Kindori

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Kindori Japanese Ice Cream (キンドリ) is an ice cream stall in the new wing of Gurney Plaza. At Kindori, its ice cream is blended with fruits upon order, giving it a fresher taste over pre-blended ice cream. In addition, this preparation eliminates the use of food conditioners and preservatives.
The counter has a wide selection of fruit selections to choose from, such as pineapples, bananas, grapes, jackfruits, mangoes, passion fruits etc. There are 30 types of fruits listed on the menu, but some are unavailable during our visit. One can also request for up to 3 fruits in a single blend. To the mathematically savvy folks, assuming there are 30 fruits available, there are 4,525 way to customize your ice cream flavor.
There are two ways to enjoy Kindori's ice cream: cone or cup. We ordered one of each just to feel how each tastes like.

Mix 3 In 1 Cone (RM10.90) is served on a cool-looking cone holder. The ice cream is a blend of bananas, pineapples and passion fruits, giving it a mildly yellowish appearance. The ice cream is held in a hard waffle cone which does not become soggy from moisture of the ice cream.
The ice cream in the Mix 3 In 1 Cup (RM9.90) is blended with mangoes, grapes and pineapples. The result is an ice cream with stronger yellowish hue. The dessert is also served with a piece of waffle biscuit, similar in texture to the waffle cone.
In both servings, the ice cream is smooth in texture except for occasional fruit bits, giving it a pleasantly fresh sensation. The fruity flavors are mild and nice, especially when infused with the cold, milky taste of the ice cream. However, the menu is a bit pricey considering the amount served. We wish that the portion is larger so that we can truly enjoy it.

Myeong Dong

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Myeong Dong Korean Snacks (명동, 明洞) is a recently opened Korean snack stall at the Basement level of Gurney Plaza. Myeongdong refers to a bustling commercial district in the South Korean capital of Seoul, analogous what Shibuya is to Tokyo or Huangpu is to Shanghai.
The Thak Kang Jong Chicken (닭강정, dalg gangjeong) is a spicy Korean snack made using bite-sized chicken chunks. A light coating of spicy Korean chili paste gives a fiery sensation to the chicken breasts underneath. The chicken chunks are smooth and tender, thanks to the small size which allows intense heat to penetrate the meat thoroughly. A light sprinkle of ground peanuts adds a layer of crisp to this addictive dish.
Similarly, the Bulgogi Chicken (닭불고기, dalg bulgogi) is the non-spicy version of the previous dish. Bulgogi (불고기) refers to grilled marinated meat, commonly available at Korean barbecue restaurants such as Daorae and Korea Palace. The chicken chunks are coated in glossy batter which gives this snack a delectable lemon-tangy and honey-sweet flavor. Finally, a shake of sesame seeds gives this dish an appealing finishing touch.
Another novelty snack at Myeong Dong is the Almond Egg Muffin (계란빵, RM12.00), which comes in a box of three. The preparation of each piece is very interesting indeed. Using a correspondingly-shaped waffle iron, batter is poured to almost half capacity. Once the batter solidifies a little, an egg (both albumen and yolk without beating) is added to form the middle layer. Several slices of almond are thrown in, together with rest of batter to fill up the waffle iron.
The result is a sealed sandwich of muffin-like pastry with a poached egg and almond slices in between. The delightful texture of the pastry is appetizing by itself, but it is the protein-rich egg and mildly-bitter almond slices (due to trace, safe amount of cyanide) that give this snack a truly tantalizing gastronomic experience.
Our snacking session concludes with some Korean Malt Tea (몰트차). The tea has a malty fresh flavor and serves as good thirst quenchers during our meal.
There are other recommended items on the menu such as the Topokki (떡볶이, rice cakes). This is likely our choice during the next visit to Myeong Dong.

Starbucks

We spent the relaxing Saturday afternoon at Starbucks Coffee in Sunway Pyramid. Like nearly every mall during the festive year-end holiday season, the café is quite fully occupied when we arrived. Fortunately we managed to secure a small table to enjoy our drinks.
The Grande-size Toffee Nut Frappuccino (RM15.50) is an ice-blended drink made from toffee. Toffee is a type of candy made from caramelized sugar and butter. This gives the drink a rich and buttery flavor followed by lasting sensation of sweetness. The drink is also infused with a hint of toasted nuts, giving it a bitter-sweet aftertaste. On top, whipped cream and toffee-flavored sprinkles gives this beverage an appealing and glamorous appearance.
The Tall-size Asian Dolce Latte (RM13.00) is the Asian-inspired version of classical latte. In this drink, double-shot espresso roast is melded with specially prepared dolce sauce (blend of special type of milk) to give it a rich, velvety texture. The flavorful drink is then topped with sweetened whipped cream and a dusting of finely ground coffee beans.

New Zealand Natural

New Zealand Natural is an ice cream joint in several shopping malls such as Sunway Pyramid, which is where we visited today. There are several types of ice cream flavors available, available in forms of sundae or cones. Besides ice cream, the menu also offers smoothies and juices choices.
Currently, there is RM2.00 discount for all selections of smoothies and juices. We picked the Green Fields (RM8.90) for only RM6.90. Made of freshly-blended celery and green apples, the drink is greenish in color. It tastes slightly sourish due to the malic acid in green apples. The texture is foamy because the fruits were freshly blended, not filtered through a sieve to give smoother consistency.
According to New Zealand Natural, this drink detoxifies the body and reduces (harmful) cholesterol. Actually, the same health benefit is obtained from eating the fresh fruit directly. Besides, fruit juice has less dietary fiber and vitamin contents (especially Vitamin C) due to exposure to air.

Kim Lian Kee

Speaking of KL-style Hokkien Mee, one of the undisputed top guns is Kim Lian Kee (金莲记). This brand traces its roots to 1927 when Mr. Ong Kim Lian, a Chinese immigrant from Fujian Province (福建省) pioneered this recipe to the familiar form today. The original stall at Dang Wangi no long exists, but the current flagship outlet at Petaling Street (茨厂街) continues to draw hungry diners far and wide. The descendants of Mr. Ong have inherited the recipe and expanded the business through several outlets in the Klang Valley.

There is a Kim Lian Kee outlet at Sunway Pyramid. Per the original recipe, the stir-frying is done over charcoal instead of cooking gas, as the late founder insists that the former gives more distinctive "wok hei" (镬气) to the Hokkien Mee. To demonstrate that the tradition remains authentic, the wok stations at this outlet are visible from the dining section through glass windows (otherwise the place will be very smoky).
It is a sin to patronize this restaurant without an order of the signature Hokkien Mee (福建面, RM9.50). Sizzling hot from the wok and served over banana leaf, the lardy aroma preludes the gratifying taste that we are about to experience.
The thick yellow noodles are coated with a secret concoction of corn flour, soy sauce, oyster sauce and garlic. The noodles are accompanied with Chinese cabbage, pork pieces and pork lard (猪油渣). Yes, greasy pork lard which your physician warned you about! If you are concerned with your fat intake, you shouldn't even be reading thus far.
The result is a fantastic meld of porky essence and mouth-watering gravy that puts other dishes to shame. The noodles are springy when picked by chopsticks. The pork pieces and pork lard are just begging to be consumed. We wasted no time in clearing the entire plate to the very last bit.

Another dish worth trying is the Cantonese Yin Yong (广府鸳鸯炒, RM9.50). The Yin Yong (鸳鸯) refers to the fact that two types of noodles are used: flat rice noodles (粿条) and rice vermicelli (米粉). Although pale in comparison to the Hokkien Style Mee, this dish is still quite delightful as Kim Lian Kee's "wok hei" technique also applies to this Cantonese dish.
Moving on to Loh Mee (卤面, RM9.50), the same thick yellow noodles is used. Unlike the thick black gravy that Penangites are familiar with, this is the KL-style (more specifically Ulu Yam-style) Hokkien Mee uses yellowish soya gravy. Some vinegar is typically poured in to give an appetizing sourish flavor. However, I still prefer the original Ulu Yam's cooking, where visitors to/from Genting Highlands are willing to take a short detour to this otherwise-uninteresting former New Village.
Last but not least, the Claypot Loh Shu Fan (瓦煲老鼠粉, RM10.90) dish is cooked and served using a claypot. The rice noodle is called loh shu fan (老鼠粉) or "rat tail noodle" due to its resemblance to the tail of a rodent. The gravy is made of soy sauce and oyster sauce, similar in composition to Hokkien Mee but more diluted and less rich in flavor. A semi-cooked egg is dropped into the gravy just before serving, thus giving an impression of moonlight (月光). When stirred, the egg serves to corrugate the gravy to make it thicker and richer in flavor.
The meal is very satisfying, at least regarding the Hokkien Mee. The other dishes are commendable to certain degree, but I still feel that Hokkien Mee is Kim Lian Kee's strength. If you do visit and only have stomach to try one dish, the choice becomes very obvious.

