Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Food: Super Kitchen Chilly Pan Mee @ Chow Yang, SS2

Ever since food curiosity got the better of us, our paychecks (well, our waistlines too) have suffered greatly. Once in awhile, we retreat back to neighbourhood favourites for a simple dinner. That night, it was Super Kitchen Pan Mee, a quiet pan mee joint located along the same row of shops as Kayu Nasi Kandar and Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant in Chow Yang, SS2.

 The menu is fairly simple as it is with most pan mee-centric restaurants. The one I usually go for is the chilli-ed version; also their most popular dish. The Chilli Pan Mee (RM 6), with its noodles thick and comfortingly chewy, also comes with tasty seasoned minced pork, fragrant shallots and crispy ikan bilis (anchovies). The noodles come topped with a shiny, bulbous egg, threatening to break apart with a gentle prod of a chopstick. I usually have lunch with colleagues at another pan mee chain, Face2Face, and feel that the noodles here at Super Kitchen are less salty in comparison.

The secret to any chilli pan mee, of course, is the fiery dried chilli flakes on every table. Take the one at Super Kitchen Pan Mee with a great deal of caution! Not one for risk, I usually mix in a spoonful, taste, and repeat these two steps till I'm satisfied. Too much, and it'll be pure torture the next morning :p

I can hear harps playing in the background, accompanying this pic...

Each bowl of chilli pan mee comes accompanied with a small bowl of soup with sweet leaves - the standard pan mee partner.

Another must-have for me is a portion of the Deep Fried Pork Meat (RM8 for small, RM12 for large). The pork fillet is served fresh out of the fryer, with its flesh still juicy. I especially love the batter in this, fragrantly-tinged with five spice and a hint of ginger. If you prefer a smaller portion, you can also opt to have the Pork Chop Pan Mee (RM6); however this version comes sans the egg (which I know a lot of you won't be able to accept :p), minced pork and ikan bilis.

Feeling peckish, we had an additional order of the Fried Wantan (RM5 for small), served with some sweet chilli dip, but this was just a sinful deep-fried snack to be had, with a significant crunch in each bite, the filling not as memorable. On a separate visit I tried the soup dumplings, and I prefered those more.

The drinks are also pretty standard, with their herbal tea of the day and barley being our choices.

Usually yellow during the day - not sure why it's a ghastly green during the night!

Super Kitchen Pan Mee is a good choice for dinner if you're craving some noodles; service is brisk and food affordable for PJ standards these days. I'm more a pan mee fan than Adam is, but at least this is somewhere he wouldn't mind returning too again (I suspect it could be the pork chop that did the trick!).

Super Kitchen Pan Mee | Site
No. 42, Jalan SS2/10,
Taman Bahagia,
47000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +6 03 7877 2281

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Food: Bulgogi Brothers @ Pavilion, KL

Previously, we have blogged about a place called Sister's Kitchen. But don't think only the women can cook; now there's a new Korean place in town - Bulgogi Brothers! And thanks to the kind folk at Chaswood Group and RAPR Mileage Communications, we were given the chance to sample a few of the dishes that makes Bulgogi Brothers special. =)

If I were to tell you the place Bulgogi Brothers first opened in Korea a year ago, it would have sounded close to foreign to Malaysians, or anyone around the globe for that matter. Today however, it means more to you when I say that the first branch opened in Gang-Nam in 2006. Yes, the same place PSY sings about.

The Bulgogi Brothers restaurants have garnered a huge following in its homeland, even being filming locations for some K-dramas, largely due to its great food and ambiance. Now, we finally get to experience some of its contemporary charm as the brand makes its way to our shores! (Branches are found in Pavilion and Paradigm Mall, with two more coming soon at Mid Valley and The Curve.)

Though the branch in Pavilion isn't large, there's plenty of communal booths for big groups as well as for two, and we also spotted a private room that looks great for big groups. We like the design of the place, which includes custom-made tables that were brought over all the way from South Korea

Why did it have to be custom made? Besides having special built-in induction cookers that react only to the right pots placed on top and high quality cutlery, each table also has a special sliding drawer that holds all the cutlery. Not to mention the all-important WiFi password, that is labeled on a piece of paper stuck on the corner of the drawer. Take note if you ever make a trip to Bulgogi Brothers! =D

The first thing we were served when we sat down was this snack of steamed edamame, corn and sweet potatoes. The first thought that came into my head was "Oh look, farmer's food" while Wendy dug right in - though the steamed items preserved their natural sweetness very well, it wasn't my thing. 

After that came the Korean "appetizers", otherwise known as banchan which fared better for me. We were given 6 different types including kimchikangkung, pickled lotus root, mashed sweet potato and pumpkin amongst others. All these are refillable, and are automatically given at no charge to customers! It's a nice touch from Bulgogi Brothers, since I'm sure no one likes to see hidden charges or charges that can't be avoided. They change the banchan from time to time (though I'm sure kimchi is a staple) so you can expect new things to try next visit. =)

If we had  to pick a favourite, I would say the mashed sweet potato, simply because it was the most unique of the lot. Whoever knew sweet potato and pumpkins could make such a fine mash! It was smooth, not too filling, and had a slightly sweet flavour. We had to control ourselves from having more. Wendy also liked the  fresh crunchy kimchi, saying it wasn't too spicy nor too sharply sour.

And it was a good thing we practised self-control, because there was no time to waste when the first dish arrived - the Haemul Pajeon (RM 27.90). You'd be forgiven for thinking it looks like a pizza, because it does look very much alike. There's no cheese or tomato base though, so I suppose it's more like a pancake than a pizza. =)

This pancake was topped full of a mix of prawns, mussels and squid, not to mention a generous helping of green onions too! We were impressed with the generous amount of seafood - fresh and springy, with the onions adding a little sweetness to the whole mix. I did feel the texture pancake as a whole was a bit thick and moist; I would have preferred it slightly drier and crispier.

It took awhile for the next dish to arrive, so we had to control ourselves not to eat too much banchan or all of the pancake! It was well worth it though, because the next dish was Seoulsik Bulgogi (RM 52.90 for 300g), a broth dish of beef marinated in their special apple & pear bulgogi sauce, with enoki mushrooms, leeks and onions, and glass noodles too.

While the abundance of vegetables looks intimidating to a carnivore like me, it actually isn't as bad as it looks. The helpful staff will do all the cooking, some of them having spent months in a Bulgogi Brothers branch in Korea for training, so don't worry if you don't know what to do.

This turned out to be our favourite dish of the night, simply because the broth was so fruity and full of beef flavour, while the meat itself was very well marinated. Bulgogi is our usual order when we have Korean and Bulgogi Brothers really seem to have perfected the recipe! If not for a list of other dishes to come, we would have just ordered some rice to mop up all the broth for a satisfying meal for two.

Don't fancy the Seoul version of bulgogi? Bulgogi Brothers also offer many variations of savory bulgogi, which actually means 'fired meat', where traditionally, marinated meat is grilled by the tableside for celebrations back in the day.

The arrival of the Chadol Baki (RM 32.90), a grand arrangement of seasoned beef brisket and bean sprouts, meant it was time to fire our 'grill' up!

Again, staff will gladly volunteer to cook the food for you. This is highly recommended since there are proper steps to follow which we laymen would probably have messed up anyway. The first step is to cook the onion, followed by the bean sprouts fried evenly; very important because there is so much! You'd be forgiven for thinking it looks a lot like Japanese Teppanyaki - that's what we thought too.

An appreciated addition was the simple pan cover that surrounds the pan, protecting customers against hot oil splashes! Bulgogi Brothers really has it all thought out. =D

The final product is wonderful bite-sized chunks of beef, well marbled with fat. It may be too much fat with your meat for some of you to handle, Wendy included. Fat aside, we loved the taste of the beef; though the grilling had it grilled to medium well, it was still largely tender, and had a great smoky flavour to it.

