ben's general food store

9:57 AM sians 1 Comments

i've been back in malaysia for almost a month now -- between searching for a job, adapting myself to the weather, catching up with friends and eating a ton of food, i've barely had time to do my research the food scene in malaysia. i've been getting my usual the local dishes but i was also excited to try the new food trends sprouting all over malaysia. one of the first ones i tried was ben's general food store in bangsar village, one of the many restaurants under the B.I.G. family.

{wy} suggested earlier during the week since i wasn't sure which are the places to try (gotta get started on my food research in malaysia!) it was a sunday afternoon and bangsar was bustling with people. the same was with ben's general food store but it was a good thing that we managed to get a seat without having to wait too long.

i loved the decor -- cozy, inviting and somewhat rustic with a touch of vintage. the main hues were black and white on wood cladding the walls as well as wooden furniture. a couple of recipes fill the blackboard space around the restaurant..

there is also patio dining but considering how warm and humid the weather is usually in malaysia, i'd prefer staying in the inside (hail to the air conditioning!). for those who are wifi starved such as i am until i get my unlimited internet (yum!), they have it! ^^ i think you may need to request the password from the wait staff.

the menu was quite extensive ranging from salads and pastas to deli items and pizzas. {wy} and i kept looking at each other, trying to see what the other person was going to order... lol.

shake 'em buns :: lamb burger | served with fries and coleslaw (RM24)

as i looked through the menu, i realized i kept picking out things with lamb...lamb shank pie...lamb meatballs.. and then finally the lamb burger which was what i had my heart set on. i was quite surprised that they didn't ask me about what doneness that i wanted.

it came well done with excellent grill marks. could have done with more crust on both sides of the patty. the gamey flavor was rather light, probably masked by just enough seasoning and good punch of herbs and spices rooted in the mediterranean style . it was flavorful and juicy -- which was a great job since they managed to lock all the juices despite cooking it all the way through. the bread was soft and could have used a bit of a toasting in the oven for textural difference.. and the arugula lends a subtle bitter flavor but fresh touch coupled with the tartness from the sauce. but overall an enjoyable burger and i'd order it a second time..

i can't say the same for the sides..the coleslaw was overdressed and i wished it was chilled. the fries were neither all that crispy except for a couple -- but it definitely needed salt.

hot deli items :: b.i.g. lasagna | served with side salad (RM23.90)

it was quite the generous serving of lasagna -- {wy} was craving for lasagna and b.i.g. lasagna was chosen. i had a small bite and thought the sauce could use some more fresh herbs and extra cheese but overall a decent lasagna. {wy} seemed pretty happy with it but it got too much as she tried to finish the whole lasagna.

{wy}'s dish comes with a side salad. she ordered the marinated button mushrooms & barley but instead they served her scorched sweet corn & crabmeat with frisee, lime and mayo. it's somewhat a good thing since as soon as she asked for mushroom salad as her side salad, she laughed and admitted that she wasn't a fan of barley lol. which was probably why we didn't ask them to take it back in exchange for the salad we ordered.

i absolutely love sweet corn. {wy} offered to share her salad which i gratefully tasted. fully expecting it to be sweet, the corn lacked in that aspect -- almost flat in flavor which was disappointing. the crabmeat was scarce. the dressing was almost right. i'd give the salad an okay. i do, however, think that it's great that any salads on their menu is fair game which is a plus and you don't just end up with a garden/tossed salad with a generic vinaigrette.

ben's general food store is one of the many popular restaurants under ben's independent grocer.  extensive menu of classic favorites but it definitely has room for improvement. the ingredients are pretty fresh which is the base for awesome dishes waiting to happen. not amazing but alright..

ben's general food store | location
g17 & 18, ground floor, bangsar village 1, 
no 1, jalan telawi satu, bangsar baru, 59100, kuala lumpur

btw, i'm testing out a new rating system under {yummy worthy?} section for my restaurant entries similar to yelp -- rating places from 1-5 (1 being the worst and 5 the best) based on overall impression including service, presentation, technique execution and mostly on flavors being the most significant. bgfs will be the first to wear this rating system

{yummy-ness | 3 forks out of 5 }
{worth trying | lamb burger}

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

p.s. starting my japan series soon and blog entries might be postponed since i will be traveling the next two weeks. but please anticipate my new entries soon :)


kuma's corner

6:33 PM sians 0 Comments

arguably the best burger in town?

the 'best burger in chicago' discussions typically highlights kuma's corner as one of the top contenders. whenever somehow i get caught in this never ending debate of the best, three names get mention -  kuma's corner, edzo's and dmk burgers. {cn} has picked her favorite - edzo's has earned her loyalty that of which is with good reason when i've had the pleasure of trying it earlier this year. on the other hand, kuma's corner's huge following also includes adam gertler who chose the plague bringer burger on food network's 'the best thing i ever ate :: with garlic' edition

sunday noon was the fated day when i'd be picking my side. edzo's or kuma's corner. whom of the two will win my favor? (btw, i know there are tons of other great awesome places in chicago - just haven't tried them)

i was there right on time - and they've just filled every single table...did i mention i got there right as they opened? my name was the first on the wait list which worked out since {xy} ended up being late (again!) anyway for our lunch appointment. btw, they don't take reservations so i'd say be there earlier just slightly before the doors open.

{xy} being late meant it gave me some time to take in the ambience.

the bar lined one of the walls where diners were seated with their burger selections. the cooks huddled in the small open kitchen at the back corner, cranking out burgers like clockwork. the aroma from the kitchen wafted throughout the dining space - threatening to have most diners smell like burgers when they left. very much like their menu items which are named after heavy metal bands ranging from metallica, black sabbath and plague bringer just to name a few, the decor leaned towards the same theme which is reaffirmed by the loud (angst-y?) music..

when {xy} finally got there, it was another 10 minute wait before they led us out back to the patio for our lunch. i have to say i was somewhat relieved and happy to be seated outside although it was a tad chilly since the music was starting to get on my nerves. btw, i've heard and read that the wait is usually astronomically long - sometimes it could take up to one or two hours.


there were so many different renditions of burgers - each with a unique spin that it was quite a task to actually pick one. even so, i have no clue why i decided to pick the safest option out of all the interesting offerings that were available. >.< it has to be the damn bacon and gouda.

burgers :: yob | smoked gouda, bacon, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic mayo ($13)

one of kuma's signature style is to serve their burgers and sandwiches using pretzel buns which is a nice touch. i love pretzel bread because of its chewiness yet soft texture and it could hold the burger without falling apart. the thick hunk of meat between the two buns was cooked to medium with the juices still intact. the smoked gouda added a nice light smokey flavor to the burger and obviously bacon is win! :) however, the roasted garlic mayo was so subtle that it was almost nonexistent and not sure if i like the roasted red pepper in the burger since i'm not sure what it lends to the flavor profile. overall, a pretty solid burger. however, the fries that came with it were disappointingly not crispy.

sandwiches :: hate beak | buffalo chicken, spicy buffalo sauce, monterrey jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a pretzel roll with a side of bleu cheese dressing ($12)

{xy} wasn't quite thrilled with the sandwich since the chicken was a tad dry. his selection got him wondering what is with the hype with kuma's corner. one redeeming point was his potato chips spelled yumminess that i wished i had ordered that instead. i kept stealing {xy}'s potato chips that i had to mentally stop myself. judging from {xy}'s response to his buffalo chicken sandwich, burgers and maybe their mac&cheese are the way to go.

to answer the question of the best burger - personally i would pick edzo's but i realized it wouldn't be a fair comparison since they both serve two different styles of burgers. they both dish out solid, yummy is perhaps because i prefer the old school diner (griddled) burger - just with quality basic ingredients that make a delicious burger. kuma's corner, on the other hand, has eccentric combinations for the more adventurous taste buds. they have interesting concoctions of flavors and ingredients as condiments giving each burger the kuma's corner personal spin.

oh, to make this experience even better: {xy} being late to our lunches does have its perks - a free lunch since he felt guilty for letting me wait. :)

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

Kuma's Corner on Urbanspoon


NYC weekend, baby!

3:34 AM sians 2 Comments

new york city has been one of my favorite cities to visit - but this was for a special reason, i promised one of my favorite friends, {yk} i would return a visit to hang out with him in his city since he came to chicago five years ago.  i wanted to get some shots of the city even though this is my third time in the city. plus, he promised an all expense paid trip for me if i bought the flight tix to nyc. yay!

big apple at la guardia airport

i planned to have dinner with {yk} so i took an earlier flight but lo and behold, my flight was postponed by almost two hours.

no surprises there, o'hare. >.<

and then it took me another hour or two to get from the airport to manhattan where i was to meet up with him. on the flip side, i managed to get some great instagrams of the city.

signature bright yellow cabs of nyc

grand central terminal

thank goodness, {yk} is one busy dude so it made me feel slightly less guilty that i was three hours later than initially expected although it was through no fault of my own. but i was definitely late for dinner. it was almost 8pm when we got a table at his favorite malaysian restaurant (pretty good food, i might add) and ended the night with two big scoops of deliciously rich gelato just down the street at an italian pastry shop.

i was so exhausted from all the traveling that all i wanted to do was to go bed. and maybe watch some episodes of ' the big bang theory' (yes, i am somewhat a nerd >.<). didn't have much energy to stay awake which is a shame, since i was finally in the city that never sleeps. {yk} being the gracious and awesome host he is, he gave up his room for me and he offered to take the couch out in the living room.

his apartment is smacked right at the edge of manhattan, the view from his room was breathtaking. what you can't see in the pictures is the hudson river on the right of this view.

manhattan skyscrapers illuminated at night.

i loved it so much so that i took instagrams during different times of the day.

in the morning light.
this might be my favorite of them all - in the evening, just as the sun sets.

he had the weekend of eating planned out for me. being the foodie that i am, typically i would be the one picking out restaurants but i was so busy with moving and packing that i gave {yk} the opportunity to prove himself. lol.  since i don't have enough to write about the restaurants individually, you can enjoy our gluttony in a single entry ^^

be warned...this is going to be a very very long entry...


pre-brunching | amy's bread 

i am slightly embarrassed to admit - i was the reason behind this pre-brunching detour. {yk} had planned for brunch at 11am somewhere close to soho but i was a teeny bit hungry. my hungry stomach  brought us to amy's bread - a petite cozy and vintage bakery which i later found out has two other locations in nyc.

i do love the smell of freshly baked bread in the mornings. mmmmm :)

an order soy latte and a pain au chocolat to be shared to start off my morning :) the breakfast of champions!

nice warm latte put a smile on my face ^^ both from the caffeine and the lovely heart foam. the latte had a great espresso punch and is a lovely accompaniment to the sweet, flaky, crispy and somewhat chocolate-y croissant. not the best croissant i've ever had but still a tasty breakfast snack before the main show.

Amy's Bread on Urbanspoon

 brunching | jane restaurant

{yk} promised me good brunching and this was one of his favorite places to go with his friends. as i entered jane restaurant, the interior decor was not reflected by the diner-like exterior. the dining room was a cozy, dimly lit restaurant with somewhat of an old school sophistication ambience to it. it was bustling and packed with people when we got there. (thank goodness for reservations) and soon i figured out why after we tasted the food.

brunch :: benedict jane | crab and crawfish cakes, spinach and tarragon hollandaise ($16)

if you have read a couple of my past brunch entries, i'm very particular about how the poached eggs are done. jane restaurant has gotten it right, with the yolk oozing its golden richness onto the crab and crawfish cakes which was seasoned perfectly, protected by a crispy exterior. i could taste the natural sweetness of the crab surrounding chunks of crawfish. the potatoes and sweet but salty caramelized onions were a huge hit with me too :)

my lovely poached eggs on benedict jane

{yk} ordered his usual which is the benedict johnny : chicken sausage, cornbread, roasted tomato hollandaise ($15) which i didn't really have a bite of but i have faith in his taste in food ^^ excellent execution of the dishes... only thing i wished were there were a bit more space between the tables - it was quite the effort to get out of my seat after we were done.

Jane on Urbanspoon

before you collapse into a food coma just from looking at the pictures, i promise i didn't just eat all day.  since {yk} had to work a couple of hours on that day ( is a saturday... he is THAT busy), i had a couple of hours to myself exploring times square.

the last time i was there was four years ago but nothing much has changed - except this time, i found a guy who was dressed as a 'naked' cowboy walking around with his guitar - offering to take pictures with tourists for a price.  (i know...dressed...naked - irony?) did i take one with him? no. but i was highly amused as were the tourists taking pictures with him :)

here are some pictures i managed to capture (and sadly naked cowboy..haha)

empire state building

craziness in times square
umm.. statue of liberty?

