Friday, July 29, 2011

Melting Pot Ramadan Buffet, Concorde Hotel

Mention Melting pot, and I am transported back in time, to that nostalgic era when we'd go to Melting Pot for their supper buffet after a night out...these days, I am yawning by 10pm, so supper buffets are out of the question. When Julini Yusoff, F&B Manager invited me for their Nasi Padang pre Ramadan tasting, it was a rather opportune time to revisit I felt.

Traffic was DIABOLIC, I could see Concorde in front of me for half an hour.... joining me for the evening's soiree were Saucer, (The other half of I AM THE WITCH), J2KFM (Ipoh Motoromouth) and Memoirs of a Chocoholic. The Melting Pot was a melting pot of all the press people, including us bloggers.

Mother and son duo, Nurdeli Mansorman (Mak Deli) and Irwan Arifin are the two chefs responsible for dishing out the Padang specialities for this year's Ramadan spread.

Now, Nasi Padang is not rice eaten at the soccer field, or grown in one. It is the cuisine of the Mingkabaus, from West Sumatra, and is distinctive for its succulent coconut milk prevalent in most dishes, and spicy chilli.

Alright, sashimi is definitely not part of the Nasi Padang repertoire, but at the Melting Pot, they have to retain some constant favourites, constantly....

Ooops, neither is the Teppenyaki Theatre part of the Padang show....

More teppenyaki...okay, this is like the supporting dancers at a Star's Concert before the main show... and nowww...tah dahhhh

My all time favourite, dendeng paru. I love lung just like I love tongue. Chinese think that eating a particular organ of an animal will strengthen your own corresponding organ, so eating lung should theoretically strengthen mine, if the cholesterol doesn't kill me first.

Daging Dendeng Balado.

Terung Balado. Hmm, must find out what Balado means. It appears alot.

Ikan Goreng Lado Hijau...crispy fried fish with green sambal...


Rendang Ayam... cant really go wrong with this. These kinda foods are the anti carb squad's worse nightmare, because they go SOOO well with rice, and LOTS of it.

Gulai Cincang Kambing. Tender pieces of mutton.

Lamb stuffed with rice. The rice was gorgeous, fluffy basmati, almost like a briyani. Oh, it was briyani.

Hainanese Chicken Rice...

Dried Figs. Do you know how EXPENSIVE fresh figs are in this country? They're about RM6 per fig! WHAT THE FIG! Being the chink that I am, I love to zoom in on expensive items. So I was completely figged out.

Not even Ramadan yet, and I've already had a date!

People almost always comment, "wah, you eat ulam ah?" whenever I pile my plate with ulams, esp ulam raja, etc with dollops of Sambal Belacan. I love favourite being ulam raja, which I am trying unsuccessfully to plant.


Kalio Hati. As we all know, hati is commonly translated as "HEART". Sakit hati, etc... but hati is actually liver.


We're back to the non Padang stuff...part of the regular buffet. The ubiquitous boiled prawns and raw oyster bar.



Ah, now this is something you dont see everyday. SOUP GEARBOX. I am mechanically un-inclined, and I couldnt tell a Gearbox from a Matchbox, so I am assuming the size of the gearbox is about the size of this boner.

That's one big bowl of soup. The soup itself is a clear broth, very wholesome and clean. You can use a straw to suck out the marrow.

A trio of bubur pulut hitam, pengat pisang and one other...pengat pisang as we know it is actually called Pangek Pisang.



An assortment of nyonya kuehs.



That's me sucking the marrow...

And that's the blogging crew. Not in pic is Memoirs of Chocoholic.

Melting Pot is offering a 20% discount during the 1st and 4th week of Ramadan. Priced at RM89++. If you ask me, its pretty good value for your ringgit. To reserve call 03-21442200.

Selamat Berpuasa To all my dear Muslim friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Community Service Announcement - AFC Looking For Celebrity Chef

In a Nutshell : (My Words)

AFC & E&O (those Delicious fellas la..who bought over from the original Delicious fella) looking for celebrity chef... doing it reality show style. Then after that, got contract one. Maybe can go to Hollywood. But like JPA Scholarship, got bond...have to sign contract with E&O for a year.
(unlike JPA Scholarship, which is usually 10 years) So if you have the penchant for such things, and you think you look good on screen, and the camera doesn't add 10 kg to you, then this is your calling!

