Brother Yat Restaurant - Sauna Prawns!

This one was a little while back...I had previously been here with a few friends for dinner, and it was so good I raved about it to my parents until they wanted to try it too! Heh! 

Tucked in a (somewhat) secluded lane in USJ at an industrial area, Brother Yat Restaurant is a bit tricky to locate, but for those who do know how to get there, you'll find that the place is always jam packed especially at dinner time! I didn't manage to get the address, but it is somewhere near The Summit and Giant in USJ....They're famous for their 'Sauna Prawns', and here is why:

Live prawns were put in a pot filled with hot stones, and a small glass of beer was poured in as well. The assistant here demonstrates...

After the beer was put in...steam facial, anyone??

Voila!! The end result! The prawns were still alive and kicking when put into the pot so you can guarantee that it's fresh, and when the beer was poured in, it evaporates quickly and seeps into the prawns (especially the heads), so you get the sweet taste of the prawns and just a little hint of beer...yumm! Yeah, I kind of get that it sounds like animal cruelty, but that's how they were cooked here, so...>.<"

We also had this pork dish which was scrumptious! I don't recall the name of this dish, but it's thinly sliced pork belly meat that's deep fried and then stirred with a delectable gravy that will make you go for seconds every time! So you get this crunchy, 'NOM NOM' feeling with every bite...MMMM!!

Vegetables are a must, especially for my Mom...*grins* This is kangkung stir fried with belacan, the Malaysian favourite! The amount of belacan included is just nice; not too salty or overwhelming like others...whets the appetite VERY well!

And this is a simple stir fried dish with the smoky taste to it that one can only get with BIG FIRE at the kitchen! *grins*

This is the XO Sauce tauhu that was ordered as well...don't be fooled by the word "XO" though! It's not made from the XO wine. Rather, it is finely minced dried shrimp, shallots, garlic and a bit of chilly. Not spicy at all, but you get that nice taste...something SIMILAR to belacan I guess, but it's more of a "Chinese" belacan, if you know what I mean...heh! Very nice topping for the golden brown tauhu that's a little crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. *licks lips*

Out of a whim, my sister wanted to order a chicken we got this Smoked Chicken dish. It certainly lived up to its name! Marinated with Chinese herbs, the chicken is first smoked and then steamed (I think), so you get this nice herbal taste in the chicken as well as the broth that came with it! The smoky taste complements the herbs very well too!

In retrospect, it was quite a good dining only qualm with it was the location, as we got lost quite a bit along the way. LOL! Pricing was not bad too...we spent about RM100+ for all those dishes with rice and a big pot of tea for 6-7 people. Not bad eh? *grins*

Grilled Fish At The Gift Tilapia Restaurant

Okay, I have tonnes to post about, so expect more food stuffs coming this way real fast! Heh! For now, I will be posting the latest ones and slowly work my way back. Hopefully I can get all these out quick enough! *crosses fingers* This time around, I went to my uncle's newly opened restaurant in Seremban! It's called "The Gift Tilapia Restaurant" which specializes in - you guessed it right - Tilapia dishes!

The premise of the restaurant. Very simple set up, but don't judge a book by its cover just yet! *wink* The restaurant's address:
No. 11, Lorong Merbok 6/1
Taman Bunga Blossom
70100 Seremban

The menu...very simple dishes as of now, but there will be more to come! For now, let me show you what we had:

Vegetables...standard fare, blanched lettuce with oyster sauce and a little bit of oil. Simple yet yummy!

Stir fried bean sprouts...also another simple dish.

Then comes the highlight of the day! Yummy fish! Remember the green tilapia that I mentioned in this post? Well, this fish is the main attraction in the restaurant! This is the Portugese grilled fish...a whole fish grilled but still tender and spread with a yummy 'secret recipe' chilli paste that will have you adding more and more rice! The dish is topped with fresh lady's fingers.(a MUST in this dish! The chillies go very well with the lady's finger!) 

Not to toot my uncle's horn and stuff, but the fish is just finger-licking good! Not only is it fresh, but the meat just falls away from the bone when you take it up (it's THAT tender!) and when you put it in the mouth, it melts away like pudding...yummmmm! Plus, you don't get that earthy taste that we normally get with the Tilapia here, so it's a win-win situation! *grins*

Another variation of the grilled fish...this is a simple, soya sauce version. Topped with sliced ginger and spring onions it's perfect for those who are not fond of spicy food. You can just taste the 'sweetness' of the fish meat in this dish because the sauce brings that out. If the fish is not fresh, you'll never be able to taste that! 

