Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Everise: Making me love Hogs more ‘Wild’ than ever!

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

In the previous post I intentionally left out something that’s even better than Rusty Bean & Batter cafe inside Everise supermarket.

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Before I go on, imagine this scenario (nothing sexist here, just an example OK!):

You’re a bored husband, waiting for the wife to finish her shopping in the “Market Place” by Everise. You initially waited at the mini playground, but you can’t stand the noisy toddlers so you moved to the cafe. But then you get annoyed by the sight of youngsters, wasting their time away on their smartphones and leaving their good cup of coffee cold.  Unforgivable!

Where do you go next?

You go to that “something”. Which is a restaurant called “Hog & Wild”. That’s inside the supermarket.

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Go home pig, you drunk!

NO WAY! There’s a restaurant inside the supermarket!?

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Customers not amused by the presence of the media. Chill out folks, we’re not writing about you guys!

Yeap. You should see the smile on my face 🙂

Now “Hog & Wild” is a wholesome wine-dine-deli restaurant to experience gourmet fine foods of the highest quality that are enjoyed with the finest wines, to give you an experience you can never forget. The wide selection of gourmet delicatessen offerings, coupled with an extensive of the finest wines from all over the world and icy cold draught beer with bring your dining experience to new levels you can only imagine.

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There’s wine sampling too!

In other words, you can eat lots and lots of juicy pork and get drunk inside a supermarket! What a perfect combination!

Oh, and the menu’s unique too. Just look at one of the pages:

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How do you pronounce “Marques de Caceres Crianza”?

And when in doubt on what to order, the manager is there to help you out. He knows what kind of wine goes well with the food 🙂

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More wine please 🙂

Speaking about food, well, I’ll let the pictures do the talking! Can’t figure out what are the dishes? Now that’s when you need to go to “Hog & Wild” and find out yourself!

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Yum

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Yum!

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YUM!

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yum

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YUMMM!!!!!!!

And of course, a selfie of me enjoying the good life lol

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No, I wasn’t drunk. Yet.

CONCLUSION

With an outlet like “Hog & Wild”, the Rusty Bean & Batter cafe, and all the imported food, Everise really made itself relevant to the ever-changing consumer market. They wanted elements that relate to lifestyle, and they got it right with their “Market Place” concept.

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Blogger Joachim Then, in a post-food comatose.

I can’t to WhatsApp my friends lines such as “Kia, let’s go lepak at Everise!”

 

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Sarawak Bloggers team with Everise’s Advertising & Promotions Manager, Shereen.

Many thanks to Shereen, the Advertising and Promotions Manager for the lovely tour and chat!

Everise: Making “Market Place” the New Hipster Haven

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Back when I was a kid, I dread going to the market. It’s often smelly, and the wet floors of the seafood/meat section consistently get me feeling “geli” (ticklish).  Also, the market place is always on an outdoor setting, so I never fancied the hot weather. Oh it’s raining outside? I’ll stay at home, mum!

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Your typical market in Malaysia.

Thankfully, I’ve changed. I fancied cooking since my university days, so I enjoyed the sights and sounds of fresh ingredients and loud but friendly sellers (OK, maybe not so much on the latter.) However, I am still a little concern of the overall hygiene and cleanliness in a typical market. Like it or not, the raw food is exposed to the polluted air and what-not since it’s out in the open. Sure, there’s indoor market now but it’s not going to fully protect your food source from the air pollution.

Which is why, I like supermarkets. Sure, they’re generally more expensive, but they’re safer to consume. There’s quality control. ISO certified. Serious procedures to make sure you don’t die OK?

But supermarkets tend to be boring beyond what it’s supposed to be. You don’t see hipsters going to Everise supermarket, uploading photos on social media and putting in text like “Oh, just chilling in Everise. Love this place!” do you?

What if I told you a supermarket could be the next hipster place in Kuching?

That’s right folks. Let me introduce to you, Everise “Market Place” at Vivacity Megamall.

Taking up the basement floor, occupying an area of 30,000 square feet, this latest retail concept and flagship supermarket offers an experience unlike your standard grocery shopping! What’s their trick? By incorporating lifestyle and social elements into the store of course!

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Import-product-loving hipster? Everise “Market Place” will be your little heaven; the outlet offers an exciting range from imported fresh fruits (OMG they have blueberries!) and vegetables, premium yogurt, gourmet chocolates, fine pasta, imported drinks, gourmet wine and more.

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🙂

And to be sure the Weeaboo/Kimchi Wannabe/Banana self in you is taken care of, Everise has a dedicated section for Japanese, Korean and Western specialty food. There’s a bakery corner which offers on-site baked pastries, made-to-order sandwiches and a sushi bar featuring delicious sushi sets and other Japanese delicacies freshly made on the spot. Nicely done Everise!

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Subarashiiii!!!

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Bread lovers’ delight.

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Ever tried this by the way? I was told you can only find this in Everise “Market Place”.

Brought your kids to the supermarket? No problem, Everise has a free-play mini playground for the young ones to enjoy. You can dump your bored husband and anti-social teens there too hahahaahahah

And the ultimate selling point of this “Market Place” for hipsters? There is a cafe in the supermarket. THERE IS A CAFE IN THE SUPERMARKET! Now the youth can tell their mums “I’m busy buying the groceries” while they were actually sipping freshly brewed coffee while indulging in choices of pancakes, cookies and donuts at the new Rusty Bean & Batter cafe with their friends!

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You can expect to see Dato’ James Chan chilling out here often, I guess.

OK, so the concept isn’t exactly new; the idea has been established in KL for some time and I believe it’s already common in the 1st world countries. But it’s new here in Kuching, so I’m pleased Everise took the evolutionary step and perhaps the competition would follow suit.

As per the press release, “The thematically zoned atmosphere sets the tone for gourmet food exploration and discovery”.

Sort of…wait. I did left out something that’s even better than the presence of a cafe in there.

In fact, I intentionally left this out because this “something” deserves a post on its own.

Regular readers of mine and a fair bit of Kuchingites would’ve figured it out by now. But I’m saving the best for the next post!

Clue: “Hog & Wild”.

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(Part 2 tomorrow, hopefully!)

 

Not Your Usual Japanese Dinner at Nagoya Restaurant, Batik Boutique Hotel

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant, I’ll always order the dishes that I am familiar with. Like sushi, sashimis, Japanese curry rice, ramen, cold soba noodles, and meals in a bento box.

So when I got the invite to go for a food tasting as Nagoya Restaurant, one of Kuching’s newest Japanese restaurants, I simply could not resist. Replacing the previous eatery (The Bites), this 2-month-old restaurant at the understated beauty that is Batik Boutique Hotel, certainly adds on the growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in Cat City.

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The Interior of Nagoya Restaurant

Together with fellow bloggers Garner Wyne, Aliey and Veronica, plus Veronica’s boyfriend and a man named Marvin, we were greeted by Mr. Max, who runs the Nagoya restaurant.

As we began the food tasting, I assumed it was going to be the dishes I was accustomed to. I had expected the night to be a familiar one, welcoming recognisable taste buds, and to channel the inner food critic in me in hopes this restaurant would rank similar to the likes of the more popular Japanese fine-dining outlets here.

Instead, the taste goblet in me went through what can be described as…”foreign”.

We were first introduced to “Tatami Iwashi”, known as dried sardine sheet. Served with cabbage, salmon roe and mayonnaise-like sauce, this salad certainly exposed my lack of adventure in Japanese recipes, and hence this was quite an interesting dish. Imagine the taste of your local dried fish fillet with a standard Western salad.

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“Tatami Iwashi”

Next, Crispy Fried Salmon Skin. While I am familiar with this dish, I rarely ordered this in a Japanese restaurant. Its reintroduction to me was positive; I silently kept having seconds of this incredibly addictive snack/appetizer.

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Crispy Fried Salmon Skin

Now the following dish was the one most curious to me; Nagoya’s mix appetizer. The mix consisted of two types of pickled vegetables (“Tsukemono”): the purple one is chopped cucumbers and eggplant, salted and brined with red shiso (“Shibazuke”) while the green one is cucumber pickles made with rice bran (“Kyurizuke”).  Together with picked jellyfish, pickled garlic and the star of the plate, the “Fugu Mirin Boshi”, known as dried pufferfish (yes that fish that can KILL you)… this appetizer was a truly amazing experience for my palate. The cold, crunchy vegetables, the garlic that wasn’t pungent, and the dried pufferfish that tasted like mix of dried fish fillet and “bak kwa” (dried barbeque pork). Such a pleasure to go through so many different flavours on a single plate!

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Mix Appetizer: Pickled Dishes with “Fugu Mirin Boshi”

Oh about that pufferfish. Don’t worry, it was safe for consumption. I didn’t die. Or was Mr. Max pulling our legs and making us think it was indeed pufferfish?

Anyway, it was back to familiarity from the following dish onwards. Teriyaki Chicken? Yeap, I had that many times before. The chicken was nicely cooked, and the teriyaki sauce has the nice consistency; wish I had a bowl of white rice to fully appreciate it.

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Enter a caption

A short while later, comes the Scallops with Japanese Mayonnaise. This should have been great, but the overdose of mayo killed the taste. Plus point if you love mayonnaise that much though.

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Scallops with Japanese Mayonnaise

To me, no visit to a Japanese fine-dining eatery is complete without a plate of sushi. Bless Mr. Max for providing the national dish of Japan to us! Naturally I had some high expectations over one of my favourite kinds of Japanese food.

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Sushi Platter

As you can see, we were served with your classic Salmon Sushi, California Sushi Roll and Mango Tempura Roll. It was alright. And that’s not good news because alright means there are better places to have sushi than Nagoya. The rice served for the sushi was a little more coarse/”off”, so it distracted the whole flavour of a sushi. That said, I am certain this was a one-off matter and perhaps you, the reader, would have a better dining experience with their sushi after this review.

The last hot meal we got to try was the Japanese Fried Rice, served with a generous chunk of grilled fish fillet. On its own, the fried rice was unspectacular, but with together with the flavourful fillet, it became that would finally curb my hunger for the rest of the evening.

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Japanese Fried Rice with Grilled Fish Fillet

Oh, and there’s fruits too. But I didn’t touch them. Too busy finishing the fried rice!

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Fruit Platter

Plot twist: the food tasting didn’t end with the conservative fruit platter. And it didn’t end with a dessert from Nagoya, Japan either. Instead, we completed the evening with a type of ice-cream that originated from Sicily, Italy.

You guessed it. GELATO!

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Gelato

And in six different flavours too (Sesame seed (Yum! Yum!), Teh Tarik (Yum to that too!), Green Tea, Oreos, Mint Chip and Chocolate Chip)!

 

CONCLUSION:

Nagoya has impressed me with the unfamiliar; the experience in trying out new flavours I otherwise wouldn’t have tried gave me much appreciation to the roots of Japanese cuisine. I knew the Crispy Fried Salmon Skin was addictive, and the Teriyaki Chicken was pleasantly more delicious that what I had expected.

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“I must say, the night did not end perfectly for the lady in the Liverpool kit. What was the final score between Liverpool and Manchester United on 17 January 2016?” Heh.

No doubt, I was disappointed with the turnout of both the scallop dish and especially the Sushi platter. That was the chink in the armour for me to an otherwise excellent night. I must stress though; they’ve only been around for 2 months. I am sure Mr. Max will take the criticism to good heart, and will improve on the dishes to the benefit of all of us in Kuching.

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From left: Garner, Aliey, Veronica, Max, Jackie (owner of Batik Boutique Hotel), Marvin and yours truly.

Trust me, I will be back again for round 2. No, I wasn’t paid to write that. But the fact Mr. Max showed his passion for his food is what got me to support him.

Nagoya is not halal certified, but it serves no pork.  And you can request for off-menu items (for example the mix appetizer) with Nagoya restaurant. Just let them know 24 hours in advance and see if they can cater to your request.

 

Nagoya Restaurant

Batik Boutique Hotel

38, Jalan Padungan,

93600 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Opening Hours: 12pm-3pm/6pm-11pm

Contact: 016-713-2991

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Nagoya-名古屋-527433017423043

 

UP NEXT: Three Cool Things You Should Know About Batik Boutique Hotel

Why I will never eat Nando’s…

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

…whenever I travel to Kuala Lumpur, or to most locations that require a flight ticket. Heck, I wouldn’t even bother to visit Nando’s beyond 100 kilometres from where I live.

This isn’t my first time avoiding a food & beverage franchise whenever I’m out with a luggage and/or travel bag. McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Kenny Rogers, Burger King, Sushi King, Famous Amos, Baskin Robbins and Starbucks are just some of the brands I swore not to step into their outlets…whenever I’m outside of my hometown.

And the reason for the ‘boycott’? Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nando’s has finally arrived in Kuching.

MYSTERY OF GIANT EGG REVEALED

And that means I get to enjoy their awesome PERi-PERi sauces as well as their juicy, flame-grilled chicken whenever I want to now! Heck if money’s not an issue, I could visit their brand new outlet every weekend at the all-new Vivacity Megamall, the latest and largest mall in Cat City!

What took you so long, Nando's?

What took you so long, Nando’s?

So when there was an offer to attend their grand opening on 12 December 2015, I simply had to say ‘YES!’. Oh, to brace the massive traffic, equivalent of half the city’s population (OK I am exaggerating here but you get my drift),  just for free food! I’m a sucker for free food.

3 Amigos

Perks of this event: I can bring along my ladies. lol. Anyway, a wefie while we wait for the grand opening to start. PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches

While waiting to get in, we (the media/bloggers) got to hear the background of Nando’s from Mr. Daniel Kong, Chief Executive Officer of Nando’s Malaysia.

Nando’s Malaysia chief executive officer, Daniel Kong

Nando’s Malaysia chief operating officer, Daniel Kong

Followed by Nando’s “traditional dance”, the Chicken Dance…

…the appearance of Barci, Nando’s mascot…

Nando’s mascot Barci

Nando’s mascot Barci

…and finally, the egg (that’s been getting a lot of attention lately) hatched!

(Balloons are made of egg yolks?)

Anyway, we got to go into the restaurant. The interior’s quite welcoming I must say.

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But enough of that. It’s the food you want to know right?

We start with the appetizer. In my years of visiting Nando’s, I always go straight for the main course, so this was delightfully different for me.

Hummus with PERi-RERi Drizzle, with warm pita and olives

Hummus with PERi-RERi Drizzle, with warm pita and olives

Then the staff teased us by sending out the sides first:

PERi-Chips, PERi-Wedges, Grilled Veg, Coleslaw, Mediterranean rice and Corn-on-the-cob as the sides. I think it's almost all of their sides on offer!

PERi-Wedges, PERi-Chips, Grilled Veg, Coleslaw, Mediterranean rice and Corn-on-the-cob as the sides. I think it’s almost all of their sides on offer!

And then, the main star of the show. The magical taste of Nando’s PERi-PERi Flame-Grilled Chicken:

The 4 levels of heat

The 4 levels of heat

Just like the MC said, the chicken’s cooked to perfection!

Ah, it’s all delicious, even the sides were more than ordinary! Just like how I remembered it during my days in KL.

I love my chicken to be Extra Hot. That additive ‘kick’ if you know what I mean.

That's how much I love my Extra Hot PERi-PERi

That’s how much I love my Extra Hot PERi-PERi (PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches)

I know all but one person on my table loves the Extra Hot too. However I am surprised by the survey from the ‘makan’ session: majority of the diners love the Lemon & Herb PERi-PERi Chicken the most!

Kuchingites in general don’t really like spicy food? Guess that’s the truth huh?

Oh, there’s a dessert too:

Chocolate cake, I think?

Chocolate cake, I think?

Didn’t try it. I finished half a chicken plus a fair bit of the sides. Too full to try. But I heard from my friends it wasn’t great. No matter, you don’t come to Nando’s for dessert!

With the usual suspects

With the usual suspects (PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Dutches)

I left Nando’s happy of course. Even more happy when the PR agency gave me a goodie bag like this one:

Best. Goodie Bag. I. Ever. Had!

What an awesome goodie bag!

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Information on Nandos

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Cool fridge magnets!

I’m really delighted Nando’s has made it’s mark in Kuching. Though I still wouldn’t dine at the eatery whenever I travel abroad. No offence, Nando’s! It’s just that I want to taste all the other restaurants/franchise that is not in my hometown yet (like Subway, Domino’s, Dave’s Deli, etc).

I can assure you however, that I’ll be a regular customer. And that’s something, ’cause I haven’t been a regular customers to all the other brands I mentioned earlier on!

So like a stereotypical advertisement, visit Nando’s today and enjoy some tasty flame-grilled chicken!

By the way, do sign up for Nando’s PERi-Village Loyalty app on the App Store and Google Play. You can get free chicken* if you visit them a lot.

The Raintree Restaurant @ Kuching Festival

Friday, July 20th, 2012

This was what I have been busy today:

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The food is great…but sadly from what I’ve observed, the people of Kuching are not adventurous to try things like “Osso Bucco” and “Creme Brulee” and continue eating the same old oyster omelette, Taiwan sausages…etc

When Jamie Oliver meets David Letterman

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Laughter is certain to come between these two!

I heart Red Bull

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Without it I wouldn’t be able to watch the football matches at 2.45 a.m. Malaysian time.

But now I’m getting the side effects of it, so feeling very sleepy now!

Pringles Multi-Grain Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips

Monday, June 11th, 2012

When I first saw this, I thought this might be ‘healthier’:

but it turns out to be just the same as the regular Pringles Sour Cream and Onion, only slightly…seedier.

Still, good enough food for EURO 2012 🙂

Fried Rice with Chicken Wing

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Tried this at Wok Wok Kitchen at Jalan Foochow.

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Not bad at all. RM 6.80 with a soft drink.

How To Make Pierogi

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

EURO 2012 is starting real soon…and suddenly I have cravings for Polish Pierogi…

I think I’m gonna do this soon 🙂