Friday, September 29, 2006

CLAYPOT RICE @ CHINESE BARBECUE SPECIALIST, JALAN PADUNGAN, KUCHING


This is rice cooked in claypot over charcoal fire, topped with chicken, Chinese sausage, salted fish, or any of the combination you prefer. Charcoal-fired rice beats a gas-flamed one anytime, hands down. Charcoal being the preferred method because the high flame heats up the whole parameter of the claypot, not just the bottom only. Unlike the briyani or paella, the marinated chicken, sausages and salted fish is put on top of the rice when it's almost done. It's cooked by the heat and steam of the rice in the last 10 minutes or so, thereby allowing the flavor of the topping to drip onto the rice. Finally a concoction of soy sauce graces the whole dish before it's being served.

As the name of the shop suggests, this place specializes in Chinese Barbecue pork and duck. Apart from those, its menu has one-plate rice dishes as well as à la carte meat and vegetable dishes as well as steamed soup .

This place is in the first block of shop houses facing Tun Jugah Mall. Parking is a bit problematic; cross the roads at your own perils, as zebra crossing and traffic light are non-existence. Or you could press your luck by parking along the yellow line outside the premise. The risk is worth taking.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ROTI BABI BAKAR (PORK SANDWICH TOAST)


Here's a spin on the Roti Babi (Pork Bread) recipe; instead of deep frying the bread, it's toasted on a sandwich press. This is home-made bread by Suraidah, and it's sliced 1½ the thickness of a normal slice. The extra thickness won't make the end product extra thin after being sandwich-pressed.


PORK MARINATE


250 gm. Minced Pork

2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Cornflour

1 tbsp. Cooking Oil

INGREDIENTS


2 tsp. White Peppercorn

2 tsp. Corriander Seed
5 gm. galangal slice

3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Onion (minced)

2 Eggs (scrambled)

Salt



METHOD


  1. Marinate the minced pork and set aside.
  2. Blend peppercorn, corriander and galangal together into powder. Minced the onion and garlic separately.
  3. Fry the spice powder in an oiled (3 tbsp.) wok until fragrant.
  4. Add in the minced onion and garlic. Toss to prevent burning.
  5. Next, the minced pork is added to the mix. When the pork is almost done, push it to one side, and pour in the scrambled eggs. Mix well with the meat. Add salt to taste. Scoop out when the egg is set.
  6. Place bread on the toaster; spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the top side. Spoon about 3 tbsp. of fried pork onto the bread; spread out using the back of spoon. Top off with a mayonnaised slice (bottom) of bread. It's ready for the press.




Sunday, September 24, 2006

SET MENU 2B @ KAFE ZHI WEI, BAN HOCK ROAD, KUCHING

This is the second time I've stepped into the Taiwan-Style cafe wannabe. The first time was when it just open for business and a fellow blogger mentioned it, and I gave it a go 'cos of his glowing review. Contrary to his review, the proprietress was non-plussed about its Hakka affiliation, and I wasn't too impressed with its limited rudimentary selection of food, which didn't beckon another 'try'.

CLAYPOT PORK WITH SALTED FISH

It was one of those Sunday evenings that I didn't feel like cooking, and wasn't too keen in jostling for food with the Sunday crowd. This place looked quiet from the main road as I zipped into town. If it didn't work out, I have the option of another eatery next door.

CHICKEN WITH FRAGANT VEGETABLE


What do you know? This place spotted a new set of menu, and set-meal menu looked inviting. The range of food is more diverse than before. I'd give it another go!


CRISPY TOFU WITH SALAD SAUCE


We settled for the set menu, plan 2B. Surprisingly, It was pleasant meal to be had.... it consisted of the above 3 dishes and a soup of the day, which was some plain herbal soup cooked in pork bones. Cost: RM16.80 excluding rice.


I'm still trying to figure what the fragrant vegetable is. It looks like dried chilli but has the texture and taste of sea kelp. It has no taste of its own other than the flavor it "borrowed" from the chicken. In fact the menu describes it as crispy vegetable, which it isn't.

Friday, September 22, 2006

ROTI BAKAR (TOASTED BREAD) @ SIN WEI TONG CAFÉ, JALAN GREEN HILL, KUCHING



I love the smell of toasted bread in the morning. Not just any toast... it has to be grilled over charcoal fire. It's one of those small pleasures in life one can still enjoy over a cup of the dark one - Kopi-'O', black coffee.

This coffee shop is one of the few in town that serves toast the old-fashion way. Most have opted for electric toaster, which is too scientifically predictable. See the photo below; the thick slices (double the thickness of normal slice) of bread are left to grill slowly over the 'spent' charcoal. There is hardly any fire
emanating from the charcoal. Any 'burnt' slices are simply scraped off. Because of its thickness, the slices are still moist in the center, while the exterior is crisp and crunchy.

It is normal practice for the toast to be sliced in half horizontally, and have butter and Kaya (coconut custard jam) spread on the untoasted sides. In my case, I requested them to be spread on top - Roti-Kiap or Roti-Kahwin (sandwich or marriage of bread), and Láing-Gu-Yu (cold butter).


This place is located opposite the Star Cineplex, next to the travel agency. It opens for business around 6:30 am. and is popular among the old folks, who still order their daily staple of Roti-Kahwin with soft boiled egg on a plate, slurped down with dark soy sauce and white pepper.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

FRIED SAMBAL KOAY TEOW (FLAT RICE NOODLE WITH CHILLI DRIED SHRIMPS)


This a simple dish in its content. It consists of Koay Teow (Rice Flat Noodle), bean sprout, spring onion and eggs. I've added sambal to this classic to give it a spicy twang. Normally, Chinese chives are used instead of spring onions. If it is used, the vegetable has to be fried longer.



INGREDIENTS

1 Bag Koay Teow

10 gm. Dried Shrimp

3 Cloves Garlic

3 Chillies

Bean Sprout

6 Stalks Spring Onion

3 Eggs

Dark Soy Sauce

Salt



METHOD
  1. Separate the strains of rice noodle. Leave no lumps.
  2. Soak the dried shrimps in hot water to dehydrate. Cut Spring onion to 2" length.
  3. Blend/pound the garlic, chillies and dried shrimps into a sambal paste.
  4. Heat up wok and drizzle 4 tbsp. of cooking oil around its side.
  5. Fry the sambal over low flame first; pressing it flat, then scoop and toss until it turns amber in color.
  6. Turn flame to high, dump in the Koay Teow (noodle) and mix with the sambal. Do not stab the noodle. Use scoop (from the bottom) and turn motion of the spatula. Use the corner tip of the spatula (jiggle) to loosen and separate the noodle.
  7. Splash a couple of tablespoon of dark soy sauce around the noodle. Toss to get an even coat of brownish-tan color.
  8. Push the noodle to one side of the wok, and crack in the eggs. Pierce the yolks and let them bleed. Blanket the eggs with the noodle and mix well to get a fusion of white and yellow strain of color.
  9. When the eggs are almost set, throw in the vegetables. Give it a few spin and add salt to taste. Scoop out and serve immediately. Don't over-fry the vegetables. The heat from the noodle helps cook it as well when removed from the wok.

Monday, September 18, 2006

SET MENU #1 @ SATAY HOUSE, LORONG RUBBER 3A, KUCHING

The original satay place has its humble beginning along the monsoon drain along the old Palm Road, on a stretch of old dingy sheds. When the city councils banned all the side-street stalls, they were relocated to Hui Sing Hawkers' Centre. The original satay stall has 2 stalls there; one selling satay and the other selling home-cooked meals. It also has a bigger restaurant-style eatery at Rubber Road proper called Hap Chen Hian.

This one, its third, is operated by one of the daughter-in-laws and grandsons. Its main attraction is its pork satay (skewered meat). It serves ala carte meals as well as the set. The set meal selection is a no-brainer (when it's still on snooze mode) for me, which is good for a Sunday eat-out; just eeni mini minor mo!


There are 4 selections of the set meal to choose from, priced at RM16.80 for 3 dishes. This does not include rice. I don't know what's the magic number in 1680; other places offer the same prices for their set meals as well.

On the whole, the meal is decent for a home-cooked style meal. The soup is a bit "mucky" from over simmering of an otherwise flavorful hot pot. Generous potion: good for 3 to 4 persons. It would be a sin not to order its signature dish when dinning here; thus, you see the pork satay (below) at 35sen per stick. It's kind of thin on its slices of meat, making it a wee too dry.



Pork Satay


Preserved Mustard Green Duck Soup (Kiam Chai Ark)


Szechuan Dried Chilli Chicken



Fried Kailan With Oyester Sauce

Saturday, September 16, 2006

THAI STEAMBOAT @ COCA RESTAURANT, CROWNE PLAZA RIVERSIDE, KUCHING



Had a treat from Aunty Maggie after the launch of her new book, "4 Eyes". This Thai restaurant is nestled on the 3rd. floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The all-you-can-eat buffet is price at RM40 per person. It's kind of expensive, but the quality of the grub you get is unquestionable; you get real seafood, not the processed crabmeat or squid balls (read 'fish').

We opted for plain chicken soup for the steamboat, rather than the Tom Yam; somebody rather not temper the tummy for the next day's long flight. All the initial dishes of raw food were delivered and put into the boiling vat for us. I would have preferred we did it ourselves, because some of the stuff like shrimps and squid were overcooked by the time we got round to them. The other gripe was that the staff were attentive considering that there were only 3 tables the whole night, and one table left 10 minutes after we arrived and the other half way through our meal.

To get your money's worth, eat like the Japanese and Taiwanese do; eat all the seafood and whatever first, then savor the 'flavored' soup with the noodle last. That way, your tummy won't be filled with water first, leaving you hungry in half an hour's time. What's so different about Thai Steamboat from say Chinese or Japanese? Nothing much except the dipping sauce. It's tomatolicious!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

STIR-FRIED FRENCH BEANS WITH DRIED SHRIMPS



All this dish requires is a quick stir-fry. You want to retain the crunchness and resilient of the French beans; frying too long will turn your vegetable into tint of yellow. You don't have to use the expensive dreid shrimps; the tiniest and cheapest ones will do - saves you the trouble of cutting them into smaller pieces.

INGREDIENTS


200 gm. French Beans (ends removed)
1 Red Chilli (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp. Dried Shrimps
2 Cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
Cooking Oil
Salt



METHOD

  1. In a wok, fill enough water to boil the French beans. Set flame to high. Add 2 tablespoon of cooking oil and a teaspoon of salt.Cut garlic into slivers, and chilli into thin strips diagonally.

  2. When water comes to a boil, put in the French beans, and have them blanched (less than a minute). Remove and drain in a colander.

  3. Pour away water from wok; when dry (over medium flame), add in 3 tablespoons of cooking oil around the parameter of the wok and let it flow down, coating the wok.

  4. Fry the dried shrimps and chilli; tossing and turning to prevent burning.

  5. As the dried shrimps start to sizzle, turn flame to high, put in the garlic and quick fry for a few seconds before putting in the French beans. Have the beans thoroughly coated with the shrimp chilli oil.

  6. Add in salt to taste. Remove and serve immediately.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

KOREAN FOOD @ MANNA CAFÉ GALLERY, WISMA SANYAN, SIBU

Shopping for (exercise) walking shoes... my 4th. pair for the year. I don't walk, I shuffle. Well, got a pretty good bargain. RM50 for a pair of Puma. Looks like the real McCoy with its green box. The thing about this mall is its lack of eatery, save for a KFC and Pizza Hut and a grand restaurant.

This one is tucked at the corner of the 5th. floor. It bills itself as a Korean eatery with its setup, but has an eclectic selection of local and Western food. I call this a "Yankee-Doodle" operation - 'Put a noodle on his hat, and call it "macaroni"!

Ordered a Sushi appetizer; notice the wrapping? Need I say more. The beef rice was dark as tar (even my lightening the pic. doesn't help) with onion and leek. The fried rice is heavy on sesame oil, with diced carrot and kernels of corn, plus tiny bits of discolored turkey ham.

Verdict: Mana bagus?!!!


Mayonnaise Vegetable Sushi


Beef Rice


Fried Rice

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TAU EU BAK (BRAISED SOY SAUCE PORK)


This is a home favorite. I think it's a precursor to venerable Too-Ka P'ng. You can use any cut of pork. It's one of those dishes you have to use your "agak-agak" (approximate) instinct. - no measurement require! You want more eggs, pile them on! More Tau-Kńua? No problemo! (The hard beancurd is Tau-Kńua [Hokkien].) Scared of Nasfuratu, add more garlic. You get my drift?





INGREDIENTS

1 Strip Belly Pork

500 gm. Pork Spareribs

Dark Soy Sauce

1 Knob Garlic

2 tsp. Sugar

2 Hard Boiled Eggs

2 pcs. Hard Beancurd

Salt






METHOD



  • Rub belly pork all over with salt and cornflour; massage a bit. Rinse off. Repeat. Rinse the spareribs (cut to about 3" length).

  • Pat dry the belly pork and spareribs, then marinate them with dark soy sauce; about a cup or so. Don't worry about using too much, it will be put to good use later. Let it sit in the fridge for at least ½ an hour.

  • Remove the outer skin of the garlic, leaving only a layer with the whole clove. Wash.

  • Hard boil the eggs. Remove the shell when cool. Set aside the whole hard boiled eggs.

  • Remove the meat from the marinate. Let it drip dry, so it won't splatter when it's fried. Reserve the soy marinate.

  • Heat up the pot, add 6 tbsp. of cooking oil. When hot, put in the meat and sear it on all sides.

  • When seared, add the reserved marinate, and let it be absorped into the meat. Add in 2 tbsp. sugar to be coat and caramelized with the meat. Add more dark soy sauce if required. Lower the heat to avoid burning.

  • Let it simmer in the soy sauce for 5 minutes over low heat before adding just enough water to cover the meat.

  • Submerge the garlic cloves. Simmer (covered) for another 30 minutes. In the last 15 minutes add in the whole eggs and beancurds; tuck beneath the meat, to absorp the soy sauce. Finally add salt to taste if required. However, if it's too salty add boiled hot water to adjust the taste.

  • It's best to let the meat and the rest of the stuff sit in the sauce for a few hours before serving. The eggs and beancurds will have a nice color to them, plus the soy sauce flavor.

  • Cut the belly pork to 1/4" thick before serving.





  • Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    ON THE BEGGAR'S TRAIL

    If you happen to be in Sibu on a weekend, join the volunteers of the Sibu Benevolent Society on their Sunday's Beggar’s Route. It's a one-hour ritual, where a group of volunteers, make their rounds at the Central Market collecting food (meat, veg., fish, etc.) that feeds inmates at society's home for the whole week.

    The home is a non-profit institution, with a little grant from the government and a lot of generosity from the folks of Sibu, and has been functioning for over half a century. It cares for folks (old and young) who are mainly forsakened by their families. Don't ask why? A few catholic nuns and paid workers help run the place. It's a non-faith institution and accepts whatever help it can get. Even the Taoist temple, Tua-Pek Kong, contributes rice and food that their faithful offer in their rituals.

    The Sunday collectors are divided into groups, with its group leaders bearing a bell. Like an ice cream man/woman of days of old, the bell is rung to notify their presence. A few tag-alongs help to carry the donated stuff in rottan baskets. The route I took covered the meat and fish market. The generosity of the vendors is to be commended. Shoppers alike did their part; some bought cup cakes, eggs and other items that are not normally collected.

    Have you done your good deed this week?


    "Champion" from the previous night was the leader of our chain gang


    Haul For The Week

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    ZI-CHAR @ CHAMPION, SRI MERANTI, JALAN HARDIN, SIBU

    This is where I was over the weekend. Straight from the airport, and dinner at this place. Remember the RM3 Koay Teow I had during the last visit? This is the place. I know the owner by the name of "Champion". He's been called back from retirement to assist his young son, 18 years young, run the kitchen. Well, the kitchen is no bigger than 15' x 10' at the back end of this coffee shop.

    It was standard Zi-Char (cook/fry) fare. The food came fast and furious, despite the Saturday crowd. The person working the chopsticks and corriander was faster to the draw than I could say "cheese!" (last 2 pics).


    Mixed Vegetables with processed cuttlefish


    Deep Fried Chicken With Five-Spice Dip


    Steamed Tapah Fish


    Steamed Shrimps


    Fried (Hokkien) Noodle


    Shaved Ice,The Works

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    SPARERIB KING (PAI-KUT ONG) @ CHUNG HUA, EXPERT FOODCOURT, RH PLAZA, KUCHING

    r
    I wonder why they call it spare rib king, when there are no spare ribs to be found? I guess it must be the layer of meat they use, which is above the spare ribs of the pig. This is a variation of sweet and sour pork, with Lea and Perirns sauce being used to give it the sour taste. Toasted sesame seed is added to give extra fragrance and nutty flavor. It comes accompanied with pickled cucumber, carrots and chilli.

    This is a little back kitchen that operates at the corner of the cooffe shop. It has an extensive ala carte menu, if you read Chinese. I guess they can whip out anything you fancy within their resources.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    TIEN MEIN HU (DEMYSTIFIED) @ HAPPY CAFÉ, JALAN BATU LINTANG, KUCHING



    This corner shop is located at the first block as you enter Jalan Batu Lintang from Jalan Simpang Tiga/Jalan Tabuan/Jalan Mendu intersection. It's one of the early shops that serves Tien Mein Hu (
    wok-scrapped curls) before the mass Foochow invasion of Kuching in the 90's.

    This dingy-looking place is run by 2 sisters. They sell Kampua Mee and the likes. Frankly after all these years, I haven't tried all their other stuff except the Tien Mein Hu. It lacks the processed cuttlefish and fishball. Instead it has sliced pork, meatballs, wood ear fungus (O-Mok-Ni) and dried lily flower (Kim Chiam).

    Below are the steps to making a Tien Mein Hu. 1. All the ingredients are put into the wok. 2. Pork broth is added. 3. Rice flour paste is spread around the side of the wok. 4. Once the paste is set, becoming flat noodle, it is scrapped onto the broth.


    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    2 VEG. + 1 MEAT @ WONDERFUL FOODCOURT, CENTRAL PARK, 3RD. ML., KUCHING


    It's one of those days, when your hunger pang gets the better of you... and just dive into whatever eatery that's closest. I happened to be at the 3rd. Mile area and the eating area seems to congregate around here. This area seems to be a favorite haunt for college students, especially in the evening. And large T.V. screens, evident in the few coffee shops in the vicinity are indicative of the crowds they cater for.

    It's ready-cooked food on hot serving trays for lunch. I had fried bitter gourd with eggs, fried corner beans with anchovies and braised belly pork in soy sauce, with a bowl of soup to boot. Cost: RM2.50. Dirt cheap! It's self- service, and you pay for what you put on your plate.



    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    CHILLI OIL WONTON



    Instead of having just Wonton soup, try a variation instead. A word of caution, some delicate tummies might not be able to stand the chilli oil. Tone down on the chilli if you have to. Use light oil by all means. I mixed mine with a little grape seed oil. The idea here is to get an amber colored chilli infused oil to use as a dressing for the Wonton. The filling for the wonton is the same as previous post, and so is the cooking method.

    Alternatively you can use commercially bottled chilli sauce (chilli, sugar & vinegar), light soy sauce, msg (optional) and lard for this dry wonton recipe.

    INGREDIENTS

    1 cup vegetable oil
    5 cloves garlic
    3 shallots
    10 dried chillies (seeded)
    1 tbsp sugar

    1 tsp salt







    • Mince in a blender or pound all the above ingredients into an oily paste form.
    • Bring all the ingredients to a sizzle in a pot over low heat.
    • Stir constantly.
    • If it gets too hot, remove from heat. Return to heat to get a golden color on the garlic and a crisp texture.
    • Set the chilli oil aside once done.
    • For every 10 cooked Wonton (thereabout), toss them with 2 tbsp. light soy sauce, and 1½ to 2 tbsp. of chilli oil. (Optional: ½ tsp. msg)
    • Garnish with fried shallots and spring onion before serving.



    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    MIXED MEAT SOUP @ MIN JOO, JALAN BISHOPSGATE, KUCHING


    People who frequent this haunt have only one thing in mind… Chainē! That’s everything (of the pig’s body) except the kitchen sink; there is liver, kidney, stomach, tongue, intestine, pork belly, minced pork, heart, Char-Sui, fishballs, fried fish paste and tiny shrimp, seaweed with preserved salted mustard green. The Kolo Mee, Koay Teow plays second fiddle to this Chainē. You have the option to order plain rice to go with it.

    The popularity of this establishment is evident from the crowd outside waiting to be seated. It's not only popular among the Chinese, but Bidayuhs (local natives) are known to have traveled from as far as Serian and Bau to have a taste of the Chainē. We have a name for this place: "Zuah-Zuah-A-Mee" (hot hot noodle) because the place is like a suana.You'll come out sweating.

    The rule of this place is that whatever empty seat is available; stake your claim to it - even if it means sharing a table with strangers. Rule 2: Don't order unless the chopsticks, spoon and chilli/soy sauce saucer are placed on your table. There is a very efficient system of orders taking in place - thou shall not be served until thy table are ready to be served! No ifs and buts, unless you want some friendly sarcastic Teochew rebuttal! So be prepared to wait and sweat.

    * Jalan Bishopsgate is the side street between Carpenter Street and Main Bazzar. Seating are available at the Bishopsgate Coffee Shop next door, which is run by the "Tua-Pui-Soo's" grandson.

    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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