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Winter Solstice & Christmas 2011

>> Monday, December 26, 2011

Time really flies. In a blink of an eye, it's almost the end of year 2011 already! The family gathered recently on 22nd & 24th of December for two (2) of the "grandest" festivals/events for Chinese & Christians - Winter Solstice & Christmas.

Every year, without fail, the family will gather during Winter Solstice a.k.a. "Dong" for a meal together. This festival is the most important for Chinese as it is believed to be the actual 'Chinese New Year'. We usually have a pot-luck dinner, where each family will bring a home-cooked or signature dish to be enjoyed together. This year was no different.

Here's to share with all of you what we had on the "Dong" festival:

Roast Chicken with Stuffings & Sides from Merienda de Eva (courtesy of JL, who gave me the Groupon!)
It was quite yummy :) Thank goodness I ordered the chicken for this family gathering, lest my own family would not be able to finish this whole roast chicken ourselves! Good food is best enjoyed together with the rest of our family & friends.

Braised Chinese Cabbage & Dried Scallops
All my aunties are great cooks & each of them have their own speciality. This year, we had something different from aunty Jenny. Check out the load of scallops! Totally delicious!

Braised Chinese Black Mushrooms with Sea Cucumber in Superior Stock
Another delectable dish. Aiseh, I would wanna pick up some of these skills soon to pass on to future generations! *slurps*

Steamed Aubergines Topped with Sambal Belacan & Fried Shallots
If you love aubergines/brinjals & you enjoy spicy dishes, this was a thumbs-up as well :) Ah, I'm so blessed. Now you know why I can't loss weight effectively?

Home-Cooked Barbecue Pork/Char Siew
Yes, my family cooked this too!

Roast Duck from Loong Foong Restaurant, Paramount Garden
Roast duck from Loong Foong has been part of the menu pretty much at every festival/family gatherings every single year (as far as I could remember!). It's fragrant & tender, & the sauce is also consistently tasty.

Stir-Fried Cucumbers with Chicken Gizzard in Vinegar Gravy
I've no idea how to name this, but in Cantonese, we always refer to this dish as the "cheng gua shuen". The cucumbers & chicken gizzard are supposed to be still crunchy in a slightly sweet & vinegar-sour gravy. Yums! It's a family tradition for as long as I could recall as well ;) You'll notice the same dish in almost every festival post on my blog...heh.

Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetables with Prawns
With the load of meat that we have on the dinner table, vegetables are extremely essential!

Dig In!
Who won't be hungry with a table full of delicious home-cooked/bought food??!

Dessert: Yam Paste with Gingko
Every family gathering over dinner MUST be completed with desserts. We actually had some pineapples for dessert, but I didn't manage to capture them on photo :P I managed to capture this one though...it's a newbie to the family's tradition! Aunty LL & uncle Tony sure have a great deal of patience & talent in coming up with lip-smacking dishes, even desserts!

Must Have: "Thong Yuen"
Winter Solstice without the thong yuen would never be complete. Every year, I'll just eat as much as I could take in (after a HUGE meal for dinner!). However, I just realized that the amount we're supposed to eat = our present age. Ahahaha...seems like I'm only twelve years old this year! :D 

That's quite a lot of food, eh? :P We were really in an "eating mood". Our little Christmas Eve 'supper' didn't lose out as well!! To add to the "horror" (or perhaps blessing!), it was a 2 days gap of heavy/lavish meals. It was a so-called supper at my cousins' house, but it felt more like a late dinner since it started at 9:30p.m...haha...I need to loss weight!

Flower Arrangement on Tables
How cool is that, eh? :D Guess what's the "vase" in the first photo on the left! I'm sure some of you may not have seen it before!

Christmas is a Season for Giving - Door Gifts
Everyone who comes gets a lollipop to start/end the party in a sweet-er note :)

Gifts for the Gift-Exchange
Yes, we had a gift-exchange amongst family members on that night. I reckon there were almost 40 persons at the party!

