Ramadhan Buka Puasa at Kites Restaurant, Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie

On 7/23/2011 11:37:00 AM Comments
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The Ramadhan holy month is just around the corner and the buka puasa tradition comes to life again. The thing we love best about Ramadhan is the way everyone gets together to break fast at the end of the day with joy and laughter.

For this Ramadhan, we were invited to Kites Restaurant at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie for a sumptuous pre-buka puasa experience. Starting from this 1 - 29 August 2011, Kites will be offering a delicious spread of delectable cuisines for breaking fast with your friends, families and colleagues.

Here's a teaser from part of the luxurious spreads specially prepared by Chef HJ Norhisyam Bin Mustapha, Chef Muhammad Haniff Bin Haji Shukeri and their team of chefs.

Ayam Bugis Panggang (Bugis Roast Chicken), special roast chicken marinated with salam leaves, tamarind and dried shrimp paste.

Tandoori Fish, the vibrant red appearance along with some onions and lemons made them looked extremely appetizing!

Goreng Ikan Masin (Deep Fried Salted Fish), the overwhelming flavor of the salted fish mixed with some sambal over a plate of hot steamed white rice - it's the world's best comfort food.

Telur Itik Masak Lemak (Duck Egg with Coconut Milk), duck eggs cooked in creamy coconut-based curry.

Ayam Percik, a must have during Ramadhan month and true Malaysian-styled barbecued chicken. The smell of the a Ramadhan bazaar is never complete without it!

Ketupat Pulas, glutinous rice firmly wrapped in woven palm leaf pouch and boiled. Another popular and favorite Hari Raya delicacy.

Daging Serunding (Beef Floss), you can rarely find this dish except during the Hari Raya season. It is usually eaten with ketupat or lemang with rendang curry.

Nasi Briyani, fluffy long-grained fragrant rice to go with all the other dishes. Not to over-eat during Ramadhan is almost impossible!

Kari Kepala Ikan (Curry Fish Head).

Ikan Keli Salai Berlada (Grilled Catfish with Chilies).

Ayam Masak Kicap (Chicken in Dark Sweet Soy Sauce), every Mom's staple dish, it felt like home.

Kupang Masak Halia (Mussel Ginger).

Goreng Kacang Panjang (Stir Fried Long Beans).

In addition, we ended our meal with sweet desserts like assorted kuihs, ice kacang, cakes, ice-creams, puddings and many more!

During these blessed months, there will be over 120 local traditional Malay and International dishes. Do expect additional specialty treats like Roast Whole Lamb, Kambing Mamak, Gearbox Soup, Singapore Murtabak, Daging Deng Deng, Pulut Kuning, Ikan Bakar and many many more! To compliment the atmosphere, there will be a live "Ghazal Performance" to keep you entertained.

The buffet dinner at Kites is priced at RM 88++ for adults and RM 50++ for children and senior citizens. From 1 - 10 August 2011, there will be a special price for adults at RM 78++ and RM 40++ for children and senior citizens. Book earlier in June to get further discounts!

After the Ramadhan month from 1 - 31 September 2011, Kites opens up for lunches at RM 55++ and dinners at RM 75++. Group bookings are also available for "open house" events and a special price will be given for bookings of more than 10 paxs.

For booking and reservation, please call 03-7802 5200 ext: 3/2941.

Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie,
1 Jalan Usahawan U1/8,
Seksyen U1,
40250 Shah Alam,
Tel: 03-7802 5200 ext: 3/2941
Pork Free: Yes (certified Halal by JAKIM)
GPS: 3.094193, 101.577615

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Incheon Airport is quite a distance away from the city and there are several ways to get to the city - via Airport Limo Bus, Airport Railroad Express (AREX) or Taxi. It really depends on your destination and situation. The Airport Bus is the most preferred option today for traveling between Incheon International Airport and downtown Seoul.

Taking AREX might be the cheapest but for the time being, it isn't that convenient. You will have to make several transfers to get to your destination. With all the steps between stations transfer and heavy luggage bags, we wouldn't recommend it.

Taxi is recommended if you arrive late at night and buses or AREX are no longer operating. There are two types of taxis, the Normal Taxi "ilban taeksi" or Deluxe Taxi "mobeom taeksi" - generally black in color, more expensive and spacious.

If you are planning to take a taxi after midnight, you might as well take a deluxe taxi since the normal taxis have a late night surcharge while the deluxe taxis don't. Depending on the destination, going to Dongdaemun with a deluxe taxi late at night will cost you around KRW 100,000 (RM 285) by the meter.

We stayed in Uljiro Co-op Residence Hotel which is located in the heart of downtown Seoul, and walking distance to Dongdaemun shopping heaven. Conveniently, an Airport Limo Bus stops right in front of the hotel every 30 minutes.

