<iCook>Breakfast Au Naturel

We are mid way through Chinese New Year. Today is the 7th day of CNY, is also known as Renri  (人日, the common man’s birthday), the day  when every one grows one year older.

Eating binge for the past few months had begun to show – on the FACE! Horror. Excessive dryness, heat rash, overly sensitive skin and acnes. Imagine red pimply face during Chinese New Year. Such a bummer.

The immediate relieve would be to consult a skin specialist and have some medication. But, knowing too well that the problem actually stemmed from the body itself, I guess the best healing option is to go au naturel!


My breakfast for today and for the last few days – half- boiled village chicken eggs and juice ( mixture of celery + cucumber + tomatoes + carrots + oranges). Apart from the above, I had been cutting down ( gradually but surely) the intake of fried, spicy, oily food and seafood. Simultaneously, I have been increasing the intake of greens. And of course, most importantly, drink enough water, at least 3 liter daily.

Thus far, the result has been encouraging although I feel that there are still room for improvement. Wish that I have longer attention span to keep this going!

<Ipoh> Reunion Dinner 2012

Reunion dinner was never an extravagant affairs for the family. As a matter of fact, dinner was always moderate at best although Dad had implicitly stressed the importance of reunion dinner some time back [ it was one of those foolish notion of mine that I casually brought it up to Mom to gauge her ( and Dad)’s reaction. I was suggesting that instead of home celebration, we should go travel instead! Subsequently, Mom quietly informed that Dad insisted that no one should miss reunion dinners. The matter was never brought up again].

“ No one misses the reunion dinner!”

My paternal grandparents passed away more than 30 years ago and the uncles and aunties had since gone separate ways with their own families. For as long as I could remember, I never had a large family reunion dinner ( or maybe, there was a luncheon reunion organised by my maternal grandfather. I am not even sure if it was Chinese New Year or was it his birthday. It was that long ago).

This year reunion dinner was extra special as our youngest sister was back to have reunion dinner with us. She married about 5 or 6 years back and since then, she had been having her dinner with her in-laws. And of course, it was doubly special after the (almost fatal) mishap that befell my youngest sister late last year.

This reunion dinner ( and the entire Chinese New Year break at Ipoh) was like reliving the good old days again where the 3 of us would bicker for the much coveted pair of chicken drumsticks!

I am the eldest of the 3 siblings and being 4 years old than my second sis, I got to enjoy quite a lot of ‘perks’ as the single child in the family before my sisters came along. For instance, I did not have to share out my drumsticks. I get both!

Then my second sis came along, well, to be fair, both of us took a drumstick. The problem started when my youngest sister came into the picture. As the youngest, she is ( she still is) the apple of our eyes. Unquestionably, both my younger sister got the drumsticks and I was relegated to chicken wings!

Mom did not cook this year. We had our reunion dinner catered. Yeah, you heard me right. Not exactly catered as we did not pay for it. A close family friend of us run a catering business and this year, he had some clients that asked him to prepare food for reunion dinner to be sent to their house. He was graceful enough to prepare some for us too.

Food was very good. We sang praises to each dish. All of us had our own favourite dish. Dad loves the charcoal roasted pork. I would have love it as much if it was much leaner.

Everyone’s favourite was the steamed village chicken. Coupled with the home-made mashed ginger, it was heavenly.

The batter of the fish fillet was crispy and not too thick. The home-made Thai dipping sauce was the winner and its sweet and sour-ish taste made the entire dish more appetizing.

The deep fried prawns were fresh with crispy batter. And of course, the mixed vegetables just added the right balance to the entire ensemble. It made us feel less guilty!








This year, I got my drumstick. My youngest sister automatically got hers and my middle sister gracefully gave hers to me! Talk about sisterly love.

If you live in Ipoh and are looking for a great buffet ( non-halal, though), maybe you can contact Siew Kheong Catering at 012-516 8681 or 012-510 7079. Very friendly boss.