PRESS RELEASE (Don't Yawn la)

The Judges, Anglo..oops, Michael Saxon, Hian Goh (Now HE's one of my idols, and I would LOVE to meet him) and Chef Bruce, can read all about them in the press release.


AFC and E&O Kickstart the First-ever Asia-wide Reality Television Contest in Search for AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef
21 July 2011, MALAYSIA – Calling all food lovers and aspiring chefs! For the first time in Asia, the Asian Food Channel (AFC) is conducting a region-wide search for Asia’s next Celebrity Chef through AFC’s first-ever reality television series called the “E&O Search for AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef”.
Joining AFC in this search for Asia's best shining new chef talent is luxury lifestyle group Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O), with interests in property development, property investment, hospitality and lifestyle. Together, both organisations will leverage their resources to put contestants through a gamut of culinary challenges that will test even the most seasoned chef or passionate foodie.
With contestants from across Asia and auditions to be held in 5 countries – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore – the programme promises to capture the best of Asia’s diverse talent. All aspiring chefs, individuals with culinary training, or those simply with the passion for and knowledge of cooking are invited to sign up for auditions and take up the challenge to be crowned “AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef”.
The winning chef will also be signed to an exclusive one-year contract as an AFC Celebrity Chef with AFC. In addition, the winner will be awarded the opportunity of a year-long employment contract with the E&O Group, taking on the mantle of Creative Director and Head of R&D for the E&O Gourmet Group.
Auditions will run from 3rd to 16th August 2011 in the five respective countries.
Contestants who are shortlisted from the auditions will be put through a series of intense cooking tests and trials, to identify who has the right ingredients to hold the title of E&O and AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef!
The exciting eight-part series will unveil the top 12 finalists in its premiere episode. Each week, one or more participants will be eliminated from the running based on the decisions made by the esteemed panel of judges.
AFC and E&O have appointed AFC Celebrity Chef and star of TV series Tablescapes, Chef Bruce Lim and Mr. Michael Saxon as the judges on this show. Mr. Saxon, Director of Group Hospitality & Lifestyle of E&O Group, is not only a well-known hotelier, but also author of his famous professional memoir, Chef’s Tales.
A host of international and distinguished celebrity chefs will also be invited to make surprise guest appearances in selected episode(s) throughout the series as guest celebrity chef judges.

Ms. Maria Brown, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Asian Food Channel, expressed her excitement at this AFC original production, “We are so proud and honoured to be able to create our own search for a celebrity in show in Asia. It has been something we have been planning for a long time and as Asia's premier Food Channel we are delighted to be able to develop talent from across the region. Asia can now begin to have its own home-grown celebrity chefs that the region can take pride in.
“As this is AFC’s first-ever fully produced and filmed reality television contest, we want the different backgrounds and personalities of the contestants and judges to add to the mix of culture and character dimensions to the series, which – as our loyal viewers will know – is what AFC has always been about!”
The entire series will be shot on location at E&O’s numerous hospitality and lifestyle properties such as the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Lone Pine Hotel in Penang, the Martinique seafront villa and Straits Quay Retail Marina at E&O’s masterplanned township of Seri Tanjung Pinang, Penang, the St. Mary Residences in Kuala Lumpur as well as at some of the popular Delicious restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
“AFC has always supported local Asian talent, through our many other original productions featuring legendary chefs such as Chef Wan and Chef Martin Yan. We feel this series is the perfect opportunity now to give our viewers not only high quality Asian content, but also for them to have the very real chance of a lifetime to be a Chef on our Channel,” added Ms. Brown.
E&O Group’s Deputy Managing Director Mr. Eric Chan commented, “E&O is all about luxury lifestyle experiences, and we are excited to bring this to life in a new and different way. This is Asia’s first home-grown reality show centred around talented chefs and great food, and we are proud to be working with AFC to make it happen.
“With their production expertise, and the range of challenges we can offer across our different properties and businesses, we are confident we can inspire aspiring chefs across the region to become AFC’s next celebrity chef and be a part of the E&O team.”
This production follows the great success of True Passion – Martin Yan, which premiered on 13 July 2011, featuring Chef Martin Yan cooking his signature Asian dishes which he pairs in eight (8) episodes with his favourite wines. This show was shot on location at vineyards in Australia and at the AFC's studio in Singapore.
This programme comes after several other AFC original productions such as Best Wan! with Chef Wan, and several other documentary programmes covering topics from the use of palm oil in cooking, to the well chronicled visits made to Asia by notable chefs such as Chef Daniel Boulud, Chef Anna Olson, and Chef Robert Rainford.
The E&O Search for AFC’s Next Celebrity Chef series will be complemented with online updates and information, as AFC will be launching a microsite dedicated to the production of the series. Please visit for more information.
The site will provide up-to-date information about contestants and carry weekly updates of the latest happenings as contestants go through challenging rounds (with some of them failing!) until we are left with the last chef standing!
- END -

The Asian Food Channel (AFC) is the region’s first 24-hour food channel dedicated to airing the best food and lifestyle programming from around the region and the world.
Based in Singapore, AFC’s wide Asian distribution footprint covers eight territories and 45 million viewers, on basic tiers of all the major pay TV platforms across Southeast Asia.
The channel leads the ratings in its territories, regularly achieving the #1 lifestyle channel in terms of popularity and loyalty. It has achieved a broad following from young teenage food lovers and empty nesters to trendy urban females and aspiring male chefs.
AFC’s online presence supports the channel with programme information, recipes, original content and an e-commerce store. As such AFC regularly executes 360 degree advertising and marketing campaigns and solutions for leading FMCG, Financial and Travel brands.
AFC broadcasts on:
- Astro Channel 703 (Malaysia and Brunei)
- StarHub Channel 435 (Singapore)
- First Media Digital 1 Channel 76 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
- Telkom Vision Channel 33 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
- Prime Indovision Channel 22 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
- Aora TV Channel 318 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
- now TV Channel 527 (Hong Kong)
- LIVE TV Channel 6 (Thailand)
- Skycable Channel 22 (Philippines)
Please visit for more information

Eastern & Oriental Berhad (collectively referred to as ‘The E&O Group’ or ‘E&O’) is listed on the Main-board of Bursa Malaysia. The Company is involved in three core business activities; namely hospitality and lifestyle, property development and property investment.
E&O undertook the meticulous refurbishment and upgrading of the heritage Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) as well as Lone Pine Hotel in the late 1990s. Since it was established by the Sarkies Brothers in 1885, E&O Hotel has charmed travellers from near and far, creating a reputation to match its sister hotels – The Raffles, Singapore and The Strand, Rangoon – also founded by the Sarkies. Lone Pine Hotel, established in 1948, is the oldest beach hotel along Penang island’s famed Batu Ferringhi tourist strip. A major refurbishment and expansion of the hotel was completed in 2010.
E&O Concierge was set up in 2010 to provide pay-on-demand bespoke hospitality services to E&O’s serviced residences. Efforts are ongoing to further capitalise on the Group’s hotel management expertise and extend this service towards the management of a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Malaysia and around the region.
In 2007, E&O embarked on a new lifestyle food and beverage (F&B) venture, via the acquisition of a substantial stake in The Delicious Group. Today, this thriving F&B brand is wholly-owned by E&O. Named after the original “Delicious” concept restaurant, the group now operates in some of the most vibrant spots of Kuala Lumpur and Penang. With F&B closely linked to lifestyle in the modern mindset, synergies arise from the strategic positioning of Delicious Group outlets in E&O’s prime commercial / retail properties.
E&O’s reputation as a premier property developer is built across a series of exclusive addresses in Kuala Lumpur and Penang Island. Its track record includes prestigious residential projects such as Sri Se-Ekar and 202 Desa Cahaya (202 DC), whilst at nearby Kampung Warisan, Malaysia’s celebrated cartoonist Datuk Lat successfully conceptualised a traditional Malay village ambience within the heart of the capital.
E&O’s more-recent landmark developments include the high-end condominium Dua Residency, located within the vicinity of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) as well as Idamansara, located in Kuala Lumpur’s upscale Damansara Heights. Seventy Damansara is another E&O signature development with 12 exclusive detached homes within a gated and guarded community. Located right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s central business district is E&O’s chic Manhattan-style St Mary Residences. On Penang island, E&O’s masterplanned seafront development Seri Tanjung Pinang is one of the most sought-after residential addresses among locals and expatriates especially with its signature development, the Quayside Seafront Resort Condominiums, the first condominium in the region with a sprawling 4.5 acre private waterpark. The development also includes the popular Straits Quay retail marina, a popular F&B and shopping haven, and home to Penang’s first Delicious restaurant.
The Group’s Property Investment division forms a vital complement to the other core businesses and provides E&O with steady, recurring income flow and opportunities for capital appreciation in the longer term.

Chef Bruce Lim is a Filipino-Chinese, who was born and raised in America. Recently, he made the decision to go back to the Philippines to trace his roots and get culinary inspiration from native Filipino cuisine.

Bubbly and conversant in nature, Chef Bruce has distinguished himself from other Filipino chefs by immersing himself in various communities thus removing the elite image of chefs. With him, he brings along the message that food is universal and must be shared by everyone.

Although he has a host of specialties —from traditional French and Italian cuisines to Euro-Asian and international food— he is also a master of creative food presentation. Moreover, Chef Bruce also has thorough knowledge in sugar pulling and chocolate work.

Chef Bruce Lim took up Superior Level of Cuisine and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in London. At a relatively young age, he already has a decade of experience in food preparation. He worked in popular Philippine establishments Century Park Sheraton Hotel and Jollibee Food Corporation, which also has international branches. Chef Bruce has also partaken in food preparations in various hotels and establishments across the US: Hyatt Regency in Monterey CA, Fish Hopper Restaurant, MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, E & O Trading Company in San Jose, California.

His TV career began when he hosted segments for a health drink in the show "Magandang Umaga Pilipinas" (Good Morning Philippines), a daily magazine show in the Philippine's largest broadcasting network.

When not in the kitchen, Chef Bruce enjoys playing online games and kickboxing.


Michael Saxon was trained in the United Kingdom and draws on more than 30 years’ experience working in the top hotels around the world in both operational and managerial positions.
These include postings at the The Four Seasons Yorkville Hotel (Canada), Resorts International Hotel & Casino (Paradise Island, Bahamas), the Regal Riverside Hotel (Shatin, Hong Kong) and the Taipei Hilton Hotel (Taiwan). He also oversaw hotel refurbishments and introduced new restaurant concepts during his stints with The Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur and The Royal Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza (Singapore).
Mr Saxon was the General Manager of the luxury heritage Eastern & Oriental Hotel in George Town, Penang prior to taking on the position of CEO, The Delicious Group and Director, Group Hospitality & Lifestyle, Eastern & Oriental Berhad in January 2011.
Mr Saxon is also the author of Chef’s Tales, a book on his life as an international chef, and a blog by the same name.

For further information please contact:
Alice George (on behalf of the Asian Food Channel)
Principal Consultant
Public Relations, Communication & Event Counsel
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Mobile: +6016 319 5320
Blackberry Mobile: +6019 600 8157
Tel: +603 7620 9917
Fax: +603 7620 9918

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Royal Dessert Experience with MAGNUM

The press release says: (It's nice when you don't have to crack your head on what to write)

"Belgian chocolate (yummmm) is appreciated as the finest and most premium chocolate (amen to that sistah), born to indulge the royalties. (and plebians alike). To give that touch of luxury and even MORE pleasure for ice cream lovers, MAGNUM (the Ice Cream, not the 4D fellas), will be introducing premium ice cream later this year which will feature Belgian chocolate in every bite. We wanted our guests to experience the wonders and quality of Belgian chocolate, and thought what better way than to experience it through this royal dessert class", explained Hugo Verkuil, Foods Director of Unilever (Malaysia) Holdings Sdn Bhd.

It's strange, in all my years as a food blogger and after numerous invitations, chocolate events hardly ever came by, but that particular week, I had TWO invitations to chocolate events. I felt like Johnny Depp...well, okay, I know the resemblance is startling.

On top of the promise of an afternoon of indulgence, an added bonus was the dessert making session at SENSES, under award winning Chef De Cuisine ....drum rolll......CHEF MICHAEL ELFWING. (Who? I think I may have met him somewhere before).

I'm not sure what chocolate the current Magnums use, but to me, its pretty good as it is, so I can't wait for when they coat it with BELGIAN chocolate.

Welcome remarks by Mr Hugo Verkuil, Foods Director of Unilever (M) Holdings Sdn Bhd.


We are given samples of Belgian chocolate to try, from milk, to dark to very dark, (above 75% cocoa solids)

The many faces of Lil Chef.... contrary to initial impressions, he's quite the joker!

