Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hoong Tho, Ipoh

Let me tell you a story. A story that I've told to anybody who would listen.

About 6 years ago, give or take a couple of years, I found myself in Penang with my family. On the day that we were to leave back to KL, I woke up at about 5 am with severe pain in my tummy (the umbilical region, for those who want to know more). It was as if I needed to go to the toilet, but that did not relieve it at all.

That morning, the plan was for my dad to take my brother and me out to the beach, while waiting for my mum to attend the final conference event for the day, then leave in the afternoon. I was nearly doubled up in pain by then (no, I don't remember the pain going to my RIF, if that's of any interest at all), but the decision was to get back to KL first before going to the hospital, rather than go to the hospital in Penang. So my dad brought my brother to the beach, my mum attended her event, and my grandma stayed with me in the hotel room. I remember being on the floor, curled up into a ball, and trying to drink 100 plus.

We left Penang sometime before noon, about 10 plus am. I was sitting in the back seat, trying to lie down, but with my brother and grandma there as well, it was difficult.

All I was trying to do was to tahan and wait it out till we get to KL.

At noon, my dad declared that he was hungry. And we turned off into Ipoh, and drove to this place called Hoong Tho, where I struggled to sit on the chair, watching my family feast on Wat Dan Hor and Fried Wantan.

That was 6 years ago.

Ever since then, I've decided that I'll go back to this Hoong Tho to eat the War Dan Hor and Fried Wantan. Drive all the way there if I have to. By myself, if I have to! The years flew by, and nothing ever did happen.

Even the times that I did have the opportunity to go there, I was dissuaded one way or the other. "The place not so nice already." "Now very dirty." "Got other nicer place, we go those la!" Bla bla bla.

So this last week, I decided that I'd drive there by myself for a daytrip, and maybe meet 2 of my friends there, and drag them to Hoong Tho. Eat then come back. A bit of a waste of a long drive, I know.

The daytrip happened yesterday. Got one other friend who happened to be in KL to go along as well. Upon reaching the 2nd friend's place to pick her up, her mum said "Hoong Tho?! Why want to go there?! So dirty."


I insisted we go anyway.

After 6 years, finally. And the verdict? Not so nice. KL can get better. Fried wantan was better than the Wat Dan Hor, but also, nothing spectacular.

Proceeded to another shop a few doors away and had 2 bowls of noodles shared between the 4 of us, and even then, we did not finish the noodles.

And that was all we did with respects to food, this Ipoh trip.

Since they wanted to play mahjong before we left, that was what we did. I had to be taught how to play it though. I now realise its just like any other boardgame.


That's me. Apparently, my friends had some issues with regards to how I arranged my tiles.

I thought it wasn't too bad. And no, I did not actually win this hand. I did however, win the next one. Yes, I really did!

We left after that and I had to drive home in the heavy, pouring rain.

Oh, and the conclusion of my tummy pain story? We eventually reached KL, and I was feeling slightly better by then already. Went to Hospital Selayang, got some bloods taken, decided it wasn't worth doing whatever it was they wanted to originally do to me (I wasn't told), and went off to have some dinner somewhere in Selayang. I think it was some Double Boiled Special Chicken Soup. I was feeling well enough to eat already, and recovered thereafter. No similar pain has recurred again since.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel

Look at this!

A Tropical Daiquiri!


Absolutely gorgeous.

Okay, well, it isn't much to shout about really. It tastes like juice, except with alcohol. Its also the first cocktail that I didn't mind drinking, except I think it'd be better without the alcohol. Maybe I should just drink juice instead. =D

Anyway, back to the restaurant. The Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel is located in the Crown Casino, in the row of shops right beside the river. A cozy little restaurant, with a view of the river, if you are sitting downstairs, or in a very comfy area with a few tables located upstairs, but with no view of the river.

We ordered, including this Daiquiri above, 2 entrees, 2 mains, and 1 dessert.

This came first. Yellowfin tuna and leek tartare, cucumber gaspacho, cream and condiments. In the picture, the tuna is peeking out from behind the cucumber. No, I did not intend it to be that way. I can't really remember how it tasted like, but it was a great dish. Whoever wants a comment should go watch Top Chef and pick one of the positive comments from there. My first time eating a tartare of any sort, and a gaspacho of any sort.

Scampi carpaccio, citrus and ginger vinaigrette. Another raw dish. The scampi were flatly laid onto the plate. This tasted very much like what you'd imagine a fresh garden to taste like, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

So once those were finished, the mains made their way to our table.

My Pan-roasted rib-eye with boulangere potatoes, served with herb butter. This was a very oily and fat dish. Not only the butter on top of the meat, but within the steak itself was creamy, melt-in-your-mouth fat. It was very very filling, and if you don't mind the fat, then it was also very very good.

The duck breast with braised turnips, onion, apple chutney, confit leg spring rolls. The western way of serving duck is to make sure that there is a layer of fat on top, and it must be medium rare. So different from the chinese style roast duck. The duck was good, but we didn't really care much for the turnips and the spring rolls. The sauce was excellent though.

And finally, to top it all off, some chocolate mousse for dessert.


The chocolate tear drop with morello cherries and sorbet provided a very good finish to a very good meal.

I absolutely enjoyed the meal here. The presentation of all the dishes was really nice, the environment was really cozy, the food was excellent, and I had good company as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ajisen Ramen

I've been a bit lazy lately. Of course, the end of the very long semester was coming, everybody was feeling tired, exams were coming up as well, but well, the reason why I've not been updating is because I've been fairly lazy. Oh, and I think Fallout 3 might have had something to do with it as well. Now that I'm back in KL, I've got nothing better to do anyway. Might as well clear up the backlog of pictures that I have. Here goes.

A couple of weeks back (most of the weeks seem to get mixed with each other in my mind, I can't really be sure which week it was already), I was at this Ajisen Ramen on Bourke Street. I've mentioned before that I think ordering Ramen in a Japanese restaurant is like ordering Glorified Instant Noodles and paying $10 or more for it, which is true to a certain extent, but then again, good instant noodles is still good food.


Now this bowl of ramen cost me either $15 or $22. I think it might have been $22. And I'm sure it had a fancier name as well. But it was quite quite good. I loved the soup base that they use, and it had plenty of seafood to keep me satisfied as well.

A cheaper bowl of noodles, this was. My friend mentioned that the steak was fairly bland compared to her previous time, and I concur. I suppose they might've forgotten to season it.

And finally, dumplings! Or, gyoza! Have I mentioned before how much I love dumplings? I love dumplings. My next post will have dumplings in it as well. Watch out.