A quick visit to Aunty Nat at Midvalley, and the reason why throats are going to burn tomorrow.

Fish Mango Kerabu (RM 6).

The mango slices were chunky and thick. Fruity salads are always refreshing in salads because green leafy vegetables are dry & usually tasteless with a dull crunch. Fruits on the other hand, are natural sweeteners that add on flavour and texture to salads. Dressing for this kerabu is a sweet and sour plum sauce that went very well with the [fried] fish fillets. It's hard to pull off fried stuff with salads because the fried stuff becomes soggy quickly but this fish mango kerabu salad was pretty okay!

Petai with Belacan Prawns (RM 18).

Gosh ... I haven't had this much [fried] belacan (shrimp paste) in ages! The table beside me had ordered the petai belacan sotong and I knew from the vibrant green colours of their petai (and the fragrant belacan scent) that I had to have it too. Kiasuness meant I had a delicious dish of [fried] prawns, belacan and petai!

Fried Popiah (RM 6).

They were out of 'Top Hat' so I had no choice but to go with this rather bland and soggy plate of [fried] popiah. I'd give this a miss the next time.

Fried tofu salad (RM 6).

I have reached the limit of [fried] food stuff ... The other table had a dish of very attractive, light maroon coloured, blushing spicy red, half a dozen deep fried mid sized chicken drummets, which I ended up coveting but did not order. Maybe next time!

Ginger Lemon tea to sooth inflamed throats

Aunty Nat in Midvalley is located on the first floor, opposite CIMB bank, between Midvalley and The Gardens.

I have been feeling so stressed lately it's quite unnerving. What's there to be stressed about you say? How about work, deadlines, appraisals, and ... letting go of people and things you know deep down inside that you have to.

"In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead." ― Tony Kushner

How about de-stressing with a glass of blueberries, pears and jambu merah?
Ok, that helped a little. How about treating your parents to some Japanese food! How often we take for granted those who love us unconditionally? After recommendations from a friend, I decided to give Ishin Japanese Dining at Old Klang Road a go myself.

The review below consists of multiple visits, and what I hope is a fair judgement of what Ishin has to offer.

Deep fried prawn appetizers - this was good. I love prawns and the yellow creamy mayo masked the oily taste you usually get with deep fried noms. I nommed everything including the eyeballs because they were good. Served on a Sunday.

Deep fried salted fish appetizers - Salty, boney, but crunchy. I wasn't a fan of this because salted fish needs a bland pairing like porridge or taugeh. This was served with a piece of lettuce on a Saturday. How odd!

Tako Shiokara (RM 11) - octopus entrails! A worthwhile appetizer, a burst of sharply sourish flavours coming from the fermented sauces with octopus (that alien under the sea) entrails that wets your tastebuds for more japanese seafood goodness.

Thick cuts of raw salmon sashimi (RM 28). Lets just say if I were a grizzly bear, I would tear Ishin apart for more. You can tell that these are hardworking, upstream swimming, quality salmons! Although Rakuzen offers better money for value with their Salmon Sashimi set, I had no regrets with this.

Seafood Salad (RM 20). This dish is fast becoming my favourite. It comes with a cooked prawn, tuna, butter fish, tako, and salmon sashimi (though not as thick a cut as the standalone sake sashimi dish).

There was 1 time the cooked prawn pinked my raw salmon, but all is forgiven because the combination of raw, cooked seafood with soy sesame house dressing and leafy greens made it awesome.

Three taste chawanmushi (RM 14) - first one with Uni or Sea Urchin. Delicious, fantastic uni that was incredibly rich to taste, with that melt-in-your-mouth feeling. Paired perfectly with the tender, light, fluffy steamed egg chawan mushi that oozed uni juices with every nom.

The 2 other flavours, fish roe and something else I couldn't identify. Beautifully served in 3 egg shells in a traditional bamboo cup holder.

Sashimi Moriawase - Consisting of red tuna, white tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and butterfish (RM 62). I have to admit that tuna is something I prefer cooked because it is sweeter and juicier after it has been cooked. So, salmon sashimi is still my favourite at Ishin.

The butterfish tasted weird. It even looks weird in this photo. It did not introduce itself like butterfish normally would by screaming into your mouth saying, "I'm buttery, and bursting with a subtle sweetness that makes all the fat that is contained within me worthwhile, so please don't spare me!". Maybe it wasn't butterfish. It was rather dry.

Hokkaido Uni Sashimi (RM 42). Maybe too much for 3 persons, with a very strong taste of the sea (briny). Compared to the Uni on the 3 taste mini chawan mushi, this was different and not as pleasant because it had such a strong conquering flavour. Perhaps it tastes best when paired with something else, like chawan mushi :)

Fancy some regular chawan mushi at Ishin? It's good with many baby mushrooms hidden within it and a nice chunk of chicken at the very bottom.

Jikasei Tofu - Served warm. Thick and custardy in texture, with bonito flakes dancing at the top. You have to be a really big fan of tofu to enjoy this homemade tofu delicacy though. It reminded me of a very thick and dense version of tofu fah.

Hotate Cheese Yaki (RM 45) - Baked cheese with scallops - creamy and dripping with sauces upon the first bite. OMG mozerella cheesy melting madness that reminds you of pizzas and all western savoury cheese baked noms.

Peekaboo! The good ole sweet & juicy scallop hidden within all that cheesy mess.

Daddy's teppan lamb course. That's right, lamb is an option at Ishin Japanese Dining and is quite decent despite my prejudices about having lamb at a Japanese dining place.

I've seen chef Q watching over his minions under keen eagle eyes as they prepare patron's orders. Packed on weekends so be sure to call ahead first if you're bringing family.

Visit : http://ishin.my/


Visited between June and July of 2013.

It's flu season again, so time to give the immune system a boost with cheap vitaminc C sources. Quality pears are by no means cheap, but guavas are grown locally and does wonders for the immune system.

Pear and Guava smoothie

Since gigantic crunchy juicy chinese gong pears (RM 2.49 per piece at Jusco) seem to be out of season, I've gone with Packham pears (RM 1.60 per piece) which are soft and extremely sweet. The Korean ones are delicious too. The dark brown Gingko pears are rougher but still juicy, and Forelle pears are just meh.

Nontheless they are all great for nomming, juicing, cooking, baking, and for salads. Pear marinated chicken? yum! Pear upside down cake? yum! Pear with bacon and grilled cheese? yum!

Korean Honey Golden Pear

My obsession with pears started ever since reading an 8 page conversation between Beatrice and Virgil about pears from a book by Yann Martel which is really worth the read despite low ratings on Goodreads. I accidentally bought this novel at the Big Bad Wolf book sale because I wanted to see what the big deal was with the Life of Pi.

Turned out to be an underrated novel not about the life of Pi, but of the equally tragic yet intriguing lives of Beatrice and Virgil. Below is an excerpt that will make you want to eat pears.
(Virgil and Beatrice are sitting at the foot of a tree.
They are looking out blankly.
Virgil What I'd give for a pear.
Beatrice A pear?
Virgil Yes. A ripe and juicy one.
Beatrice I'd never had a pear.
Virgil What?
Beatrice In fact, I don't think I've ever set eyes on one.
Virgil How is that possible? It's a common fruit.
Beatrice My parents were always eating apples and carrots. I guess they didn't like pears.
Virgil But pears are so good! I bet you there's a pear tree right around here. (He looks about.)
Beatrice Describe a pear for me. What is a pear like?
Virgil (Settling back) I can try. Let's see... To start with, a pear has an unusual shape. It's round and fat on the bottom, but tapered on top.
Beatrice Like a guord.
Virgil A guord? You know guords but you don't know pears? How odd the things we know and don't. At any rate, no, a pear is smaller than an average guord, and its shape is more pleasing to the eye. A pear becomes tapered in a symmetrical way, its upper half sitting straight and centered atop its lower half. Can you see what I mean?
Beatrice I think so.
VirgilLet's start with the bottom half. Can you imagine a fruit that is round and flat?
BeatriceLike an apple?

This goes on for a while and I'll be violating some copyright laws so we skip to the last part of this dialogue ...

Beatrice Can one eat it?
Virgil Of course. We're not talking here of the waxy, thuggish skin of an orange. The skin of a pear is soft and yielding when ripe.
Beatrice And what does a pear taste like?
Virgil Wait. You must smell it first. A ripe pear breathes a fragrance that is watery and subtle, its power lying in the lightness of its impression upon the olfactory sense. Can you imagine the smell of nutmeg or cinnamon?
Beatrice I can.
Virgil The smell of a ripe pear has the same effect on the mind as these aromatic spices. The mind is arrested, spellbound, and a thousand and one memories and associations are thrown up as the mind burrows deep to understand the allure of this beguiling smell - which it never comes to understand, by the way.
Beatrice But how does it taste? I can't wait any longer.
Virgil A ripe pear overflows with sweet juiciness.
Beatrice Oh, that sounds good.
Virgil Slice a pear and you will find that its flesh is incandescent white. It glows with inner light. Those who carry a knife and a pear are never afraid of the dark.
Beatrice I must have one.
Virgil The texture of a pear, its consistency, is yet another difficult matter to put into words. Some pears are a little crunchy.
Beatrice Like an apple?
Virgil No, not at all like an apple! An apple resists being eaten. An apple is not eaten, it is conquered. The crunchiness of a pear is far more appealing. It is giving and fragile. To eat a pear is akin to … kissing.
Beatrice Oh, my. It sounds so good.
Virgil The flesh of a pear can be slightly gritty. And yet it melts in the mouth.
Beatrice Is such a thing possible?
Virgil With every pear. And that is only the look, the feel, the smell, the texture. I have not even told you of the taste.
Beatrice My God!
Virgil The taste of a good pear is such that when you eat one, when your teeth sink into the bliss of one, it becomes a wholly engrossing activity. You want to do nothing else but eat your pear. You would rather sit than stand. You would rather be alone than in company. You would rather have silence than music. All your senses but taste fall inactive. You see nothing, you hear nothing, you feel nothing - for only as it helps you to appreciate the divine taste of your pear.
Beatrice But what does it actually taste like?
Virgil A pear tastes like, it tastes like … (He struggles. He gives up with a shrug.) I don't know. I can't put it into words. A pear tastes like itself.
Beatrice (sadly) I wish you had a pear.
Virgil And if I had one, I would give it to you.