Nyonya Delicacies at The Tranquerah

Nyonya food is colourful. Nyonya food is flavourful. I am not a Nyonya like pal Merryn but I have learnt to like Nyonya food after a good experience at The Tranquerah at Encorp Strand. And Merryn the Nyonya said it was good...hearing it from a fellow foodie who is a Nyonya, it has got be good. Right?

What striked me was that the decor at The Tranquerah was gorgeous. And it certainly did stand out from the crowd of the other food outlets at Encorp Strand which I saw when I was invited to the launch of Encorp Strand. Its cozy and very welcoming. That I think set a good ambience to the nyonya feel. And I told myself "Let's see how food goes".
So food talk...

Top Hats or Pie Tee is so Nyonya that it makes no sense not to try a Nyonya food that is symbolically Nyonya". The hats are nice and crisp (I have tasted awful "masuk angin" or soft hats) and are filled with very well flavoured stir fried turnip which is soft to bite. One thing I liked about the turnip here is that it is not overly salty. This is very easy on our palate making it a brilliant appetizer.
Ayam Pongteh is classic Nyonya must have. A stew of chicken and potato cooked with herbs and spice till tender, this dish went well with all of us. It was brilliant with kids that night. And when eaten with ythe sambal belacan served on the side, this dish is simply appetising! The gravy was creamy from the potatoes and is another God given reason to order another bowl of rice like what my on a diet hubby precisely did. He could not resist the Ayam Pongteh.
Another very yummy must have is the Nyonya Fried Chicken. Marinated with some magic spices and gently deep fried, we have juicy meat and flavourful skin. And even if you don't eat chicken skin, the flesh is still flavourful marinade.
Like curry chicken? Then The Tranquerah's Nyonya Curry Chicken cooked with fresh coconut milk is such a lovely dish to have. The chicken is cooked till tender and has absorbed the spices that went into the curry paste / powder. The potatoes are lovely, soft and creamy. Yes! Making this yet another "evil" carbo loading dish.
Still on a chicken note, Alan recommended that we must also try their Ayam Sioh. Sweet, tangy and rich in spices, this is a semi dry dish. Not gravy rich like the other 2 dishes but its still flavourful enough to go with white rice.
Mummy says "Always eat your vegetables" and we opted for Kangkung Goreng Sambal Belacan. The dish came fresh green crisp (that means freshly cooked rather than pre-cooked like some other places). Not overly spicy so it makes quite a good dish.
Another way of getting around the "Always eat your vegetables", we had Sambal Udang Petai. Stinky bean petai is a love hate relationship thingy and I absolutely adore it. The juicy fleshy prawn went superbly with the petai.
And if you're at the The Tranquerah and if you have had the Ikan Sumbat Cincaru, this stuffed fish with the home made secret recipe sambal is simply orgasmic. And even as I write this post, I am reminded of being awoken by my dream of this Ikan Sumbat Cincaru. Its good enough to eat on its own or simply have it with a bowl of steamy hot rice. *Lips smacking*
Cincaluk Omelette anyone? Merryn wanted it and I am glad she did because it was yummy. Creamy omelette with the salty cincaluk is very appetising. Can I have more rice please?
Nyonya kuehs or cakes are often very colourful. I must admit I loved the colourful cakes. Sweet, but they were wonderful after a full meal.

While we were there...guess who celebrated her birthday? Gorgeous sweet Emily with a lovely LV cake by the brilliant folks at Big Boys Oven. Happy birthday Emily:D
Here's Aunty Florence and Alan...say hi to them when you're there OK?
So whatcha waiting for? Head there for your Nyonya food fix.
62A-G, Red Carpet Avenue
Encorp Strand, Jalan PJU5/22
Kota Damansara, 47810, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603 - 6142 4106

Chinese Tapas at Tai Zi Heen

Most of us are quite accustomed to Tapas i.e. Spanish appetizers. How about Chinese Tapas? Well... we had Chinese Tapas recently at Tai Zi Heen at Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur with some buddies and business partners. And it was at an awesome price of RM10++ per dish. With over 20 items to choose from, its no wonder that we had this much food for the 9 of us! I call this our Prosperity Meal:D

I think dumplings are really fun. Its a wee like opening presents to reveal what wrapped inside. At Tai Zi Heen, I "unwrapped" 2 presents...I meant dumplings. The Steamed Spinach Dumpling Filled with Prawn and the Steamed Prawn Dumplings with Dried Scallops.
It may look a wee green to some people but rest assured the green from the Steamed Spinach Dumpling Filled with Prawn comes from the all natural goodness of spinach.
Another old fashion dim sum dish that I was glad to see in the list of Chinese Tapas is the Steamed Scallop Siew Mai. There is something magical when meat is served together with scallop. The each enhance each other's native character.
My fave for the night..and I reckon many of us on that table would have been this pretty Smoked Duck in Egg Rolls and Preserved Ginger. The duck was rich and flavourful and is very well complimented by the preserved ginger and century egg. Needless to say, we reordered this item again and again:D
One more good appetizer to start ones meal is always chilled Marinated Seashell and Jellyfish with Garlic and Preserved Vegetables. A cold dish with crunch in every bite...yummeh!
Another of my personal favourite from the Chinese Tapas is Batter Fried Whitebait Fish with Spiced Salt. The fluffy batter and melt in your mouth fish is simply good. The spiced salt makes this a good nibbler especially when you're chatting over a meal.
Being half Cantonese, soups are such a must for me if I see it on the menu. I absolutely love the warm rich Eight Treasures Sun Dried Seafood Soup. Every mouthful revealed quite a bit of precious treasures indeed including scallop, sea cucumber and crab meat. Yummy!
It wasn't just meat and all the rich food. One must always remember to eat their vegetables. The chefs at Tai Zi Heen came up with a few good tasting ones that will have you digging into every bit of the vegetables.