Last but not least, we had the salted prawns! My uncle raises prawns in his aquaculture farm too, so these prawns are guaranteed fresh! Seasoned with a generous helping of salt, the prawns are wrapped in an aluminum foil packet and subsequently grilled. When it's done, the packet is ripped open and you get THIS! You'd have to remove the salt of course, since it's just a seasoning, but the prawns are SOOOOO good! Simple concept as it is, you can't beat fresh food cooked the proper way...*grins*

So, if you're ever in the neighborhood, drop by The Gift Tilapia Restaurant! You'll never think the same about tilapia dishes again! *wink*

My Food Journey In Penang!

I've got to say, even though my so-called interview didn't go well in Penang, I still managed to enjoy myself because of the food! I've definitely heard rave reviews about Penang food, but having tasted just a fraction of the great food there, I'm hooked! Am definitely planning another (longer) trip to Penang and sampling more yummy food soon! Special thanks to Yen for bringing me around the island...she knows the best hawker foods in Penang, I tells ya! Don't believe me? Prepare to be salivating at the end of it all! *wink*

DAY 1:

Arrived in Penang at around 9.30pm after a nice bus ride...we were picked up by Keong, a good friend of Yen's and subsequently headed out for supper at her Mom's place! FYI, Yen's Mom runs a food stall that sells the yummiest Loh Mee that I've tasted so far! Her stall is at Lorong Pulau Tikus for all the Penangites out there! Thick, savoury gravy topped off with sides like egg, pork and the likes; and add a dash of chilli's almost like heaven!! (I bought a few packs back to KL for my parents to try, and they said the same thing!)

The oh-so-yummy spread that is 'Lobak'! We had some of the staples, but my favourites were the home made ones...also made by Yen's family! Yum yum...

Wash that off with a cool glass of iced tea...*grins*

DAY 2:

Breakfast started late, because we woke up late...LOL! >.<" But nonetheless, I had a good one! Started off with a type of banana pancake...look at the yummy banana pieces and raisins! Cooked to a soft and fluffy texture, it was also fragrant with a buttery taste...yumm!!

 This was what it looks like after we packed it...

I also had a small itsy-bitsy bowl of prawn mee (although it's called "Hokkien Mee" in Penang) made by Yen's Mom again...super delicious with the soup made from fresh prawns! 

Yen had this bowl of Penang laksa, which I managed to sneak a few bites of tastes a bit different from the laksa that I'm used to in KL, but still VERY delicious all the same! The curry is just nice with the amount of spices and santan, and topped with prawns, cockles, and pork bits, it's AWESOME!! We also had the Penang version of the 'Chee Cheong Fun'. Instead of the normal sweet-ish gravy that we get in KL, I was treated to a savoury one that had the prawn paste (pronounced as "Ha Kou" in Cantonese) included, and it was scrumptious as well! Sorry, forgot to take the photos of it, but it looks just like the ones we get in KL...only the taste gave it away! *wink* 

As you can imagine, we were stuffed full by the time we were done, so lunch was skipped...hehe! After which I had my dratted interview (which I will not mention anymore here), and then Yen took me out to Gurney Drive, where we had:

The famous Penang Char Koey Teow! We had this at the stall named "Cantonment Road Famous Char Koey Teow". Yen had this special one with added succulent prawns...look at the size of them!

My version...I opted for the normal one, with veggies and stuff. The noodles were fried very well, and the taste is just nice with a good amount of spiciness and err...'tastiness'! LOL! 

We had this Mochi as well...usually in KL, the mochi is served kind of cold and the peanuts are not crushed so finely like this. This Penang version is served piping hot, and it's texture is soft and springy. The added crushed peanuts and sugar makes this an awesome snack or dessert!

Then I tried this seafood delicacy that got me wondering as we walked past the stalls. It's called 'Siput Duri' in Malay, and although they look intimidating with the thorns and all, they're seriously yummy! The cooking process is too simple: boil the shells in water, and you're done! But the secret (in my opinion) is the chilli sauce (the small plate next to the shells)! The meat itself is quite bland, but coupled with the tangy (with just a hint of spiciness) sauce, it's delicious! The tricky thing to eating this dish though is getting the meat out from the shell....LOL! Many a times I poked until I can't get the meat out and it got stuck at the back of the spirally shell >.<"

Night 2 was quite uneventful, but I did meet up with another good friend of Yen who was going down to KL and offered us a ride! How nice! After chit chatting about our favourite topic (Dogs, what else? *wink*) we headed to a nearby stall for yummy dessert soup. Look at the colors and delicious ingredients inside! Enough said...*grins*

DAY 3:

It's my last day in Penang and I'm heading back to KL in the afternoon! But that didn't stop us from having another good breakfast! Hehe! I can't exactly remember where this was in Penang, but this stall is super busy with orders coming in non-stop for their famous Wantan Mee. Naturally, we ordered some too...*grins*

THIS is what makes the noodles different from the other stalls in Penang, and even in KL! (Sorry, no actual photos of the noodles...we were too busy rushing up and down that I didn't manage to snap them!) The noodles are mixed with the usual black sauce and seasonings, but the extra OOMPH comes from a generous helping of yummy gravy not unlike the 'Cantonese Fried Noodles' that we get. The added sides of mushrooms, chicken pieces and vegetables make this dish a killer combo!! 

As we were driving along Lorong Bangkok, Yen said I was in luck!! Because this stall selling the most AMAZING satay is open still...*grins* Yen said we won't find this kind of satay anywhere in Malaysia anymore. It's really one of a kind, and the owner has limited stock available everyday, so it's truly a great treat! 

The satay cooking amidst all the smokey charcoal...the uncle selling this is super meticulous, making sure that all the sticks are cooked properly and ensuring that the meat is still tender even after grilling! Now that's great skill! And looking at the satay like that, you'd think it's the normal chicken / beef fare that we get right? WRONG!! It's PORK satay!! 

We also ordered this yummy toasted bread with the satay! Imagine big pieces of traditional Kopitiam bread toasted on charcoal, and then spread with the yummy goodness of coconut milk and Kunyit!

Some of the finished satay sticks...we ordered 30, but we managed to finish 20 amongst the both of us(!!!) so we went back to try and order some more. But then the uncle told us it's all sold out because some one called and ordered about 100+ sticks at one go!! That's how good his satays are...

I also ordered some of these Apom...notice the sign that says 'Eggs'? I was quite intrigued, coz we don't get these kind of Apoms in KL...this stall was also very famous. People were queueing up to get some of the yummy pancakes!

What it looks like when cooking...mmmm!

And that was all from my gastronomical journey in Penang! All in all, it was such a wonderful experience I can't wait to go back and sample some more great food! I've been hearing talks about Nasi Kandar, Cendol, ABC and countless other hawker fare that you can only find in Penang...*licks lips*

Remember Me....Maybe?

Robert Pattinson, the ever-so-famous guy who immortalized (literally) Edward Cullen in the overly-hyped 'Twilight' series, returns with a more sombre offering that is "Remember Me". 

"What's the premise of the story?", you may ask. Robert Pattinson plays Tyler, a guy who has recently lost his brother to suicide. He blames his overbearing, yet highly successful father (played by Pierce Brosnan) for his brother's death. Tyler turns to all sorts of things to 'numb his pain', eg: smoking to no end, drinking like there's no tomorrow and getting into bar fights just because he wants to. After a certain incident though, he meets with Ally (played by "Lost" star, Emillie De Ravin). Ally also shares a similar loss, but she chose a different side to coping with the pain. Together though, they forge a bond and as with all stories, you know what's the inevitable result. *wink* 

Although it's KIND of like a love story, but the underlying point of coping with loss is always there, which mostly gives the film a bit of a downer tone. Still, the chemistry between the two leads are quite nice to watch. At least it's much better than the "I'm ever so broody and hungry for Bella that I can die" Edward and "I'm so stoned all the time I can't afford better expressions" Bella relationship. *wink* Tyler is still broody, but at least we know WHY he is brooding most of the time...and it's quite nice to see a different side of him too, especially when he is with his younger sister Caroline (played by the cute Ruby Jerins).

Kudos should be given to Emilie De Ravin for her portrayal of Ally. She is SO different from her "Lost" character, which I loved...and manages to even out Robert's broodiness with her take on life and moving on. I especially liked Ruby Jerins' turn as Caroline. Also herself losing a brother, Caroline is somewhat wise beyond her years, turning to art as an expression (and a darn good one at that). But she was also picked on by her peers who really didn't understand her. The sort of climax to her side of the story is both shocking and sad to see that even kids can be as mean as the adults.

