Category Archives: Foodie Readings

The Four Foodies – Taking on the Pearl of the Orient – Day 2

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Day 2 began rather early because we were suppose to go for breakfast at the famous Nasi Lemak Stall at Paya Terubong.  It was a misty rainy morning a wonderful day to stay indoors and do nothing but the four of us fought fatigue and went in search of this Best Nasi Lemak.  Traffic was almost nil… it being Hari Raya Haji as well as no one in their right mind would be out so early so we reached our destination in record time.

 

So I got it wrong.  It is Paya Terubong Nasi Lemak at Ayer Itam.  It is a stall outside the Sin Teong Nam Café.  We got parking just next to the shop so it was not a problem.  It was not easy to get photos of the stall because of the rain.  There are many variations and dishes to choose from and it is sold in different sets.

 

From a distance I saw fish, quite large prawns, various chicken dishes and a few others dishes which I couldn’t make out because it was covered to protect it from the rain.

 

The stall operates from 4.30 am to 10 am and often finishes by 7 am.   Hence the reason we were rather early.

 

So we ordered basic which came with fish.  I half though it was the fried ikan selar but of course it was not.

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We ordered four plates.  I believe Foodie Boy 3 had chicken but I cannot seem to find the photos.

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Coffee was ordered, my second cup of Kopi Kaw Kaw.

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Ok taste testing time.  Don’t get your hopes up if you go there.  The rice was wet and had no coconut flavor at all.  Maybe that’s the way they make Nasi Lemak over there we didn’t check.  Now the sambal which is the second most important dish in any nasi lemak… well let’s just say it was nothing much at all.  This was the verdict by all four of us.  It is not often that we agree, but that was it.

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We ordered our first plate of Char Koay Teow.  It came.  Now I’ve not had this in decades and it was a time I probably didn’t like it because I don’t remember how it tasted.  The usual good size prawns and sliced lup cheong was evident.  First taste, wok hei was a tad bit strong.  I’ve never tasted it this strong before.  It was nice, but to me a tiny bit burnt but bearable.  It still had a nice flavor.

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Then we ordered Loh Pak Koh.  Now this was nice. It was  perfectly cooked with the bean sprouts still crunchy.  The ‘carrot cake’ tasted nice. It was nice and soft and not hard like what I usually eat when I’m at home.  Now this was unexpected, we didn’t plan to order this and just because Foodie Boy 1 walked around and saw it and so we ordered it.  Now this I could have had two plates.

 

Next stop.. Penang Hill or Bukit Bendera.  Now this place I haven’t been since I was a small boy.  I remember the solid open window trains that took a while to get up and moved so slowly that you could pluck the leaves as you passed by. Well not any more.

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The sight up there was captivating.  So different from before, maybe the skyline of Penang has changed so much that.  Just look at the photos.  The lush greenery amidst the mist was most enchanting.

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Also what was free last time now cost money so if you are there to try out stuff be prepared to pay.  Still it was a nice walk especially after it rained.  I didn’t join the rest because I had a bad ankle so I sat down in one of the cafes drinking hot chocolate and looking at people.

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They even have someone to fry Char Koay Teow there and I noticed three girls ordered one plate and in the end had three plates.  I was quite tempted but I knew the rest would be carrying on on their foodie tour so I practiced some self control.

While I was sitting there, and almost running out of battery, I took this most captivating photo… to me anyhow.

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By the time we came down, it was hot!  Real Hot!

Next destination.. Ayer Itam Market Assam Laksa.

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This was where I had a taste of waiting for food.  Pissed off faces around you, people rushing to finish their meal, you jumping onto tables full of remnants from the last customer. These were all no no’s for me, but in Penang it was normal.  I couldn’t take it, so I moseyed around while the others waited and chanced upon this luscious Hum Ching Peng.  Oh my gosh. So I bought some for the rest.

I’m not a fan of Red Bean, in fact I never ever buy it, so I took a chance here, and the red bean was just right, it was not a big gluggy lump like you get in most places, this was wet and almost molten.  A true joy.

Never have I eaten such silky soft Hum Ching Peng.  I make the damn thing for heavens sakes and it is not that soft.    The other thoroughly loved it accept for Foodie Girl who went off at us for eating piping hot foods and all… well we didn’t keep any for her.

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By the time I got the Hum Ching Peng, we had a table.  Funny though because the table was not cleaned, a few groups came around us to book the table thinking the remains were ours.  We ordered and waited. In the meantime Foodie Boy 1 went around somewhere and came back with Lorbak and Fried Spring Rolls.

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The Fried Spring Rolls were for dipping into the Assam Laksa soup.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Lorbak.  The smell and the taste reminded me of the Penang I once knew.  It was reminiscent of an era where my parents ordered everything and we ate it and if we enjoyed it more was ordered.

 

Now we were still waiting for our Laksa.  We signaled and ordered again.  We carried on sampling the rest of the food and still no food.  Those hanging around us probably thought we got a place and bought other stuff, so this time Foodie Girl walked up and ordered again.  Finally it came.

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Four bowls of over flowing soup with bits of food hanging off the bowl,  soup spilling on the table was like a normal occurrence.  You just sit and eat and get lost.

 

Now after stirring the soup to mix up all the condiments which I must say consisted of a lot of cucumber, there was hardly any fragrance of Hei Koh or of fish and most importantly the aroma of sourness before you even taste the soup.  There was nothing!  It was flat and tasted more of cucumber than anything else.  There was no tang of the tamarind.  Even the torch ginger did not give it that kick.

 

The spring roll was just as flat, and dipping it into the Assam Laksa soup didn’t yield much excitement to us all.

 

We were all quite disappointed.  I am sure this is because of the vast crowd that day that this happened.  I couldn’t believe the hype and the waiting and then flat Assam Laksa.  I believe this stall easily prepares about 800 bowls a day.

 

Funnily enough, my family had it a week later and said it was fine.  It was sour enough with all the niceties.  So we were just unlucky.  But to me, the cooks should taste what they are dishing out!  No excuse.

Because it was the long weekend, there were thousands of tourists in Penang, we were one of them.

Next Stop was the Temple of the Goddess Kwan Yin.  No photos, I was just tired of the heat and walking around so I sulked in a corner.   Foodies Boys bought another lot of Hum Ching Peng… what bliss!

After almost an hour we came down, might I say thank God we drove up because someone suggested we walk up, and I would have been an annoyed sod to deal with.

By now the heat was getting to me, fatigue as well from the previous days lack of sleep.  We were now heading to Balik Pulau to visit various places like someone’s school, and just going through little back lanes of these places, we realized there were a lot of villages that still exists on that always busy island.

Then we happened to be walking around Jalan Sungai Air Putih and suddenly we noticed an Assam Laksa Stall which was on one of the blogs called Kim Laksa.  Just like that it was in front of us.

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So we ordered Assam Laksa’s all round.  We didn’t have to linger around tables, as a group was already leaving.  Assam Laksa came in  a flash and this had that fragrance that I was used to.

First mouthful, and it was better than Ayer Itam, but it still lacked that tang.  The difference here is that you could taste all the ingredients.  Ok, PJ still tastes better we all agreed.

Then off we drove around to look for Durians.

We turned into a lot of nooks and crannies and suddenly we were going up a steep hill and right in front of us was Ghee Hup Nutmeg Factory.  Without batting an eyelid oncoming traffic, Foodie Boy 1 shot across the road and went down a steep hill.  Trust me it was nothing much of a place, but when you taste their nutmeg, you will realize that what you’ve been missing all this time.

 

The owner is a very passionate man and will entertain any questions pertaining to his factory.  I didn’t have my phone now because the battery was dying like no tomorrow, damn thing always does that.  But the place has liniments and ointments, balms and nut meg pods, and even plants and sliced nutmeg I have never tasted before.

The nutmeg was succulent and wet unlike the drying ones we eat that gives a funny coating to ones tongue. This was really good.  I have photos of some of the products because my parents were there a week later.  I couldn’t get photos of the preserved nutmeg because everyone ate it rather quickly.

Then we went on searching for Durian which proved futile because it was almost off season and what was available was just too expensive and silly to purchase.

Then we chanced upon a fruit place which I believe was the Tropical Fruit Farm.  It was a steep hill to drive up to, but I can tell you it was truly worth it.  It was filled with flora and fauna I’ve never seen before as well as fruits like the Giant Passion Fruit.  The photos speak for it self.  I am told it is a homestay of sorts for those who want to get away from the city and it is well known for its fruit buffets which was not on when we got there.  It was getting late as well, so there was no activities going on.

 

We came down and drove till we reached one of the beaches.  While the rest walked around, I took photos of a rather nice sunset.  I watched all the people and their antics, I even rescued a Lily Bulb of some sort and brought it back home and it seems to be growing quite well.

Then we proceeded to Dinner.  Dinner was at Long Beach, a Glutton Square with lots of food and beer ladies pushing the sale of beer.

So we ordered, starting with Fried Spring Rolls.  Now I must say that these Spring Rolls came piping hot and was very nice.  I would go as far as to say one of the best Spring Rolls I have ever had.  It had different vegetables like carrots, spring onions and cabbage with meat of some sort.  We actually enjoyed it the most. It was crunchy and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  This would be one of the highlights of this food tour I should say.  I cannot remember the stall name, but you won’t miss it for sure.

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The Prawn Mee arrived.  The soup wasn’t so tasty and it lacked ingredients.  Even the boiled egg didn’t look very pretty.  The soup lacked sweetness and prawn flavor.  The Chilly Sauce only covered the flavors with spiciness. Prawns must have been expensive that day as well, there was hardly any!

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The must order dish when in Penang, Or Chien.  I have to say the Oysters were fresh and plump.  It was also quite plentiful judging from the size of the plate.  One gripe.. it was not crispy and tended to be oily because of that.  It was such a waste to have nice oysters served with flat, soggy eggs and rice flour mix.  If it was fried a tad bit longer, it would have been a stand out as well.  I also think the crowd that night made things a bit busy for good cooking to take place.  I still prefer the one in PJ cooked by this girl I call Bloody Mary at Paramount.

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The Char Koay Teow, started with one in the morning and ended with one at night.  Verdict.. the Wok Hei was once again wokked too much that it almost tasted burnt.  And Fish Cake for heaven’s sake!  How can you do this???

 

Everyone is so taken about the prawns and all but what if I do not want prawns or any meat in my Char Koay Teow? How would it taste then?  Because that is how I usually like mine, just with egg and undercooked bean sprouts and chives and maybe with extra cockles.  can this be done in Penang?

The Lorbak and the Squid came from the same stall.  Foodie Boy one was forced to buy it, or as he said he was really hard selling the squid.  I believe this would have tasted better if they had a different sauce, something with a bit of lime in it instead of the same chilly sauce that came with the lorbak which was a bit dry and one bit was a tiny bit off.  I deem the squid a Dish of Nothingness.

Once again, it was quite disappointing save the Spring Rolls and perhaps the Or Chien.  So much for bloggers saying all the places we went would be good.  Let’s hope Day Three will be more of an adventure.

We were all sweaty and bothered, I was anyhow, so we went back to the apartment.

TO BE CONTINUED

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The Four Foodies – Taking on the Pearl of the Orient – Day 1

This much anticipated trip took place on Merdeka Day.  The four of us set off at around 5.30 am, anticipating we might reach there in the early afternoon, seeing that it was quite early and all.  Well that all changed the moment we reached the Sungai Buloh and realized maybe a thousand more people had the same thought and left the same time as us.

The traffic was still moving and as time went on it just got slower and slower and so the girl on waze suggested we take a detour which we did at Slim River.   Now truth be told I have not been to Penang in decades.  All these places I passed through with my parents when I was a wee kid and while I remember some things, Wow!!! Slim River had buildings everywhere.  All I remember of Slim River was a little bridge.  I didn’t even remember if we stopped by at Slim River but I’m told by mum that it has nice Pao.  Well… everything was closed as it was still not even 7 am yet.  So we drove by with food on our minds till we passed through Tanjung Malim and still shops were not opened.

I was rather enchanted to see some of the old Malay houses amidst modernity, and there was even morning mist.  We Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya people see this in our area and it’s Haze.

