Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!: Special JB Edition II (ZZ Sup Tulang, ABC Kg. Melayu, I.T Roo, Warung Siput Sedut Wak Dol)

When I was in Penang two weekends ago, I tweeted the various food and food places I tried and went to, which got a lot of attention. While most people salivated over the kuey teow and nasi kandar I had, one person though remarked that Penang couldn't compare with JB in terms of being the king of cuisines. Well, I'm a JB-ian, so I can't possibly refute that. But I must say that Penang is a pretty delicious place. And I can't deny that I still think about the many lip-smacking goodies Penang has to offer.

But let me leave the Penang vs JB debate to your goodselves. Instead, allow me to bring to you a 2nd Edition of "Food, Glorious Food" featuring JB. I balik-ed kampung this past long weekend, and here's my verdict on more great makan places around town. Drooling, as usual, is optional...

Our first stop was ZZ Sup Tulang at Jalan Petrie. It's a bit tricky to find, but once you're in that Jalan Petrie/Jalan Mariamah area, you can't really miss it. But don't expect a proper restaurant and all, cos the joint sits on a piece of land with a jungl-y feel to it. The huts and gazebos allow you to have proper seats as you suck on the sup tulang or sit "bersila"-style.

On to the food now. As the name of the place suggests, the specialty here is the sup tulang. And apparently you can have it at any time of day. It's really good, and comes with a straw so you won't miss a single bit of the fatty stuff.

BUT even more special here is the mee rebus tulang! I mean, two great cuisines combined and you get a meal two times the awesomeness. Just have a look lah...

The trick is to really savour every bite and slurp. I must say that the mee rebus is not as good as Haji Wahid's but it's a hundred times better than most other imitators.

Other specialties here include the bubur nasi and laksa Johor which I'll surely try the next time around. We did though sample some otak-otak and it was good as expected, despite being a tad too spicy.

Next up: the food court at Kampung Melayu. If you didn't know already, I was born here. And it's been a while since I roamed about the neighbourhood, which hasn't changed much, really. Only that some houses that looked old 20 years ago, look old-er now : ) .

Anyway, the food court is known for a slew of delectable offerings. Be warned though that cleanliness is not quite the priority here, so it's better that you just enjoy the food here and NEVER EVER sneak a peek at the kitchens. Hehe.

Since we were quite full then, dessert was the priority. And none more famous here than the Azmie Wawa ABC. We ordered the regular and special ones...

Holy moly, right? It will take some time to go through the pile of icy goodness and as for the taste, it was a mixed review, really. If you're a fan of minimalist ABC, this version might be too overpowering and over-indulgent, especially with the thick chocolate sauce on top, but personally, I liked it!

What also hit the spot for me was the yong tau fu. Took a sip of the soup and a world of memories came flooding back. It had the taste of my childhood as yong tau fu was one of the things my late father would buy came pay day as a treat. It tasted exactly how I remembered it. Nice.

OK, now on to some western food. Yup, classic western food. And this place, I.T Roo Cafe apparently serves the best of a Malaysian favourite, the chicken chop.

Situated at Jalan Dhoby (a road most Johoreans would snigger at when mentioned), this is one of those old cafes that been's been around since forever. They've made it a point NOT to make it look too modern, and what I also liked about the place was the many nostalgic photos plastered on the walls. Retro's the way to go here.

The recognition of "Best Chicken Chop in JB" was actually given by The Star in 2003, so is it still the best around today? We ordered two types of chicken chop; the fried chicken chop with black pepper sauce, and the girlled chicken chop with mushroom sauce.

And I'm happy to report that both chicken chops actually hit the spot! Both the chicken were grilled and fried to perfection and the sauces were faultless.  

I also looked up foursqaure for some tips and many said the local dishes were good as well. Tried the mee mamak, and it wasn't bad at all.

Up next, we wanted to try some Thai food as well. An odd choice when you're in JB but we saw this place Terra Thai on the way to ZZ Sup Tulang earlier and decided we just had to try it.

Located at Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, you can't really miss the place as the signboards are sufficient and the 1930s bungalow that houses Terra Thai are lit-up well at night.

We were greeted with warm smiles as we walked in and were pleasantly surprised by the nice, yet understated interior. And I must say that the service here is first class. The waiters can actually recommend dishes and are always attentive.

We ordered a few of the more popular dishes including the tom yam, ikan dua rasa, somtam, beef and pineapple fried rice.

The tomyam resulted in smoke coming out of our ears but we couldn't get enough of it. Haha. And the rest of the dishes came across as authentic as well, indicated by the sweat that continued to pour down my face throughout the entire meal.

And finally before we left for home, we just had to make a stop at this famous nasi campur place in Kg. Pasir, Warung Siput Sedut Wak Dol, famous for its (what else?) siput sedut cili api.

