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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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Food: Ishin Japanese Dining @ Old Klang Road

This year on New Year's Day, we got out to lunch late, around 2:30pm. We knew we wanted to avoid the malls because they would be jam-packed with shoppers so we drove around Old Klang Road hunting for places to eat. For the second year in a row, we hunt for Japanese food as our first meal of the New Year, but sadly most places were already closed.

Thankfully, there was still Ishin Japanese Dining! We've considered eating here in the past, but always chose something else over it instead because of how expensive and exclusive it looked.

To our surprise, while prices are still on the steeper end, it wasn't as bad as we had expected. We each got an iPad to browse through their menu as soon as we were seated. It's a thoughtful move to go "e", but most of the time, the e-menus aren't as friendly as a hard copy menu. Perhaps we're a bit old-school that way. :)

Sashimi is always a must, and there's no exception at Ishin. In fact, we'd say it's a double-must at Ishin, simply because it was excellent. One Sashimi Moriawase consisting of 5 types of assorted sashimi will put your back by RM 72, but we thought it was worth every penny. 

We got thick, succulent cuts of salmon, butterfish, scallop, tuna and amberjack; each bite fresh and absolutely delightful. My personal favourite was the scallop, so naturally sweet and tender.

We had the Soft Shell Crab Salad off their specials menu, big leafy greens drizzled with a tangy, appetizing dressing. The soft shell crab was excellent - deep fried to perfection - with a crispy exterior and within, flaky crab flesh that nearly melts in your mouth. 

We liked it so much that we ordered an a la carte serving of soft shell crab, but to our disappointment it came fried in a different batter, one that was thicker and more flour-y. :(

The Special House Maki (RM 33) was pretty good, albeit a bit smaller than we had initially expected. Taste-wise, no complains though, just the right ratio of popping roe, bouncy tempura prawn, crunchy cucumber and a light bit of mayo to bind everything together.

Adam got a bit adventurous with our other sushi order and decided on the Philly Roll (RM 32), a simple seaweed roll with smoked salmon & cream cheese. This is really only recommended if you're an absolute cheese fan. Else, you're probably better off ordering one of their other many rolls. We thought the cream cheese was far too pungent here. 

The Nabeyaki Udon (RM 32) was decent, nothing really to pin point, but nothing to praise either. We also had an a ala carte order of mackerel below, quite nicely done, we must say!

Ishin has a whole range of bento-type set meals that make for pretty good lunch options. In fact, I think there's currently even a special promotion for these sets if you visit on weekdays. I had the Tempura Udon Set (RM 28), a petite serving of udon with some assorted tempura and fruits.

Assorted tempura

Adam on the other hand, went for the Shake Teriyaki Set (RM 28), with two pieces of teriyaki salmon which was pretty good as well.

The Hotate Cheese Yaki (RM 55) was a dish that looked like pure indulgence from the moment it was set on our table; four big scallops generously topped with a creamy mix of cheese, mayo and mushrooms chunks. These were oh-so-sinful, but any more than one per person, and I daresay it'll be too much. Best consumed hot after it arrives.

To conclude, I'd say Ishin is a pretty good recommendation for Japanese food that doesn't disappoint, I think maybe a close second to our favourite of Coco.Tei. While you have to mentally prepare yourself for a hefty bill, I suppose the quality of the food does make up for it, especially for the luxurious, fresh cuts of the sashimi served.  

Our friends and us always ponder upon just where we're going to toss our yee sang this year, knowing full well that Chinese restaurants will be fully booked and one of the suggestions was to go for Japanese instead, which we personally think is a great suggestion. There'll be less hustle & bustle, plus the fresh fish in the lou sang is always far better at Japanese places.

So as luck would have it, we saw that Ishin also has a CNY yee sang menu available until 14 February 2014, with choices like fresh salmon, assorted fresh fish, soft shell crab, baby sardine, and even healthier options like sweet potato or fruits. The whole list of their yee sang choices are available here. Plus, they're open all throughout Chinese New Year too... now quick, make those reservations!

Ishin Japanese Dining
| Site
No. 202, Persiaran Klang,
Batu 3 3/4, Off Jalan Kelang Lama
58000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 7980 8228
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm-3pm & 6pm-11pm

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Food: Restoran Tanjung Karang Seafood @ Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur

Some time ago on a Sunday night, we dropped by downtown near Imbi for some seafood at Restoran Tanjung Karang, excited at the promise of some fresh crabs, prawns and fish.

