Wednesday, June 18, 2014


In my memory, the Datai was one of the first ultra luxury hotels ever that were to grace our shores, and I remember visiting it circa 1995, and thought to myself, WOW, this place is stunning.  Till today, I have yet to fulfil that bucket list item of staying there, the best I've done is staying next door at the Andaman.  In days of yore, they were under the same management, so we were allowed to saunter across, and even had meal in their (Datai's) restaurant, The Gulai House.  Such nostalgia.

So my interest was piqued when I heard about this opportunity to win a 3D/2N stay for two in the Datai, Langkawi.

I posted about the Cloudy Bay Food Trail HERE, in awhile back in April.  So, all you have to do really, is participate in the exciting Instagram contest from 1st May to 30th June 2014. This is a chance for wine lovers to taste the perfect pairing of wine with seafood at participating restaurants and win the aforementioned  3D/2N stay for TWO at the award winning 5 star hotel, The Datai Langkawi.

Just share your best Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and paired seafood menu. Remember to hashtag #cloudybaymsia and tag @cloudybayseafoodtrail. The instagrammer with the most photos of paired seafood menu from as many participating restaurants WILL win.

 The stunning Datai, a 5 star resort (actually more like 6)  nestled in the tropical virginal rainforests, with a gorgeous private beach, facing the spectacular Andaman Sea.  Lots of nature activities too, from what I hear. Nature hikes and tours, jungle walks, etc. led by Irshad Mobarak, one of Malaysia’s most celebrated naturalists with over 26 years experience in the field.  A strong advocate for the conservation of Langkawi’s fragile natural heritage, Irshad introduces guests to Asian fairy bluebirds, Oriental-pied hornbills and dusky leaf langurs, among other local wildlife.

Complimentary morning and evening nature walks are available to all guests. The tours run for about 90 minutes.

The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Teluk Datai Langkawi, 07000, Pulau Langkawi Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia

Contact number: +60 4 9500 500

So to recapitulate, post on Instagram your favourite pairing with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from the participating restaurants, listed HERE,  hashtag #cloudybaymsia and tag @cloudybayseafoodtrail.

Something like this la okay, ahem:

And that's how it's done.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pak Loh Chiu Chow - Starhill Feast Village

Starhill Feast Village is a bit of mystery to me, and actually strikes me as a bit intimidating.  Mysterious maze like corridors that lead to various culinary outlets, a restroom that requires a gps to navigate your way through, with taps fashioned from bamboo, oft leaving the user quite confused as to how to extricate water from the complicated water reticulation system.  So really, you wouldn't expect any ordinary run of the mill Chinese restaurant in these parts, and Pak Loh Chiu Chow is certainly not ordinary.

Their recently launched "Oscars of Hospitality" Set menu was in honor of their HAPA nominations and triple win awards which are  HAPA Restaurant of the Year, HAPA Flavours of Asia, and HAPA Masterchef (Asian Cuisin, Chef Alex Au).  The gorgeous Paula Conway was there to greet us, and she spoke of Chef Alex very highly, and said that he was a man of good heart, and this has somehow manage to show in his cooking.  Wow, high accolade indeed.  Anyway, Makan Fairygodmother and I were the only two present there that lunch time for the review together with Angelina Chanis, Marketing Executive, so it was a cosy, pleasant enjoyable lunch.

To start with, Combination cold platter of shredded cuttlefish with cucumber, Pork Jelly with Chinese Wine, Chilled Bitter gourd with Plum.  My absolute favourite was the bitter gourd.  The contrast between the sour plum, and bitterness actually strangely enough brought out a sweet flavour that was most delectable.

The pork jelly is reminiscent of that traditional chicken jelly that is so rare and hard to find these days.

Fortune parcels of prawns in double boiled superior almond soup. Such a gorgeous soup, and the parcel looked like a snow fungus, but actually is painstaking made from egg white.  The almond soup in a pork broth was so so good.  Creamy without the guilt of dairy cream, with some crispy bits of fried fish as the crouton.

Steamed Fillet of Imperial Sea Grouper Rolled with vegetables in chiu chow style.  The cabbage wrap (usually they use salted mustard) is a traditional way of preparing this dish.  The garoupa was fresh and cooked perfectly, and that slight broth, which has the flavours of the tomato, sour plum and golden needle mushroom was sublime.

 Steamed Quail Egg Accompanied with Sun Dried Scallops - So lovingly and painstakingly fashioned like a Chrysanthemum, the scallops are flowered into a cup, with the quail's egg as if in a nest.  Dainty and delicious, and one pop and its gone.

Village Style (I don't know which "Village" has this style of elaborate preparation" wok fried fragant rice with assorted seafood, duck egg and shrimp paste.  The netting is elaborately prepared from duck yolk.  Such elegant fried rice looked almost too good to be eaten, but it was, nevertheless.

 Chilled Osmanthus Flower Jelly Served With Aloe Vera and Bird's nest

Makan Fairy Godmother having an intent conversation with Chef Alex, who really does come across as a really nice guy.

Executive Chef Alex Au hails from Hong Kong, and joined Hong Kong's famous Pak Loh Chiu Chow restaurant 16 years gao where he learned from famous master chef Chan Tung.  When the owners of PLCC decided to open in Starhill, he was chosen to head the opening team.

The six course menu is accompanied by a glass of Hunter's sauvignon blanc, from Malborough, NZ, and a Grant Burge Benchmark Chardonnay from South Australia.  Priced at RM138++ per person, this elegant meal will definitely titillate your palate.

Pak Loh Chiu Chow
Operating hours : 12 noon -11pm (last order 10.45pm)
T: 03-2782 3856
Feast Village, Feast Floor, Starhill Gallery
181 Jln Bukit Bintang

Monday, June 09, 2014


The Asian Food Channel and Food Network
Search for Fresh On-air Talent in Asia

Scripps Networks Interactive gives viewers unique opportunity to be a TV Star

MALAYSIA, 6 June 2014 – Scripps Networks Interactive, the leader in lifestyle media in the Asia Pacific region, will give viewers the unique opportunity to be a star on television with the launch of Food Hero, an Asia-wide talent search for two new faces of popular lifestyle channels, the Asian Food Channel and Food Network. The four-month campaign will be driven by videos submitted by viewers and will leverage the channels’ on-air distribution across 13 territories in Asia.

Between Monday 2 June 2014 to Monday 7 July 2014, those who are passionate about food and travel, and aspire to be on television, can showcase their talent by submitting audition videos at Entries will be judged based on personality, on-screen appeal, and the ability to create engaging and creative content.

CheeK, the region’s head of creative, content and marketing for the company, said, “As the leader in lifestyle programming, we’re always looking to grow our pool of on-air talent. Nowadays, even the biggest online stars aspire to be on TV. As Asia’s leader of the food category on pay-TV, Scripps is uniquely positioned to provide just that opportunity for our viewers and fans and make their dreams come true. Food Hero is our first-ever cross-channel initiative for Asian Food Channel and Food Network, and contestants who are able to show their passion for food and on-screen charm will be given the chance of a lifetime!”

Aspiring talents who are social media savvy and have substantial social media following will have an advantage over their fellow contestants during the call-to-entries period. The networks also will hold a Voters’ Choice Awards at, allowing visitors to ‘like’ and vote for their favorite contestants and win attractive prizes.

Ten promising contestants will be shortlisted to participate in a series of culinary and travel-themed challenges online. Based on the outcome of these challenges, four finalists will be selected and flown to Singapore for a final assessment of their suitability as network talents through face-to-face interviews and screen tests.

Come September, two Food Hero winners will be unveiled, marking the start of an exciting journey towards becoming popular television personalities in the region.

Food Hero is open to participants in Asia between 18 and 35 years of age. For more information, visit

Friday, June 06, 2014

A Taste of Malaysia at Makan Kitchen, Doubletree by Hilton

A few weeks back, I got a phone call from Stephanie, from the marcomm of Doubletree Hilton asking me, "Hi, so are you coming for the review"?  It was then to my HORROR I realised I had totally botched up my schedule, and instead of penning it down as the 14th, I put it under Thursday.  Must be the very dormant Cantonese strain in me that translated the 4 to Thursday. (Pai Sei).  When it actual fact it was a Wednesday.  I was horrified at my mistake, and apologized profusely, and was surprised when they re-invited again (with a reminder phone call this time on the day itself...gosh, how embarrassingly malufying) to sample the latest offerings at Makan Kitchen in Doubletree.

Honestly speaking, I did go to Makan Kitchen when it first opened, as I had the Hilton Premium Card, (still do actually) and was absolutely unimpressed with the spread at the time (around 3-4 years ago, I think, when they first opened).  So, it was with a bit of apprehension that I went.  To my surprise, I was the only one (blogger) there that night, so I had the full attention of the two lovely ladies, Stephanie and Amanda, and private tour of the premises by Indian Kitchen Sous Chef Prem, and I have to say the buffet spread this time certainly looked rather good.  I reserved my judgement at that point, because looking good doesn't necessarily equate to tasting good.

The purpose of the invitation was to sample the new unique dishes, reinvented Malaysian fare, that sounded positively fascinating.  Alaskan King Crab Otak Otak, Braised Spicy Venison Ribs, Peking Duck Roll, Pansoh Manok, Tandoori Prawns and Long Rib Beef Rendang.

The premises are actually huge, with several private dining rooms, and also a whole section of Chinese food that looks misleadingly like a separate chinese restaurant.  Don't miss the wonderful selection of double boiled soups in this section, which somehow was lacking in signage.  I loved the double boiled soups.

The more local section serves a delectable selection of curries, ulams (fabulous, with all my favourite sauces too, like cincalok, tempoyak, sambal belacan)

Desserts, with the ubiquitous chocolate fountain.  Personally I am NOT a fan, I don't see the fascination in covering everything in chocolate, especially a marshmallow which is already sweet enough to kill.

The nyonya kueh desserts were especially interesting, as I love pulut tai tai (Pulut Tekan to some), with Kaya, (Coconut custard jam), but alas, by the end of the meal, was far too full to eat it, but forced myself to have half a slice.

The Chinese spread even has roast ducks, chicken charsiu, stir fried vegetables, etc.  As mentioned earlier, don't miss the double boiled soups.

A noodle and satay station, with freshly boiled noodles with a few choices of soup, and a whole truck load of choice of noodles, in all shapes, size and colours.

Obviously, when it comes to a buffet, one has to be discerning, and not load up on carbo, or water...

The ayam madu, chicken in honey and spicy sauce, looked totally tempting.

Sotong Goreng Kunyit.  Choices choices...too many choices can be a bad thing.
Tell me, how can anyone NOT like cincalok?  Greatest invention evah!

The first of the new dishes, the Long Rib Beef Rendang.  Seriously, this alone made the trip worthwhile,  falling off the bone, tender beef complemented by the rendang sauce that didn't overpower, but totally enhanced the flavour of the meat.

Tandoori Prawns, huge prawns marinated in a special mix of homemade yoghurt.

I might have mentioned that one shouldn't load up on carbs at a buffet, but this Cheese Naan, so so SO seriously good.  I was surprised that at a recent dinner, these other couple I spoke to also referred to this legendary Naan.  At the cost of the waistline and other dishes, I had two ...possibly three slices of this.

Peking Duck Roll, carved at your table, from the trolley that goes around.  However, I found that the travels of the duck around the aircond premises made it cold.  I like my duck a bit warmer.

Pansoh Manok - I'm SURE the original version of this dish has alcohol, but since the buffet spread is halal, this version is virgin.  A traditional Iban dish, chicken cooked in bamboo, that reminds me of the chinese chicken with rice wine.  I loved this dish. The broth was flavourful and aromatic, and the chicken tender.

Alaskan King Crab Otak Otak - An novel take on a traditional dish, ...I don't think there IS crab in the usual otak otak, certainly not at the prices they usually sell it for generally.  Alaskan King Crab is probably the foie gras of the sea kingdom, the ultimate luxury dish...

The braised spicy venison ribs, which was seriously very good as well, but Argh, I was soooo full by this time.

And just what DO you call these???  Since the meat isn't all that nice, unlike the balitongs, I think we should just leave them in the sea.

Anyway, I was rather pleased that I went.  It's like buying a CD, usually you're lucky if there are more than 3 songs that you like in an entire CD.  Just like a buffet, usually if I can find more than two items I really like, I consider it good.  This time, there were so many...double boiled soup, long rib rendang, cheese naan (swoooon, sooo good), pansoh manok, the ULAMS!!! Oh, and the ice kacang (sendiri bikin la..translation, DIY), and nyonya kueh selection!!

Priced at RM108++ per person.

Double Tree By Hilton at
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur