Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yes! You can find Yee Sang here in NYC!!!

As many of you know, we didn't go home to Malaysia for Chinese New Year this year. It always suxs to spend Chinese New Year in a foreign land, away from the family. Not only does one miss out on all the family reunions and festivities, but we also miss out on all the FOOD! I was talking to some of my family and friends who also missed out on celebrating Chinese New Year back home this year and everybody says that of all the things that they miss most, it would have to be the Chinese New Year goodies. Sure, you can bake your own Chinese New Year cookies or buy some at the Asian grocery store, but certain things are a tiny bit harder to find. One of them is the Yee Sang.
As far as I can remember, we've always associated eating Yee Sang as part of celebrating Chinese New Year. I've always thought that Yee Sang is a Chinese dish and that Chinese from all over the world eat it during Chinese New Year. I guess it was due to the fact that you can pretty much find it at any Chinese restaurant in Malaysia during the Chinese New Year period. Not only that, boxes of prepacked Yee Sang are readily available at all major supermarkets and grocery stores. It wasn't til I moved to US did I find out that the Yee Sang is actually a Malaysian/Singaporean dish. Therefore, it's almost impossible to find a Chinese restaurant here in the States that would serve Yee Sang during Chinese New Year. Well, guess what? I found out that you CAN find Yee Sang here in the greater NYC area! As far as I know, there are three Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown and one in Edison, NJ that serves that for the entire month of February.
On the first day of Chinese New Year, Kevin and I dropped by New Malaysia Restaurant (located in the tunnel between Bowery & Elizabeth St in Chinatown) to take out a small serving of Yee Sang. In New Malaysia, the servings come in two sizes, small ($26.88) and large ($36.88). As you can see from the picture, the small serving is large enough to feed about 6-7 people. Even though the Yee Sang from New Malaysia might seem a little pricey compared to the other restaurants, I must say that New Malaysia's Yee Sang totally rocks! Really yummy and authentic tasting. Apart from the usual dried ingredients and thinly sliced vegetables, it also comes with salmon, jellyfish, plum sauce as well as pepper and five spice powder in the angpow (red packet).
So far, we have only tried the Yee Sang from New Malaysia Restaurant and Penang Restaurant (the branch in Edison, NJ). I know that there are many Penang branches all over the greater NYC region but I believe that Yee Sang is only served in the Chinatown as well as the Edison branch. For those of you who are thinking of getting some Yee Sang during this Chinese New Year period, here is a list of restaurants that serves them (there might be more but so far, these are the only places that I know of that sells them).

New Malaysia Restaurant
48 Bowery St,
New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-0284
Price: $26.88 (small), $36.88 (large)

Nyonya Restaurant
199 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 334-3669

Price: $23.88 (small), $28.88 (medium)

Jaya Restaurant
90 Baxter Street,
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-3331
Price: $18.88 (small), $28.88 (large)

Penang Restaurant
505 Old Post Road
Edison, NJ 08817-4625
(732) 287-3038
Price: $14.85 (small), $20.20 (med), $25.55 (large)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Shaped "Valentine's Special" Pizza from Papa Johns!

Kevin and I never really believed in going all out to celebrate Valentine's Day. Sure, it's nice to receive some flowers or celebrate by having a 'nicer than normal' meal but no way would we join the crowds by going out on the day itself and paying double (sometimes even triple!) just for a meal. This year, we went out for some Filipino food the day before, so we were not really planning to do anything on Vday itself. Just as I was cracking my head, thinking of what I should make for dinner that day, I saw an ad from Papa Johns. They were having some Valentine's Special going on and I thought that the heart pizzas looked kinda cute. So, I figured, why not? Let's just have this for dinner tonight! :P

I believe Papa Johns had this promotion last year and since it was such a hit, they decided to bring it back again this year. For $14.99, you get a one topping thin crust heart shaped pizza and a Cinnapie. We have never tried Papa John's thin crust (we've always gone with the hand tossed original) pizza before and we were pleasantly surprised. It was actually not too bad. However, you have to keep in mind that the thin crust pizza doesn't really fill you up. Usually, the most we could eat would be about 2 slices (each!) of the original crust pizza but we managed to gobble up almost the entire heart shape pie (we had one slice left over) without any problems! Also, the pizza was rather greasy. I guess it must be due to the pepperoni topping. Ahh well, it was still yummy though.

Like I said earlier, the Valentine's Special also included a free Cinnapie. When we ordered our pizza online, we were actually given a choice. We could either opt for the Cinnapie or the Applepie. We went with the Applepie. I think that was an awesome choice. Really really yummy! Freshly baked original hand tossed dough topped with sweet apple filling, brown sugar streusel and drizzled with white icing. Mmmm mmm mmmm, good stuff!

