I'm not usually good at keeping New Year resolutions which is why I never make them. The only thing I want and have always wanted is to lose some weight since I eat (too much) but as Pei told me recently, losing weight is not a New Year resolution; it's a lifelong pursuit. I know that this comes a little late as most people do this during the 1st day of the year but hey, this IS the first day of the Lunar calendar!
Since I haven't done much writing this year, I decided do a wrap up all the memorable foodie moments I've had in 2009. There aren't many as I didn't travel as much as I would have liked to and I've been occupied with the restaurant in the last quarter of 2009. Just for the record.
Third Floor Restaurant Level 3rd Floor JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur Jalan Bukit Bintang 53200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 603 2141 3363 Website: http://www.thirdfloor.com.my/
I've never had fine dining in Malaysia since the country is more well known for its delicious street food and I was pleasantly surprised.
I got to know about this place from Tetsuya himself when I was dining at his restaurant in Sydney last year. The food was good and in a way reminiscent of Tetsuya's since the Executive Chef Ken Hoh used to work for him. It was still different in the way that it wasn't all Japanese but showed a bit of the chef's Chinese roots instead. I'll write more on this later anyway (hopefully!).
Restoran Kin Kin 40 Jln Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1 Off Jln Tuanku Abdul Rahman Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur
Dry ban mian tops my list for being the fuss free yet most satisfying thing I've eaten all year. It was so good I made sure I visited the place when I was in KL again recently. The ingredients are simple; handmade noodles with a nice bite, minced meat, ikan bilis and shallots. The secret is in the the nicely poached egg which coats the hot noodles when the yolk is broken into and the fiery fried pounded dried chillies. When all ingredients come together, HEAVEN!!
Sun Kee 16 - 20 Kimberley Road G/F Stall 13 - 14 Champagne Court Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
To use the phrase 'Never judge a book by its cover' would be most appropriate after looking at this dish. When it first arrived on the table, I saw a gunky and white mess which did not look most appetising. They didn't even bother with garnishing! Then I looked around me and saw all these famous photos of Hong Kong celebrities who had dined there, the numerous newpapers cuttings on the wall and the people who were engrossed in cleaning up their bowls. I decided to take the plunge then and I was bowled over. The cheese sauce was thick but smooth and was delicious with the instant noodles and the tasty chargrilled pork neck. This was something I knew I couldn't find anywhere else. I'm definitely having one bowl to myself the next time I visit.
Discovering Riders was one of the highlights in 2009. The food is decent and I like having breakfast or brunch there. Always makes me feel like I'm in a different place; a different country when I'm there. Far from the maddening crowd and I like that. See here for my previous review on Riders.
Fish Face 132 Darlinghurst Road Darlinghurst, Sydney Tel: 612 9332 4803
This was probably the most understated restaurant I visited in 2009. Sydney is also filled with foodie adventures as I always suss out the great dining places when I visit. I tried North Bondi Italian which was good, Mad Cow which served excellent steaks but none of them left me as lasting an impression as Fish Face.
Stephen Hodges left the well-known Pier to set up his own little outfit because he only believed in serving honest good food and for that, I look up to him as there aren't many who just want to do their job well without all that fanfare. Fish is probably one of the hardest things to cook as it always has to be cooked just right or the dish would be ruined instantly. Coupled with great Australian produce and excellent culinary skills, the team at Fish Face definitely did not disappoint when I visited. I loved that the meal was substantial yet not heavy and it gave me a new found respect for fish which I always felt was a boring choice when dining in Singapore.
Cooking at Home
I've probably done more cooking in 2009 than in any other year. I started 2009 by finishing my 8 week Basic Cooking Skills at Palate Sensations which was a lot of fun. I learnt quite a fair bit during the lessons although I haven't put a lot of it to use yet. I've done different variations of risottos (my most favourite thing to cook), made breakfast pancakes, ice cream, baked (something I seldom do) and even made pizza from scratch! It was also great fun organising my birthday bbq as I got to experiment with the Mexican & Cajun flavours. Cooking for my friends and family is really the most fun part about all this. I haven't had much time to be in the kitchen recently due to the restaurant but I'm hoping I get to it this year.
As much as I always say that I want to steer clear of the whole Christmas presents thing in the office, it's often hard because everyone goes into crazy shopping mood weeks before. I love to shop but the crowds keep me away from the madness. When I first learnt to make jam in 2008, I thought it would have made the perfect Christmas gift but obviously, the 12 days of Christmas in 2008 came and gone and no one received jam from me. I set my heart to making jam again when the newpapers run an article on jam one Sunday. Even though I had to stand for hours to make batches of it and my sis had to lose sleep with me to decorate the bottles, the efforts paid off and I'm glad that my friends & colleagues enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed making it!
Linda's Home Kitchen 206 Telok Ayer Street Tel: 65 6284 7272
Having the restaurant changed many things in my life. It's taken up a whole lot of my free time and to a certain extent, I don't have much of it these days. However, I'm really proud of the work that my mum is doing and I'm glad that so many people love the food which I've grown up with since young. Indirectly, it's also a way of honouring my late grandmother who passed down so many great recipes which are hard to find these days. Many people have marveled at the energy that I have; having a full time job and having to spend the rest of my time at the restaurant. I'm surprised at myself too but I guess the hard work's worth it especially since this is a family project which has made us spend more time with one another. The only thing I miss these days though, is sitting at our dining table at home to have dinner.
For those who have supported us during the past months, thank you so much for the love and encouragement. If you have not paid a visit, I look forward to meeting with you in time to come. If you'd like to have a bit more info on the restaurant, please see here.
I hope all of you have wonderful foodie moments to look back on at the end of 2010. Hopefully I'd still be around to share mine with you again in a year's time.
Happy Chinese New Year & May the year of the Tiger bring many pleasant surprises, happiness, good health and most importantly, plenty of good food! Gong Xi Gong Xi! Oh.. and Happy Valentine's Day!!