evening snacking | jolie cafe

{yk} felt bad that he left me on my own since he had to work, he suggested jolie cafe for crepes!  even though it was only 3 hours before dinner. yumm! i love sweet crepes especially when it has something to do with a combination of nutella, banana and strawberry. :D

half portion of sweet goodness

the portions are freakingly huge that i could not even finish the half portion of generous amounts of banana, strawberry and nutella. it could be that they were trying to make up for the lack of service when we first got there or they typically serve such gigantic portions. the waitstaff was a lot more attentive after the initial disappointment in quality of service. good yummy sweet crepe but wasn't amazing since the strawberry was on a tart side.

dinner | almondnyc

dinner was delayed to much later in the evening - about 9pm since our crepe has filled us up to the brim just hours before. {yk} made reservations at almond restaurant near the flatiron building and he had convince me to go to a birthday party at a club right after to be his wing woman (i tried to convince him that i wasn't a good wing woman.. since i always give him a hard time about

a quick pic before dinner ^^

i liked the ambience at the restaurant..dimly lit, quiet and cozy at the same time. loved the decor they opted which is a mix of vintage modern and wood - what you'd expect from a french-rooted restaurant serving up new american dishes. they offered patio seats but it was such a warm new york evening that i opted for a table inside where there is some air conditioning (bless the person who invented air conditioning!)

plats du jour :: steak&potatoes | served with truffled mash potatoes grilled asparagus and pan jus

when our waiter introduced the specials of the day, whatever i had in mind for dinner initially flew out the window and i just had to have this - a thick cut steak, medium - done correctly with a good crust and the truffle mashed potatoes just needed a bit more seasoning but perfect with the pan jus. overall, a hearty dish that was tasty.

what surprised me was that {yk}'s order pretty much rivaled mine.  even though, it was a simple croque monsieur, original style ($16), it was simple done almost perfectly. the balance of ham and cheese in between two crispy toasted bread which gave a great contrast in textures and richness for a satisfying meal. we agreed to swap our food for taste but after one bite, i secretly wanted more of the croque monsieur.  sometimes it's the simple ones done absolutely right that truly showcases the mastery of a chef.

great dinner at almond nyc :)
Almond on Urbanspoon

two hours at the club for his friend's birthday party ended such a great and exciting day. met a couple of new friends and one who is also a fellow foodie which is rather exciting.


brunch | the linc

the morning of when i were to leave nyc. i was a bit reluctant to go since i was beginning to have such a great time but {yk} had to work (again!) and i had to return to work on monday. but not before he brought me to his final pick of the weekend, the linc - which was just a few feet away from his apartment.

we got there just as soon as they were opening their doors. again, tasteful decor which is modern yet inviting. black glass brick mosaic tiles hugs the columns where the black hue were echoed by the seats in the restaurant. the decor is warmed by the shelves holding wine bottles and black and white photos that lined the white walls.

weekend brunch :: buttermilk fried chicken & red velvet pancakes | served with maple butter and hot sauce ($16)

the one other time i had chicken and waffles was in chicago at the home of chicken and waffles (read here!) i can't help but make the comparisons between the two. the chicken wins out in chicago but the waffles takes it hands down in nyc. the chicken at the linc were pieces of white meat which wasn't dry but there wasn't much of the crispy skin to boast about.; however, its counterpart in chicago was truly southern fried chicken that i'd typically associate this dish with. the red velvet was indeed an attractive touch in terms of presentation but doesn't add much flavor since i could not taste the cocoa but texturally it had a crunchier exterior and soft insides.

my most favorite part of the dish was the maple butter. the maple is added to melted butter then refroze to give it almost like a sorbet texture that melts in your mouth - coating your tongue with the sweet maple flavor to contrast with the savory chicken. i would just order it for the maple butter. loveeeee! pretty made this dish a win!

The Linc on Urbanspoon

i experienced a fast taxi ride when i had to take a cab to rush to the airport - managed to reach the airport from manhattan in about 30 minutes. to cut the story short, when i got to the airport and through the security, they were already boarding zone b. and after all that, the flight was delayed for one to almost 2 hours -.-

thank you, {yk} for such a fantastic weekend in your city. i had an absolute blast spending time catching up with you after all these years - and finally, we have taken a new picture of the us two after our last one five years ago. and as i promised,  it is on my wall of polaroids ^^ oh, and yes you did a good job at picking out restaurants! i approve lol :)

thanks for being such an awesome host and even more amazing friend. we should definitely do this again sometime :)

pst girlies...he's single and available ;)

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