Cronuts and Sweet Stuffs @Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 5 2014

As far as fads go, cronut is so yesterday, but I finally tried my very first cronut in Kuala Lumpur in Cafe Marco at Shangri-La Hotel (wa..aay back in June!)!

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Cronuts in Cafe Marco, Shangri-La Hotel

Cronut™ is a trademarked creation of Chef Dominique Ansel in New York, described to be a croissant-doughnut hybrid where the pastry is made by frying laminated dough in grape seed oil, which is then sugared, filled, and glazed.  Launched on May 10, 2013, it became the most virally talked about pastry in history – from New York to Hong Kong and to Australia!

As the cute pictogram shows, a Cronut = Croissant + Doughnut.  Translated: Flaky layers of pastries (i.e.croissants) but round in shape with a hole in the middle (i.e doughnuts).  This deep-fried cholesterol clogging villain is named by TIME Magazine as one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2013” in December of 2013!

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Cafe Marco makes different flavours each day.  I tried a couple, but did not really like them.  The cronuts were very greasy, soaking through the layers with oil.   Also, not a good choice for breakfast at all… but hey, at least I’ve ticked cronuts off my list!

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Apple Pie Cronut

There’s also the Cronut Brownie… In fact, let imagination run, many flavours can be concocted!  

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Cronut Brownie

The traditional me still prefer an almond croissant anytime!

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The sugar sculptures for cake-toppers on display are very cute and pretty to look at, but I bet they cost an arm and a leg.

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Up Up Away

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Pinocchio

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Faraway Tree

Assam Laksa @ JP Teres, Grand Hyatt Hotel, KLCC

Date of Visit:  November 28 2013.

What’s the 7th best food in the world?   According to a CNN Poll conducted in 2011, it was Penang Assam Laksa!  Lusciously described as  “Poached, flaked mackerel, tamarind, chili, mint, lemongrass, onion, pineapple … one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes is an addictive spicy-sour fish broth with noodles (especially great when fused with ginger), that’ll have your nose running before the spoon even hits your lips”

Wow!  Assam Laksa even beat the world famous Thai spicy soup King –Tom Yum Goog – which came in at the 8th spot.

Admittedly, this is my first time eating a bowl of Assam Laksa, a basic street food in Malaysia of Peranakan origin – and the irony is that I am eating it in the up-market air-conditioned comfort of a 5-star hotel.  Nonetheless, with a tissue  in  hand, ready to wipe my runny nose,  let’s dig in!  

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Assam Laksa

My assam laksa arrived with fresh red chili peppers and a calamansi on top of the noodles.  Other toppings on the soup included the obligatory cilantro, shallots, fresh ginger, cucumbers and a  sliced hard-boiled egg.

Assam laksa is a chowder made from shredded mackerel in a lemongrass-infused broth thickened with tamarind and served with thick rice vermicelli noodles. The key ingredient of the soup is tamarind (or assam in Malay) which is used generously in the soup base.  Garlic, onion, ginger, pineapple and fish paste or belacan are also used in the broth as garnishes.

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Assam Laksa

The shredded mackerel was evident floating on top of the noodles as a mass of thick brown mass.  I mixed everything up in the bowl and after tasting the broth, which has a complex taste of a mixture of sour-citrusy-fishy, I added a squeeze of the calamansi and extra  fresh chillis, simply because I love my hot and spicy amped up with a bite!  The noodles itself, were very chewy – like udon noodles.

It was overall a very stout bowl of assam laksa.  The broth was as good as I have had, and well worth returning to – and I am definitely a return customer, my previous visit sampling other local fares here – another strong point about this broth is that it is NOT EVEN OILY!   😚

Ah yes, the tissue did come in handy!

A Local KL Breakfast @ Restoran Win Heng Seng, KLCC

Date of Visit:  Numerous – my local KL breakfast place

This post is for my friend who will be visiting KL next month with her family. She asked me about good local eats in KL, so I am recommending Restoran Win Heng Seng at the junction of Jalan Barat and Jalan Imbi, near Bukit Bintang in KLCC.  It is close to the majors hotels e.g. Westin, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton as well as Pavilion where I stay. This is also where I go for my local breakfast when I am in KL – total spend of under RM5 for a bowl of wonton noodles and a drink!  Cheap!

How do one get there from Pavilion Mall…

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Liuligongfang crystal bowl fountain

Cross Jalan Bukit Bintang and walk into the street between the Sephora and Uniglo.

I am perplexed as how this funky deconstructive building received its development approval seeing that one of the sharp corners of the building pokes out into the pedestrian pavement.  A wee bit dangerous, one would think, nevertheless,  I am unperturbed since I like Sephora because they stock  some niche make-up brands including Stella, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Kit, etc…

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A Daniel Libeskind copy

Keep walking until you reach the end of the street.

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Star Hill Mall on the right – where Debenhams department store is located

You will have arrived at Jalan Imbi when you see a green coloured corner lot in front of you. This is the restaurant. Take care to cross the busy road (the pedestrian lights do not work)

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Restoran Win Heng Seng in green

This cafe is as local as it can get – one can mingle with the taxi drivers, office workers, families alike.

There are many stalls selling a myriad of hawker foodstuffs from fried noodles, soup noodles, tofu, rice (including nasi lemak – Malay rice delicacy) and pastries.  The local tea and coffees are very nice.  I always order Kopi-C Kosong Ais – Iced coffee with evaporated milk, no sugar.  Take care if you order Teh-tarikMalay pulled milk tea which is extremely sweet!

I recommend sitting alfresco if you are early, before the sun gets too hot (around 7:30am – 8:30am) because it can get a bit stuffy and smoky from the woks inside the restaurant. You will be hassled by beggars, hawkers selling lottery tickets and charitable organisations seeking for donation – please check the charity workers’ ID tags since it is compulsory that they carry it!

I always have fish-skin wonton noodles soup. The wonton skins are made from fish paste and filled with minced pork. The soup base has ikan billis (anchovies), parsleys and bean sprouts – and a LOT of MSG!  Very delicious, but still,  don’t drink the broth! 

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Fish-skin wonton noodles soup

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Accompaniment to the noodles: Light soy with green chilies for extra kick!

There is also a  stall selling mini pastries baked fresh on the premises – egg tarts (or princeling tarts), siew bao (pastry ball stuffed with BBQ meat), pineapple tarts, apple tarts, tuna pies, etc. This stall is apparently very popular among the locals.  (Psst…they misused 1 Chinese character, since when is a tart=tower?)

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Mini Egg Tarts fresh from the oven (about $0.70 each?)

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Princeling tarts, apple tarts and pineapple tarts

After breakfast, it’s back to Pavilion Mall for window-shopping. The mall only opens at 10am though.

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Entrance to Pavilion Mall: The LINE android app mascot saying ‘Hi’!

I reckon the Christmas decoration in Pavilion Mall is the best in KL! There are lots of activities, meaning it is very noisy which drives me KRAZY!

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Christmas Bazaar in the atrium inside Pavilion Mall

More furry friends on the top floor.  Let’s be naughty – let’s give ’em a good rub to turn them black!  OK, because we are adults, we say it’s for Good Luck then!  😝

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Larger-than-life furry friends