Tag: street food

What we got up to in Kuala Lumpur – part 1

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur mid afternoon on a Friday and took a taxi from the airport to the city. There are two options when you buy your taxi voucher in the arrivals hall – metered taxi or fixed rate. I asked which would be the better option and was told it depends whether you want to take a risk with traffic (!!) so we decided on a fixed fee which was the right decision. The journey from the airport to the city took over an hour (it’s quite away a way from the centre) and when we got towards our hotel we were snarled up in gridlock traffic which would definitely have taken it’s toll on the fee meter.

We were staying in the Hotel Berjaya Times Square, in the Bukit Bintang region of the city, which is a huge place connected to a huge shopping mall (I’ll review the hotel separately). Our room on the 25th floor afforded us views of the storm that was rolling in, and we feared we may not be able to get out to explore that evening due to the torrential rain that coincided with our arrival. Luckily it subsided by evening, and off we went to Jalan Alor; a renowned street of hawker food stalls which is touted as a must visit in KL.

Have to say we were disappointed. After some exceptional food experiences in Batu Ferringhi, Jalan Alor was overly busy, overly samey and not overly appealing. We initially settled on a brightly lit restaurant which randomly had a Christmas tree in the corner, and ordered a selection of food…which never came.

We watched other diners arrive, eat and leave, and still we sat there. Every time we enquired on the whereabouts of our food we were told “it’s coming” then, finally, after about 40 minutes, they bought out just one of our dishes and it was completely wrong! By mutual agreement with the waiters we left and went searching for another place, eating a very tasty beef dish, but by then it was late and the experience was somewhat soured. There was nothing about Jalan Alor that made us want to return, and I think this is because it paled to anything we’d experienced in Penang.

Rising bright and early the following morning we were greeted by bright sunshine and blue skies, so we set off to arguably KL’s most famous landmark – the PETRONAS Twin Towers. We found our way to the city centre and then entered a stunning high end beautifully air conditioned shopping mall, from where we tracked down the Bukit Bintang covered walkway which is a direct and safe way to cross the city and reach the towers. I was very much looking forward to seeing them but didn’t expect to be as overwhelmed as I was by them – they were absolutely incredible. The shape, the symmetry, the way the metal and glass structure glinted in the sun, just wow.

 

We took far too many photos, oohed and aahed a huge amount and had a wander round KLCC park which is at the back of the towers took some more photos.

We tried and failed to get tickets to go to the top (fully booked, we booked them for another day) then headed off to find the Menara KL Tower and try our luck at ascending that.

Although KL Tower isn’t as tall as the twin towers, it’s actually higher with better views due to it’s elevated position on a hill. Because it’s so high and so distinctive you can use it as a navigational point even if you don’t know where you’re going, so we wandered through the streets, occasionally referring to the map and sweating profusely in the midday heat and humidity.

Unlike the Twin Towers, which have usable space on every floor, the KL Tower is a needle design with a narrow body and 2 wide round viewing platforms at the top – one open air (the highest point) and one enclosed (a few metres below). There’s a few ringgit difference, pricewise, between the two viewing platforms, but why would you go all that way and then not go to the very top? Strangely quite a few people did, which seems odd to me, and certainly wasn’t an option for us.

The rounded open air viewing platform gives 360 degree views across KL and the surrounding areas, including across to the Twin Towers.

It also has two Sky Boxes – glass structures built to stand out from the side of the platform, overlooking the ground below. You can stand in the glass box and get photos taken which was very cool, although I imagine someone with a fear of heights might go a bit wobbly legged! I found it incredible and well worth queuing 10 minutes for.

The only negative to our visit to KL Tower was that, after being on the Sky Deck, you then have to go down to the enclosed observation deck (which seems pointless when you’ve already seen the best views from a higher level) and we had to queue for around 20 minutes for a lift back down – the queue snaked half way round the space. It would be better to manage the number of people up there at any one time and keep the exiting procedure shorter and less frustrating.

In the evening we headed back to the PETRONAS Twin Towers to see the fountain light show on the lake behind the towers, and once again we were awestruck. The towers are all lit up at night, and with the backdrop of the night sky they’re almost more impressive than during the day.

The lightshow and fountains, which are set to music, are beautiful and mesmerising and everything was just wonderful!

More about KL in my next post!

Missed out on posts about the earlier part of our trip, Penang? Read about it here, here and here

Thanks, as always for reading! x

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Chillidogdogs – oh yeah!

If you read yesterday’s post about one of my local pubs, you’ll have seen me mention Chillidogdogs.

In keeping with the nation’s current obsession with streetfood, Chillidogdogs deliver a pared down menu done really really well. They serve from their little premises in the beer garden at the Prince from Thursday through to Sunday and boy is their food good!

These pictures come from 2 different visits (not that I care whether you think I’m greedy, just saying that I have tested for consistency and been delighted both times).

Chillidogdogs food selection

Nachos to start – I’m going to put this out there and say these are some of the nicest nachos I’ve ever had. The balance is right – enough topping to last right until the last delicious crunchy triangle. The chilli is sweet and meaty, not hot or spicy, just really really tasty.Chillidogdogs nachos 2

Chillidogdogs nachos

The hotdogs are hot-damn! Sausage spilling over the end of the roll, there’s just enough bite to the skin followed by the juicy meaty filling – these are quality ingredients! Lashings of afore-mentioned chilli and mustard with just enough kick. My mouth is actually watering as I type.

Chillidogdogs hotdog

The husband is something of a burger aficionado and has a lot of experience in eating them. He has declared this to be right up there with the best burgers he’s ever tasted. Smothered in juicy pulled pork, oozing with cheese, there were yummy noises aplenty (he was so impressed he had the same both times).

Chillidogdogs burger

Chilli fries kind of speak for themselves really. If they could speak they’d say “eat me”. They’re so good. The kind of thing you wish you weren’t sharing. I’d happily lie down in them like a big cheesy chilli potato pillow and eat my way out. Too good.

Chillidogdogs fries

So, there you have it. As you can tell I’m rather indifferent to the whole shebang and could take it or leave it. By which I mean order and eat all of it. All of the food. All of the chilli topped products, until I slumped into a meaty chilli cheesy carb coma. That sounds good.

If you’re in or around Birmingham and haven’t visited the Prince of Wales and Chillidogdogs, have a word with yourself!

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When is a pub not just a pub…?

…When it’s the Prince of Wales in Moseley!

Prince of Wales Moseley

When it has a moose head on the wall in the bar

Prince of Wales moosehead

When the bar is as traditional as this, and serves an ever changing selection of craft beers, ales, wines and spirits

Prince of Wales bar

When it has a cosy snug which has real log fires in winter

Prince of Wales snug

When it has traditional Victorian details like this tiled mirror and walls

Prince of Wales mirror

Prince of Wales tiles

Prince of Wales details

When it has a massive beer garden that’s half covered and heated so you can use it all year

Prince of Wales garden

Prince of Wales garden 2

Prince of Wales outside

When it has a purpose built cigar hut – La Choza – selling Cuban cigars

Prince of Wales cigar hut

When it has a tiki cocktail bar serving traditional cocktails and house specials

Prince of Wales motiki bar 3

Prince of Wales garden 3

Prince of Wales motiki bar 2

When it has a “Shed du Vin” selling bottles of wine and snacks

Prince of Wales Shed du Vin

When it has it’s very own street food vendor onsite – Chillidogdogs (more on that in my next post).

Prince of Wales Chillidogdogs

When it’s the most creative, cool and unusual pub you’ve ever been to!

The Prince of Wales dates back to 1861. The current landlord and landlady have been there since 2007, and transformed it from an old man’s boozer into the unique, charming, fun place it is today.They have recently been named UK Licensees of the Year, beating 50,000 others across the country.

There’s a plot of land next to the pub which has been earmarked for development into apartments. If that happens there’s a good chance the new residents would complain about noise and the Prince would get closed down.

That would be a travesty. It was ‘ere first.

I never understand people who move in near to a place they know will generate noise and then complain. It’s already happened to a couple of places in Birmingham City Centre.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

All hail The Prince!

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Digbeth Dining Club – Original Patty Men, Manila Munchies, more Canoodle and Esmie’s

After last week’s tum tickling fabulousness, we decided to head to DDC again on Friday to sample the delights of some food vendors we hadn’t tried before. My husband classes a good burger as right up there in terms of his favourite food items, and the Original Patty Men recently won a UK burger battle challenge which was held in Birmingham, so their wares were on his must try list.