<Bangkok> Som Tam Nua

Apparently Som Tam Nua is a very famous restaurant in Bangkok – serving none other than a myriad of salad ( no price for guessing, som tam is a spicy salad, of which the main / common ingredient being shredded papaya).


Featured in CNNGo as one of the must visit restaurants in Bangkok, the long queue outside the 2-storey restaurant during peak hours is a normal sight.

I know the existence of this restaurant due to its reputation prior to my latest visit to Bangkok, but was not planning any meal there as the ‘hearsay’ notorious queue is really a put-off.


We were window shopping at Siam Square when we noticed some people waiting outside the restaurant ( cushioned seats are provided). Oh, this is the famous Som Tam Nua, we remarked nonchalantly and we walked away to continue our shopping around Siam Square.

Since we did not have any dinner plan the next night, we decided to head to the decade old establishment for an early dinner to avoid the queue. There was a waiter outside the restaurant to take your order before guiding the patrons to the tables.

The ground floor was full and we were led to the second floor. Gosh, though the restaurant look tiny from the exterior, it is really huge.

I am not a fan of sour-ish food as I suffer from occasional gastrics and sour and spicy food just aggravate it further. Mom loves papaya salad. I could not recall the exact type of salad that we ordered – most likely the normal papaya salad. I only tried one or two spoonful as it was quite spicy. But it was very flavorful. Definitely a must visit place for those who love som tam. And of course, I could not stop nibbling on the crispy pork cracklings!


Grilled pork neck, which was so delicious that we had to order another helping. Great for those that can’t take spicy food.


This is the spicy version of the grilled pork neck. Very flavorful.


This is spicy pork rib soup was really a stunner – literally. The soup is just like tom yam. I am not a fan of tom yam because of my occasional gastrics. But I just braved myself to have a few spoonful. Gosh, it was fiery ….but it was a risk well taken.


Apart from the normal spicy and sour-ish taste, there were certain subtle sweetness to the soup. Most like it is from the pork ribs that were stewed together with the soup. While the soup was spicy and sour, the pork ribs was sweet ( no sign of spiciness at all) and tender! We finished all the pork ribs and of course, nearly all the soup.


We also ordered its famous fried chicken; specifically fried chicken wings, that came in a basket. The chicken was well marinated, the skin was crispy and yet, the meat was still tender and juicy. Most importantly, it was not that oily. The entire basket was less than THB100! Cheap!


What better way to cool down after such spicy food, if not for its famous Thai ice tea.


Service was quite minimal but we are not complaining. Dishes took a while to be served and they came out gradually. But at least, they did not screw up our order. All the above came up to approximately THB780, which was really cheap.

It is a place that I would definitely go back again. 

The address:-

Som Tam Nua

Soi 5, Siam Square ( turn left after you see Bangkok Bank, which is located opposite Siam Paragon)

<Bangkok> Samai Seik Chicken Rice

Samai Seik dates more than 40 years back. Located along the busy Silom Road, next to Silom Complex, which coincidentally is next to Sala Daeng BTS, you can ‘dine’ amidst the honking of public buses and taxis along the busy Silom Road / Sala Daeng.


I prefer Samai Seik than Kaiton Pratunam Chicken Rice as the rice at Samai Seik are actually garlic chicken rice and it is less commercialised ( read : patrons are mostly locals).


It is common knowledge that Thailand has one of the best quality long grain white rice. The rice at Samai Seik was fluffy, light with a very ( pleasantly) distinctive taste to it. We can’t make out the exact ingredients. but we could not care less as it was good. I guessed that the lady owner must had noticed our perplexity – she graciously showed us some garlic cloves and simultaneously pointed to the rice and voila, we got it – the ‘ secret’ ingredient is garlic. It is GARLIC CHICKEN RICE.


I love garlic and hence, just love the rice. Don’t fret for those that loathe garlic – the smell and taste of garlic is very subtle to the point that you would not be aware of it.

