Visiting Precious Pea at Asian Gourmet Hut, Doncaster East, Melbourne

Sitting in the airplane for eight hours is not a fun thing to do (imagine those who had to be inside the plane for more than 10 hours!), so after our itinerary for Melbourne was planned, we just had to slot Asian Gourmet Hut into the agenda eventhough our time was rather packed.. Why? Because we’re gonna visit Precious Pea there!

Few days before our flight, Precious Pea’s hubby passed us 5kgs of dried anchovies for us to bring them over to her. And she used them to prepare this:

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Precious Pea’s famous mee hoon kueh! Alright, before I go further into the food, if you haven’t know, Precious Pea is now staying in Melbourne with her sister, brother-in-law (BIL) and nephew. Together with her BIL, they took over Asian Gourmet Hut in Doncaster East from its previous owner and they have been on business since May 2010. We’ve heard lot of good stories on the food (her BIL worked in a Chinese restaurant in ZhongShan before this), especially her mee hoon kueh.

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We gathered as much people as we could, including our host PY, Ramon, Jason, Dr. Jun and her boyfriend, Dave at Asian Gourmet Hut that night. Expect Asian/Chinese cuisines, both authentic and some with a twist on the menu. All of us love the mee hoon kueh, with anchovies-based stock. The hand-pinched flour “noodle” has the right thickness and best of all, it was served with homemade sambal belacan!

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Jun ordered the Long Beans with Chicken Giblets as she loves this dish. Stir-fried with some chillies and taucu (fermented bean paste), it takes CK and me some time to actually try the giblets (as you might know I’m not a fan of innards), and surprisingly, we found it to be rather pleasant to bite on. Crunchy and free of foul smell (as I usually expect them to be), we polished the plate clean.

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Dishes that came after the long beans were recommendations by Precious Pea herself. The quail in ginger and spring onion taste very much alike to chicken wing, albeit a smoother texture of the meat. Salt and pepper pork belly taste as pretty as the colour, with chopped spring onion, chilli, garlic and onion thrown in. While Ramon showed little interest on the aubergine/brinjal, PY and I like it a lot. Plenty of other ingredients were included such as diced peppers, spring onion, minced meat and mushrooms, all swimming in a thick and gooey gravy. Perfect match for white rice!

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For dessert, we spotted the dry tong yuen (flour dumpling), hence we ordered some to try. They actually looked more like mua chee (rice flour dumpling) with grounded black sesame or peanut filling, dusted with icing sugar and green tea powder. Seriously good stuff, the warm black sesame paste was filled to the brim! Other stuff we had that night includes the stir-fried asparagus with butter, braised beef brisket and double-boiled papaya with snow fungus and almond kernel.

Everyone seems enjoyed the meal with laughter and plenty of chit-chat. We actually stayed till their closing hour and no doubt, we were the noisiest group around! Thanks to Precious Pea and her brother-in-law for the wonderful spread of food and service!

Asian Gourmet Hut
12, Mitchell Street,
Doncaster East,
Vic, 3109 Melbourne, Australia.

Tel: +65-9840 7511
Business Hour: 12pm – 9pm (weekdays), 11.30am – 9pm (weekends)
Closed on Wednesdays.

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Christmas Comes Early at the Academy of Pastry Arts, Malaysia

When Jade from Mustard Tree Communications (we’ve got to know each other at Oriental Spoon last year, now closed) emailed me whether I am interested to visit the Academy of Pastry Arts, I barely could reply her with a No. Better yet, I was asked to bring along a friend, so off I went to the academy on last Saturday noon with WMW.

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Since it’s near the Christmas season, we were briefed that we will be making gingerbread house! Upon arrival at the academy, we were welcomed by Hanne Landgraf, the Customer Relations Executive and subsequently introduced to the friendly Pastry Chef Lejeune Guillaume, whom is also the Director of Pastry Arts.

A short intro: Opened its door to the public back in July 2010, the Academy of Pastry Arts opened up another opportunity to learn the art of bakery and pastry making in a professional setting, as well as being professionally trained and coached by experts in their field. Classes and courses on different varieties of pastry making are available from a minimum 2 days classes to 9 months certification program.

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Back to the academy, we were given a tour of the surrounding areas together with other food bloggers – PureGlutton, Edwin and Li Chuen, including the spacious and bright main kitchen/hall (love the stainless steel table top), cake decorating classroom, sugarwork station, baking station, chocolate room (the temperature is slightly lower here) and the store where they keep the ingredients. We actually barely could control ourselves from snapping away or peeking at the students’ table to see what were they doing!

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For the gingerbread house, we were supposed to mix all the ingredients together, cut and roll them up into separate pieces (the wall, door, roof, base), bake in the oven and assemble them when cooled. The “white glue” is made of mixing beaten egg white with icing sugar, used not just for decoration purpose, but also to hold the gingerbread pieces together. Decorate the sides of the roof as if the icicles with the remaining icing sugar mixture, topped with colourful candies and finish up with sprinkles of icing sugar which resembles snow, and ta-daa! Your very own gingerbread house is now completed!

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After Chef Lejeune is done with his gingerbread house, it’s time for us to demonstrate our creativity! Each of us, including Jade got a gingerbread house ourselves to work on. It’s not an easy task, especially when we tried as hard as we can to put on the perfect, perky icicles on the roof, and mostly we got are drooping ones! Hahaha! But one thing for sure, there were plenty of laughters along the process.

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And who say floggers only knows how to eat? Check out these gorgeous masterpieces! Clockwise from top left: Mine, WMW, Li Chuen and PureGlutton. See the white “smoke” out from the chimney?

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We were then treated to a tea session at the lounge area. All the Christmas themed breads and pastries were made by Chef Lejeune and his students, like the Cardamom Honey and Lemon Cinnamon cookies, Stollen loaf and some desserts. The macaroons were pretty but they are just for decoration purposes, not edible.

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These petite desserts are indeed small, but truly mouthwatering with a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess in every bite. Called the Petit Four, they are made with chocolate shell as the base, whipped ganache (passionfruit with vanilla and raspberry with vanilla), biscuit joconde, guimauve (the yellow sponge look-alike squares) and topped with chocolate shaving, raspberries and strawberries. Perfect for parties or as after dinner dessert!

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Lastly, the Chocolate Moelleux – rich chocolate cake with melted centre, raspberries and edible gold leaves. It is kinda similar to molten lava cake, except that its melted chocolate centre is not fully encased by the cake.

Now, if you’re interested in any of the courses they offer, their December 2010 and January 2011 schedules are up! There are two days classes (they called it continuing education) on French pastry, Christmas delight, chocolates, petit fours etc available in both December and January, as well as the certificate program intake (3 – 9 months programs). For more information on the schedule, click HERE.

The current ongoing four main programs:

  1. Certificate in Pastry and Bakery (9 months)
  2. Certificate: Art of Intermediate Pastry Program (3 months)
  3. Certificate in Bakery Arts (3 months)
  4. Continuing Education (Short term courses which usually takes up to 2 – 5 days)

*Ingredients and uniform are included in the fees. 10% discount is given with full payment on the spot.

**A big thank you goes to Jade for organizing such a fun event and Chef Lejeune Guillaume and his team for welcoming us amateurs with open arms!

PhotobucketAcademy of Pastry Arts Malaysia
Lot 2-A, 2nd Floor,
Wisma Thrifty (opposite PJ Hilton, above Giant),
No. 19, Jalan Barat,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-7960 3846
Fax: 03-7960 3848
Email: info@academyofpastryartsmalaysia.com
Web: http://www.academyofpastryartsmalaysia.com/
Opening hour: 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday – Saturday

Click HERE to read about Li Chuen’s experience (and pretty pictures!)

Funky Villa, e@Curve

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I have noticed the recent opening of Funky Villa at e@Curve (formerly known as Cineleisure). The signboard says they serve authentic Thai cuisine but this place has always slipped my mind whenever we’re debating on where to eat after gym. Thanks to KBCY and Natalie, we finally drop by for lunch one weekend afternoon.

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The place lived up to its name, with vibrant colours decked almost every nooks and corners of the bistro/pub-like establishment. While I’ve been to numerous Thai restaurants with traditional or formal set ups, I don’t remember I’ve been to any restaurants such as this.

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We sampled some of their set lunches, as well as their a la carte items, courtesy of Natalie, the Communication Manager of Funky Villa. Their set lunch priced from RM9.90 – RM17.90, which includes starter, main course and bottomless lemongrass drink and available daily from 12pm – 3pm. From top left, clockwise: Vegetable Spring Rolls + Green Curry Chicken & Rice (RM11.90), Pad Thai Seafood Noodle + Tom Yam Gung (RM17.90), Thai Herb Fried Rice with Seafood + Pomelo Salad (RM13.90) and Tom Yam Seafood Noodle + Golden Prawn Pan Cake (RM16.90). All the food mentioned above are delectable especially the Pad Thai and Thai Herb Fried Rice. However, I find that the green curry lacked the spiciness.

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For starters, we had this rather unique Hard-boiled Eggs Wrapped in Fish Cake (RM13+ for 4) and Pomelo Salad with Chicken, Shrimp & Cashew Nuts (RM15+). Both whet our appetite in an instant; the juicy pomelo sacs drenched in tangy dressing is gorgeous, slightly different from Kinnaree’s version, which has less dressing but spicier while Funky Villa’s is more sour-ish. The cute eggs, wrapped in fried fish paste (that makes up the fish cake layer) and topped with onion and chilli were scrumptious but usually aren’t available in most Thai restaurants.

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Cat Fish Mango Salad (RM22+). Eventhough delicious, the fish floss were too finely minced, hence I couldn’t taste any fish in it. The mango salad fares better.

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Tom Kha Seafood (RM22+) looked plain at first, but actually it’s a sour and spicy soup with coconut milk base. The Tom Yam Gung (RM23+) on the other hand, had young coconut pulps added to it, lending the soup a refreshing twist. However, I personally felt that both of them would be better if they’re spicier.

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Squid in Salted Egg Yolk (RM17+) was pretty ordinary, we couldn’t detect any salted egg yolk in it.

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Homok or Thai Steam Otak Otak in Coconut (RM23+) is rather special – fish fillets were steamed in hollowed coconut with basil and red curry spices. The fish is redolent with grated coconut and red curry spices, yummy stuff.

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For dessert, we had 3 types. You can have two of the famous Thai desserts with Twin Dessert Special (RM16.90+) that comes with Mango Sticky Rice and Tub Tim Krob or Red Rubies in coconut milk with jackfruit and vanilla ice cream. The fusion Red Rubies works well, I love the sweet ice cream pairing with the slightly salty coconut milk.

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If you prefer something different, try the Cantaloupe (rockmelon) with Sago in Coconut Milk and Shaved Ice (RM7.90+). A very refreshing and light dessert but the coarsely shaved ice might be an irritation to some people who likes finely shaved ice.

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And here comes Funky Rita! (RM55+ for 750ml). It is certainly fun and a bit quirky to have few people sharing the giant cocktail (they girls even posed with it as some sort of trophy!)

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Thank you to Natalie for having us over!

Funky Villa
Lot No. G-03A, G-06 & EG-06,
Ground Floor, e@Curve,
No. 24, Jalan PJU 7/3, Mutiara Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya.

Tel / Fax : 03-7725 2308
Email : enquiry@funky_group.com
Facebook Page: FunkyVilla – e@Curve

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