Tanks of fresh seafood are located around the restaurant, and you can watch the staff pick out your seafood, or even point out the ones you want. When we were there, the fishes were particularly angsty and kept on jumping - so beware, you may get wet if you're seated too near to the tanks. :p

We also found the tank segregation sadly amusing. The fishes in this tank had lots of space to swim around freely, as if they were in a luxurious mansion... 

While for this tank, we deduced it was meant for the 'commoners'. Look at how little space they have! :S

Catching our sang har!

We had our sang har (fresh prawns) done in two ways, three prawns in a simple au naturale steamed version, and another another three prawns cooked with noodles and ginger in egg drop gravy (the usual sang har meen version). Both were RM 117

We unanimously preferred the steamed version; I guess with seafood, less is more. The prawns were excellent, firm with freshness, and pleasantly enjoyable with its natural sweetness. The sauce was light and used more to complement the sweet flesh of the prawns, instead of overpowering it.

The prawns were still good in the noodle version we had, but after having the steamed one in all its fresh glory, this one paled in comparison. We also prefer the way the noodles are done at Greenview in SS2.

We really enjoyed the crabs (RM 107) here too. We were lucky to have gotten pretty fresh ones that were relatively big, and the chef managed to execute this dish perfectly.

The crabs were fleshy and their salted egg rendition was top-notch. We licked every bit off our fingers. :D

When I was younger I could only appreciate fried fishes doused in soy sauce, but I'm so glad that I grew up. There's no better way to enjoy a good fish than simply steamed Chinese-style, with soy sauce and topped with ginger, scallions, and cilantro. The fish (soon hock, RM 187) we got was also excellent. Flaky and smooth, almost melting in your mouth. 

The dong po yuk (RM 25) was a recommendation of the wait staff, and it was decent. Not too fatty which I appreciated, but I think many would argue and say that it's not really dong po yuk if the ratio of fat doesn't surpass the meat. Heh. I wished there was more of the sauce to dip the buns in though.

And some vegetables (RM 12), stir-fried with garlic and crispy dried prawns (har mai) to ensure we don't walk away from the dinner table full of guilt. :P

We finished dinner with some simple lychee-flavoured jelly on the house, and left feeling completely satiated from a good seafood meal, one of the better ones we've had in a long time. If you don't want to spend your Chinese New Year visiting the usual haunts and paying RM 1288++ or more for a ten course meal that you aren't going to enjoy anyway, why not try something new this CNY and go for some seafood at Tanjung Karang instead? 

Restoran Tanjung Karang Seafood
No 53 Jalan Barat, Off Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 2141 8551

Monday, January 13, 2014

Travel: Feng Shui Inn 风水廷 @ Crockfords Tower, Resorts World Singapore

During our our latest trip to Singapore, we met up with my parents for dinner and to do my dad a favour -- to help eat up SGD 200 worth of food. :D

Dad's dining voucher could be used at any outlet in Resorts World Sentosa, but we finally decided on Chinese food and chose the swanky looking Feng Shui Inn in Crockfords Tower.

The whole thing had a very exclusive feel to me, because it's on the upper floor from the casino, away from the hustle and bustle, lights and chimes. Also because the entrance itself looked like we were entering a VIP-only den. The interior was nice though, with plush carpets and comfy chairs. I thought it a bit strange that the TVs were playing sports though? 

The menu is quite extensive, as at most reputable Chinese restaurants, so we relied heavily on the recommendations of the captain.

One of his first recommendations was the Braised Pork with Chef's Special Sauce (SG$ 32), a serving of four pork ribs, swimming in a pool of rich sauce.

This, I think, was my favourite dish of the night. The pork flesh was so tender, and almost falls off the bone with just a gentle prod. They brought out forks and knives for this dish, but I don't really think the knife was very necessary in the end! The pork also absorbed great flavour from the "special sauce" -- a thick moreish tangy, honeyed sauce. We even ate it with rice and mopped it all up with the mantou (deep-fried buns).

Part of me greedily wishes we had more than one each, but in any case, I was completely stuffed so I couldn't have eaten any more! Meh.

Adam picked the Roasted "Pi Pa" Duck (SG$ 39 for half duck), which came out to be very juicy. The skin of the duck was crispy with just the perfect ratio of fat which made this a very enjoyable dish. 