The kitchen is abuzz with activity as we're split into various groups, making "My (his, as in Michael Elfwing) One Minute Chocolate Tart...misleading, coz it actually goes into the oven for a minute, it doesnt take 1 minute to prepare, Belgian Chocolate Truffles, Dark Chocolate Parfait and Chocolate Leather. My group was tasked with the One Minute Chocolate Tart, which we did pretty fast, to the surprise of Michael, who gave this look of disbelief when we were done. Actually, I have newfound admiration for chefs who slog away in the kitchen. It is definitely not all cosy and cool as it would seem. Perhaps the hordes of people added to the temperature, but it sure felt like a sauna in there, I am surprised the chocolates didnt just melt from all the body heat.


After the dessert making thing, we were treated to more ice cream, together with a rarely seen naked magnum, to be dipped into freshly melted Belgian chocolate, and topped with topping of choice.


You gotta get your hands dirty if you want to make them Belgian Chocolate Truffles.

Lovely ladies showing off their truffling skills.

Michael & Hugo weaving in and out of the chocolate sauce to make their own creations.

Can there be a more decadent sight.


That's what a naked virgin looks like. (the ice cream, I mean. These white untainted popsicles were specially made for this occasion. You cannot buy them retail).

Pure, dressed in white, like a bride waiting for makeup.

I had to rush off before the proceedings ended, but here is a half finished plate of the dessert. The blotches of chocolate are meant as an adhesive to stick the finished tart and truffles onto the plate.


Michael Eflwing's One minute chocolate tart.

I have to thank AWhiffoflemongrass for reminding Carole of Salina & Associates PR SB that I love chocolate, and hence scoring me an invite to this lovely afternoon soiree.

Can't wait for Magnum to unveil their Belgian Chocolate range!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wasabi Bistro, At the MO

The last time I went to Wasabi, in Mandarin Oriental, I think we hadn't even crossed the Millennium. Gasp! I was young then, the age of some of the current bloggers I hang out with. Almost. I was still probably older than most of them even then.

When Aly (who seems to be my main source for invites these days) asked me to join her for a tasting in Wasabi, I could not say no. I don't know what is happening in front of the MO, or what they're building, but traffic there is DIABOLIC! If you want to dine at MO, just a friendly tip, take the train.

We were given a warm welcome by Kevin Hee, the General Manager of the restaurant, a gregarious character, making everyone feel very much at home.

Dainty little celery and carrot sticks with a lovely dip.

Crockery seems to be an important part of the presentation it seems.

The lovely edamame. Such a simple, but delightful snack.


Their signature starter, a crab ball

That's Kevin there... regaling us with tales of his dog...and how it was overfed, just like he was doing to us.

Tuna sashimi, with a lovely tangy sauce...

A gorgeous sushi platter, with my favourite ingredient, avocado. Yummeh!

Doesn't that look pretty? Salmon with Mango. Do they go? I'm not sure, but sure looks attractive.


Chicken yakitori.... Japanese satay if you must. Tender pieces of chicken well marinated. You cannot go wrong with this simple yet satisfying dish. Love the platter in which it is served.

Aly loves her meat on a stick.

Agedashi tofu always make me think of the kids. It is their favourite dish in Japanese restaurants. My agedashi bill usually makes me faint.

Soon to be Mr & Mrs....yup, congratulations are in order. This was actually the meal preceding the proposal.... for full details, ask the woman or the man himself.

Ebi Tempura. The batter was light and crisp, I could eat 10 of these.

Lil Chef is quite the catch, I reckon. Aly is one lucky gal. Oh, incidentally, he is holding up another signature dish of Wasabi's, the baked papaya with seafood, and cheese. Actually, if Kevin didn't bring up the matter, it never occured to me. Solo papayas. They seem to have all but vanished! They used to serve this dish in solo papayas, but as Kevin pointed out, they are no longer available. Or rarely so. This is true, I cannot recall the last time I saw a solo.

The walls are adorned with Japanese paintings, in particular, a series of Working Japanese Women, which according to Kevin, was based on WW2, when women were finally allowed to do SOME jobs, (presumably the men were all at war) such as teaching, etc.

Black sesame ice cream and green tea ice cream.

Banana Fritters with vanilla ice cream. Not sure how this is Japanese.

For a lovely ambience and interesting variation on Japanese, Wasabi would be an ideal choice. You can choose from three outlets, one in Waikiki, one in Singapore, and one here at the Mandarin Oriental. (it's not part of the hotel itself). It's located at the basement, on the side of the MO that faces Suria.

Wasabi Bistro - The Breakers Hotel, 250 Beach Street, Waikiki, Hawaii - +1 808 922-1133
Wasabi Bistro - MO, 03-21630968
Wasabi Bistro - MO Singapore, +65-68853091