sangkaya, damansara uptown

scorching sun in the bright blue afternoon sky. 
relentless heat.
suffocating humidity.

however, there is one silver lining behind all that.

-- ice cream!

but of course, it is ALL in the interest of not melting like the wicked witch of the west under the hot, hot sun.

the timing was perfect. with the recent warm weather on top of the wave of these cold sweet delights churning its way into the local food scene, were reasons enough to start my search for THE ice cream.

probably the why behind my recent ice cream binge and constant cravings, be it gelatos, froyos, ice cream and soft serves alike.  to be enveloped in a giant cool embrace (in a good way, of course) as i explored the ice cream parlors in klang valley.

let's call this

"the hunt -- ice cream edition"

first stop | sangkaya - the home of the coconut ice cream.

hailing from the capital city of thailand -- bangkok, sangkaya creamed its way into kl more than a few years ago but only to have gained its fame in recent months proven with the several locations opened or opening soon in the klang valley.

the petite stall is fronted by the ice cream counter - minimalist with a hint of industrial accents of  lights which i absolutely love. high table & chairs fills the small white space to sit its loyal and growing fan base.

sangkaya's menu was reflected in its catchphrase: nuts about coconut.  its signature dessert was focused on coconut. modus operandi: pick from the menu - order & pay at the counter - wait patiently as the staff scoops up yummy ice cream - pick up your order -  savor just a little taste of thailand.

artisan ice cream serves :: signature | our signature, a palatial taste of coconut haven purest to the bud, hand crafted to perfection (rm 9.90)

it was a no brainer what i wanted to order.


four scoops of premium coconut ice cream, three all natural topping choice served on fresh coconut husk with fresh strips.

starting with an empty half husk as the base, first layer is of coconut flesh slices. top that with medium scoops of ice cream and toppings of our choice from the range of cornflakes, char roasted coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, cereal, sweet corn, kidney beans and chocolate sauce.

cornflakes because of that  yummy ice cream i had in tokyo.
roasted peanuts because it just makes sense.
char roasted coconut flakes because coconut trifecta is just a must!

the ice cream was biased towards a creamy delight but with a hint of refreshing sorbet texture. the coconut flavor was prominent but was slightly sweeter than i preferred. char roasted coconut flakes bites were my favorite ones, followed by the ones with cornflakes or combination of both. the roasted peanuts, i would have liked to substitute it with another spoonful of char roasted coconut flakes instead. the texture and the taste just didn't go as well with the ice cream like the rest did.

four scoops of yummy ice cream, three toppings, two spoons for sharing and one realization.
-- that i'd like a whole one all to myself. yummy!

granted the signature ice cream was also a tad too little to be shared.

artisan ice cream serves :: cones | the cult waffle cone on the move,  now with a tropical twist (rm 2.90)

a scoop of premium coconut ice cream, served on crispy waffle cone with a sprinkle of char roasted coconut flakes. with the same main star of the ice cream and the char roasted coconut flakes served on crispy waffle cone, {mh} was happy with her pick especially because of the crispy cone with the ice cream.

sangkaya serves lovely coconut ice cream that was satisfyingly creamy but refreshing to make the humid and scorching warm weather just a little bearable.

sangkaya | location
{at uptown 7}
no. 80 ground floor
jalan ss21/39
damansara, kuala lumpur
{opens daily: 12 pm to 12 am}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

*                       *                       *                       *

p.s. playing catch up is tough. 

now that i have wrapped up the much delayed entries on #sianstakesonhk, i've got time to get back to food reviews of several cafes/restaurants/food escapades in kl/pj and perhaps a couple ones from my chiang mai travelogue that i just can't wait to share from my trip last month.  

my favorites of #siansEATShongkong

(and perhaps one or two occasions of #sianstakesonmacau)

as a closer to #siansEATShongkong series of 2014, there were a few memorable foodie highlights during my short but yummy adventure at the world's food fair, hong kong!

p.s. my picks for the list are limited to my 2014 #siansEATShongkong eating haul.  

{ the best meal }

it served the best siu mai and bbq pork cheung fun that i've had, yet. its siu mai had the a delicate balance of umami and sweetness, succulent with meaty goodness while the latter had a silky smoothness with moist bbq pork with a dash of the sweetened light soy sauce made every biteful unforgettable. 

dim sum is a light touch to the heart and tim ho wan certainly left a lasting yummy impression on mine. 

{ the best milk tea }

after having a warm cup of this favorite local favorite hong kong beverage, THE see mut nai cha with almost every meal i had, this dai pai dong turned teahouse wins hands down against the others that i've tried. its silky, milky yumminess paired with a punch of freshly brewed tea which was delicately balanced is the reason behind lan fong yuen's beloved status in the heart of the locals (and perhaps tourists alike).

{ the best egg tart }

cafe e nata margaret.

they may be portuguese versions but they are pretty darn good. this is one of the #sianstakesonmacau entries. it is the flakiness of the buttery pastry filled with the smooth, satisfyingly sweet egg custard that is smooth on the tongue. evidenced by the long queue at the shop for these treats and also the constant search for a table/chair even early in the morning, cafe e data margaret has become synonymous to macau. 

and no, i've not tried tai cheong bakery's rendition of egg tart and would love to.

{ the best century egg }

call it thousand year egg, preserved egg, hundred year egg or even millennium egg, this  was arguably the best century egg i've had (yet!), it even outshone all the other ingredients in the bowl of congee. these high quality eggs had yolk with creamy consistency without having the overpowering flavor while the "whites" have a hard-jelly like consistency. 

{ honorable favorite mentions }

favorite pineapple bun •

still warm from the oven, the crispy, crusty sweet top contrasted and mellowed by the soft baked bread. all that with the freshly baked bread aroma to top it off. it's a love at first bite with the combination of crusty and soft. you know where it is in kowloon when you've seen a line queuing up for the fresh buns even the wee hours in the morning.

• favorite bang for the buck sandwich •

another #sianstakesonmacau entry.
yummy iconic sandwich from an old fashioned cha chaan teng in macau, the generous filling of chunky, succulent meat sandwiched between fluffy eggs that can be barely contained in the two soft fresh slices of white bread made this sandwich a delicious cheap eats that lasted me from early morning till dinner, skipping lunch. 

honorable mention | local dining experience •

street food | dundas street

i've always considered street food as ethnic taste, nostalgia and the opportunity to eat quickly obtained, reasonably  priced & flavorful food in a sociable setting.

dundas street is the hot spot for the local street food seekers and the highlights were kai kee and fei jie street stalls. 

kai kee street snacks was where i had my first stinky tofu (aka chow tofu (hkd 10)) which is a crispy, fermented bean curd, deep fried to perfection. i was expecting to detect a strong stinky odor wafting though the streets from miles away but surprisingly it was more of a mild preserved dried fish smell. with a douse of sweet sauce and chili, the light smell was affirmed by the very mild fermented flavor of the  the firm tofu encased in a crispy, thin skin. {mh} claimed it wasn't really the real deal though.

fei jie street snack is a street stall that was featured on the anthony bourdain's 2007 "no reservation: hong kong", where crowds and lines are typical but they move fast. the modus operandi: line up at the counter, order (preferably in cantonese), move out of the way, pay, pick up your skewer and move on. 

a skewer of octopus and intestines each (hkd 17) had a slightly chewy texture and it being cold left me a tad surprised and confused. the addition of mustard and sweet sauce is a must to make up for the bland taste - the combination of the sauces is great but be wary of the mustard, which had a wasabi after effect spiciness.

the food was NOT the reason why it landed a spot on my favorites list. in fact, i had to admit they weren't the greatest, forgettable and i'd probably give it a miss. 

what made the whole street food experience memorable was the experience of searching for hidden treasures of hole-in-the-walls shops and street stalls while soaking in the revelries of a friday evening where the dundas and sai yeung choi streets meet and come alive. the best part is joining the crowd in the food hunt for quick, cheap selections of many different dinner snack varieties, which could be either turn out to be hits or misses -- a chance you just gotta take.

honorable mention | local dessert •

yee shun dairy company.

hailing from guangzhou, these desserts are made out of milk, egg white and sugar. several food bloggers recommends this as a must have of hong kong cuisines calling it "heavenly", "pure", "delicate",  "foodgasm", "ethereally smooth & light" just to list out a few. 

one order of cold steam milk in 2 films (hkd 29) and hot steam milk with ginger juice (hkd 30) as after-a-huge-dinner desserts. in fact it was our sixth meal of the day. the former had a strong milk flavor with a smooth and soft sweetness. it was really refreshing. the latter was strong on the ginger punch syrup and it reminded me of soybean pudding (aka tau foo fah) every mouthful melt into an ethereally delicate loveliness. however both of them weren't as magical for me as it was for the other foodies.

honorable mention | unassuming yumminess •

it was found in the most unassuming dish -- the instant noodles with beef and ham. the instant noodles i could give it a pass but the beef stood out with it tender textures, succulent and moist to the bite and seasoned perfectly with a hint of sweetness in the soy base sauce. it wasn't what you'd expect from a bowl of instant noodles in a cha chaan teng

#siansEATShongkong series of 2014 had created some really delish memories. one thing that particularly stood from our dining adventure was chefs' and cook's mastery in meat execution. they almost always get it to perfection - crispy skins as and when it was meant to while remaining succulent, moist, tender and just plain lovely. on top of all that, seasoned perfectly. 

there are still so much food yet to be explored in hong kong (i've probably crossed out only 40% of my bucket list of food) that i'd love to return for more food escapades.

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

{macau} nam peng cafe {南屏雅敍}

it wasn't my first but it certainly wasn't my last. 

but it was my first one that was cloaked with a rich history that was reflected both in its decor and its good old staff and customers still frequenting their beloved and familiar cha chaan teng.

a reminiscent of the "old macau" cha chaan teng, nam peng cafe {南屏雅敍} is an old fashioned teahouse, adopting the european custom of afternoon tea with a relaxed atmosphere. it is a rare find. an even more challenging one to locate without my trusty google maps. 

foraging through the narrow back alleys just slightly north of senado square, the dense population of buildings were slightly overwhelming as we tried to search for our breakfast rendezvous. a magazine stall was set up just to the right of a cafe's entrance where its owner was intently reading a chinese newspaper. we clumsily maneuvered around the traffic as we avoided the motorcycles in the narrow alley when we found a cafe that looked rather packed. we looked up to find cafe nam ping embossed in gold, on the jade green facade above its chinese characters, read the same in the opposite direction.  

as we entered and rummaged for a table within the packed cafe, we drew brief stares from the cafe regulars. perhaps it was our uncertain demeanor as we made our way to an empty table timidly while the staff was wiping the table before we settled down at our seats. 

the middle of the pastel blue and green dining space were lined with petite booths the diners went about their daily morning routines. an old man was contemplating about life as he enjoyed his morning breakfast while to his right, another was catching up on newspaper reading. most of the younger crowd were scrolling on their phones while waiting for their order to be served. the staff ferried the warm plates of food to the hungry patrons from the open kitchen at the back of the cafe.

{mh} drew inspiration from the breakfast choices of the diners around us -- and it seemed one of the iconic breakfast items was the breakfast macaroni in light broth.

however, even that was a whirlwind of confusion. blame it on our elementary cantonese while the staff only conversed in cantonese so there was a minor language barrier.

(us conversing mostly in broken cantonese) 

"can i get this?" as {mh} points at the 'ham macaroni' on the menu.
-- "the chicken wing noodles?" 

"oh no, this one" {mh} reiterated by striking through the menu item
-- "okay, the one with ham? what noodles would you like with it?"

-- "noodles, glass noodles or vermicelli?"

"ma-ca-ro-ni!" as both of us pointed the word on the menu. 

the noodle selection discussion between us and the staff went on for almost a minute that we were on the verge of even illustrating and gesturing with our hand movements. finally, we decided to take the risk and ordered noodles.

to her disappointment, it came with instant noodles, instead of macaroni.

when i finally met up with my hk friend the next day and asked her what macaroni was in cantonese.

so, what i thought i heard was glass noodles ("tung fun"), the staff meant "thong fun" which translated to hollow noodles - hence macaroni. /faceplate

oh, {mh} thought that the noodles were only alright.

i had better luck with my choice. in fact, my breakfast was already decided before i even stepped into the cafe.

and milk tea (mop/hkd 11) seemed like a must in a teahouse such as this. smooth and strong on the tea brew. not bad. but the highlight of my breakfast was in its partner in crime - the sandwich.

sandviche "sandwich" :: nam peng sandwich (mop/hkd 20)

the iconic must try breakfast from nam peng, its namesake sandwich. beginning with two slices of fluffy, steamed white bread slathered with butter, a thick blanket of luscious golden omelette, soft and moist wrapped around the layers of sweet, smoky, lean roasted pork, still succulent, which contrasted with the salty thick cut ham.

it was a massive portion of filling that was barely contained in the within the two slices of bread. after half a sandwich, i was almost stuffed and had to find inner foodie strength to finish most of the other half but vowed to not have lunch. the sandwich was over the top but in a yummy way!

on our way out, the inner foodie just had to check out the freshly baked pastries at the display glass. but i was far too stuffed to even think about food, let alone getting more food to go. instead it was {mh} who were tempted and tried out the "chinese donut". it had a custard like texture and a strong eggy flavor in a good way. a little too sweet but she seemed to like it to cure the disappointment of her main breakfast meal.

nam peng cafe pays ode the nostalgia of the old cha chaan teng that may have been forgotten with the inevitable modern progression. with a yummy iconic sandwich (and a huge one at that) that is rightfully so, it should not be missed if you hope to mingle with the locals in one of the city's charming cultural experience.

nam peng cafe | location
rua do cinco de outubro,
no. 85
{opens daily: 6:30 am to 6:30pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

{hk} mui kee congee {妹記生滾粥品}

checking my #siansEATShongkong list, specifically for congee...

-- it's two for two! 

to be honest, this was an unintentional food pit stop. 

it started with "fa yuen street" sign, followed by a stroll, browsing the stalls flanked on either side of the street. after walking about two blocks, we slowed down almost to a halt, confused as we planned our path to our next destination.

it was then i noticed a green sign board, flashed to my right: "fa yuen street market" 

the name rang a bell and minutes later, it dawned on me why.

starting with a quick glimpse through the dry market, followed by the wet market where the fresh produce were displayed, up the escalators to the fourth floor and then braving through the sea of tables as the locals slurped down their lunches with gusto while engaging in a boisterous conversation in cantonese to finally arrive shop 12 where the wall of the shop were filled with newspaper/magazine features about this stall - mui kee congee {妹記生滾粥品}

it was obvious that this family-run business has its horde of loyal followers as we searched for a table for two. we weren't really hungry but i had an intense desire to taste one of hong kong's favorite dishes - the congee. it was brunch after our breakfast.  probably best to call it lunch.

okay, i admit! it was just me being a tad greedy. maybe just a tad.

the menu was all kinds of congee, which had us at a loss.
and the right thing to do is to try the ones food bloggers have written great things about. 

-- it was exactly what i did.

congee :: pork meatball congee (hkd 29)

let's start with the heart and the base of it all: the texture of the congee.
soft, smooth and with the right amount of time and ratio of water to rice resulted to a congee with a lovely thickness. seasoned well but clean flavors making it the perfect base for the ingredients it featured. served hotter than warm, it was a comforting treat to the belly.

the featured: pork meatball. 
succulent and moist. they were delightful petite sized meatballs that could be eaten in one or two bites, seasoned but perhaps was a touch heavy on the ginger. 

the sidelines: thinly sliced ginger and roughly chopped lettuce. 
lettuce is not a typical appearance in all the congees i've had before. a sideline it may be but one with a purpose that offered a fresh crisp crunch, adding a different texture and dimension to the congee. 

congee :: sliced fish congee (hkd 29)

the featured: the sliced fish
loved the generous amounts of thinly sliced fish that were very fresh and mildly cooked all the way through in the warm congee. the fish itself imparted a natural sweetness to the congee itself, resulting to different flavors from its porcine counterpart. it was a huge drawback to constantly having to pick out fine fish bones from the fish slices. despite that, {mh} picked this as her huge favorite over the congee at wong chi kei

similarly, the thin sticks of ginger alongside with the wilted lettuce for bite both from textural and flavor aspects added little something something to the dish.

a classic cantonese delight, mui kee congee has warmed its way to the hearts of the locals through its fresh and generous serving of featured ingredients in the deliciously smooth congee. i loved the clean flavors of the congee with the freshness of the ingredients plus  having the chance to learn about hong kong's dining culture at a food court during lunch rush hour.

great food + culture experience -- you really can't beat that. :)

mui kee congee | location
shop 11-12
4/f, fa yuen street market
mongkok, hong kong
{opens daily: 7:00 am - 3pm}
nearest mtr station:  mongkok station, exit 3b

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.