One of the life changing thing that I decided to do this year is to understand more about Islam; the most misunderstood religion in the world. I thought, to understand more about it is to experience it first hand, and what better way to experience the Muslim’s way of life and how the religion itself works is to observe the holy month of Ramadhan.?
There is a few things I’ve learned about Ramadhan. The word Ramadhan comes from the Arabic root ‘ramida or ar-ramaḍ’, which means scorching heat or dryness. Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Fasting is obligatory for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. While fasting from the break dawn until dusk, Muslims must refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations and also must refrain from other ill behavior which could be perceived as sinful such as swearing, engaging in disagreements, backbiting and procrastination.One would thrive to be more pious during this holy month of Ramadhan too, and I daresay that is not an easy feat.
I was particularly excited and at the same time, nervous to observe Ramadhan this year. It’s my first year attempting to fast with my Muslim brother and sisters out there. This is not just about religious obligation, but it just doesn’t feel right to be eating when the rest of the people we know are not, what more, I think to understand Islam more is to experience it first hand. That is not all. To put the challenge up a notch, both my son and husband takes up the challenge too. Now, I can assure you that fasting alone is easy, but it’s another story altogether when your little one decides to join in too. It takes a lot of will power, motivation and most important of all, disciplined to accomplish a successful day fasting.
I’m not sure how the rest of the world coped with fasting during Ramadhan, but I find it particularly challenging, especially during the first few days. My family and I missed sahur during the first few days as we overslept, and we find it rather difficult to refrain ourselves from eating and drinking without the pre-fasting meal. (Sahur is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting. The meal is eaten before fajr prayer, or dawn. Sahur as the morning meal is matched by Iftar as the evening meal, during Ramadan, replacing the traditional three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner) But after the third day, we managed to get a grip. I set an alarm on my smartphone and make a point to prepare meals for both of my boys and wake them up to take their sahur. They are surprisingly cooperative and not once they whine about not wanting to eat at odd hours. I suppose the gnawing hunger during the day motivates them to actually wake up and eat during sahur.
It is 25th Ramadhan as of writing and we have yet to miss a single day of fasting. I find this fact particularly rewarding and I’m so proud of my boys. For some, fasting during Ramadhan is perhaps just a religious obligation, but I discovered that the whole thing goes much deeper than that. I feel much more connected to my husband and son during Ramadhan as we do the same things together and remind each other about sahur and breaking fast. This one common thing that we are practicing actually brought us closer as a family. We communicated more and spent more quality time together, especially during mealtime, and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I’ll be missing Ramadhan very much when it’s finally over. I’ll miss my husband making effort to come home early from work so that he could break fast with us, and I’ll definitely miss the excuse of texting my husband at work whenever he couldn’t make it back to break fast with us, just to ask him if he have eaten. I’ll also miss the motivation to be discipline and actually do things on time.
Yes, Ramadhan is beautiful in many ways if you try to actually experience it and understand it instead of being skeptical about it. I feel much more appreciated,loved and blessed this Ramadhan. We did a lot of things together as family, and one of the other memorable and worth mentioning thing that we did this Ramadhan is breaking fast with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
We attended plenty of breaking fast session with friends and acquaintance, but one of the most special one have to be the Iftar with eWana Fm at Pak John Steamboat& BBQ. The event was jointly organized by eWana FM and Pak John Steamboat&BBQ, sponsored by Nanorecords, Creativcolor, Chewy Chocs, and Santai Travel as their media partner. The event also featured special segment Hai Blogger! and Carta Bloggers 30.
So, I’ve joined plenty of events and Ramadhan buffet reviews, but what makes this one so special? Well, first of all, this would mean I would be able to meet all my Muslim media and blogger friends to catch up. A plus point: The iftar was held not only to celebrate bloggers and the members of the media who have been supporting eWana.FM, but also to celebrate the underprivileged children from Rumah Kanak-Kanak Tengku Budriah. Naturally, when my family and I were invited for iftar by eWana FM in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ at eCurve Damansara, I was ecstatic and delighted. Secondly..STEAMBOAT is on the agenda!
Steamboat refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. Steamboat has a history of more than 1,000 years and thought to have originated in Mongolia where the main ingredient was meat, usually beef or mutton. It then spread to southern China during the Tang Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Steamboat is often consumed by Chinese in Malaysia, an ethnicity that is majority non-Muslims. Steamboat, although not a staple among the Muslims in Malaysia, remains one of the favourite way of dining. But it is very difficult to get good, Halal steamboat in Malaysia. Here’s a picture of our Iftar with eWana FM venue. Pak John Steamboat and BBQ eCurve outlet. The restaurant is offering HALAL steamboat so the Muslims could actually enjoy their steamboat meals without doubts. And as their tagline goes, they only serves quality and fresh food here, .
Pak John Steamboat&BBQ has a huge interior that could accommodate a maximum of 300 diners, and one can opt to sit at the common public area or the VIP room. The outlet is fully air conditioned. This photo was taken before the invited media and guests started to arrive.
Bloggers and the members of the media present that day
Guest of honour of the day: Children from Rumah Kanak Kanak Tengku Budriah, Cheras.
eWana All Stars and artists were present to entertain the guests and the children from Rumah Kanak Kanak Tengku Budriah that day too.
My artist friend, Iqwal Hafiz, The Singing Traveler singing and entertaining the guests before buka puasa time.
eWana.FM also launched “eWana Raya” album and during the event, attendees were given privilege to listen to the never heard before songs live first hand that day. Kudos to eWana.FM for such a great effort. With the mere cost of RM21.90 per CD, 30% proceeds of the sale of this album would go to the war ravaged victims in Gaza. Here’s your chance to give a tremendous value to your money while you entertain yourselves with some catchy but nostalgic Hari Raya songs sang by eWana FM deejays themselves. To place an order, do contact eWana.fm or Wan Salam. I know I’ve written about eWana FM countless times in my blog, but in case you’re still wondering what eWana FM is all about, well, to cut the long story short, eWana.FM is an Internet radio (not conventional radio) using the latest technology and provide more interactive experience where listeners can interact directly with the deejays on duty. eWana.FM operate 24 hours per day or and can be accessed through www.Ewana.FM or via Tune In apps if you are an android device user. eWana.FM is accessible via Internet and online radio apps regardless of time and geographical boundaries. For more details on how to download the apps to listen to eWAna.FM, you may refer to my older post HERE
What’s Ramadhan without the spirit of love, joy and sharing? Ramadhan is all about charity and apart from all the entertainment and catchy songs, Aidilfitri contributions of Rm3,000 are made by Pak John Steamboat&BBQ to the Rumah Kanak Kanak Tengku Budriah as well during the iftar function.
Check out the video by Kaio for a clearer picture on the event.Various activities went on during the event too, including lucky draw and mini games with hampers as prizes (which I won at the end of the night), but I won’t divulge much about that, as the best part about iftar with eWana FM is definitely the food in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ.
Consider yourselves forewarned, ladies and gentlemen. This post is full of food graphic. Yours truly will not be responsible for your hungry tummy or ruined diet.
There food in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ is organized nicely according to sections. There’s fresh food aisle where ingredients like vegetable, meat and poultries is located, then there’s frozen food aisle where processed food like fishballs and surimis awaits. There’s the hot food buffet spread, of course, the ala minute counter where you can request food to be prepared on the spot, and dessert and beverage counter.
Spotted at the fresh food section, the seafood ingredients.
The ingredients for steamboat is extensive here in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ, and you’ll be spoiled for choices. But here’s showing what’s worth showing and hopefully it will help you readers to visualize on what this restaurant have to offer the diners.
Assorted fishballs and surimi can be easily spotted from afar. There’s a healthy balance of crabsticks, seafood tofu, dumplings and whatnot here. These processed food are certified HALAL by JAKIM and is supplied exclusively by CYL Food Sdn. Bhd who have won the SME100 Award back in 2012. They have over 10 years of experience in providing a wide range of frozen food products to the local and oversea market. CYL Food Sdn. Bhd distributes many frozen food products and meal solutions to colleges & universities, hospitals, chain restaurant , convenience stores , wet market, supermarket , hypermarket, restaurant, wholesales frozen food mart and many other food service channels throughout Malaysia, so you can be assured that these assorted fishballs and surimis at Pak John Steamboat&BBQ is of high quality and assured fresh.
Poultries and meat are available too, and they are already pre-marinated with myriad of herbs and spices for your grilling pleasure. I highly recommend the marinated beef slices and the spicy chicken. They are to die for as the flavours are deeply imbued in the juicy meat.
Sensational fresh seafood and clams. Bamboo clams, fresh mussels and prawns are available for your taking. This is basically a cholesterol fest, so eat with caution for those who have high cholesterol issues.
Irresistibly fresh vegetables for those who love to have greens in their steamboat soup and grill. Crisps leaves, leafy bak choy, crunchy broccolis, juicy tomatoes, corn on cobs, assorted fungus and mushrooms will guarantee natural sweetness in your steamboat meal, so be sure to pluck some of these from the vegetable compartments.
Abalone slices. Note to all foodies: This item is unlimited! Yes! You are reading that right! So abalone fans, help yourselves with these and knock yourselves out.
Smoked duck slices was a divine thing. It was thinly sliced and made a perfect savory appetizer in my steamboat meal. There was no gamey taste whatsoever, and please don’t ask how many helpings I had.
Premium grade New Zealand Beef/ lamb slices is also available for your repeated consumption.
Fancy some carbs in your steamboat meal? No fret. An assortments of noodles, including instant Japanese Udon are available for you to cook too. Beside the noodles offerings, I can’t help but notice the eggs that’s placed neatly on the tray for diners to use as a part of their steamboat ingredients. The eggs that’s offered as part of Pak John Steamboat&BBQ ingredients are clean and adequately washed. Bonus point for Pak John Steamboat&BBQ. The ingredients are not only fresh but hygienic as well.
Yours truly spotted Dimsum counter in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ buffet while she was browsing around for more food to bring to her table. Walked closer to take a glimpse of what’s steaming…
And was duly impressed. There’s a variety of dumplings offered to diners, ranging from irresistible Siew Mai that comes with different flavours to mini pau to keep your growling tummy happy. Worth mentioning dimsum item in my opinion:the Siew Mai that is embedded with mussel on top and the Sea Urchin Bun.
Sea Urchin Bun is a kind of dimsum made from puffy fish cake mixed with sea urchin paste, fish and yam inside.You can enjoy the full sea urchin flavor inside and out. This dimsum, is not to be missed if you fancy something a tad exotic and out of this world.
Starring this Ramadhan at the hot food spread corner is The Pak John house special Coke Chicken, Nasi Tomato, Rendang, Sambal Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf and Vegetable Tempura. Yes. These are only available during Ramadhan, so please take note. If you want to have these, do hop over to Pak John Steamboat&BBQ now before they are taken off the menu.
Coke Chicken. You wouldn’t guess just how delicious it is based on the simple ingredients. In this recipe that’s a favorite of home cooks in China, Coke and soy sauce meld to form a great sweet and savory glaze for the chicken. According to the cook, the preparation method is very similar to that of soy-sauce chicken, a common Cantonese dish. Cantonese soy sauce chicken wings are braised with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, and occasionally cinnamon and star anise. But for Coke chicken wings, they just use soy sauce and Coke in the braising liquid. This dish is not overwhelmingly sweet, or overwhelmingly salty. It tastes a little bit like Coke, but even that is very subtle. A must try dish in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ.
Nasi Tomato is one of the traditional foods that is warmly welcomed among the Malay community in the states of Malaysia, especially the Northern states like Kedah and Penang. Nasi Tomato is a type of Malay food culture, so it’s always served in special occasions like a Malay wedding and Hari Raya. Nasi tomato is one example of how fragrant and spicy additions can turn ordinary rice into something extraordinary. This dish is deliciously sensational and mouth watering. The rice is not only fluffy, but flavourful and fragrant as well, and goes very well with the next dish I’ll be talking about, the Chicken Rendang,a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia,and is now commonly served across the country.
Chicken Rendang by Pak John Steamboat&BBQ has it’s own twist to the traditional recipe. It’s not overly spicy and has a hint of creamy coconut milk flavour. Safe to pile onto your plate if you prefer milder tasting rendang in comparison to the overly spicy ones. Pair this with the Nasi Tomato, and you’ll find it difficult to stop yourselves from having seconds.
XO Sambal Glutinous rice is probably inspired by ‘Zongzi’ a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. These XO Sambal Glutinous Rice, however, is wrapped with lotus leaves and has a spicy prawn sambal fillings in it. Quite a twist from the original traditional version, but this dish is delicious nevertheless. The glutinous rice was perfectly cooked and the filling is bursting with flavour.Another must try item on the list.
Vegetable tempura. My son loves these and I approve too. It was adeptly fried and not accessibly greasy. The vegetable tempura was crispy on the outside, but still freshly moist on the inside. I highly recommend having this with a side of mayonnaise or some chilli sauce dipping.
Traditional Malay/Nyonya kuih was also available during the iftar. I was told that these are seasonal and only available during Ramadhan. I can’t comment much on these as I gave it a miss, but my husband says he can vouch for the yumminess. According to him, these nyonya kuih taste authentically homemade. So go ahead, give it a try!
There are 6 choices of steamboat soup available this Ramadhan:
1. Beef Bone Pepper Soup
2. Tomyam Soup
3. Curry Soup
5. Chicken Soup
6. Prawn Soup
While the most common base for steamboat is Chicken Soup and Tomyam, Pak John Steamboat&BBQ took a bold move by introducing Miso Soup, Curry Soup, and Prawn Soup. Like every good steamboat soup, the base is made fresh without the use of MSG and therefore you don’t have to worry about getting thirsty after consuming it.The soup taste so good on it’s own. Personally I think Tomyam Soup has the kick but not the aroma, Chicken Soup and Prawn Soup was good and flavorful, while the Miso Soup has a distinctive aromatic taste to it. I cant comment on Curry soup, though, as I did not manage to sample that, nor did I manage to sample the Beef Bone Pepper Soup. I’m sure they are lovely, and I’ll make a point to try it out on my next visits.
There are 4 types of popular sauce for the steamboat and grill food: Sambal Belacan, Green Sauce, Sweet Yong Tau Foo sauce and Spicy Sauce.
But personally, I prefer dipping my steamboat and grill items in freshly fried shallots immersed in oil. I’m weird, I know.
Variety of food in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ summarized in video. Pardon the quality, I’m a writer, not a videographer. Note: The background music was two songs from eWana Raya Album, sang live by eWana deejays.
Anyway, we were really hungry, so we took these from the processed food department
And these from the fresh food and dimsum section
Iqwal and uncle. This time around I took a break from cooking and let the men do the grilling :p
Will you just look at that! While the hot pot and is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. The pot sharing concept is made with typical pot you see elsewhere but here in Pak John Steamboat&BBQ the center part of it is dedicated for BBQ purpose. The unique pot is design in a way where after a few round of grilling, the staff can easily change the hot plat on top with a new one. Margarine, butter and oil is provided at the food counter for you to use while grilling too. What you grill on top of it is up to you.
I gott bored waiting for the food to cook so I left Iqwal, uncle and my husband to cook and made myself some cup corn. The corn in cup station was located beside the ice cream machine. Scooped up some into the cup provided, seasoned with salt and butter and gobble em up and by the time I was done…the food we have raided from the shelf earlier is ready for my gastronomic pleasure
Fruit slices and jellies was also available. But as refreshing as it was, I gave these a miss this time around.
And what’s a good meal without desserts? No meal is complete without desserts. Pak John Steamboat&BBQ offers decadent ice creams as dessert. There’s a choice of the traditional ice cream potong and sundae at the dessert section. Yours truly can’t decide which one to have. And so, they say, when in doubt, just go for both, and so I did!
Tadaaa! Vanilla and chocolate flavoured sundae with ice cream potong, durian flavour. I thought of calling it a day after treating myself to the ice cream potong embedded in vanilla and chocolate but Iqwal happily came back to our table with this and I helplessly succumbed to temptation.
Iqwal offering a plate of fluffy waffle topped with vanilla and chocolate sundae ice cream to me and kiddo. How can I say no to this…this is irresistible!
The waffle was made ala minute at the waffle station. You can customize it to your liking. All you need to do is just the the chef in charge how you want your waffle to be made. Ours was filled with chocolate and peanut butter spread, and Iqwal topped it with ice cream afterwards when it when it’s done. The peanut butter was smooth, rich and nutty while the chocolate spread complement the simple waffle construction perfectly. The dish arresting enough to warrant a second helping, I assure you.
In case you’re wondering, yes… the beverages are inclusive in this buffet and its free flow. There’s coffee, tea, and of course, refreshing juices too. Personally I enjoyed the BBQ part, I grill (I mean, I made Iqwal and my husband grill the stuff :P) everything with it. My favourite that day was their Smoked Abalone Slices. The texture is simply amazing. Marinated Chicken was good,but be forewarned, the spicy one is really burning hot. Each and every ingredient is not only guaranteed fresh but is also different from what you get outside. I like the fact that Pak John Steamboat&BBQ practices an open concept where you can get creative and mix and match your food, and is offering a perfect combination of Chinese and local cuisine that is Muslim friendly.
There is also Lady’s night promo every Tuesday and Thursday where ladies can get 20% off whenever they dined there, and if you are a student, just flash your student card to get 30% off on the buffet from 11am to 5pm daily.
Right now there is two Pak John Steamboat&BBQ outlets. One in eCurve Damansara and another one in Wangsa Walk Mall, Wangsa Maju. Below is the address for respective outlets, should you be interested to dine there.
Pak John Steamboat E-Curve
Lot LG-13A, LG-15,
Lower Ground Floor,
E-Curve, No 2A, Jalan PJU 7/3,
Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya
Pak John Steamboat Wangsa Walk Mall
Lot GL-02 & FL-02,
Wangsa Walk Mall, Wangsa Avenue,
No 9, Jalan Wangsa Perdana 1, Bandar Wangsa Maju
Pak John Steamboat & Yong Tau Foo