Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Snowy Ice at Hanbing, Korean Dessert Cafe, IOI City Mall

Passed by several times in the past and finally felt compelled to try their Green Tea Bingsu after spotting someone inside having a bowl.

The cafe is packed with small square tables and red/black low-back chairs originally popularised by Japanese modern designers.

Brightly lit yet not glaringly so, the place seemed open and clean, thanks to its unfussy design and flat orderly table layout.

Hanbing Korean Dessert Cafe calls their bingsu Green Tea Snowy Ice and despite the relatively hefty price tag of RM24 for a bowl, it turned out to be an interesting delight. Their menu informs that their Snowy Ices takes 10-20minutes to prepare but mine arrived in less than that.

And what a sight to behold when the Powdery mossy-green Matcha galore arrives at my table.

The texture was amazing, cool and smooth with a slightest crystalline mouthfeel. To my surprise, the Matcha was not just dusted on. Instead it was a proper concoction that was then given the 'snowing' treatment.

Looking carefully at the ice, one could see the beautiful lattices and struts that gives it amazing mouthfeel.

The thick, rich redbean paste scoop on the ice added more earthy flavour while adding a gentle sweetness. Inside, I discovered gems of slivered roasted almonds (so crispy it remained so despite sitting in liquid) and squishy, chewy bites of glutinous rice cubes rolled in dry roasted soya powder.

Each flavour profile and texture worked in concert to create such a beguiling dessert. Matcha powder often leaves a green astringent and bitter aftertaste, but this one did not. I attribute this to the green tea powder being mixed in the water and milk base that makes up the basis of a Bingsu. I had originally planned to savour it slowly but in the end the bowl lasted about 15 minutes of my slow but sure scooping.


Hanbing now also serves a Musang King Snowy Ice. This said, my heart forever remains with the Green Tea/Matcha version.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Lunch at Mee Tarik Warisan, Aman Sentral Mall

I was mainly attracted to this restaurant by the chef in his windowbox rapt in attention making the noodles. His measured motions of kneading and pulling, slowly coaxing thw dough into thinner and finer strands.

As it were, the pulling and twisting cycles effectively activate and relaxes the wheat gluten in turns, resulting in noodles that have a characteristic firmness and bite.

Their menu is small and unfussy: Soupy Noodles or Fried Noodles, with a smattering of side dishes. Wanting the authentic experience, I was recommended the Mee Soup w Spicy Beef.

How it works here is that you take ur desired table, pick items from their menu (food and drinks), write it on their order slip and proceed to pay at the cashier. Then they send your goodies to you at your table.

My order took a little while get done, about 30 minutes! Apparently there was a mix-up with the order stubs and someone overlooked it. This however could have been prevented had one of the many Waitstaff actually took note of their guest order.

My server profusely apologised after I reprimanded them (she was on the verge of tears, lolz). And she brought my bowl less than a minute later.

An unassuming bowl it was. A tight bundle of ivory hued noodles in clear soup flecked with chilli oil and sliced spring onions.

Then upon tasting my first spoonful of broth, my righteous anger instantly deflated. It had the smoothest and cleaning tasting broth I have ever tasted (the chinese are masters of broth, hands down). Rich with chicken and bright ring of star anise and background of peppercorns. The chilli oil then worked to prolong the sensation while it unfolded the gradual heat of the chilli. Slurp it in hot and fast and you will quickly discover the wonderful harmony.

Then I bit into the noodles.


Imagine thin noodles approximating Capellini pasta but with an impressive fight and bite. How could something so thin be so delectably chewy? Yup, the chef's repeated pulling and twisting gave birth to amazing noodle mouthfeel.

I must definitely bring Boss Mama and family to one of their many sister outlets in Malaysia and see how they react.

Clean Eating @ Simple Life Cafe

Hakka dishes can sometimes be such an enigma. The first time I tried Lei Cha years ago I fell in love so hard with it.

Something quite magical about a dish of rice with and assortment of vegetables and side dishes that one mixes with a savoury and incredibly fragrant 'Tea' made out of careful blend of fresh herbs and seasonings.

Traditionally Lei Cha (or Lui Cha) is cooked white or brown rice (choose brown for more texture) served in a bowl with 4-6 side dishes of gently sauteed chopped vegetables - French beans, bean sprouts, long beans, siew pak choy, chinese kale, chinese cabbage (often an intended mix of mild and strongly flavoured veges), slices of Yau Char Kuai (or Tofu), crisp fried peanuts and chopped salted Chinese cabbage.

The hot tea is made by grinding a mix of sesame seeds, and leafy herbs like sweet basil and others in hot water. This hot tea is then commonly given in a small pot on the side.

Eating it is also somewhat an interactive affair, requiring the diner to augment the bowl with varying amounts of this herbal savoury tea. Some prefer it with just enough tea and some prefer an almost soupy mix.

Personally I prefer my bowl of mixed goodies slightly wet (but not dripping) and leaving it for a few minutes for the rice to soak up all the punchy green flavours of the tea. What ever remaining soup I often finish off on its own.

Give it a try, you might like it.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Long Lunch @ Farmers Street, Tropicana City Mall

Had loads of time to kill while window shopping last year in Tropicana City Mall. Found the mall for the most part still like it was, with some new shops, replacing some that has closed.

Lunch soon after became a necessity while awaiting for a movie. So in I walked into Farmers Street restaurant at LG Floor, across Aeon Supermarket's side entrance.

The place had this soft moody lighting, perfect for chilling out and slowly enjoying a meal.

I quickly perused the sizeable menu and ordered a few dishes - Assam Laksa, Chicken Lor Bak and for dessert, Sweet Peanut Soup. They came quickly too, probably on account of it being almost 3.30pm.

The Assam Laksa has a nice deep flavour with a good kick of sour, exactly the way I prefer it, and it had in the bowl a wonderfully fresh half of a fish. The noodles were slightly on the limp side though, probably a result of being blanched for a bit too long and them getting smothered in the hot gravy again. However, the dish was still good to have.

The Lor Bak platter was wonderful, slices of meat shining with fragrant 5-Spice powder. The crisp fried tofu was tender within and the Century Egg had no off-putting ammonia odours too.

The dessert was a wonderful treat. Thick unctuos soup of carefully sweetened ground peanuts offered 2 chubby Tong Yuen pearls. This dish is honestly such a simple dish, but again, the play of sweet versus above-average thickness (they used starch certainly) resulted in a lasting smooth mouth feel as it went down.

By now sated and in bliss, I took a look at the menu again (not for more food) to look at the kinds of sweets on offer.

Then I saw this.

Stewed Red Dates with Hasma?
Hasma? Really, a Hasma based dessert here? Gulp. A real facepalm moment for me. A repeat of when I came to know what Guilinggao Jelly really is made out of from many years ago.

For the uninitiated, Hasma is believed to be a therapeutic ingredient (like bird's nest, etc.. featuring almost always in Chinese sweet-soups) of harvested fatty tissue from around the fallopian tubes of frogs. Yes, more commonly Rana esculenta (cheaper) or Rana chinensis (more gourmet) frogs!

Read more here : Hasma Wiki : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasma.

Serves me right for not checking the Halal status of the shop. LOL!