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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Restoran Kota Zheng Zong

After trying the popular Bak Kut Teh in Kota Tinggi, we kind of miss the taste and was kind of searching for something similar to its taste. From the media, we learnt that Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh has similar taste and in fact the distance was much nearer to Singapore.

Restoran Kota Zheng Zong
Comparing the interior, this is more modern with tiles laid. There is also less possibility that you get bitten by mosquito here.

Cooking method seems to be same, using charcoal cooking method.

Charcoal Pots
The Bak Kut Teh was charged by per pax and includes beancurd skin as well as mushroom. As we planned to order a few dishes to try out, we had only ordered a 3 Pax Portion

Bak Kut Teh - RM 14.00 per pax portion
Three Mix consist of pig's kidney, liver and powder intestine. You can include them all or choose any of your favourite in the claypot. The soup base is similar to the Bak Kut Teh but it comes with a bit of the kidney's taste. However, if you don't mind abit the slight bitter taste, it is still quite alright. One thing that is commendable is that the innards are cleanly washed without much of funny tastes.

Three Mix 猪杂煲 - RM 12.00 Per Pax Portion
The only claypot that had its food not braised will be their White Pepper Pig's Stomach. Perhaps the nature of enjoying this delicacy goes better having it cooked together with white pepper.

White Pepper Pig's Maw Soup 白胡椒猪肚汤 - RM 12.00 Per Pax Portion
The Otah is thick and you can taste the fish meat in it. However it is kind of spicy and was not too impressive for us.

Spanish Mackeral Fish Otak 马鲛乌打- RM 13.00
We had added some add on to our meal. Since there are a few soup base claypots, we ordered 2 bowls of Fried YouTiao,crispy beancurd skin as well as preserved vegetables to pair our rice with. Rice comes in 2 sizes, big and Small, price at RM 2.00 and RM 1.30 respectively.

Fried Bread Stick 油条 (YouTiao) - RM 2.50, Beancurd Skin 腐竹- RM 3.50, Preserved Vegetable - RM 3.50
In my opinion, they are quite different from Kiang Kee Bak Kut Tea 强记肉骨茶 even though they are from the same family. I will still prefer Kiang Kee's for their taste was to my liking and more herbal.

 Besides that I felt that there are alot of Bak Kut Teh Stalls in JB and its quite a competition.

Perhaps the only thing that make them different is that they are offering Spanish Iberico Pork, however, if you want that, you have to make a booking in advance.

Recommendations on wall

Restoran Kota Zheng Zong 哥打正宗肉骨茶
Address: 177, Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


The group of people behind this casual Japanese restaurant is similar to P.S Cafe.

Interior of Jypsy has its unique style and texture. It has a mixture of both rustic and modern look with wooden beams, old school glass panels on the top over the counter seats. Not only that, the large hanging overhead wicker lanterns works well in the theme too.

Interior of Jypsy
Even the use of corrugated zinc sheets over here make the roof special comparing to other restaurants.

With the plump cushions and dining under those warm lights from the fabric lanterns, it lends a cosy vibe. Not forgetting its quiet environment too.

Even the menu is just a folded piece of paper and can be thrown away after use. Menu is extensive, if you are looking for recommendations, you can find it in the menu or the chalk board hanging above the bar counter seats.

Though these gyoza looks ordinary but its better than your run-of-the mill Gyozas that you find in most Japanese restaurant. The wrap is soft and thin encasing its lobster and crab fillings. What's special will be its mouthwatering dipping sauce that made up of prawn bisque and dashi foam.

Lobster & Crab Gyoza (6 pcs) - $15
Sushi was rolled into rice balls, wrapped with Unagi, foie gras, pickled wasabi and green apple oroshi.

5 Stones - $19
Love the slightly torched Unagi and foie gras, each one of the stones was flavourful and a dish that one may want to order when back here again.

A dish well executed. Though it was an individual portion (not for sharing), I was kind of hooked by the smokey flavours of the Unagi Fried Rice and finished about half of it ~ ending up sharing my main portion too. Wok fried rice may looked dull but with the others pairing of Tofu, pickle, egg omelette, slaw and unagi on the plate, the presentation looked better. Altogether with the soft unagi, it make every mouthful so delicious.

Smokey Unagi Fried Rice - $22
The pulled beef shortrib as well as crunchy cabbage was sandwiched by the toasted soft butter brioche.

Obasan's sticky beef sliders - $15
Meat is sweet and soft with a good taste.

A close look at the beef slider
Bamboo shoot, silver sprouts, seaweed, soft boiled egg, noodles, leek and Jypsy crispy chilli oil made up the bowl of charred Charsiu Ramen.

Charred Charsiu Ramen - $17
Stock is light and refreshing, not the usual murky kind I had from Ramen restaurant. And over here, of course there isn't a choice noodle's firmness. Nevertheless, the smokey flavours from Char Siu was consistent and even the soft boil egg is commendable.

Yum Yum!
Drinks were refreshing and a quencher to us while waiting for the dishes above to arrive.

Sparkling Yuzu & Lemon Grass & Cold Press Nashi pear - $9.50 Each
Overall, I'm charmed by its peaceful environment and quality of food. Its good for gathering if you want a stay away from the bustling city life especially during weekends. There are a number of starters that you can share among your friends, so gathering in a big group should not be an issue over here.

Rating: 4 / 5

 No.38 Martin Road, Singapore 239072

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Restoran Ban Heong Seng 萬香城餐館

We all heard about the Beggar Chicken 乞丐鸡 / 叫化鸡 in Johor Bahru but there were many times when we tried to locate the place, we could not really make ourselves there due to unknown address on Google Map. Moreover, through words of mouth, we learnt that 1 Day advance booking is required. Since then, going there has never come across our mind as our trip to Johor is always a last minute decision nowadays.

Restoran Ban Heong Seng
However, recently I learnt that they have got a new place and decided to try our luck if we could go there. It was a last minute decision and although we know that we have to call in 1 Day in Advance to make booking, I tried our luck through Whatsapp (+60-16757-1887). Fortunately, the boss managed to reserve one chicken for us even no advance booking was made. To ease our journey to their place, he had also sent the link on google map and we followed it accordingly.

When we reached there, we were quite shocked as the place was empty with no other customers seen during dinner time on a Sunday night.

What's outstanding about the Beggar Chicken? I would say its the traditional way of preparing this delicacy. The chicken was stuffed with assorted herbs and being wrap with layers of grease paper and earth clay. There then, it was placed in a bed of charcoal to bake for 8 hours.

Beggar Chicken 叫化鸡 - RM 42.00
How does this Beggar Chicken come about? Apparently this dish is very popular in China. During the ancient time, it was said that a beggar stole a chicken from the farm and in order to prevent getting caught, he covered the chicken with lotus leave and packed clay / mud over it and buried to cook it, avoiding smoke that attract others.

The chicken was indeed very tender and fall off the bone easily with little effort. We dissected the chicken and was impressed by the herbs inside: Wolfberries, red dates, danggui etc. It was packed full of luscious herbal taste though it might be a tad bitter for some.

Herbal Stuffing in the Chicken
Pairing the chicken with Tung Hoon. I will agree that this plate of Tung Hoon gave us a good reminiscent of childhood taste. Ingredients were generous, consisting of mushroom slices, vegetables, prawns, meat and the use of dried shrimp had definitely elevated the taste. 

Tung Hoon 冬粉 - RM 16.00 (Medium)
I wanted to order this as I knew the soup will come in the melon. Melon was elongated and this gave a good depth to contain a few bowls of melon soup.

Melon Soup 冬瓜汤 - RM 28.00
This is also one of their signature dishes. It was steamed for hours with ingredients like wolf-berries, chicken meat, white fungus and red dates. The taste was quite subtle with little or no winter melon taste.

Winter Melon
Remember to scrape the side of the melon wall to get some cooling winter melon flesh.

Up in a bowl
I knew at least the hype of Beggar chicken had died down in me even though many had raved about it. Though meat was fork tender but it kind of lack the herbal taste in it. Given their Signature dishes as the beggar chicken with traditional method of cooking, we still prefer the usual herbal chicken that has got herbal infused.

Rating: 3 / 5

Ban Heong Seng 萬香城餐館
Location:  113, Jalan Impian Emas 59, Taman Impian Emas, 81300 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia

Friday, November 2, 2018

Hard Rock Hotel - Desaru Coast

Being an avid Hard Rock Fan for many years, it was my first experience staying in Hard Rock Hotel. If not for my anniversary, perhaps this chance of getting a stay in the newly launch hotel may not had happened.

Hard Rock Hotel
We reached there an hour or 2 before the formal check in timing and our rooms were not ready. Thus we loitered around the hotel and try to get familiar with the place ourselves.

The reception area is an opened space and looking out of the area, we got to see enjoyable moments in the Adventure Park.

Lobby Area
While exploring around, we saw that there were shuttle buses coming in. However we asked around and realized that those buses were catered for their staff.

Hard Rock Hotel
As the place was relatively new, quite a portion of the hotel were not really in operation, like the coffee lounge and we can see some parts of the rooms were still under renovation. Even the surroundings, its hard to get around without transport.

Adventure Park Behind Check In Counter
We sat around the Lobby and Bar Area, people watching while sipping some coolers waiting for time to pass by. The area was breezy and bright.

We checked a few rounds with the counter and finally our room was ready for check-in.

Waiting at the Lounge
A slight disappointment we had received as the hotel rooms facing the water theme park were all fully occupied thus we were told that we will get hotel facing the sea. However things are still under construction and do not expect the usual sea view we had in mind.

Hotel Facing Sea - My View from the Balcony :(
The lift level were confusing. Lift number doesn't tally the actual level indicated.

Colorful shades while waiting for Lift
We had the Deluxe King Room which is about 42 sq metres / 452 sqft with an attached balcony. As this is their soft launch period, facilities and hotel interior are still very new. The crew that showed us to the room was friendly and explained the usage of the room.

Into the Room
We were welcomed by the pair of Swans on the king bed (pre-arranged with the hotel staff). The room as well as the bed was spacious.

Swans on Bed
Love the comfort level in the hotel room, with such environment, it just make us felt relax and not stepping out of the room. Moreover it was a gloomy and cold weather. Awww... even the firmness of the bed felt so right at the correct moment.

Pillow Case with Guitar
I love the part on their entertainment system in the hotel room. With their flat screen TV and On-demand movies, I guess I can be a couch potato. Not to mention about the free Wi-Fi provided too. There is sound woofer system too. Connections like HDMI, RGB, VGA and USB were all provided.

They have this function that if the balcony sliding door is open, the air conditioning will be automatically switched off.

Door to Balcony

It was a good move by the hotel to go in line with the Recycling Practice. Instead of serving plastic bottles of complimentary mineral water, they had water coolers at every level for us to refill. These bottles were sanitized and each come with a carrier for convenient.

Reuse Refill Return
The Water Filling Station dispenses the water automatically when you placed your bottle at the indicated area and there is a number counter to indicate how many bottles have been saved.

Water Filling Station
Another worthy part to mention will be their mini bar, their snacks and tibits are all free of charge. Not sure if its just for its soft launch.

Mini Bar Area
Thanks to the crews that took efforts in presenting macaroons at our doorsteps instead of Cake and flowers as requested earlier. They did call up before approaching our room and if it was supposed to be a surprise to me, just too bad that I have picked up the call and they had revealed this little token from them.

From the Hotel
Breakfast at the Sessions. It looks quite empty to us as the seats were not fully occupied.


Dining Area at the Sessions
We were not every early for breakfast and not many people there. A good point was that we did not have to squeeze with others and queue for food.

Food Counters
Varieties of food were relatively enough with Western, Chinese, Indian and Malay Breakfast. A staple dish that won't go missing from every hotel's breakfast in Malaysia would be their Nasi Lemak.

Breakfast Area
The egg station looked a little different to me from all the hotels I had visited. They had built a shelving in between and created a "barrier" between the cook and the diners. It brought a little inconvenience that we need to raise ourselves up to collect the eggs. In normal hotel, it would have been "barrier" free. 

Where we get our eggs served
Food items were well organised and kept warm in individual pots. 

Buffet Breakfast
The pots were of quality and popular brand. Some strength will be required while lifting the pots cover up.

Beef Sausages

My Breakfast
We were also free to choose our seating and I love the round table seat.

Seating in the Sessions
Overall, I would comment that their service and hospitality is really great. The only regret I had is that the weather were not too good and we miss out the free entrance into the adventure park. 

Hard Rock hotel
It will be great to return again once the area have been developed with a few launch of hotel. Perhaps another 1 to 2 years time.

Still developing
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Location: Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia