Thursday, March 27, 2014

Han Woo Ri, Korean BBQ

Despite my love for Japanese food, it's strange how I never quite ventured to neighbouring Korea to savour their cuisine.  Apart from Kim Chi, I would be hard pressed to name another Korean dish.  Hyundai? Samsung?

Young Prince James turned 30 recently.  It seemed like yesterday that he was but a kid ... well, actually, I didnt know of his existence till about two years ago when we met at our church's family camp.  Where he said I have a acksy backsy face. (not in those exact words, but it cannot be reproduced here).  We found ourselves in the same team going to Nepal for our church's mission trip.  What I learnt about the young lad was that he's such a good boy.  Doesn't drink coffee, alcohol, and doesn't eat spicy foods.  He might as well be a Mormon.

Anyway, oddly enough, it turns out that he likes Korean food.  A rather exotic choice for a Mormon, I thought.  And as fate would have it, I had just, not too long ago, made friends with John, who owns a Korean restaurant.  I always feel that as friends, we should as far as possible, give business to our friends.  Call it culinary cronyism if you must.

The place, Han Woo Ri, in USJ Taipan, near Citibank.  Not exactly familiar territory for me, though with the help of Waze these days, it does obviate the need for maps, which would explain why you'd find it almost impossible to purchase a KL A-Z these days.  Obviously, the place was no stranger to the neighbourhood, as it was rather crowded, and it is a huge place.

Actually, my last korean meal was also a BBQ, so I am left wondering if there are other forms of Korean cuisine .....It only takes a spark, to get a fire going

We ordered their signature Shoju to start with.  It being a church group and all, I expected not to exceed one bottle, or two at the very maximum! (but we ended up with SIX!)

The sidedishes, which are part of the sets, are  refillable.  

You'd think it's wagyu, with ll that amazing marbling, but it's not.  But it was FABULOUS.And it's only RM68!!! For 200gm.  Incredible value. 

The boss man himself cooks for us.  Very honored!

Lettuce and raw carrots, cucumber and garlic to wrap the bbq-ed meats. .... Also free flow.  You can get a lot of roughage from this alone.

Succulent, dripping with natural fats, this beef is AS good as wagyu, without the wagyu pricing.  I liked eating just as it was, without any sauce, wraps or anything. Melt in the mouth goodness.

Kimchi pancake.  A good predinner snack if you're hungry, because it really fills you up.  As I have limited experience with Korean cuisine, I have no yardstick with which to compare, but it was tasty, if not a bit doughy.

Korean version of  chawan mushi,  the texture is more like a fritata.  Eggs, I love them in all forms, except hard boiled...

BBQ Pork fillets...The charcoal fire really gives the meat a gorgeous charred effect. 

Can there be a lovelier sight, than strips of pork belly with generous amounts of fat? Obviously the aforementioned pig was no gym member.RM27 for these three strips of porcine delight. 

Their signature short rib, which is marinated in a whole cocktail of fruit juices and other stuff.

Bursting with natural flavours, and complemented by sauteed onions, apparently it goes better wrapped in lettuce.

Here we have a demonstration on how to eat pork belly wrapped in lettuce leaf.

And the bbq-ed beef rib, which was absolutely divine, and full of flavour.  It was also remarkably tender.  The subtle tastes of the marinade oozes through every pore, and downed with a shot of shoju, ...a match made in heaven.

Actually, the free refills of kimchi and lettuce and condiments alone makes the meal real value for money.  I intend to return very soon.   

Happy 30th Good Boy.  Time to learn how to DRINK and eat hot stuff.

Han Woo Ri
Address: 1D, Jlan USJ10/1J
47620 Subang Jaya
Tel: 03-8023 3357

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aye or Naye to the New Dishes In Oriental Cravings, 1 Utama

Long before I knew them, I had heard about their legendary lard filled hokkien mee....
I first went there with Raymond Lee, but it was dinner, on a weekend, and those days, they don't serve hokkien mee on weekends.
Then one day, I get a call from Lady Fay, ordering cakes and asked if I can deliver.  Generally, I do not do delivery.  Then she said, "But I am Hooi Khaw's friend". (Makan Fairy Godmother). My reply, "oh, okay, where you want me to send it to?"
Still, some years elapsed before I finally met Lady Fay, and subsequently her business partner, Doreen.  Sigh, such wasted years...not having met them earlier.

Anyway, now that I DO know them, we are privvy to some specials, that ordinary mortals AREN'T.  On this canoodling afternoon, we were given a preview of some items, which were cooked for Doreen one hungry day by her chef, when she barked, "I don't want to eat the same thing I've been eating the last ten years"...

Pumpkin, prawn and siu yoke fried meehoon... SWOON FACTOR, 9/10.  Plump fresh sea prawns from sekinchan,  sweet pumpkin and the crispy bits of sesame seed.  If this dish isn't on the menu soon, I will personally write and complain to the management.  Whoever they may be.

Sichuan style fried chee cheong fun.  Someone remarked on FB that it looks like char kueh teow.  Well, for starters, the delicious egg plants immediately elevates its status .  The CCF (chee cheong fun) texture might or might not appeal, it is rather softer than kueh teow.  The subtle sichuan burn gives a nice kick, and of course, the ubiquitous bits porky are always welcome.   AYE for this too.

Pork Belly With Mamak Style Mee goreng.  What can I say?  It's sheer genius.  Actually for a non mamak mee mamak, it tastes very good, even without the non kosher factor.  However, having said that, THIS dish IS already on the menu.

This is the lemon grass soup, (which they call the Chinese Tom Yam), a clear tangy refreshing broth, to be served with mee hoon, but since we were carbed out to our noses, we just had the soup.  Pieces of filleted fish, (Jenahak I think), that Tom Yam spiciness, oooh, AYE AYE AYE...

Crispy fried Jenahak Skin.  The fish version of pork crackling.  Delicious, only missing an ice cold beer.  But actually, if served alongside with the Lemongrass Soup & Meehoon, would go together like ebony & ivory.
Not sure if it is at all possible to serve this on a regular basis, as I am sure it's not so easy to procure fish skin.  A fish has to die first....But if it's available, this is also an AYE.

So it's AYES all around.  Much like a happy AGM.

Address: 1 Utama Shopping Centre 1 Lebuh Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Bandar Utama
Phone:03-7727 2581

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

California Milk Advisory Board Baking Workshop

When you mention dairy products in Malaysia, usually our minds go to Australia & New Zealand as our primary source.  Well, apart from butter, where we do get Lurpak, Kerrygold, etc from Europe.  And of late, a whole host of french ones too.  Strange really, considering what a powerful country America is, that we've hardly associated dairy products with them.

I was quite curious, when Mr Kenneth Wee of California Milk Advisory Board invited me for a baking workshop, held at Berjaya University College of Hospitality, to see what products would be displayed.  The workshop was conducted by Chef Robert Jorin, who amongst other accolades, was part of a 3 member team from USA that won the Coupe Du Monde de la Boulangerie in February 1999.

We were introduced to the various products, that included Mascarpone cheese, unsalted butter, whipping cream, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and milk, and boy, were we in store for a marathon baking session.  11 or so recipes, in like 2½ hours, just reading the recipes made me exhausted.
After the preamble, and introduction of various key people, we started with the baking demo.

Laminated Cream Cheese Pockets With Maple Glaze..

Luscious creamy butter.....

Two types of cheddar... the normal one and pepper jack.

Jorin preparing Cheddar Cheese Scallion Biscuits

Roasted Tomato, Oregano, Feta & Pepper Jack Galette.

The completed Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Biscuits.

A bit reminiscent of our curry puffs, these curried vegetable & feta cheese pockets were only missing a cold beer as accompaniment.

Orange Swirl New York Style really does matter what ingredients you use, because this simple cheesecake was absolutely delicious, from the sheer amount of cream cheese used in the recipe.

Star Anise Infused Creme Brulee

Butter Cakes With Italian Buttercream.  I have always been quite fascinated with Italian, Swiss and French Buttercream, which are more stable especially in our climate, compared to the usual buttercream.

