Monday, April 30, 2012


Sangam was a hugely popular Hindi movie made in the 1960s. It was a love story, produced, directed and starred by Raj Kapoor. I remember everybody was gaga when the movie hit the Malaysian screens. I was a young boy then. I went for the movie with some friends. I did not understand a thing. I just remember sweating for more than 3 hours during the ridiculously long epic of a movie. Theatres were not air-conditioned those days.

Sangam is also the name adopted by this pleasant Indian restaurant we visited in Kelana Jaya not too long ago. It is located in Plaza Kelana Jaya, along Jalan SS7/13 off the LDP in Petaling Jaya. The last time we were in this place was when we dined at the Sanook. Plaza Kelana Jaya has not improved since we were last there. If anything, I think the situation has worsen. The place is practically dead, in spite of the beautiful surrounding and infra structures. There were no commercial activities - just a few struggling restaurants and pubs.

Sangam is restaurant cum pub. It has a charming contemporary Indian decor - with an exclusive dining area.

And a relaxing lounge for some drinks...

... and some nice live Hindi music and songs.

The place was very quiet when we arrived. We were the only patrons. A few more trickled in as we progressed with our dinner. A nice gentleman attended to us and took our orders. Being the only patrons, we had the attention of all the staffs in the restaurants.

Dinner started with an appetizer - the Punjabi Channa Chat Patta. It was chick peas mixed with yogurt, onion, green chili, tomato and tamarind paste. It was very tasty and flavorful. The chick peas seemed to blend very well in yogurt and tamarind.

The main meal started with the Mutton Kashmiri. Their mutton was the reason we came to this restaurant. And our basis was absolutely justified, for this mutton dish was so very good. The meat was tender. It cooked in a mild almond paste gravy, with cashew nuts and cherry tomatoes. I enjoyed it totally.

This was the Chicken Tikka Punjabi Masala. It was de-boned barbequed chicken cooked in hand-pounded spices. It wasn't bad at. In fact, the flavor was strong and aromatic. But somehow, it was over-shadowed by the mutton.

The dish of the humble okra (ladies' fingers) was also very good. This was the Bhindi Masala. The okra was not over-done - unlike in most Indian establishments. We could savor the freshness of the okra.

Next was the Aloo Palak. It was potato cooked in spinach and fresh cream. The spinach was rather crushed up - almost a liquid. But it was good. No complaints.

The Mixed Raita was a combination of beans, chick peas and others that I could not identify. Like all other dishes we had so far, this was credible. The spices they use were definitely adequate and blended with the food superbly. 

We had all these with 3 kinds of naans (plain, garlic and cheese) and some chapatis. 

And some super fluffily, fantastic plain briyani nice.

It was an awesome meal. The use of spices in this Indian restaurant was exquisite. Our compliments to the chef indeed!

For dessert, I have a cup of masala tea. It was a highly spiced tea, sweet and aromatic. I think I detected star spice, cinnamon and clove. For me, it was a perfect after dinner drink. But my wife did not like the spices.

We also shared a cup of Kulfi, an Indian ice cream. It was hard, and very rich and milky. We had tiny scoops and let them melt in the mouth. Tasted a lot like those milk cookie balls (I don't what they are called) we find in Indian restaurants. There was a tinge of spices. The taste was very good. 

The Sangam is a delightful Indian makan place. It is a shame that because of its location, not many PJ folks know about it. I highly recommend the place to those who love Indian food. The nice gentleman who took our order told us that they serve buffet lunches at reasonable prices. I think I would want to try this out. In any case, we most probably will be back. Crystal was not with us during this visit. We will bring her there when she comes back from Melbourne.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kogetsu (Ouch) Japanese Restaurant

This is probably the most expensive Japanese restaurants that I know in the Klang Valley. Yet we have repeatedly gone back and perhaps continue to do so, albeit only when the moon turns blue. For the food is good and the ambiance is cosy, quiet and conducive. It is a place for the something extra. And I have enjoyed every one of our visits.

Kogetsu, in Japanese, probably means Moon Lake. I take it from the Chinese characters -湖. It is located in the Saujana Hotel, at the Saujana Golf & Country Club, not far from the Subang Airport. As the name implies, it is sited next to a beautiful lake (actually it is more a pond) in the resort. However all our visits had been in the night, and we did not get to enjoyed the beauty of the place. The hotel management should strategically up some lights around the "lake" to bring up aura of the place.

I like the ambiance very much. It is in a building by itself, away from the main hotel. Like most old Japanese places, the place is entirely of wood. It is softly lit - almost a little too dim - and the whole place is a very favorable place to have a quiet meal.

The kitchen is large and right next to the dining area. I did not think it was such a good idea for they were a bit noisy and sort of mar the serenity of the place.

They have a sushi bar at one end of the restaurant. I love sushi, but eating at a bar does not appeal to me at all.

My wife and I shared a set meal of teppanyaki sea food, with an additional order of garlic fried rice. The meal started with a simple salad slaw, tomato and mayo.

Then came a small bowl of pickled jelly fish to further tease our appetite.

The plate of sashimi comprised of 2 slices each of salmon, tuna and mackerel. They were so very fresh and of good quality. I enjoyed them tremendously. Unfortunately my wife does not touch raw fish. 

The chawan mushi was served piping hot in a nice porcelain cup. It was heavenly. The egg was so smooth - almost like a cream. In it were pieces of mushroom, chicken and others. I love chawan mushi and this is somewhat of a pinnacle. 

A bowl of miso.

The main course comprised a piece of salmon, a large prawn, 2 fresh oysters and 2 fresh scallops. They were all supremely fresh and beautifully teppanyaki grilled. The quality of food here is superb.

This was followed by a plate of teppanyaki vege.

The garlic fried rice was delicious. I have always enjoyed and admired Japanese garlic fried rice. I have tried a number of times to reproduce their style of frying rice. I have yet to succeed.

We order a couple of extras to supplement our set. The first was this delightful row of soft shell crab. Absolutely superior. The crab was crispy in the inside and the rice with the abundant fish roe was soft and fluffy outside. Such a joy.

The second add-on amazed me. We definitely do not have salmon in Malaysia. It had to be imported. They say fish decays head first. How did they keep this salmon head so very fresh? This salmon head was grilled to perfection. Every bit of this head was fresh. Not a tinge of fishiness. I should had taken a picture of was left after we finished with it. I cleaned to the bone.

Dessert was a small plate of fruit that came with the set. We ordered a green tea ice cream to supplement. The ice cream was weeny. It was served with some red bean paste. Delicious.

The meal was most satisfying. It was delicious. The food was fresh and of superior quality. The environment was excellent. Only one set back. The whole thing costed us almost 300 bucks. Ouch!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pun Chun

Pun Chun (珍) used to be a very popular wanton mee (雲吞麵) restaurant in Bidor, Perak. In the days before the North-South Highway, motorists on the trunk road used to stop at this shop for a bowl of their very popular duck drumstick soup noodles (面). And the place was usually jam packed. The shop most probably prospered because of this motoring patronage. They were also famous for their chicken biscuit (鸡子饼), which was a gross misnomer for they were made entirely out of pork and lard. 

I do not know why it took them so long. They finally found their way to the Klang Valley. And in my neighborhood too. When I saw their outlet in Ara Damansara, I wasted no time visiting it to relive the day when we used to relish their delicious noodles.


Their Ara Damansara branch is located on Jalan PJU 1A/3, on the other end of the row of shops where E-San Thai Kitchen is located. Besides this branch, they also have outlets in Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam and Bandar Puteri Puchong.

Contrary to my expectations, the place is very simply furnished - plastic chairs, cheap table tops and almost devoid of decor. They have a food counter at the back where the food is efficiently prepared entirely by foreign nationals.

They have racks at the side where on display for sales are cookies, white coffee and of course their famed chicken biscuits.

Their duck drumstick soup noodles (面) topped their menu offering. Their duck soup is totally drumsticks. They do not serve other parts of the duck. I wonder where they get so many duck thighs, and what happen to the other parts of the ducks. The duck thighs are deep-fried or perhaps roasted and then boiled or steamed with a combination of herbs in a soup. Wanton noodles are added to this soup.

You could order the soup without the noodles. Personally I prefer this. Without being diluted by the noodles, I find the soup rich, tasty and very pleasant. I really do not care much for the meat. It is the soup that I relish and it is definitely better without the noodles.

For noodles, I prefer their good old wanton mee (雲吞麵). My choice is kon-lo () or dry, with some char siew  () for toppings. The noodle is Pun Chun is very good. It has the nice texture and it is not over-cooked. 

Besides char siew (), you could also have curry pork ribs...

... or pork knuckles with your noodles.

And mushroom and chicken feet, which you can have with the noodles or just by itself.

And the wanton. Don't forget about their nice big wanton. Their wanton is not the typical pathetic wanton with meagre fillings that we find in most Malaysian shops and stalls. The wantons here are big with generous pork and prawn fillings - much like those we find in Hongkong. I enjoy the wantons here.

Lastly, I have to mention their pickled green chillies. I know it is trivial. But their pickled chillies is very nice - fresh and well pickled. Wanton noodles must be eaten with pickled green chillies, and each time I am there, I have my full share of this wonderful condiment.

Pun Chun is not fantastic. Still it offers a decent meal, with reasonable varieties and at affordable prices. Certainly it brings back some memories. And I am glad they have a branch in our neighborhood. Anytime I have a craving for a nice plate of wanton mee, it is just around the corner.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Pan Mee

Pan mee (面) is a hand made noodle that is uniquely Malaysian. The manner that it is made and the way it is cooked - I have not been able to find it any where else. However it is not my favorite food. If I have a choice, I would avoid it. I do not like the texture of the noodles. I find it rather thick and chewy. Still, I visited 2 shops specializing in this noodle over a period of 2 weeks. And survived to write about them.

The first place I went to was Kin Kin. When Crystal saw the pictures of the place in my Macbook, she asked "You went to Kin Kin?" I really have no idea what's the big deal about the place. Kin Kin has its origin in a shop at 40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Suleiman, off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in KL. It apparently is very popular. And like all successful businesses, they expand. The shop we visited was their branch in Pandan Indah, Cheras. I should perhaps use the word "branches" for there were 2 corner shops side-by-side, separated by a road.. Both were on Jalan Perubatan 4, Off Jalan Pandan Ilmu, Pandan Indah. Business must be very good with two shops in the same vicinity.

There are 2 varieties of pan mee. One is the common string-like noodles - normally made with a rolling machine. I had a bowl of it - kon lo (干捞) or dry. In it was some minced pork, deep fried ikan bilis and a poached egg. The yolk broke and flowed into the noodles, supposedly to enhance its flavor. I thought they were rather stingy with their ingredients. The mince pork was meagre and the ikan bilis could be counted with the fingers of one hand. 

It was served with a bowl of (potato leaf) vegetable soup.

Eaten with this extra spicy chili paste.

The other variety if pan mee is the flat 'pinched' type. This noodle is normally hand pulled or pinched from a piece of dough. If I thought the string noodles were thick and chewy, this was worse. I definitely did not order this bowl. It was either YF or HK who did - I don't remember. In this soup noodles were the same minced pork and deep fried ikan bilis. 

We also shared a bowl assorted fish and meat balls and fu chuk (腐竹).

Not more than a forth-night later, Crystal led us to another pan mee place for breakfast. It was the Super Kitchen Chilly Pan Mee at Jalan USJ5/9S in Taipan, Subang Jaya. The signboard says they were the 5th branch of this restaurant chain. 

According to their website, they also have their origin at Jalan Dewan Sultan Suleiman, off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in KL. Their shop lot is at No 33 - just a few doors away from the Kin Kin mother branch. Competition! 

Besides Subang Jaya, they also have branches in Kota Damansara, Kepong, PJ and Puchong. Is pan mee really that popular?

All 3 of us opted for the kon-lo (干捞) pan mee that morning. In it was the same mince pork, ikan bilis and poached egg. And something extra - a nice portion of deep fried garlic, which I found to complement the noodles very well. The ingredients in the bowl, compared to Kin Kin, was a lot more generous.

Also served with a bowl of potato leaf soup.

And of course the chili paste.

Like Kin Kin, they also offered fish ball and fu chuk (腐竹) that looked like this.

How did the 2 places compare in taste and favor? Well, like I mentioned I am no pan mee fan. And I am not very discerning when it comes to this noodle. I honestly could not tell the difference. They were equally good, or bad depending on your liking for pan mee. But one thing was for sure - it definitely was enough. It would be a long time before I eat another bowl of pan mee. To borrow the words of Shakespeare... I had "excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die".