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We were looking forward to reach Ipoh for a good dim sum breakfast but voice on Waze told us other wise.  So we decided on Bidor.  I remember Bidor as a place when my parents would stop and we’d buy biscuits like Chicken Biscuit, Shat Kek Mah, this Peang and that Peang, Pomeloes and all the knick knacks my parents grew up on.

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Then we went to the famous Pun Chun which sells Herbal Duck with Wonton Noodles.  It was around 9am or so and the place was chockers.  People were standing around waiting for tables with dirty looks on their face, something I really hate but since the others didn’t mind I had to play along and then I chanced on a table outside.  So we ordered.  Foodie Girl said I could not have the duck because I had a swollen ankle, with rolling eyes I agreed on some normal wonton noodles.

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No more old style porcelin cups.

The wait for the food was just as long.  Also I’d like to note that I had my first ever Kopi Kaw Kaw or really strong coffee.  I didn’t think it was all that.  It was not so flavorsome as I thought it would be.  The others said the same. 

While waiting we ordered Woo Kok which is Yam Puffs with Char Siew Filling.  Now these were really nice, it was piping hot and made up for the waiting. It was very crispy on the outside because it was just fried.  We also ordered fish balls and these were nice springy fish balls. I could have had a few more plates of these.  I don’t usually like fish balls but these were pure and nice.

Food arrived.  Everyone had a bowl of soup with a piece of duck hanging out of the bowl and won ton noodles and I was got mine a few minutes later.

I thought it would be a trite messy with the duck still on the bone but the meat just fell off.  The soup alone was slightly similar to a very light bak kut teh with dried longans and kei chee for sweetness. It was truly satisfying, I drank all the soup that was left behind.

My wonton noodles arrived and the noodles were a perfect al dente.  Still chewy and springy and not flat and soft like what I usually get.  The won tons were flavorsome and not fatty and the meat was nicely flavor and not so thick in taste.

Interestingly my grandfather used to go to Pun Chun in the 50s with my dad, and my parents took us as kids and next week my niece will be eating at Pun Chun as well.  Grandpa used to be friends with the old man I’m told.  Talk about history.

Walking around Bidor gives a sense of olden times.  No doubts it is packed with buses and cars, we almost didn’t even get a park, but even if it was decades long that I stepped into Bidor I still remembered it.

Mum says you should try eating at the market across from Pun Chun,  you will not miss it with all the umbrellas.

As we walked to the car, we saw a Mak Cik selling Nasi Lemak, and Indian man selling Appam and other Indian stuff then another Indian lady making Putu, and an Indian Muslim lady frying curry puffs which were very nice I might add, and cucur.  I didn’t take photos sadly.  I wished we spent a day or two here now.

So we’re off to Ipoh now hoping for some Dim Sum for lunch.

We took the trunk roads and the traffic was crawling so everyone decided to pay a visit to Kellie’s Castle.  Everything has changed in Batu Gajah. Mum is from Batu Gajah so I knew bits of this and that.  We reached Kellie’s Castle and there were so many people around and it started getting hot so the rest plodded on while I hung around.  While I was looking at stuff I spotted this wonderful looking antique pot but the person wanted RM450 which was a bit too steep even though he claimed it belonged to his grandmother.  It would have been an excellent decorative and a real show piece.  Alas.. one can’t have everything now can we?

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It was getting hotter and hotter and a trite uncomfortable when we finally reached Ipoh.  Traffic was crawling even at the trunk roads.  So when we reached Ipoh all in anticipation for Dim Sum, alas once again, we can’t have everything now can we? … because every dim sum shop we passed was closed, and the ones that were opened were crowded so we proceeded to Kong Heng Restaurant.

I had been here a few years ago with Seok Hean and Eddie and so I knew what to order.  As usual walking along the street, the lady selling Bak Chang was still there selling her Dumplings, and as much as I wanted to buy it, as usual I didn’t buy it.. so sad when you think too much sometimes.

Once again we had to wait for our table. I guess this was the training ground of what was in store for me in Penang.  I never have to wait for tables at a restaurant.  So this was all new and bothersome to me.  Two pet hates…waiting for a table and lining up for food!

So we went in and Foodie Boy 1 was sent to do the ordering.  We ordered Chee Cheong Fun with Curry Gravy  and Stuffed Chee Cheong Fun.  Pork Satay was on the list of course along with Sar Hor Fun and the quintessential Crème Caramel and Tau Fu Fa.

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I’ve never had stuffed chee cheong fun before although mum made it once last year, and this was stuffed with Jicama Bean (Sengkuang) cooked much like you would for popiah with bits of spring onions and with just the right amount of tim cheong and chilly sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.  I hate my chee cheong fun drowned in tim cheong and chilly sauce but they got it just right.  I could have easily had two plates of it.

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The Chee Cheong Fun with the Curried sauce was as always just fantastic.  The lightness of the sauce was  perfect for the chee cheong fun unlike the thick ones we get here in PJ.  As Chee Cheong Fun is a soft rice noodle, the light curry gravy complements it perfectly.  They always get it right here.  The flavor although light was evident.  It wasn’t watered down curry.

The pork satay was nice and chunky but today it seemed to lack a bit more flavor unlike when I had it the last time.  It did go well with the sauce so it wasn’t so bad in the end, but for me before I dip something in sauce, I like to taste it as it is.

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Then the crème caramel as always was just a perfect ending.  Now don’t go and bag the Crème Caramel, it may not be the best of the best but eating in these conditions, this was really good.  A sweet ending. Always!

Sar Hor Fun never came! I doubt they even missed us when we walked passed them and left.

Now we headed to Concubine Lane.  This is a lane full on food and drinks and knick knacks galore.

I was standing away from the sun while the others walked around and this sweet little Chinese Girl asked me to try the something. I was a little hesitant but I did just because she was sweet and polite.  I bought a packet after that along with mini mooncakes. It was cheap and really pretty.

The Kaya Kok was what I tasted and it was baking in the oven, so while waiting we walked across to have some soy bean and tau fu fa.  Tau Fu fa was silken but a tad bit sweet.  I would have liked to sit around but the others wanted to walk around so we left.  I went across to collect my Kaya Kok but I had to wait as it was still not ready so I sat there and waited and took some photos of the unbaked product.

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The Kaya Kok was just wonderful.  A bit sweet but then hey Kaya should be sweet.  And they didn’t give you a thick piece of pastry to drown the kaya flavor but instead it was encased in a nice thin pastry.  It was perfection even though we ate it a few hours later in the massive traffic jam we had to go through on the highway.

There was so much to do in Concubine Lane but the heat and time was a factor. So we continued our journey.

Penang was still a long way to go and the traffic and the heat didn’t make it any easier and the accident that occurred started a jam kilometers before the tunnel and kilometers after that.  I’ve never been through a traffic jam like that in my life not even in India.  But when you’re with friends, it’s not too bad because everyone will laugh and make comments and it will pass.

All through the trip there were decade’s worth of changes.  Buildings, factories, houses, roads, everything and off course Tolls.

Soon Penang was in sight.  Now we were wide awake.  We decided to take the ferry into Penang, and guess what?  We had to wait!

Gone were the days when the ferries moved up and down every few minutes.  It was a 30 minute or so wait before we moved into a ferry.  I was most excited.

Surprisingly, there were more pedestrians on the ferry this time, a few cars and many many people either going to work or returning home from the mainland.  What a vast difference it was from the time I was last on the ferry.  First thing I did when I got out from the car was to count jelly fish just like when I was a kid with my sister. There wasn’t any.  I finally saw one when we were nearing the end of the ferry ride.  Everything changes I guess.

You can breathe the air of oldness in Penang.

So we drove through Penang town towards Batu Ferringhi. The last time I was in Penang, Batu Ferringhi was more forests than anything else.  Now it was as happening as Phuket and Seminyak Town or Kuta Town in Bali and the traffic was even worst.  I never realized how winding the roads were and a trite scary as well.  So now were going towards Teluk Bahang for a seafood dinner.  It was a long and winding road I tell you.  The traffic was on the other side so it was not so bad, but the sharp turns and the speed some of these cars were going was rather terrifying.  We were lucky Foodie Boy 1 was a cool and calm driver, because I would have been cursing every man, woman and child.

Finally after turning in a side road and through a muddy and sandy road we arrived at Fishing Village Seafood Restaurant.  It was a little shanty place from perhaps the early 80s or even the 70s, nothing looked new, in fact some parts did look down right rotten, but the sight of the expensive cars parked nearby said something else.

We were really hungry, so we ordered.

Food took a while and we were forewarned so we had to just wait because there were three tables before us who were waiting as well.

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The first was the Fried Calamari.  It was nice and crispy and certainly not a let down.  It was nice to pick as we waited for the next few dishes and it stayed crispy to the very end.

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Then the Oysters topped with Roux and cheese came.  We only ordered four oysters and after eating it, I think we should have ordered more.  While it was suppose to be western it still had a nice kick to it so the flavors came out better.  The Oysters remained just right despite the cheese being a nice golden.  It was good. The crispy friend garlic gave it a nice flavor.

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The fish arrived.  We had a Snapper cooked Thai style.  The stock was a nice light Tom Yam Flavor and it enhanced the flavor of the fish that was alive a few minutes earlier.  No fishy smell, the meat was easy to get to without much bones.  The Tom Yam Stock was a nice soup as well.  I always love the garnishing.

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Tofu with Seafood was next.  I liked the flavor of this and there was enough Seafood in it to deem it Tofu with seafood.  They were not stingy with their seafood and it was nice comfort food.

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Since Foodie Girl always like healthy stuff we ordered Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg.  Now I have had this in other places and there was never ever enough salted egg to mask the evilness or bitter gourd.  Not here.  There was enough salted egg and it gave  this usually punishment vegetable a nice flavor.  The Bitter Gourd remained crunchy but well cooked and didn’t look oily.

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The salted fish fried rice came last.  Hmmm… it was nice with a lot of prawns and for some reason seafood stick, but there was hardly any salted fish.  Salted Fish fried rice should give you that sudden shock of salted fish but this was seriously lacking.  And when you did bite into a piece of salted fish, it was soft and not crispy.  A bit of a let down, but four hungry people still devoured it.  Perhaps if it was the first dish, we would not have been so picky because by now we were quite full.

There was Lobster and Crabs, and other seafood as well.  Almost every table took lobster.  Maybe if we ever go back, we’d get a lobster

Price wise it was ok.  Food was nice and comforting.  Ambience was a bit out but seeing the old rich flock there, so there must have been some allurement to the place, because the next table were Penangites who were back from Australia for holidays.  Big ears was listening.

So we drove back through the traffic passing by the myriad restaurants and night markets as careening through those tight turns and reached our abode for the next four days.  It was quite high up as well.

Before we went to bed, Foodie Boy 2 gave us a rundown of tomorrow’s happenings.

 

To be continued.

 

 

August 2017 Baking and Cooking Classes

Chocolate Dessert Class

Saturday August 12th 10 to 1 pm

Learn to make;

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  1. Chocolate Tart
  2. Chocolate Lava Cake
  3. Chocolate Mousse

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Price Per Person: $135 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Lemon Desserts

Saturday August 12th 2.30 to 5.30

I like sweetish sourish desserts, so you will learn;

Lemon Slice

Lemon Slice

  1. Lemon Meringue Cupcake – Totally Butter Free Cupcake
  2. Lemon Slice
  3. Lemon Short Bread

This is a fully hands on class.  Class will commence once there are 6 students.

Price Per Person: $135

 

Pineapple Tarts

Sunday August 13th 2.30 to 5.30

A favorite of every festive or any time in Malaysia.

Learn to make two types of pineapple tarts.

You will learn two types of pastries and the jam of course.

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  1. Old Fashion Pineapple Tart – Opened Tarts
  2. Rolled Pineapple Tart
  3. Pineapple Jam

This is a hands on class, please bring containers to take home your tarts.

Price Per Person: $120 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Saturday August 19th 2.30 to 5.30

A favorite everywhere, any time…

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  1. Chicken Rice (Heong Fun)
  2. Silken Chicken
  3. Ginger Gravy
  4. Chilly Sauce
  5. Chicken Stock

Price Per Person: $125 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

 

Indian Style Chicken Class

Sunday August 20th 10 to 1pm

 

I haven’t had this class in a while, because the last time I was quite flustered.  I learnt this in India and when it is not my recipe and I am teaching it, it can get difficult.  So now I’ve refined it and let’s do it again.  You will learn;

  1. Chicken Tandoori
  2. Chicken Malai Tikka
  3. Chicken Lollipop

Price Per Person: RM145 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

 

 

Fruit Cake

Sunday August 20th 2.30 to 5pm

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Fruitcakes can be made months in advance and nurtured with brandy every week till the big day arrives.  Learn to make;

  1. English Fruit Cake
  2. Rich Chunky Fruit Cake

Price Per Person: RM150 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 
Laksa Class

SUNDAY August 27th 2.30 to 5.30

Learn to prepare quick and easy Laksa favorites.  You will learn to prepare;

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  1. Curry Laksa
  2. Assam Laksa

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Price Per Person: RM135 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

Children’s Bread Class – School Holiday Class

Tuesday August 29th 11 to 2 pm

  1. Bread
  2. Sausage Bread
  3. Chocolate Bread Rolls
  4. Mini Bread Loaves

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Price Per Person: RM120 (Class will commence once there are 5 students)

 

Retro Cakes – Cakes from the 80s

Wednesday August 30th 2 to 4.30 pm

Learn to bake two types of cakes from the 80s.  You will learn;

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  1. Coconut Cake
  2. Tangy Coconut Topping
  3. Butter Cheesecake
  4. Glazed Topping

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Price Per Person: RM140 (Class will commence once there are 4 students)

Please call or Whatsapp 016 6827465 or email cookingwithnicholas@gmail.com

All Classes will be held at 70 Jalan 14/24 Petaling Jaya.

Mei Wei Little Kitchen – 619, Jalan 17/10, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

I’ve been going to Mei Wei Little Kitchen a few years now right from the time they first opened.  I remember when it first opened and it was quite a struggle as being located in a not so affluent or crowded area in Petaling Jaya, it might have had many things going against it.

But now after all these years, Mei Wei Little Kitchen has come a long way. This is a no pretense place serving very nice Homey Chinese food in a not so exciting ambiance I have to say, but the crowds just throng the place like it’s food is going out of fashion.  Mei Wei would be something you see in little outer suburbs if you lived overseas, only things is, Mei Wei serves wonderful food.

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So here we are celebrating Poh Leng’s birthday and it was last minute because the gang was traveling and timing always meant someone would be missing so this little impromptu last minute plan ended up in my favorite place.   It might have been a hint to the Birthday Girl so I got my way.

I was first to be at the restaurant and only about 5 tables were taken.  Please note, you better book your table if you want to go there at any given night and  especially the weekends.  As usual, Chik the owner, boss, waitress and everything was fluttering from table to table as she always does taking orders and advising what we should eat so that our order complements each other. She does such a good job that years later, she still does it because none of the staff can do it the way she does.  And I might safely say, not many service people in this country can do it the way she does..everything with that bit of a personal touch.

So one by one they traipsed in and by now EVERY table was filled up and there was a crowd outside.  Poh Leng and Chik were colleagues a few years ago before Mei Wei opened, and the transformation  of Chik from an office person to a Restaurateur is beyond what you can imagine.  Poh Leng and I placed the orders while Chen Ming and “Harry” came in and we asked them if they wanted to add anything and then Chia Chen comes in and looks astonished at the crowd. The crowd was getting louder and louder.

So our food arrived.

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First was the Seafood and Home Made Bean Curd Soup.  This is just a light soup with an assortment of seafood like prawns, sea bass and I believe some squid.  Soup was not so strong with the seafood, as I really do not like that, so it sat fine on my palate and for everyone else as well.  Vegetables were still crunchy and green as you can see.  NO touch ups were done to the photos.  Now the Home Made Tofu is the clincher that always makes me order this.  It has a nice bite and not so strong in the tofu flavor that puts off a lot of people.  In fact, if Mei Wei sold their Tofu, I would buy it.  It’s that good.

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The next dish was the Glutinous Rice Wine Kampung Chicken (Free Range Chicken). I’m a ginger person, I just love anything ginger be it foods and biscuits up to cocktails.  This soup had the right amount of heat as it went down your gullet, you know that burning yet tasty sensation with the rice wine giving that most wonderful flavor.   Chia Chen reckoned it was for Post Natal Mothers, but We all loved it.  I did find the chicken bony whenever someone poured the soup into my bowl but that is the thing about Free Range Chickens but the most important part of this soup was the soup itself and the wonderful flavor, not really the chicken at all.    The flavor of the Moo Er or Wood Fungus with all the flavors trapped in it takes it to another level.  The usual tasteless wood fungus was filled with the ginger and wine taste.  The spiciness of the ginger is just a wonderful feeling… quite orgasmic so to speak.

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The Dish of the night and almost every night that we have been there is the Vietnamese Seafood Curry.  I still wonder if there is such a thing from Vietnam but this dish is always the best.  I took my friend over there last year, a real fussy pot he is too and I was just hoping everything would go well or not I would never hear the end of it, and so would Chik, and you should have seen his face when he took the first mouthful… Eyes brows raised and all.

Now I am not a fan of curry more so seafood, but I always make it a point to have it when I am there.  Again this is seafood and Mei Wei has actually changed my view on seafood in a big way.  Now the curry will come with glass noodles on it and it is still simmering and you have to mix everything up.  This can be a one meal dish as it has proteins, vegetables and Carbs all in that clay pot.  I drink it like a noodle soup.  All the flavors are well blended and nothing in that clay pot is over powering the other.  I could have taken more photos but I was more preoccupied with the food in front of me to bother.  I did try to take a video while Chen Ming was mixing everything but somehow it didn’t work.  This is a must order.

20160820_191221The Stir Fried Macadamia with Mixed Vegetable was just to please Poh Leng because she was watching what she ate.  Everything was cooked well and there was enough nuts to go around.  I remember as a child how little nuts Chinese restaurants put into their dishes.  Not anymore though.  Everything on that plate had a distinct taste, vegetables were crunchy and the mushrooms seem to have soaked in the flavors well although it looks like it is uncooked and just thrown in at the last moment.  This could have been a vegetarians delight.

20160820_191309Golden Oatmeal Mantis Shrimp was next.  Don’t get ideas that the word Oatmeal in the name means it is healthy.  It is not!  But it is so Nice and one just indulges.  This is a other dish I always order.  It is a nice picky picky dish while talking.  The mantis prawns were fresh and crisp not because it was fried, but it was crisp with freshness.  The curry leaves added a nice hint of curry fragrance.  This is a dish you don’t get fed up with.  There are other styles I have had here before like the Marmite Mantis.  Hmm might have to ask her for that when I am there next.

20160820_190941Mei Wei Special Beancurd has always been my favorite.  It is like a seafood tofu of sorts but unlike the bought nonsense, this one has a good amount of seafood in it without taking away the homemade tofu taste.  This was another good appetiser picky picky dish.  The next time I am there, I might just order all Mei Wei’s Homemade Tofu dishes just for tasting purposes.

While Mei Wei has room for a lot of growth not in improving food and all but more so to become bigger in size and get more recognition but I feel the owner Chik just likes it the way it is.  The appeal of the place is obvious.  It is not the most comfortable place to be, but when it’s good food, who really cares.  We’re Malaysians!

I have this craving to go there again in the next few days.  I hope I can muster a few people to go with me.

Please call to book your table.  If not you are going to be lining up outside or worst still, you might be there sitting at your table and watching everyone else get their food.

Lunch time is good, and less crowded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello by Kitchen Mafia – B-G 1 Jalan 17/13, Happy Mansion, PJ

Hello by Kitchen Mafia is helmed by Shearson Lian a Celebrity Chef.  So let’s just start out by saying that the bar is now placed rather high.

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It was a lazy cool Sunday. Have you noticed how this weather just makes you hungry all the time? Well two friends and me decided to go out for a late lunch and I decided on Hello by Kitchen Mafia because someone told me about it.  So once again having no expectations except that it belonged to Shearson Lian and also Johnny Fua, we went a couple of rounds and found a park.  And who should be outside his restaurant as we waited to go in, The MAN himself.

The restaurant was crowded because of Father’s Day so he told us we had to wait for a few minutes. So Shearson handed us three menus and we perused through it looking at the rather comical names like Apek Fried Rice and Kampung Boy Fried Rice and the likes, so we had to make sure we didn’t order something ordinary with a funny name.

So finally we were seated.  I’d like to mention that tables were quite small and I got worried because of what we ordered.  After paying and just getting ready to chat half expecting the food to take a while since the place was full… out pops the Crispy Banana Blossom with Spicy Mango Kerabu.

So of course we did the obvious and took a few photos, I mean it was less then five minutes of ordering I should say.  And before we could figure out what we were about to eat, the three main courses came.  Now we had four dished on the table coupled with three drinks and glasses of water and it was beginning to get suffocating.

We quickly took photos and and started to eat and as we were starting with the Crispy Banana Blossom, half guessing it might be the soft shell crab, the Duck Egg Calamari came.  So I told the waitress to please slow down and before we could breathe, Shearson himself comes with  the Salted Egg Butter Milk Squid and the Soft Shell Crab. He looks at the table and does nothing to ease the situation.  I got a little peeved with this because as the owner of the place and having been overseas countless times as seen on TV, he should have done something.   Don’t ask me what, I’m sure he could have figured out something!

Then we start eating as fast as we can, the Tortilla Pizza comes.

We were so overwhelmed that we had to rush to have space. In fact I had to pick my little tin plate in my hand and eat from it ala old Chinese style.  That was how rushed and how fast the food came.

My followers would know by now, I never ever have the whole list of food ordered, but this was how it was yesterday.  Everything came so fast that we were left breathless rushing through our meal.  This might have affected the whole meal experience, however in all due respect, the food was good.

So let us begin.

We rushed to finish the Banana Blossom and kerabu.  This was nice and flavor some, and frankly speaking we had trouble wondering if the kind of tempura’d Banana Blossoms was actually the soft shell crab we ordered.  It was that mysterious.  The Kerabu was excellent and the addition of thinly sliced long beans gave it that much needed crunch.  The sweet and sour taste along with that tiny  hint of spiciness gave this dish that extra kick.  This is how anything sweet and sour should be.  I was not too fond of the peanuts, I am not a peanut fan so this was just me.  I would have preferred whole peanuts so I could pick at it.

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By this time they took away our cutlery container and we were left with just chopsticks to eat the kerabu and pick at the long beans which I thoroughly enjoyed.  We couldn’t eat up the whole dish because there was no spoons and we had to move forward to the next dish as quickly as possible.

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We had to strategize this meal to make sure we still enjoyed ourselves. So friend and I suggested we eat all the small plates first.  So we started with the Soft Shell Crab with the Siracha Mayo.   The crab was well done, and crispy and juicy and when you bit the middle there was still that water sac inside.  That is always the case with soft shell crab unless it is chopped in the middle.  I think the Siracha Mayo did not do justice to the Crab.  I think the sambal belacan that came with the main course gave a better flavor. I think perhaps if they mixed the sambal belacan with the Mayo, it would have been something rather special. Ok plate cleared!

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Next!

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The Duck Egg Calamari. This was an interesting dish so to speak.  I must say by now we had forgotten what we had ordered. We knew it was calamari something but we forgot it was even duck egg.  We just ate and commented that some of the pieces were tough and hard to chew but the bigger pieces were perfect.  Perhaps if the pieces were a bit bigger, then it would have been perfect.  I didn’t taste anything Ducky with the duck egg topping and all.  I remember eating Char Koay Teow with Duck Egg once and there was a pronounced after taste.  The hint of curry leaf probably took away any duckiness.  I like curry leaves. I just enjoy eating them like this. I wish there was a bit more curry leaves.

All in all still very good.

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Next was the Tortilla Pizza with 3 cheeses as topping.  Now I must say this was what the doctor ordered so to speak. It was a good blend of cheese with just the right ratio of Parmesan, Aged Cheddar and Blue Cheese.  Nothing was overwhelming and those blue cheese haters would have never detected blue cheese at all.  As we were beginning to have breathing space now with plates and all being removed, we started to enjoy our meal much more.  I could have had two plates of this and would still long for more.

