Showing posts with label coconut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coconut. Show all posts

Saturday, July 20, 2024


Bánh Khọt (RM14.90), scrumptious Vietnamese mini savoury coconut pancakes laden with minced pork, chopped shrimps, mung beans and sautéed spring onions transported us to Vietnam briefly.

The serving of moreish pancakes was one of the new items launched by An Viet recently. Slightly crisp on the outer edges segueing into spongier texture towards the centre, we savoured them wrapped in fresh lettuce and herbs. Nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) with pickled radish and carrot strips boosted the overall taste.
We also sampled several other new dishes at the latest outlet at Pavilion Bukit Jalil recently. The show-stealer was Crispy Rice Noodle Pillows with Sautéed Pork/Beef (a la carte: RM22.90 pork/RM23.90 beef; set RM27.90 pork/RM28.90 beef).
According to restaurateur Caren Poon, the dish is a tricky one to prepare. “The flat rice noodles needs to be of a certain thickness so that they can be layered, cut into squares then deep-fried to puff them up. If the noodles are too thick, the resultant ‘pillows’ will be hard. It cannot be too thin either as they may break during the frying process.”
Taste-wise, the noodle ‘pillows’ combined with the stir-fried greens and sliced beef/pork bore some similarities with Cantonese fried noodles. We like the cohesive textures and enticing smoky aroma emanating from the dish.
Besides the prawn version, An Viet now features Gỏi Cuốn (RM10.90), fresh spring rolls with grilled pork belly in addition to fillings of rice vermicelli, fresh lettuce, radish and carrot julienne and basil.
Dunked into sweet-savoury-tangy nuoc cham, the gamut of harmonious flavours and disparate yet complementary textures scored well with us.  

Evoking the comforting warmth of hearth and home, we couldn’t resist sampling the soulful Stewed Chestnut Pork Belly (RM24.90 with rice; RM29.90 set). Think tau ew bak (braised pork in soy sauce) Vietnamese-style, albeit shades lighter due to a mixture of coconut water, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar used to braise the pork.
Succulent black mushrooms and powdery-soft chestnuts dialled up the speciality’s appeal. We slurped up the rich, flavourful gravy to the last drop.
For our quota of greens, we opted for Gong Cai Crunchy “Sound Vegetable” Salad with Tiger Prawns (RM18.90). Black sesame seed-flecked crackers and toasted peanuts played key supporting roles, tastefully backing up a trio of sautéed sliced celtuce, carrot julienne and poached tiger prawns.
The entire delicious medley not only proved on-song but also rendered delightful ‘sound bites’ to the ears.
No visit to An Viet is complete without pho. The newly included Sautéed Beef Noodle Soup (a la carte RM24.90, set RM29.90) was the satisfying solution; a splendid pairing of silky smooth noodles with gently sautéed beef slices.

Chè Ba Màu (RM8.90), Vietnamese 3 Colour Dessert capped off our culinary sojourn. Similar to ice kacang, this refreshing shaved ice treat atop soft red and mung beans, pandan-green jelly strips, and lightly sweetened coconut milk was the perfect ending to our marvellous Vietnamese dining experience.
For more information and reservations at An Viet, visit:

Saturday, May 04, 2024



Cinnamon, cardamom, chillies and coconut are essential building blocks of Sri Lankan cuisine. Tamarind and curry powder are also favoured in the arsenal of spice mixes for Chef Sivarajah Suppiah of Aliyaa.
Hailing from Nuwara Eliya also known as Little England, the tea growing hills of Sri Lanka famed for its cool climate and colonial era bungalows, Chef Siva started cooking at 18 years old. As the eldest child, he was responsible for preparing family meals when his parents were at work.
Chef Siva was recruited to join Aliyaa in 2008 and worked hard to eventually spearhead the Aliyaa team in 2012. He was instrumental in promoting the diverse flavours of Sri Lanka to the restaurant’s local clientele. “From our famous crab sambal to soul-warming kothu, Aliyaa strives to showcase Sri Lanka’s vibrant food scape through the intricate use of spices and techniques passed down through generations.”

The homespun Kothu (RM30-RM45) is a compelling must try offering. An ingenious way of using leftover string hoppers, roti or puttu (steamed cylindrical-shape ground rice cakes layered with grated coconut), it’s cooked with chicken, mutton, seafood or vegetables in addition to egg, onions, and chillies. Stir-fried in a heated stone pot, the comforting kothu’s enticing charred smokiness and mouth-watering medley of flavours and textures are similar to that of char kway teow.

Earlier we had devoured some golf ball-sized Fish Cutlets (RM24), crisp yet tender orbs of flaked mackerel fish and aromatic spices dipped into luscious onion sauce. No prizes for guessing why this dish remains a favourite among Aliyaa customers.

