Review: Soi19 Thai BBQ & Steamboat

Greetings from Kuching! I flew back to Kuching from Brunei on short notice last Sunday evening for a family errand. I had gotten everything done now and I still have another two days in town. I did not sleep well on my first night here and I was feeling sleepy before my usual bedtime yesterday evening. Thankfully, I slept better yesterday and I am feeling more energetic today.

I chose to stay at an Airbnb in VivaCity Megamall so that it would be easier for me to commute around and find places to eat. There are plenty of food eateries here inside the mall but pricey. I noticed that businesses aren’t so favorable here as some of the food franchises in VivaCity had closed down.

Without further ado, let me show you what I had for dinner yesterday evening! I chose Soi19 as I had been craving for non-Halal but spicy food and Soi19 fits the descriptions!

Soi19 is a Thai franchise restaurant but I am not sure if it’s the same Soi19 from Bangkok. The restaurant is properly fitted with ventilation system for Thai BBQ. There weren’t much patrons having Thai BBQ at the time so I could not vouch how strong and effective the ventilation system is.

Thai Red Milk Tea (Hot) | RM6.50

I wanted something hot to drink so I ordered their Thai Red Milk Tea and requested for less sweet. It was served almost unsweetened. Red tea tasted prominent but it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked.

Garlic Fried Pork with Rice | RM12.90

Thai Basil Minced Pork with Rice | RM15.90

Served with stir fry Thai basil minced pork and fragrant rice, topped with a perfectly done sunny side up. As you can see in the above picture, the minced pork was loaded with thin sliced bird eye chilies. Definitely feeling the heat if you chewed on them. The minced pork was tender with some fatty bits. Flavor was nicely executed but slightly salty. The gravy from the minced pork paired with the rice very well.

Soi19 Thai BBQ & Steamboat
L3-24, VivaCity Megamall,
Jalan Wan Alwi,
Kuching 93250,
Sarawak,
Malaysia
Tel: +6-082263468

Review: Seri Damai Restaurant & Catering

Clara was in town for holiday and we met up for dinner along with Diana and San Diann. We met at Geio Persian Restaurant at 7:30PM but were told that most of their food had sold out. We left and Diana suggested Seri Damai Restaurant & Catering for decent Pakistani food. We all agreed as the said restaurant had been in our bucket list for ages.

Without further ado, let me show you what we had for dinner! We ordered everything in the smallest portion possible and we still had leftover towards the end of the meal.

Lassi (Sweet) | B$1.50

Lassi is a blended yogurt drink served chill and commonly found in Indian restaurants. It tasted very prominent of yogurt and yet refreshing. They have the salty version, suitable for those who prefer savory over sweet.

Pakistani Tea | B$1.00

Served warm and white sugar provided separately which you could add to your liking. I was expecting a milk tea brewed with mixed spices and I was wrong. It was literally tea mixed with evaporated milk. In short, it tasted no different to our local Teh C.

Garlic Nan | B$1.50

Nan, a type of flatbread commonly found in the west and central Asian countries. We had Garlic Nan. It tasted distinctive of garlic and it was like eating garlic bread but denser in texture. They paired very well with the Chicken Aloo Keema we ordered.

Bindi Masala (Small) | B$2.00

Highly recommended by Diana if you are both eggplants and okra lovers. It worked well for me because I love them both! Served with diced okra, eggplants and tomatoes in masala spice. It was good BUT oily.

Chicken Aloo Keema (Medium) | B$7.00

Served with cubed chicken breast and potatoes, cooked with mixed curry spices and garnished with coriander leaves. It was slightly spicy but deliciously good. It makes a good combo with Nan too!

Chicken Seekh Kebab | B$6.00

Another highly recommended dish by Diana, served in three pieces and halved chicken skewers. They tasted prominent of curry spices and weren’t spicy at all. Texture wise, it was like eating Thai fish cakes but in the form of chicken.

Plain Briyani | B$2.50

Served with a portion of Briyani and raw vegetables on the side. Portion was recommended for one person but it fed the four of us just fine with leftovers towards the end of the meal. The basmati rice was nicely cooked and fluffy in texture. The flavoring was well executed and can be oily for some.

Verdict: This was my first time trying out Pakistani food and I can say the food choices are pretty similar to Indian cuisine. However, there might be slight differences in the cooking method and the spices used. Diana commented that food may take some time to be served but we were served promptly after we ordered. I was impressed with the food and pricing was affordable. Our total bill came up to be B$24 and we only paid B$6 per person.

Seri Damai Restaurant & Catering
Unit 10A, Ground Floor,
Bangunan Hau Man Yong,
Simpang: 88, Kampung Kiulap,
Bandar Seri Begawan,
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Tel; +673-8654779

Review: Liang Sandwich Bar

On my last visit to Singapore in October, I didn’t get to try Liang Sandwich Bar and it was partly because Sister had been telling me that she didn’t find it as good as what others claimed to be. In short, she found it over hyped. LOL!

When I was in Kota Kinabalu (KK) last week, I had finally got to try Liang Sandwich Bar at IMAGO. The queue was short at the time of ordering but the waiting time for the food to be prepared was long. All the sandwiches were cooked to order. I think I had waited for 15 minutes or so before my sandwich was ready for collection.

For those who had never heard of Liang Sandwich Bar, you may not know what does it serve. Liang Sandwich Bar serves sandwiches in the form of scallion pancakes with various toppings. The scallion pancakes were pre-made and frozen.

According to Sister, Liang Sandwich Bar in Malaysia has a different menu compared to Singapore. What caught our attention was the Sambal Ikan Bilis Sandwich. Sister suggested that we try something unique. Sambal Ikan Bilis was more of a local taste in my opinion.

Sambal Ikan Bilis Sandwich | RM9.90

Sambal Ikan Bilis is scallion pancake filled with deep fried anchovies mixed with their own sambal chili paste. Prior to ordering, we asked the Cashier if the sambal is spicy and she nodded indicating a yes. However, she suggested that we could request for less sambal.

As pictured above, the Cashier did requested less sambal for us but the amount of sambal given was still a lot. The anchovies (ikan bilis) were deep fried and mixed together with sambal chili paste. I liked the crunchiness of the anchovies as it gave an extra texture to the soft but crispy scallion pancake. The sambal sauce was extremely spicy but oddly addictive.

Both Sister and I agreed that it was like eating Nasi Lemak but without the rice and chicken. LOL! However, I do have to warn that this may not be tummy friendly for those with lower threshold for spicy food. Don’t say I never warn you. LOL!

Verdict: In overall, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was best eaten when still hot so that the scallion pancake would remain crispy. The process of eating might be a greasy affair as the scallion pancakes produced quite an amount of oil in the process of cooking.

The sandwiches were cooked to order hence the waiting time varies. As I mentioned above, it took about 15 minutes or so for mine to be ready. However, I noticed that the queue at IMAGO was longer comparatively to the one at Suria Sabah. If you wanted a short waiting time, perhaps you can try Suria Sabah instead?

Review: Ichizo Ramen

Sister had returned to Singapore this evening. Mom and I will be traveling to Miri tomorrow morning for a return day trip as I had a dental appointment at 10:30AM. I had intended to drive to Miri today afternoon after dropping Sister off at the airport.

I was so exhausted yesterday evening after coming home from Kota Kinabalu (KK) and dinner at MeetUAll Korean Restaurant, I hit the sack shortly after I had showered. I even fell asleep on the couch before I went to shower.

San Diann, who was also in KK earlier this week tried Ichizo Ramen but I think he wasn’t impressed of the food as much as I was. Prior to going KK, I did my fair share of homework on food hunting and I focused quite a bit on non-Halal Japanese ramen because Mom loves Tonkotsu ramen.

I had originally planned a dinner at Ebizou Japanese Restaurant & Bar but it was no longer in business. Hence, it explained why I ended up at SAKAGURA Japanese Restaurant instead. I am not complaining because the food at SAKAGURA were good! Halal Japanese ramen had never been my priority as Mom preferred Tonkotsu ramen until Thanis Lim recommended me Ichizo Ramen.

I never had high expectation on Halal ramen as I thought Halal soup base would never be as good as Tonkotsu. However, Ichizo Ramen proved me otherwise. Halal ramen soup base can be as good as non-Halal ones too.

Sister and I went Ichizo Ramen twice, once when we were on our own for dinner and we brought Mom for lunch the next day. Without further ado, let me show you what we had at Ichizo Ramen on both of our visits!

Ichizo Ramen Special | RM25.30

Ichizo’s signature soup, mixed seafood and chicken stock served with noodle, 4 pieces of chicken meat, soft boiled egg, kikurage, spring onion, spinach and seaweed

Sister and I had this to share on our first visit to Ichizo Ramen and it was really good. The soup base was extremely addictive despite being slightly salty for our liking.

The main highlight of Ichizo Ramen Special was the soup base. All of Ichizo’s signature soups were made with chicken collagen and boiled over 10 hours. So, you can imagine how rich and thick the soup base was. Despite the thickness and richness of the soup, it didn’t leave you feeling “jelak” but wanting for more.

The second thing which I loved of Ichizo Ramen Special was the texture of the noodle. It was springy or “Q” by Chinese way of saying. LOL! Our dish came with a perfectly done Onsen egg and good amount of black fungus. However, we weren’t being served spinach but Di Wang Miao. The chicken meat were juicy and tender.

I don’t normally do this kind of shot with noodle dish but I must say it looked good and pleasant to the eyes and tummy! The only downside was that the bowl wasn’t centered in the picture. According to Sister, it was good enough and she complained that I have an OCD syndrome when it comes to food photography.

Chicken Ramen | RM15.85

rich and thick chicken soup stock, served with noodle, 2 pieces of chicken meat, kikurage, spinach, spring onion and seaweed

As I mentioned above, Sister and I brought Mom to Ichizo Ramen for lunch the next day before our return flight to Brunei. We ordered Chicken Ramen for her as she didn’t want Onsen egg and wanted nothing fancy. Chicken Ramen sounded just like the perfect fit at the time.

The soup base for Chicken Ramen was a lot thicker than Ichizo Ramen Special. It tasted exactly like chicken oil drips from steamed chicken. It was rich in collagen but definitely health hazardous to the arteries in my opinion. LOL!

Unlike Ichizo Ramen Special, the soup base did leave us feeling “jelak” towards the end of the meal. Having said so, I still think it was a flavorful soup base. The ramen noodle was as usual “Q” in texture.

This was better but it would have been better if the chopsticks were straighter in position. LOL! I had sent this and the above picture to King and he commented that it looked good.

Curry Rice | RM18.90

Japanese traditional curry sauce with rice, carrots, chicken meats, onion and potato

Sister and I ordered Curry Rice to share as we did not want to load ourselves with more gluten as our gluten intake for the past few days had exceeded our daily quotas. As a matter of fact, I think it had exceeded my weekly quota.

The consistency of the curry sauce was a lot watery than the ones I used to have in Brunei. Having said so, it was still good and flavorful in my opinion. The chicken meat were soft and tender. They were the same chicken meat from the ramen dishes.

Verdict: The Halal ramen dishes from Ichizo Ramen certainly left me with a different perspective. I am so used to Tonkotsu to the extent that I thought Halal ones would never be as good. Sister on the other hand commented that she prefers Tonkotsu ramen over the Halal ones at any time. Having said so, she agreed with me that the ones from Ichizo Ramen were equally good.

Customer service at Ichizo Ramen was good. Our food came promptly after we ordered. Pricing was considerably affordable given the currency exchange. However, I do think that it was on the pricier side for the locals.

Ichizo Ramen
Unit #1-37, First Floor,
Suria Sabah Shopping Mall,
Kota Kinabalu 88000,
Sabah,
Malaysia
Tel: +6-088276456

Review: Scoopee

After dinner at SAKAGURA Japanese Restaurant on our first night in Kota Kinabalu (KK), we met up with San Diann for supper at Scoopee as it was one of the cafes which I was interested to try.

I knew of Scoopee via eatnhopsabah, one of the local foodies whom I followed on Instagram. Some time before Chinese New Year (CNY), Scoopee had introduced D24 Durian Soft Serve and that was the main reason why Scoopee caught my attention.

Without further ado, let me show you what we had the other night at Scoopee!

Matcha Soft Serve | RM15.90

Being a Matcha fan, I wouldn’t miss the chance to give this a try. The cup may looked tall but only half of the cup was filled with soft serve. Corn cereals were added to fill up the remaining space inside the cup.

Crushed corn cereals were sprinkled on top and sides of the soft serve for an added crunch. Texture wise, it was smooth and milky in my opinion. It didn’t taste overly sweet which was good. However, it lacked the bittersweet aftertaste which I crave in a Matcha soft serve.

The main highlight of the soft serve at Scoopee is that it came with smoke/fume like in the picture above when served. The smoke lasted for about two minutes or so. Hence, the three of us were able to take turns to take pictures. LOL!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Base Soft Serve | RM13.90

In comparison of both Matcha and Salted Caramel, the latter looked sharper and pleasant to the eyes in terms of appearance. The soft serve was served with two pieces of waffle biscuits which Mom ate.

Sister liked this better than the Matcha soft serve as it tasted very much alike Hershey’s. As a matter of fact, the amount of cocoa in the soft serve was to her liking. The salted caramel sauce drizzled over the soft serve was salty for me but sweet and salty for Sister.

Verdict: Scoopee was rather quiet at the time we walked in but filled with more teenagers shortly after. The ambiance of the cafe was cozy with a touch of creativity. Aside from soft serve, Scoopee also serves coffees and light bites. If you are looking for a cozy and quiet place to hang out with friends, I do think Scoopee fits the criteria.

Scoopee
Unit 1-0, Ground Floor, Block H,
Lorong Lintas Square,
Lintas Plaza,
Kota Kinabalu 88300,
Sabah,
Malaysia
Tel: +6-088341960