We also had the Stir-fried Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk (SG$ 32), a good choice in our opinion. The prawns were very fresh and plump, and smothered with sinful salted egg yolk. Possibly a bit overpriced for the small serving, so we were very thankful indeed for those vouchers!

The captain may have been getting a bit appalled with our meat orders and suggested we took a medium serving of vegetables (we ordered small servings for all the dishes above). In came the Sauteed Hong Kong Kailan with Chinese Rice Wine (SG$ 28), a very big dish of leafy greens in comparison our other small dishes! This simple preparation of the kailan was new to us but we enjoyed it; extremely crunchy stalks with a hint of rice wine in each bite. It was far too much though, stick with small if you only have four people like we did.

We thought food Feng Shui Inn was very good, and would say it's a recommended location for premium Chinese food in the Sentosa vicinity. Maybe you can splurge here if you've made a quick buck at the casino! We spotted some other tables having really huge crabs... must have been made quite a winning, that table. :)

Of course, if you happen to be in Singapore over this Chinese New Year in 2014 and have some spare SGD to spend, Feng Shui Inn has 8-course CNY spreads available, starting from SGD 1118++ for a table of 6 pax to SGD 1688++ for a table of 10. Call the number below for more information.

Feng Shui Inn | Site
Crockfords Tower, Level G2
Resorts World Sentosa
Sentosa, Singapore
Tel: +65 6577 6688
Email: [email protected]
Opening Hours: Daily; Lunch menu from 11:30am-3pm, High Tea menu from 3pm-5:30pm, Dinner menu 5:30pm-11pm, Supper menu from 11pm-4am

Friday, January 10, 2014

Food: Garage 51 by Coffee Société @ Bandar Sunway

We decided to do a long overdue meet-up sesh with our uni friends a few Sundays ago... and it only seemed right that we made our way back near uni to check out Garage 51, a new-ish coffee & cafe establishment by Coffee Société near the side gates of Sunway University.

The area around Sunway University holds many car workshops and mechanics, and so we suppose Garage is an apt name. :D Garage 51 is definitely the first F&B place of its kind in that area - kinda makes me wish we had some place like this to hang out back then in between classes, but we probably wouldn't have been able to afford it on our allowances anyway. -_-

The atmosphere there was inviting and looked very promising, with a pleasant aroma of coffee and the happy chatter of many on a Sunday afternoon in the air. We had high expectations for the food here, simply because it seemed to be doing so well based on how packed it was! As such, this is primarily a review of their food, and not their coffee which is what it's famed for.

I had the Hot Chocolate (RM 10) - not too bad, sweet & fragrant enough for my liking. Of course, pretty art on my hot chocolate is always welcome. :) The rest had their usual coffees. But as I mentioned, this is more about the food.. off we go!

We immediately zeroed in on the Awesome Garage Breakfast (RM 19), consisting of smoked cured salmon, diced mushrooms, hash potatoes, topped with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. It surprised us when it came stacked, but presentation aside, what did it taste like?

Unfortunately it did not work for us at all. The poached egg was one of the better ones we've had all year, succulent wobbly white with a perfectly runny yolk, but having it with the hash was downright strange. The hash potatoes had a very firm outer layer and its centre was chewier and starchier than expected. There was little flavour to it too. We wouldn't recommend this.

Ever since we had the excellent tuna croissant at Yeast Bistronomy, we've always been on the lookout to try more croissants. The Kipferl Jr (RM 12), a croissant with egg mayo was our other pick. 

Again, not the most wonderful. The croissant tasted a tad flat and there was more mayo than egg. 

For cakes, we had the Carrot Walnut and the Strawberry Cheese (both RM 8.90). Decent but not particularly memorable.

We left Garage 51 feeling very letdown. We had a good catch-up session, but unfortunately, just not the best food or drink to go with it. Service is brisk, I honestly love the ambiance, but it just fell short for us (us being non coffee-drinkers, that is). It doesn't seem like it'll have problems surviving with the universities nearby, but we wouldn't necessarily return any time soon.

Garage 51 by Coffee Société | Facebook
No. 51, Jalan PJS 11/9,
Bandar Sunway, 46150 Selangor
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun, 11am-11pm

*All photos in this post by iPhone 5

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