Joyce Koh is Time Out's former Kuala Lumpur Contributor.
Ultimate guide to Malaysian kuih
Our love for pandan, gula Melaka, coconut milk and all things sweet had us chasing down dangerously addictive Malay and Nyonya kuih. We munched our way through trays of kuih to bring you Time Out’s ultimate guide to these colourful cakes, snacks and desserts in the city.
10 things you can find on a roti man bike
A familiar sight in (most) neighborhoods, the roti man has practically achieved mainstay status in the Malaysian cultural landscape. Delivering dangling bunches of roti krim and butter cakes to Malaysian homes throughout the years on their spruced-up bikes, we would say they have definitely earned a soft spot in our hearts. Anyone who brings locally-produced bread to us just as it's time for tea gets a few extra points in our books. Time Out KL tracked down one such person and checked out the top ten things you can get from a roti man and his bike. Turns out there's more to the roti man than bread.
Best things to do in Melaka
There's only so many times you can visit A'Famosa or the Stadthuys after the initial thrill of seeing those historical structures in Melaka. Give the obvious destinations a miss and learn top spinning from a gasing expert, view treasured Peranakan jewellery, read a vintage comic during an ear-cleaning session, wander through forgotten streets and more with our guide to the best things to do in Melaka.
Best of Melaka: Cafés, restaurants and bars
Rickety rickshaws and tourist traps are all fun and games during your first visit to Melaka, but you'll be looking for the real deal soon enough. Skip the first-timers' attractions and sit down to a Peranakan dinner, eat putu piring, sip flavoured rice wine at a four-generation family-owned bar, and more with our guide to the best cafés, restaurants and bars in Melaka. Chicken rice balls still included.
Guide to chee cheong fun
Up the fun factor with our guide to different types of chee cheong fun, from Hong Kong-style noodles rolled with juicy shrimps and chopped char siew to Penang-style chee cheong fun doused in har gou.
The best chai lattes in KL
Gaining precious real estate space on KL café menus is the chai latte, an updated version of the masala chai available on the streets of India and in most Indian restaurants around town. Instead of espresso, the chai latte is made with frothed milk and concentrated spiced tea. The next time you crave chai, here’s where to go.
The best egg dishes in KL
Whether you like fluffy omelettes, hollandaise-drenched poached eggs or roti canai banjir special, we’ve compiled the best egg dishes in town. Time to get cracking.
The best restaurants in KL for healthy eating
Get in on the healthy food movement and start eating clean at these top restaurants for healthy eats in KL. We've also included a quick guide to meal portions and healthy-eating alternatives as recommended by some of the individuals behind these eateries. RECOMMENDED: Best salad bars in KL
Guide to Indian sweets
Read through our guide to know what to go for the next time you’re confounded by an Indian restaurant’s mithai display. Remember, take small bites and pair them with a cup of good, strong chai.
Guide to mooncakes
Can't tell your baked mooncakes from the snowskin ones? Here's a primer on the different varieties of mooncakes available this Mid-Autumn Festival, including three contemporary mooncakes you need to try. Giving mooncakes as a gift? See our list of the best mooncake gift boxes this season.
Reviewed: Lunch deliveries in KL
Come lunch time, us working folk are always faced with the same dilemma: What's for lunch? It's worse if you're trying to eat healthy; while it's easy for experts to tell us to buy groceries and prep our meals for the week on Sunday – some of us just don't have the time (or patience) to do that. Enter the new wave of KL's lunch delivery services, where nutritious, square meals are just a mouse click away. Here, we put some of the best lunch deliveries in the Klang Valley to the test.
The best dim sum restaurants in KL
Looking for a good dim sum brunch? Feast on egg tarts, steamed buns, glutinous rice dumplings and more at the city's best places for dim sum – pork-free options included. RECOMMENDED: Guide to dim sum
Listings and reviews (38)
Wild Honey – Singapore’s noted brunch joint that has queues snaking out the door every weekend – has finally made its way to KL. Sweetening up the dining options at Pavilion KL, Wild Honey is a warm and elegant space: beautifully upholstered sofas, stylish dangling lights, striking timber fittings, and a collection of cookbooks and magazines all suggest a keen attention to detail. More than just a pretty face, Wild Honey offers up a huge menu with all the brunch staples, but all very well executed and kept interesting – their Levant baked eggs come with grilled Halloumi, and the Greek open-faced omelettes feature fragrant lamb moussaka, Japanese eggplant and Greek cheese. More standouts include wild mocha dolce sweetened with royal honey, a New York bagel platter available on weekends, and fluffy Belgian waffles with grilled mango. Note that Wild Honey in KL, unlike its Singaporean counterparts, is a pork-free establishment. Don’t miss the Trio of Scones, which comes with three types of scones (dates, cranberry and plain), served with French butter, clotted cream and a choice of either raspberry, strawberry or apricot jam or the lemon curd. The formidable combination of excellent food, generous servings and top-flight coffee (supplied by Singapore roasters Common Man Coffee Roasters) means that Wild Honey almost always has a buzzing crowd, regardless of the time of the day.
Leaf & Co. Café
By a congested corner of Jalan Sultan (opposite distinguished tailors Kwong Fook Wing) lies the newest café this side of KL – Leaf & Co. Formerly a mess hall built by Kwong Yik Bank’s co-founder Cheong Yoke Choy, the century-old colonial-era heritage building is now a boutique hostel (by the name of Mingle) and café, co-founded by engineer Ng Sin Leong. With Ng’s experience in restoring and refurbishing old buildings, it’s evident that attention and care were paid to this particular building as well – old wooden beams are reinforced, pieces of original furniture from the building’s early days are scattered around, and the terrazzo tiles are cleaned and spruced up. In the café, an air well in the centre lets in light for the small garden of potted herbs. At the back, a rooftop bar is still under construction.The straightforward menu at Leaf & Co mostly consists of variations of chicken dishes (creamy butter cream chicken, nasi lemak curry chicken, lemongrass chicken) as well as salads, pastas, sandwiches and beef stew. As for coffee, there’s the usual selection, but with the addition of interesting adaptations like rose latte and coconut latte; the Americano here comes in old-school kopitiam cups, a clever reference to its location in the heart of old KL. Check it out for the interesting architecture, but bear in mind that the kitchen needs a bit of time to find its footing.
In the place you’d expect to find kakigōri (a Japanese sweet dessert with shaved ice), you’ll find Kakiyuki. Having rebranded and then having expanded their menu, you’re still in for an icy Instagrammable treat. The same signature blue colour will greet you at each of their outlets and their desserts just scream to be photographed. They serve ten types of kakigōri along with wagashi (traditional Japanese desserts) like daifuku, ice cream sandwiches, mochi, anmitsu (a summer dessert with jelly and red bean paste) and zenzai (red bean soup with mochi). If you’re up for more westernised desserts, they’ve got a yōgashi (patisserie) section where you can opt between custard puddings or rolled cakes. Should you want to try an assortment but your spare tummy for dessert cannot accommodate a la carte-sized portions, you could choose to have a set.
Big Singh Chapati
Located at the SS15 stretch of shops opposite Sime Darby Medical Centre (same row as Subang Jaya stalwarts Tomoe, Rakuzen and Souka), Big Singh Chapati has been attracting flocks of chapatti aficionados since its opening. The interiors are simple – white walls, a display counter of Indian sweets (carrot halwa, barfi, gulab jamun and the like), artificial plants to provide some green – but it’s a feast for the nose as the fragrances of masala tea, curries and the smoky tandoor fill the air. By the entrance is a well-floured counter where a team efficiently stretches, folds and griddles the chapatti – great entertainment when you’re queuing for a table. While there’s a lunch menu for the budget conscious (prices start from RM5.90), the dinner menu is the highlight – chicken haryali, mutton dum briyani, a dedicated tandoor section, paneer palao, fish masala and more. This is a menu that wouldn’t look out of place in Brickfields. Try the fluffy butter chapatti with spice-laden mutton keema and palak paneer. Don’t forget the masala tea.
Restoran Angcle Peoh Kota Kemuning
This no-frills eatery in Kota Kemuning is a reincarnation of the famous assam laksa stall in the Ayer Itam market in Penang. The 64-year old Ang Kok Peoh (‘Angcle Peoh’ being a play on his surname as he’s known as ‘Uncle Peoh’) grew up helping his mother peddle assam laksa in the 1950s. The Ang family’s humble story is displayed on the wall at the restaurant – from the time Ang’s mother carried assam laksa ingredients in a rattan basket on foot to the market, to when she was able to afford a bicycle some years after, and then a pedicab, until they finally scored a much-coveted stall at the market. The decision to relocate the stall from Ayer Itam to Klang came about after Ang’s eldest daughter, Ang Kar Bee, moved to Selangor. The menu at the non-halal Angcle Peoh covers plenty of Penang favourites, from duck egg char kuey teow to rojak (with gravy that’s simmered for five hours a day, no less). However, the highlight is definitely the assam laksa – generous toppings of mint leaves and bunga kantan, a sardine-rich broth, lots of tamarind and chillies, finished off with addictive hae koh (prawn paste) that’s sourced from Penang – made with the same recipe that’s been passed down from Ang’s mother. Until today, Ang can be spotted in the kitchen, ensuring the standard of every bowl is up to scratch.
For devotees of kampua mee, there’s Mian in PJ. Specialising in hock chew-style noodles, Mian (which means ‘noodles’ in Mandarin) sources their noodles from Sitiawan. Sitiawan native Guoyi grew up eating kampua noodles at his granduncle’s noodle shop, and after a stint selling Malaysian food in the United States, he decided to open Mian to introduce Sitiawan’s freshly made noodles to KL. Most of their recipes are gained from various sources; the traditional black kampua mee was from his granduncle, the prawn mee hoon came about after much experimentation, while the mee sua is also from family members. One more thing: come here early to secure a serving of their char siew, a slightly more savoury version that’s cooked in an Apollo oven.
At this tiny restaurant, you’ll likely be greeted by its proprietors, both expats. One is an engineer-turned-chef from France, and the other hails from Australia. Mat Salleh is a fitting name for this restaurant indeed. Joining the ranks of worthy restaurants along the Kurau street such as Bakar, 486 Baba Low and Ganga Café, Mat Salleh is a homey restaurant with a compact menu focusing on Western dishes the likes of eggs Florentine, Big English Breakfast, Bouef bourguignon (this version is served with basmathi rice), salmon soup and more. The hearty home fare is complemented by a tidy list of coffees and liqueurs, and of course, beers. If it’s a rainy evening, hit up the French onion soup.
Kafe Bawang Merah
3 out of 5 stars
One of the longest-running restaurants in the quiet neighbourhood of SS12, Bawang Merah always, always sports a healthy lunch crowd. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. It may seem a little chaotic – people navigating the cramped space (commence a slew of ‘excuse me-s’), restaurant staff trying to deliver trays of drinks, a queue for the nasi campur that’s getting longer by the minute. But calmly join the queue and pick from the spread through the glass case; the friendly kakak will scoop the lauk for you. Wait patiently for your turn to pay at the end of the queue, try to secure a table (somewhat impossible at the height of lunch hour), then dig right in. We’ve visited a fair few nasi campur joints in the city both in and out of Kampung Baru, and while most are excellent, there’s always one or two lauk that doesn’t quite hit the spot. However, three visits in to Bawang Merah, we weren’t disappointed yet. The daging masak hitam was tender to the last bite, vegetables in the acar jelatah were fresh, and the rice was fragrant with a good, fluffy texture. Found on nearly every table at lunchtime, the lontong – thick, milky broth, generous portions of tempeh and vegetables and topped with a dollop of sweet sambal – was fantastic too. While seating can be somewhat disorganised, the service is fast and friendly. And the best thing about Bawang Merah (at least to us) is the fact that it serves kuih, and superior versions of that. Upon our first visit, the kuih shelf was almost emptied;
Joining the deluge of fried chicken joints in SS15 is NOMMS, a homely café with Scandinavian influences (concrete banquettes, dangling lights, a giant mural of a rooster) peddling fish n’ chips, wraps, tempura prawns, cheesy wedges and more. Fried chicken is the eatery’s signature, available in flavours such as garlic, original and spicy. For college kids rushing for a meal between classes, get the juicy fried chicken and pick a fresh juice from the extensive menu.
Premier Wuyi Da Hong Pao
No exploration of Petaling Street is complete without a stop at this tea house. This little tea shop along Jalan Sultan (opposite the iconic Pak Tai photo studio) is full of shelves lined with packets of tea (all carefully sourced by proprietor Chan Yeow Wah), an impressive array of delicate gai-wan (china cups with covers used to brew tea) and teapot sets, tea paraphernalia – perfect for the tea enthusiast. Even if you’re a beginner to the art of tea, the affable Chan is quick to invite you to sit down for a chat and a cup or two. The clue’s in the name: Premier Wuyi Da Hong Pao specialises in the Da Hong Pao tea. A type of premium oolong rock tea from the UNESCO-protected Wuyi Mountains (‘Da Hong Pao’ means big red robe – this tea has a legend that involves the Emperor, a Chinese scholar rising through the ranks of ancient Imperial China, a monk, and a red robe), this tea is a strong oolong that’s suitable for all occasions. Chan also stocks organic flower and herbal teas.
With three outlets in Hokkaido and one in Penang, Hokkaido-style ramen (special toppings include butter and corn) joint Menya Miyabi has opened its first outlet in Klang Valley. Located in Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, Menya Miyabi’s menu includes the usual suspects such as tonkotsu ramen and gyoza, as well as wildcard options chukadon and yakisoba. For RM4, you can supersize your ramen to share. Standout dish: the yaki miso ramen (made with roasted miso) with a hearty broth.
Farm to Plate
For satisfying grilled ribs (not just any meat, but ibérico de Bellota ribs from the famed acorn-eating Spanish hogs) and farm-fresh produce, Farm to Plate is Damansara Kim’s latest spot to gnaw on a bone or two. The clue is in the name – owner Chris Chew runs contract farming businesses in Spain and Cameron Highlands, which directly influences the freshness and quality of the produce in the kitchen. The menu focuses on ibérico ribs (either slow-baked for tender meat or grilled on high heat for smoky flavours), but there are also pizzas, salads, pastas as well as lunch dishes such as pork stew rice, handmade noodles and all-day breakfast on weekends.
Battle of the dates
Yusuf Taiyoob, RM15.09 PackagingYusuf Taiyoob’s Safia range of Tunisian dates comes in a box printed with designs of the desert, complete with illustrations of date palms. Very educational. Plus, there’s a large ‘window’ in the centre of the box, allowing consumers to take a good peek at the dates before deciding on the purchase. AppearanceAfter the unboxing ceremony, we noticed that the smallish dark brown dates (all attached to their branches) had patches of sticky dried juice on it. TextureYusuf Taiyoob’s dates were comparatively juicier, with an easy bite. TasteThe raisin-looking Yusuf Taiyoob had a very strong sweet taste. It gave some of us a sugar high. VerdictIt’s a close battle, but sorry, Yusuf Taiyoob, we like the whispering (and we understand that dates are naturally very high in sugar), but a sugar high isn’t a good state to be in after a day of fasting. Eat this for sahur instead. Sunsweet, RM14.39 PackagingWhile Sunsweet’s box has a smaller ‘window’ which restricted the view of our dates, the overall design (travellers on camels, rays of sun, a silhouette of the desert) evokes ‘Arabian Nights’ and the upcoming Raya celebrations. Very festive. We approve. Also, a tagline proclaims that we’ll be purchasing a box of ‘Smart Dates, natural with branches’. Intriguing. AppearanceSunsweet’s dates were visibly larger and while the skin was more wrinkled, the dates did have a lighter colour. One blind taster commented on its ‘squidgy’ appearance. TextureSunsweet was
The six species of foodies in KL
1. The Char Kuay Teow Keeping it real, the Char Kuay Teow travels great distances to forage for the best street food. This omnivore doesn’t mind getting down and dirty with roadside stalls. The grittier it is, the more the Char Kuay Teow likes it. This highly territorial species has a select pack of makan friends with whom new street eats are fervently shared – but god forbid the day the location of their super secret chapatti joint is leaked. 2. The McNugget The McNugget wants its food fried, and it wants it fast. Your go-to for all things artery-busting, this impatient creature has an authoritative opinion on which fast food restaurant serves the best blended soft serves, an encyclopaedic knowledge of fries, and a scarily efficient metabolism system that makes it seemingly immune to the vagaries of fast food. The McNugget is also why some fine-dining restaurants still have fries and burgers on the menu. 3. The Escargot After spending a gap year someplace far away from the sticks of KL, the well-travelled Escargot always has a foodie experience that’s better than the one you’re currently having. Its rallying cry: ‘You haven’t had proper (insert name of dish) until you’ve had the one that I’ve had when I was in (insert name of country)’. Placate them with vaguely interested nods and expressions of admiration. 4. The Quinoa Power Bowl The fragile Quinoa Power Bowl is plagued by a range of allergies (imaginary or otherwise). It feeds primarily on personalised gluten-free
Battle of the bak kwa
Loong Kee Packaging: Keeping things traditional, Loong (which means ‘dragon‘ in Mandarin) Kee lives up to its name with a giant fiery dragon on the packet. We get it. Appearance: For this taste test, we bought the sliced meat bak kwa, but Loong Kee’s bright orange slices have a flattened appearance. Texture: Loong Kee’s thickness was just right, but it was strangely stringy and hard on the teeth. This is one bak kwa aspiring to be a beef jerky. Flavour: Perhaps due to it being compressed, Loong Kee was less oily, which led to it tasting like healthy bak kwa. Not much of a barbecue factor here. Verdict: Not the best, but old favourite Loong Kee is a good bak kwa for beginners. Oloiya Packaging: Oloiya’s updated simple and bold packaging is bright yellow with its mascot (a buff fowl sporting boxing gloves and a pageant sash) printed on the corner. Appearance: There are two types of bak kwa: the charred brown ones, and the orange ones. Oloiya’s dried meat belongs to the latter group Texture: Texture-wise, we noted that Oloiya is nicely pliable. However, after chewing on the matter, some tasters noted a chalky texture. Flavour: The bak kwa at Oloiya had equal distribution of meat and fat, but there was a sugary note to it. A taster commented that it felt like taking a mouthful of sugar. Verdict: Good on first bite, but the chalky aftertaste of Oloiya’s sliced dried meat got rather off-putting. Wing Heong Packaging: The dried meat at Wing Heong is wrapped in paper then slipp
Battle of the Korean instant noodles
Nongshim, RM4.90 Noodles Nongshim’s noodles were somewhat thicker than its compatriots. They also absorbed the soup quickly, becoming soggy in the process. Add-ons The most generous of them all, Nongshim comes with large squares of thick kombu and slices of dehydrated fish cake. Taste Nongshim’s spicy beef cup noodles are the stuff of legends, but this seafood version turned out to be a thin, briny broth. Too much seafood, not enough spice. Verdict We like Nongshim’s generous additions of kombu, but the slightly soggy noodles and too tame broth tilted the odds. Paldo, RM5.50 Noodles Paldo’s noodles were relatively thin, bearing close resemblance to Maggi noodles in thickness. Add-ons Paldo’s add-ons were scarce – bits of mushroom and scallions were scattered loosely in the cup. Taste Paldo’s strongly salted soup base could use a bit more heat in the spice department. Compensate with your own red chilli pepper flakes. Verdict Paldo could’ve been a close contender for the House Cup, but a few points were shaved off for its thin noodles. Yeul, RM4.90 Noodles Yeul has superior noodles with good chew, just the right thickness, and were springy from the beginning to the end of the meal. Add-ons Somewhat similar to Paldo’s offerings of spring onions and dehydrated mushrooms. Taste Yeul’s opaque soup base is richer, more flavourful, and most importantly, lives up to its spicy label. Nice pedas kick there. Verdict Winner! With bouncy noodles and spicy soup
Now open: First FamilyMart in KL
And the first FamilyMart has opened its doors in KL at 11am on November 11, painting a corner of Wisma Lim Foo Yong its signature green, white and blue. Upon entry, the first thing you’ll see is a bakery section (castella cake!) and an eat-in area (perfect to people watch or eat your reheated bento in peace) complete with tables, counter seats and recycling bins. A bit further into the store is the refrigerated goods section. These refrigerators are filled with puddings, yoghurt, melon milk and more. Right next to it is the large bento display (though it’s not as impressive as the ones we’ve seen in Japan) and an extensive selection of sandwiches (chicken katsu, crabstick mayo), salads (you can also buy sachets of Kewpie dressing) and onigiri. By the cash tills, a snack bar awaits. Definitely giving our local convenience stores a run for their money, FamilyMart has displays of fried items (karaage chicken, cheese sausages, katsu chicken), steamers filled paus and dim sum, and pots of oden sitting side by side on the counter. Oden toppings include daikon, tamago, fishcake, corn and more, and customers can pick either a dashi broth or a tom yum soup base. For dessert, everyone’s favourite Tokyo-based convenience store doesn’t disappoint. The snack bar also offers French vanilla and matcha soft serve (which was already sold out during our visit). It’s a very well-stocked store. Aside from ready-to-eat food, you can also find Japanese cup noodles, ready-made udon, Fami
The six species of KL netizens
1. The TLDR The TLDR is a rage-fuelled creature with sensitive little paws that’s unable to comprehend beyond the headline. Its activities include raging at Singapore and blaming everybody else (especially the government) for everything. Born with strong hind legs and quick reflexes, the TLDR is also skilled at jumping to conclusions. 2. The Memeoth When the Memeoth is around, things escalate quickly, tables are flipped, and challenges are accepted. Armed with an impressive arsenal of memes (which one does not simply use), the quick-witted Memeoth can be easily spotted by their arrow-pierced knees. They don’t actually add much to the conversation though. Much wow. 3. The Writer Taking delight in showcasing its extensive knowledge, the Writer enjoys pounding out novellas in the comments section, droning on about the history of the issue at hand. While we enjoy learning new things every now and then, we think they should be offered a column instead. 4. The Actifast One of the internet’s modern miracles, the Actifast is the secret to end world poverty. These self-proclaimed princes (apparently mostly from Nigeria) still quite can’t believe they managed to earn RM20,000 a week doing this from home. However, to keep your device safe (and spyware-free), we strongly advise you to refrain from going in search of this species. 5. The Lurker The Lurker paddles quietly in murky waters; it reads comments, doesn’t add anything to the conversation, and very occasionally gives a ‘li
Perak number nine on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2017’
To the excitement of jetsetters (and tourism boards everywhere), Lonely Planet has released their list of ‘Best in Travel 2017’, a selection of travel inspiration for the next year. Good news – Malaysia has made it on the list. While the list consists of ‘Best Countries’, ‘Best Cities’, ‘Top 10 Value’, good old Perak is listed number nine on the list of Top 10 Best Region. It shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, Ipoh was number six on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Asia 2016’ earlier this year. Here's why: according to Lonely Planet writer Anita Isalska, Perak not only delivers outdoor thrills (Royal Lake Temenggor in the Royal Belum State Park, Kinta Nature Park which boasts ten species of hornbills, the vast limestone caves of Gopeng, as well as the temples embedded in the cliffs of Ipoh), ‘a bloom of vintage-style cafés and boutiques’ (ahem, Kong Heng) in historic Ipoh, but also has environmental sustainability tourism highlights on Pangkor Island. A white kopi kaw and a toast to Perak. For Time Out KL’s guide to Ipoh, this way please.
Out now: The Lepak Game
What is it?Best played at the mamak, The Lepak Game is a Malaysian version of ‘Cards Against Humanity’. Conceptualised by Stephen and Trixie Hanlon who wanted something to unite and bring Malaysians closer, this is a game designed for Malaysians. How do you play it?Players begin with eight blue cards each. Then the ‘boss’ throws out a yellow prompt card (for example: ‘Atas’), and other players have to supply a card of their own (‘Kedai Runcit’, ‘thangachi’, ‘phantom voters’, etc) that fits the prompt card best. The boss then shuffles the answer pile, reads the answers out loud (at this stage, players can attempt to bodek the boss), then picks ‘the most Malaysian response’, effectively awarding the chosen player a point. That player then becomes the next ‘boss’. During the course of test-playing this game, we found out that a member of the team didn’t know what ‘muka seposen’ meant. What’s in it?The deck contains 600 cards, including power cards (‘Bersih’: get rid of cards from your hand for new ones, ‘Donation’: forces players to donate a card to you, ‘Blank’: you can come up with your own fitting response, and more), and expansion packs are in the works. Remember, the rules are flexible (the funniest response, etc). Don’t say we bojio. Available at www.rojakculture.com. RM99.
What's the deal with... Dehydrated garnishes
Photo: Daniel Chan Dehydrated garnishes in cocktails have seen something of a renaissance in recent years. CK Kho of Coley gives us the lowdown on the dried fruit wheels. Aesthetics Dehydrated ingredients elevate the drink: it’s elegant, adds colour, and brings different textures to the proceedings. Also, it’s lighter than fresh fruits, allowing bartenders to do a lot more with it. Flavours Fresh fruits are all very well, but dehydrated fruits (with its concentrated flavours) allow more flavour control for the bartender. Plus, certain fresh fruits have a somewhat ‘green’ bitter taste that’s eliminated when it’s dehydrated. Photo: Daniel Chan Practicality Well, they last longer in storage. Then there’s the fact that you can eat most of the garnishes. CK has also been experimenting with dehydrated coconut shells, cocoa pods and bamboo to use as receptacles for drinks. Try out a cocktail with a dehydrated garnish at KL's top cocktail bars.
What's the deal with... Eggs in cocktails
Spirits, juices… egg whites? Before you freak out, remember it’s not new. People have been experimenting with nastier things since the Prohibition. That doesn’t sound reassuring. Why eggs though? One of the most misunderstood cocktail ingredients out there, eggs (egg whites, in particular) remain in the line-up of cocktail ingredients because it adds what nothing else can – volume. Fluffing things up, it’s light yet creamy, plus there’s a velvety smooth layer of froth (like what you’d get on lattes) atop the drink when it’s shaken right. How do you do it? Egg white cocktails are always double shaken – one dry shake with most of the ingredients (without ice), and a second shake with ice. Rule of the book: egg whites are always added in last. Uh-huh. But what about salmonella? According to Emana Gallet from PS150, only the freshest free-range eggs will do, and bartenders don’t use egg whites that have been out in the open for over 24 hours. So no worries there. Do people use yolks in cocktails? If you’re feeling peckish, yolk-based cocktails are heavy-bodied drinks that are almost a meal in itself. Trust us, it’s delicious. Where should I start then? Try the pisco sour. If not, there’s always eggnog. Now be adventurous and try out a drink with egg whites at one of KL's top cocktail bars.
Battle of the cultured milk drinks
Calci-Yum, RM4.34 for a pack of five, 110ml each Packaging Calci-Yum’s foray into cultured milk drinks comes in a tall, curvy, yellow 110ml bottle with ‘Art Attack’-like splashes of blue. Straws come in a separate pack. Appearance The calcium-boosting Calci-Yum is a pure shade of white with the slightest hint of separation of water and milk. Texture Watery and slightly diluted. Flavour Calci-Yum had a fruity and syrupy aftertaste that should not appear in a conversation about milky drinks. Verdict Calci-Yum might contain calcium for strong bones, but it’s definitely not yum. Vitagen, RM4.99 for a pack of five, 125ml each Packaging The iconic Vitagen is the usual fat bottle (suspiciously similar to Yakult bottles in Japan) with an easy grip design and sealed with gold foil. Appearance The original-flavoured Vitagen is an off-white hue. The drink also seems to have a slightly thicker consistency than the others. Texture Pekat. Flavour Vitagen delivered an overwhelming punch of sourness, while also being very sweet. This was almost an assault on our taste buds. Verdict We’ll have to stick to apple green Vitagen from now. Yakult Ace, RM4.30 for a pack of five, 80ml each Packaging We like the mini adjustable straw that comes attached to each individual bottle of 80ml Yakult Ace. There’s even an illustrated straw removal guide. Appearance Compared to its counterparts, Yakult sports a distinctly creamy yellow tint. Texture Smooth and light. Flavour Yaku
Cry now: Regent no longer taking orders for pandan layer cakes
Update (Oct 5): Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop will stay open after all. According to Cheng, his son will continue the legacy. * Way before mille crêpes made their way to Malaysia, there was the pandan layer cake. Among a row of rickety pre-war shophouses by the Klang railway station is Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop, an old school bakery that churns out desiccated coconut-dusted pandan layer cakes that have appeared in many a Klang kid’s birthday party. According to a feature by the Malay Mail, it was Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop’s owner Cheng Yew Ho who invented the pandan layer cake about 35 years ago, using a sturdier cake base to hold the dense jelly-like pandan filling (made from fresh pandan juice, santan and hoen kwe flour). Due to popular demand, Cheng also opened the iconic Golden Bake bakeries in SS2 and Klang. Nearly four decades on, 69-year old Cheng contemplates retirement (without a willing successor in sight); the end of an era has come as Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop will be closing shop at the end of the year. According to Cheng, reliable staff are hard to come by, and none of his children are willing to take over the business at Jalan Raya Timur. We used to pop in every now and then for a slice or two of pandan layer cake for tea (or when the occasion calls, splash out on a 1kg cake). The small bakery houses a few cake display refrigerators; a wooden glass-fronted cabinet with an array of butter cakes, Swiss rolls and marble cakes; a metal rack where fre