If the bean sprouts aren't enough vegetables for you, there's also lettuce, carrots, cucumber and some dipping sauce served separately. The beef can be wrapped in the lettuce, besides eating it with rice, but I thought it was good enough with rice.. =P

This is called Janchi Guksu (RM 17.90) which is otherwise known as the "party noodles" in Korea. Served in seafood broth complemented by lots of vegetables, this is something suitable for the person that's cutting back on red meat. That doesn't mean it's any less tasty though; the seafood broth was clear and sweet thanks to the seafood & vegetables, and we were glad not to have our tongues itching with thirst after because of an abundance of MSG. Another secret ingredient? A dash of kimchi in the noodles! With that little addition, it adds a good 'kick' to the whole noodle dish, earning it more points in our books.

Served at the same time as the party noodles was this Haemul Doenjang Jjigae (RM 26.90) with shrimps and soft shell crab, enabling us to make a good comparison of the two.

The difference between the party noodles and this doenjang (soybean) stew was like chalk and cheese! While the seafood broth was clear and mild, this stew had much spicier and stronger flavours, akin to Japanese miso. Since I'm the type that doesn't like bland food, I preferred this slow-cooked stew. Wendy on the other hand preferred the clear seafood broth. I think it's safe to say there really is something for everyone at Bulgogi Brothers.

By the time we finished all the above, we had eaten enough food to feed us 3 times over! But the end only came after the final dish of the night - Chicken Bibimbab (RM 26.90). For the uninformed (and as we just learnt that night), bibim means mixed in Korean, while bab means rice.

The rice and all its colourful toppings are then mixed in the hot pot, resulting in a melting pot of textures. The chicken is spicily delightful as are the julienned vegetables adeptly prepared, but we do wish there was more meat and less vegetables. Wendy thinks too much of the latter causes a lot of water to be emitted during the cooking process, leading the bibimbab to be a little wetter than usual. Perhaps next time, we'll allow it to be cooked longer to avoid this. Credit must be given for the perfect egg yolk served, though - such a lovely sight!

With all that good food, there has to be good drink to wash it down! We got to try a special drink here, namely the Pineapple Makguli Cocktail (RM 27.90), a really refreshing concoction of traditional milky rice wine mixed with pineapple liqueur. A strawberry version is also available. Here, the pineapple tones down the pungent rice wine a lot, making it very pleasant to drink; a great marriage of flavours. We're calling this the Asian Malibu. =P

Diners also get free tea of the day, ours was the Oksusu Cha (corn) - we were amazed at the strong corn aroma as they poured the tea out of the flask. Others tea of the day varieties also include buckwheat & brown rice.

Not a teetotaler? Bulgogi Brothers sell some interesting varieties of Korean liquor here like the Bokbunjajoo (RM 58.50), wine made from raspberry and the Seouljungmae Gold (RM 66.50), made out of plums. The latter was particularly interesting, because gold flecks can be found in the bottle, like those snow globes. Would make great gifts, we think.

The only dessert on the menu is an assortment of Korean ice cream (RM 5.90), less sweeter than its Western counterparts.

To cap off this review, it certainly was a good and fulfilling night out at Bulgogi Brothers. The outlet ventilation was surprisingly impressive; we stepped out after all that grilling and barbecuing smelling clean unlike other Korean BBQ places. The food was excellent and service was polite and helpful, both of which we hope to see maintained on a day to day basis. This place will be going onto our list of places to revisit with friends and family because the best food here must be shared! =)

*Full set of photos found on our Facebook page here.

Bulgogi Brothers | Site
Opposite Wong Kok Char Chan Teng
Lot 6.01.03, Level 6,
Pavilion Shopping Mall
No. 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 2141 9620
Fax: +6 03 2141 9621
Email: [email protected]
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Travel: Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside @ Putrajaya, Selangor

Before I begin the post proper, here's something interesting for you to try! If you can guess what the 4 pictures are referring to, then you'll know what I'm about to talk about in this post. Here's a clue: it's something I got Wendy for her birthday! You might think it's cheesy, but we were on a treasure hunt craze at the time. 

A week before the present, I showed this to Wendy, as a teaser to let her try and figure out what was coming! She got half of it, and the other half with some hints, so if you can understand this, then it means you know how my brain works better than her... =D

Answers at the end of this post.. maybe you'll figure it out after reading all about it?

Every year, birthdays get a little bit harder to plan for. All the what-to-buy and where-to-eat are nagging questions at least 2-3 months before! This year though I got a bit creative; instead of just buying dinner and a present, what about a full 24-hour experience? 

The quiet lobby area.

Which is how I hit on the idea to plan an overnight vacation! But then of course the next question is where to go to spend one night at an affordable yet luxurious location? Hotels in KL City Centre are very expensive, especially when booked last minute. 

The view from our room.

Besides, I thought a quiet place would be better over the hustle and bustle of the city which we see all the time anyway. After thinking it over, I found the perfect place to go - Putrajaya

The iconic clock tower at Pullman Putrajaya.

If you recognize the name of the hotel wing in the first picture, then you'll know which hotel I chose! The Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside that is located just next to the lake, seemed like an ideal location for a 1 night get-away. =)

I chose Pullman also because I read that they have a weekend barbecue buffet. Sadly my lack of attention to detail made me miss out the small but very important fact that it wasn't available on Sunday nights! But it was okay, because we ended up having a pretty good buffet too, which I'll get to in a minute. ;)

Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside is spread over a large area, and because they have so much space, they can afford to make sure every block doesn't go above 3-4 floors. To represent our rich Malaysian culture, there are 4 different wings themed after the Chinese (Lotus Wing), Malay (Bunga Tanjung Wing), Indian (Jasmine Wing), and Borneo (Rafflesia Wing) cultures of Malaysia. Hence, the architecture and the overall ambiance you get at each wing is unique in itself.

A picture of the Lotus Wing from the outside.

Lovely stone bridges and pagoda-esque rooftops in the Lotus Wing...

The Bunga Tanjung wing - a representation of ethnic Malay.

Wendy especially loved all the high roofs and carved wood arches and fascia.

While some hotels just use different names as a gimmick to attract attention, Pullman really has taken the themes to heart, with different designs not just for the room interior, but also on the overall design of the whole block of rooms! We loved the facade of the Lotus & Bunga Tanjung wings the most. It's interesting enough just to take a stroll around and point out the little differences that make each culture unique.. =)

Already hooked to the tv.

We were given a room in the Bunga Tanjung Wing, greeted with a lovely red motif design on the wall. The room is pretty spacious, with a huge bed, work space, and an armchair by the windows.

We've stayed in hotels where the bed was just too hard for our liking, but there was none of that sort here at Pullman. The fluffy pillows were divine too! Not to mention the bed that was definitely big enough to sleep 3, or maybe even 4 slim people.

I really wish there had been a balcony though, because it would have been great to spend some time enjoying the great view of the lake we got from our room. 

The windows open outward but there's a waist-high wooden "fence", reminiscent of traditional Malay houses, that keep both adults and children alike from danger. Wendy loved the vibrant bougainvilleas growing beneath.

Lush greenery and a tranquil lake.

But though the designs in each wing were different, the facilities and amenities are all the same. Everything in the room was clean and functional, just like any other 4 star hotel overseas. Hairdryer, stationery, bottled water and a kettle are provided.

A rain shower (a must!), clean towels and toiletries available.

