What’s your Favourite Japanese Sake?

As the national beverage of Japan, sake is often served during religious ceremonies, court festivals and any special event, back in the old days. Sake brewing was restricted to mostly temples and shrines and only from the 20th century did sake-brewing technology grow by leaps and bounds. Today sake has become a world beverage with breweries springing up outside of Japan. The drinking of sake has also taken on a more social trend.

Sake is made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran. The percentage of bran removal then determines the strength and quality of the sake. Addition of brewer’s alcohol is another determining factor.

Like wine making, sake brewing produces so many types of sake, depending on the type of rice used, the techniques, water and whether alcohol has been added.

In a recent visit to the Sake Washoku Exhibition in The Cube at Isetan The Japan Store, I had a whirlwind tutoring on the types of sake. While swirling sake on my tongue, I learned how to differentiate between a junmai and a junmaidaiginjo sake. After tasting a variety of sake ranging from jukushu to junshu, I finally decided on my favourite range: junmaidaiginjo, the highest quality sake brewed from pure Koji rice.

If you are a Japanese sake lover or simply would like to know more about sake, you should so make your way over to CUBE_1 for some great sake joy! During this Washoku exhibition featuring 45 types of sake from 9 areas in Japan, you can have a cup of sake at only RM5-RM20 or a sake flight set at RM20 for 3 cups.

I was told this bottle would make a lovely gift!


However, if you are there during their HAPPY HOUR session – weekdays from 11am till 7pm, there is a 20% discount for 5 cups of sake and above (except for the sake flights). That’s totally value-for-money, if you ask me! It’s all happening until 25 January 2018 at:

Venue: 3F THE CUBE / CUBE_1 (ISETAN The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur)
Opening Hours: 11:00am-9:00pm
Admission: Free

More information here:
http://www.cube1kl.com/ Facebook:Cube1kl Instagram:cube1kl

An Idyllic Weekend at THE WESTIN LANGKAWI RESORT & other fun stuff!

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa is truly one of the island’s most ideal resort as its location is pretty perfect. With its own private beachfront facing the pristine Andaman Sea, yet remaining very near to Kuah town, it really has the best of both worlds. Do read about my earlier stays in this splendid resort here and here.


We never fail to be impressed with The Westin’s warm welcome, starting with the grand pickup at Langkawi Airport itself. Riding in classy comfort – in a BMW 7-Series no less, we wished the smooth ride had been longer! Check-in was a breeze and before long, we were whisked away to our lovely Private Pool Villa. We have stayed in different abodes in our previous visits (and they were all great!) but we really loved the setup in this villa. I mean, just look…

The road leading to the Private Villas

Our villa


Luxurious comfort

There’s a kitchenette, dining table, plush living area, 42” flatscreen tv and of course that superb king-sized Heavenly Bed, not to mention the gorgeous bathroom and that incomparable view from our window!

Our own private pool

The private pool capped the luxury in this villa – we could soak there for hours gazing out at the azure Andaman Sea.

And then there’s the Heavenly Spa, of course. It’s the ultimate pampering – to do nothing but just give in to the magical hands of the therapists as they worked on our tense muscles. Pampering sessions can be had either at the spa and even on the beach!

The ultimate pampering!


This time round, we dined only at the resort’s signature restaurant – Seasonal Tastes and Tide, their cosmopolitan restaurant. Besides the sumptuous food, both restaurants fete guests with some of the most stunning views of the ocean.

Seasonal Tastes Restaurant

Breakfast at Seasonal Tastes is a must. This restaurant serves one of the best breakfast buffets on the island. Local temptations, Asian favourites and the regular western dishes are all available, together with lots of fresh fruits and salads for a healthy touch.

Breakfast at Seasonal Tastes is always exciting and must not be missed!

Lunch at Seasonal Tastes: start with Seared Maguro

The Nasi Goreng in Seasonal Tastes is da bomb!


At Tide, we just had to try their fresh daily catch of seafood, all caught by local fishermen.

Seafood Tomyum Soup

More seafood!

Grilled Garoupa

Lamb Chops

Grilled Prawns & Barramundi

Steamed Garoupa


Jalan Pantai Dato Syed Omar
07000 Langkawi
Tel: +604-960-8888


The Westin Langkawi’s Mini Coopers – available for rent by hour

Although we were reluctant to leave our cosy villa, we decided to checkout some of the island’s cool spots. Driving one of The Westin’s Mini Cooper, we took a leisurely drive through the island’s tropical roads to Smiling Buffalo which reputedly served some of the best coffee in Langkawi. This rustic laid-back cafe is located within the boutique chalets of Panji Panji. We enjoyed our latte made from freshly ground coffee beans and waffles in this al fresco cafe amidst leafy trees.


Panji Panji
965 Kuala Cenang
07000 Langkawi, Malaysia
+6 017-3643319


Get some Laksa Power and slurp it up at the beach!


Nasi Dagang is an East Coast specialty and Langkawi is not known as the home of nasi dagang. But one man has made this a must-eat item in Langkawi and that’s Pak Malau. Nasi Dagang Pak Malau has become something of an institution here – the place looks like a postcard of rural Malaysia.

Located beside picturesque rice fields and not far from Makam Mahsuri, the open-air eatery is Instagrammable from every angle. Menu-wise, there are just a few dishes and mind you, these can sell-out early. Most people come here for breakfast or brunch. When we were here just after 12 noon, only the Kari Ikan Tongkol was left and some beef curry gravy. Nevertheless, we drenched these onto the slightly-chewy fragrant rice and polished off everything clean. I swear the fresh air, splendid views and the “kampung” vibes had something to do with our hyped-up appetites there!


Jalan Makam Mahsuri
Kampung Mawar
07000 Langkawi
Open: 8am – 2pm (closed on Monday)

This was truly a staycation with a difference. Not only did we get to be pampered at the lap of luxury at The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, thanks to the resort, we also got to experience a few scenic dining spots on the island. We will be back, for sure!

Let’s Celebrate CHRISTMAS EVER AFTER @ One World Hotel Petaling Jaya

The Cinnamon Coffee House in One World Hotel Petaling Jaya serves one of the most diversified and extensive buffets in town. I’ve always been impressed with the huge variety of dishes offered, ranging from local favourites to western specialities.

The Almighty Turkey!

For this festive period, their chefs have gone the extra mile in crafting a selection of special items like Honey & Herbs Roast Turkey, Herb-crusted Roasted Striploin, Chicken & Waffle Sliders with Berries Compote, Prawn Grits on Frittata and that delicious soup – Potato, Leek & Beef Brisket Cream Soup!

Seafood galore

Super fresh Sashimi

The array of appetisers and mains from local, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Indian and western cuisines will keep you busy. My personal favourites are the Indian-style Curry Fish Head and Hainanese Chicken Rice!

Christmas is all about sweets and treats and there’s no lacking of these at the Cinnamon Coffee House. The desserts counters are filled with all kinds of colourful and festive sweets like Yule logs, Minced Pies, Christmas Pudding, Ginger Creme Brulèe, churros, stollen, cupcakes and cookies.

While you dine, Santa Claus will be making his rounds and I heard there will be carollers to add on to the festive cheer!

Please call +603-7681-1157 to make reservations for the following:

24 & 25 December 2017 (6.30pm-10.00pm)
RM158/adult; RM79/child aged 6-12 years

25 December 2017 (12.00pm-4.00pm)
RM118/adult; RM59/child aged 6-12 years

One World Hotel Petaling Jaya
First Avenue
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7681-1111


This year the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 4 October and weeks before now, restaurants and hotels have displayed their mooncakes for the coming celebration. I know how the current economic situation is affecting most people – our ringgit has weakened so much and things have become so much more expensive these days. So, do people still celebrate such festivals?

I’d say most Chinese would still celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival come 4 October, albeit on a smaller scale for the prudent. This festival, fondly also known as the “Mooncake Festival” has always been something I looked forward to when I was a kid. Traditional lanterns made of cellophane paper and bamboo sticks were the order of the day back then. And the food, of course – mooncakes, peanuts, baby yams, pomelos… the lot. So, suffice to say, most people still upkeep the tradition every year – the Mid-Autumn Festival is still held dear… it’s a time for family and food 🙂


Recently I had my first taste of mooncakes for this year. Toh Yuen unveiled some new flavours of house-made snow skin mooncakes while retaining the popular evergreen baked ones. The new flavours of their 2017 signature snow skins are the Golden Mango and the Chocolate Pistachio Indulgence. I must say the Golden Mango is really good as the tangy mango centre with dried mangoes isn’t too sweet and leaves a refreshing trail in the mouth.

Golden Mango

Inspiration for the Chocolate Pistachio Indulgence came from the hotel’s renowned American Chocolate Cake. Chocolate fans would love the rich velvety chocolate ganache, bits of dark chocolate cake and fresh nutty pistachios in this mooncake. It’s pretty decadent, for sure. The snow skin mooncakes are priced from RM19nett each and RM98 per box of 4 pieces.

Chocolate Pistachio Indulgence

Besides these 2 new flavours, there are 3 other flavours to indulge: Lotus Paste with Sunflower Seeds, Black Sesame Paste and the Yam Paste.

Black Sesame Paste Snow Skin Mooncake

Lotus Paste with Sunflower Seeds Snow Skin Mooncake

Yam Paste Snow Skin Mooncake


At Toh Yuen, there are 6 traditionally baked mooncakes available. My favourites are the white lotus with and without salted egg yolk, the mixed nuts and the green tea with pistachios. Each golden-baked mooncake is priced at RM25 nett and RM108 nett for a box of 4. Certain banks are offering discounts for credit card purchases and for bulk purchases, the hotel does offer some volume discounts as well.


To celebrate the festival, Chef Ric Teoh of Toh Yuen has curated a 6-course special “Mid Autumn Reunion Set” priced at RM1,388 nett for a table of 10 persons. Here’s what the meal is going to be like…

Special 5 Deluxe Platter of Mixed Barbecue Combination

Double-boiled Soup with Mushrooms, Fish Maw & Dried Scallops

Duo Platter of Wok-fried Prawns with Red Wine Sauce and Wok-fried Fish Fillets with XO Sauce

Stuffed Sea Cucumbers with Brown Sauce & Seasonal Vegetables

Fried Vermicelli with Eggs, Seafood & Mushrooms

Crystal Osmanthus Jelly


Chef Ric Teoh


For bookings and enquiries, please call 03-7955-9122 ext.4073/4.
For the latest F&B promotions, do visit Hilton PJ’s F&B blog, www.ZestPJ.com



TOH YUEN Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No.2 Jalan Barat
Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603-7955-9122

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SATURDAY NIGHT VIBES @ SHOOK! in Feast Village, Starhill, Kuala Lumpur

Where in Kuala Lumpur can you find a nice place which serves good food with vibrant entertainment in a cosily posh environment? And pay an affordable value-for-money charge per head of RM168 nett, for a Saturday evening of good food and good fun? Sounds almost too good to be true, right? It’s true. It’s all happening at Shook! every Saturday.

Located in Feast Village Starhill Gallery at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, Shook! has been setting standards of dining experiences in the city for discerning guests for years. Now with the recent launch of “Saturday Night Vibes”, its Cirque du Culinaire experience is taking diners to the next level.

The unique dining concept of Cirque du Culinaire offers the freshest ingredients from the various show kitchens; with handcrafted desserts served at table side while being entertained by their very own magicians, entertainers and even clowns. All these certainly set very vibrant and fun vibes to the restaurant – I mean, it’s a really happening scene there.

Gorgeous food display!

Now let’s get to the food. Believe me when I say the selections are pretty mind-boggling. I didn’t know where to start because everything looks so inviting and appetizing! The entire spread is a combination of signature dishes from restaurants at Feast Village. These include the critically acclaimed Shook!, Fisherman’s Cove, Luk Yu Tea House, Sentidos Gastrobar – The Latin Grill and Khushi Spice. So my advice would be: take a slow walk through the entire premise to check everything out first before zooming in to your favourites. That’s the only way to do it. But it’s not easy…because it’s hard to pick out the favourites when everything looks so mouth-watering.

These babies were just irresistible!

The Japanese delicacies are screaming my name so how do you pick among the pile of glistening sashimi, the lightly-battered crispy tempura and freshly-rolled sushi? Right next to these are trays of beef tenderloin & sirloin, chicken wings and quails just waiting to be grilled a la minute. Further down, the platters and pots of fresh and cooked seafood beckon – oysters, prawns, crabs, lobsters, clams – you name it, they have it.

Did I say the food selection was amazing?

Chefs clad in bright satiny mandarin robes keep busy throughout the evening dishing out endless trays of kam-heong clams, spicy prawns and lobsters which are quickly devoured. Just how can you resist Seafood Paella, King Prawn Noodles, freshly shucked Pacific Oysters, Five-Spice Rack of Lamb, Snow White Dancing Prawns, the finest Wagyu beef cheeks as well as Tiger Prawn Skewers Seasoned with Togarashi – I tell you, it’s next to impossible!

I love their Sang Har Meen – noodles cooked with bouncy freshwater prawns and then served at table-side. The whole evening was like that – small individual servings of freshly-cooked delectables are brought to guests at their tables

So what’s a Cirque experience if not for another key element – the music? Every Saturday night there will be a different notable performer taking the stage with original music and mesmerising renditions of well-loved tunes.