There is a little twist to the end of the film...not quite sure why it was done that way, but it's a bit weird to bring in a sort of political statement just at the end. Didn't have that much of an impact; I guess it's aimed more towards the people in the US more, as it hits closer to home. It would have been nice though if they had just expanded the relationship between the characters...the estranged relationship between father-and-son (so not very convincing, even though Pierce Brosnan and Robert Pattinson look KIND of alike, but that's about it) after the final 'confrontation' bit hit hard, but then it just sort of dissipated after the twist, which made me go 'Huh??'

Listening in to some of the comments by the moviegoers after the film ended, most were obviously not there to watch the story. Seeing that it was almost a full house (with giggly girls) even with its limited sessions, it's not hard to guess what (or rather WHO) was the main attraction to the movie. As the camera focuses on you-know-who, you can literally hear sighs going around the theatre. *rolls eyes* Okay, I can see why girls fall to pieces when they see him, but the hype is just that. Hype. Yes, he has good acting chops apart from the Edward Cullen expressions, but err...again, I just didn't get it. Oh well..*shrugs*

A word of caution if you were to catch this in Malaysian cinemas: for SOME reason, the Censorship Board has decided to go 'snip-happy' in cutting out scenes just because they like it, and it's not a pretty picture. Granted, there were some 'scenes' in the movie, but other than that, their attempt at cutting out the HBO words were an epic failure. Even though you can see that it's cut (from the visuals), but you can still HEAR it! *rolls eyes* Overall though, still quite a nice movie...give it a go for the story.

Under The Mountain (Is Where The Hobbits Live!)

(Spoilers ahead! Don't read if you want to watch the movie first!)

Okay, normally I try not to put in scathing remarks unless it's really that bad. This time though, it was kind of...THAT bad. LOL!

The movie poster that I saw promotes the fact that it's Weta Workshop (the amazing people behind the LOTR series!) doing the special effects, so I thought...Hmm, shouldn't be too bad right? WRONG!

So, what's the story about? Theo and Rachel are fraternal twins who share a special, 'psychic' bond with each other. But things changed after a tragedy and Theo's relationship with Rachel began to drift apart. They stayed with their uncle and aunt (in one of the most fancy houses I've ever would think that New Zealanders are super rich!) for the holidays, and found strange things happening whilst they're there; among them, meeting a mysterious Mr Jones, who tells them that Earth is being invaded by aliens (he himself is one! *gasp* *rolls eyes*) and only THEY can stop them with some special weapon invented by his race...

True, the special effects were wouldn't expect less from the people who gave amazing effects to LOTR, but this time around, it didn't help much to enhance the storyline (which isn't much of a storyline anyways). The aliens were apparently disguised as humans on Earth so that they're less 'visible'...but heck, one look at them and you can already tell they're SOOO not human. *rolls eyes* Are New Zealanders that dim-witted that they can't differentiate a foreigner with guys that look like they just got splashed with hydrochloric acid on their bodies?? And what kind of human talks so slow (think. I. talk. like. this.) that people don't notice at all? Too polite to tell, or it's normal talk speed for them? Sheesh!

And to make things even worse, there's all sorts of weird clichés like SMOOTH PEBBLES as weapons? And FIRE to bring down slug-like creatures from another planet?! I mean, come on! If the aliens are so darn easy to bring down with fire, how come we don't just use napalm? No need to wait hundreds of years for twins to come and 'Save The World From Imminent Death'. And why twins in the first place? What's with the 'twin-ness' thing? I digress.

This movie was adapted from a book which was written by Maurice Gee, a famous New Zealand author. I seriously hope his book wasn't as bad as the movie, coz if it was, then it's saying something about the kind of books New Zealanders read, right? No offense to New Zealand and its people...I'm sure there are great movies out there made by NZ, but for this particular one, it's a thumbs down mostly. Sorry!

Seremban 'Roasted' Crab

The sister had often talked about the delicious crab dish that she had tried with her bf the last time she was there, and I was also curious myself. For someone whose hometown is in Seremban, I have yet to try the famous Seremban Roasted Crab as touted by my friends who've tried, and even from TV food reviews. So, after much postponing, the family decided that we should go together with Grandpa =)

The place where we had our dinner...apparently there are quite a number of restaurants which serve this dish, but this one is quite famous. It shows too; as time passes, more and more patrons turn up...eventually making it a full house!

The dip that's brought forward first, along with some deep fried wanton skins. The dip is SOOOO yummy! It was supposed to be for the crabs, but I took the wanton skins and dipped it into the dip. Heh! Very creamy and nice, with just a hint of spiciness and fragrant too! Yum!

Their signature taufu dish, served with minced pork and gravy. I'm normally not a big fan of taufu, but I have to say this rocks! The taufu is handmade, and it just MELTS in your mouth when you taste it. Yes, it's THAT soft! Added with the minced pork and gravy, it's superb! We almost ordered another round of this...haha! We had two other veggie dishes too, but they were nothing to shout about, so no photos...heh!

Butter prawns! The prawns were supplied by my uncle, who runs an aquaculture farm in, it's guaranteed FRESH! Cooked this way, it's finger licking good =) It's one of my favourite kinds of dishes, but I was told it's a bit difficult to make. You have to cook the butter a certain way with the egg mixture to make it all crumbly like that, so all the more reason to eat more!! 

And then, there's the roasted crab! Okay, this wasn't 'roasted' per se as I thought it would. When we say 'roasted', what comes to mind is a barbecue grill where they actually roast it over charcoal or something (a la roast chicken style). But, it turns out that, these crabs are cooked in the wok. What they DID do is that there was no oil added into the wok before the crabs were cooked, so you get a nice smokey smell from the cooking. Added with the aforementioned dip...SCRUMPTIOUS!

We also had steamed fish. Notice the color of the fish? It's actually green tilapia. I know! Kind of weird right? It's another kind of fish that my uncle is working on...apparently, this species is a genetically engineered fish or something. The meat is super tender, and there's no earthy taste like we usually get with it's GREAT! The only thing is the sauce didn't quite taste like we expected it to. Most of the steamed fish in the restaurants that we tried with this kind of sauce always tastes good, but this one lacks a little...something. Can't tell what it was, but it wasn't as nice =( Thumbs down for the sauce, but two thumbs up for the fish texture!

The aftermath of it all...I cleaned my plate very well. Hehe!

In retrospect, it was quite a good experience. Even though the roasted crab wasn't cooked the way I thought it was, but it's still AWESOME! My aunt mentioned another place that was even nicer than this restaurant though, so it piqued my interest a lot...haha! Price-wise, it wasn't cheap. A kg of roasted crab costs RM48. That plate of crabs we had was 2kg, so you can guess roughly how much we spent for our family dinner of about 9-10 people. =(

Familiar Faces - Nyonya Food

Mom had cravings for more Nyonya we went to this restaurant called 'Familiar Faces' near our house, where they serve Nyonya fare as well. We had actually passed by the restaurant quite a few times, but never did remember to stop by there for a meal. So, we went there...twice. LOL! Here's what we ordered both times:

 Marmite chicken...combine deep fried chicken chunks with a thick, yummy sauce of Marmite and sprinkled with sesame seeds, and what do you get? Yumminess! *grins* It's not too sweet or saltish and the taste of Marmite is not overbearing. 

Simple stir fried vegetables..don't know what's the English name for this, but it's 'Wong Tai Miu' in Cantonese. Not bad, but a little bland for my taste.

This is claypot fish maw with assorted vegetables and mushrooms. Served piping hot, the dish is finger licking good...we ordered it both times around, and were not disappointed the second time. =)

Yummy Assam Fish! They offered many kinds of fish in the menu, but Assam Fish is their signature dish. Mom ordered the 'Chicken Fish', and it was really nice. Sweet, sour and tangy, it's just what whets the appetite when eating with a hearty bowl of rice. =) Strangely, the second time we ordered this, the version sort of 'changed'. LOL! The sauce was too thick the second time around, and I got a feeling that the assam juice used was too left a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Sad. I loved the fish the first time they made it.

Rice did not come filled on individual plates. Instead, we were given a big container a la Malay/Nyonya style. Love the intricate details on it =)

The second time we went, we tried their signature Lemon Chicken. Chicken dhunks were again deep fried, but it was mixed with a yummy sweet lemon sauce. The citrus-y taste was just nice, and it wasn't too sweet until you get sick of it.The shreds of veggie on top are actually raw mango. Very complementing the taste =)

Our order of Nyonya Paku Pakis. Ferns stir fried with sambal, it's very good! A bit spicy but it's expected, because it's Nyonya food..heh!

This was claypot venison cooked with potatoes and onions. Nothing much to shout about..I thought it would be great, but it wasn't, sadly =(

Overall, it was quite a nice experience. Most of the dishes we ordered were quite tasty. Although there were a few misses, we still liked it a lot. Mom was already thinking of going back there again next time we dine out...and that says a lot as Mom is quite picky when it comes to food. Heh! Price-wise, it's not too bad either. On average, I think we spent about RM70-RM80 for our family of 5-6, with orders of 4-5 dishes. Not bad!