It is easy to figure out which Airport Limo Bus to take, just look out for the information booth and the English speaking staff will happily check if there are any buses that lead to your destination. For our case, we took the 6001 Airport Limo Bus that stops right in front of our hotel and walking distance to Dongdaemun. The fare cost KRW 14,000 (RM 39.90) per person and the last bus departs at 10:40pm.

6001 Airport Limo Bus takes you from Incheon International Airport - Gimpo Airport - Yongsan Station - Samgakji Station - Sookmyung Woman's University Station - Seoul Station - Namdaemun Market - Ibis Myeong-dong Hotel - Seoul Royal Hotel at Euljiro - Best Western KUKDO - Western Co'op Residence - Euljiro Co'op Residence - Toyoko Inn Hotel - Hotel PJ at Chungmuro - Sejong Hotel Myeong-dong. It was a very long journey, it took about 1 hour and 15 minutes to arrive at our hotel.

Korean Dumplings at Sinpo Woori Mandoo @ Dongdaemun, Seoul

On 7/17/2011 03:41:00 AM Comments
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Sinpo Woori Mandoo (신보우리만두) is a restaurant started off as a family store in a small neighborhood at Sinpo, Incheon in 1971. In the past forty years it has become one of Korea's staple mandoo / mandu (dumpling) chains. Now, this popular restaurant chain is available throughout Korea and the outlet we went was strategically located at Dongdaemun. Since Dongdaemun is a shopping district that never sleeps, the outlet here practically opens 24 hours. And here we are, 3am in the morning!

Like any other Korean restaurants, every meal includes from 2 to 6 banchan (side dishes) that form part of the meal or compliment the main dishes. The most important is of course kimchi, and Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi. Everyone's kimchi tastes different even though it is fundamentally the same. The kimchi here was one of our favorite, it was well-flavored with the right degree of spicy and sour taste.

Gogi Mandoo / Pork and Vegetables Dumpling (KRW 3,500 / RM 9.98), eight pieces of Sinpo Woori Mandoo famous handmade dumplings served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar. The minced fillings are usually pork, tofu, clear vermicelli noodles and various vegetables such as onions, spring onions, cabbages and leeks.

Korean mandoo tasted slightly different from the Chinese jiaozi (dumpling), it was lighter and less meaty. The Chinese jiaozi are usually meat-centric, while Korean mandoo tend to pile on the veggies.

Kimchi Mandoo / Pork, Vegetables and Kimchi Dumpling (KRW 3,500 / RM 9.98), it tasted very much similar to gogi mandoo except for the little bit of spicy and sour taste. It wasn't too bad but the kimchi flavor wasn't strong enough to stand on its own.

Mandoo Kalgooksoo / Knife Cut Noodles Soup with Pork Dumplings (KRW 5,000 / RM 14.25), thick knife-cut noodles cooked in a clear seasoned soup with seaweed and pork dumplings. The soup was tasty and the hand knife-cut noodles were just right. It had the right texture and chewy consistency - deeply satisfying and hearty!

Nakji Dupbab / Rice with Octopus and Vegetables in Sweet Spicy Sauce (KRW 6,000 / RM 17.10), rice in heated stone pot served with stir-fried octopus and vegetables in spicy sauce.

Mixed everything evenly and ended up with a bowl of red fiery hot rice. It was spicy, sweet and hot all at the same time. We have pretty high spicy tolerance but this dish was beyond us! It was both torture and pleasure.

Verdict: Sinpo Woori Mandoo may look like a fast food restaurant with its simple interior but the food here is made fresh, reasonably good and affordable.

18-37, Euljiro 6-ga,
Dongdaemun, Jung-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
Other Known Outlets:
Insadong, Myeongdong, COEX, etc.
Tel: 02-2263 7501
Business Hours: Opens daily 24 hours
Pork Free: No
GPS: 37.567726, 127.007658

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Off the beaten track, Kin No Uma Japanese Restaurant is located in the Palace of the Golden Horses. Tagged as Asia's most extraordinary hotel, Palace of the Golden Horses is a world-class award winning luxury hotel located within Mines Resort City, Seri Kembangan.

Before stepping into the restaurant, you will walk through a world of wonderment and royalty filled with mythological horse figures located in the hotel grand lobby.

This deluxe and tranquil restaurant is surrounded with traditional decor and truly exudes a warm traditional Japanese setting with light colored wood. It was a true cultural experience with private tatami rooms and waitresses clad in kimonos.

One thing about us, we love Japanese food in all its glory - the simplicity taste, the freshness and the way it is presented. It has become our weekly comfort food.

Once settled, we were introduced to Chef Khair who began his culinary career 24 years ago in Kyoto, Japan. Chef Khair's cheerful presence added a lot to our dining experience whereby he introduced every dish with a flowery turn of phrase. Without further ado, itadakimas!

Maguro Natto / Tuna with Fermented Soybean (RM 24). Few people have heard of maguro natto and for good reason, it may be the slimiest and most repulsive-looking dish in Japanese cuisine. The natto (fermented soybean) has a strong musky odor of lightly rotted nutty flavor and stringiness of sticky glue. Natto lovers praise the health benefits, subtle complexity of taste and texture while some consider it too vile for human consumption. It was an experience!

Sunomono Moriawase / Assorted Seafood, Seaweed and Cucumber in Vinegar Sauce (RM 34), a wonderful light, tangy and refreshing appetizer to start off the meal.

Gyu Tataki / Raw Beef with Ponzu sauce (RM 28), lightly seared tender beef served thinly sliced with ponzu sauce (citrus-based soy sauce) and grated daikon. The freshness of the beef was faultless when paired with the ponzu sauce and the evenly thin sliced texture gave just the right resistance.

Kuruma Ebi Motoyaki / Grilled King Prawn with Mayonnaise Sauce (RM 48), beautifully presented succulent grilled King prawn as one of our luxurious starter.

Kin No Uma Roll (RM 58), deep fried King prawn, lettuce, cucumber, avocado and cheese wrapped with seaweed, sushi rice and topped with fish roe and mayonnaise. A nicely presented signature dish made from the finest ingredients.

Uma Hooseki Tsukuri Moriawase / Deluxe Assortment of Seasonal Raw Fish (RM 165), it had 7 types of seafood with 3 slices each ranging from salmon, tuna, white tuna, red snapper, seabass, octopus to surf clams. The sashimi pieces were cut to the proper thickness which brings out the inherent taste and flavours, and needless to say, all were sparklingly fresh!

Oyster Teppanyaki (RM 46), with half dozen of fresh oyster lightly sauteed in fragrant butter garlic sauce. This well-executed dish was perfectly timed to retain the freshness taste and juiciness of the oyster.

Tanuki Udon Matawa Soba / Buckwheat or Thick Noodles in Hot Broth with Deep-Fried Tempura Fritters (RM 27.50), heart-warming bowl of udon topped with lots of crispy tempura bits. We enjoyed how the way the bits that stick out stayed crispy, while the submerged bits became almost fluffy. Overall, it gave the simple hot broth an added crunchy dimension.

The udon were slippery, with a substantial chew and definitely made for slurping - just the way we liked it to be!

Garlic Fried Rice (RM 17), this version of garlic fried rice was done very well whereby every grains were fragrant without being overly greasy. Served with deep-fried thin and crispy salmon skin, it was the perfect combination and deeply satisfying!

Maruyama Tempura / Deep-Fried Assorted Seafood and Vegetables in Batter (RM 42), it was a beautiful arrangement of lightly coated tempura that weren't too greasy and served with a dipping sauce mixed with freshly grated daikon.

Kin No Uma Bento Dinner Set (RM 89), we were never a fan of bento because we rarely get all the stuffs we like in a single "lunch" box. But this is different, it had all the firepower with any two types of sashimi, one type of sushi, sunomono (vinegared dishes), agemono (deep-fried dishes) and yakimono (grilled dishes).

Within the bento box, we had slices of raw tuna and salmon, unagi sushi, marinated baby octopus and crab meat in vinegar, soft shell crab and vegetables tempura, grilled salmon and scallops in teriyaki sauce. This set also includes a bowl of rice, miso soup, chawan mushi, pickles and fruits.

Sashimi To Tempura Lunch Set (RM 60), with assorted raw fish, deep-fried seafood and vegetables with tempura batter and accompanied with a bowl of rice, salad, chawan mushi, miso soup, pickles and fruits.

This bento set certainly brings the smile for those who preferred their bento less complicating and focused only on the two things, sashimi and tempura.

There are also a wide selection of premium temaki (hand rolls) sushi such as Spider Temaki, California Temaki, Ebi Temaki, Maguro Temaki, Shake Temaki and Unagi Temaki with prices ranging from RM 16 - RM 28 each.

For desserts, we had the Abekawa Mochi / Soft Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Mixed Peanuts (RM 21.50), it tasted similar to our Chinese mua chee except for the price tag! Nevertheless, it was soft and nicely coated with fine grounded peanut powder.

Matcha Aisu Kurimu / Green Tea Ice Cream (RM 17), served with azuki (red beans) to perfectly balance between the subtle bitterness of green tea and the gentle sweetness of sweet red bean paste. We love green tea ice cream, the more bitter, the better it is!

Needless to say, we were all satisfied by the end of the night.

Verdict: As is often the case, the best comes at a premium. The price is generally more expensive than other Japanese restaurants, but for the freshness and grade you received, it is definitely worth trying.

Palace of the Golden Horses,
Lobby Level,
Jalan Kuda Emas,
Mines Resort City,
43300 Seri Kembangan,
Tel: 03-8946 4888
Business Hours: Opens daily from 12pm - 2.30pm and 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Pork Free: Yes
GPS: 3.046411, 101.709280

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