Sunday, September 21, 2008


Today is the 20th day of fasting. For those who didn't notice it, this year is one of those rare years where the Islamic dates match the Roman calendar dates. Yup, Ramadhan and October are day for day similar.
Anyway, I have divided my breaking of fast with family and friends over the past two weeks or so.
And as usual, we do not believe in paying RM100 bucks per head to buka puasa at a hotel. There's just so much that you can stuff your face without being silly - and going to a hotel that claims to have 100 or 200 dishes for berbuka is just plain crazy (even verging on the obscene). Who would want that? Even if he wanted to, he won't be able to because he would be bloated by dish number 15.
So, we rather go to a halal Chinese seafood restaurant and order ala carte or to a banana leaf restaurant or a restaurant offering excellent western dishes.
However, this is not to say that I didn't go to restaurants or hotels that didn't serve buffets - I did but that is at the invitation of others who wanted to splurge.
My favourite for a restaurant that does serve great Ramadhan buffet is Sari Ratu Grand in Bukit Bintang. For RM49.00 (with a 10 percent discount if you have a discount card), it is well worth a go. All my favourites are there, rendang ayam, asam pedas ikan tenggiri, belado hijau, ayam pop and many otehr padang goodies. And the buffet is not lavish...I think in all there's about 20 main dishes with a table full of desert. It is more than enough.
As for halal Chinese seafood, I recommend either Unique Seafood in Section 14 in Petaling Jaya or South Seas seafood restaurant near the old Terminal Three building in Subang.
For RM50 per head you could very well have a great seafood meal.
We also had steaks for berbuka at Angus Steakhouse in the Pavilion in KL. And for those who already know the quality of the Steakhouse, there isn't much wrong that I can point out. For steaks, Angus is amongst the best in town.
I also need to congratulate and applaud the Pavilion for their effort to promote Malay culture. At about 8 in the evening, a very good Malay gamelan troupe performs there for the public for about an hour. The soothing sounds of the Malay gamelan (see pic below) to be heard in public is something quite rare these days.
Syabas Pavilion.
My daughter Adylla, who had her braces tightened yesterday, needed soft food. So I thought it would be a good time to go to the Lodge (now called the Paradize Lodge Hotel) for berbuka, as it has been sometime since I had their famous teochew porridge.
Accompaniments that aren't appetising at all
I regretted it. The porridge served there is not the porridge that I knew and loved.
For example, when we were served, the porridge itself was not piping hot - a real no-no when it comes to good porridge. This boo boo even my wife fuming mad.
To make things worse, the condiments and accompaniments served were also bland and unappetising. There was no pickled vege and the popular black bean fish. What kind of teochew porridge is this?
The service too was crap. I think the Ministry of Human Resources should check into restaurants and cafes that use foreign workers whose language skills are lacking - either English or Malay. I personally have struggled to keep my temper in check when trying to order or explain a particular requirement to a Myanmar or a Nepalese waiter or help.
A couple of days, at the Rainforest Cafe in Sunway, I asked without looking at the menu if they had Laksa Asam. The waiter nodded and off he went. About 20 minutes later he brought a bowl of something that hardly resembles laksa asam. I peeked at it and guessed it looked more like laksa sarawak. So I called this waiter - he could be Filipino or Sabahan (I can't be certain) - and asked what laksa he brought me and he said laksa sarawak. I argued that I ordered laksa asam, and he said he heard me saying laksa sarawak.
I then reminded him that I had asked for laksa asam and he said yes, but now he retracted his previous statement and said that in the first place laksa asam is not in the menu.
To all you restauranteurs out there. I know getting help locally is near impossible but please if you do need to bring it workers from Myanmar or Bangladesh or the Philippines or Indonesia or Nepal, please please please make sure they understand either English or Malay.
Anyway, if after berbuka you have a sudden yearning for chocolate, head out to this cafe called Theobroma Chocolote Lounge in the Pavilion.
Try the hot chocolate there - it's to kill for.
Zo....that's my recommendations for you guys for this Ramadhan and I do hope you enjoy breaking fast without having to break the bank.
By the way, for something different, check out this hilarious video on Youtube....just go to search and type in the words 'Bee En'. If you see a video with Hitler's lookalike give it a looksee. It's in German but the subtitles are hilarious.

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