The first to join the hand-picked Saturday Night Vibes line-up was FAZZ, a world-class Malaysian band known for its soulful jazz vibes. Taking the stage at Shook!, FAZZ entertained the guests with its own creative versions of Take On Me, Shooting Star and others; and also introduced the audience to an original number from the band, The Game. In the weeks to come, Shook!’s guests can expect to be serenaded by the likes of Evelyn Feroza, Reza Salleh, Jumero, Bihzhu, and Ryot Jones, just to name a few.

Never skip the desserts ya!

Saturday Night Vibes – an amazing evening of good food, fun and music starts from 6pm to 10pm at RM168nett per person. A beverage package is also available at RM88nett (which includes an Aperol Spritz, a light-hearted cocktail of prosecco, Aperol and soda & applies to diners of Saturday Night Vibes only) while the 1-for-1 Happy Hour is available from 9.30pm to 11pm – selected draft beers, house wines and cocktails are served.

Contact Shook! Kuala Lumpur for reservations at +603-2782-3875 or shook@ytlhotels.com.my. Online reservations can also be made on the website as well.

Details of Saturday Night Vibes are available on Feast Village Starhill Gallery’s newly redesigned website, www.feastvillage.com. It’s the most happening dinner buffet in town on Saturdays!



Feast Village Starhill Gallery
at JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur
183, Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
website: www.feastvillage.com

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The first time I met Chef Yenni Law was at the launch of her first cookbook “Meatology” back in March 2015. I can’t believe that more than 2 years had passed since I got to know this warm and vivacious chef. And of course, I have dined many times at her restaurant Meatology in TTDI (which used to be the Boathouse) and our friendship has strengthened over time.

Passion for cooking and her restaurant is what drives Yenni and she’s constantly renewing, revamping and creating new stuff. Many months ago she told me very excitedly that she’s working on her 2nd cookbook and this time with Her World magazine. Imagine my surprise too when she said it’s a compilation of more than 40 rice recipes! I was wondering just how many ways can rice be cooked but I had no doubt Yenni would come up with some amazing stuff. The process was like a marathon as she had to work within a very tight timeframe. Bear in mind that she still had to run her restaurant while working on those recipes. The testing, ingredients sourcing, re-working of processes, writing and re-writing the recipes practically had her burning well beyond the proverbial midnight oil amidst plenty of whisky fumes and ciggie smoke.

Well, long story short, finally Yenni Law’s “The Rice Pot” was published a couple of months ago by Her World. Needless to say, we (and anyone who knows Yenni) are all very proud of her and quickly got an autographed copy.

Recently, the publishers, Her World held a Tasting Party at Meatology (but of course) for media and friends where we all got privileged tastings of some of Yenni’s recipes from The Rice Pot. Her World is no stranger to many of us, me in particular, as I grew up reading this magazine. Yes, way back in the 1970’s as a schoolkid, believe me, and when I started working, a small portion of my salary went into buying this well-loved magazine every month. I always looked forward to the last few days of the month when I would keep a keen eye out for the latest issue to hit the news stands. God knows how many pleasurable hours I have spent since – poring over the varied articles covering everything from fashion, make-up, lifestyle, home matters and food!

Chef Yenni Law with Eena Houzyama (Editor, Her World magazine)

So, you see, being among the people of Her World and enjoying Yenni’s rice creations at Meatology at the Tasting Party was like being on very familiar grounds. Some of the rice dishes we tasted were:

Carmague Red Rice Salad – this recipe is found on page 33 of the cookbook. It’s a playful and light appetizer, with cubes of feta cheese lifting up the healthy grainy red rice.

Steamed Otak-otak – Yenni’s interpretation of a one-dish meal, marrying cooked Thai fragrant rice with seafood like shrimps, squids, crabmeat, fish fillet and mussels. Everything is then mixed with eggs, coconut milk and otak-otak spices and steamed together in one plate, minimising fuss and ready to eat on the go! Page 28 of the cookbook has all the details.

Shrimp Fritters – a more robust version of the local delight “cucur udang” as cooked red rice is added to the batter. Rice flour makes the fritters really crispy and they are delicious when eaten with an Indian mint dip. The recipe is on Page 44 of the cookbook.

Salmon Rice Muffins – these cute babies would be excellent for any party and they are so filling too! Page 42 has the recipe.

Mint Rice with Lamb – The mint rice is made with basmati rice cooked with a variety of spices, cashew nuts and cauliflower. This incredibly fragrant rice can be eaten on its own but we had ours served with grilled lamb loin and tomato raita! Check out the recipe on Page 58 and impress your friends at your next house party!

Seafood-teh Rice – Chef Yenni’s take of bak kut teh broth cooked with assorted seafood with Thai fragrant rice. The sweet flavours of the seafood together with the aromatic chinese herbs make this pot of fluffy tasty rice pretty irresistible! Details on Page 80 of the cookbook.

Rice Crème Brûlée – warning: this is a really filling dessert as risotto rice is used. And there’s also banana, raisins and rum in it – oh my! Spare some considerable tummy space for this! Learn how to make this on Page 104.


Now I’m so inspired to try out some of Yenni’s recipes in the cookbook which is not only reader-friendly but also kitchen-friendly. There are so many ideas to cook with rice (in all its glorious forms and varieties) – from appetisers, mains to desserts!

Lemongrass Chicken – this is not in the cookbook , it’s a new item on Meatology’s up & coming revamped menu!

Chef Yenni flambe’ing the sauce for Crepe Suzette (she loves her flambe, she does!)

Crepe Suzette, a signature dessert at Meatology


This Her World Cookbook 2017 (Volume 84) featuring Chef Yenni Law’s “The Rice Pot” priced at RM18 is available at all major bookstores and news stands nationwide. A digital version can also be downloaded for USD2.99 on the App Store or Google Play.



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In my earlier post on The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, I promised that I will share with you my dining experiences in this beautiful resort.  When it comes to dining choices, The Westin Resort Nusa Dua is hard to beat.  Offering both indoor and alfresco dining, there are 7 outlets to choose from – each one different and unique in its own way.

As we were there for only 2 nights, it wasn’t possible to check out all 7 of their F&B outlets.  We only managed to eat at 4 of their main outlets, namely the Lobby Bar & Lounge, Seasonal Tastes, Prego and Hamabe.



This is a gorgeous space, just a few steps down from the main lobby.  It’s a casual set-up, with interesting opaque glasswork suspended over the bar and every day, guests get to re-fuel themselves with  a delicious spread of SuperFoodsRX pastries, cakes, sandwiches and chocolates for Afternoon Tea from 3.30pm till 5.00pm.

It’s a perfect spot to relax as this space overlooks the pool and tropical garden and beyond which is the Indian Ocean.

Sipping our JING Tea and Illy Coffee, we couldn’t resist the dainty bites of beautiful pastries and sweets.  Mindful that the spread promotes their SuperFoodsRX philosophy, I noted that everything served here is packed with nutritious ingredients that promote energy.  And they are so lovely to look at too!




This is the place where every guest starts his/her day with a sumptuous spread of super foods for breakfast!  We love the bright breezy atmosphere in this all-day dining outlet with its contemporary layout, overlooking lots of greenery in the garden beyond.  A short walk from here and the beach beckons.

There are several live-cooking counters manned by chefs deftly cooking up a la minute orders or replenishing trays.  From tempting local Balinese and Asian fares to regular western favourites, it’s breakfast fit for kings!

The interactive juice bar is a firm favourite – I found myself going there to get endless glasses of freshly-pressed fruit and vegetable juices.  The vibes here are lively, cheerful and energetic and this uplifting ambience makes having breakfast in Seasonal Tastes one of the highlights of our stay.



This Italian restaurant is very popular not only with in-house guests but also walk-in diners.  The colorful deco and open kitchen project a wholesome family-like atmosphere for guests to enjoy its authentic Italian cuisine.

We were there on a Friday evening and were lucky to enjoy its seafood market dining experience where the freshest catch of seafood was showcased.  We chose some bouncy prawns, a snapper and squids to complement our dinner.

From antipasti and salads to roasted meats, pasta, pizza and regional specialties, Chef Alessandro Molini and team ensure that freshness, great tastes and authenticity  rule.

I’m told Prego’s Sunday Family Brunch is a highlight and much-awaited event every week.




We’re delighted to know that The Westin Nusa Dua houses a Japanese restaurant and couldn’t wait to check out Hamabe.  Located on a quiet spot in the resort, this cosy restaurant combines modern and authentic Japanese cuisine of the very best quality.

What stands out, besides the teppanyaki counter, is its robata grill, a traditional cooking method used by the fishermen of northern Japan. Skewers of chicken, beef, pork, seafood and vegetables are delicately grilled on the robata and then served to diners using a paddle.

We had our fill of nicely seared juicy meats done robata-style before savouring some of the sashimi and sushi plates.

Our teppanyaki beef was executed perfectly too.


As you can see, there’s no lack of dining outlets at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua.  Whatever we have experienced in this trip has been really delicious and the variety astounding.  Besides these restaurants which we have tried, there’s still the Velada Tapas Bar and Ikan Beachfront Restaurant which I heard holds some very interesting culinary feasts!  That will be something to discover later, in future stays, hopefully.




Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua
No. Lot N-3, Benoa
Kuta Sel., Nusa Dua
Bali 80363
Tel: +62-361-771906


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