Twenty-eight-year-old Carolyn Tan decided to take up her mother’s interest in baking tiramisu to continue her delicious legacy. Tan, who is now running the business with her husband, Peter Lee, are working hand-in-hand to create the melt-in-your-mouth treat.
“The recipe is passed down to us by Carolyn’s mother, Jang who has been making tiramisu for the past eight years. That’s how the name ‘Made by Jang’ came about,” said Peter.
While hoping to establish a brand presence in the local market, the couple’s focus is on sharing the goodness of authentic Italian tiramisu in Ipoh.
“Authentic!” Carolyn exclaimed when asked on how she would describe her tiramisu in one word.
“Due to higher cost, many bakers tend to substitute with cost-effective ingredients to minimise expenditure,” she remarked. “Thus, it often results in mediocre quality,” she added.
What makes her tiramisu unique is the distinctive ingredients, which consist of cocoa powder, Mascarpone cheese and Ladyfingers biscuits dipped in rum and coffee and topped with rich cocoa powder.
Initially sold at The Happy Eight Cafe, the couple had to come up with other alternatives to keep thriving and stay competitive in the pandemic.
According to the mother of one, one has to keep the ball rolling and persevere through challenges. “Hence, we’ve set up an online platform to keep the passion alive,” she described.
Despite being a widely recognised dessert, most people mistake tiramisu as a taste or flavour.
“Tiramisu is not just a taste, but it’s about how you make it, say, the type of ingredients you use and the process of producing it that will determine the quality of the tiramisu,” she highlighted.
“Having a hint of the flavour doesn’t necessarily justify it’s authenticity. However, for most cases, it would still be labelled as ‘tiramisu’.” she elaborated.
Hungry for dessert? Need a fix for your sweet tooth? Treat yourself to a slice of Carolyn’s authentic tiramisu!
The tiramisu can be made without alcohol for Muslims. It is priced at RM19 per box with a RM5 delivery fee within Ipoh area. Free delivery for orders above RM38.
A word from our Echo Food Diva SeeFoon: “It's yummilicious. The rum was immediately evident on first bite and the use of mascarpone lent it a smooth mouth feel. Most places replace this with whipped cream which is a no-no. It's worth paying a bit more for this lavish use of authentic ingredients. A RM19 per portion, is probably enough to satisfy 4 persons. Go for it, sweet eaters.”
I was hopeful when I saw the name that I would finally find a restaurant where they have these elusive mushrooms, the Morel. Alas, it was a name that proprietors Siau Hooi and Chef Kah Meng fancied and chose, rather than actually serving these precious fungi which after the white truffle, are my mushrooms of choice.
But all was not lost as I discovered a great Italian taste, evoking and awakening some of my nostalgia for Milan where my greatest Italian food memories are buried.
Morel could do with a dimming of its ceiling lights, and add some plants to soften the stern cafetaria like ambiance of its interior but food wise is earning rave reviews from me in its cuisine served up by Chef proprietor Kah Meng who honed his culinary skills in Singapore, returning home to Ipoh with wife Siau Hooi to open Morel.
When asked if they actually served Morels in the restaurant, Siau Hooi apologised, saying that it was hard to find and exorbitantly priced. “But perhaps in the future when the restaurant is firmly established?” I asked. “Perhaps” came the reply.
The taste is authentically Italian and most of their pasta is homemade. Pasta which is served al dente (still with a light spring to it) and the saucing fresh with a light touch, the cream sauces not overly creamy and the tomato based sauces, just the way an Italian chef would make it.
I tried the Uova Al Pomodoro Piccante, a perfect brunch treat of eggs with the yolk still runny, smothered with a mildly spicy light tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella, quickly melted and served with garlic bread; RM10.90.
Next came the Pumpkin Soup with Almond, balsamic cream and bread croutons, smooth, voluptuous and well-seasoned; RM15.90; followed by the Mushroom Risotto with four types of mushrooms: Imeji, shitake, oyster and king mushrooms informed with truffle oil and topped with parmesan; RM18.90.
Reginette Pasta Bolognese with Iberico Pork Ragu in tomato, balsamic red wine sauce was excellent; RM25.90, as was the Tagliolini Al Fruitti De Mare, a squid ink tagliolini pasta cooked with prawn, mussels, clams, baby lobster in a spicy pink sauce. This was al dente, and generously topped with all the seafood mentioned; RM35.90.
The Cacciucco, the Tuscan version of the French Bouillabaisse or Fish Stew was robust, the broth rich and fragrant with hints of Italian mixed herbs and chock full of clams, mussels, prawns, scallops, salmon, squid, big tualang prawns, big clams, tinged with red wine and cooked with cherry tomatoes, carrots and celery. Served with bread, this is quite a main course; RM49.90.
We were five of us and by this time, we were groaning from surfeit but nevertheless when the BBQ Iberico Loin Ribs arrived, we found the look and aromas irresistible and tucked in happily. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, delicately marinated and served with crunchy crispy sweet potato fries. Whole rib at RM69.90 which can easily feed four.
Naturally no Italian meal can be had without its classical dessert, the Tiramisu. Here the Tiramisu does not stint on Mascarpone cheese (often most places use only whipped cream) the Madeleine pastry fingers dipped in coffee and layered with Mascarpone with the lightest hints of alcohol; RM12.90.
Another dessert which Siau Hooi urged us to try was their Warm Matcha Lava Cake, with its molten lava centre oozing out the moment we put our spoon in, served with Gelato Matcha ice cream and chocolate soil. Heaven in a spoonful; RM20.90.
Morel also has a 3-course lunch menu available from 12pm till 2.30pm which changes daily for a very reasonable RM19.90.
Morel Restaurant A-G-12A Soho Ipoh Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 3000 Ipoh. Tel: 010 928 7291 or 014 274 7138 Business hours: Tuesdays-Fridays 11am-3pm; 6pm-10pm Weekends and Public Holidays: 11am-10pm Closed: Mondays
Every gourmet knows Wagyu (which literally means “Japanese cow”), the famous Japanese beef that fetches prices three times higher than prime cuts from other countries. Often referred to as the “foie gras of beef,” Wagyu is exquisitely tender and has a divine luxurious taste.
It is often called “the most expensive beef in the world,” with brands such as Matsusaka beef being praised as cultivating the “art of meat”.
Many restaurants – outside of Japan – use the word ‘Wagyu’ and ‘Kobe’ interchangeably, which is inherently wrong. While every Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe. And while Kobe Beef is arguably the most famous Wagyu beef amongst foreigners, discerning diners and Japanese natives will know that Matsuzaka Beef is actually cremè de la cremè. The ultra-delicate meat instantly melts in your mouth, leaves a sweet aftertaste and sends you into paroxysms of rapture. Needless to say, it is the most expensive beef out of all types of beef in Japan.
Matsuzaka is raised in Mie Prefecture in Japan and is considered one of three “Kings” of beef, the other two being Kobe and Ohmi. Four criteria determine how high the quality grade is: marbling, meat colour and brightness, firmness and texture of meat, and colour, luster, and quality of fat.
As such, A5 is the highest grade that wagyu can get and, also, the most expensive.
Most chefs recommend Wagyu steaks be cooked a little longer than those from Western countries – medium-rare or even medium. Otherwise, “they can be like eating a stick of butter”.
Health-conscious eaters may be wary of the web of fat (called “shimofuri”) woven through slabs of Wagyu. However, pure Wagyu contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids (aka “the good fats”) rich in omega-3. One study from the Japan Livestock Industry Association says Wagyu has up to 30% more unsaturated fat than Angus cattle.
I recently had the pleasure to have a total immersion in Wagyu Beef as well as Single Malt whiskeys at 9’s the newly opened restaurant in Ipoh Garden East. It was two separate evenings of total indulgence and extravagance as a small group of us gathered at 9’s to sample their delectable fare.
Dato’ Foo Chee Kean and his glamorous sister Dato’ Yen Foo were most affable hosts as they explained the specials on the menu while introducing their exclusive collection of wines and single malts.
Top selection on the menu is naturally the Matsuzaka beef, which in this case is a Grade A5 with a marbling factor between 10-12. We tried two different cuts on the two separate occasions.The first was a sirloin weighing around 300g, which was cut into thick strips and grilled at the table. Served medium rare to medium, the meat was unbelievably well marbled and could literally be cut with a fork. It also meant that one strip (see pic on top right) was more than enough for me. Served with crispy potato wedges, it could have been a whole meal but other dishes were waiting!
The second occasion, we had the tenderloin which for some of my friends were preferable especially for those averse to fat! Although I did try to explain that Matsuzaka beef fat was high in omega-3 and therefore heart healthy! The tenderloin was equally tender though. Matsuzaka Sirloin RM300; Tenderloin RM330 per 100g.
We started with a Mushroom Soup with black truffles, the special mushroom (truffle) lifting the ordinary mushrooms into a deliciousness all its own; RM28. Next came an authentic fusion dish: oriental ‘har cheong’ or Chinese prawn paste which imparts its own inimitable taste and aroma (anathema for some westerners as in durian) chicken wings, grilled to perfection, the prawn paste permeating into the skin and meat right down to the bone; RM23.
We were then wooed with the Iberico Pork Collar, oozy drippy chunks of pork neck and collar which is known to be one of the best parts to eat. This was well marinated and roasted to perfection; RM55.
All the while tasting the culinary offerings, we were being plied with drinks of the highest quality although all the regular pours are available.
9‘s prides itself on carrying a stock of the finest vertical range in Ipoh of Macallan (Sherry and Fine Oak 12-18 years) from RM320-RM1100 per bottle; Dalmore (12,15,18, 21, 25 years) from RM350-RM4500 per bottle; and Glenfarclas (25 years: RM1000, 30 years: RM2500 and 40 years: RM5000 years) single malts, not to mention their cellar of Chateau Lafittes, LatoursMargaux’s and other venerable French wines which as every connoisseur of wines knows, the sky is the limit in price depending on vintage.
While the price for Matsuzaka beef may strike some as high, there is a silver lining for those who like their single malts and their beef. From June onwards for 2 months, 9‘s is running a promotion where you may purchase one bottle of their single malts and get 50% off one of their mains. Plus they will mark your intake level on the bottle, put your name on it and seal and keep it for you till your next visit. Talk about the ideal opportunity to get your fill of Matsuzaka beef! But of course you will have to like single malts. Or bring someone who does!
9’s may be plush, posh and ritzy but you can actually go in and have a good meal for two and come away paying less than $100 per head. Not all menu items are that hard on the pocket. There are soups, salads and other items among which the Fettucine Carbonara at RM23, Pizzas from RM20-26 all guarantee a hearty meal. And not forgetting their Signature Tiramisu which goes for RM22.
So go on, poke your nose in, have a soup and salad and if splurging is the order of the day or night, then splurge right ahead. You won’t regret it.
9’s Grill & Cafe 28 & 30, Jalan Medan Ipoh 4, Bandar Baru Medan, 31400 Ipoh. Tel.: 05 547 3868 Opens from 5pm-12am. Closed Tuesdays. GPS: 4°37’ 03.6”N 101° 07’ 12.2” E