Christmas Tree at my Cousins'

And this was 'supper'
We had pretty good nasi lemak with deep fried chicken packed from a nearby mamak in SS2.  

Are you hungry now? :D *crunch*

Red Velvet from Just Heavenly
This was said to be "the best" red velvet that you'll get in town. I was seriously too full to eat anything much, so I didn't have any desserts that night! :S

Home-Baked Christmas Themed Cupcakes
One of my cousins' aunt is a very passionate cook/baker. She came over with 3 different types of home-made desserts for this party wei... *fuh*

 Home-Baked Fruit/Raisin Butter Cake
See what I mean...they're not that easy to be made, are they?

Home-Made Konyaku Jelly with Longan
The 3rd type of dessert from the same aunt.

Juicy Cempedak

Juicy Red Rambutans from Ipoh

Everyone enjoying themselves at the party

Singing of Carols
As it's Christmas Eve, we gathered after dinner to sing some carols & usher in Christmas 2011 :)

Thanks to our great hosts (includes my aunt who isn't in the photo) for the party!

Tis the season to be eating...falalalala-lalalala...by the time we got home, it was Christmas Day already! Happy Birthday, Jesus!!

This year, I gave our more than 50 gifts & just like a kid, I'm SO thankful for the gifts that I received as well! :D

May the Light of the world continue to shine through your lives & give you a greater sense of hope, peace, & joy this Christmas & always :) God's greatest gift of Love is for you! Consider receiving His greatest gift in your whole lifetime!! God bless!

Hope all of you had a great & meaningful Christmas 2011!

Christmas without Christ isn't Christmas,


KhunThai Village Restaurant, PJ Section 5

>> Friday, December 23, 2011

Venue: KhunThai Village Restaurant, Section 5
Overall comment: Pretty good Thai food tucked in a housing area. The prices of food is slightly above average for a restaurant with a coffee-shop ambiance. To the very least, the food tastes good!
Halal: Yes

Early this week, I went to the TRAC office to help CQ conduct some interviews for Jeremiah School 2012's mentor applicants. It's my 1st time doing such a thing for JS & it's truly an experience gained. On that particular session, the team of interviewers screened through 3 applicants who were all very different in character. I sure hope that if they get selected to be a mentor for next year's JS, they will be great leaders & examples to the youths at JS.

After the interview sessions, I had lunch with CQ & CS at the nearby Khun Thai. It's my first time at this restaurant although I've been to that area numerous times for the Chinese food next door :P

We took a while to decide what to eat, considering they have quite an extensive variety on their menu. Here's what we had & what I thought about the food:

Umbra with Sour Plum (RM4.50/cup)
I felt that it was really expensive for a cup of umbra juice, but it's a really concentrated drink without much water added! In my personal opinion, this was a really bad decision to order a cup of umbra juice when we have all the other sour dishes ordered as well! Everything was SO sour that my tongue & stomach was just overwhelmed :S When you have the sour Thai dishes on your table, you would highly appreciate a cup of sweet drink or just plain water.

House Speciality Chilli Dips
I didn't try these although they were served - I can't take dishes that are too spicy, so having spicy dishes by itself was the much that I could handle :P

Chap Oong Omelette (RM9.00/serving)
Interesting omelette. It's my 1st time trying something like this. The vegetables are what they call as "Thai vegetables", which I assume are some sort of ferns. A good variation from the usual onion omelettes.

Four Big Heavenly King (RM15.00/small serving)
This is quite a common dish. I find it quite tasty, thanks to the fragrant sambal belacan. You'll get a plate of mixed long beans, petai, aubergines/brinjals, & ocras/lady's fingers. Unfortunately, I find it slightly too spicy for my liking. My tongue was practically "on fire" & getting numb-er as the continue eating...

Chicken Tom Yam (RM17.00/small serving)
If this is small, I can't imagine the large serving. This could feed at least 4 persons! With the load that the 3 of us ordered, we really ate to our heart's content! Furthermore, this was really "power" & sour for me (ish, I think my level of tolerance towards sour & spicy food has gone down :( ) & oh, I must not forget to mention that there's chicken pieces in ABUNDANCE!

Thai-Style Steamed Siakap (RM38.00/serving)
The gravy was SO nice! Sweet, sourish, & slightly spicy, yet "clear/ching"...oolala. The fish was also fresh & cooked to perfection. Ah, this was the best dish on the table that day. *happy*

Map to Khun Thai Restaurant

I'll certainly come by here next time when I feel like having some decent Thai food in PJ. In my opinion, it's slightly better than My Elephant in Section 17, but such things are so subjective. Ambiance at My Elephant is certainly more "classy", but I still prioritize the quality/taste of food to ambiance of a restaurant. All you can hope each time you're out to dine is that the chefs are consistent whenever you drop by a restaurant :) *keeps fingers crossed*

KhunThai Village Restaurant (PJ) Sdn. Bhd.
No.6,Jalan 5/44
Pertaling Garden, Off Jalan Gasing
46000 Pertaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel & fax: (+603) 7781 7523
E-mail: pj@khunthai.com
URL: www.khunthai.com

Presentation: * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * * 
Taste: * * * *
Service: * * *


Enjoys Thai food,


Review: Uncle Chilli’s Christmas Eve 4-Course Meal

>> Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Venue: Uncle Chilli's Bar, Hilton Hotel, Petaling Jaya
Occasion: Food review
Halal: Yes

Ever thought of celebrating the joy of Christmas over a lavish meal with family & friends at a bar cum restaurant? More often than not, we'll pop by the usual restaurants at shopping malls for a Christmas meal with friends. Uncle Chilli's Bar at Hilton Hotel, Petaling Jaya calls out to all food & music lovers to celebrate this year's Christmas Eve in a different note!

It's not my 1st time at Uncle Chilli's but I was pleasantly surprised to taste their Christmas Eve spread this time around. The last time I was here was for an after-dinner drinks night with some other bloggers. Expect a cosy, retro-designed place with relatively quiet ambiance before 9:00p.m. & some good live band music from 9:00p.m. onwards.

This Christmas Eve, the kitchen team at Uncle Chilli's has tailored an exquisite Christmas Eve 4-Course Set Dinner priced at RM120.00++/person (inclusive a glass of complimentary champagne). You'll get to taste the passion of the team at Uncle Chilli's as they bring you on a delicious "journey" through each course of the meal as you dine in "the place where 'U' belong".

Complimentary Glass of Grande Reserve 'Gosset' Champagne
I didn't take the champagne, but had their mocktails instead. According to those who had the champagne, it was quite easy on the palate & good enough to keep one satisfied.

Green Sparkling Mocktail
The green sparkling mocktail has mint leaves, Fruitade, Sprite, lemon juice/wedges, & sago balls. It's quite like a fruit punch, but is more fizzy since there's Fruitade and Sprite in the drink. I would have much prefer if the mint leaves were crushed to give it a fresh, minty taste rather than just placing it in for some tinge of fragrance. There's also a red sparkling mocktail, but strangely, I didn't have any photos of it! Weird...in any case, the red sparkling mocktail consists of strawberry purée, Sprite, soda water, grenadine syrup, & sago balls as well. Oh ya, the sago balls tastes strange...not cooked properly/over-cooked :S It was "floury"!

Complimentary wholegrain bun with butter
If you like grainy buns, this was pretty delicious.

Executive Chef, Denis Vecchiato explaining the 1st dish
Chef Denis Vecchiato began his role as Executive Chef with Hilton Hotel PJ in the year 2009. He has over 13 years of culinary experience, beginning his career at Venice, Italy, & travelling around the globe until he ended here with Hilton Hotel Petaling Jaya 2 years ago.

Dish 1: Amuse Bouche 
- Goose Liver Terrine with Port Wine Reduction -
It's probably too good that words ain't enough to describe. I've had foie gras/goose liver before, but this was just VERY different. To sum it all in 1 word, it'll be "goosey"! Hahaha...according to Chef Vecchiato, the terrine required at least 48 hours of preparation before it could be served perfect; smooth, densed, & extremely flavourful. The balsamic vinegar with rockets complimented the lovely dish very well, giving it a sourish twist to the savoury dish.

Dish 2: Appetizer... "To Begin..."
- Ravioli filled with Alaska Crab in Lobster Bisque -
The lobster bisque was thumbs-up. Teaming both the Alaskan crab with the lobster bisque was a "match made in heaven". The ravioli was served al-dante & the flavourful crab filling just made the dish so pleasing to the palate that you would just want more of this & to have it served as your main dish! Seriously, I haven't had such "expensive" appetizer before & I dare say truthfully that it was good! (I'm not paid/obligated to write good reviews...haha)

Dish 3: Soup "A Few Spoonfuls..."
- Porcini Mushroom & Truffle Soup with Melted Camembert -
I could have more of this...I'm such a pig...ahahaha....the best mushroom soup I've ever had in my life. When I first saw the name of the dish, I was wondering if it's really just a few spoonfuls! Thankfully it wasn't...teehee...I was served a fair amount of thick, silky smooth, yet full of mushroom bits & very fragrant mushroom soup. The melted Camembert just elevated the humble mushroom soup to another level up! Ah....gimme more....

Dish 4: Main Course "Harmoney..."
- Turkey Roulade with Brussels Sprout, Baby Carrots & Rosemary Potatoes -
Turkeys are usually associated with Christmas & a Christmas Eve dinner without turkey would somehow feel "empty"/incomplete. I've always wondered why are turkeys such a popular Christmas dish & walla! I found out some interesting read :D It apparently originated in Mexico! Uncle Chilli's would never allow you to leave their place feeling incomplete this Christmas Eve. With this dinner set, you'll get a colorful dish of nicely arranged turkey roulade, generously stacked on top of rosemary potatoes...oolala. You'll also get some fresh Brussels sprouts & baby carrots to go with your dish. As the dish is slightly dry, you could request for more sauce (refillable) :)

Dish 5: Dessert "Lasting Impression..."
- Chocolate Bomb with Wild Berries -
As its name speaks, it's really a bomb. Not just its physical looks, but this is ONE dessert - thumbs up! I also loved the fact that it was decorated with such detail - SO CUTE! You'll get a rich, chocolatey ball with chocolate mousse on top of a chocolate sponge layer. Look forward to a hidden gem inside the chocolate bomb as well! Yums! Once again, it's so good that you'll crave for more. But by the time I had this dessert, I was already feeling quite full *surprise* 

Talk about feeling full in a fine dining course - it's almost impossible, but here at Uncle Chilli's, you can look forward to a satisfying fancy meal at an affordable price for the quality that you get!

We also had the opportunity to sample some of Uncle Chilli's best seller mocktails:

Walking Stick
- Strawberry purée, apply juice, cranberry juice, lime juice -
Refreshing drink :)

Aunty Special
- Ground ginger, ginger ale, whipping cream, grenadine syrup, & strawberry purée -
If you're a fan of ginger & some "spicy" like drink, this would do great for you. 

I would think that RM120.00++/person sounds like a really expensive meal, but at a hotel environment with such worthy-of-compliment food & awesome presentation, it would be worth your every penny :) For something different this Christmas Eve, why not give Uncle Chilli's a try? Do make a reservation to avoid disappointment!

Map to Uncle Chilli's, Hilton Hotel Petaling Jaya

View PerutBesi in a larger map

Have a Blessed Christmas 2011 from PerutBesi!

Uncle Chilli’s Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No. 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: (+603) 7955 9122 ext 4063
URL: www.zestpj.com

Presentation: * * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * * 1/2
Taste: * * * *
Service: * * * 1/2


The place where "U" belong - Uncle Chilli's,

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