Anyway, for the professional bakeries, the people to call are:
Tel : 012-6017709/ 606-2836500
Fax: 606-281 8500

I do hope to see these American dairy products on supermarket shelves soon!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Announcement - AP Starwood Careers Day

In case anyone is interested in a career in hotel and hospitality.... READ ON

Media Contact:
Ms Cindy Yoong
Director of Marketing Communications
Starwood Malaysia Marketing Team
Tel : +603 27179850 / +6016 2079961
Email :





Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 13 March 2014 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Malaysia announced
it will be holding Starwood Careers Day across the country on March 21st, 2014.

Starwood Careers Day 2014 encapsulates Starwood’s talent strategy that goes beyond talent

attraction, to building meaningful long-term careers for talent who join the organization. The
event consolidates the strengths of Starwood’s nine hotel brands and offers talent the unique
opportunity to explore a career with Starwood that is broad-based in terms of portfolios and one
which offers highly sought-after regional and global exposure.

During the event, candidates will have the chance to discover career growth opportunities within
Starwood Asia Pacific, and meet with Human Resources representatives from different Starwood
hotels to discuss career options. Positions available include: Front Office, Sales & Marketing,
Human Resources, Revenue Management, Finance, Concierge, Rooms, Food & Beverage,
Housekeeping, Kitchen, Stewarding, Engineering, Security, Accounting and Administration

With over 260 hotels in operation and over 200 hotels in the pipeline, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
is one of the leading hotel companies in Asia Pacific. Brands under Starwood include St. Regis®,
The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton,
Aloft®, and ElementSM .

Malaysia is among one of Starwood Asia Pacific’s fastest growing regions. Starwood currently
operates 12 hotels with additional 4 properties under construction in Malaysia. With the growing
portfolio, Starwood Malaysia looks to add over 150 positions by end of 2014.

Starwood Careers Day will be held on March 21st, 2014. Key venues in Malaysia include:
MAI Bar, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, from 11am to 4pm
Pinang Ballroom, Four Points by Sheraton Penang, from 10am to 5pm
Grand Ballroom, Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu, from 9.30am to 4pm

Interested candidates are welcomed to attend Starwood Careers Day at a location nearest to them,
with a copy of their resume.

A Career at Starwood is like no other. For more information, please contact or visit

# # #

About Starwood Careers Day:

First piloted in 100 hotels located in 50 cities across Greater China in 2012, the inaugural
Starwood Asia Pacific Recruitment Day enjoyed good success and attracted 16,000 candidates
that very first year. The following year, the event grew bigger to embrace six key regions in Asia
Pacific, with 200 participating hotels marking the event at 85 locations, attracting 20,000
candidates. This year, the event is renamed Starwood Careers Day to reflect Starwood’s talent
strategy that goes beyond talent attraction, to include talent development and talent retention.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in
the world with nearly 1,200 properties in 100 countries, and 181,400 employees at its owned and
managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels,
resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The
Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton,

Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs,

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays,
room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation
Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style
resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Journey Back To Le Midi

Before my recent dive trip, off the North Andaman sea, a fellow diver said he would like to see a Nautilus.  Now, really, if you did see a Nautilus, you'd either have to be damn lucky, or diving at ridiculously dangerously deep depths...but little did I realise, that during a rather unexpected journey....

...well, we could imagine we were on this vessel with its multi masts and sails...sailing in the Mediterranean, .. LO AND BEHOLD, not just ONE, but TWO nautili!!!

And where would one witness such a phenomena?  The answer...

It's been awhile since we were at LeMidi, the last time we were there, that interesting aquarium housed a host of flourescent jellyfish, which imparted a rather dizzying effect if you stared at it long enough. You can check out my earlier post HERE.

One of the reasons that the lovely owner, Melissa Groot, invited a group of us again, was to sample the offerings of her new Chef, Andrea Alimenti, who was the executive chef of the restaurant Acquamatta in Capolona near Arezzo, and partner of the same restaurant together with Paolo Pasquini (maitre d’) and Leonardo Motolese (chef).

3 Different Michelin Stars!! 
Two of the restaurants he worked in in Florence received a Michelin Star as did his own restaurant Acquamatta, which has also received excellent reviews in gastronomic guide books.

