Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Indulgence, Ipoh, Malaysia

The perfect way to end a hot sweaty foodie trip to Ipoh is in the beautifully refurbished (and air conditioned :-) Indulgence.  With plenty of parking, greenery and spacious grounds, Indulgence is quite the contrast to the rest of Ipoh.  Self taught chef and business owner, Julie Song, shows her artistic flare with hand picked furnishings and decorations in the newly renovated colonial building.  Originally housing for two British owners of local plantations, Julie has tried to keep the nostalgic attractiveness by maintaining the original flooring and high boarded ceilings while updating and extending the kitchen and dining area to cater for a large number of guests in different pockets of the restaurant.  The entire back wall is made of floor to ceiling French doors enabling her to cater for events of up to 300 people.  A recent addition to the restaurant is a seven room boutique hotel located upstairs with individually themed rooms such as the Moroccan, Italian, Thai, Contemporary and English country suites. As if a restaurant, boutique hotel and gourmet shop were not enough for this superwoman, she has also just finished filming a five part series on the cuisine of Perak currently airing Monday evenings on the Asian Food Channel. The menu in the restaurant though features mainly Modern European cuisine.  We were more than ready for a change in palate after a day of food exploration in Ipoh, however by the time we arrived, all we had room for was dessert. The alcohol free tiramisu is what was recommended to us by the wait staff but it really did not live up to expectations. While getting rave reviews in the local paper, our western taste buds were not satisfied.  All was not lost though as coffee was commendable, and the wide selection of other desserts were mouth watering. I noted nearly 20 different sweets options on the menu and in the display cabinet. Indulgence has gained a number of Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards for Excellence including entrepreneur of the year, western cuisine chef and western cuisine restaurant of the year. It is definitely worth a further delve into the menu. Next trip - we stop here first. 

14 Jalan Raja Dihilir
30350 Ipoh
+605 255 7051

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Old Town Kong Heng, Ipoh, Malaysia

Kong Heng and Thean Chun are famous sister restaurants in the old town area of Ipoh. Located side by side, a lively atmosphere is present with orders for specific dishes being shouted between the two depending on which station is cooking up your request. KL foodies will drive two hours to feast on their specialities - pork satay, beef noodles (made from any part of the cow you fancy), bean sprouts with chicken, popiah and chicken noodle soup. Our top pick for this exploration was the popiah - finely chopped veges, with a few crunchy bits wrapped in a paper thin roll, dribbled with a mildly spicy and sweet sauce. Our western taste buds also enjoyed the chicken noodle soup and found the noodles thinner and smoother (almost silky), than any we've eaten in KL. The two hour drive to Ipoh makes for an interesting and tasty day trip from KL. Be sure to get there earlyish before the sun is in full force at midday so that you can enjoy a wander around some of the local shops before the heat causes you to wither.

Old Town - Kong Heng Popiah & Laksa
75 Jalan Bandar Timah
Ipoh 30000
016 553 1808

Monday, 29 August 2011

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant, Bidor, Malaysia

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant is a famous local rest stop for travelers on their way to Pankor Island, Cameron Highlands and Ipoh. Take the Bidor exit off the highway and you'll find Pun Chun on the right hand side as you enter the small town of Bidor. Park where you can, but be forewarned of the weird parking system whereby you purchase a ticket resembling a scratchie lotto from a local business to stick on your dash board. It's best to ask a local to help you scratch the right boxes to show the day's date and time of parking. The ladies working at Pun Chun are very sweet and friendly and obviously take pride in the family business which has been in operation for over 70 years. The restaurant is famous for duck noodles and wonton dumplings. The yam buns filled with pork are delicious snacks with a cold drink and their specially made biscuits are an ideal takeaway purchase to get you through the rest of your road trip.  The biscuits are made in their own factory not far from the restaurant.  If you call ahead of time there is even a possibility of arranging a look around the factory.  Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits in the traditional style are filled with pork and taste sweet, savoury and chewy all at the same time.  The new style cookies are thin and crunchy. Something a little more familiar to Western taste buds are the Shat Kek Ma - caramel biscuits - they look like cornflakes mixed with caramel sauce and taste just as they sound.  You can sample some biscuits before you buy - but be careful - the more you sample - the more you are likely to buy. :-)

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant
38-40 Jalan Besar
35500 Perak
+605 4341 554
+605 4341 562

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Best Sushi in Town!

My favorite sushi place in KL has to be Daikanyama (which translates to Vegetable Mountain I believe). I love Japanese and constantly looking for the best rolls and sashimi in town. We end up going on average once a week as we just can't get enough of the Sake Bomb Maki. Order this and you won't be disappointed! The salmon sashimi is very fresh and tasty as well.

Daikanyama is right on the strip of Changkat in the heart of Bukit Bintang. It is easy to miss so look for the Whiskey Bar and it is right beside it.

One of the fun perks of this place is the drink specials. If you order a Tiger Draught, they give you a bottle with a dice in it. Whatever you roll is how much your 2nd costs (1-6RM). Fun!

Shook, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Shook lives up to its reputation of being one of the best 5 star restaurants in KL.  Everything is exquisite.  - the setting, food presentation and attention to service.  Food is exactly what you'd expect from a place of this standard.  Be prepared to pay well for the experience though.  The good news is that Platinum American Express card holders enjoy 50% discount when dining in two.

Feast Level
Starhill Gallery
Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 603 2719 8535/8536
Fax : 603 2782 3818
Email : 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Verandah, Westin Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

Again the Westin pleases from the moment you sit down at any restaurant on their premises, in this case Verandah, with light jazz tickling the background, water trickling nearby, a cool sea breeze ruffling the table cloths and amiable waitstaff ready to receive you.  Each restaurant at the resort has its own distinct feel and menu - right down to the detail of serving unique bread in each locale.  Here you start your meal with pizza base triangles served with sun dried tomato pesto, garlic butter and black olive paste.  Again, like their other dining options, the whole menu is good.  What is worth making a trip for  though are their Summer Salads, my personal fav being the Superfood Salad. Consisting of smoked wild salmon carpaccio, green tea seared salmon, baby spinach, crispy lettuce leaves, asparagus spears, mango, edamame peas, semi dried tomatoes, citrus fruits and berries, red onion, lightly toasted walnuts & cashews, the Superfood salad should satiate your nutritional needs for a few days. A rack of three test tubes of dressings - curry yoghurt, mango chutney and balsamic are a fun way to add some extra scrumptiousness to your salmagundi of health. The Summer Vegetarian Salad is an enticing option too.  Lettuce (a little too much iceberg), bean cake, tofu, asparagus, fetta, crispy wontons and avocado provides a multifariousness of textures and flavours to the palate. 
Westin Resort
Nusa Dua
Bali, Indonesia

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ikan, Westin Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

Service and attention to detail at Ikan, is as only the Westin knows how. From the lovely table setting, iced water, cold refresher towels and five star service, to the appetizing selection of bread and toppings - butter, fried onions with olive oil & sambal - a good beginning to your dining experience is guaranteed. Enjoy the stunning ocean and reef views with your choice of seating - under the sun/ stars, giant Balinese gazebo or vine shaded patio. An interesting mix of Mediterranean, Italian and Russian dishes appear on the menu.  Mostly everything on the menu is good.  What is great though is the Oriental Lamb Burger - grilled Arabic spiced lamb kofta, chorizo sausage, roast eggplant, zucchini, tomato, chick pea puree and feta cheese  - a super tasty combination for 110k. Ikan is a lovely place to pass a few hours eating slowly, breathing fresh air and taking in the scenery. The added bonus for Starwood Privilege card holders from Malaysia is that your benefits are valid here too, entitling you to 50% off food when dining as two. 

The Westin
Nusa Dua
Bali, Indonesia
(62)(361) 771906