Aly's Food Review

Aly takes you on a culinary journey through some of KL’s best restaurants.

Farewell… The Big Red Food Review with Aly…

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Farewell… The Big Red Food Review with Aly…

Thank you for your support of The Big Red Food Review over the last few years. Without you, none of it would have been possible.

I promise to keep on eating, and to keep on writing, to bring you good food all over the country, even all over the world, every single week. Keep tuning in to RedFM, Today’s Best Music!

I know Terry is very sad that we don’t eat together anymore… 🙂

For more of my food related adventures, do check out

Happy 2011!

xx aly


Written by alyredfm

March 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Reviews

Chinese New Year at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

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Chinese New Year at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

It’s a brand new year and Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur is proud to present a redefined imperial dining experience at Celestial Court!

“Step into an elevated royal dining affair with personalized au fait services, familiar Cantonese a la carte favourites and new delicious addition, represented in a modern twist.”

Executive Chinese Chef Ho Boon and Dim Sum Chef Ken are all geared up with new recipes and dishes that will certainly satisfy those tastebuds. Sinful classic dim sum and new fusion selections are available to further tantalise your tastebuds.

There’s a certain ‘regal’ feeling that comes over you as soon as you walk through the grand entrance to the restaurant. I found myself straightening my back, standing taller, and walking with purpose.

“Its palatial pagoda-style entrance features a giant Chinese vase, plush red carpeting, white banisters and columns, and polished dark marble steps. Displayed on the wall near the entrance are the various awards won by the restaurant over the years.”

The ambience is typically Chinese, with ornate decorations lining the walls and bright red chairs adding a festive touch.

Terry (Red FM Drive), Donovan (Photographer) and I sat down to an intimate dinner with our hosts Marketing Communications Coordinator Evelyn Koh and Restaurant Manager Ray Sim Seng Pu.

Ray offered us a taste of what he says is the ‘best tea in the world’.

Lovely and fragrant, it was a gentle Rose tea that was clear in colour and mild in rose flavour.

“Tastes a bit like Sirap,” pondered Terry. “Where’s in China is it from?” he asked.

“Actually,” replied Ray, “It’s from Germany!” We had a good laugh about this and learnt a bit more about the menu we would taste.

This Chinese New Year, Celestial Court will usher in the year of the rabbit with special set menus for tables of up to 10 pax. Guest Chefs, Chef Beal Chen and Li Wei of the Westin Beijing Chaoyang have been flown in to delight you with mouth-watering, authentic Beijing Cuisine.

Executive Chef, Chef Rajesh graced us with his presence and joked that they were serving a very special ‘baby rabbit’ ‘Yee Sang.

Terry and I looked at each other, unsure of whether to believe him or not! He wasn’t joking though, as we saw when the Yee Sang arrived.

Yee Sang with Norwegian Salmon and fish roe

The radish had been painstakingly arranged form the shape of a tiny rabbit! It was really cute, put a smile on our faces and added to the festive mood. The ‘Yee Sang’ itself was very traditional, with brightly coloured shredded vegetables, both pickled and fresh, crackers, sesame seeds, and a neat line of salmon roe.

On goes the salmon…

Add a squeeze of lime, drizzle on the oil and we were ready to ‘lou sang’!

The higher you toss, the more luck you bring!

A lovely, crunchy, sweet-sour start to the meal, wishing for luck, health, wealth and prosperity!


Morel Soup with assorted seafood

A lovely substitute to sharksfin soup, this seafood soup was abundant in fish, prawns and crabmeat that had been simmered to perfection. Rich in flavour and thick in texture, the Morel mushrooms added an subtle woody flavour that was delightful and the thinly sliced asparagus was a nice touch for colour.

Braised sea cucumber with scallion

Terry and I were a little surprised when we were served individual portions of the vegetable, as opposed to typical Chinese style of a sharing plate in the middle. I asked if this was done specially for us, and Chef Rajesh explained that some of Celestial Courts Chinese New Year menus would be served in individual portions, for ease of the customer and also to add a modern, western feel to the menu. One thing to note is that because of the individual plating, that I must say looks stunning, you can expect slightly longer intervals between courses, and the food may not be as hot as when served in a sharing portion.

The sea cucumber was slimy in texture, in a good way! The charred baby leek was aromatic, the bak choi beautifully crunchy, and it was all coated in a superb mild oyster sauce.

Beijing pan-fried beef dumpling

I have to say I really liked the creative presentation of the dumplings!

Served in a classic Martini glass, we felt like we were at a stylish cocktail party!

Sophisticated both in look and taste, the dumplings were a showcase of refined Beijing cooking. Juicy and succulent, bursting with meaty flavour, wrapped in a springy handmade skin. Delicious.

Double boiled spring chicken with mushroom

This dish is double boiled to retain the delicate flavour of the chicken and mushrooms. The broth was heady, dark and flavourful, lightly scented soya sauce, and emulating hints of mushrooms in every bite. Another example of a simple yet exotic Oriental dish using only the finest ingredients.

Dry-braised cod fish

The Cod is actually arrives dried and salted, and is returned to its full glory by with a gentle braising. Tasted as fresh as if it had come straight from the ocean! I really like the fact that the skin was really crispy, and slightly salty. We got the addition of a beautiful crunch with every bite from the perfectly steamed asparagus.

Braised bean curd with crab roe

The beancurd was soft and fluffy on the inside, with a firmer, textured skin on the outside. It was swimming in a substantial brown sauce with shredded crab meat and creamy crab roe. Wonderful flavours that tasted simply divine.

Our desserts arrived, two for the price of one!

Saqima – Deep fried crisp pastry with honey and sesame

Traditionally a Manchurian specialty, this delicacy has long since adapted itself into Beijing cuisine. Made from flour and egg, the strips of dough are fried, then mixed with honey and sesame, and put in moulds to form a block. From that, small pieces are cut and served. Little sweet, crisp squares of joy!

Mango Pudding

A refreshing mango ‘custard’, cool and fruity, served in a stemless martini glass that sits in a bowl of ice to keep it chilled.

Loved it!

Terry and I were so happy we got to celebrate Chinese New Year with dishes that are served amidst the court of an imperial royal dynasty. Yes, with Celestial Court’s Beijing Culinary Treasures and Celestial Harmony of the Senses, you will truly feel like royalty this Chinese New Year!

Thank you Evelyn, Ray and Chef Rajesh for your delightful company! And to Chef Ho Boon and the team for a scrumptious meal!

*Special thanks to Donovan ( for the beautiful photos!

ALL THIS WEEK TUNE IN FROM ELEVEN2THREE TO WIN RM150 VOUCHERS! The Big Red Food Review with me Aly. Only on Red FM, Today’s Best Music!

104.9 in the Klang Valley, check out for more details!


Celestial Court

Sheraton Imperial,

Jalan Sultan Ismail 50250 Kuala Lumpur

For reservations call 03-2717-9900, or email, or for real time reservations visit

Written by alyredfm

January 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Reviews

Chinese New Year at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ

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Chinese New Year at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ

“Usher in the Year of the Rabbit with the sumptuous and fresh variety of ‘Yee Sang’, auspicious ‘Fatt Choy’ set menus and festive a la carte Chinese delicacies of Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant, Hilton Petaling Jaya from 17 January till 28 February.

‘Fatt Choy’ signifies the growth of fortune and prosperity.” It’s that time of year again, when ‘Yee Sang’ is in abundance and reunion dinners a must. Chinese New Year at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ, promises you ‘Happiness’, ‘Longevity’ and ‘Fortune’ in the form of 3 special set menus.

There is also a Yee Sang menu, with ‘Fatt Choy’ options. Abalone, Hokkigai, Salmon, Sea King Prawns and even a vegetarian Pear & Honeydew ‘Yee Sang’.

It was a particularly interesting gathering that evening as we were joined by Frat Mustard (, Book, Eat, Be Rewarded), who as usual was the centre of attention.

Also with us, bloggers Debra (, Cai Jin, (, Mei Yee (, and Ester (

Together with Terry (Red FM Drive), Lexie (Red FM’s Late Night Love Songs), Jeremy (Red FM Breakfast Show), Donovan (photographer) and myself, all of us were really in the festive mood, geared up in our traditional Chinese attire, armed and ready with chopsticks to get tossing.

‘Yee Sang’ is generally made from assorted condiments, which differ in their auspicious meanings. Cracker represents happiness, peanut and sesame symbolise harvest, oil represents health and pomelo means good luck. The dish is normally completed with fresh seafood sashimi as raw seafood symbolizes life and longevity.

Elaine Chiew and Than Shaw Shiuan (Marketing Communications Executives) were our lovely hosts that evening, and they suggested we try their premium ‘Longevity’ menu.

LONGEVITY (RM1388++ for 10 persons)

‘Fatt Choy’ Abalone Yee Sang

You could feel the festivity in this Yee Sang. Brightly coloured mix of shredded pickled vegetables crowned by thin slices of raw abalone.

Topped off with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds, then drizzled with oil, sauce and the finishing touch of crackers, our Yee Sang was ready to be tossed.

“Moooooooneeeeeeyyyyy… come…come, come, mooooney come….” bellowed Terry.

The abalone added a wonderful chewy  texture to a light, sweet and crispy mix of ingredients. Nutty and refreshing all at the same time.

Braised Sharks Fin Soup with Crab Meat & Roe

A Chinese delicacy, there were no visible slivers of translucent sharksfin, but rather a subtle flavour that complemented the soup.

It worked really well with the meaty shellfish taste of the stock base, and was complemented even more by the rich taste of crab meat and roe.

Add a touch of vinegar to get that kick in your cheeks, and you have a very flavoursome soup.

Deep Fried Chicken with Two Tastes

The Chicken won us over and was one of our favourite dishes of the evening.

On the outer ring of the plate was what tasted like a well marinated, crispy skinned roast chicken. Nestled on the inside of the plate was diced chicken coated in a dark, intense, sweet yet salty soya sauce. Delicious.

Steamed Fish Pomfret with Soya Sauce

Pomfret (Bawal Putih) is one of the few fishes I actually enjoy eating. It’s very mild in flavour, and the meat has a lovely, break-at-the-touch texture.

It’s one of those fishes that don’t need much done to it, and here at Toh Yuen, the Chef actually steams it and pours over a light, salty thin soya sauce. Garnished with spring onions and coriander, it’s a simple yet terribly tasty dish.

Stir Fried Sea King Prawns with Pineapple Sauce

I love prawns so I was really looking forward to this one. The prawns were fresh, and tasted of the sea… fried first to get a crunchy skin, they’re then tossed in a sticky, sweet savoury pineapple sauce.


Stewed Sea Cucumber & Mushroom with Broccoli

Vegetables are always a must before the carbs arrive, and the mushroom broccoli combination works every time. However, there’s the added bonus of Sea Cucumber here, which I’ve tried before, but never in this style. It’s hard to describe the texture, kind of a cross between a cooked aubergine and jelly.

I asked Chef what it looked liked raw, and he obligingly brought out a couple for us to look at.

Jeremy was not impressed!

Seafood Fried Rice with X.O. Sauce

Finishing off our savoury courses with a fragrant fried rice in X.O sauce.

Contrary to popular belief, X.O. sauce does not contain any alcohol in it. It’s actually a traditional Cantonese sauce made from  roughly chopped dried seafood, scallop, fish, shrimp, chilli onion garlic and oil. The name indicates it’s a quality, superior sauce, just like the Cognac. The rice was wok fried with chopped beans, spring onions, garlic, egg, and of course, the secret sauce. Fluffy, charred and terribly tasty. A sterling finish!

Chilled Honey Dew with Hasma

Another delicacy, but for this one, I merely had a taste after I found out what Hasma was. Apparently, t is actually dried fallopian tubes of true frogs. From the one taste I had, the dessert itself was delicious and cooling, but I guess everyone has a line that they just can’t cross. I’m no Andrew Zimmern, but the rest of the gang were and licked their bowls clean!

We could not have wished for a more lavish, decadent, and exotic meal. Abalone, Sharksfin, Sea Cucumber… and not forgetting the truly exotic Hasma. Yes, the Longevity set Menu at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ, is an experience you must have to Usher in the Year of the Rabbit this Chinese New Year!

Kung Hei Fatt Choy!

*Thanks to Elaine, Shiaw Shiaun and the Chef & team at Toh Yuen for a spectacular meal.

Special thanks to Donovan for the beautiful photographs.


Other Chinese New Year Menus at Toh Yuen, Hilton PJ

‘Happiness’ Set – RM888++ per table of 10 people

Salmon ‘Fatt Choy’ Yee Sang, Double boiled Chicken Soup with Sea Treasures, Deep Fried Crispy Sesame Chicken, Steamed Grouper with Soy Sauce, Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Chef’s Special Made Sauce, Stewed Bean Curd with Preserved Vegetable, and Meat and Fried Rice and Minced meat in Lotus Leaf. Dessert – Chilled Sea Coconut with Ginseng.

‘Fortune’ – RM1188++ per table of 10 pax

Fatt Choy Hakkigai Salmon, Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Dendrobium Candidrum, Roasted Duck with BBQ Sauce, Steamed Cod Fish with Soy Sauce, Stir Fried Tiger Prawn with Fresh milk and Butter,, Braised Sea Moss Mushroom and Dried Oyster with Lettuce, and Stir Fried Noodle with Chicken and Mixed Vegetable. Dessert – Braised Red Bean with Glutinous Dumpling.

Written by alyredfm

January 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Reviews

Kenny’s Phoenix Chicken Meal @ Kenny Rogers Roasters

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Kenny Rogers Roasters – The healthier alternative

When I told everyone at Red FM that our first restaurant for the year would be Kenny Rogers Roasters, they looked at me in bewilderment. “Since when do you review fast food restaurants?” asked Terry. He wasn’t complaining, just curious!

I explained to him that no, Kenny Rogers Roasters was not a fast food restaurant, but rather a chain that provides ‘The healthier alternative’.

“Kenny Rogers ROASTERS was originally set up by popular Country and Western singer, Kenny Rogers, and former Governor of the state of Kentucky, John Y Brown Jr, in 1991. Seeing an opportunity to provide healthy and delicious food in a restaurant environment, Kenny Rogers ROASTERS opened its first restaurant in Coral Spring, Florida, in August of 1991.”

(Berjaya Roasters (M) Sdn. Bhd. is the franchise holder for Kenny Rogers ROASTERS (“KRR”) in Malaysia. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berjaya Group Berhad and was incorporated in 1994.)

It’s a mid-casual dining restaurant, with a focus on rotisserie chicken, constantly turned on a skewer, allowing the fat to drain away and the chicken to be roasted more evenly while maximizing the retention of juices and nutrients. Kenny Rogers Roasters prides itself of giving you a simple, flavourful and nutritional meal that is essentially the healthier alternative and less fattening.

“Less fat… less salt… lee calories…”

That infamous slogan is plastered over every branch of Kenny Rogers Roasters. And rightly so! I’ve you’ve got it, flaunt it!

15 years after its birth in Malaysia, the thriving chain still offers you its ‘All Time Favourites’ like Roasted Chicken Salad – Fresh crisp lettuce, onion, cucumber & egg tossed with our special thousand island dressing topped with sliced roasted chicken, served with Kenny’s Home-made Muffin.

Terry and I braved the after work traffic and landed ourselves in the Kenny Rogers Roasters at Empire Gallery, Subang Jaya.

We had lovely hosts that evening who made sure our experience was every bit as fun and tasty as it should be.

I liked the sound of the classic Caesar Salad – Fresh crisp romaine lettuce, croutons and red onion rings tossed in our special caesar dressing topped with sliced roasted chicken and grated parmesan cheese, served with Kenny’s Home-made Muffin.

You also get a Country-style Soup, Garlic Bread and Veggie Sticks. If you can’t make up your mind on side dishes, then order the Round up Platter – a medley of 3 side dishes complemented with Kenny’s Home-made Muffin.

To make your life easier, Kenny Roger’s Roasters puts together a complete, wholesome meal on a plate for you. The Quarter Meal for the single eater (1/4 chicken, three sides, muffin), the Half Meal for sharing between two people (1/2 chicken, three sides, muffin), and the Family Meal, where you can dig into a whole chicken with four sides and four muffins.

Don’t forget to choose your sauce! Original, Black Pepper, Smoked BBQ… I wish I could have tried them all, but Terry and I were there for one reason.

Kenny’s Phoenix Chicken Meal returns to revitalize New Year Prosperity!

An oriental inspired style of preparation, the same good old fashioned Kenny Rogers way of cooking, and a couple of refreshing Mocktails complete the Chinese New Year package.

Terry and I felt the festive spirit engulf us as we sliced into freshly cooked rotisserie-roasted chicken, marinated in an exotic blend of spices and herbs. I could taste tomatoes, and I could taste capsicum. The rest of the marinade? Well, that’s a secret.

All I can tell you is that it’s rich, it’s tangy, it’s a little bit spicy, and it leaves your mouth tingling all over.

All Kenny’s Phoenix Chicken Meal’s come with the customary three side dishes. We mixed and matched and ended up with three different combinations from the ‘Fresh Hitz’ (cool) and Hot Hitz (hot) sides.


Don’t forget the special festive muffin called Kenny’s Golden Orange Muffin.

The muffin was moist and oh, so soft, and it smelt so good!

Wash all that down with Minty Passion Mocktail, a favourite that is back by popular demand, and a new flavour that can hold its own.

The Minty Strawberry Mocktail is a concoction of strawberry syrup infused with mint leaves, served on ice.

Terry and I were rather please with ourselves for (almost) finishing off everything on our plates. I must warn you, portions are generous, and at a mere RM17.90 for Kenny’s Phoenix Chicken Meal, you’ll be wishing you could fit more in.

Kenny Rogers Roasters, the healthier alternative. And as they say, possibly the “Greatest Chicken in the World!”

Thanks to Vanessa, Nikki, Cheryl, Kennie and the team at KRR Empire Gallery for your hospitality!

*Special thanks to Alvin ( for the beautiful photos.

Get yourself in the festive mood and head on down to a Kenny Rogers Roasters for Kenny’s Phoenix Chicken Meal! Win vouchers worth a total of RM100 when you tune in from Eleven2Three for the Big Red Food Review, with me Aly. Only on Red FM, Today’s Best Music!

This 12 January 2011, the annual ROASTERS EATING DAY (RED) is back! Wear RED, the colour of life, to celebrate good health and vitality through good eating and healthy living with Kenny Rogers Roasters (KRR). Wear RED to any KRR outlet on that day (one day only) and get 2 Kenny’s Quarter’s Meal for the price of one! *terms and conditions apply.

For outlet locations, please visit




Written by alyredfm

January 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Reviews