Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food Review: The Spaghetti Farm-Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur

Location: The Spaghetti Farm- Lot 49 & 50, LG  MidValley Megamall Kuala Lumpur
Restaurant Theme: Fast food pasta
Dish ordered: Farmhouse Set (Spaghetti with Bolognese and cheese sauce-Mushroom Soup-Ice Lemon Tea)
Rating: i) Ambiance: 3
           ii) Taste: 2
          iii) Price : 3
          iv) Service: 3
I hope the quality of the pictures above are apparent as they were all taken with my new  camera and my latest gadget-Panasonic Lumix FZ 100. Now i can feature crystal clear and crisp pictures in this blog, Cheers-Kay2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food Review-Halal Foods in Ho Chi Minh City-Vietnam

Im grateful that i managed to sample 3 different venues which offer halal offerings in Ho Chi Minh (HCM). Needless to note that i found it harder to find halal eateries compared to Bangkok maybe due to the fact that there are lesser Muslim communities here than in Bangkok. I hope this post will lead some way and will be of help to Muslims who are planning to visit HCM.

i) Punjabi Indian Restaurant

the menu:

the foods offered are predominantly Indian foods. I didnt see any local Vietnamese foods stated in the menu. Price is of higher range if you based on the conversion rate of Dong 50,000 equivalent to almost RM 10.
I ordered the Cheese & Garlic Nan accompanied with Vegetable Curry

foods served piping hot. I love the nan as it was crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.The curry was exceptional. It was a mixed vegetable curry consisting of carrot, cauliflower, potatoes and beans. The curry spices are mild but distinctive enough to taste. It really complimented my nan very well. Note that this is a dry curry with thick gravy and not the watery type such as dhal or korma.

ii) New Delhi Indian Restaurant

beautiful wall decoration

the menu

 As i was feeling quite hungry that night, i ordered the Pulau Vegetarian Briani. It was quite pale in colour compared with the normal briani that ive had before. It was also quite bland in taste and there's no distinctive taste of Indian spices which you would usually taste in briani.

I also ordered Chicken Curry to accompany the briani. Mildly spiced, the chicken meat literally fell off the bone.I requested for more gravy as the briani was quite dry. Taste wise the curry was okay, it tasted almost similar to chicken korma.

My friend ordered a plate of Omelet and it turned out to be my favourite dish of the night.It was lightly spiced with Indian spices and was not salty and there was a slight crispiness in it. Definitely a must try.

iii) VN Halal

On my last day in HCM i finally got to taste the most famous local dish-Pho, Vietnamese beef noodle soup. They eat Pho literally anytime of the day be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. I sampled mine at VN Halal restaurant. This restaurant can easily be located as it is situated in a shop row directly opposite the New World Hotel.

As you can see from the menu, they served extensive local Vietnamese dishes and also Malaysian dishes. I ordered Pho and ice lemon tea.

and finally the Pho, im so happy and excited to have the chance to taste it as ive watched it being featured in food channels many times previously.

After tasting I know why it was no surprise that this dish is so popular. The meat broth is so tasty, fresh and hearty with minimum oiliness. The fresh vegetable and herbs sprinkled on top nicely complimented the beef broth by giving it extra taste and crunch to the texture of the noodle and the taste of the soup. If you want it to be more spicy you can add in chopped bird's eye chilli to give it extra kick. No visit to Vietnam will be complete without a taste of Pho.

Apart from the above eateries, i also had the chance to taste famous local coffee joints-Highlands Coffee. You can find this modern-almost Coffee-Bean like establishment in most parts of HCM.

When we wondered around the night market outside Ben Thanh Market, i saw this small stall selling sticky rice. It was interesting to see varieties and colourful sticky rice being sold from this stall. 

Happy eating in Ho Chi  Minh!-Kay 2011.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Flight Review: Malaysia Airlines MH 758/759 (Kuala Lumpur-Ho Chi Minh-Kuala Lumpur)

I had just came back from a wonderful weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, whereby I spent 4 days in that city.I will blog about my experience of touring the city in later posts. What i can say about Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh in particular is that it is a vibrant country and a city rich with historical pasts which help rendering its current developing status and its bright future as one of the powerhouse in ASEAN. Im not going to be surprised if one day Vietnam will turn into an economic force similar to China as during my stay there, I could really feel the energy and drive of its people to move forward and despite the sufferings that they have endured during the war you will notice that there was no regret or sorrow instead proud feel of their pasts.

Flight: MH 758
Sector: Kuala Lumpur-Ho Chi Minh
Duration: 1h 45m
Service: Lunch
Equipment: Boeing 737-400
Load: 98%

This flight was full of families (mostly elderly people) on a shopping trip to Ho Chi Minh (HCM). HCM is very popular with Malaysian for its high quality and cheap textile. The same textile sold in Malaysia would have cost double or triple of its price in HCM. The flight was full to the brim. MAS offers 3 flights daily from Kuala Lumpur to HCM.

MAS 737-800 in new livery...not our plane unfortunately...

this is ours...with bags being loaded into its cargo hold....

passengers boarding....

..suddenly it started to drizzle outside...

..up-up and away....

Lunch service was started about 30 minutes after take off. For regional ASEAN flights, MAS has introduced light meals served in meal box, no serving tray is used. Though sounds practical for short duration flights, the waiting time to be served may take some times especially those who are seated at the back as two trolleys were used for serving whereby one will move from the front end of the plane and the other from the middle.Being nearest to the galley it seems unlogical to be served the last. In my previous flight i had experienced the last few rows being served directly from the galley and i believe this should be the practice.

Two choices were offered, Fried Rice with Chicken Satay and Noodle with Beef, i chose the former.

included in the box were Ferrero Rocher chocolate, fruit cake and mineral water. Basically i was disappointed with the meal. The meal was tasteless. The satay looks like it had been steamed instead of grilled over charcoal. The fried rice was bland, in colour and taste. One would wonder whether such a meal is a testament of aggressive cost cutting measure adopted by our national carrier which claimed to be a "5 Star" airline? Not only the portion is small, the menu must also be periodically revised as i noticed the same menu had been served in intra-ASEAN flights for the past 2 years.

Fruit juices, soft drinks, tea and coffee were offered from the cart which moved from the front. Another act which can be considered as distasteful and unprofessional is that the crew in this flight decided to hold the serving of coffee individually but decided to do it once the meal service and the cart had been re-stored in the galley. Being a major player in the service industry, MAS should well be informed that one of the thing that any service will try to eliminate is waiting. For a simple reason waiting will irritate people's feeling more even in a short flight whereby service has to be stopped once descend is initiated. One thing that i would gladly request for MAS to improve in their onboard service is try to reduce or limit serving time and your passengers will be happy.

about to land at Tan Son Nhat International Airport...


world war hangar...

view of the airport, the terminal is small but they do have separate terminal for domestic flights

Rating: Service-3

Flight: MH 759
Sector: Ho Chi Minh-Kuala Lumpur
Duration: 2 hours
Service: Late lunch
Equipment: Boeing 737-400
Load: 98%

The return flight was equally full to the brim.I noticed that most of the passengers were transiting via KLIA to Europe or other Asian destination.

Ho Chi Minh airport view...

our plane at SGN (the airport code for HCM)...

boarding process..

take-off leaving the wonderful HCM away...

Menu offered were similar with the inbound flight but the Beef Noodle had been replaced with chicken. This time i chose the better choice-the Chicken Noodle.

noticed something different? Ferrero had been replaced with some cheap Cadbury chocolate..cost savings at its best!

Usual juices, soft drinks, tea and coffee were offered. I requested for ginger beer and was properly given one whole can of the same-i was delighted.

Service in this flight felt much faster without any particular reason. The crew were friendly without being to nosy.

Rating: Service-3.5

I do hope MAS will improve on the issues stated above not only to stand true to its acclaim 5 Star status but also as the flag carrier of Malaysia. Kay-2011