Experience Authentic Mexican Cuisine Right Here In Kuala Lumpur

La Mexicana in Kuala Lumpur

Look at this food map of Mexico! (Source: Internet)

My first memory of anything Mexican was watching ‘Maria Mercedes‘ subtitled into Bahasa Melayu. It was so horrible that I didn’t bother watching it except when the theme song was playing during the opening and closing credit. 

And then there is the Tex-Mex cuisine which often confused people outside America including myself, thinking, “Oh, hey, this is Mexican dish!“. Of course, there is some truth in it, since the word ‘Tex-Mex‘ itself is a portmanteau of Texan and Mexican

*Note: Tex-Mex cuisine refers to the fusion of Ameican and Mexican cuisine, derived from the culinary creations of the Tejanos. Tejanos is the Spanish term for Texan. Among popular Tejanos include Selena Gomez and Eva Longoria. Being originated by the Spanish culture in Texas, Tex-Mex has grown from the South-Western of the United States of America, to the rest of the country and of course, Tex-Mex cuisine is also quite popular in Malaysia especially among those who love Western dishes. In Tex-Mex cuisine, it’s very common to see the excessive use of shredded cheese, meat, beans and spices. 
(Source: Wikipedia)

Welcome to La Mexicana, your gateway to true Mexican experience

Actually, I’ve been planning to do a review at La Mexicana for quite some time. Since 10th September 2014 actually, when I first met Chef Carmela De Ponte and her husband, Stephen Dennison at the Mexican National Day celebration at Hotel Renaissance, KL. It all started with me bumping into Mr. Jose Bustinza, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Peruvian Embassy in Malaysia who always sends me invitation to the Peruvian events. He introduced me to his friend, Joshua Norman from the American Embassy and with boys being boys, they were arguing about the history of tequila and mezcal. 

Mr. Bustinza said, tequila and mezcal were produced from two different plants while Joshua insisted that they were the same plant only from different districts in Mexico. Joshua made a RM100 bet that he was right. Of course, I was there as the referee. The tricky part was, none of us was a native Mexican. So, I called a couple of Mexicans whom I bumped into earlier and got them to help me with the bet. Even Amanda and her friends couldn’t really tell. 

Chef Carmela De Ponte and husband, Stephen Dennison of La Mexicana

That’s when Amanda called Carmela De Ponte who was a Mexican chef. Aha, could we go wrong with a Mexican chef in the house? So, Chef Carmela explained that tequila and mezcal were produced from different plants. But Joshua, a typical American that he was, he actually Googled and it turned out that, both Mr. Bustinza and Joshua were right. Tequila is produced from blue agave, while mezcal is produced from maguey which is actually a different species of agave, haha! So, they both won the bet.

Honestly, I was glad because I got to meet Chef Carmela and her husband. Stephen invited me to do a review at La Mexicana but I just couldn’t find the time. And just recently, with me transferring to a new department, I managed to find time to come to La Mexicana with my colleague, Mel Muzammil aka MelZura

Everything spells L.A. M.E.X.I.C.A.N.A. here!
Please, have a sit and enjoy the rest of the day at La Mexicana
The view in La Mexicana will leave you longing to fly to Mexico soon enough

Stepping into La Mexicana was already a pleasant experience as I was intrigued with the Mexican theme from the cactus plants outside the restaurant to the colourful decorations, all flown in from Mexico. What better way to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine other than in a true Mexican atmosphere? And don’t forget the sexxxayyy Latino songs filling up the air.

Among the Mexican decorations that you can see at La Mexicana 
Look at these cute yet prickly cactus plants!

According to Chef Carmela De Ponte, she was professionally trained to cook authentic Italian cuisine as her father was from Italy, while her mother was Mexican. Before following her husband to Malaysia, Chef Carmela had three restaurants, all specializing in Italian food. Having spent 18 hours on a daily basis cooking and managing her restaurants, she finally decided to hang her apron for good and live life as a housewife. “I swore, never to open a restaurant again, it was too tiring,” said Chef Carmela.

The embroided cloths hanging from the ceiling are also flown in from Mexico
Among the wooden decorations signifying the Mexican identity

And she broke her words, which of course, was a great thing for all of us not having to lose another great chef in Malaysia, one who brought the real Mexican taste to Malaysian shores. Starting with catering commissions by the Embassy of Mexico in Malaysia, Chef Carmela‘s cooking earned her die-hard fans who seek the authentic taste of Mexican food and not Tex-Mex. Since 2012, La Mexicana has been a favourite hang-out among food lovers, especially among the Mexican community in Malaysia. 

It was a privilege, having to meet one of the best chefs, Chef Carmela De Ponte

While chatting with Chef Carmela to find out more about the real deal Mexican cuisine, Chef Carmela served horchata and Agua de Jamaica drinks on ice! Horchata is a special Mexican beverage made of rice and milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon to heighten the sweet taste. Agua de Jamaica is actually made of roselle, of course, is no stranger among Malaysians. In fact, Chef Carmela said, hundreds of years ago, traders brought ingredients such as roselle and tamarind from other parts of the world particularly South East Asia to Mexico and the Mexicans began cultivating them for food. 

Honestly, when the roselle tasted just like any other roselle drinks, I fell in love with the taste of horchata. I couldn’t really describe how it tasted like, I think, it’d be best for you to try horchata yourself. It was neither too milky or too starchy, heck, it didn’t even taste like rice! I thought, it was something that I’d love to drink on a hot day.

What wouldn’t I do for another glass of this right now? 

Later, we were served with tacos with various fillings. According to Stephen, many people often confused between tortilla and tacos. Tortilla refer to the flour used to make the flat bread that we all know used to make tacos, quesadillas and burritos. 

Try this tacos with seafood and avocado slices! Yummm! 

Each taco served comes with different condiments to complement the menu. You can request for chicken, beef or seafood filling for your taco, Chef Carmela will recommend the best menu. For the non-Muslim, feel free to order pork dishes. In fact, regular patrons of La Mexicana know Chef Carmela as a chef with visions. And I do mean, visions! Chef Carmela can simply look at you and guess your favourite food. “People think I’m a witch, but I know which food they like best and I recommend those to our guests,” she said again. 

You can eat the tacos with Molcajete sauce

Or just eat them as they are.. When in doubt, ask Chef Carmela

Then, there were the Enchiladas Verde, corn tortillas stuffed with chicken and ooooh, bathed in salsa verde. In case your tongue gets twisted learning all these new Spanish terms, well, salsa means sauce while verde is green. So basically, salsa verde is green sauce made of tomatillos. Like cherry on ice cream, the chicken enchiladas verdes was served with Queso Panela (Panela cheese) on top of it. 

To me, anything with cheese and chicken is the best, enough said!

The highlight during this lunch review was definitely the Nopal Asado con Queso, the grilled nopales cactus or Prickly Pear cactus with Panela cheese. I’m known among my friends as someone who loves salads and other types of vegetable dishes (and yes, I’m still fat). Honestly, I was extremely eager to try to nopal asado con queso and I was amazed with the unique taste of nopales. It was a fresh and crunchy, with a tinge of bitter-taste but was well-blended with the slightly salty taste of Panela cheese. With the sweet-sour salsa verde, I believed the best way to describe this explosion of taste was ‘heavenly‘. 

Ever thought of eating cactus pads? 

Chef Carmela told me, the nopales were known to have many nutrients including calcium and Vitamin C and also contained properties to assist in weight and cholesterol management. “In Mexico, you’ll see many overweight women but you’ll be surprised to know that they don’t have cholesterol issues,” she said. 

She also informed me on the current gastronomic trends in Mexico now. Apparently, after receiving recognition as part of the food cultural heritage by UNESCO along with French, Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine, various Mexican groups are currently going to every village in Mexico to look for authentic recipes. According to Chef Carmela, back in the days, mothers only passed on recipes verbally and there was no written guide to all those amazing recipes, hence the effort to trace every single recipe before it becomes lost. 

Food, glorious food! 

On top of that, Mexicans are going back to the very basic of food, something that is inspired from the Aztec era where only the freshest ingredients and source of food are used. “Now, people are beginning to eat insects as they are not contaminated by chemicals and have high contents of protein and Omega 3. By the way, these are not the cockroaches that you have at home, we’re talking about the ones from the forest and mountains. In fact, the ant’s eggs are now known as the Mexican caviar,” Chef Carmela explained. 

Chef Carmela shared a funny incident that took place when she was back in Mexico to visit her family. “I followed my relatives to their ranch and they took me to the mountains for a little picnic. Then, they prepared something for me and I asked them what it was. They just told me to eat it first. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tried. After I finished eating it, only later my relatives told me to look around. I did and I saw snake skins hanging. Then, I knew, it wasn’t chicken that I ate,” she said, laughing.

Chef Carmela is proud of her own little garden

Continuing to talk about her passion for food, Chef Carmela said, her father always reminded her, if she wanted to have her own restaurant she must make sure that her family and friends eat there too. That was a good indicator that the food that she serves is of high quality. In fact, she grows some of the herbs and spices herself. She also spends time to make her own tortilla bread and Panela cheese which she also sells. The ones that she doesn’t grow, she will make sure she gets the best and freshest. 

Another plant that she brought in from Mexico

So, up for another adventure in the gastronomic world? Well, La Mexicana is the place. Of course, must always remember, it’s a non-halal restaurant so for those who are sensitive about this sort of things, then, better not go. 

Visit La Mexicana which is located right behind Hock Chun building at Jalan Ampang


241 – B – Lorong Nibong,
Off Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur

For reservations, please call +603-4253 5251.

Visit their website for further info: authmexicancuisine.com

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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The Worst Food Review I’ve Ever Been To

Another #SentapSaturday for me

The term #SentapSaturday was the original idea of a Blogger friend, Rawlins Una when our group of friends attended an event at the City Hall Auditorium a couple of months ago and received bad treatment from the organizer. We did what we usually do together, took a group photo and put as many hashtags as we wanted including #SentapSaturday. We’d usually post the same photo on Instagram and see whose post pop up first among us. 

So, recently I was invited to a food review in Kuala Lumpur by a bistro that shall remain anonymous in this confession. Another blogger friend, Miera Nadhirah was the one who put my name as her plus one and I thought, well, why not. Besides, I love going out, meeting new people and trying new food. 

We arrived a little early since I was panicking when my cellphone ran out of battery, like totally flat. A real-deal 0% case and I couldn’t charge it. So, I thought I just might make a stop first and being the fickle-minded that I am, I changed my mind and went to the event straight. 

Gotta love the concept here

So, Miera and I spent some time to take photos at the bistro. Honestly, the place looked very cozy. I absolutely loved the interior and the way the chairs were arranged. It was nothing like the typical restaurant setting I’ve seen.

See? I had fun shooting outdoor 

And the outdoor? Ooooh, don’t even get me started on the outdoor. Despite the rather long drive from the main entrance to the bistro, the scenery there was actually very beautiful considering the location in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. There was a pond, green landscape, everything. In fact, we spotted a small iguana while taking photos just outside the bistro.

Can you see that iguana?
Too bad I didn’t have my long lens with me!
Oh, there he goes!
And then, there was the worst food review I’ve ever been to.

Here’s the story. The organizer came a late, well, I didn’t really mind. It’s perfectly understandable, it being a Saturday and surely the traffic on a Saturday afternoon could be as unpredictable as the tidal waves or the strong wind. While waiting, we were served cold drinks. No chips? Well, I didn’t really mind. I didn’t want to ruin my appetite with junk food too.

The first thing that sort of alarmed me was when a young man sporting a rather radical hair-do (please forgive me, I’m an old lady) came to our table and introduced himself as the owner of the bistro. Okay, I thought, “Very nice to meet you” until he said, “Sorry, I was only told there’d be 6 of you because I’ve only prepared 6 sets of food”. 

So, the other media reps mainly food bloggers (about 10 of us) and I (from a magazine) started looking at one another. We all knew we’ve RSVP-ed before attending. So, what was going to happen? Only 6 of us eat and the other 4 watch? 

Finally, the organizer came. She apologized, yada yada yada and gave us a pretty gold-coloured envelope with the menu inside. Okay, pretty neat and adorable.

And then the terror began. 

Let’s start with the appetizers, shall we?

They served us ONE bowl of mushroom soup, ONE bowl of pumpkin soup, ONE serving of Insalata Di Polpo (marinated octopus)  and ONE serving of escargot

The hostess said, this portion is enough for 10 people

So, we began taking photos of the food. Since they didn’t put the food on another table for display, we had to take turns to snap photos. You see, the tables were arranged closely together so all 10 of us could sit together. So, it was a rather awkward having to pass one bowl after another to the couple next to us. 

The escargot story was funny. It was served in a set of 6 pieces. So, after we were done taking photos, we waited for the bistro owner to serve us the actual appetizers. I was imagining an individual serving so that we could take our own sweet time to enjoy each menu . Well, guess what?

Apparently, sharing is caring

The ONE bowl of mushroom soup, the ONE bowl of pumpkin soup, ONE serving of Insalata Di Polpo and the ONE serving of escargot were meant for us to share among this small group of TEN people. We just stared at one another, speechless. 

What’s up with the facepalm, doc? (Source: Internet)

Being the rather out-spoken person, I simply raised my hand and asked for more appetizers. Her answer TOTALLY made my day. She said in her funny English, “You can share the appetizers. We don’t want to serve too much because there will be more food later. We don’t want you to be too full to enjoy the other food. You can share the escargots right? There are 6 pieces there”.
Orang Utan doesn’t eat escargot! (Source: Internet)

Yes, Ah Moi, but there were 10 of us. Somehow, we managed to get her to get another serving of 6 pieces of escargots and the owner confidently spoke of as-car-got with a T being the famous delicacy among the French. Gee, tell us something we didn’t know! Honey, you invited professional food bloggers. You think they didn’t know? Well, I’m not a professional food blogger, but I’ve definitely had my share of European dishes while living in Germany. Besides, there are soooo many European restaurants in Malaysia now.

If we’re sharing the soup, who gets the garlic bread?

You know, what totally put me off that moment? Since there were only 2 bowls of soup, one mushroom and one pumpkin; guess how did we ‘enjoy’ the soup? We asked for extra soup spoons and had to scoop the soup and pour into our spoons before slurping it. Can you imagine 10 people sharing TWO bowls of soup with 10 different spoons?

Did you want me to pay for an extra bowl of soup?
I don’t mind, just let me have a proper amount of soup! (Source: Internet)
Let’s continue, shall we?

Now, the main course. 

We were served ONE serving of braised lamb shank, ONE serving of Coq Au Vin (braised chicken), ONE serving of seafood paella and ONE serving of calzone. And yes, you’ve guessed it right, again, we had to share among 10 people. 

A quarter chicken, so who gets the chicken wing?

But that was not the best part. First, we asked, “How are we going to eat this?”.

The ‘lovely’ host brought the main course dishes back into the kitchen, came back with a bone-less lamb shank

One blogger commented, “They think, we can’t remove the bone ourselves?”

Again, the food bloggers and I looked at one another. I believe, my patience has its limit. But somehow I managed to keep calm and asked for individual servings for each of us. After a while, each of us was served with perhaps a thin slab of lamb, two tiny slices of chicken, two spoonfuls of seafood paella. 

I got the calamari in my scoops of seafood paella!
I usually share a calzone with another person, if not 2 people, NEVER 10!
The calzone was cut into smaller sections and guess which section I got? The crusty part with NO filling at all. Hey, the bistro owner thought ONE calzone can feed 10 food bloggers!

Homer, what happened to the calzone? (Source: Internet)

I guess, after a while, no matter how patient I tried to be, the evil side in me got the best of me. I actually told some of the bloggers that it was by far the worst food review I’ve ever been to. I was thinking of leaving and not writing anything. But of course, that wouldn’t do. I know, I’d try to find something good to write. However, I did inform the others, how lucky that bistro owner was now that I no longer worked for the mainstream media! 

So, the petite hostess asked if we wanted anything else; which got me wondering, why didn’t they give us ANYTHING ELSE that we requested earlier? Everything served was not 6 sets of meals. Instead, ONE multiple-course set!

I don’t remember anybody eating the pizza. We just wanted to leave ASAP.

Finally, another blogger spoke her mind. She said, “Why don’t you just cancel this food review and organize another one next time? You cannot serve the media like this. The food was not enough for everybody and by the time the photographers finished taking the photos, the dishes are already cold. We don’t know whether they were best served hot or cold”.

The hostess seemed to panic for a while and called the bistro owner. They discussed about the food review. You want to know how I know? Well, first, they were standing just next to me. Second, despite being Malay, I could understand some Chinese. I actually told the two, “Excuse me, we’re right here. Would you like to speak to us directly and get out feedback?”.

Apparently, no. 

Why are you whispering next to Miss Paris? (Source: Internet)

The bistro owner and the hostess went outside to further discuss. Finally, they decided to cancel this review and organize another one. They even asked us NOT to write anything and promised an even better review next time. Honestly, I just couldn’t be bothered at that time. I told Miera to pack her stuff, so that we could go back. And guess what, the bistro owner had the balls to shake my hands and thank me for coming. He didn’t smile, he didn’t apologize. Wow, budi bahasa budaya kita??? Really????

So, Miera and I ended up eating at Delifrance AEON Big Wangsa Maju. Even she said it was the worst food review.

And the hostess texted me and asked me out for coffee to apologize. Mmmmm… We’ll see. Overall, the food was not too bad. Prices were not too expensive. Sadly, the way the review was organized was extremely bad. 

(Source: Internet)

What a day! What a #SentapSaturday!

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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Magnum Gold Pursuit

As Good As Gold

My first love affair with Magnum began in primary school, when Magnum ice-cream was introduced as the luxury dessert of all time. Well, it was true. Compared to the daily dose of 10 cents ice-cream or even Cornetto came close, but nothing was comparable to Magnum

The first Magnum love affair (Source: www.walls.com.my)

Of course, back then, I had to cut down on spending during school break and save a little for more than a week to be able to afford one. Yes, back then, I didn’t have that privilege like most kids do now. Although, I’d be lying if I said that my forever adorable dad didn’t buy us any. Honestly, my dad has always been the kind of dad that buys stuff for his kids. Even now that we’re no longer kids, my dad still buys us stuff. So, if my daily saving was not enough to buy Magnum, well, there was Dad! Haha!

Friends know me more as a chocolate person, not quite the ice-cream one. However, with Magnum (my personal favourite is the almond!), I always make an exception. Besides, how could anyone say ‘no’ to the rich, chocolatey taste? 

I was so busy recently that I didn’t get to attend the Magnum event at Sunway, so thank God for the press release. Just to have a touch of Magnum here and there on The Miss Paris Diaries. Exclusive visit to the Magnum Cafe is in order, perhaps? Keep your fingers crossed!

So, let’s enjoy “The Greatest Heist in History” video first.

First there was The Greatest Heist in History”where Magnum a purveyor of chocolate expertise and a luxury lifestyleintroduced the Malaysian Pleasure Seekers to Magnum Gold – The world’s first golden ice cream – A luxurious soft vanilla ice cream with sea–salt caramel sauce covered in Belgian Chocolate and double coated with Gold Belgian Chocolate.

Magnum Gold’s limited edition positioning was completed in true Hollywood style. A total blockbuster experience which was epitomised by the appearance of an international movie actress Caroline Correa launching the Magnum Gold ice cream, stunningly draped in a 24-carat Magnum Gold couture retailed at USD 1.3mil earlier this year.
The irresistible Magnum Gold (Souce: FB Magnum)
Let’s take an inside look, shall we? (Source: www.walls.com.my)

As a brand known for its exciting launches and parties tailored to the unique experience of each product innovation, Magnum activated Magnum Gold Pursuit, an online consumer contest from August 2014 – 31st October 2014. This contest aims to engage with consumers and reward Magnum’s loyal pleasure seekers with prizes as a way to show Magnum’s appreciation towards its consumers.

The Majestic Magnum (Source: FB Magnum)

In line with the tagline As Good As Gold, Magnum Gold has gone beyond drenching pleasure seekers’ thirst with a palette of gold by rewarding them with a once in a lifetime experience. Magnum Gold Pursuit is a platform to engage the consumers’ experience of golden ice cream beyond every delectable bite. As a brand we understand each pleasure seekers’ unique indulgence and are always looking for exciting ways to enhance the Magnum experience, voiced by Mr Herry Budiazhari, Marketing Director of Unilever (Malaysia) Holdings Sdn Bhd.
The contest was open to everyone through the purchase of a Magnum ice cream (90ml). By keying in the 13 digit alphanumeric code found on the Magnum ice cream stick,  pleasure seeker would either be rewarded with a Magnum Gold coin or stand a chance to win the grand prize, a BMW 3 Series.  In order to compete for the grand prize, pleasure seekers had to participate in the online vault game and open the Magnum Gold Pursuit Vaults to discover hidden Magnum Gold coins. The top 20 scorers from the online game competed for the grand prize at the Magnum Gold Pursuit grand finale.
We love Magnum Gold (Souce: FB Magnum)

The 20 finalists were put through 3 stages of individual mind and physical game challenges against time. The challenge was crafted in line with “The Greatest Heist in History” concept where the ultimate challenge for them is to break into the Magnum Gold Vault to win the grand prize at the final stage. The first stage required them to solve a blue print puzzle leading to a secret code enabling them to unlock a door to pass through to the 2nd stage. Only 10 finalists made it to the 2nd stage and each of them were introduced to the media and guests before proceeding to their challenge.
Go, go, Magnum Gold (Source: FB Magnum)

Members of the media and guests were given the opportunity to experience the high adrenaline rush of “The Greatest Heist in History” final two stages through a live feed during the event. The second stage put them in booby-trapped compound where they were required to deactivate the bomb. In order to do so each finalist needed to take the bomb with them from the start going through three obstacles and detonating the bomb at the finish line.
3 finalists made it through to the final stage of breaking the code to enter the Magnum Golden Vault and win a gift of gold.  The chase came to a close as one of the finalists managed to decode the Magnum Golden Vault and there in the corner of the main ballroom stage was the grand prize a BMW 3 series. Mr Herry Budiazahari presented the grand prize winner with the key to the car and the other finalists with a consolation prize of 2gm Magnum Gold Coins of 99.9% gold purity.
Sweet, sweet ride (Source: FB Magnum)

The Magnum Gold Pursuit grand prize winner and finalists celebrated the experience As Good As Gold at the Magnum Solid Gold Party. Magnum Gold Golden Girl Lexie Rodriguez and guests were treated with golden inspired desserts and sound as good as gold by the dynamic Danger Disco spinning top disco house remixes of today’s hits.

These photos make me kick myself for
 not attending the event, boo-hoo (Source: FB Magnum)

More on Magnum 

Indulge with the tempting Magnum range – combining thick, cracking Belgian chocolate and smooth delicious ice cream made with the finest ingredients. Magnum offers a wide range of choices that includes the original, pinnacle of pleasure Magnum Classic as well as the chunky Almond, the smooth, creamy Brownie, delicious Strawberry and many others.

The whole gang is here! (Source: www.walls.com.my)
Magnum Mini for Mini Me? (Source: www.walls.com.my)

(Source: www.walls.com.my)

Thank you, Wall’s Magnum for the info and photos!

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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Peruvian Gastronomic Experience – Food Diary

A Taste of Thousands-Year-Old Culture

The phrase ‘vive, ríe, ama’ means to live, laugh and love in Spanish. That was the easiest way to describe my experience tasting Peruvian cuisine officially for the first time upon invitation by the Deputy Head of Mission from the Peruvian Embassy in Malaysia, Mr. Jose Bustinza at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
I was introduced to Executive Chef Julio Ferradas who flew all the way from, Peru. According to him, for the Peruvian Gastronomic Week, his team served only the Peruvian classics which were usually eat at home. They kept the simple traditional cooking methods to preserve the home-cooked flavours.

 “The Peruvian cevicheis different from the other Latin American seviche due to the ingredients we used in the ceviche. Our ceviche is eaten very raw. For example, the Mexican ceviche is usually marinated in lemon juice for hours or even a day before. The Peruvian ceviche is only marinated for about two minutes, before we serve it. The main idea is to maintain the fresh taste and nutrients from the ingredients,” said Chef Ferradas, insisting that my night would be incomplete if I didn’t try the Peruvian ceviche

Ceviche is an absolute Peruvian classic!

Of course, the expert was right. The ceviche was definitely the right appetizer to start an adventure of Peruvian home-cooked recipes. As the chef described it, the ceviche was an absolute Peruvian classic.              

                “We have chicken escabeche, deep fried chicken cooked with vinegar, chilli and onions which is famous in Peruvian homes. My grandmother used to preserve this menu in vinegar so that it would last long since people did not have refrigerators back then”.

Look at that combination of chicken and feta cheese.. nyummm…

“For those who don’t eat meat, well, quinoa is very popular nowadays because of the nutrients in it. Many vegetarians eat quinoa as a replacement of meat for its high contents of protein. We eat many different kinds of beans in Peru”.

Quinoa is a great source of protein
Chef Ferradas added, “Like Malaysians, we also eat a lot of white rice. In every home in Peru, we eat rice with everything. The difference is, Malaysians eat white rice as the main dish and you eat with side dishes. Over there in Peru, the rice is our side dish. Of course, in this case, we cook rice with roasted chicken together. It’s a dish on its own”.

Malaysians can’ survive without rice? Now you can in Peru

As a self-proclaimed Mrs. Potato, I have always loved everything that is cooked with potato. From the simplest boiled potato chunks with a dash of pepper to shepherd’s pie with lamb, potato topped my list of favourite food. And then, I had a spoonful of the Peruvian causa and I couldn’t describe the heavenly feeling as it melted in my mouth. When most mashed potato in Malaysia is served with chicken-based gravy, this one had smoked salmonfilling and served with puréed avocado.

Causa is also our national dish, a variation of mashed potato in Peru. Only we mix it with jell-o chilli paste.  Like most of our menu, we would mix them with chilli paste, but we don’t want the food to be too spicy. So, what we do is we boil the chilli, peel the skin and remove the seeds and we blend it to make chilli paste,” said Chef Ferradas, explaining the secret behind Peruvian mashed potato.

Other than chilli paste, lemon juice also adds flavour to causa

“That’s our Peruvian cuisine secret, just a tinge of chilli to taste. Jell-o chilli is the most commonly used in our kitchen. We also have Rocoto chilli, which is similar to bell pepper but it’s very, very spicy. There is also Panca chilli, which is like Rocoto but it’s dried and it’s common in the Anders. Once harvested, people usually dry the Panca chilli in the sun and only use them in the next season. You see, in the Anders, the climate is very cold and very dry. So, people lay down the Panca chilli on their roofs to dry in the sun and sometimes they get slightly frosted. That is how we preserve the chilli for 6 months or even a year before we use it. It’s very, very dry and you have to boil it first before you remove the seeds and blend it to make another chilli paste”. 

*Here’s something interesting I found online!

According to www.limaeasy.com, the Peruvian Aji or 
chilli peppers have been cultivated over 7,000 years ago. 
The chilli peppers were among the first spices used to season food. Currently in Peru, there are over 300 types of chilli peppers 
which are commonly used in their daily cooking. 
The famous ones are:

                   Aji Amarillo (Yellow Pepper)

The Amarillo is considered a ‘national ingredient’ in Peru as 
it is the most common chilli pepper used in Peruvian dish. It matures from green to deep yellowish-orange colour and has a distinguished fruity taste. On the spice scale, this one probably ranks between medium to hot.
Aji Amarillo (Source: Internet)

Aji Panca (Panca Chilli)

This one is suitable for those who could not stomach too much of spicy food. This mild, berry-like flavour with a tinge of smoky aroma will not overwhelm other taste in your cooking.
Aji Panca (Source: Internet)

Aji Rocoto (Rocoto Chilli)
Rocoto is also known as manzana (apple pepper) due and it looks like the smaller version of bell pepper. Unlike bell pepper, Rocoto has black seeds. This type of chilli pepper is described to be among the hottest chilli peppers in the world.

Aji Rocoto (Source: Internet)

 Aji Mirasol (dried Amarillo)
This variant of chilli pepper is also commonly used in traditional Peruvian menu. Either used as a whole or grounded, Aji Mirasol will give your cooking a unique flavour.
Aji Mirasol (Source: Internet)

 Aji Limo (small chilli pepper)

This is what the Malay proverb would describe as ‘kecil-kecil cili padi’, although the chilli peppers are small in size, but be warned, this multi-coloured chilli pepper (can be found in yellow, green, orange, red and purple colour) is very spicy!
Aji Limo (Source: Internet)

                “We also have Tiradito, which is like a brother to ceviche. It’s almost the same, fish marinated in lemon similar to sashimi and we slice it thinly. Tiraditos reflect the Japanese influence that we have in Peruvian dish due to the big number of Japanese immigrants to our country”.

Another Peruvian classic that will leave you craving for more

Another dish with Asian influence is Seco De Carne or Peruvian beef stew which is made of Panca chilli and a lot of chopped cilantro. You sauté it with onions and garlic and cook it for three hours until the meat is really tender”.

                Although beef stew is not a strange menu in the Malaysian palate, I still found myself surprised with the rich taste of meat cooked with various ingredients and garnishing. The meat, as Chef Ferradas promised, was tender and juicy. Even those who may not favour red meat will not be able to refuse this one.

Seco de Carne for the beef lovers out there
                Among my favourites that night were green beans and avocado salad (who could resist the temptation of crushed feta cheese in this one?), fresh octopus slices with olive sauce, potatoes with mild yellow chilli cream (almost similar to potato salad, only with creamy gravy) and chicken in mild yellow chilli creamy sauce.  It was indeed an unforgettable experience to have a variety of rich taste and flavour, having to taste one menu to another. Luckily, I had the sense of control to limit myself to only one small serving for each cuisine, or else, there wouldn’t be enough space left for the others.

Even this simple salad promises a heavenly treat
Chicken in mild yellow chilli creamy sauce
Potatoes in mild yellow chilli cream
Octopus slices in olive sauce
                And finally, the dessert selection was definitely something I could never say ‘No’ to. I decided to try the Suspiro De Limeña, which was absolutely delicious, although some may find it too sweet as it was cooked with sweetened condensed milk. Followed by the cherimoya meringue, which was equally good to end my night of the discovery of Peruvian cuisine
I don’t know what these are, but they were heavenly to me..
 something with sweet milk and cinnamon!

Get to know Peru

  • The Republic of Peru, or commonly referred to as Peru is a country in western South America. (www.wikipedia.org)
  • It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the south-east by Bolivia, in the south by Chile and in the west by the Pacific Ocean.
  • According to www.lonelyplanet.comPeru is as complex as its most intricate weavings. Festivals mix ancient pageantry with stomping brass bands. The urban vanguard beams with artistry and innovation. Trails mark the way from dense jungle to glacial peaks.
  • If you’re planning to visit Peru, check out www.peru.travel for the complete guide on vacations in Peru including the main destinations, tourist attractions, activities and many more. Peru Travel is the official travel and tourism portal, similar to Tourism Malaysia.
  • The public is always welcome to visit the Embassy of Peru in Malaysia to get information of the country. The address: 

Wisma Selangor Dredging 

F6, Jalan Ampang
 50450 Kuala Lumpur 

P/S- The Embassy of Peru in Malaysia shares some recipes too! So, stay tuned!

*This article was written for one of our magazines, but since our company lawyer said that I may publish this elsewhere and will be considered a promotion, so here it is. 

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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Under the Mango Tree – Miss Paris

A Story of Humanity

Yes, the title might remind you of the song Ursula Andress sang in James Bond‘s ‘Dr. No‘ in the 1960s, but actually, I’d like to share a story of what happened recently at my house.

You see, my mum planted a mango tree right in front of our house since we first moved here in 1991. I’m not quite sure of the breed, but I often hear mum and aunts call them ‘mangga epal‘ which literally translates into ‘mango-apple’ and probably won’t make sense to most of you.

The view of our glorious mango tree from the balcony 

My mum once told me, these mangoes don’t really ripen on the tree itself. You’ve got to wait for the fruits to grow big and then keep them indoor. It’s what we Malaysians call ‘peram‘. Of course, we have to be careful once the tree starts to bear fruits because when we don’t keep track of which branch has how many fruits, that’s when the fruits will grow too heavy and fall to the roadside. That’s completely wasteful!

This year, it seems like we’re going to have a high Vit-C diet!

Or worse, sometimes I see people trying to steal those mangoes too. It is easier to just shoo them away when you see them. But those who come back to steal at night? Well, we have no choice but to just let it go. You’d be surprised if I tell you, not only kids try to steal the mangoes. I’ve seen old aunties who come with their grown-up sons, carrying long sticks to get the mangoes.

Once, a friend asked me, “Why are you guys so angry when people took the mangoes? Just let them. The tree will continue to bear fruits every year”. 

I asked back, “Why can’t they just come over and ask to buy? If you don’t have money, you can always ask for one or two and I’m pretty darn sure, my mum wouldn’t mind. The thing is, ask”.

Magnificent, mangolicious moment

It’s like going to a shopping mall and seeing a gorgeous dress. It may not be expensive, but I can’t simply take the dress and tell the promoter, “Why are you angry when I take this dress? Just let me, you have so many dresses here”. 

It’s the same concept, isn’t it?

But I’m not just gonna write about everything bad with the society, because there are some people who actually have the decency to ask for permission. It’s common when neighbours or colleagues or even relatives who come all the way from Johor to ask for a couple of mangoes. 

Even my CFO asked if I can bring some for her, this type is her favourite

Well, recently, just as I was about to get into the car to go to work, a car stopped just next to my car. At first I thought the old man was going to ask for directions because I know how tricky our neighbourhood area can be. It turned out that he wanted to ask about the mangoes.

Old Man: Excuse me, adik (he called me ‘adik’, haha!), is this your mango tree?

Me: Well, actually it’s my mum’s. 

Old Man: Actually I’ve passed your house before and I saw the tree. I was wondering if I can buy some from you. The mangoes look really juicy.

Me: Of course, you can, but my parents are not at home and I don’t know how to get the mangoes for you. Can you come back around 6 o’clock today? By then, my dad will be home and he can get the mangoes down for you.

Old Man: Oh, 6 o’clock? Okay, I’ll come back. Thank you so much.

Me: You’re welcome, uncle.

So, the old man drove off. I hope he comes back once my dad is back from work and in all honesty, knowing my dad, he will definitely give the old man the mangoes for free. My dad is a big softie kind of father. Despite his military background and officer rank, he actually has a pretty decent heart, but of course, the story of my dad will be in another confession.

Try this, plain yoghurt and some mango slices and chia seeds! Heaven!

You see, it’s not so much about making money out of selling the mangoes. It’s more of the common courtesy that sometimes we fail to practice. 

Just as sometimes, we walk into an elevator and we see someone running to catch it, what do we do? Push the ‘Open Door’ button? Or simply leave him or her to catch the next elevator? Don’t answer this for me, answer this for yourself. 

So, before I end this post, let me share the lyric of ‘Under the Mango Tree’ which was featured in ‘Dr. No‘. Watch the video here. Thank you, Apollomovieguy for uploading the great video. The song was sung by Diana Coupland and written by Monty Norman

Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me make boolooloop soon
Underneath the moonlit sky
Me honey and I can sit hand in hand
Underneath the moonlit sky
Me honey and I can make fairyland
Mango, banana and tangerine
Sugar and ackee and cocoa bean
When we get marry we make them grow
And nine little chilґ in a row
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me we plan marry soon
Mango, banana and tangerine
Sugar and ackee and cocoa bean
When we get marry we make them grow
And nine little chilґ in a row
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me can watch for the moon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Me honey and me we plan marry soon
Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree
Underneath the Mango Tree

Ursula Andress, the most iconic Bond girl of all time, (ahem) sang 
‘Under the Mango Tree’ as she emerged from the water in ‘Dr. No
(Source: Internet)

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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TGI Fridays – D-rib-in’ and drenched in great taste

It’s All About the Spices

This week didn’t really start that well, since my car engine wouldn’t start on a Monday (yes, people, MONDAY!), but the invitation to TGI Fridays at The Curve for the new menu review certainly turned my week around.

You don’t need to wait until Friday to come here and enjoy a great dining experience

One of the promotional posters for the new menu


In fact, my colleague and I were quite excited about the review, both of us ‘spared’ some space in our tummies for some stuffin’ later. Okay, I cheated a little, having eaten a ‘roti telur’ earlier that day. Haha! Can’t help it!

Before the grand feast began, we were served with starters; Fridays™ Three-For-All (RM42.90++). The traditional American appetizers such as Fried Mozzarella, Loaded Potato Skins, Spicy Buffalo Wings and celery sticks with Bleu cheese dressing (my favourite, but NOT for the faint-hearted) are a great way to begin your gastronomic journey. I’ve always loved appetizers before any meal. Honestly, I wanted to order soup, but I decided to ‘save’ whatever space I had left for the surprise of the night.  

Share! You’ll need space for the main menu.

The first menu I sank my teeth in was the Texas-Spiced Beef Ribs (RM59.90++). Ooooh, words could only describe so much how a single bite tasted. As if it was even possible to say, the meat was so tender, it melted (glided, more like it) in my mouth. I didn’t even have to put much effort into chewing it, which was actually a plus point for a food lover like me. The perfect blend of Texas herbs and spices used to marinate not only added rich flavour to the meat, but it created that crispy, crusty layer on top of it as the full ribs were fire-grilled to perfection. 

Texas-Spiced Beef Ribs will leave you wanting more
The Texas herbs and spices turned into crusty layer when fire-grilled

Next up, the Beef Bacon-Crusted Ribs (RM59.90++). This is another winner during the review. Just like its Texas-Spiced counterpart, the tender and juicy ribs were generously marinated before being cooked; only this one was glazed with BBQ sauce; giving it a little tangy touch to the tip of the tongue. And if I were to compare, perhaps cherry on top of ice-cream or icing on cake, that was how the crispy beef bacon bits were as garnishing. 

Bring an equally hungry and carnivorous friend along, it’s much more fun!

Heaps and heaps of crispy beef bacon bits!

If you’re not so much of a beef person, why not opt for lamb rack instead? The Texas-Spiced Lamb Ribs (RM59.90++was equally as delicious. My doctors might kill me for writing this, but when it comes to lamb, the best part is always the lardiest part. Ooooh, the taste of lamb fresh from the grill as your let it roll in your mouth… I was in food paradise if you ask me. That’s written in my book, ANYTHING with lamb is good! Double-thumbs up!

4 Racks of Lamb Ribs, if you’re not too keen with a little moo-moo

Told you, the lamb ribs were amaaaazing!

Each order comes with a serving of crispy seasoned fries and coleslaw, nyummmm! In fact, the fries were supposedly to be extremely addictive, according to Shasha (RAPR Mileage Communication); so I did what any abnormal woman would do, said ‘NO’ to the fries. Goodness, I was already tempted into finishing food portion for 3 people in one night! 

Wanna know the secret to its great taste? G.A.R.L.I.C. B.U.T.T.E.R. & P.A.R.M.E.S.A.N.!

Of course, to flush it all down with grace, my lemonade and pineapple juice were very helpful. Yes, trust Vitamin C to help you neutralize your digestive system after a heavy meal. 

Perhaps this weekend, I’ll swing by for another round of Texas-Spiced Lamb Ribs. The closest TGI Fridays is at Wangsa Walk Mall, just a mere 5-minute drive from home. So, yes, in the world of Miss Paris; it’s always Friday! Just remember, the Handcrafted Crusted Ribs are only available until the end of January 2015. So, go to the nearest TGI Fridays or simply request for food delivery here!

TGIF’s famous tagline

About TGI Fridays

  • TGI Fridays restaurants offer authentic American food and exciting drinks in an atmosphere that provides an energizing Friday feeling – any day of the week. 
  • TGI Fridays which operates more than 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries, is also famous for its knowledgeable and charismatic bartenders, approximately 8,000 of whom compete annually for the title of the ‘Greatest TGI Fridays Bartender in the World‘.
  • TGI Fridays believes in the importance of acting responsibly and is focused on positively impacting the economic and environmental well-being of the communities and neighbourhoods in which it operates.
  • Check out their website here for menu, promotions and branch closest to you.
Special thanks to Shaheera Ahmad Fauzi from RAPR Mileage Communications for the invitation!

Shasha’s adorable AND successful attempt to take our photo. Thanks, babe!

See you in the next confession!

All my love, XOXO,
Miss Paris

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