The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Reunion dinner @ Restoran Kitchen Damansara Kim, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

We were in Malaysia last month, to join my extended family's reunion dinner held annually on the eve of the lunar new year. It is a big affair every year, because my relatives get together to also celebrate my grandmother's birthday at the same time. This year we celebrated her 94th birthday! We last joined the Chinese new year/birthday festivities six years ago when our eldest kid was around the age of our youngest, and his younger sisters were not born yet. I felt it was important for my girls to have this cultural experience, especially since their great-grandmother is not getting any younger! Our reunion dinner was held at Restoran Kitchen, and almost all of us in Australia flew over to Malaysia for this reunion. The last bit of the Aussie summer school holidays coincided with the lunar new year this year, so my Aussie cousins and half my siblings took the opportunity to join in the reunion. We needed 4 tables for our family's reunion dinner at the restaurant! This is perhaps our largest reunion yet, thanks to the next generation that's ever-increasing. My grandmother had six of her seven children present as well as most of her grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren to celebrate her birthday!

We had the outside tables at Restoran Kitchen for the 6pm seating, which was great for the 10 children in our company who could be as loud and rowdy as they can without bothering other patrons (although I reckon the adults were equally loud and rowdy as the kids!). There were several sets offered by Restoran Kitchen for dinner on the eve Chinese New Year, and my cousin had to pay a hefty deposit to secure four tables for the night. The elders decided on Set A, which costed RM968 per table (of typically 10 people). The food served was enjoyable, and each course were served at a reasonable pace to each table. The two dessert courses were hit-and-miss with our relatives. I personally loved the mochi but found the bird's nest soup too milky for my liking, whereas many others found the mochi combo a bit difficult to take but enjoyed the bird's nest. To each their own!

The ingredients for yee sang aka yusheng, prosperity toss. Yee sang literally translates to "raw fish", and the Chinese term is also a homophone for "increase in abundance". The diners at the table toss the ingredients while saying auspicious wishes, and they are expected to do both with plenty of enthusiasm:

Ready for tossing!:

Chopsticks on the ready:

A short video clip to show the fun. The higher the toss, the better:

Double-boiled village chicken soup with dried scallop, fish maw and shark bone:

Steamed Patin with beancurd sheet in soy sauce:

Five spices roasted chicken:

Steamed tiger prawns with Chinese wine:

Braised dried oyster with mushroom and gluten:

Glutinous rice with waxed meat:

Butterfly pea flower mochi:

Chilled bird's nest with coconut milk:

We all had a fabulous reunion, and I certainly hope that it will not be another six years before we join the next reunion!

Restaurant Kitchen Damansara Kim
48B, Jalan SS 20/10, Damansara Kim
47400 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia
Tel. +60 3-7732 1329

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Revisit: Operator25, Melbourne

Happy new year to all! Last month was yet another incredibly busy month, with the end-of-school-year hustle and bustle including our eldest kid's graduation, and the usual busyness of the end of year festivities. We also hosted my in-laws from Brisbane who visited for a week to spend Christmas with us. One of our favourite places to bring our out-of-town guests is brunch at Operator25 and then a short stroll to the Queen Vic Market, which is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. We first visited Operator25 a few years ago when we met up with a cousin, during a trip to Melbourne while we were still living in Hong Kong. We certainly didn't know that we would be back for many more visits, and we have enjoyed every visit. The drinks menu are as innovative and creative as the food, and I especially love the beautiful latte art that accompanies the hot drinks. The menu changes seasonally, so there's always something new to try everytime we visited. It is a very popular brunch joint, so I always make bookings on days that Operator25 accepts reservations (on weekdays only for groups over 6), which is essential whenever dining out with children. The benedict creations and burgers are always excellent choices, and all the other dishes we've tried have also been fabulous.

Check out the latte art:

Kaya Matcha Latte - a sweet, beautiful combination of flavours from two different cuisines:

Hot chocolate:


Picolo latte:

Teriyaki Benedict - Teriyaki pulled pork on toasted brioche with yuzu hollandaise, mizuna leaves and wonton crisps:

Balinese Pork Burger - Balinese marinated pork belly, fried egg, chilli mayo, crispy shallots, coriander, cabbage and carrot slaw on brioche bun:

Citrus-cured Salmon with tapioca and polenta croquettes, yuzu dressing, compressed cucumber, fresh tomatoes, wasabi mayonnaise and pickled beetroot and a poached egg:

Japanese Open Omelette with octopus, wakame, spring onion, edamame, Japanese mayo and miso buttered toast:

Rendang Benedict - pulled beef brisket rendang on brioche toast, poached eggs, lime hollandaise and wonton crisps:

Korean Fried Chicken Burger - fried chicken on black brioche bun, soy garlic sauce, butter lettuce, kimchi mayo, pickled radish and spiced potato crisps:

25 Wills St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel. +61 3 9670 3278

Operator25 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Birthday lunch @ Nobu [Crown Melbourne]

It has been an incredibly busy past few weeks, with a few November birthday celebrations in the family, lengthy dance rehearsals, and the arrival of a new baby in the family just a few days ago (my sister's not mine)! I myself celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago, and hubby arranged to bring me out for a birthday lunch. He was very secretive about his plans for the day, but he had to ask my sister to help collect our youngest from kinder and to look after her, forgetting to tell my sister that it was supposed to be a surprise. One thing that remained a surprise until we arrived was the location of lunch, which was at Nobu. Japanese cuisine remains one of my favourite, so hubby did very well in his choice. The Nobu brand is probably the world's most recognised Japanese restaurant, and we had the pleasure of dining at Nobu in Hong Kong where we enjoyed the fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients. Nobu is located inside the Crown complex, a place that I quite enjoy visiting without having to set foot inside the casino. Service was friendly but professional, and our waiter was very helpful in recommending drinks and food. The contemporary timber decor and the lovely river views made for a stylishly cool setting for a celebratory meal. I finally got to try Nobu's lunch bento boxes, almost exactly two years after I first set my sights on them in the menu. The food was excellently executed with top quality ingredients, and hubby and I enjoyed every morsel of food.

Hokusetsu onigoroshi (devil killer) sake. Flavour profile: "dry and refreshing, savoury notes arise on the palate". I've yet to encounter a sake I do not enjoy:

Hubby's Mayura Gold Series Wagyu with Wasabi Salsa. That wagyu was everything a good quality wagyu should be - tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture with a beautiful flavour. This was a tasty dish, even the cauliflower had absorbed the flavourful broth and was such a pleasure to eat:

Nobu Signature Bento Box - clockwise from top left: sashimi salad with Matsuhisa dressing, Chef’s selection of assorted sushi, seafood ceviche, baby tiger prawns with creamy spicy sauce, black cod Saikyo miso, sautéed seasonal vegetables with spicy garlic sauce. Every bite was excellent:

Whisky Cappuccino with cardamon cream, toasted cinnamon crunch, espresso gelato and Suntory Whisky foam. Such a cute presentation, and so delicious:

Petit Four of matcha azuki bean donut and Earl Grey mochi ice cream, complete with a written birthday wish:

Nobu [Crown Melbourne]
Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman St
Southbank VIC 3006
Tel. +61 3 9292 5777

Nobu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 11 November 2019

Cozy German-Swiss dining @ Restaurant Stägerstübli, Murren (Switzerland)

During our (too short) stay in beautiful Murren in the Swiss Alps last year, we ventured out of our excellent lodging for an early dinner at Stägerstübli on our final evening there. It is family-friendly with hearty meals to warm the body and soul up. The meat menu came with the choice of sides, carbs or vegetables and sauce, so between the three adults, we got to try different options. We found the service to be friendly and helpful, and the cozy and homely atmosphere was very inviting. I remember being satisfied and happy with our meals at Stägerstubli.

This was where I tried aperol spritz for the first time:

Can't go wrong with fish fingers and chips for the fussy kids:

Kalbsgechnetzeltes en Rahmsauce - sliced veal in a cream sauce, with rice and vegetables:

Lammfilet mit Knoblauchmayonnaise - lamb fillet with garlic mayonnaise, with rosti and vegetables:

Schweinsrahmschnitzel - escalope of pork with a mushroom cream sauce, with rosti and vegetables:

Dessert was a trio of delicious ice cream flavours:

Restaurant Stägerstubli
L. & R. Gertsch-Betschart
CH-3825 Mürren
Tel. +41 33 855 13 16

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Brunch @ Mamma Says, Melbourne

I love the fact that we are spoilt for choice for good food and coffee near where we live. Hubby and I make it a goal to fit in a quick brunch date once a month when the youngest is in kinder, and it always has to be somewhere nearby because the kinder session is only 2 hours duration. Mamma Says is a favourite amongst the locals on Station Street, located opposite another favourite. The menu contained the usual brunch favourites featuring eggs like a few varieties of eggs benedict, omelettes, and the big breakfast, as well as a couple more decadent selections like pancakes and french toast. There were also lighter options like toast, muesli and yoghurt, and more substantial mains for lunch like chicken parma, grilled lamb and steak sandwich. There are plenty of choices to suit a variety of tastebuds and appetites. We have been to Mamma Says twice now, and can confirm that is consistently great, whether for a quick coffee or a proper meal.

Delicious coffee:

Avocado Smash (AUS$19) mixed with feta, lemon juice and mint, with a poached egg and jalepeno on toast:

Hashstack (AU$18.50) with 3 homemade hashbrowns, bacon and a poached egg topped with hollandaise:

Mamma's Big Breakfast (AU$22.50) with eggs your way on toast with bacon, tomato, chorizo, mushrooms, homemade hash brown and aioli:

Atlantic Benedict (AU$20.50) - poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon, spinach and hollandaise:

Mamma Says
120 Station St
Fairfield VIC 3078
Tel. +61 3 9489 1112

Mamma Says Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato