Category: food

a moment on the lips

Now, I may love raya but my hips on the other hand, have other ideas come this time of the year.

No matter how much cardio/weight/resistance training I do to combat the dreaded flabs – my hips insist on giving Bibendum (yes, the Michelin tyre mascot has a name!) a run for his money. But let’s be honest here, I’ve probably only visited the gym twice in the past month in the midst of work, travel, events and open houses!

On the other hand, house visiting is the best time to catch up with friends and acquaintances you haven’t met in awhile. It’s like hitting 2 birds with one stone. Or 23 friends. Or 4297 family members.

I always anticipate seeing what everyone turns up in. It’s like a fashion runway with all the pretty colorful chiffons, beads and patterns floating amidst the food and chatter. Exhibit A:

You might recognize celeb blogger Proudduck (her musings are simply hilarious, I love reading them!), who’s married to one of my closest friend’s brother. In KL, 2 degrees of separation is the new 6. Everyone is somehow directly connected, so be careful what you doooo ūüėČ

On to Exhibit B: Always wear those big spacious kaftans. They’re comfy enough to fit in as much rendang into your bellies yet stylish enough to pull off that effortless cool look.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon the king of fruits at one of the houses and insist on taking group shots like these:

xo Reem

annyeonghaseyo!

Wow time flies by faster and faster as the years go. Seems like day 1 of Ramadhan was just yesterday, now Raya’s in less than 24 hours!

Which got me to thinking, I gotta get this post up before it turns 2000 and late…

Since most Sayfolians couldn’t make it to the¬† first buka session at Double Tree, we did round 2.

Better turn-up rate this time: 14 pax. This my friends, is considered a success. Read the previous post, and you’ll understand why. There was no debate however that buffets are not conducive to our diets (or for those of us trying to maintain one, at least) and we narrowed it down to something spicy, Asian, slightly exotic and came up with Korean.

I’ve always been a fan of kimchi, bulgogi, barbequed meats and not forgetting sushi. Prefer Korean to Japanese sushi, although I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because they’re harder to come by in KL, thus the longing is greater. So I expected exactly that or at least a variation of it on the menu when one of the guys, Joe (Korean native bred in KL) suggested Uncle Jung’s.

Picked up the menu to find this:

*flips menu front and back*

Um, is this it?

To be fair, there was a list of drinks and side orders but that was it.

Took awhile for me, no wait, ALL of us to register – besides the Korean boy who suggested the restaurant – this is one of those places which specializes in making one great dish (similar to say, the ayam penyet shop) and caters to their regular customers as opposed to walk-ins.

It was so authentically Korean.  Everyone in the restaurant except us were Korean and all the workers spoke the language, even though they looked like they were from Indian heritage, which was pretty cool.

The one dish menu consists of Dak-Galbi: a popular South Korean dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate. Thanks for that Wikipedia!

before:

10 seconds in, someone asks ‘is it cooked yet?’

5 seconds later ‘IS IT COOKED YET?’

another 8 seconds pass… ‘I’m going to taste if the chicken’s ready’

2 seconds later *spits out raw chicken* ‘no it’s not’

genius.

about 14 mins later (but what seemed like 14 days), our Dak-Galbi is ready to be gobbled

juices/oils will splash. wear the aprons they provide no matter how silly you think you look.

you will look sillier with oil patches on your shirt.

p/s: don’t bring a girl here on a first date!

xo Reem

whisked away

The best way to cure separation anxiety with the weekend is to pop by your favorite coffee joint on a Sunday night and treat your senses to some heavenly espresso blends.

My pick in town is the cozy espresso bar + bake shop: Whisk.

I’ve been craving for their delectable treats since the start of Ramadhan, but simply couldn’t find the time to squeeze in a coffee-run. That, plus the fear of caffeine in my system after 6pm. No sleep plus me equals a girl in the dumps, even I wouldn’t want to be friends with. You have been warned.

Speaking of warnings, here’s one from Whisk:

If you’re into run-of-the-mill coffee flavoured milk stuff, there’s a Starbucks next door.

Now, I’m no coffee expert and far from being a purist but as a fan of this magical often misunderstood brew that makes the world go round and run (what would Monday mornings be without it?!), I know good coffee when I sip one.

