect to pay for anything today (I had paid for the facial much earlier).
How about RM10? she pressed on.
Wow, she is relentless; she'll even take RM10.
I said no, I need the $ to pay for parking.
Her supervisor then came in and asked if I had any credit cards or ATM cards.
I said I don't have any cards with me.
Not even an ATM card? she asked.
What? She wanted me to go and withdraw $ to buy the package? Were they that desperate?
supervisor: I want to ask if you are concerned about your face.
what kinda question is that?
Me: of course, or else I would not be here.
supervisor: are you really concerned about your face or did you came to just use the voucher you purchased?
Ok, that does it, this is really insulting and demeaning. First she questions if I give two hoots about my face (who doesn't?) then she insinuates that I'm here to get a promotional facial (which I paid for, it was not free; even if it was, that does not give her the right to treat me any lesser than other customers).
The two were cornering me, interrogating me like I had done something wrong. I felt so uneasy, I just wanted to leave.
I remained calm and told her that I'm both concerned about my face and I want to make use of the voucher I bought, plus I will not purchase the package on the spot; I then quickly made my exit.
The thing is: I was actually tempted to sign up for the package. But the supervisor's attitude was so off-putting that not only will I not sign up for any of their facials, I will also warn my friends of this place.
My therapist was rather nice and I was pretty pleased with her service. Even if I didn't buy any facial packages on the spot, I would have recommended it to my friends.
No way I'm going to do so now, thanks to the pushy and rude supervisor.
The problem with people like her is that they only focus on earning your $ there and then that they did not see the long-term goal.
I hope such companies can look into this matter and advise their employees to be more professional.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Books I read: Hamlyn Complete Cook

Title: Hamlyn Complete Cook
subtitle: 400 ingredients explained, 100 tools & utensils, 1000 delicious recipes, 50 basic techniques
hardcover


This is a useful book for cooking dummies like me as it teaches basic techniques such as how to chop onions, how to cut julienne strips, how to test eggs for freshness (u mean there are other ways than cracking it open to smell if it's foul?), etc.
I also like that there are illustrations detailing the different cuts of meats; i now know where the chump is. Not that I will be slicing meat anytime soon (I'm trying to be less meat-ful) but it's good to impress chefs I may interview ;)
There are some colour photos but only for a few selected recipes, not all; and black-and-white beautiful illustrations.
One minor gripe is that not all of  the descriptions of the ingredients are accompanied by photos, in fact the few illustrations are in black-and-white.
But I guess that would incur cost and add more pages to the already 605 pages.
Overall, an informative book for cook-wannabes.

Books I read: Myanmar on My Mind by H.C. Matthew Sim

Myanmar on My Mind, a guide to living and doing business in Myanmar by H.C. Matthew Sim is based on the author's experiences as well as of other international businessmen.

The author was First Secretary (commercial) at the Singapore embassy in Yangon, Myanmar from 1995 to 1997.
The books offers an insight in the minds of the Myanmar people, their culture and taboos.
I like the easy-to-read style, each topic is discussed in a concise manner and examples are given. It's a real page-turner, I finished the book within two days.
I'm not sure if all of the information (published in 2001) is still useful now but this book is a useful guide not only for businessmen but those who plan to visit the country.
Among the interesting topics are: "Please Use My Spoon, it is Specially Licked Clean for You", "You Made Me Lie", and "Who is the Real Boss?".
I wish there were other books like these, is there a "...on My Mind" series?

*disclaimer: these are merely my personal opinion. please don't throw a tantrum if you do not like the product stated or agree with what I said. Cheers ;)

Books I read: Shadow Play by Barbara Ismail

My colleague first told me about this book, which is about a mystery set in Kelantan (a north-east state in Malaysia).
I heard the words mak cik (which means aunty/ ajumma) sleuth and I was sold! I just have to read it.

One would expect a makcik to be investigating stolen chickens or stolen kain songket (songket cloth) but no, this gutsy lady is already tackling a murder that happened in her own backyard in this first book in the series.
A new police chief was put in charge of the case but face difficulties due to his lack of understanding of the local culture and dialect (Kelantanese is a local dialect spoken in Kelantan and not many Malaysians can speak/ understand it).

I love a good mystery and this story sure has some interesting elements: a murdered man who had two wives, dubious characters, and some black magic thrown in. Juicy!
The language makes for easy reading that even teens (or maybe even elementary school kids) would be able to understand.



I am now a fan of the main character Mak Cik Maryam, what with her take-charge attitude and ability to switch to a motherly figure in order to get people to open up to her.
I love the fact that she is not a stereotypical iron lady who do not show her emotion easily; this mak cik has shed tears during a conflict but soon regained her strength to overcome the adversities.
What I love is the use of Malay terms and idioms in the story, which adds a Malay touch, making this book both an interesting and educational read.
For those who do not understand Bahasa Malaysia, fret not, there are only few Malay words used and the terms are explained in the Glossary page. 
Tahi Itik, which means duck shit, was mentioned in the story and I was glad to learn from the glossary page that is a type of Kelantanese sweet cake (I don't think duck shit is a delicacy ><).
There are currently six books in the series, namely Shadow Play, Princess Play, Songbird, Moon Kite, Western Chanting, amd Little Axe.
I'm looking forward to the second one :)

*disclaimer: these are merely my personal opinion. please don't throw a tantrum if you do not like the product stated or agree with what I said. Cheers ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Still hungry...

A recent food review left my photographer and I was only half-full.
I'm a moderate eater so most of the time, I'm stuffed to the brim at food reviews.
But this hotel really set a record for being so kiamsiap (stingy).
It's such a pity because the hotel was really beautiful (the exterior, not the rooms, more on that later).
On my way there, I was already thinking of how to blog about it. Well, too bad.
I called ahead to let them know that another colleague will be joining me, but was told (in a rather cold and off-putting manner) that they had only prepared food for two.
No probs, I was not asking for an extra set. I rarely asked for more food (except for once when my aller, never had to; plus, most of the time the food is more than enough.

We were almost dying of hunger, being made to wait more than an hour for the food.
My colleague said out loud that we have been waiting quite some time for the food to arrive.
The chef retorted, "We prepare this a la minute."

Excuse me but we are not walk-in guests, you invited us for a food review and had set the time. You were expecting us.
The ice-cream on the dessert has melted as we were taking photos and I pointed it out to the chef.
I almost can't believe my ears when he replied, "That's good, then you can mix it (with the other ingredients)."
Chef Edward Kwon will never let this happen. Gordon Ramsey would have yelled for the kitchen hand to bring a fresh dollop of ice-cream once he see the ice-cream melting, before I need to point it out.
It just shows the lack of passion he has for his job as a chef.
Finally the food came, we waited awhile for the second set to be served because we were told that they "prepared for two".
Then it dawn upon us. What we have before us was "for two". Do we look like we need to be on a diet?
What greeted us was a tiny portion of appetiser, a bowl of soup, 2 main course, 2 desserts.
And that was what the hotel liaison meant by "food for two".
You expect us to share a bowl of soup?!
My colleague remarked that the food portions were kinda small and the chef had the cheek to reply that "this is fine dining".
I'm sorry but I do not appreciate such sarcasm. We know what fine dining is, have been to several (many good ones); but none left us with empty stomachs.
So you see, not all food reviews are satisfying.
I took many photos but I'm not going to post it. It's just not worth my effort and time.
Have any of you had such experiences? Do share.





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's for lunch?: Han Woo Ri 한우리

I love set lunches, because it's value for money and I don't have to crack my head to choose from the numerous items on the menu.
Today I feel like having Korean so I went to Han Woo Ri 한우리.
They have set lunches (priced at RM15, lunch time: noon till 3pm) that includes a main course, tea, two slices of watermelon, and some kind of dessert drink (nurunji?).

One of my favourite things about Korean food is the 반찬 Banchan (side dishes).

Banchan: Sausage. Yums! 


Banchan: Silky Tofu

My lunch partner ordered Rabokki 라볶이

I chose Dolsot Bibimbap 돌솥 비빔밥, my all-time favourite


 Mix it up! I'm not good with spicy food but I needed 2 saucers of gochujang today to add flavour, hmm...

Watermelon & what I think looks like chilled Nurunji 누룽지, I may be wrong.

As I was paying, a foreign-looking (maybe from Bangladesh) waiter/ supervisor asked me in Korean (!) if I was Korean!?
Him: ...(something) 한국 사람? (Are you Korean?)
Me: Er...한국 사람 아니에요 (No)
Him: ...(something) 한국말..(something)...(i guess he was asking if I speak Korean?)
Me: 한국말 잘 못해요...
He continued rambling in a heavily non-Korean accent and all I could do was smile and nod my head.  아이구~
This is not the first time that someone asked if I'm Korean but it's the first time a non-Korean asked this question in Korean. Haha...


Han Woo Ri Korean BBQ Restaurant
(USJ Taipan)
1D & 2D, Jalan USJ 10/1J,
47620 Subang Jaya
03-8023 3357

(Ampang)
C6-1, C7-1, Jalan AMpang Utama 1/1,
One Ampang Avenue,
68000 Ampang 
03-4253 1308



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's for breakfast?

It's Char Koay Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodles), co-produced by yours truly.
Ingredients:
Koay Teow (Flat Rice Noodles)
Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Pepper
Beansprouts
Egg

Recipe:
1. Wash the oil off the koay teow
2. (optional) Pick off the ends of the beansprouts
3. Heat the wok and fry the egg
4. Set the egg aside and fry the beansprouts for a few seconds (I prefer them crunchy). Put these aside
5. Add some oil and fry some garlic
6. Next, pop in the noodles and fry
7. Mix the sauces and pepper, add some water and shower the noodles. Continue frying and tossing
8. Mix all ingredients together and serve. Bon Appetit!


Food: Chilla Cup (SetiaWalk Puchong)

Chilla Cup's fourth and latest outlet is in SetiaWalk in Puchong (more on that later). 
The owners are coffee-aficionados and are very particular with their coffee. Failing to find suitable coffee beans in Malaysia, they sourced from Singapore.
Their next outlet is expected to open in August in The Mines.
I've passed by Subang Avenue's Chilla Cup a few times but never had the chance to pop in for a bite.
This branch may just be my favourite spot for now because SetiaWalk is still new, hence less crowd. Parking is currently free of charge so you might want to take advantage of it.

The lovely alfresco dining area is a good choice with the fantastic view as long as the weather is good.

The interior

Coffee items are priced between (RM5 and RM11.90)
latte : RM9.50 (regular) 
Chilla blended (ice blended drinks) : RM11.50 (regular) 

Arabica coffee is served here and Grade A coffee is used.
Only 15kg beans are roasted each time to ensure that all beans are roasted evenly.

Smoothies (regular: RM12 ) : mango, strawberry,blueberry, passion fruit and raspberry.
I tried the passion fruit and it was yummy! A tad too sweet tough...

plain pretzel RM5.90 
freshly baked pretzel, made on the spot to ensure its freshness 

caramel almond pretzel : RM7.50
Best consumed when hot.

caramel butter thick toast : RM8.50
The sinful topping melts fast so eat up!

fish and chips : RM16.90
One of my faves on the menu. Ok, I might be biased on this one because I'm a fan of fish & chips ;)

Chicken Burger RM14.90

Hawaii tortilla: RM13.90
The tortillas prepared upon customer order.


Dory fish with sour cream spaghetti : RM16.90
I usually avoid the cream sauces but I just could not resist the dory fish.

June promo item: Seafood Spaghetti
I couldn't eat this due to diet restrictions but my friend wiped the sauce clean, so I guess it's good ;)

*Check out the June promotion:
Selection of Chicken burger/Seafood Spaghetti/Cheesy Macaroni at RM14.90.
-comes with a free drink of honey lime/americano/gourmet tea.(upgrade to latte/cappuccino with additional RM3.)
-promotion from Mon - Fri only. 12noon - 2pm, excluding holiday.


Chilla Cup
Address: E-30A-G, Block E, Setia Walk, 
Persiaran Wawasan, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Puchong.
Tel: 03 5879 6404
Web site: www.chillacup.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com.chillacupcafe

Xin Cuisine: New chef in the house!



Newly-appointed Chinese executive chef Alfie Hoh Fee Theng dishes out new additions to the menu to tantalise one’s taste buds at Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s Xin Cuisine.
Check out the grandoise interior
Hoh, who has been on board since March 1, has worked in restaurants in Malaysian, Singapore, China and Indonesia, among other countries.
 Stewed Cod Fish with Soya Paste with Tomatoes. The paste complemented the fish.

 Seafood lovers can go for the Braised Thick Soup of Golden Superior Broth with Fish Maw and Seafood.


Pan-fried Prawn with Orange Juice in Milk Sauce was an appetising dish, thanks to the sauce, and is good to be enjoyed with rice.
Here's something for vegetariansThe Stir-fried Lily Buds and Sweet Peas with Straw Mushroom is my favourite dish.
Presentation-wise, the red and yellow bell peppers, green sweet peas and white lily buds are a feast for the eyes. 
The combination of various vegetables such as crunchy bell peppers and chewy mushrooms added different textures to the dish and the lily buds added a hint of sweetness.

Like eating cloud: Deep-fried White Souffle with Red Bean Paste. Yums :)
Delectable:  Chilled Seaweed Jelly with Osmanthus and Wolf Berries. 
Osmanthus, known as gui hua in Chinese, added fragrance to the dessert. Even if you did not go for a full course meal, this cooling dessert can be enjoyed on its own.

Xin Cuisine,
Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
2 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2144 2200
Business hours: 11.30am-3.30pm and
6.30pm-10.30pm (Mon-Fri)
and 9am-3.30pm and 6.30pm-10.30pm
(weekends and public holidays).

Food (pilot)

Well, I'm starting off with food (there goes my diet plan, and possibly yours) and three at a go!
So here we go...