Of course, one of the most important areas of a hotel room is the bathroom. At Pullman, everything is functional and clean, with which we had no complaints. But true to Malaysian fashion, the next morning I discovered a cockroach in the toilet! I have no idea how it got there, but at least it was already on its back and dying, instead of running all over the room. That would have been disastrous. =S

I didn't have a plan for the day after checking in. I thought we might be able to check out Alamanda Mall in Putrajaya, but in the end we were too lazy to move (plus the Olympics were on) so we just ordered room service for tea while waiting for our dinner buffet to start! The Club Sandwich was simple, with undoubtedly fresh ingredients, although I expected a bigger portion than what was served. 

Gulai kawah and satay - two crowd favourites.

It was a novel idea to save our stomachs for the buffet later, but it was a real test of willpower just before the buffet started. As that was the Ramadhan period, Pullman was having their nightly Ramadhan buffet spread, and I'm glad to say it made up for the disappointment of missing the barbecue buffet. Lots of good food was available, from sticks and sticks of satay, to huge gulai kawah "woks" of curry chicken, beef rendang, and mutton. Everything you would expect to find at a typical Ramadhan buffet was there!

....and what Ramadhan buffet would be complete without the lamb?! I'm glad to say the roast lamb never ran out during the night's buffet, and neither could I get enough of it throughout the night! I think in total I had 3 servings of lamb, besides the other meat I had too. It really was pure torture watching the chefs roast the lamb on the spit and having to wait for breaking fast time to start eating.

It was Olympics on the tv all night long - this was Federer vs Murray for the gold.

We also had to eat fast, because we had an important date at 8pm! Our date was with the television in the room, where many other Olympic-gold-obsessed Malaysians were no doubt glued to their screens willing our Datuk Lee Chong Wei on. Sadly China has a bigger population than us, so their combined willpower won out in the end. And after all the excitement from the badminton, there was even more to come with the tennis finals between Federer and Murray! I don't think I was the only one emotionally spent after that night. Alas, I don't think we made our neighbours very happy with all that cheering we did though.. =D

Breakfast the next day was at one of their food outlets, B's All Day Dining.

We haven't actually had many breakfast opportunities at local hotels before, but most of the time when we get the chance it's good for us because it suits the local taste buds! Everyone knows Malaysians love a mixture of Western and Asian choices for breakfast, so at B's there's everything ranging from cereal to fried noodles to nuggets and sausages! We were there a little late, so not much was left as they unfortunately don't really refill close to closing.

As you can see, a truly jumbled-up breakfast consisting of favourites from either side of the globe! In Malaysia, everything really 'boleh' indeed. =P

Don't forget the pastry; there's a healthy variety of pastry available, which ensures there's something for everyone. Croissants, donuts, or just plain toast bread are all given equal prominence, and surprisingly fresh too. Toast it, butter it, do whatever you like with it. Oh, and there's also a cheese section, for those who enjoy a morsel of cheese for breakfast. =)

In the end, it was a very relaxing albeit short holiday to Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside. Wendy left happy, and I left relieved that another birthday plan had been pulled off with success! For anyone needing a quick get-away from the rat race, but can't afford to go too far, do consider Putrajaya as your destination. For our room, we I paid around RM 300++ with free breakfast (but excluding our dinner buffet). We'll certainly be hoping to return again, this time perhaps for the barbecue buffet that we missed out. =D


Sooo... did anyone get the answers to my puzzle above? Here we go with the answers:

1. No, nothing to do with games! Uno = one in Spanish = one
2. That's a knight in shining armour, so knight = night
3. A wreath made out of holly = holi
4. This is the toughest and also the one Wendy struggled most with. That's some god of prosperity so, God = deity, but the black line cutting across it indicates that you aren't supposed to take the whole word. Part of deity = dei = day

Put that all together, and you get 'one night holiday" which was precisely what we enjoyed at Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside. :)

Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside | Site
No. 2, Jalan P5/5, Presint 5,
62200 Putrajaya
Tel: +6 03 8890 0000
Fax: + 6 03 8890 0330

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