Deep Egg Plant with Salt and Pepper is a good idea to get picky eaters who don't like egg plants to give this dish a try.Yeah we had picky eaters on our table...and they certainly learnt to eat egg plants. Lightly battered, the egg plant was soft under the batter and delightfully blending well with the salt and pepper flavour.
Spicy folks can opt for the Stir Fried Okra with Dried Shirmp. Very well done as the okra was not slimy which I am aware is quite a turn off for some people. This one was refreshing, not slimy and not oily despite the presence of the dried shrimps.
There is something comforting about bean sprouts and salted fish. The Fried Bean Sprout with Salted Fish was fresh and crunchy. Crunchy bean sprouts is not the easiest cooking feat as the vegetable turns soft really quickly. This is done just perfect!
I have a love for leeks and celery. It looks refreshing green and has its own unique flavour that compliments many meats and seafood easily. And if you love them like I do, then you must try the Wok Fried Fish Fillet with Celery and also the Wok Fried Beef with Leeks and Ginger.
Brilliant refreshing looking celery and fish!
Juicy tender beef
One simple dish yet popular...perhaps its simplicity is what makes this dish popular is the Steamed Beancurd with Oyster Sauce and Dried Shrimp at many Chinese meals.
For some finger licking good action, one must order the Baked Honey Scented Chicken Wing Sesame.It is so well marinated that one is quite tempted to start nibbling even the bone. LOL.
Another to try chicken dish would be the Crispy Boneless Chicken with Coffee Barbeque Sauce. Yes I said Coffee. This is a unique dish with a tad of coffee flavouring to it. Very appetizing and it will have you munching almost none stop.
On a slightly fusion note is the Steamed Beef Meatballs with Mozarella Cheese. Eat this while its hot and you'll be treated to the richness of the beef and creamy Mozarella cheese which is placed nicely in the centre of each meatball
Every properous meal must have a happy note to it (well at least this half Cantonese girl says so). It must have prawn that sounds like "laughter" i.e. "Har" One happy prawn dish is the Deep Fried Prawns coated in Sesame Seeds with Sweet and Sour Sauce. This is good to eat even without the dip on the side.
I also liked the slightly spicy Sauteed Prawns with Fried Garlic, Shallots and Dried Chillies. The prawns maintained a certain firmness and would be one dish that I gladly order as an ala carte when the Chinese Tapas promotion is over.
After a good meal...its always good to have some desserts to relax the palate and signal to the brain that we're going to stop eating:P There are no desserts on the Chinese Tapas promotion so we ordered from the regular ala carte menu.

I opted for the Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Aloe Vera and Lime Sorbet. Absolutely refreshed by the lemongrass jelly, I did not have the need to reach out for a cup of coffee. The lime sorbet is a must for those who love tangy stuff. It was too tangy for me to eat on its own but it went really well with the whole dessert as a whole.
If you like almond desserts, then the Hot Almond Soup in Coconut with Black Sesame Tong Yuen is a must. Rich creamy almond soup and not overly sweet not artificial smelling like many dessert places, this is another comforting warming dish for the stomach. The glutionous rice balls were nice and soft and when one bites into it, the black sesame just ooozes out gently.
Ice cream kakis opted for the Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo, Sago and Vanilla Ice Cream. I tried a mouthful of this and loved it. I would have liked to order it if not for me being quite stuffed from the Chinese Tapas we ordered. The vanilla ice cream was not disappointing. Rich and danced very well with the mango and pomelo with bits of sago to give you yet another different texture in your mouth.
This promotion ends 30th October 2011 for lunch between 12noon to 2:30pm from Mondays to Fridays:
Tai Zi Heen
1st Floor Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur
+603 2170 8888

Hi Tea Yummies @ Green Treats Cafe

I love meetings. I love coffee sessions. I love canapes and little bites. And when you marry all these elements together, its just a perfect day out. And definitely a perfect day for work.
Recently met up with some business associates at Green Treats Cafe at Swiss Garden Hotel for a discussion. We each took our comfort seat, ordered our drinks and then we realised..."hey there's a hi tea thingy going on". Brilliant! Since it meant we could talk over coffee and some munchies all in a relaxed ambience. No need to business chat to a hungry stomach.
Illy coffee and 3 tier goodies is just awesome. You can opt for tea too if that if you cup of tea (literally). There was macaroons for my macaroon kakis. Yummy scones for me...and cupcakes, cheese cakes, canapes of a few sorts. Perfect!
Scones. Fluffy inside with lots of fresh cream and some strawberry jam on it. Sinfully sweet and rich...the tea or coffee of your choice would wash it down just nicely:D
And since we were talking business, the wifi came in handy for us to check our mails (and tweet a little). This is also brilliant when I want to hop off somewhere for a cozy hi tea with my besties or even hubby:D For those who love to read or catch up with the good old fashion magazines, Green Treats Cafe has quite a good selection to last you for hours. Look who got caught up with a magazine? Sweetie pie Esty.
So here you go...
Green Treats Cafe @ Swiss Garden Hotel

And I discovered that they have a promotion with the fun folks at Everyday. Check it out: