The first food safari was held in December last year when a group of us from the Turandot KL Chorus had to spend 10 days on the Pearl of the Orient for rehearsals.

Anyhow, 10 days of hotel food was enough to drive us crazy so during moments when we had our breaks, we would roam around the island looking to 'chiak ming kia' (eat stuff).

These were the 'safaris':

Pulau Tikus
We started off having char koay teow in the middle shop that's run by 2 sisters (or is it 3?). The same shop also houses Black's wife (Black was the nickname of the family driver) asam laksa and siam laksa stall.
The char koay teow here is pretty good and not so oily with huge prawns. The asam laksa here is my favourite, the gravy is not too thin or not to heavy, striking a right balance in the texture and also in taste, not too sour and not too sweet. The fish is pretty generous too.

The next stop was the corner shop opposite the Pulau Tikus police station. The main attraction is the "kelinga mee" (indian mee) stall. I prefer this one to the one famous Bangkok Lane stall. Here they still fry the noodles plate by plate and also not too oily. We also tried the mee rebus which was pretty good.

I've also personally tried the other corner shop but they're more for breakfast as most stalls are sold out by 11-ish. I enjoy the chee cheong fun there. This is one the Penang-style one with the thim cheong (bean paste) and hae ko (prawn paste). The stall also has decent Penang Hokkien mee (prawn mee).

The food safari trip to the Padang area was very focused. After all, one only goes there for a very specialised dish, namely the cheh hoo (which literally translates to 'green fish'), which is like a rojak but with jelly fish and the penang popiah, filled with real crab meat. I also enjoyed the asam laksa there ... a little thinner than the one at Pulau Tikus but also not too bad. All this was washed down with fresh coconut juice and you could be in hawker heaven!

Of couse, my favourite all time food in Penang is the goreng pisang from Fettes Park. I think they double fry it or something but it absolutely delicious!! We would buy the goreng pisang and then take it to some little coffee shop near the hotel and order local black coffee to go with it! Definitely cloud nine!!!

Will be adding more later....
Read in the newspaper that Chef Micheal Saxon, the author of the book Chef's Tales, is working at Parkroyal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur!!
The 2nd part of interesting workshops by the French Culinary School in Asia – themed “A Voyage through the French Gastronomy: The Journey Continues” conducted by Chef Jean Michel & Mr. Bruno Casassus.

Types of workshop & dates
Red wines and Cheeses
26 March 2004, Friday, 4 hours workshop
Evening session: 7 – 11pm (Cocktail food included)

“Menu degustation” – Tasting menu
27 March 2004, Saturday, 4 hours workshop
Morning session: 9am – 1pm / Afternoon: 3pm - 7pm

RM 150.00 per person

Course Fee includes:
· 4 hours of workshop
· Course manual (recipes & description)
· 1 year free subscription to Flavours Magazine

Venue and Contact Persons
VICKI KUI; 012 290 2135 / LAM.CL; 012 227 0389
Office Tel: 03 2026 9188
Fax: 03 2026 4188

HTC in Asia Sdn. Bhd. (Co. No, 634020-A)
Level 8 – Annexed Block, Menara IMC
No. 8 Jalan Sultan Ismail (next to Concorde Hotel)
50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I first went to Decanters when an old guy-friend wanted to have dinner but didn't want to be spotted by his girlfriend's friends (who seemed to be just about everywhere) spotting him. Turns out girlfriend (who is now a moment of the past!) was the very jealous type and though she knew me, her friends didn't and would totally misconstrue the who situation if they spotted him dining with any member of the opposite gender.

Anyhow, that was many, many years ago, but Decanters, the neighbourhood pub, is still around, going strong with sufficient clients (where else would lawyers from a certain law firm around the vicinity go for drinks otherwise?) to keep them alive.

Lunch time would also find many diners (who can't be arssed looking for a parking space at Plaza Damansara or at BSC or Desa Sri Hartamas) there. Where else can you have a good reasonably priced meal and beer to go with your afternoon meal?

They serve typical Malaysian pub grub - sandwiches, chicken chop, fish and chips, local favourites like char koay teow, yee mee get the general idea. Kinda like Yut Kee in an air-conditioned atmosphere.

Anyhow, I hadn't been there for perhaps 3-4 months and boy, did I get a surprise when I walked in today!! The place has been refurbished with swankier furniture - new chairs with bright orange cushions and new tables, square ones, which uses the space more efficiently while the old round ones have been moved to the front, outside the shop. The windows have been changed to wooden slates, giving the place a rather modern twist. And gone is the smell of smoke and alcohol infused into the wood. It rather feels like a part of history has gone ....

The menu is still the same, thank goodness and so is the quality of the food. However, the food took forever to be served today. I waited nearly 30 minutes for a place of Yee Mee Special. Not sure if this had anything to do with the new management or deco! Many young servers around and they look too "corporate" to be waiters or owners ....

This is lunch. Dinner time, I hear, is a totally different story altogether ... lawyers that are not at Selangor Club all congegrate here, we hear ... sorry folks, no free legal advise though perhaps payment could be arrange through some golden liquid currency. Who knows?

Perhaps the place isn't so quiet anymore ...perhaps it's not the place to go to have clandestine meals ....

Anyway, thanks John, for introducing me to Decanters ...

Decanters Pub
Bukit Damansara
50490 Kuala Lumpur
When I first saw Red Ginger, I was excited about trying it out. I mean, even the name souded good! Alas, everytime I went there for dinner, it was closed. Then I found out that it was only opened for lunch.

Anyway, they have finally decided to open for dinner so add it to your dinner-ing places if you're in the Damansara Heights / Bukit Damansara area.

Some work colleagues and I went there for lunch today. It was quite busy for lunch, with people mainly from the SC, surrounding accounting firms and I guess, people who work around the area. You must be warned, though, that parking is horrendous in the Plaza Damansara area during working hours.

The menu has a good selection of local food, including nasi lemak, laksa, ipoh sar hor fun and other fried dishes. Was told that the sar hor fun was highly recommended so I tried that. B wasn't lying, it was pretty good and tasted almost like the one from Ipoh old town.

Ambiance - simple and neat almost on the verge of being upmarket. I like the arrangements of red gingers they have there and the simple touches that have added to the homey feeling. I think they have a private dining area as well but if you're interested, you should ask first.

Prices seemed reasonable, below RM10 per pax for the hawker style food.

Red Ginger
18 Grd-Mezz, Medan Setia 2,
Plaza Damansara
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 2095 3118
The fact that it's on the first floor was a litte off-putting at first .. it means you have to walk all the way up, peer into the restaurant and if you decide you don't like it, get all embarassed and make your way down again.

Anyway, Gecko Cafe at Desa Sri Hartamas didn't disappoint. No red faces or me trying to escape down the stairs or anything. When I first went last year, the restaurant had just been opened by a South African couple. After enticing me there with their great healthy organic food, the place suddenly shut for many months before re-opening end of last year. Turns out the business had been bought over.

The menu hasn't really changed. It's still salads and sandwiches mainly.

Salads galore
Salads are huge here and really yummy. I like the Havana and Crunchy Paw-paw* ones best.

After being taken over, I feel that the quality of the sandwiches has somewhat gone downhill. The sandwiches are visually not such a work of art anymore and the taste has gotten rather bland.

I like breakfast here - you get toast and eggs and all with coffee and tea and very yummy Sunflower rye bread.

There's lizards everywhere, on almost every surface and all very cute. It's a great place for kids as there's a huge kids area with toys and also a great place to chill out with the large inviting sofas.

Gecko Cafe
No 16-1 Jalan 24/70A,
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 2300 0625

Closed on Sundays

*Paw-paw is Aussie for papaya
The French Culinary School in Asia has started!!
Founded by chef Jean Michel Fraisse, the first series of workshops were held earlier this year and they included:

The History & Making of Foie Gras - from the farm to your plate
5 Star Plated Desserts at Home
The 1st steps in the World of Wines

About the Instructors
Jean Michel Fraisse was born in the French region of Toulouse. He graduated with a Master in Hospitality, Tourism and Catering. After years of experience in Europe, he travelled around Southeast Asia region taking positions as Chef de Cuisine to Technical Advisor and to Director. He is also a culinary trainer in both Cuisine and Pastry works and also consulting and writing research papers on the
Hospitality and Tourism field. He was also on the panel of judges for the Black Box Competition in Malaysia and Culinaire Malaysia. Chef Jean Michel strongly feels for education and training and would like to share his expertise. So, he started the "The French Culinary School in Asia".

Bruno Cassasus born in the southwest region of France. He graduated with a Master in Hospitality, Tourism and Catering, also awarded the Master of Engineer for Hospitality, Tourism and Catering. Graduated top of his class and comes from a family of hotel & restaurant owners. He is well - travelled, most recently posted to Vietnam to research a Tourism paper. In Scotland, he gained experience as a sommelier in one of a Michelin star restaurant. In his home country he worked as the Restaurant & Banquet Manager and sommelier. He currently specialize in research and development for the food &
catering industry, doing R & D for a large International company in Malaysia. He is now a member of "The French Culinary School in Asia"

For further information, contact
VICKI KUI, HP: 012 290 2135
LAM C.L., HP: 012 227 0389
Office Tel : 03 2026 9188
Office Fax: 03 2026 4188

HTC in Asia Sdn. Bhd. (Co. No. 634020-A)
Level 8 - Annexed Block, Menara IMC,
No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur
The shop is pure evil ... rows and rows of enticing, individually decorated decadent cakes ...all lined up, looking more enticing than the cute puppies at Pet Safari! "Choose me, choose me", they cry ... the "Buy 4, Get 1 Free" sign above the counter doesn't help either. "Come lah", says Evil friend #1, " let's choose four, then we get one free ..."

Apart from the many types of cakes, there's of course their signature dessert - apple or mango strudel which you can get in 6-inch or 1-foot lengths. If you're taking away, it even comes in it's own special box.

Luckily for some of us, savoury food is also served and generally quite yummy.

I like the turkey and melted cheese toasted sandwiches, the otak-otak pastries and the chicken and mushroom panini-thing ...

Evil cakes-wise, I like the ones with durian, the brulee and anything with mango. Not quite a huge fan of the strudels as it's the kind made with puff pastry and just cream and fruit in between. Much prefer the 'proper' strudel which is like the giant popiah made from fillo pastry.

There's a Strudels in almost every 'happening' suburb ...these are the ones I know of ...

Bangsar - Lucky Garden (next to Mahbub)
Bangsar Shopping Centre (next to Delifrance)
Ikano Power Centre (near the escalators)
Pusat Bandar Damansara (next to McD's)
Desa Sri Hartamas (same row as Finnegan's)