And so do the good people at Whisk. Bless them for introducing good no-nonsense cuppas to us.

I love the texture of their foams.

To me, that is the mark of a coffee well made.  The appreciation comes thanks to a part-time job at an Italian patisserie back when I studied in Australia.

Countless cups of milk went down the sink daily due to my uncoordinated (in)ability to steam milk. You need the innate skill to tilt the steel pitcher at a precise angle, at the right temperature, with the right amount of movement & pressure from the steam wand. It is an art. That I do not have. It was all very foreign and I end up creating big air bubbles within the foam every time. This is a major no-no. The Italians practice scrupulous discipline when it comes to coffee. If the foam was too bubbly, no way in hell was it going out to the customer.

nutella coffee

See, perfect froth made with love.

I always order the flat white served in a Nutella rimmed glass, an exclusive to Whisk. Haven’t found this anywhere else in KL.

It’s their take on the cafe mocha. I don’t even know what it’s actually called since the 1st time I had it, a friend ordered it for me. I usually call it ‘coffee with Nutella thing’.

The result is a smooth, creamy, all rounded taste. The Nutella adds a nuttish, chocolate goodness that goes so well with the slight bitterness of coffee. Heavenly addictive!

Also had a slice of Pink Stacks, because you know, I wouldn’t want the ‘coffee with Nutella thing’ to go down my tummy all by its lonesome self.

A pink gradient buttercake with a hint of rose is the stuff of every girl’s dream no? Served on a rainbow platter atop a fluffy cloud tray by a mint green unicorn adorned with a crystal studded tiara…

There’s a 5 year old toddler living in my subconscious that hopes tooth fairies and the Carebears exist despite the contrary.

And her choice of white knight would be? The Dark Knight. Batman.

xo Reem

of friends and food

Caught up with my friends from school the other day over Ramadhan buffet but boy, was it hard to pick a date that everyone was free let alone a place to eat.

Some of the messages on our Whatsapp group of about 15 people were:

‘I’m on call again’

‘Not well – lets do it next week’

‘I can’t Tues, Wed & Thurs – working late’

‘No! I want Western food please!’

After over 20 years knowing half these people (most of us started in Sayfol from kindergarten up til graduation) we’re still the indecisive bunch we always were. This happens everytime¬†we plan a large gathering! I’m going to break that habit and call the shots next time. Be there or be square people!!! Please be there, please?

It took us about an hour to decide the who, when and where.

In the end only 6 of us could make it to the buffet at Makan Kitchen, Double Tree

Food was spread out over truly traditional kampung decor

Some of the dishes we generously gorged down:

…and when the food couldn’t fit into our tummies anymore it went to our heads. we ended up doing this:

sigh, cannot take these people to fancy restaurants *shakes head*

half an our later, we got our sanity back in time for a group shot. this one goes into the photo album

xo Reem

food, glorious food…

…We’re anxious to try it. Three banquets a day. Our favourite diet! –¬†Oliver Twist
Okay so my life, fortunate as it is, barely resembles the innocent Oliver who was trapped in a grim reality with no options.
Although those of you who have observed the fast can probably relate to the trials of restraint and pangs from going a day without food or water, much as the orphan boy did.
Which largely is what the month of Ramadhan is dedicated to – a show of unity against the injustices predicated to those less fortunate. The benefits are plenty, starting from the physical (detoxing, trimming those love handles…) to the spiritual (count your blessings, eliminate evil thoughts, not swear at the douche who rudely swerved into your lane…). I read somewhere once that fasting doesn’t change God, it changes you.
Amen to that.

While Ramadhan is about restraining from food, it’s also just as much about celebrating food and celebrating around food. No matter how busy our lives are, when the sun goes down, everyone puts their lifelinesphones/tablets/laptops away and gathers around the table to focus on being humans again. Being humans enjoying the company of other humans, like humans did circa pre-tech era. For like 5 mins, tops. Until someone asks, ‘What time does the Olympics Opening Ceremony start?’

‘Wait, let me Google it…’ -_-

Hope it’s not too late to wish my muslim friends Salam Ramadhan! Love & light.
Just 3 weeks to Raya now, wheeee.
Will post another entry on a buka session with my high school friends a little later.
xo Reem