It's been around for 20 years, and I guess they're just comfortable being there at the old premises that hasn't deterred people from all walks of life flocking over for the food come lunch time.

It's a very kampung and authentic malay makan experience as you serve your own rice and pick whatever lauk you want including ikan bakar, ulam, asam pedas and other types of vege.

The siput sedut here is totally awesome and having it with a side of ikan bakar and steaming hot rice was just perfect. And lucky for me, the warung owners are also fans of MHI, and we left with an extra pack of siput sedut, on the house!

So, planning a trip down to JB now? : ) 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Avillion, Port Dickson

A little late with this post; a couple of weeks ago, our New Media team had a 2-day 1-night brainstorming retreat at the Avillion in Port Dickson. I've been to the resort before and was impressed by its standards, so naturally I had to recommend this place for our own retreat.

Coming back after a couple of years, I was still impressed by what I saw. Despite being a rather "veteran" resort, the Avillion has maintained the place REALLY well. You know how the maintenance culture here in Malaysia ain't exactly a priority, so kudos to the management for keeping everything in tip-top condition; from the overall premises in general, the rooms, the gardens, the pools, I had no complaints whatsoever, personally.

Anyway, the retreat was indeed a fun one. Sure, we had to squeeze our brains somewhat in coming up with new and fresh ideas for the year 2012, but it was all achieved in a cool and laidback setting and manner.

We chilled out during the ideas sessions and even played a good game of volleyball. Yes, volleyball. Where the team who could actually serve, won, which was my team. Haha. Hey, I even won the MVP award, OK?

The obligatory jumping pose

The SEA Games volleyball team didn't know what they were missing

The victorious team

Hurrah, we won... a bunch of crackers!

The Most Valuable Player deserves some Toblerone

Now, allow me to share some snaps of the resort. I would rank it in the Top 3 resorts in PD for a good family getaway, along with Thistle and Legend International Water Homes.

The water chalets

The premium room comes with a private balcony

Open-air shower in the room

Petting Zoo for the kids

There are a couple of pools here. This one's for adults only

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When In Penang... Eat!

So OK, I was in Penang for the Penang Bridge Marathon this past weekend, but in the name of carbo-loading, I just had to hit the makan trail as well. I mean, the last time I was there for work, we were pratically cooped up in the hotel at Tanjung Bungah and only had one visit to a nasi kandar place. So it was payback time!

But before that, I must say that my stay at the Eastin Hotel, Queensbay was a pretty good one. Nothing really outstanding about the joint, but everything was just good and nice. The executive room's of normal size but clean, with free wi-fi, an LCD TV with some decent pay TV channels, complimentary mini bar and rather nice views of the city...

Yup, if you get the sea view room, you could actually see both the bridges, which is pretty awesome in my books. And yes, Queensbay Mall is just next door, so plenty to do and experience around here. OK, on to the eating bit, now!

First stop was Nasi Kandar Line Clear, easily one of the most famous kandar joints in the land. Which was also my one and only kandar stop a few months back, so I kinda knew what to expect.

But that doesn't mean I didn't throughly enjoy the whole experience again. An experience that included a big, fat fish head, pedal ayam, sotong, papadom, vege and the magical mix of sauces. I thought they over did it with the rice, but I ate every single grain of it. Carbo-loading, mah!

And for dessert, I had the legendary cendol at Penang Road Famous Teowchew Chendul at KOMTAR. But if you're a purist, make sure you visit the original stall just around the corner. But be prepared to queue though.

My verdict? The cendol with ice cream was absoultely delicious, although there were a bit too much of the kacang bits. But good lah if you're into kacang!

Next on the list was Sany Char Keow Teow. A bit of an Amazing Race trying to locate the place, but it was totally worth it. Don't know what it is about the keow teow, but the way it's fried, along with the special sauce, make it a definite must-try. If I didn't have satay on the side as well, would have ordered a couple more plates of the kuew teow just for myself. Hehe.

After the event, I had a big breakfast at the hotel, but when evening came, it was time to go out eating again. This time, my understanding friend took me to Kapitan Claypot Briyani near Gurney Drive. Slightly starving by that point, I tore into the lamb briyani with a side of butter chicken with relish. Memang seriously sedap.

Then we took a drive around Gurney Drive and I sort of earmarked all the places I intend to raid on my next visit. Can't remember when was the last time I was there, but I could see what the fuss was all about.

And finally, we dropped by Padang Brown for a quick stop before I left for home. Was told that there's plenty to try here especially the pasembor and celup-celup, but still full from the beriyani, I only settled for dessert in the form of bubur cha cha. Totally different from what Johoreans know as bubur cha cha, which is usually served hot, this version had shaved ice along with the usual condiments. Awesome, nonetheless!

So, I ran, I ate and had a pretty cool time in Penang. But trust me, I'll be back. For the food, of course.


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