Monday, August 31, 2009

Ramadan time in the Middle East - Shater Hassan Restaurant

The venue: Shater Hassan Restaurant, Muroor
Location: Go down Muroor Road, pass Al Falah Plaza, at the traffic lights turn left. Shater Hassan on your left side of this road.

Myth: There's no food before Iftar (Or "breaking of fast", typically 6:45pm here in Abu Dhabi, and 6:40pm in Dubai), I ta-powed my dinner one night, and brought it home at 6pm :-) You just have to remember not to break the law and eat it there / on the street, eat it in the comfort and privacy of your own home!

The first course ... Spicy chicken Shawarma!

The word shawarma comes from the Turkish word çevirme, meaning turning, and has its origins in Anatolia.
Shawarma is made by placing strips of meat or marinated chicken on a stick; an onion or tomato is placed at the top of the stack to provide flavoring. The meat is then roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of or over a flame for a period of several hours.
Traditionally a wood fire was used but for modern times, a gas flame is more common. While many specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer.
Different sorts of meat can be used for the shawarma; the principle is that the meat will be placed on a spit, and can be grilled even for the whole day. Chunks of fat within the meat make sure that the shawarma stays juicy.

After cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. Shawarma is most commonly eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in lafa (a sweet, fluffy flatbread) together with vegetables and a dressing. Vegetables commonly found in shawarma include cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, cabbage, and in some countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, Israel, or the United Arab Emirates, french fries.

Wikipedia ... In the United Arab Emirates, shawarma is quite popular. This is due to the relatively low price, the ease in which a shawarma is prepared, as well as its taste being appealing to many of the UAE's residents. Al Farooj Fresh was the first fast-casual restaurant chain in UAE that offered fresh shawarma sandwiches and chicken meals. Most local cafeteria offer shawarma (mostly chicken) for a price range between AED 3 (apprx US$ 1) and AED 4 (like in Dubai). In malls, most restaurants sell it at AED 5 or 6. Some restaurants offer a larger size shawarma which usually serves as a lunch meal along with some drink. Arabic bread is mostly used.

I was also told that Shater Hassan serves a mean Grilled Chicken, so I couldn't resist forking out another 20 or 22 AED for one :-) Its served with a LOT of "accessories", here's what I found in my ta-pow bag ...

Fantastically hot, temperature-hot that is! The skin was so crispy, it nearly fell off into flakes. Deliciously sinful! Have to say the meat near the bone was really good, but the breast-meat was a wee bit dry. Overall, gooooood! Serves three I reckon.

ps. Meal was washed down with some Made in Malaysia (hand-carried all the way here!) Nescafe Body Partner 3-in-1 mix. Perfect!

I can finally cook in Abu Dhabi!

Yay! I can now cook :-) My Rice Cooker works, my Hob works, and best of all I have my own Kitchen. Finally :-)

This was my first meal at home, inspired by my grandma's cooking twenty years ago ... Chicken and Omelette stir-fried with Baked Beans.

Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce is hard to beat, especially when its air-flown all the way from Malaysia! Used sparingly... I made some stir fried chicken with oyster sauce and mushrooms. I loved the caramelised indian onions :-)

On afternoon I even fried some rice with mushies and chicken ... Had it with some leftover "Jules baked beans special" on the side :-)

My attempt at some NZ beef mince-bolognaise ... served with some buttered toast :-) Ah the simple pleasures!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

As the sun sets over Abu Dhabi ... Happy Merdeka, Malaysia!

As the sun sets over Abu Dhabi this evening ...

... I am reminded that it is Merdeka day in Malaysia, Happy 52nd!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Up (Pixar, 2009) - Best the studio has produced.. To date!

I eagerly await each and every Pixar release ... and was fortunate enough to have been home just in time for the latest release UP! Turned out to be my FAVOURITE Pixar film to date, with my personal Top 3 being:-

1) Up
2) Monsters Inc
3) Finding Nemo

Embarassingly, I have yet to actually watch Wall-E, Ratatouille and Cars, so I shall reserve my comments for these till a later date :-)

Worldwide gross numbers below are as of the end of June, 2009.

Budget: USD$ 175M
Worldwide Gross (so far, it was only released weeks ago!): USD$ 396M The best! Magnificent effort from Pixar ... Moving, funny, excellent script, characters and music. It will take something very special to better this :-)

Wall-E: 2008
Budget: USD$ 180M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 533M

Ratatouille: 2007
Budget: USD$ 150M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 624M

Cars: 2006
Budget: USD$ 120M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 462M

The Incredibles: 2004
Budget: USD$ 92M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 636M Hilarious, rib-ticklingly so. Love this!

Finding Nemo: 2003
Budget: USD$ 94M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 866M As a diver, this takes some beating. What a wonderfully moving movie, simply magnificent. My third favourite of the lot!

Monsters, Inc: 2001
Budget: USD$ 115M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 529M This was my personal favourite for a looooong time, until UP came along! Superb characters, simply brilliant.

Toy Story: 1999
Budget: USD$ 90M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 485M Could never top the first installment, seems there will be a third chapter in Toy Story soon.

A Bug's Life: 1998
Budget: USD$ 45M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 364M Good, but lacked the wow factor I reckon.

Toy Story: 1995
Budget: USD$ 30M
Worldwide Gross: USD$ 362M A pure classic, this is where it all began ... To infinity and beyond, Pixar is certainly getting there!

Favourite Bak Kut Teh in Pandamaran, Klang

Located: In between Tuah Kiat and Elim Florist and Gifts, Pandamaran, Klang
Directions: Refer to this previous review

Here's our fave BKT in Pandamaran, Klang ... BG was so sweet to take me here just before I flew back to this piggy-free-land!

Steaming hot, full of flavour, and a plethora of ingredients (Besides wonderful pork!) such as mushies, veg, fu-chuk and more! This is Claypot style BKT!

BG ordered some tendon-bits too ... Not really my thing, but well loved around these parts! Seems its good for you ... uhhh! I like the thick-style BKT gravy though :-)

Happy Hour Mojitos and Tiger Beer - The new WIP, BSC Bangsar

WIP has always been one of our favourite drinking holes ... The new WIP looks fabulous, but I didn't seem to see DJ John that evening.

Everyone thought it was Goreng Pisang, it turned out to be KT's Fish and Chips!

Calamari was a little off initially ... Quickly sent it back, and they efficiently and politely changed it for us.

The Hawaiian pizza me thinks... Decent.

EL's fave, Tofu balls!

The deep fried chicken wings were rather good ...

BUT... we weren't really there to eat. The food was only there to "sustain" our drinking abilities, here's the REAL meal ... The drinks!
Mojito ... At Happy Hour prices! Just go before 7pm :-)

I stuck to ... Tiger of course ;-) Buy one get one free. Nice!

A tale of cigars - Hoyo de Monterrey & Mini Romeo y Julieta

One night in WIP, Bangsar ... we were in luck :-) Our dear friend brought out her entire stash of cigs, and I had brought along two as well ;-)

Hoyo de Monterrey - Epicure No. 2
One of our favourites at the moment as you can see from this recent review
Provided about an hour of happy puffing time!

Romeo y Julieta - Mini
Thanks to Beermonster for letting us try these ... bitter! But grows on you ... and nicely packaged, so couldn't complaint!
We normally enjoy the popular Number 2 so this was the first time we went to a smaller gauge R y J!

Penfolds Bin 407 - Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

One of the best and smoothest sub RM$200 Cab Sauvs I have ever tasted, we enjoyed the flavours of this little treat. Brought it back from Changi Airport, Singapore, where I paid SGD$60 for it at Terminal 2. That's about RM$150 in proper money :-)

Some professional opinions agree with my pallet :-)
Penfolds Chief Winemaker, John Duval, in response to the increasing availability of high-quality cabernet sauvignon fruit. Inspired by Penfolds Bin707, Bin 407 offers varietal definition and attention to detail, at a moreaffordable price point.A textbook Cabernet, the varietally expressive Bin 407 is true to Penfolds multi- region, multi-vineyard blending policy, showing a core of ripe fruit supported by French and American oak.
I often like Bin 407 but even so, I don’t have an affection for it. It was one of the first wines to ‘burn’ me - one of the first wines that I bought in volume on the back of a review, but then didn’t end up liking, even given some time in the cellar. I’ve approached it sceptically ever since. Over the past few years I’ve come to like it increasingly more though, and while I don’t think this 2006 is either a great wine or great value, I do think the quality is very good.
It’s medium-weight, olivey, fleshed with blackcurrant and spicy, cedary French oak. It has chalky, violetty, herbal influences but the thing I really like is that it’s pure cabernet made unashamedly for cabernet lovers – it’s not a shiraz wannabe. It tastes of nothing other than cabernet. There’s a sticky-date sweetness through the aftertaste and gorgeous, velvety texture. Real length too, and real potential. 93 points for me.

Sin Kee - Our favourite restaurant in Brickfields!

Add: 194, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, KL
Tel: +603 2274 1842
Opening hours: 12 - 02:30pm (Lunch) / 05:30pm - 09:30pm (Dinner), closed on Mondays

The main attraction ... Mun fan! Fabulous!!
History and more with writeups from Miss Birthday-gal Lemongrass can be found on this recent review I did .

Hakka Pork dish ... Really tasty, but oh so filling ... couldn't eat more then 3.. oops, 4 ... oops 5 pieces!

Fish was under-cooked initially, but after a wee bit of re-steaming, it was good nevertheless. Good customer service, when we sent it back, the boss lady apologised and didn't frown one bit!
This was the LAST dish we ordered, cos' AT was having her beauty sleep and came a wee bit late... but she proclaimed that this was one of the best fried rice ever ... I agree!

Best pork knuckle ... Fu Man, Tanjung Malim

Add: Fu Man - 39 , Jalan U 1 , Taman Universiti, Tanjung Malim, Perak
Tel: +605 459 7620 or +6012 654 1587

We love TM!

Roast Duck with VC and R ta-powed from KL ... all the way to TM, so goood! Juicy!
Deep fried Pork Knuckle served with plum sauce, packing an incredible flavour and so juicy. It was quite unbelievable! D agrees :-)
Best of all ... Only RM$30 for this delicious piece of meat!