OPM

Obviously lots of other people had the same idea, because when we got there at around 7.15 the queue for their stall was huge. It didn’t look huge, until you got closer and realised they’d put metal barriers out so people were snaking round and round like a queue for the funfair. And then, when you got to the front to place your order, you were given a ticket and had another 10-15 minute wait after that. All in all we waited an hour and 20 minutes to get our mitts on a burger. Although it was payday, so probably more people out than usual, but still.

I had a Bean Bean King – burger topped with pulled pork and spicy beans and cheese.

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I was all up for trying their Krispy Kreme burger (basically a glazed doughnut in place of the bun) but they’d already sold out by the time we were half way through the queue. Other choices seemed fairly tame compared to what I’ve seen on offer before, which was a shame considering they’re known for unusual and innovative toppings.

Was it worth the wait? Well, in my opinion nothing is worth waiting that long for. It was good, it was tasty, it was fresh and juicy and well cooked. The burger bun was sturdy enough to hold the contents and the flavours worked well together. But really, an hour and a half? I’d say Original Patty Men have become a victim of their own success. And obviously that’s not their fault in any way. But queuing for that long on a Friday night (or any night) is just daft. Although the burger was very good.

Husband had a bacon cheeseburger – the bacon being flavoured with maple. And here it is!

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The queue was so long that I used the time as an opportunity to grab something from one of the other stalls. Manila Munchies serve Filipino street food.

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The menu looked good, with 4 different offerings (including one vegetarian). I opted for the pork liempo, which was slow cooked belly pork in spicy sauce served with rice and vegetables.

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Very tasty – the meat was delicious and cooked to perfection, tender and succulent with just the right amount of bite. The vegetables and rice were a great accompaniment. It was a fab starter! (although service was slow; I waited around 10 minutes and there were only 3 people in front of me. You’ll get the picture that I don’t like waiting for food!)

Finally I returned to Canoodle for more tasty goodness following the success of the previous week, this time trying their Sri Lankan pork curry.

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Again the meat was cooked amazingly, and the rice and pickled veg worked perfectly as an accompaniment. Overall the dish was slightly too citrusy for me as it was flavoured with lemongrass (not a favourite of mine) but there was no denying that it was very tasty and well executed (and I ate it all anyway!)

Being on different food wavelengths (as in I’d had three dishes to husband’s two) he wanted one more thing, and decided on Esmie’s.

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The queues for this Caribbean food vendor had been consistently long all night and he was drawn in by the scallops. They were in a tortilla bowl (an edible dish, brilliant!) on a bed of rice with asparagus spears and he also ordered fried plantain.

Plantain

Naturally I had to try it, purely in the interests of research, and it was delish. A few people had been caught out by the hot sauce which they’d smothered all over their meals and then had to counteract with lots of cooling yoghurt sauce, but by exercising caution the kick of the dressing was a delicious accompaniment to the subtle seafood.

Pricewise: burgers were £7 each, Manila Munchies Pork Liempo was £7, Canoodle’s Sri Lankan pork curry was £6.50 and the Caribbean scallops were £7, plus £2 for fried plantain. Not cheap, but certainly good quality and cooked right in front of you.

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Digbeth Dining Club – Low ‘n’ Slow and Canoodle review

On Friday evening we made a last minute decision to head to Digbeth Dining Club for food and drinks. It’s been a couple of months since we were last there and there were some vendors we hadn’t tried before, so off we popped into the sunshine armed with hungry tummies!

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Low ‘n’ Slow’s offerings are all based around slow cooked barbecue meat. Brisket cooked for 24 hours, baby back ribs, the most tender pulled pork – this guy knows his meat. He’s also made “baconaise” a thing – triple oak smoked bacon mayonnaise which is used as a dressing on burgers. I mean, I don’t even like mayonnaise, but I would bathe in that stuff.

We headed straight to the Low ‘n’ Slow area and ordered. Husband went for a chilli beef brisket burger; I tried to get a picture but he was too quick for me. Judging from the looks on his face and the yummy noises he was making, it was very good! (he confirmed as much afterwards).

I ordered pig cheek tacos.

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Delish! Tender juicy smoked meat with spicy sauce and fresh tomatoes, served up on fresh soft tacos. I’ve never had pig cheek before but I’d definitely have it again. Such a lovely texture, a firmness that melts in the mouth, and a sweetness from the dressing.

Next stop was Canoodle. Their pan Asian menu was one of the reasons I wanted to go on Friday night. Unable to decide what I wanted, I coerced husband into having one thing and me having another so I got the best of both worlds! He ordered Malaysian Beef Rendang with soured mango, and I had Chilli Pepper Squid with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Both dishes were served with steamed jasmine rice and pickled vegetables. The rice alone was fragrant and delicious, I’d have eaten a plate of it with no sauce! We both expressed concern about the pickled vegetables before we tried them, but their sharp crunch were a perfect foil to the spicy falvours of both dishes.

Malaysian Beef Rendang was a delight – thick rich sauce with tender chunks of beef; loads of meat and really really tasty.

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Chilli Pepper Squid was amazing. The thickest most succulent pieces of squid I’ve ever seen (or eaten) in a light batter, with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Squid can be very hit and miss, and if not cooked well can resemble tyre rubber, but this was a joy.

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And then, something terrible happened. We were both full up! No room for even another dish between us. Gutted! I had hoped to have a burrito from Habanero Café, and then also spotted a new vendor – La Grande Viande – who had the most tantalising sounding lamb dishes, but stomach said no.

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Also on site were Spectacular Goat pizzas and Delizie Italiane.

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Only one thing for it – go back again soon. How terrible for us!

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Digbeth Dining Club – Pietanic and Big Daddies Diner reviews

Digbeth Dining Club (DDC) has been running for over 2 years, and continues to go from strength to strength, winning Best Street Food Event awards for two years in a row. It’s a very simple concept – bringing a collection of street food vendors together on a weekly basis to offer good quality, stripped back tasty nosh. And tasty it is! For some reason I’ve only ever been 3 times, which is quite ridiculous considering it’s pretty much on my doorstep, but I intend for that to change this year, for sure.

DDC is hosted at Spotlight, a large warehouse space bar with a DJ, comfy sofas and picnic tables inside. Drinks are reasonably priced and the bar was both well stocked and well staffed.

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I have to be honest that last night’s vendors didn’t really ding my dong compared to some of the other regulars, but it was my last night of “holiday” as I start my new job next week, and some friends were planning to be there, so I thought I’d make the best of it. How wrong I was to be reticent. The food was fabulous.

Starting with Pietanic.

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The Pietanic van is a retro cream and brown affair with their name painted across the side. They’re fully self sufficient and serve via a hatch in the side of the van. I went for Chicken and Chorizo, which was served hot from a foil container that resembled a deep pudding pot more than a shallow pie. There was a choice of either mash and gravy – an obvious pie accompaniment – or potato salad. With the weather doing a great summer impression I went for the latter, and what a choice it was. Skin on crushed potatoes, fresh and flavoursome. The whole lot was sprinkled with crispy fried onions.

The star of the show, as you’d expect, was the pie. Just delicious. Pies can sometimes be too much pastry and not enough filling, but this was the perfect combination. The outer was less of a crust and more of a soft doughy protective case around it’s precious contents of tender chicken, meaty chorizo and sweet spicy tomato sauce.

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My husband may or may not* have had a second one to take home with him at the end of the night.

*He did.

The beauty of street food events is eating more than one cuisine. Second choice for the night was Big Daddies Diner. Specialising in hotdogs, they had a choice of around 8 different types – from a basic dog right up to fully loaded varieties. I’m not a huge hot dog fan, but the beauties I was seeing people holding meant there’s no way I couldn’t try one for myself.

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I went for the Edna – 2 dogs in a soft bun, loaded with chilli and cheese. Yum.

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Husband chose a Turbo Pete – topped with pulled pork and red slaw. His opinion was also yum.

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Big Daddies Diner uses a combination of pork and beef dogs that are cooked right in front of your eyes. They’re thick, succulent and juicy. I was definitely converted. The chilli and cheese on mine were perfect bed fellows, although it did necessitate eating with a fork due to the sheer size! Big Daddies Diner was definitely the most popular vendor of the night, with queues of up to 30 people at a time running back across the car park. Was it justified? Hell yeah!

Its testament to the popularity of all the vendors that all of them were displaying sold out signs across at least one of their dishes by the time we left at 9.30.

DDC is open every Friday night from 5.30pm, as well as the last Saturday of every month. The key is to get there early and wear your Joey Thanksgiving pants!

Joey pants

I’m eating out again tonight – I fear for my waistline!

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