Thursday, August 31, 2006

CLAYPOT MEALS @ YI ANN CAFÉ, LORONG GOH MENG TECK, KUCHING

Pork Leg In Soy Sauce


These are pre-cooked food which are heated up in a claypot who one places an order. There are about 9 items on the menu,; all priced at RM4.50 per claypot. Rice costs an extra 60 sen per plate. The price is reasonable for a generous serving, which is good for 2 to 3 persons.

The Pork Leg in soy sauce is cooked just right, where the meat is not overtly soft from over-cooking. The soup below retains its fresh color of the green, while the duck is firm and whole, yet the texture is right. The concept of heating up in claypot maintains its 'freshness', which is better than having the food in a constant 'heated state' on a heated food server.

Lorong Goh Meng Teck is sandwiched between Jalan Sekama and Jalan Lumba Kuda. It faces the Kuching South council, which sits on the old race course ground.


Kiam Chai Ark Th'ng (Preserved Mustard Green with Duck Soup)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

LAU SU FANG (BEE TAI BAK)


I bought the freshly-made Lau Su Fang, which was pre-ordered, from Nyan Shin Café. Before I left, the old lady reminded me to put it in the fridge immediately, and added: "There's no preservative in there!" Need I say more about the quality of this stuff!

INGREDIENTS


200gm. Minced Pork

2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce

1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce

1 tsp Cornflour

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp White Pepper

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1½ kg. Lau Su Fang

2 Cloves Garlic (minced)

Fish Sauce

Salt




METHOD
  1. Marinate the minced pork (first 7 ingredients) and set aside for at least 15 minutes before use.
  2. Put 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into wok. When hot fry garlic until fragrant, then add the minced pork and toss thoroughly.
  3. When pork is no longer pink, add 1 to 1½ cup of pork broth (Pork Broth: Boil 2 big bones,½ doz. dried red dates, 8 liters of water, and salt to taste)
  4. Simmer to reduce liquid to ½ the quantity.
  5. Season with salt. Scoop into a bowl to be use later.
  6. Blanch the Lau Su Fang (amount for 1 bowl/person) over boiling water. Place in a bowl.
  7. Scoop a couple of spoonful of cooked minced pork with a bit of liquid on top of the Lau Su Fang. Top with hot pork broth. Garnish with fried shallot and chopped spring onion. Finally add a dash of white pepper.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

LOCAL DIM SUM @ FOOK HAI CAFÉ , JALAN PADUNGAN, KUCHING

Austin Powers will get a kick out of this Cantonese sounding coffee shop. (Remember Fook You, Fook Me?) It's an "old school" dim sum joint, which has been in existence since god knows when. "Old school" because its recipe has remained the same as old as times, as evident in its pau. No H.K. Flour here. Even its menu selection is limited to big pau, small pau, soi bee, hai guo, lo mai kai (glutinous rice chicken). There's a prize for those who can find shrimp inside the hai guo. The difference between soi bee and hai guo is in the wrapping only: Rice flour vs. flour. Despite its shortcomings, it still has its clientèle and the breakfast crowds are still there.

This coffee shop used to be at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, which is opposite the General Post Office (It has a photo of its former glory hanging in the present coffee shop).Then along came this maverick lady who offered the whole row to evacuate at RM1 million each, when the going price was RM350,000 and buyers were still hard to come by. Well, she came in with a bang (she introduced dynamite to bring down a mere 10 storey building (Ang Cheng Ho Building, next to the Holiday Inn) in Malaysia; a first) and left in a whimper. Well, everyone was grinning like a Cheshire cat all the way to the bank. But all the wealth can't buy one's happiness; one of the sons was a casualty of FIFA World Cup many years ago; listed as MIA now!

The shop is located on the second shop from the intersection of Jalan Pandungan and Jalan Song ThiAn Cheok.


Ha-Gou


Small Pau


Sui-Mai

Friday, August 25, 2006

FRIED EGGS


This has to be one of the Kong-Kay moments - running out of idea and ad-libbing; presenting you with a mediocre recipe such as fried eggs. Loosing my noodle! Well, like I've said, what you see is what I eat!

Frankly, not too long ago, it was featured in the Malay Mail, that people
in West Malaysia pay RM5 (US$1.35 ) for such a fried egg. It may not seem much to some since an uncooked organic egg might cost that much in certain places. Well, an ordinary egg costs only US$0.11 here.

Kylie Kwong featured it in her big budget cooking show. Here's my shoe-string production......





INGREDIENTS

3 Fresh Eggs (room temp.)

Vegetable Oil

1 Chilli (thinly sliced)

1 Spring Onion(thinly sliced)

Oyster Sauce





  1. Crack 3 eggs into a bowl.
  2. In a wok pour enough vegetable oil to shallow-fry the eggs (about 1½ cup) on medium heat. Use a spatula to swirl the oil around the wok so that the side is coated.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, gently pour the eggs into the hot oil.
  4. Spoon the hot oil onto the top of the egg, while not disturbing the eggs.
  5. Slightly jiggle the wok; if the eggs slide, the bottom is set.
  6. Slide the spatula to the bottom of the eggs, lift the up; bring to the side of the wok, flip over, and let them slide into the oil.
  7. Fry for another few seconds, the eggs will be done.The eggs will be crispy on the outside.
  8. Remove and drain off excess oil. Drizzle oyster sauce on top of the eggs. Garnish with chilli and spring onion.
**The best part is that you don't have to pay a king's ransom for this endeavor.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

POT STICKERS @ JADE POT TEA HOUSE, JALAN TUN AHMAD ZAIDI ADRUCE, KUCHING


Pot stickers (Guō Tiē/Gyoza) are one of the specialties of this establishment. One can order Chinese chives, white cabbage or meat filling. The beauty of the pot stickers here is that they are fried over a thin layer of dough, which prevents the dumplings' underside from being burnt. The quality of the wrappers is what make or break the dumplings, and these don't disappoint. What better way to wash down the dumplings than a cup of fragrant tea! This place, as its name suggests, serves some funky tea - not your powder tea mix (pearl tea variety) but freshly brewed ones.

This is the second outlet that operates under the same name. The pioneer shop still operates at Jalan Song Thian Cheok. The proprietor boasts of having a Taiwanese for a mother; well, the mother's talent doesn't go to waste.

For some stupid reason, the council combined 3 roads (Palm Rd., Ong Kee Hui Rd. and Jalan Keratapi) and renamed them as Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce (in honor of the last governor). Just imagine, those 3 roads have house numbers starting from 1, 2,3..... now there are three 1 etc., etc. You wouldn't want to take this route if you were a postman! This shop is on the second left turn off the main road after the Jalan Green/Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce intersection (old Jalan Keratapi).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

BREADED PORK CHOP WITH MOROCCAN CHERMOULLA



I got this Moroccan Chermoulla sauce as a gift. Without a thought, I tried it with this pork (Schweineschnitzel or whatever you want to call it). It compliments the dish well. You can try with whatever sauce you fancy.

PORK MARINATE


6 pcs. Pork Fillet (about 125 gm.each)
3 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce (naturally brewed)
9 tbsp Mirin
1 Cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
1 tsp White Pepper
1 tsp sugar

  • Tenderize the 1/4" thick pork cutlet by tapping with the back of a knife/cleaver.
  • Mix the above marinate until sugar dissolves. Add more soy sauce or Mirin if necessary, according to your taste.
  • Marinate the pork thoroughly. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour

PORK COATING AND DEEP FRYING


Dip pork cutlet into corn flour, then 2 lightly beaten eggs, and finally bread crumbs. Shake off excess coating.
Drop coated meat into a pot of hot oil on medium heat.
Fry until golden brown on both sides.





VEGETABLES

100 gm. Butter

3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

8 Large. Potatoes

1 Pack Snow Peas

¾ Cup Hot Milk

Salt




  1. Over low fire, melt butter. Add in garlic. Stir to prevent burning. Before garlic turns golden, remove from heat.
  2. Boil peeled potatoes in salt (2 tsp) water until they can be easily pierced through with a folk.
  3. Drain water. Mashed potatoes and slowly add milk (milk stated is a rough indication) until creamy. Add all the butter, saving 3 tbsp. for the snow peas. Put in salt to taste.
  4. Snip off both ends of snow peas. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and put into heated remaining garlic butter. Toss to fully coat the snow peas.

Monday, August 21, 2006

AMBULA JUICE (BUAH KEDONGDONG) @ HOW-YOU CAFÉ, RH PLAZA, BDC, KUCHING


This is the second time in 3 weeks I've tried this fruit juice since Anonymous tipped me off. It's a refeshing drink with slight acidity, which is toned down by 2 dried sour plum (Sńg Poi). Cost: RM2.50 per mug.

This coffee shop is next to a health food store facing the church, within RH Plaza commercial park.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

VEGETABLE RICE @ KIM JOO, EWE HAI STREET, KUCHING


I recently discovered this place although it's been around for ages. It's towards the end of the street; quite near the Say-Han-Kong temple. It has a little sign that says "RICE" at one of its pillars. For those unfamiliar with streets, Ewe Hai Street is the opposite end of Carpenter Street.

The place is run by 2 Hainanese brothers and their respective spouses. At the front of the store, the younger brother mans the noodle stall (kolo mee, the works), while the other one minds the till. And there's the mom..... who does everything except the cooking. The ladies are tasked with the frying. As evident from the open-kitchen, the operation is very much like a home concept..... no large wok-burner; just a few small portable stoves. So cooking time is longer than expected. One thing I admire is the stress-free environment they operate - no matter how pack the place is during lunch time, the only temperature that rises is the one on the asphalt street.

I guess this place is renowned for its one-plate rice dish. Although its menu is limited in its range, but it makes up for it in quality; and one pays a
premium for it. The vegetable rice I had is rice topped with Kai-Lan, shrimp and fish slices with a light sauce. Sometimes, local lettuce-like vegetable (curly veg.) is used, depending on availability.

Friday, August 18, 2006

SOONG KEE’S BEEF BALL NOODLES @ JLN. SILANG, K.L.

Beef Balls Koay Teow

Met up with some old friends, who know a thing or two about old haunts. This one is as old as it gets. It's air-conditioned now, so one is spared from the passing buses' fume. This beef noodle is different from the Ah Mui's or the Taiwanese beef noodle. The broth is almost the same as ordinary noodle's (clear) soup. It's the texture of the beef balls that come into play, and any hint of beef is undetectable. Anyone who hates the smell of beef may actually like the beef noodle here. We ordered the obligatory beef-parts soup. For one who likes Vietnamese Phó, this one rates in the middle rung.

This place is around the corner of Petaling Street.


Beef Parts Soup (The Works)

BAK KUT TEH @ RESTORAN SEM KIM, JALAN IPOH, K.L.

Bak-Kut-Teh


After a night out, we headed to Jalan Ipoh for Bak Kut Teh (mixed pork parts in herbal soup). The proprietor is Hokkien, and friendly and obliging - probably a slow night.

The Bak Kut Teh is really great. It's light on the herbs, so it lets the 'parts' do the talking. It's the soup that makes this dish great. Oh, the U-Puî (oil rice) that accompanies it is fragrant. The side order of liver soup with red wine is like what I cook at home (minus white wine). A great night out that capped my trip.


Ginger Pork Liver Soup

Thursday, August 17, 2006

ASIA CAFÉ @ SUBANG JAYA, SELANGOR

A college/attic-mate picked me up at Ikea quite late in the evening for dinner or rather supper. Zipping up and down the highway before deciding of this place. It's a huge foodcourt sitting on an old cinema site. The colleges dotting this area have made this place a lively eatery.


Deep Fried Battered Mushroom


Being the guest, the choice of food wasn't mine. The mushroom is crisp and light on the batter. The dip is like the Cantonese spring onion-ginger oil for Pak Chum Kai. Tempted to say, "Tastes like chicken." There, I've said it.


Penang Prawn Noodle


The prawn noodle looks good, but the soup is lacking in the pungent department. Not enough prawn shells in the stock.


Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish in Curry paste)


The grilled fish in red curry paste is quite hot. The fried orca with onion as toppings is a welcome change from the plain chilli paste grill.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

LOTUS RESTAURANT @ JALAN MEDAN TUANKU, KL


Yet another Nasi Kandar restaurant! This one is not far from Sogo; and this one has a hotel by the same name to boot. From the restaurant's signboard, it advertises itself as Penang Nasi Kandar. I don't know the whole story, but business must be good for it to venture into the hospitality trade.

I had plain rice with lamb curry, with chillied eggplant and turmeric pickled vegetables (cucumber, carrot and jicama [bangkuang/yambean]). It's pretty good.... better than the last one.

Sadly, I can't say the same about the lamb chop I had in the evening at the classic Coliseum Café at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
It was no better than the so-called 'Western Food' offered by Kuching's coffee shop. The ancient 'Ah Pek' staff of a waiter was so impatient with our orders, he hopped to another table before coming back to us again. It's not worth the price for a bit of nostalgia! Interestingly, the Coliseum Café has a 'CH' insignia on its wooden panel, which I take to mean Coliseum Hotel. Do I detect a reversal of fortune? There is no hotel in sight. Well, this is my tale of two eateries.


Monday, August 14, 2006

RESTORAN IMPIAN MAJU @ PRIMA SAUJANA, KAJANG BYPASS



This is where I was last week...... not in some remote reaches of Borneo, but the concrete jungle of Kay-El. This place is a new development, and not many businesses are operational yet. This is one of the 2 eateries within sight. It's a 24-hour Nasi Kandar restaurant occupying 2 shop lots. One takes the food from a buffet spread, and is charged according to the amount of food taken.

I had Nasi Byrani (Indian Paella) with Tandoori chicken, fried orca (lady's finger), curry squid, pickled cucumber with pineapple, and curry eggplant. The chicken was a bit dry of an otherwise satisfying meal. Suraida had the same rice with fried chicken, pickle, chicken Masak Merah and Papadam (fritters).


Sunday, August 13, 2006

KUEH CHAP @ KIM YU LI CAFÉ, 3RD. MILE BAZZAR, KUCHING


Kueh Chap is akin to the pork leg rice (Too-Kar-Píun). In the respect that they both share the same offerings - offal. Lots of them... more so than the pork leg rice. Apart from lean pork meat, there are belly pork, tongue, ear, skin, intestine, stomach, fried beancurd (Tau Pok) and stewed hard boiled egg (Loh Nũng), plus the Kueh, which is flat rice noodle, but broader. The chilli dip that goes with this dish is Balacan Chilli with white vinegar. The soup, with all the 'spare parts' adding to its flavor, is simply divine.

Don't be put off by the word "offal". I had visitors from New Zealand recently (one is a first-timer here) who relished this dish... satisfied until the last drop. Like in the army, it's a "Don't ask, don't tell!" policy if you want to enjoy the good things in life.

This
café is on the second street on the left as you turn into Jalan Batu Kawa from the 3rd. Mile roundabout. The Kueh Chap stall used to be in the first coffee shop on the first street. It's more spacious here, and away from the bustle of the market street. They soup they serve here is unadulterated, unlike others where they add in five spice powder. One other thing, be sure you order the 'works' when you're here..... anything else is not complete!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

FERMENTED BEANCURD CHICKEN


This dish reminds me of a friend, who guided me through my first noodle soup from scratch and put me on a culinary path. You stalkers out in U.K., any idea how to lock down on an A.WO.L. person, short of putting mug shot on a milk carton? Do drop me a line. Last sighting – Glasgow, and last communication H.K.

For those who hate fermented beancurd (like I do) for its pungent smell will be pleasantly surprised with this dish. Its strong flavor is asorbed into the chicken, while at the chicken lends a sweetness to the sauce. You'll be hard pressed to detect any hint offermented beancurd with the end result.


CHICKEN MARINATE


½ chicken (cut into bite-size)

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp cornflour

1 tbsp cooking oil



SAUCE

1 clove garlic (minced)

2 cubes fermented red beancurd (tau ju)+ liquid

2 tbsp water

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp cornflour (thickener)

½ cup water (thickener)




METHOD

  1. Marinate chicken and set aside for ½ hr. before use.
  2. Put the fermented beancurd into a small bowl, and add a couple tablespoon of water, plus the sugar. Use spoon to crush and mix it into a paste.
  3. Put 3-4 tbsp. oil into a pot once hot, throw in garlic, and quick stir around for few seconds. Before the garlic turns golden, put in the marinated chicken. Toss the chicken to get it cooked on all sides before putting in the fermented beancurd paste.
  4. Let the chicken absorb the paste thoroughly before adding enough water to cover the chicken. When the liquid comes to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so with lid on.
  5. Add salt to taste. Then thicken liquid with cornflour starch (the thickener above is a guide; adjust to desired consistency). Ready to serve.



Monday, August 07, 2006

PORK LEG RICE @ BIG HORSE CAFÉ, JALAN FOOCHOW 1, KUCHING


The Teochew Pork Leg Rice in Kuching is different from that of Thailand, where only pork leg is used; here they served the whole enchilada - pork leg, trotter, stomach, intestine, bladder, tail, with hard boiled eggs, and hard taufu (taukua). They are all cooked in soy sauce broth, much like soy sauce chicken. Their accompaniments are vegetable curry and soy sauce broth, pickled cucumber and balacan chilli condiment.

This stall is an all-girls’ operation run by the daughter of Lau Siong. Lau Siong set up his first shop at the present Chai Song Soon coffee shop, the first shop at Jalan Padungan next to the big white cat statue. Then he moved with his son to the opposite end of the street at Yam Seak Café. He has since retired. The daughter just recently joined the family franchise.

What do I like about this stall? It all boils down to the preparation of the intestine. An ill-prepared intestine tastes like shit, literally.




Friday, August 04, 2006

SARAWAK LAKSA @ JIN MIN CAFÉ, JALAN SEKAMA, KUCHING


What can you say about the venerable Sarawak Laksa? Nothing much except it tastes bloody great! And it’s all about the soup, gravy, sauce or whatyamacallit…. Just one slurp of it and you can say sayonara to your Nonya Laksa.

Unlike most Laksa available in the city, this one is home made – not your run-of-the-mill Swallow Brand Laksa paste. According to my source, who moonlights at this stall on weekend, the old man learnt his recipe from his cousin, Ah Yew Laksa, which is farther up the road. However, it tastes different from its mentor’s. The soup is light on the coconut milk, thus one can have an indulgent trip minus the guilt.

This café is located away from the main road, behind the old Lido cinema. It used to out in front where the Cultural Inn is eon ago, but they relocated with the café owner. The old man just passed on recently; now the stall is run by the son and his cohorts. It’s open for night business as well. And if you’re into horse racing…. this is the place to be.

* Laksa is watery curry on rice vermicelli with chicken shreds, shrimps, beansprout and omelette strips, complimented with sambal balacan (chilli and shrimp paste condiment) with limequat .


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

STIR-FRIED LONG BEANS WITH DRIED ANCHOVIES



This is minimalist stir-frying, with anchovies being the main ingredient to flavor the dish. As ingredients go, it looks deceptively blend. But it tastes anything, but bland.



INGREDIENTS


150 gm. Long Beans
1 Red Chilli (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp Dried Anchovies
2 Cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
Cooking Oil
Salt



METHOD

  1. Wash and cut off both ends of the beans. Cut beans into 3" length.
  2. Cut garlic into slivers, and chilli into thin strips diagonally.
  3. Put 3-4 tbsp. oil around the rim of the wok, and let it slide to the bottom, coating the whole wok on high heat.
  4. Throw in garlic, chilli and anchovies, and quick stir around for few seconds. Before the garlic turns golden, put in the beans. Toss the bean to coat thoroughly.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of water, and salt to taste. Toss again and cover the wok for few seconds.
  6. When steam comes out of the side of lid, give the veg. a few more tosses before serving.


ABOUT THIS BLOG

As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

May the Farce be With You!

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