Check out our yummy Valentine's Day dinner. The red roses is in the middle was my Valentine's day present from Kevin (thanks baby!! :D). Apart from the Valentine's Day special, we also ordered a 10 pcs side of Honey Chipotle Wings ($7.50). We would usually order either the BBQ wings or the Buffulo wings but we decided to try something new this time around. Another good choice. It tasted rather sweet in the beginning but then the spiciness from the chipotle hits you after a few bites. A good combination of sweet and spiciness. iLike! Overall, it was a good Valentine's Day dinner. The best part of it all was that we didn't even have to leave our apartment! A yummy Vday dinner, minus all the traffic, crowds and over priced food!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Modern, Stylish & Contemporary Furniture from AllModern.Com!

Kevin and I have been talking about buying new furniture, since like, forever. In fact, I've even blogged about it a couple times. However, we've never really gotten around to actually getting them. I guess we always saw it as something we would like to do, but it wasn't top of our priority list. I'm sure many of you know that we live in a one bedroom apartment. So, when my parents were visiting us over the holidays, we gave them our room and we slept out in the living room, on the futon. At that point, we KNEW we HAD to buy new furniture. Not only was the futon really old (we had since we were in college!) and dated, it was really uncomfortable too! So, I went online to check out what are all the latest trends and if there any any good furniture deals out there. What we are looking for is stylish, contemporary and modern furniture that not only looks good but also doesn't burn a huge hole in our pockets. Guess what? I found a website that offers all that and more!
When we were in Vermont for our winter vacation, the apartment that we stayed in had a really nice fireplace. Since then, we have been thinking of maybe getting an electric indoor fireplace for our living room. Apart from that, we are also looking to get a brand new TV stand/entertainment center. The one that we currently have now is really crappy and yes, we had it since our college days too! While browsing through, I found the most awesome thing ever! An electric fireplace cum media console! I didn't even know that such a thing exist! What a great idea. Not only is it a great idea, it looks really modern and stylish too. I then checked out the other living room furniture and found some really cool looking futons, sofas and sectionals as well. Those futons looked so plush and comfortable, not to mention slick and stylish too. Definitely something I will consider for our living room.
Apart from having furniture for every room in your home, also carries a huge selection of accents. There, you can find all types of lighting, rugs, wallpaper, vases, wall art, magazine racks and even throw pillows! I am totally in love with the Blow-Up Bamboo Magazine Rack by Fratelli Campana. Doesn't it look cool? In my opinion, it's not just a magazine rack, it's also a piece of art. As I continue to browse through, my list of 'wants' is growing longer and longer by the minute. Everything looks so good! Looks like we've finally found the place to get our furniture. Now, our only problem is, how do we fit all these stuff into our 800sqft one bedroom apartment?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chinatown Walkabout - 1st Day of CNY