As usual, there are dipping sauce and we added some fish sauce after we saw the other patrons ( all locals) doing it. Delicious.


Samai Seik Chicken Rice

209, Silom Road

( next to Silom Complex, Exit 4 of Sala Daeng BTS)

Opens from 8 am to 8 pm daily

[ The above is re-produced from my previous blog ( now defunct)]

<Kuala Lumpur > EAT Food Village

Mom and Dad went back to hometown last Sunday to get our home ready for the up-coming Chinese New Year celebration. And hence, the kids are left to fend for themselves. I had cravings for Chinese hawker food but the thought of sweating it out in the Chinese kopitiam did not really tickle my fancy.

We headed to EAT Food Village – a non-halal food court in the newly opened (artsy-fatsy) mall in Publika, Mont Kiara. We reached there slightly past 11 am and only a few tables were occupied.


The concept of EAT Food Village is similar to another hugely popular food court in town – Hutong, Lot 10 at Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Both brings together the best non-halal local hawker fare under one roof. Well, the similarity ends there. The number of stalls at EAT Food Village is significantly lesser than Hutong’s. However, the layout at EAT Food Village is more organised, spacious and less claustrophobic.


The stalls at EAT Food Village are :-

  • Lorong Seratus Tahun – Penang style cuisines4
  • Tian Yuan Claypot
  • Loke Yun Chicken Rice – chicken rice with ginger and chilli sauce
  • BM Yam Rice – offers hometown delicacies such as loh bak, wine chicken, dumpling and braised pork
  • Fishing Village Hakka Yong Tau Foo
  • Sentul Ah Yap Hokkien Mee & Seafood
  • Hoong Kee Wanton Noodles
  • Restoran Kin Kin
  • Ah Yip Herbal Soup
  • Yeoh’s Bak Kut Teh
  • Chatime
  • C&P Oasis, Yumcha Corner


I ordered BM yam rice with stewed pork. I was pleasantly surprised that it came is a large portion with a huge portion of yam rice, another bowl of stewed pork, another bowl of braised egg with bean curd and clear soup with coriander.


The price of the entire set above is only RM9-90. Unbelievably cheap, right? Moreover, the set can be shared between 2 persons.

The yam rice was very fragrant ( can be much better if I had eaten it straight away instead of letting it cool for a while). Maybe it was due to the deep fried shallot and dried shrimps that can be found abundantly in the bowl of rice. Wish that the rice is less lumpy, though.


The stewed pork ( thank God that it was not that fat) was marinated to perfection. The black gravy sauce went well with the yam rice. The clear soup with coriander was forgettable. The hint of MSG that put me off after a spoon or two.


Both my sisters ordered the famous dried chilli pan mee noodles from Kin Kin. It is slightly more expensive at RM7-50 as compared to the original outlet at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman but the portion at Eat Food Village is slightly larger. However, the noodles were less elastic and the pooched eggs was a bit too raw as compared to the original outlet. The original one is still much better.


I noticed that the Hoong Kee Wanton Noodles actually sell stand alone portion of roasted pork. I duly ordered a single portion ( RM12-00). The portion was quite decent. Sadly, the skin was a bit hard. The meat was lean ( thank God) but taste ‘cold’ – maybe it was a case of leaving the porcine for a bit too long under air-conditioning.


Although only a handful of outlets are opened in Publika, I can safely say that from my observations of the already-opened outlets, I don’t mind spending my weekends there. Moreover, the main tenant – B.I.G – Ben’ s Independent Grocer, seems to be a good alternative to Village Grocer at Bangsar Village. Hence, I foresee that I would be able to try out other stalls at EAT Food Village ( Ah Yap Hokkien Mee and Claypot rice).







EAT Food Village

Level UG1

Publika Shopping Gallery

No. 1, Jalan Dutamas 1

Solaris Dutamas

50480 KL

< Kuala Lumpur >Lap Ming Kuan Seafood Restaurant

According to Lap Ming Kuan’s menu, it originates from Bagan Datoh, Perak, which is a fishing village and hence, it prides itself on fresh seawater seafood.