Another classic hit is Crab Meat Curry (RM185) in which chunks of sweet crab meat comes served in slightly creamy, robustly flavoured curry. Such bliss to enjoy sumptuous bites of crab meat minus the hassle of cracking shells and extracting bits of crab meat. The curry’s stealthy heat also left us hot under the collar.

Named after Sri Lanka’s beach resort with its time-honoured seafood and ancient fishing traditions, the speciality of Tiger Prawns Negombo (RM38 per 100g) proudly stood up to scrutiny. Huge, succulent tiger prawns in thick, aromatic curry reeled us in; capturing our hearts and tummies with a symphony of winsome flavours and texture.

We then relished scraping out the soft pulp from long, slender Moringa pods in a notable Drumstick Curry (RM22). Dousing the turmeric-accented gravy over rice, we were gratified to know drumsticks are good for digestion, high in fibre and rich in calcium and iron.
A gastronomic journey to Sri Lanka can be sampled via the Aliyaa Experience set menu (RM128 per person, minimum 2 persons per table). Crab Samosa and Atukkal Rasam served as the opening salvo.

The isle’s vibrant food heritage will be revealed to you as you work your way through the small portions of Fish Sothi, Prawn Varuval, Devilled Chicken, Mutton Curry, Cashewnut Paal (brinjal) Curry, Brinjal Moju (pickle), Nethili (dried anchovies) Sambol, Vallarai (medicinal herb also known as daun pegaga) and Carrot Sambol, Papadam and Chilli, along with Nei Soru (ghee rice) and string hoppers.
Completing the sensorial tasting party are warm, fluffy soft Sweet Appam sprinkled with palm sugar.
To cap off our Sri Lankan culinary adventure, we indulged in Wattalappam (RM15), a classic steamed custard pudding of coconut milk, eggs and spices delicately sweetened with jaggery.

For reservations at Aliyaa, call tel: 017-883 3738. Address: 48 G&M, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023


Cili Kampung’s show-stealing Gulai Nangka with Pucuk Manis (RM35) won us over at first bite. The chunks of tender young jackfruit and leafy Sabah vegetable (sauropus androgynus) in coconut milk had such well-balanced flavours, we instantly went for repeat helpings.

From the legendary isle of Langkawi comes Cili Kampung’s range of traditional Malay family recipes to tempt Klang Valley folks.
To evoke laidback kampung vibes at the Suria KLCC outlet, fish traps double up as pendant lights, clusters of potted palms and greenery along with paintings of kampung life and little replicas of kampung houses are artfully incorporated into the resto’s décor. There is even a cosy, well-designed private dining room with rustic touches.

The hot and spicy level of its classic kampung fare remain true to local expectations, and our recent lunch was proof of that. Sampling the Sambal Cili Api Chicken (RM40) left us hot and sweaty: the tongue-searing blend of green and red chillies, garlic and red onion was punchy and nice. 
To douse the 'fire', we sought cool comfort in house drinks such as Lychee Lime & Rose (RM16), Bunga Telang Selasih (butterfly pea flower drink with basil seeds RM14), Sirap Pandan Kenduri (RM8) and Rambutan Lengkong (a mildly sweet concoction of diced grass jelly, goji berries and red dates, RM14).
Feasting on the rich and aromatic Beef Masak Lomak (RM48) – sliced beef in a blend of ground chillies, turmeric, coconut milk, lemongrass and turmeric leaves was sublime. Best eaten with rice, the yellow curry can also be prepared with fish, chicken, squid, prawns or hornshell (siput balitong).
Spicy-hot with a tinge of sourness, the signature Asam Pedas Tenggiri (RM65) included aromatic daun kesum (polygonum minus), kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger flower and lemongrass to bestow it with depth and complexity. Okra lent textural interest to the dish.
We found several sizeable prawns in the Sambal Petai Prawns (RM65). TBH, this dish could do with less oil and more petai (stink beans) though you can request for extra petai for extra RM10.
A colourful ensemble of palm sugar ice cubes, green cendol jelly, red beans, sweet corn, buttered crumbs, fresh jackfruit strips, fresh milk and coconut ice cream making up Mama Cendol (RM22) hit our sweet spot for the finale.

Richer on the palate was Onde Onde Puding Bakar (RM25), a nice take of kuih bakar, a rich coconut milk-based cake baked over hot coals. Made of buttered bread with pandan and coconut milk, the dessert with layers of palm sugar and grated roasted coconut, came with homemade vanilla sauce.

Conceived to showcase local produce, Bukit Kelapa (RM25) enticed us with triple scoops of coconut ice cream with gula melaka syrup, crushed cookie crumbs, honeycomb, and mixed nuts.
Next time you’re in the mood for some kampung-style fare, trek home to Cili Kampung for your share of comforting Malay food in the city.
For reservations at Cili Kampung, call tel: 014-965 6124. Address: Lot 432 - 433 & OS401, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 11 am – 10 pm daily


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