Is everybody having a good Chinese New Year so far? I know that we are! Of course, it's never the same when you have to spend Chinese New Year in a foreign country, away from all your family, friends and not to mention, yummy home cooked food! However, I'm really grateful that we live in a city that has a relatively large Asian population. That's right, celebrating Chinese New Year in Chinatown is kinda fun, actually. With loud Chinese New Year music playing in the background, red and gold decorations in almost every shop and the smell of Chinese New Year goodies whiffing thru the air....ahhh, for a moment, one would even forget that you are right in the heart of NYC.
Kevin took the day off (since he is now Chinese, he always takes the 1st day of CNY off :P) from work and we headed down to Chinatown for the Annual Firecracker Ceremony at Sara D Roosevelt Park. It was really cold that day, around 22F (-5C) degrees and the ground was all slippery and icy. That didn't stop us (and a whole bunch of other ppl) from heading out to enjoy the festivities. The firecracker ceremony was scheduled to start at 11am but I knew from experience that they NEVER start on time. So, I thought that I was being smart by showing up at around 11:45am. The timing should be just right (and we do not have to stand out the the cold for too long). Well, looks like I was wrong. At noon, they we STILL setting up! :P
After standing out in the cold for what seemed like forever, the firecracker ceremony finally began. There were a few lion dances followed by the singing of the Chinese as well as American national anthem. With that, the countdown began and the firecrackers were lit! We were standing really close to the yeah, it was LOUD!! :P We even felt a few stray firecrackers being flung our way. A very good show, like always. By the time the ceremony ended, it was way past lunchtime. So, we join the rest of the crowd and headed out to the main part of Chinatown, in search of food and to do a little CNY shopping.
It was so cold out, we were literally frozen, from head to toe. Not only we were super cold, we were super hungry too. We needed something to warm ourselves up and we needed it quick! I remember reading some great reviews about a hot pot (steamboat) restaurant on Canal St, so I suggested that we head there for lunch. Best decision of the day! The hot pot at Grand Sichuan was really really yummy! The ingredients were fresh and the chicken soup was superb. It's so good, I'll have to write a whole separate post, just on that!
After lunch, we were feeling all recharged and warmed up, once again. So, it's time to bundle up and head out to do some CNY shopping. Our first stop was Malaysia Beef Jerky Inc on Elizabeth St. We wanted to buy some bak kwa (pork jerky) and the only place that sells Malaysian/Singaporean style bak kwa is Malaysia Beef Jerky. Kevin loves their bak kwa and I kinda like it too. Of course, it doesn't taste as good as the bak kwa that we can get back home in Malaysia, but in my honest opinion, I think it's as good as it can get. If it wasn't so expensive, I swear Kevin could even finish a 1lb packet in one sitting! :P We initially wanted to buy some CNY cookies from another shop but we saw that Malaysia Beef Jerky sells them too. So, we picked up a few boxes of bee pang siew (bee's nest), pineapple tarts as well as peanut cookies.
Since we have already bought our CNY cookies, we only have one more thing on our shopping list. Yee Sang! We wanted to eat some Yee Sang for dinner that night, so we figured we would buy some home. Since Yee Sang is a Malaysian/Singaporean dish, it's not widely available, even in Chinatown. As far as I know, you can only get it in Nyonya, Penang Restaurant, Jaya, Singapore Cafe and New Malaysia. We tried the Yee Sang from Penang Restaurant two years ago (since we were in Malaysia last CNY, we didnt get a chance to buy any) and it was rather good. We decided to try the Yee Sang from New Malaysia this year. The Yee Sang from New Malaysia is a little bit more expensive but it taste awesome! Will blog more about that later on.
After getting our Yee Sang, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the narrow streets of Chinatown. As usual, there were a whole lot of lion dance troupes making their rounds to various shops and businesses. Also, the kids were having a whale of time shooting out confetti cannons as well as throwing those tiny snap rocks. The whole atmosphere around Chinatown was certainly festive. After a long day out in Chinatown, we headed back home to Jersey, with lots of CNY goodies in tow and a big smile plastered on our faces. We returned to Chinatown a couple of days later, for the Annual Lunar New Year Parade...but I will save it for the next post. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

TABASCO® Original Red - So Much More Than Hot!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

Boy, we are so pumped up. 4 more days to the Superbowl! We are literally counting down the minutes til kick off time. What makes it even better is that our beloved Super Steelers will be playing the Packers. I dare say that there cannot be a better match up. Now, what makes the Superbowl even more super? Yummy game day food, of course! Apart from the game, game day food plays a really big role in our year Superbowl parties. Pizza, hot wings, sandwiches, deviled eggs, chips&dips...mmm mmmm mmmm, makes my mouth water, just thinking of all that food.

If you were to ask me, what is the one thing that we cannot do without, come game day, the answer would be really simple. Both Kevin and I cannot live without our favorite TABASCO® Original Red ! That's really a no brainer. We use it on almost anything! Just a few drops of TABASCO® Original Red does miracles on your food. Sure, it's hot but it's so much more than that. It just unlocks and enhances the flavor of food, so you can get the best of every bite. TABASCO® Original Red was the first sauce introduced by the McIlhenny family back in 1868. The simple combination of salt, red pepper and vinegar are perfected in a 3-year aging process that produces a hot sauce with the uncanny ability to bring the most out of your food. Other hot sauces add their own specific flavor to food but TABASCO® Original Red simply enhances the flavor of food. Not surprisingly, it continues to be their most popular sauce of 6 total sauces, after all these years.

So, how and when do we use TABASCO® Original Red? Well, on almost anything and anytime! In the morning, we would just sprinkle on a few drops into our scramble eggs (it's awesome, trust me!) and hash browns. For lunch, try adding some of that into your Mac & Cheese. It just brings the entire dish to a whole new level. TABASCO® Original Red also works well with all kinds of snacks. Use it in your dips, make hot wings with it or even add some onto your potato's awesome! Come dinner time, you can just add a few drops to your salads, all kinds of soups, chicken dinners or even your steaks! Thinking of some Asian food for dinner? Add some to your fried noodles or fried rice! There are just so many things you can do with TABASCO® Original Red, it's crazy. Don't believe me? Go check out the  Game-Day Party Menu  page for some simple ideas & recipes for food everyone loves! Not only that, you should also visit the  Pizza Perfected  page for all kinds of fast and easy pizza recipes. Go ahead and check it out. Remember, TABASCO® Original Red is "So Much More Than Hot”!

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