Monday, July 31, 2006

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 6/6

The dough doll maker.

A few dough dolls.

Yet a few more dough dolls.

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 5/6


Langkawi Eagle Square.

China's Olympic Mascots.

Me and some monkey brothers.

ST: Oh no... it's gonna eat me!
Jon: But dear... it's a brontosaurus. They're herbivours.

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 4/6

ST feeding the lantern deer some grass.

Me and ST in the Land of the Glowing Pandas.

Lots of rotating balls on top of the spire and a few Chinese style lions at the bottom.

The famed candymaker. This guy makes some mean looking phoenix.

Kota Dahrul Ehsan Arch (located along the Federal Highway).

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 3/6

A dragon made entirely from crockery.

More of the dragon... this one is a picture of one of its claws.

The Thousand Hand Goddess. It has moving arms, dispenses smoke and sprinkles water!

A pair of Phoenixes adorned with what looked like Pistachio nuts.

ST and a pair of catepillar lanterns.

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 2/6

ST. In the background are ball shape lanterns made from red umbrellas!

Yin Yong (a pair of ducks).

ST again. Lighting is not strong enough to capture the background.

KLCC made from...

medicine bottles!

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Pics Only: Asia Lantern Carnival 2006, Bukit Jalil 1/6

We went to the Asia Lantern Carnival on the very last night it was on (Sunday, 30 July 2006). It was only RM5 per entry... too bad it's gone now. Maybe they'll be back next year. Who knows?

I'll be splitting the pictures into a few posts to improve loading time.

Aladdin's Palace.

Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque (which is a landmark in Shah Alam).

LOL... cute kissing couple.

The Prime Minister's Office (located in Putrajaya).

Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Noodle Village, Bandar Puteri Puchong

There are a bunch of new shoplots open near the Giant hypermarket in Bandar Puteri Puchong. Some of you may be interested to know that Citibank has opened a new branch there. Besides that there are a few new eateries there as well. Farmland Porridge Steamboat (the one in Pudu) has opened a branch there and there's a new Thai restaurant that looks like it may be good.

Today's post will be about this shop named Noodle Village which is among the new restaurants there. While it may be named Noodle Village they really specialise in selling one type of noodle... the Pan Mee. They serve many varieties of Pan Mee. I was quite eager to try this place out because a fellow Puchongnite had told me that they served some great Pan Mee.

One of their signature dishes, Pan Mee with Egg Sauce (RM6.80).

This is actually Loh Pan Mee which is Loh Mee with Pan Mee instead of the usual yellow noodles. The soup was decently eggy but somehow it was still a little flat. Maybe adding some vinegar to it would have helped. One obvious thing is they skimped on the ingredients. You just don't get very much... only a sprinkling of mushrooms and minced pork. You'd be forgiven for thinking it's rich in ingredients because of the rich looking soup. However look at the next dish and it will be obvious.

Pan Mee with Thai Tom Yam (RM8.80).

Look at that... it's more expensive than the Pan Mee with Egg Sauce and it comes with even less ingredients. The taste isn't all that great either.

I think this place is a rip off. I don't think I'll be going back there anytime soon.

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 31, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dragon Tiger Gate Movie Review

Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue with their poseur hairstyles.

Director Wilson Yip reteams with Donnie Yen with whom he previously worked with in the last year's acclaimed Sha Po Long (a.k.a SPL) to deliver Dragon Tiger Gate; a movie that's loosely based on a decades old comic from Hong Kong by artist/author Wong Yuk Long (who makes an awkward cameo in the movie... he's the guy at the top of the pagoda).

Dragon Tiger Gate in the movie refers to a martial arts academy established by the Wong family. Dragon Wong (Donnie Yen) and Tiger Wong (Nic Tse) are the heirs to the academy but Dragon had forsaken the academy years ago. After being separated for many years the boys are both fully grown. A chance encounter briefly reunites the brothers but Dragon refuses to return to the academy. Meanwhile a cocky youth from overseas named Turbo Shek (Shawn Yue) seeks tutelage at the Dragon Tiger Gate. Will the brothers be able to iron out the kinks in their relationship? Will Turbo Shek be allowed into the academy? Will anyone have enough time got get a haircut?

Dragon Tiger Gate is a mixed package and it's not all good. I'll start with the good things first. If you're expecting a movie with excellent fight scenes you will not be disappointed. Donnie Yen shows us once again why he should be getting more work. His fight choreography and performance are top notch. Watch the scenes and observe. Every hit connects and every bit of it looks really painful. They were going for some serious bone breaking manoeuveres and the results really shine through on the screen.

Nic Tse impressively kicks his way through the movie while Shawn Yue has to be given credit for his devotion to his nunchuck martial arts although he's not all that convincing. Yuen Wah (the moustachioed landlord from Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle) is also in the movie. Many movies are content with having Yuen Wah just monkeying around (points fingers to Wong Jing). Thankfully Wilson Yip gives Yuen Wah a major fight scene in the movie... it would be a crime not to fully make use of someone who once doubled for Bruce Lee.