I am not a fan of heavy pizza, and while a  Tortilla base might sound fast food, it was perfect.  Had they decided to use thin crust pizza base, it would have totally spoilt  this dish.  I loved it! And so did the other two.

Now we had the main courses to reckon with.

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Ok by now, main courses were a tad bit cold. The Salted Egg Butter Milk Pesto sauce kind of started to get the pasta all stuck together. This needs to be eaten hot or fresh from the stove.  Flavor wise, it was excellent as sticky and bunched up as the pasta was, it was nice.  I loved it and so did the rest.  I think I could have had it even without the Soft Shell Crab which was cooked to perfection I might add.  Ok.. As I am typing this, I can still remember the flavors so avidly. Well Done!

Spicy Thai Beef was next.  The fusing of flavors together with the fresh basil gave this heavy looking dish a sense of lightness.  The spiciness took it to another level.  It was a wonderful flavor and by now there were three father full boys and yet we all enjoyed it.  One little setback for me anyhow was the use of minced meat.  I figured for some reason it would be thinly sliced beef a la Pho Bo style.  The noodles were eaten rather quickly and in the end all the meat was below.  Note too, we still used chopsticks as everyone was too busy to take any notice of our need for spoons.  In the end when the middle of the restaurant long table cleared, we saw the cutlery thingy and got three spoons.  We needed it now to taste the meat and also to scoop the last dish which was the Ginger Beef Fried Rice.

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Now before I end with the Thai Beef, I have to say eating the meat on it’s own was not too enjoyable.  The mince was dry, obviously Shearson uses good quality and low fat, but it became hard to swallow and don’t forget it was cold.   Perhaps if we had eaten it together with everything in the bowl, then it would be different.  Still very enjoyable.

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Finally, Ginger Beef Fried Rice.  I like Ginger Beef.  Now as a fried rice, this was truly something else.  The gingeriness gave it a nice flavor. Now I love anything ginger, so I have no complaints.  The meat was perfectly flavored and it was not tough.  I liked it. It was a nice comfort food kinda flavor. Nice on a cool to cold morning.  The sambal belacan had a nice flavor too, but we kind of forgot to eat more of it because we were quite full.  All that rushing had taken it’s toll on the once three hungry boys.   I did find the fried egg to be a tad over fried though. Perhaps if the yolk was a tiny bit runny and so we could mix it with the rice and it would break easily into pieces.  This didn’t happen.

All in all, the food was very good.  We will go there again and REQUEST A BIGGER TABLE.

I think if you sell Tapas, you need to provide bigger tables.  I have a tendency of going over board with Tapas when I am really in the mood and could have ordered a few more, but we didn’t because I knew the table would be a problem.

I love those cute enamel plates.  I mean it made me feel very retro and gave an old feeling to rather modern food.

The staff were excellent.  Everyone had big smiles and one of the girls had the most prettiest smile I’d ever seen.  This just made up for the food piling.

Now the Coconut Latte I feel could have had more coconut.  I had it in my head that it would be served with coconut cream. I wonder how that will taste?  This might be something to try out I think.

So there you go.  Hello by Kitchen Mafia.. a sure to go again restaurant.  Well Done Shearson Lian and Johnny Fua.

 

 

 

 

Dolly Dim Sum – LG43, NU Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

I’ve passed Dolly Dim Sum many a time when I am in that area but it is always after I have eaten or am carrying many things or as usual I might be all by myself, so I never ever ventured in.  Now I always notice a crowd especially during lunch time and so I guess it must be good.

I love Dim Sum.  I love any kind or morsely food and so Dim Sum tops the list followed by sushi, then followed by other foods that come in small portions.

So today I had a chance to go because I had a friend in town.  When we reached there it was still closed, well they were just arranging the place and preparing the tables and all, so we waited.  Now I didn’t realise Dolly Dim Sum was halal for some reason till I saw an employee with a Tudung rush in.

So finally they allowed us in.  I always like entering a restaurant that is not too full so I can be seated where I like, ie a point where I can see everything.  Menu came, and the lighting was a little bit dim to read the blue lettering, either that or I might be needing glasses soon, so I had to switch on the phone torch to see better.  Choices were made and so we waited.

20160618_111837We ordered a pot of Pu Er tea as always.  Now for some reason, the Pu Er was not the best I’ve tasted.  It was calming for  a cool day but didn’t leave that lingering taste on the palate.  Still it was nice to talk over a cup of tea before the foods started appearing.

20160618_112034First to arrive was the Crystal Prawn Dumpling.  The skin was ‘Crytally’ enough, the prawn and scallion filling ratio somehow wasn’t right because you tasted more scallion than prawn.  And the prawn used somehow wasn’t as big as I am used to.  Still the flavor was good.  Of course I had two pieces of it, because friend being from Kota Kinabalu is quite anti vegetables, so he only ate one piece.

20160618_111942Then the Salad Prawn Dumpling.  This was nicely fried, but badly presented on the plate.  No garnish and it looked like it was just chucked on the plate.  I actually had to arrange them so I would take a photo.  As I was half expecting them to come back and cut it into two, alas that didn’t happen.  Taste wise it was good.  You actually tasted prawn. I didn’t care much for the sauce.  For me a good Dim Sum should taste nice without any sauce.

20160618_111949Now the Prawn Cheong Fen………. long pause needed to describe it.  I feel this was not prepared by someone who is a Dim Sum Chef so to speak because this was the standard you would eat in an ordinary unair conditioned Dim Sum place around.  The Cheong Fen skin was thick and and you could hardly taste any prawns and the soy sauce that went with it hardly permeated through the Cheong Fen so even if you ate it together there were two distinct flavors.  The Dried Prawn and Chilly Concoction too couldn’t cover the Cheong Fen taste.  This is always my favorite and luckily I didn’t order two varieties.

20160618_112005The Pan Fried Radish cake was nice.  It was not overly powering and oily albeit a little bit smaller then usual.  It was nice enough I must say.  And it didn’t have that starchy after taste like some that I have tasted previously.  I was half expecting Loh Pak Koh but they didn’t have it.  Some times I don’t understand why they just cannot make it when they already have the main ingredients and all they need is Bean Sprouts, Eggs and Chives and a bit of Garlic and Prawns.