For more information about this highly accomplished chef, check out these websites.‏‏‏‏

In case you were wondering, LeMidi is on the 3rd  floor of Bangsar Shopping Centre and boasts beautiful vistas of the Twin Towers, if you need a room with a view.

To start, we had the Eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese.  The eggplant was so delicious, it tasted like bacon, someone commented.  A rather good substitute, I'd say!!! The strong flavour of the parmesan, coupled with the rich runny yolk, consumed together with the egg plant was a mesmerizing treat to the senses, both in flavour and texture.

Somewhat like a palate cleanser before we started on the wines, a strawberry dacquiri, which essentially, is a ladies' drink, and a bit on the sweet side for me.  Very refreshing, nevertheless, like freshly fallen rain after days of haze in KL.
Mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé.  Loved the tomatoey broth, but the ravioli was a bit too filling and rich for my simple Asian peasant palate.  So by the time I had popped in the four ravioli (is the singular for ravioli raviolus?) I was bordering on full...

A lovely sauvignon, handpicked by Melissa, ever the perfectionist, to accompany our meal.  An easy to drink crisp sauvignon, with citrusy notes to lighten the meal.

Homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds. There was a wonderfully hearty feel about this dish, the toasted almonds smelt like toasted oats, (or maybe there were oats present, or someone was sowing them wildly nearby), and the flavour of the salmon cream, very rich but very delicious.  I am not sure what texture the tagliolini is supposed to be, and if variations are allowed, but I would have preferred mine a bit firmer.  I dont want to bandy around the term al dente as I'm not sure if that is correct.  

To accompany this rich pasta dish, a lovely light rose merlot.

Inelegance in its full glory, eating pasta chinese noodle style.

Seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed, ..what's not to love.  Fresh filleted sea bass, with the lovely flavours of basil and spinach, almost pesto like, with a lovely crunch.  I would definitely have no problems finishing this.

But if I liked the seabass, I absolutely LOVED this. Tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig.  The tender tenderloin, ...and usually I am fine to eat a good cut of meat without sauce, but this sauce, foie gras and fig... simply sublime.  Figs impart such a unique flavour, and the texture of figs I simply love.

For a Monday school night, we certainly did well with the plonk, ...actually there was another bottle in the ice bucket.  Oh, the Bordeaux was served with the Tenderloin, a perfect match, that strong bodied red that brings out the best of bovine in the tenderloin.

Vanilla panacotta and strawberry coulis.  I wish I had taken a video of the perfect wobble.  Not overly sweet, lovely and creamy without being gelatinous.  

 Chocolate tender heart with Amarena cherry parfait.  Basically a molten lava cake, with that flowy chocolate oozing out as you dissect it but I totally forgot to take a picture of the ooze, because I was just too busy eating. 

My personal favourite, Millefoglie with Chantilly cream and caramel.  Their caramelised orange and apple slices are also really good, and are not there just to look pretty.  This dessert looks simple, but I am sure it is not easy to achieve that kind of fine layering in the pastry, which I enjoyed tremendously.

Chocolate fondente and mini chocolate cup

 Orange cheesecake and chocolate drawing.  A safe dessert, for the traditionalist who want something more familiar.  Nevertheless, you can tell that the quality is excellent.  

A rather happy crowd 5 bottles later.....

Makan Fairy Godmother, Melissa and Kelly Siew... (who has perfected the art of selfies)...

We had the privilege of meeting Chef Andrea Alimenti, who is very affable, and friendly, despite the accolades and awards.  And it's true, fat people should never stand at the side.

We have a nice chat, and he reveals why he gave up his successful restaurant after 15 years, and how coming here is a nice change, and a new challenge.  Of course, as a chef new to this country, he faces the challenges of sourcing ingredients that are up to his standard, or equivalent if not readily available.  All very exciting.

It is exciting times ahead for Le Midi, with the new more affordable fine dining (previously it was a bit on the high side, but then again, seafood was flown in fresh from the mediterranean, so you really get what you pay for).

Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing, Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2094 1318