Another thing that I found very impressive about the movie are the innovative transition shots and shooting angles. A lot of CGI (Computer Generated Images) was used to achieve the seamless transitions and thankfully they are well done. A particularly impressive angle used in the movie happens near the beginning of the movie in a Japanese restaurant where overhead shots shows us 3 simultaneous fights. It's a chaotic moment but it's obvious that everything was well choreographed.

The CGI isn't always good though. It suffers a lot when they overuse it and the tendency to do that happens very often in this movie. Many things are rendered in CGI when they are better off being real sets or props. Perhaps it was cheaper to do them in CGI but it's certainly makes the movie a lot less immersive. CGI is also used in fight scenes to show off the character's special powers... things like this would look dumb in most kung fu movies but because it's sourced from a comic book it's an inevitable evil (although I loved the way they used CGI in the Stormriders movie).

Probably the worst thing in this movie is everything beyond the fight scenes. They are boring fillers that try to build up character history but end up going nowhere. Especially bad were the child flashback scenes. They even gave the child actors the ridiculous hairstyles you find throughout the movie... even to the child extras who beat up the Wong brothers in one of the many flashback scenes.

The story is paper thin. Having never read the comic books I can only assume that the filmmakers tried to squeeze in too many portions of the story in too little time. It's also extremely obvious through the end where everything is rushed. I felt they took a big shortcut with what should have been a big training sequence near the end of the movie.

In conclusion, Dragon Tiger Gate is worth watching for the action sequences alone. Be prepared to be bored for most of the movie though because the fight scenes probably only last for a quater of the movie. At all other times you'll be forced to listen to some uninteresting dialogue. I hope they make mega bucks with this movie though for 2 reasons.
  1. I want Donnie Yen to continue making kick ass fight movies.
  2. Perhaps someone will finally green light the Stormriders sequel after seeing a comic book movie do well.

posted by wyejon at Sunday, July 30, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Friday, July 28, 2006

Affordable Vietnamese - Vinh City, Bukit Bintang Plaza Food Court

This place was mentioned in the Malay Mail recently as one of Klang Valley's top 10 most under-rated eateries. It's an authentic and affordable Vietnamese Restaurant located in what must be one of the most secluded food courts in the Bukit Bintang area. Vinh City is located in BB Plaza's food court which is located at the bottom floor right outside Johnny's Steamboat.

They sell a variety of noodle and rice dishes. The Malay Mail recommended their Ginger Chicken and Mushroom Fried Rice but as it was well into the afternoon they've already sold out so we decided to go ahead with their noodle dishes and a side order of Vietnamese spring rolls. I can't remember the exact prices but everything you see in this blog post today costs about RM5 which for Vietnamese food in KL is a price that can't be beat!

Vietnamese Beef Noodles.

I can't say I was impressed by their Beef Noodles though I must admit that they are decent for its price. I was expecting a lot more vegetables though. My ideal Vietnamese beef noodles (a.k.a. Pho in Vietnamese) were the ones I frequented when I was studying in Melbourne. There was this place called Mekong in the CBD which served Pho with a whole side dish consisting solely of crunchy bean sprouts!!! No such luck finding anything like that here in Malaysia though. There's a Vietnamese stall in the Ampang Park food court which serves decent Pho but I haven't been there in ages so I can't say if they're still good. Anyone want to volunteer to try it out? :)

Seafood Noodles.

My first bite into the seafood noodles and I was thinking... the Vietnamese have Tom Yam too? The seafood noodles frankly were lousy. Avoid at all costs.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls had always looked great to be but taste wise they are a little bland. I think the saving grace of the Vietnamese Spring Roll are its accompanying dipping sauce. The one we got was a thick, dark and spicy sauce sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Ermm... maybe I just don't know how to appreciate them but again I can't say I'm impressed.

For a place that had received such kudos from some bloggers and the Malay Mail one would have expected them to be better. However if I do return there I think I'll try their beautiful looking Salad Noodles and that darned fried rice that we missed :P

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Friday, July 28, 2006 (permalink) | 2 comments | trackbacks

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Affordable Korean - Haeun Khon, Amcorp Mall PJ

If you've always had the itch to try Korean food but don't dare to because you'd rather not make your wallet weep well wAntAn productions has the solution for you! How does a great tasting, reasonably priced and authentically operated by Koreans restaurant sound to you? Great? Head on down to Hauen Khon at the top floor of Amcorp Mall.

Hauen Khon offers very decent meals for prices that are cheaper than what you will find in most other Korean restaurants. Besides from Korean meals they also serve Japanese meals (mostly Teppanyaki stuff) but we didn't try them out... after all we were in a Korean restaurant. We wanted Korean food!!!

As is the standard with Korean restaurants each dish you order is accompanied by some delicious side dishes. I particularly liked the Kimchi side dish. Kimchi by the way is spicy pickled Chinese cabbage.

Kim Chi Soup (RM13.90).

Wow... the Kim Chi Soup was excellent. Spicy and soury at the same time with lots of pickled vegetables. I never thought it could taste this good. I look forward to having this again. Kim Chi may not be suitable for everyone though so if you don't like spicy and soury stuff check out the next dish.

Beef Bulgogi (RM13.90)... please excuse the phone strap :)

Korean food is well known for 2 things... the first is Kimchi and the second is Bulgogi. The Beef Bulgogi came with some tender slices of marinated beef. Read more about Bulgogi here. This dish is the safe choice for initiating people into Korean food :)

Chicken Bulgogi (RM 10.90).

The Chicken Bulgogi is a totally different dish than the Beef Bulgogi. It's not simply the different meat... I believe it's marinated with different ingredients as well because it taste very different from the Beef Bulgogi. If you can take beef I recommend the beef version over the chicken version. Otherwise the Chicken Bulgogi is a decent choice... but not as good as the Beef!

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Wednesday, July 26, 2006 (permalink) | 9 comments | trackbacks

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pic of the Day: Lousy Job

I attended a Chinese dinner at a temple last weekend. It was a very boring and loud dinner with lots of uncles and aunties belting out their version of the golden oldies through the karaoke machine onstage. The food was decent but the long wait in between dishes meant I had to endure much more wretched singing than I would usually put up with. It was midway through the dinner that I spotted this guy sitting at the table next to mine and suddenly it dawned on me... what's a lousy time at dinner compared to the life that this guy must face everyday :)

Dirty job... wonder if it pays well.

posted by wyejon at Tuesday, July 25, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Monday, July 24, 2006

Soong Kee, Beef Ball Noodles

Soong Kee is one of those stalls that have been in operation for so long you think they've been around forever. This restaurant is forever immortalised for me as the "Dirty Beef Noodle" place because that's what people in my high school used to call it. While I may still think of it as the "Dirty Beef Noodle" place it's anything but because they cleaned up, renovated and even installed air conditioners a few years back. Nowadays Soong Kee is a clean and comfortable place to eat (though it's a little packed).

Air conditioned goodness.

Soong Kee is famous for their Beef Ball Noodles. Besides from Beef Balls they also serve a variety of beef products including Minced Beef, Beef Tripe and simply Beef :) What happens is you order a bowl of noodles and what you want to come with it. I'm not adventerous with my meats so I ordered the safe choice of Beef Ball Noodles. You can add stuff to your bowl of noodles as well. Say for example extra Minced Beef or extra Beef Balls.

Kuey Teow Noodles with Minced Beef and a bowl of Beef Balls.

Every noodle order is defaulted to Wan Tan Noodles with Minced Beef so if you want something different you need to tell your waiter. I was in the mood for Kuey Teow that day and I was not disappointed. Their Minced Beef is pretty darn good. Mix well with the noodles before eating. I found the texture of the Beef Balls to be excellent but taste wise it was a little wanting. I'd definitely come back again sometime.

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 24, 2006 (permalink) | 7 comments | trackbacks

Friday, July 21, 2006

Authentic Chinese Noodles - Suzhou Noodle House, Citrus Park, OUG

As I was writing this post I googled for other blogs who have written about Suzhou Noodle House. There's this particular post in which one the readers left a comment saying that Suzhou Noodle House has closed down and was taken over by another shop :_( I can't verify this for myself but thinking that it's no longer around makes me a little hesitant to write about them. I've visited them twice and both times I quite enjoyed their food. Anyways I hope you enjoy this post.

Suzhou Noodle House is run by real Suzhou people from China. How do I know? Because they speak with that particular accent :) As the name implies they sell mostly noodle dishes. I'm not really sure what the Suzhou province's specialty items are but the things you can find being served here are typical to most Chinese style (not Malaysian Chinese) noodle houses.

The lady boss is quite friendly and can be nice to chat with if you know Mandarin (which I'm not good at by the way). She recommended us to a certain green tea. I think this particular tea deserves special mention.

Green tea.

What's so great about this tea? The taste was fine and I liked the way they served it in leaf form as opposed to powdered or tea bag form but the real magic of this tea is its detoxifying properties. Without saying too much (use your imagination please)... this cup of tea gave me detoxification sessions for almost a week!

Pork Chop Noodles.

Next up we have the Pork Chop Noodles which are noodles with clear soup served with delicious and crispy pork chop. As is the norm with this dish the noodles are nothing to shout about. It relies very heavily on the taste of the pork chop to complete the dish and thankfully the pork chop did not disappoint. I wouldn't say it was spectacular though.

Beef Noodles.

I've got a thing for Beef Noodles and something like this really hits the spot. Suzhou Noodle House's Beef Noodles comes with very generous servings of chunky beef and some white radishes (the round thing on the left side of the picture). I absolutely love the soup because it's so well imbued with beefy taste. Thumbs up for this dish. I'd try it again if they are still around.

Spicy Chicken Noodles.

This one was a little weird because it tasted like Tom Yam. Possibly one of the worst items on the menu. Not recommended.

Xiao Loong Pau.

In case you don't already know Xiao Loong Pau is a type of steamed dumpling with tasty broth inside of them. The correct way to eat them is to pick the top portion of the dumpling up with a pair of chopsticks while being extra careful not to tear the bottom to ensure that the yummy broth does not spill out. Their broth is laced with a little Chinese cooking wine which I think gives it a welcome kick.

I've read a review in another blog (I can't seem to find it anymore) which gave their Xiao Loong Pau thumbs down but I really beg to differ. I can't claim to be a Xiao Loong Pau expert but I do know what I like and the least I can say is that they are definitely better than the crap that Dragon-i serves.

Lot 5, 1st Floor Citrus Park Food Emporium,
OUG Plaza,
Overseas Union Garden,
Old Klang Road.

Phone: 012-2525581

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Friday, July 21, 2006 (permalink) | 9 comments | trackbacks

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Famous Seng Kee - Jalan Sultan

Petaling Street is a place where some of the more famous Chinese eateries in KL can be found and one of the most famous and popular must be Seng Kee. Located along Jalan Sultan (which is parallel to Petaling Street this decades old eatery still manages to attract decent crowds every night.

Before we go on let me just say that the owners of Seng Kee are relatives of mine but we're not that close. On most nights I can go in and eat unnoticed there unless some of the more familiar relatives happen to be on duty :)

Back to the point at hand.

Seng Kee is famous for two things. First of all is their Roast Pork Noodles (Siew Yoke Meen in Cantonese).

Siew Yoke Meen.

The best thing about this particular dish really isn't the noodle itself, rather it's the roast pork which is fried with garlic before being topped on the noodles. The noodles are plain wantan noodles. The roast pork is sweet, crunchy and one hell of a guilty pleasure. Seng Kee does this so well no one else has imitated them so this is the undisputed (and probably the only) place to get Siew Yoke Meen.

Their second specialty is the Claypot Lou Shi Fun. If translated literally Lou Shi Fun means Rat Tail Noodles and they are obviously named so after their shape. In recent times people have taken to calling this peculiarly named noodle Pearl noodles because the colour of the noodle does bear some resemblance to that of a pearl.

Claypot Lou Shi Fun.

I believe it was Seng Kee that first popularised Claypot Lou Shi Fun. So much so that it's become quite a common menu item on many Chinese eateries. One other thing I can recommend is their Yong Tau Foo. It's all served dry style with some very good sweet sauce.

Most of you might would know that Seng Kee has a branch in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail named Mama's Kitchen. How many people know they have a second branch? It's called Potz Cafe and it's located among the bustling new shop houses in Sunwaymas. All three of them are more or less equally good so you can get your Seng Kee fix whereever it's most convenient for you :)

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Wednesday, July 19, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Monday, July 17, 2006

Some Cool Visual Effects from Superman Returns

Superman Returns Shuttle Scene

Wow... visual effects sure have come a long way. Check out this scene from Superman Returns (Superman lifts the space shuttle). I had absolutely no idea that Supes was totally CG in this scene. Also... the creature effects for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest are equally impressive so watch it if you haven't already :)

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 17, 2006 (permalink) | 1 comments | trackbacks

Halal Chinese Noodles (as in from China) at Tian Shan Restaurant, Berjaya Times Square

Tian Shan is a restaurant which I suspect is owned and operated by immigrants from China because the person taking orders and manning the cashier speaks Mandarin/Cantonese with a really thick Chinese accent and you know how the person with access to the cash register is usually the owner or a relative.

Anyway the most interesting thing that I find about this place is that it's halal so if you're a Muslim and are dying to try out some authentic Chinese noodles do give this place a try. Masak-masak (linked at the end of this post) goes to great lenghts to explain the style of the food served here so please do read her review. As for me I'll jump straight into the noodles that me and ST ate that day.

I had the Spicy Beef Noodle (RM10.90)

It's called spicy but as you can see the soup hardly looks spicy and what's that big black chuck floating on the surface of the soup? Actually it is a little spicy because they throw in some fermented soybean chili sauce (tau ban jeong?) into the soup and that big black thing are chunks of beef. The beef didn't look very appetising but it was surprisingly good. I like the fact that the soup was also well imbued with the rich taste of beef. Generous portions of beef were served as well.

Chicken Chop and Noodle and Suey Choy (RM 11.90).

The chicken chop was quite delightful. It was well marinated and had a crispy texture. The strong flavour of the chicken chop complemented the rather plain Noodle with Suey Choy. See that chili sauce in the picture? That's the fermented soybean chili sauce I was saying they put into my beef noodles.

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 17, 2006 (permalink) | 2 comments | trackbacks

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nice Pan Mee at Penang Noodle House, Oasis Food Court, Mid Valley Megamall

Nice food in a shopping complex food court? I can't be serious can I? Yes, it's true! I used to think that food in shopping complexes were "bleh"... but in fact the newer more modern food courts you can find in places like KLCC offer some really good stuff.

Midvalley Megamall has two food courts. We'll focus on the one they call the Oasis Food Court. There are two well known stalls here. One is the Pan Mee stall that is the subject of today's blog post and the other one is a Portugese Fried Fish stall which I feel is extremely overrated.

The stall selling Pan Mee calls itself Penang Noodle House which probably means they serve a variety of noodles but the only thing I see people buying are variations of Pan Mee! Their soup Pan Mee is a definite recommendation. We've also tried their Fried Pan Mee before and that is good too.

Dry (konlo) Pan Mee... should have ordered the Fried Pan Mee instead.

Soup Pan Mee. This is the common type of Pan Mee with clear soup, lots of leafy greens, fried anchovies (ikan bilis) and diced mushrooms/black fungus.

At RM5 per bowl it's standard shopping mall food court pricing but the serving should be sufficient for most people. Quite frankly not the best pan mee around but worth a try anyway.

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Friday, July 14, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Favourite Fish Head Noodles

boo_licious from masak-masak recently wrote about a restaurant that sold Fish Head Noodles in a style that I thought was unique to this particular restaurant I frequent. I've actually written about them before but I guess they deserve another look :)

First of all despite having come here for many years I still don't know what this place is named... come to think of it I'm not sure if they even have a proper name. As for me and ST we usually just call it the "Yee Tau Mai" (lit. Fish Head Noodles) place because it's the only Fish Head Noodles that we care about :)

What's unique about their Fish Head Noodles is that they are cooked and served in claypots. Even more special is the type of noodles they serve. They use really thick rice vermicelli (meehoon). The common thin rice vermicelli tends to absorb the soup and become soggy quickly. No such problem with the thick ones. They help retain the flavour of the soup and let me tell you what a great soup it is!

Fish Head Noodles are basically based off what the Cantonese call Ham Choy Tong which means Salted Vegetable Soup. You can find Fish Head Noodles in many places in Malaysia but it's a little more special in KL because they add evaporated milk to the soup.

The ingredients put into the soup are quite extraordinary beginning with the sweet fried fish. I don't know how they marinate the fish but it's really great. It's sweet and crunchy (although it will become soggy after being in the soup for too long). Besides the fish they also put in lots of the aforementioned salted vegetables, cabbages, tomatoes, bean curd sheets (foo chook), fish balls, lala and even yam slices. All this makes for a very rich and delicious soup.

Fish Head Noodles, serves 2 (approximately RM10.00).

This place is located at Jalan Tiong Nam near the Chow Kit area. Travel along Jalan Raja Laut until you see a bus stop on your left (it's the second or third bus stop along the road I think). There should be a turning on your left immediately after the bus stop. Once you have turned you should be able to see the stall ahead of you. It's located right at the end of the daily morning market.

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Wednesday, July 12, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Monday, July 10, 2006

Greetings From Germany!

Hi everyone! If you've been wondering why I haven't been updating since last Friday that's because I'm currently in Germany... I have to get into the Olympic Stadium soon to watch the final match of World Cup 2006 between France and Italy.

I took this picture at the stadium earlier this morning... it's a lot more crowded now.

If anyone's interested in asking me who's going to win this year's World Cup well Zidane and me thinks it's going to be France (duh!).

BTW... I know I mentioned to some of you that I wanted Italy to win... but since meeting Zidane two days ago in Berlin I've become a big fan of Les Bleus... besides Zidane gave me a personal guarantee; he said I could put...

my elbow to his balls if he France doesn't win!

Hahah... just kidding... I hope I can wake up at 2am to catch the match on TV (like most poor Malaysians)... may the best team win!

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 10, 2006 (permalink) | 10 comments | trackbacks

Friday, July 07, 2006

Set Lunch For Two at Just Thai - One Utama

Just Thai is one of those places that me and ST have been itching to try but didn't because it looked expensive. Well nothing's changed since the first time we laid our eyes upon the restaurant. It's still as expensive as it will ever be :)

It was just one of those days where we felt like splurging a little so we ended up seated in one of their comfortable dining tables with some really soft mini pillows. We ordered their set lunch for two. The set lunch for two costs RM35.90++. Was it worth it? Read on to find out.

Single serve seafood Tom Yam. NOT INCLUDED with the set lunch.

Maybe it's just me but I can't eat at a Thai restaurant without ordering some form of Tom Yam. Unfortunately the set lunch didn't come with any Tom Yam so we had to order our own. I enjoyed their Tom Yam. It was sufficiently spicy and had the right soury tinge. As you can see they were pretty generous with the ingredients as well.

Next up are the dishes from the set lunch for two.

Stir Fried Kangkung with Belacan.

Here's an interesting factoid I learned about the venerable kangkung during lunch that day. It's got an English name and it's called.... bam bam bam... "Morning Glory"! I love Kangkung with Belacan... there are the perfect couple. But erm... 35 bucks and all I get is possibly the cheapest vegetable available to Malaysians?

Stir Fried Tauhu (bean curd) with Chicken and Mushrooms.

Somehow in my mind I pictured a different type of Stir Fried Tauhu. The tauhu served are what is commonly called the Japanese Egg Tauhu. Oddly it's something that I've never seen Japanese restaurants using (at least not those in Malaysia). Don't you think this dish feels a little out of place in a Thai Restaurant?

Deep Fried Talapia with Thai Chili Sauce.

To be fair the fish was fairly good but it's still a Talapia! I actually know of a place where you can get a fully cooked Talapia fish for RM6 so I think you can understand why I don't think highly of Talapia fishes. No complaints about the taste though.

For dessert; Water Chestnut with Coconut Milk (2 bowls).

I loved their dessert. I believe you can also find this dessert being served at the various travelling Thai fairs that go around the country. I intend to catch one and get my fix. Please let me know if you see any around.

Thus ends the story of how we ended up spending close to RM50 for a very simple lunch. While Just Thai delivers in the taste department they are big offenders in the value department.

Just Thai is located at the lower ground floor of the 1 Utama Shopping Centre on the same floor as Rotiboy.

LG351, Lower Ground Floor,
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
47800 Petaling Jaya.

Tel: 603-7729 4708
Fax: 603-7729 4710

Also check out:

posted by wyejon at Friday, July 07, 2006 (permalink) | 7 comments | trackbacks

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Making Food Pictures Look Better

Effective today wAntAn productions is going to give all review pics some beauty surgery before posting them up. I seldom bother touching up the pictures in my blog but I think I'm going to start trying to make the food pictures look better now. My hits are miserable... I wonder if it'll improve if I start posting nicer pics :)

I've been playing around with my graphics editor and figured out a few tricks to make the pictures look better. I'll be putting these tricks to good use in future posts. However this may also mean longer periods in between posts since some of the touch ups require a fair bit of time to complete.

What follows are 3 untouched pictures with their corresponding edited pictures. Explanations on what was touched up are also included.

Unedited A: A bowl of stawberries.

Edited A.

A common trend in food blogs is to zoom in really close to the food item. In my humble opinion Unedited A was already a pretty enticing picture but a simple crop made the stawberries even more appealing.

Note: If you took a perfectly framed picture in the first place there's no need to crop it. However I prefer to take a picture that captures the whole subject and then crop it using the graphics editor. That way you can play around with the cropping until you are satisfied. Sure beats taking many pictures.

Unedited B: Pizza from Italiannies.

Edited B.

Yet again cropping the picture works its wonders but look carefully. There are two subtle additional techniques applied in Edited B that was not present in Edited A.

Cropping helped me get rid of the unsightly fingers you see in Unedited B. Now take a look at Edited B on the top right corner. You can make out a bottle containing some chilli flakes. Notice that it has been blurred. Another useful technique to bring attention to the subject in the picture is to blur the background. I think the same effect can be achieved using a DSLR camera but I don't own one so I have to depend on software to do it.

The other subtle technique used to make the picture more interesting was to position the subject off center. It's that simple.

Unedited C: Pam on the sofa.

Edited C.

Actually Edited C can still be further cleaned up but it's sufficient to make my points. As usual I cropped out the unnecessary background. An interesting thing I did was to give the picture a portrait orientation instead of the common landscape orientation. Some pictures are suited to portrait orientations such as in this picture where the subject is vertically placed.

The blurring out the background technique introduced in Edited B was also applied here. There are some patches of fuzzy brown on the right side of the picture. That's actually Pam's fur. That should be cleaned up but I'm too lazy to do so because it's not important to the point :)

A bit more work was put into this picture than the first two. Pam's eyes didn't turn out very nicely in the picture. Her right eye is blind while she reflected the flash in her left eye. I had to redraw the eyes from scratch. I don't expect most pictures to require this much attention.

The last thing I did with the picture was to adjust the colours. I made the green pillow richer and the red sofa a darker shade of red. I think this gives the picture some better contrast. I doubt most pictures will need their color tweaked but I'll do it for some experimentation once in a while.

Note: All pictures are sharpened using a graphics editor application (I use Paint Shop Pro).

posted by wyejon at Thursday, July 06, 2006 (permalink) | 4 comments | trackbacks

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Great Soup Pan Mee - Tin Ai Ker, Chow Kit

One look at the pictures betrays how long this post has been in my draft folder, over six months actually (note: pictures taken with my old camera phone). Mention the words pan mee and Chow Kit together and you'd be forgiven for thinking about Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee (which I have not reviewed yet). Nope this is the other Pan Mee stall in Chow Kit.

I have been coming here for probably over 5 years now although not as frequent as in the early years. Their standards have been deteriorating lately but even then they are still heads above most of their competitors. What makes them so great is quite simply that they're different from the regular pan mee you find in most places.

As far as I know they don't serve any dry (konlo) version. I haven't actually tried ordering dry pan mee though. If you go there perhaps you can give it a try... but don't blame me if you get laughed off :)

There's nothing much to the stall. It's a roadside stall with a few tables.

So like I mentioned in the paragraph above they only serve Pan Mee with soup. What's great is the soup which they generously sprinkle with fried shallots and mushrooms plus some slices of pork and vegetables. Their soup is not the common clear type. I'm not too sure about this but I believe it's the fried shallots that give the soup its murky colour.

Soup Pan Mee.

Here's how I think is the best way to eat it. Order a bowl and make sure it comes along with an egg (it's an add-on order). Squeeze in some lime (limau kasturi). Eat along with the spicy spicy chilli sauce provided. If you have a strong tongue you can get an even spicier kick by adding in bird's eye chilli (cili padi) to the chilli sauce.

To get to Tin Ai Ker Pan Mee travel along Jalan Raja Laut until you see hotel (can't remember the name). Turn right at the junction right in front of the hotel. The stall is at the end of the road right in front of some harberdashery shops.

posted by wyejon at Wednesday, July 05, 2006 (permalink) | 0 comments | trackbacks

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kamikaze Girls (Shimotsuma Monogatari, 下妻物語)

Ichiko (Anna Tsuchiya) and Momoko (Kyoko Fukada) are practitioners the (unique to Japan) Yankee and Lolita trends respectively.

I love watching movies that are whacky and irrelevant so it would hardly come as a surprise that I love Kamikaze Girls. It's a movie adapted from a book and stars popular TV actress Kyoko Fukada and a J-pop idol I'm not familiar with called Anna Tsuchiya (but then again I haven't kept up with J-pop since the turn of the century). If you feel Anna looks a little odd that's because she's half American.

The story for this movie is so shallow I'm having trouble padding the sypnosis. Basically it's about the life of Momoko a loner who's devoted to living a life of a lolita (it's more of a fashion trend than anything) and how her encounter with a wild biker chick changes both their lifes for the better. Of course this is Japan so a biker chick can mean a chick on a scooter and what a scooter it is... with a 4 foot tall plexiglass seat and an extended facade.

Look at that scooter... it's freaking ridiculous. It's so menacing... and pink. When your bike gang is named Poney Tail I guess it's not too surprising.

The story really sucks but luckily we're too distracted by the general silliness of the movie to notice. In fact this movie is as faithful a live action adaption can be for a seriously whacky anime that does not exist. Watch the movie and you will find many stereotypical anime characters... the no good father with very thin eyebrows, the childish but skilled grandma and even the cool guy with the ridiculously hairstyle.

There's an actual name for this hairstyle; the pompadour... an extreme version of the hairstyle made famous by James Dean.

I watched this movie some time ago and my memory of it is starting to fade which proves that the movie will not leave a lasting impression but the hour and half that I invested into it was not wasted. It was fun, fun, fun while it lasted and one day I'll probably pick it up to watch again.

posted by wyejon at Tuesday, July 04, 2006 (permalink) | 1 comments | trackbacks

Monday, July 03, 2006

Santa Chapati House

Continuing the series on good food places near my office in KL town wAntAn productions now brings you to Santa Chapati House for what else but Chapati. I've lived in KL all my life so I know a little bit about Indian food but my colleagues who originate from other states didn't. In fact I found it surprising that I knew so much more about Indian food than them. So for those people who think Indian food is limited to Roti Canai this article's for you!

According to the Wikipedia, Chapati is an Indian bread made from the dough of Atta Flour which is whole grain Durum Wheat. Durum sounded very familiar to me so I looked it up and hey whaddaya know? Durum is a common ingredient in Italian pastas but that's besides the point.

Chapati is different from your typical Roti Canai. For starters it's a lot harder and a hell of a lot less oily. Like Roti Canai, Chapati goes very well with Indian curries. Unlike Roti Canai, Chapati is a great accompaniment to meat and vegetable dishes. Think of it as a rice replacement.

Freshly made chapatis!

Santa Curry House serves freshly made chapatis and a good spread of dishes to accompany the chapati. The vegetable and meat dishes are typical of those you find in Indian or Mamak restaurants.

Curries, meat and vegetables!

My lunch: Chapati with some spiced vegetables, a bowl of dahl curry and some yummy yummy curry mutton.

The curry mutton was quite decent and there were no complaints from my colleagues so I can safely recommend this restaurant. Do try them out if you are in the area. It's located along Jalan Tun HS Lee nearby the St. John's Cathedral. Do try out their Samosas (triangular "popiah" with potato, onion and green pea stuffing) as well. I quite liked it.

posted by wyejon at Monday, July 03, 2006 (permalink) | 1 comments | trackbacks

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Superman Returns (but he really shouldn't have)

Superman (played by Brandon Routh) in his favourite new pose.

Superman is arguably the most iconic superhero character ever. Initially conceived by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel in the comic book titled Action Comics #1 dating back to 1938 and forever immortalised on the big screen by late and great Christopher Reeve in the Richard Donner directed movie of 1978 the new iteration had big (red) boots to fill but fails on most counts.

For those who didn't already know, Superman Returns is a pseudo sequel to the first two Superman movies (which kind of makes this Superman III). There's an interesting story to the first two Superman movies and I'll talk about it briefly here because it's a great bit of trivia.

If you've read the first paragraph you'd know the first movie was directed by Richard Donner (who's still directing by the way... 16 Blocks being his latest work). The second Superman movie was partially shot by Richard Donner in parralel with the first one (like the Matrix or Lord of the Ring movies). Due to differences with the film's producers Richard Donner left Superman II unfinished and the job fell to another Richard, Richard Lester. Superman: The Movie was a great movie and Superman II was almost as good.

There were two other Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve that really sucked. In fact it's best to pretend that they never made Superman III and IV. Incidentally, Richard Lester the crappy replacement director from Superman II had complete reign of Superman III and if you watched that movie you'd be forgiven for wanting to punch the daylights out of him.

Back to the point.

In Superman Returns, our titular characted returns to Earth after spending five years in space revisiting the remnants of his doomed homeland Krypton. A lot has changed in five years. The love of his life Lois Lane has two new men in her life. Number one: a boyfriend who lives together with her and number two: a son! Meanwhile Superman's old nemesis Lex Luthor manages to get out of jail and starts to cause more trouble for the good citizens of the world.

Superman Returns is directed by Brian Singer, the director who was also responsible for the first two X-Men movies. Like the X-Men movies Superman Returns is a technically solid and entertaining effort but they are also unmemorable movies and I doubt they will ever be looked upon as classics.

The movie is chock full of references to the original Donner movies and in some instances the comic books. The cover from Action Comics #1 makes an appearance in the movie and a lot of dialogue is paraphrased from the original movies. Heck even the glowing letters from starting credits and the final shot of Superman flying off into space is the same. And yes, John William's iconic score is intact as well.

Now because Brian Singer made such an effort to tie in this movie with the first two Superman movies I can't help but to compare them. Needless to say the first movies were made in the late 1970s and the early 1980s so special effects wise Superman Returns wins flat out. Watching the action sequences in Superman Returns makes you realise just how limited the technology was back in those days. Computer technology enables film makers to create images with a level of intensity and dynamism that was never achievable with old school blue screen. But that's about the only place where Superman Returns manages to one up the Donner movies.

Brandon Routh is a good Superman. He's a hunk of a man and he manages a decent portrayal of Superman but that's it. He's a good Superman but a lousy Clark Kent. While nowhere near as wooden as Keanu "woah" Reeves his portrayal of Clark Kent is terribly uninteresting. Christopher Reeve's Clark Clent was an affable albeit clumsy person and he was absolutely delightful to watch on screen. Brandon Routh's delivers the most invisible performance of Clark Kent yet.

Even worse is Kate Bosworth's portrayal of Lois Lane. I think they absolutely miscast this role. Kate Bosworth looks way too young to be Lois Lane. Brandon Routh is actually more or less old enough to play Superman (27 years old) but he too looks a little too young. Kate Bosworth looks so young in the movie that it was probably illegal for her to have sex when she conceived her son; who's about 5 years old in the movie. Like the original Donner movies Brian Singer opted to focus the story on Superman and Lois Lane's love. Unfortunately for him Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth have absolutely no chemistry... not a single spark.

Kevin Spacey faxes over his performance in Superman Returns. For an actor with such acclaim I would have thought he could do much better. His Lex Luthor is a menacing S.O.B. He's an absolutely evil mofo who cheats old ladies out of their money and constantly hatches evil plans that usually have something to do with real estate. As played by Gene Hackman in the Donner movies, Lex Luthor is menacing, evil and oddly likeable. Kevin Spacey manages menacing and evil but not likeable.

But that's not all the biggest problem must be the... haha... it's a big spoiler. Click here if you want to read it. I suggest you only do so after watching the movie yourself.

Well that's it for today's review. I have a few more things I wanted to write but am not going to bother about it. Watch it yourself and judge if I'm right. For best results watch the Donner movies before or after watching Superman Returns. Can you seriously tell me that Singer's version is better? I say bring back Donner to direct the next Superman. That would be the bomb!

posted by wyejon at Sunday, July 02, 2006 (permalink) | 3 comments | trackbacks

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