NOT a food blog
If you were in Malaysia last year, you would have most likely come across the inaugural Time Out KL (TOKL) Food Awards in 2009. You would have also most likely wondered how some of the restaurants even made it to the list, and as much as I was surprised at some of the winners, I realised that we had only ourselves to blame. You see, like all democracies, power is given to the people (yes, it’s true!), and TOKL believes that we, the people, should pick the restaurants that we believe are among the best in KL. Believe it or not, every vote matters, and at the end of the day, if your favourite restaurant doesn’t make it to the top, well….then you have every right to spit on the list because you voted and exercised your right.
This year, for the TOKL Food Awards 2010, there are 13 categories altogether, and voting has already started. You are free to nominate any restaurant which you think is deserving, be it the most expensive French restaurant in town or the tai chow stall across the road from your girlfriend’s place. On September 16, polls close and votes will be counted to form a shortlist. This shortlist will comprise the five (or six or seven, depending if the vote is close) top outlets in each of the categories. Polls will then reopen with only the shortlisted outlets on a “drop down” menu to decide who will be the eventual winner. The outlet with the most overall votes will be declared the winner at an Awards Ceremony (ala Oscars) in November.
I voted last week, but I can tell you that prior to submitting the list, I was wringing my hands wondering if I had made the right choices. Ya, so drama hor. Plus, there were some weird categories, like Continental and Italian. So I wondered if Continental meant any of those countries in the Continent (i.e. Europe) excluding Italy? What about American? Would the “Steak house” category refer to American food (stereotypical!)? What about Fusion?? The only category Fusion would fit into would be Fine Dining, but what if it were Fusion but not Fine Dining? Hysteria descends.
Anyway. To quote Uncle Sam, I want you…to vote.
Click HERE to visit the TOKL website.
I love publications like TOKL and KLue. This month (August), you’ll see my mug in KLue magazine giving my thoughts on what I’d say to aliens and such. It’s meant to sound patriotic, but Tourism Malaysia may not take too kindly to my promotion of belacan as our national heritage. After all, the aliens deserve the Twin Towers instead of bad breath. I was also on TV this month (gotta love August) as a guest judge in a reality show on NTV7 called Digi The Next Level. Now I know what it feels like to be Simon Cowell.
It’s been a wet Ramadan so far, and that really sucks. One of the charms of Ramadan for us non-Muslims is the Ramadan Bazaar but the rain just dampens the resolve to hunt for some good rendang or murtabak. I’m not one for buffets and over-eating, but I can see why hotel Ramadan buffets are popular. Whenever there is a family celebration at home, poor mum (or dad) gets stuck in the kitchen preparing a feast for the people she loves. My mum’s like that, and to be fair to her, she does it because she wants to. But I do know that she longs to go out for a nice meal where she gets to look pretty and smell nice and doesn’t have to worry about what to feed the family. Buffets are fantastic for that purpose. Who cares if grand dad can’t chew on the rendang…there is always some soft mushy tofu somewhere. The Ramadan buffet at Essence at Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur offers several types of popular Malay dishes under one roof. Nasi dagang? Check! Gulai ikan tongkol? Check! Ayam percik? Check! Chicken briyani? Check! Gulai kawah? Check! Rendang tok? Check! Satay? Check! Tapai pulut? Check!
Go there if you’re craving Malay food. Don’t expect oysters, but the sashimi counter is still open for business. There is also a selection of Chinese, Indian and Western food for the picky eater. Of all that I tried, I particularly enjoyed the rendang tok, dark and tender with a thick, dry sauce. I also got to try a Perak-ian salad called Kerabu Ikan Sungai made of pucuk paku and a catfish dressing (which I initially thought was cencaluk). So delicious, and I can tell you this -I’ll take an ulam salad anytime over a “western” salad. Ulam (my favourite being Ulam Raja) has more flavour and can even be eaten without any sauce/dressing. The satay, prepared hot in the open kitchen, was also very good. Desserts were average, some were great, some weren’t; I saw Fatboybakes spit out his onde onde, while laughing at something funny, being more accustomed to a different type of ball in his mouth. The tapai pulut was quite tasty.
The buka puasa buffet at Essence is priced at RM108++ per person and all diners who partake of the buffet will also receive gift packs from the hotel as well as Brands Essence of Chicken. Starwood membership discounts apply.
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL
For reservations, call 03-2717 9933.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.