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Udon has for centuries been one of the favorite foods of the Japanese. Sanuki udon is a traditional product of Kagawa Prefecture (known as Sanuki in the ancient time), legend has it that Sanuki udon was first brought to the region from China in the ninth century by the famed monk Kukai. Now, you can have a taste of Sanuki udon located in Taman Bukit Desa, well hidden within a quiet neighborhood. The owner, Mr. Seiji Fukimoto make his own fresh udon in the shop daily.

Original soup udon (RM 5) with chopped scallions and choy-sum (???...added maybe to suit the Malaysian palate). So, what's so special about Sanuki udon? It's the texture of the noodles, which have a soft and silky feel combined with an al-dente firmness, and the way they are complemented perfectly by the lightly seasoned bonito-kelp (dashi) based soup in which they are served. Well-worth the price for a good bowl of fresh hand-made udon like this!

Original soup udon with wakame (seaweed) (RM 6). Here, there are 7 serving styles of udon along with some toppings (priced between RM 1-2) like egg, wakame, kakiage (deep fried mixed vegetables), kitsune (sweetened tofu) and ebi tempura (disappointing deep fried prawn), all in a simple single page menu.

Dry cha-cheong style udon (RM 6), served with cha-cheong sauce, sliced cucumbers and topped with chopped scallions. Well, not very Japanese, not very Taiwanese and not very Malaysian either, maybe somewhere in between, definitely not my type of cha-cheong sauce - it was too starchy.

Japanese curry udon (RM 7), with well-cooked small cubes of potatoes, carrots and chicken meat. The Japanese curry was a little diluted for my Malaysian tongue, considering others Japanese curry udon (Sushi Zanmai, Sushi Tei, even Sushi King, etc.) that have a stronger curry fragrant in it.

House special udon with egg (RM 5), lightly flavored with sesame seed oil and topped with chopped scallions. Indeed, it was very simple, plain and light.

On the menu there are also few side dishes that you can choose from. One of it, edamame (green soy beans) (RM 3) with lightly salted.

Karaage (deep fried marinated small chicken cutlets) (RM 3), chunks of boneless chicken meat lightly battered and deep fried till piping hot tender and juicy. If only they served it with my favorite Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, it'll be perfect.

Kakiage (deep fried mixed vegetables) (RM 2), rather plain with a slight sweetness from the vegetables.

Only after 5:30pm, they serve yakitori (grilled skewered chickens) from RM 2-3 per stick with different chicken parts like skin, gizzard, liver, heart, leg meat and bishop nose. Shiitake mushroom (RM 2) yakitori, small but flavorful.

Momo (leg meat) yakitori (RM 3), tender juicy chunks of boneless chicken leg meat.

Kawa (skin) yakitori (RM 2), fattening stuffs.

Bonjiri (bishop nose, the polite way of referring chicken backside) yakitori (RM 2), this is probably the best variations from their list of yakitori. It was scandalously smooth and juicy.

Verdict: Overall, it was worthwhile. Reasonable pricing with generous portion of udon. Original soup based udon (maybe with added toppings like wakame and an egg) is probably the best among all. Sometimes, the simplest things are the best and often the hardest to perfect.

No.9, Jalan Bukit Desa 5,
Taman Bukit Desa,
58100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7980 3704, 012-2418 131 (Mr. Seiji Fukimoto)
Business Hours: Opens daily from 11.30am - 3pm and 5pm - 9pm. Close on Monday
Pork Free: Yes
GPS: 3.110758, 101.684815

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Ampang is an area long known for its large number of Korean expatriates and Korean barbecue restaurants. Woo Ga Chon is just one of it and located slightly deep inside the Korean town, away from the other cluttered strips of restaurants.

I used to dine here fairly often many years back till there was a change of ownership. Long before, there wasn't any private tatami rooms, and prices were cheaper too. Nevertheless, it is still cheaper than some of the upper-class restaurants located outside plus their marinated meats are still delicious.

Best of all, you don't have to move a finger except to eat. You'll have the pretty Dae Jang Geum waiter that does all the cooking for you. Just wait with your mouth wide open :P

Like any typical Korean meal, you are presented with a free flow buffet of banchan (side dishes), some of which are great, some of which are not (depending on how Korean are you) and they might be different each time you go.

Banchan (side dishes) are set in the middle of the table to be shared. Served in small portions and can be replenished during the meal as they are finished.

Complimentary pot of spicy clam stew with tofu meant to be shared. Hot, strong and flavorful - perfect soup for the cold rainy weather.

Complimentary pot of gyeran jjim (steamed egg casserole), it was light, fluffy creamy like consistency. Nice!

For 5 persons, we ordered 2 portions of daeji galbi (marinated bbq pork rib, RM 27/each) and 1 portion of mok deung sim (non-marinated fresh juicy sliced pork, RM 25/each), enough meats to go around for everyone and it was sufficient. I love their marinated meats most, daeji galbi is absolutely delicious, it was sweet, juicy and tender.

Refillable salad with condiments like sliced garlic, some seasoning and doenjang (fermented Korean soybean) sauce. A popular way of eating Korean barbecue is to dip the meat into the seasoning, then wrap the meat with lettuce and chuck everything else into it (salad + garlic + sauce).

One of my favorite Korean dishes, dol sot bibimbap (stone pot mixed rice, RM 18).

Mixed the bibimbap with the gochujang (fermented soybeans and red pepper) paste to enhance the flavor. It's nice but still somehow lacking compared to my usual favorite bibimbap place at Ampang Point, Gomone for only RM 13.

Verdict: Their side dishes might not be the best but their marinated meats are really good. Decently priced (referring to pork only, beef more expensive though) and expect to pay about RM 25 - 35 /pax which is quite reasonable comparing to the other Korean restaurants.

G20 Jalan Sulaiman 1,
Taman Putra Sulaiman,
68100 Ampang,
Tel: 03-4270 4211
Business Hours: Opens daily for lunches and dinners
Halal: No
GPS: 3.150885, 101.749019

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Restoran Hong La Qiao @ Pudu, KL

On 5/19/2010 11:04:00 AM 4 comments
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Restoran Hong La Qiao (红辣椒) - literally means red chili, is one of the first restaurant in Malaysia serving Sichuan dishes and Sichuan hot pot. Located in Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah in Pudu for almost a decade, Restoran Hong La Qiao was first started by Mr. Li Ying Ping with chefs hailed from all over China.

Sichuan cuisine is famed for bold flavors, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan peppercorn.

While Sichuan food is indeed spicy, that is only part of the story, as you see when you taste a fabulous cold dish like the famous spicy chicken (RM 10). This spicy chicken cold dish was done nicely, it wasn't just spicy but flavorful while retained the tenderness and juiciness of the meat as well.

Boiled shredded eel in spicy sauce (RM 26), wasn't as spicy numbing and flavorful as expected, it was just okay. At least the eel was fresh and chewy.

Spicy fried shredded potatoes (RM 20), heck expensive for potatoes but it was rather tasty! Instead of cooking it with vinegar sauce, each tantalizing crunchy strands were delicately covered with a layer of salted egg yolk. It was truly appetizing!

Braised minced pork balls in "Jang Nan" style (RM 20), or better known as the "lion's head", a casserole dish consists of large pork meatballs stewed with vegetables. The name derives from the shape of the meatball which is supposed to resemble the head of the lion and the vegetables, which is supposed to resemble the lion's mane. It was my first lion's head-to-head encounter and these over-sized meatballs were actually pretty delicious!

Stir fried French bean with minced meat (RM 18), a simple yet tasty dish - expensive though.

Verdict: Thought that this was a rip off tourists "black" restaurant, but I was wrong! Quality of the food here is pretty authentic and good, albeit some are expensive. Nevertheless, I'll definitely be back to try out their popular ma la steamboat.

No. 53, 55,
Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah,
Off Jalan Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2141 8078, 03-2141 0078
Business Hours: Opens daily from 10:30am to 10pm
Halal: No
GPS: 3.1406, 101.71086

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