We had been to Lap Ming Kuan a few times before and although the price is slightly on the high side ( but still reasonable), we keep on going back as the quality of the food has been quite consistent and most importantly, Lap Ming Kuan does not use MSG and preservatives in the preparation of its dishes ( proven as I did not suffer from Chinese restaurant syndrome nor did we feel thirsty after our meals). The restaurant is cosy too and hence, provides a leisurely lunch and / or dinner time.

We were there over the weekend to celebrate Mom’s birthday. According to the lady owner ( I presume so, in view that she always take the order and seems to be in charge of the restaurant), the supply of seawater fish was very limited due to the prolonged festive period ( Christmas and the upcoming Chinese New Year). She explained that the fishermen had already stopped going to the sea in anticipation of CNY ( fishermen works all year round and only take a break around CNY period).

We had initially wanted to order deep fried squid, which makes a good appetizer ( who doesn’t love deep fried and crunchy squid?). But, as mentioned earlier, supply of seawater seafood is really limited and hence, instead of the usual squid, which is bigger in size, Lap Ming Kuan only have miniscule squid. We had no idea how small these squids are until we saw it. It was smaller than popcorns! The squids were deep fried and glazed with honey ( I guess) and hence, its savoury taste. While this dish is not exactly out of this world, it is still a decent enough to warrant another order next time.


My youngest sister had cravings for sambal belacan kangkung ( fried water spinach with dried chilli prawn paste). I am not sure if our order was taken correctly – the vegetables lacked spiciness and tasted more like garlic stir fry instead.


We also ordered steamed pomfret. We had 2 because the fish were extremely small. Although the fish was not the freshest, they were still acceptable. We finished the entire fish including the bones! You can eat the gravy with the rice. It was good.


Beancurd in pumpkin is Lap Ming Kuan’s signature dish. I am not a fan of pumpkin but I love bean curd to the max. The bean curd was smooth. I did not try the pumpkin but according to Mom, the pumpkin was sweet and soft and hence, the pumpkin must had been stewed for quite a long time. However, I feel that the idea of the bean curd in a pumpkin is more like a novelty. Regardless, this dish is really a must try if you in Lap Ming Kuan.


Our last order was steamed village chicken with ginger ( lots of ginger). We love village chicken. We love ginger. Need we say more? We ate licked clean the entire dish including all the ginger!


The entire bill came up to RM117, which I think is quite decent in view of the good food and nice ambience. One setback ( that I notice over a few visits) is that the dishes tend to come out gradually instead of served concurrently. [ For this visit, the rice came out first with squids and vege and there was a momentary pause before the rest of the dishes were served. We had to ensure that we still have enough white rice to go together with the gravy of the fish, chicken and bean curd].

Address :

14A, Faber Plaza

Jalan Desa Jaya

58100 Kuala Lumpur

Bangkok 2011 / 2012 ( Notable Eat)

I just came back from a brief weekend trip from Bangkok. Reached Bangkok slightly before midnight on 30th December 2011 ( Friday) and by the time we checked in into the hotel, it was already 2 a.m. ( local time).

We had been to Bangkok so many times that we did not even pre-plan our trip this time.

Weather was superb – it was sunny and bright with occasional strong breeze. We were confined to shopping malls ( Siam Paragon, Siam Tower, MBK, Terminal 21) during daytime and hence, minimal exposure to the sun.

The food, as usual, was amazing and reasonably priced. Notable eat at Bangkok this time:-

1)  Another Hound Cafe @ Siam Paragon

2)  Som Tam Nua @ Soi 5, Siam Square

3)  Lek Seafood @ Silom ( next to Chong Nonsi BTS)

4)  Pier 21 ( food court) @ Terminal 21, Asok

5)  Dean & Deluca @ Silom ( next to Chong Nonsi BTS)