Wei Ji Claypot Chicken Rice

Another local favorite among Setapak Garden residents is the Wei Ji Claypot Chicken Rice (韦吉瓦煲鸡饭) stall. This eatery is almost unknown to outsiders because it is located at a secluded alley and has no signboards. Nevertheless, the healthy volume of customers during dinnertime is more than sufficient to keep the business thriving.
The eatery has a simple outwardly feel as it is the front porch of a residential house. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Therefore, we understand that affordability takes precedence over atmosphere.
Obviously, the specialty here is the titular Claypot Chicken Rice (瓦煲鸡饭). The dishes are priced based on the portion: 1-person for RM6.00, 2-persons for RM12.00. The claypots used are identical nevertheless.
The fragrance of chicken rice is pleasant to nasal sensors. The tongue cannot agree more as the taste is also very impressive. Infused with the best essence of chicken, the rice has a savory flavor and is a delicacy by itself.
The claypot meal includes generous amount of chicken chunks and Chinese sausages (腊肠). These are not "unwanted" chicken parts like neck or feet. Instead, these are succulent pieces of chicken breasts and thighs. A sprinkle with scallion (spring onion) adds a fresh sensation to the exceptional infusion of chicken goodness.
A dry dish should be accompanied with something watery. The Lotus Root & Peanut Soup (莲藕花生汤, RM5.00) is the best candidate for the job.
It is a pleasant surprise that there is much more to the soup than just "soup". The bowl has plenty of lotus roots, chicken feet and pork innards. The mild sweet and salty taste of the soup gives another level of enjoyment to our dinner.
Wei Ji Claypot Chicken Rice may not win medals in claypot chicken competitions (assuming are such events). Nevertheless, the delectable taste and cheap price (by KL standards) makes this business establishment a down-to-earth eatery in the vicinity.

Michi Seafood

There are many hidden eateries in KL which are only known among locals, or the most dedicated foodies who manage to extract such intelligence from locals.

Our dinner tonight is at a secluded Chinese stir-frying (煮炒) establishment in Setapak Garden, called Restoran Michi Seafood (美之海鲜). We did not order any seafood dishes. Instead, we opted for something "lighter": noodle dishes. Well. perhaps I mean lighter in terms of price.
There are two chefs at Michi Seafood who are responsible to handle the continuous flow of customers. The sound of clanging woks adds to the bustling atmosphere of this bustling eatery. In fact, the place is almost fully seated by 7:00pm.

Our first dish is the KL-styled Hokkien Mee (福建面, RM12.00). The portion is quite sufficient for 2 persons. The mere sight of thick dark sauce and fat yellow noodles really strikes a chord with our appetite. The taste is quite good indeed. By using quick high flame and tossing the ingredients rapidly, the highly-desired "wok hei" (镬气) essence is imparted to the dish.
As for the 2-person serving of Wat Tan Ho (滑蛋河, RM12.00), it is still decent although not so impressive by KL standards. The flat noodles are drenched in a thick gravy made from corn starch and eggs. Actually, I think there is more gravy than necessary. The pork pieces are a bit tough, not as tender as we hoped to see.
Our dinner at Michi Seafood is quite affordable. A mere bill of RM24.00 is sufficient to satisfy the stomachs of 3 hungry adults.

Starbucks

Today is Christmas Day! Starbucks Coffee is one place assured to be open and can provide us a cozy yuletide atmosphere. The outlet which we visited today is located at Setia Alam, in between Caltex/Burger King and Pizza Hut.

This outlet has a drive-thru window. Partially because we have the drive-thru car sticker (which entitles us 10% discount), and partly out of sheer curiosity how Starbucks' drive-thru feels like, we gave it a try! Anyway after collecting our order at the drive-thru window, we parked our car and dined in regardless.

The drinks are served in a nice cardboard container. From the manufacturing engineering standpoint, it is interesting to study how the entire structure is constructed from a single piece of cardboard.
Our drinks today are Java Chip Cream Frappuccino (RM16.00) and Caffè Latte (RM12.50).
The staff at Starbucks are very friendly indeed. We took the opportunity to understand the differences in drink sizes. If you are familiar with Starbucks' lingo, you should be familiar with Tall, Grande and Venti. These terms correspond to "small" (12 oz), "medium" (16 oz) and "large" (20 oz) respectively. A Tall latte drink contains a single shot of coffee, while Grande and Venti have two shots. The amount of coffee in Grande and Venti are the same; the difference in volume is the extra milk. Therefore for the same coffee brew, Venti tastes more milky than Grande. Of course for additional charge, you can always ask for extra shots to make Venti stronger in caffeine.

The Venti-sized Java Chip Cream Frappuccino is topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. The mocha-flavored coffee is rich in chocolaty and milky goodness. Suspended in the drink are tiny chocolate chips. This drink is refreshing and enjoyable indeed.
The Caffè Latte is also Venti in size. Despite its simplicity, it is one of the Starbucks' crowd-favorite. The drink consists of two shots of rich espresso with steamed fresh milk. This smooth concoction is lightly topped with smooth foam to give a nice first sip.
We also had a Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin (RM6.20). The muffin is soft and fluffy, and has a flavorful banana taste in the background. The pastry is occasionally punctuated with bittersweet chocolate chips. The muffin goes particularly well with the Caffè Latte.

CH Hainan Chicken Rice

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

CH Hainan Chicken Rice (中华海南鸡饭) is the sister restaurant of CH Dim Sum. It is located at Sri Rampai, across the main road from the Immigration Department. Like its sister restaurant, CH Hainan Chicken Rice is one of our favorite restaurants due to good food and affordable pricing. It focuses on chicken rice and related dishes, especially free-range chicken (菜园鸡).
We ordered the Steamed Village Chicken Er Du Rice (菜园鸡二度饭, RM6.00). The centerpiece is a serving of steamed chicken thigh (鸡二度), a plate of chicken rice and soup.
In additional, we also placed an order for the Roasted Chicken Noodle With Char Siew & Crispy Pork Belly (烧鸡双拼面, RM6.50). This set is served with a plate of wantan noodles (云吞面), barbecued pork (叉烧), roasted pork (烧肉) and soup.
The wantan noodles are quite springy in texture. It is served with some Chinese cabbage.
The steamed chicken thigh is smooth in texture. The portion is quite generous too. A sprinkle of fried onions serves to enhance the flavor of the chicken.
The roasted pork is crunchy and delightful. We like how the lean meat works with the crispy skin to bring the taste to an entirely new level.
Likewise, the barbecued pork is commendable too. The cutting of lean meat and fat is just perfect! This allows us to enjoy the sweet marinate and fatty goodness at the same time.
We ordered a bowl of Wanton Soup (云吞汤, RM7.50) which consists of 15 pieces of wantan (云吞). The wantan are filled with shrimp meat, which taste fresh and succulent in our mouths. The dough skin is also reasonably thin such that there is little starchy taste.
Condiments that go well with chicken rice and wantan noodles are Garlic Chili Sauce and Green Chili Pepper. Both condiments are prepared very well.
However, the management of this restaurant leaves much to be desired. Although it is supposed to open at 11:30am, the truth is that the kitchen is only ready around noon. In addition, the restaurant is notorious for having certain dishes out-of-stock for the entire day.
Our meal only costs RM20.00 and is very fulfilling. For good taste and affordable price, do visit CH Hainan Chicken Rice if you are willing to put up with its poor management style.