20160618_112052The Har Gao was nice although I did feel the skin was a tad thicker then usual.  Prawn was evident so that’s a plus.  One tiny problem I had was I felt the prawn was not really tasty, like it lacked a bit of marinade or something.  Still it was fresh so that’s important.

20160618_112105The hit for the morning was the Szechuan Dumpling.  Now this one was the BOMB!  It literally exploded in flavor once it entered your mouth and once you bit into it, the flavors would give you a nice burst to the senses.  It might have been a little spicy but it was a tasty nice spicy. We could have ordered another plate if we didn’t order all the rest.   This one we both liked.

20160618_112419The Sweet and Sour Bean Curd Roll was tasty and not over powering in sauce, but I also tended to feel that the sauce lacked a bit of boom.  You know when you put something sweet and sour into your mouth, you need to get that sweet and sour flavor before you bite into the meat that it is coating. The flavor of the bean curd roll was nice but just lacked that bit of oomph.

20160618_112424Siu Mai is the basic staple of any Dim Sum.  I found Dolly’s to be nice in flavor but very clumsily served with the fish roe all over as seen in the photo.  It also lacked a bit of shine or glisten, perhaps this was because of the lack of oil, as there is less oil in chicken meat then there would be in pork.  Flavorwise it was good.

20160618_112602Now the Golden Fish Cracker was something I totally unexpected.  Dolly’s doesn’t have photos in their menu so this was a total surprise. It wasn’t bad in flavor of anything, it was just not what I expected.  It was well received by the two of us I must say, but I have this thing about salted egg yolks and of late I find salted egg yolks are not as salty as before.  And this was the case. Now had it been more salty then this would have enhanced the flavor even more.   Still it was nice.  But do note, this has to be eaten while it is still hot.  Once it is cold, it will taste ordinary.  I don’t know but this is me, perhaps if the added a teaspoon of salted egg white, it might have given this dish some flavor.

20160618_114946After proclaiming how full we were, we ordered dessert.  We ordered the Mango Pudding with Sago and Pomelo and  A Coconut Pudding.

Now I have always had my Mango Pudding a little harder and you ate spoonfuls of it with a bit of the topping.  Dolly’s however, was very soft.  Like unset custard.  flavorwise it was good, just too soft.  The Coconut Pudding stole the show. It was light and flavorful and not overwhelmingly coconutty.  And the shredded coconut flesh took it to another level.  It was a refreshing feel to the palate.

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I was told the Dolly Dim Sum in Aevnue K is better.  Maybe I will venture there one of these days and check it out.  I don’t think that should be the case though, because you’re under one name, everything should be the same.

Do try Dolly’s when you are at Nu Sentral.  It’s pleasant and the ambiance is nice.

 

 

 

Tai Tong BBQ Restaurant – Lot J 56 G, KK Time Square, Kota Kinabalu

I chanced upon this restaurant while I was doing my morning walk. It was 6.45 am and I saw these ladies arranging the tables and chairs outside the restaurant.  I took a peek and saw it opened at 7 am and what caught my eye was the Kolo Mee something which I have heard off many times but never eaten before.

So much for walking and all, I rushed back showered, and came back to Tai Tong for my first Chinese Brekkie.  As I walked in, about 30 minutes later, the restaurant was only half full and this was 7.20 am.  I walked to the counter to choose my meal and for some reason people looked up and the lady who was arranging the table came running up to me to say they serve pork. So me being me, said it’s fine, I don’t mind.

So I picked my Kolo Mee.  The taste was much like Kon Lo Mee, but perhaps this was a bit drier.  Now for the life of me, I cannot seem to find the photo.  Which is odd because I knew I took a few photos of my meal.  Anyhow, it was good, rather comforting and I knew I’d be back.  in fact I was back in the evening and they were closed.  Then I went back Sunday morning and finally saw the opening times which was 7 am to 4 pm Mondays to Saturdays.

20160409_093546So Monday, I went back. This time I had jook, and it was fish jook, because it looked nice in the photo and they used fresh fish because I didn’t want a smelly fishy jook, which the lady assured me.  And so the fish Jook came.  The aroma was was a nice scent of sesame oil and scallions and a hint of fish.  First mouthful, was wonderful. In fact while I am typing this, I am salivating.  The rice was barely visible so it was cooked properly and they did not use broken rice.  It was good.  I love Jook… I can have bowls and bowls.

20160414_130206Portions and just nice as well, and for me I found it rather filling and the price was always around RM8.50 with a drink of Milk Tea of Coffee.  And today being Monday, the restaurant was full at 8 am.

20160411_133752I went back for Lunch that day with a friend.  She had Won Ton Noodles with Char Siu and Siew Yok  plus a plate of Siew Yoke Fan while  I had fried Won Tons.  and I picked at her food.  Lunch time was crowded.  Meats were very nice and not skinny sliced pieces.and the rice was cooked with good quality rice unlike what we get here in PJ sometimes.  I also found the portions much bigger for lunch. A bit too big for me. 20160411_13380620160411_134139

Won Tons were freshly made.  It had a nice bite and enough good filling and not fillers like many others.  I do wish they’d give more veggies though. Seems like I am the only one wishing for more.

Then my next visit for breakfast, by now the ladies were quite friendly and they recommended me to try their fish noodle soup.  I did ask a lot of questions about it before saying yes and she assured me I’d like it. and so when it came, ohhhh my God… it was just fantastic.  The Hum Choy was cooked till it was soft and the flavors were infused very well in the slightly milky sauce.  And the fish just gave that added flavor.  I was hooked.  In fact I had it almost every single time I went there and I went there quite a bit.  I ordered it for lunch and found the portion a little too big for me. I even asked if I could have the breakfast size and pay lunch time rate but she said no.  Still I finished the whole bowl at lunch as well.  This had to be the best thing to happen.

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I did try to be smart and changed the Mee Hoon to Koay Teow but somehow the flavor wasn’t absorbed as well. Mee Hoon rules.

Friend had Char Siew Fan.  Meat was a plenty, and they gave a nice tasty soup as well – with a bit more vegetables.

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All in all I was never ever disappointed in this place.  For some odd reason, quite a few photos are missing. Hmmmm…..

I will look for them and load it later.