Thursday, November 30, 2006

FLAT NOODLE SOUP (KOAY TEOW TH'NG), THE WORKS @ ZEN MIN CAFÉ, JALAN SEKAMA, KUCHING

I have reviewed on this place before. This noodle stall has joined this coffee shop for quite a few years. Originally it was at the coffee shop behind the Sarawak Security building. Guess the downturn of shares-trading business has put a damper on the business there.

Gettalotathis! This works has a different take to it. On top of the usual liver, kidney, cha-sui, fishball, shrimp and pig's blood, there are yong-taufu style of stuffed vegetables. There are eggplant, chilli and bitter gourd stuffed with fish paste. You have to dig your way through the topping to get to the noodle. These Teochew couple certainly know their noodles!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WESTERN @ D' BULL, JALN TUN AHMAD ZAIDI ADRUCE, KUCHING

Mint Sauce Lamb Shank


This is one of those Western grill place sprouting around town with cheap offering. Remember, if you pay peanuts, you'll get elephant meat. That's exactly what my over-done steak tastes like; tough as elephant's hide.... and it ain't no bull! Maybe it's the thinnest of the slices that makes it pliable, but then again, the person taking the order never bothers to ask how the meat should be done.

As for the lamb shank, what we are getting is only half its size. A little too small for the price we pay; considering that one uncooked shank costs about RM7.50 each. So what we get is about RM4.00 worth of meat, plus another RM3.00 worth vegetables. And we are charged like RM23.00 for that tiny bundle with a few miserable fries and coleslaw. The mint sauce cooked in the meat's dripping is its only saving grace.


Black Pepper Steak

Those interested in this place, it can be found at the shop lots behind the Roxy cinema. Accessible on the first left turn after the 3rd. mile flyover on Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce towards town.

Monday, November 27, 2006

PENANG PRAWN NOODLE (HAY MEE) @ MERRYPARK CAFÉ, TABUAN JAYA, KUCHING


This is the real McCoy down to the person cooking it. Meet the Chews: Dad (Prawn noodle & Loh Mee), Mom (Fried Koay Teow) and 2 teenage daughters (servers). Imported materials from Tay-Sar-Kay (3rd. Street), Penang.

The noodle is served a little different from the Penang's counterpart. The sambal belacan is not plopped on top of the whole enchilada, but on a separate little dish to suit the local taste buds. No fancy spareribs here; just the normal slices of boiled pork fillet, boiled egg, kangkong and medium size shrimps. The taste of a good bowl of prawn noodle is in its soup, and this one doesn't disappoint; the man doesn't skimp on his shrimp soup base.

The only gripe with this stall is that the man is slow with his preparation. He'd have gone bust if he were in Penang. 'Patience' is the word!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

CHAR KUEH @ EASTMOORE CAFÉ, KUCHING



This is follow-up from the last review post. True to the father's word, it comes with bean sprouts. Although the dad makes the radish cake, it somehow tastes different; a bit too soft on the cake. I guess it all boils down to the frying of the product. I think he missed the first step: shallow frying. For all its worth, it wasn't too bad. The chilli at the side, I think, is normal practice if you order it 'hot'. It's the same at his dad's except he mixes the chilli in while frying for my order.

If Char Kueh is your kind of thing day and night, this family can satisfy you first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Eastmoore is opposite of Westmoore, duh? After Ong Thien Swee Road, along Rock Road (2½ mile).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

PASTRIES @ CHONG CHON BISCUIT MAKER, KAI JOO LANE, KUCHING


This is not an advertorial.... I so happen to have my camera that day, and the work area of this place is out in the open for all to see. While waiting for the century pau (above), which I haven't tried before, I got to chat with the matriarch and learnt of its illustrious history.

According to the lady, the family, Chui, started out as noodle seller, making their own noodle and selling the cooked stuff, in front of the Cathay cinema. When the council didn't renew their trading license, they had a shop at Jalan Padungan next to the present police station (present Fung Hung). At the present time, the eldest son carries on the family noodle tradition at the 3rd. mile Central Park with his signature spinach noodle.







If it is pateries, pies, puffs or whatever you may call them
you want ... this is the place to be. It's the pioneer in this line, and out-of-towners buy them by the boxes.

Except for the Wu-Kok (Yam Fluff), all the pasteries are baked. There are Siu-Pao, Curry Puff (curry minced pork filling), Century Pao (with century egg) and Daań Taať (Egg Tart). The Wu-Kok may not have the appearance and crispiness of a scotch egg, it tastes great nonetheless.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

QUICK STIR-FRY BEEF NOODLE


Nothing fancy; just a simple, fast fry job. The noodle is like the thin Cantonese noodle. Some people make the mistake of boiling the noodle before hand, and then blame it on the noodle when the noodle turns soggy when fried.





INGREDIENTS

1 Ball Dried Egg Noodle

75 gm. Thin Sliced Beef

2 tsp. Light Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp. Cornflour

1/4 tsp. Sugar

1/4 tsp. Cornflour

Cooking Oil

Few Leaves of Bok-Choy

1 Clove Garlic (Minced)

1/8 Cup Water

Salt





  1. Soak Dried Noodle in a bowl of tap water. Once it starts to loosen, use chopsticks to jiggle it and loosen completely. Don't over soak the noodle. Wash off any "flour slime". Drain in a strainer and let it dry completely before use.
  2. Marinate beef with cornflour, sugar, light soy sauce and oil for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Pour about 4 tablespoons of cooking around the edge of a heated wok.
  4. Spread the hydrated noodle in the wok. Use chopsticks spread it around the wok. Then use spatula to scoop and turn the noodle to sear slightly. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Scoop out (about a minute or so) into a plate when all the strains are coated with oil and fried.
  5. Add another 3 tablespoons of oil into the wok. Fry the minced garlic until fragrant.
  6. Add beef, and toss and turn to mix completely. As the meat changes color from pink to grey, throw in the vegetable. Toss a few times before adding a bit of water(which will have been evaporated when cooking is done) to accelerate cooking. Add salt to taste.
  7. Scoop out immediately when the meat is no longer pink, and top onto the noodle and serve. The vegetable should be firm and crunchy

Monday, November 20, 2006

KOLO MEE & BEEF SOUP @ LOONG SIANG YEN CAFÉ, JALAN UPLAND, KUCHING

Kolo Mee Kosong (Plain Noodle)


This is the cousin of Ah Guan from Nyan Shin Café; so it's by no coincidence that the Taiwanese Stew beef looks and tastes similar, down to the tomato slices. No, it's not a copycat. This stall is popular in its on right for its own-made Kolo Mee. A friend, who introduces me to this place, complains that its potion is small, and a double order of noodle is required for fulfilling meal. But when you see the proprietor, you'd understand why. He reminds me of L.S. Lowry's paintings.



Taiwanese Stew Beef


I'm not a fan of Nyan Shin's beef. Ditto here. Fear not, there's another version from which one can order. (See below)


Home-Brewed Stew Beef


Another thing that intrigues me is the Laksa stall occupying the front corner of the coffee shop. Of all my visits there, the old man running the stall is always cleaning up, packing to go. Business must be good, or is it the Laksa?


RM2.50 Laksa


I finally got a taste of the Laksa one early morning. It has only one price tag on it; RM2.50... and its colonial! All I can say, for that price you can a bountiful serving of Beehoon, chicken shred and tiny shrimps, and Belacan Sambal too! Apart from that, it's downhill all the way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FRIED RICE @ KIM JOO, JALAN EWE HAI, KUCHING


I know, I know... déjà vu? It's one of the frequent revisits. I'll run the gauntlet of this eatery's menu in due course.

This has to be one of the more expensive fried rice in town by cheap eats standard, apart from the ones you get in hotels. It's like your normal home-cooked version; maybe a bit generous on the Chinese sausage and shrimps. It's void of the normal frozen vegetables (peas, sweet corn, peas and carrot); instead you get fresh green vegetables thrown into the mix. There's a hint of Yong Chow fried rice here. Finally, an over-easy fried egg with a light swirl of dark soy sauce topping the rice caps this simple delectable morsel.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MEATBALL (BAK-ENEE) SOUP @ CHIN CHAN LEE, BATU KAWA



Batu Kawa is outside the city limits: This is Hakka territory. If you speak the dialect or Mandarin, it will be a plus. Otherwise you have to resort to sign language. It's a bit like entering the Twilight Zone when you're.... it's hard to imagine that the city is only a 10 minutes drive east, yet the place seems 'removed'. This place is renowned for its pork meatballs (Bak-Enee). There are a few coffee shops selling the same stuff, which I have yet to find in Kuching. Its secret remains largely intact within the parameter of this village.

This is the second last shop on the right side of the street, next to the Telekom building. It's a family run business, with the old granny still doing the busing. This is the 'better-off' in the block because it could afford to take a hiatus of 6 months while the whole row of wooden shop lots were demolished for reconstruction.
















For the soup, you have a choice of meatballs, meatcake and stuffed fried taufu. I had a mee kosong (plain noodle) with the soup. For those who like hot stuff, upon request, you can have chilli padi with limequart and soy sauce to accompany the noodle and soup.

When things gets too hot, you can always drown down with a bottle of old fashion soda; the venerable cream soda. The drinks share the same recipe as those from Sibu's Ngo Kian's bottler. This cheap drink is bottled at the 7th. mile Penrissen Road, towards the infamous hospital for the 'unwell'.

'Uncooked' meatballs and cakes can be purchased by the weight.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FRIED FISH IN MISO SAUCE



Nothing spectacular; a fast and simple one, sans of dressing. This dish is akin to the Tau-Cheo (bean paste) fish. All I can say is , you've got to try it to really appreciate it. Don't let the fish soak in the sauce for too long; it takes away the crispiness of the fish. Eat immediately!


INGREDIENTS


1 Fish

Cornflour

1 Red Chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp Miso
1 Clove Garlic (minced)
Cooking Oil
1/2 Cup Water

2 tsp. Sugar

Salt

Cornflour Starch


METHOD

  1. Wash and score the fish. Pat dry, rub a bit of salt on both sides of the fish and the belley cavity, then coat with cornflour. Shake off excess cornflour.
  2. Heat enough cooking oil in a wok, and deep-fry until golden brown. Remove and soak excess oil with paper towel.
  3. Leave 3-4 tbsp. of oil in the wok. Fry the garlic together with chilli until fragrant; then add the miso paste. Mix well before adding the water and sugar.
  4. When sauce comes to a boil, add salt if required before thickening it with cornflour starch.
  5. Spoon sauce on top of the fish and serve.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

CHAR KUEH (CHAI TAU KUEH) @ SYN POH POH CAFÉ, JALAN BAN HOCK, KUCHING


Char Kueh means fried cake. However, this cake is made from steamed white radish (Pak Chai Tau, Daikon). The cake is then fried with Chai-Poh (Preserved Turnip), eggs, spring onion, and soy sauce with ground fresh chilli paste (optional). It's a variation of the Loh-Pak-Ko you get from the dim-sum trolley.





CHAR'G THE KUEH

  1. Steamed Radish Cakes Blocks
  2. Shallow-Frying the Sliced Radish Cake
  3. Fried Slices Sitting Pretty
  4. Eggs, Spring Onions & Chai Poh
  5. Breaking into Cubes To Be Seared
  6. Adding the Eggs and Spring Onion.




The Char Kueh stall is at obscure coffee shop is tucked behind the main through way. The best direction to get here is to turn on the first left on Ban Hock Road after you pass the traffic light (Hindu temple), then turn right after the first block of building; it faces the KMC's 7-storey flat. Or from Jalan Padungan, use the tiny lane behind Song Kheng Hai Ground Food & Recreational Centre (bear right) to reach this place.

This is one of the better Char Kueh in town. The old guy, who runs a one-man operation, doesn't perform a
rushed hatchet job on the Kueh. As they say : "No Kueh shall be served before it's time". I dare say it's the second best Char Kueh I've tasted; the lady who dished out the best one is now serving on a higher plane in another dimension.

This old man only operates in the evening (except Tuesday), and his son has a day-stall at Eastmoore (2½ ml. Rock Rd.), and his Char Kueh comes with bean sprout, according to the dad; I haven't tried that one yet.

Friday, November 10, 2006

SEAFOOD TEOCHEW PORRIDGE @ YING WAH YUEN FOOD COURT, JALAN NANAS, KUCHING


This Teochew lady's porridge saga comes in full circle; she's back at where she first started. She was at one time at Wira Café (farther down the road), then in some town in the northern state, and Thompson's Corner (Central Park). She never left any forwarding address, but each time somehow I managed to track her down.

She serves pork ball porridge (Bak Muay) as well, but it only comes with meatballs and liver only. The porridge is more refined than the normal "rice-feel" porridge, but not towards the Cantonese barometer.

The seafood is a nice change to the normal Bak Muay; minialist, Teochew style. Just shrimps, fish and D'tang Chai, garnished with spring onion.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DRIED SHRIMP SPINACH SOUP (HAY BEE POH CHAI TH'NG)


This is one simple, fast to make, soup. It owes its flavor to the dried shrimp (hay bee). Remove the seeds of chillies if you can't stand heat.

The spinach in the market comes in a bundle for RM1. I have no idea of its weight. Normally I discard the bigger stems, as I find them too fibrous. If you want the vegetable to look nice, don't over boil it; when it comes to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes (covered), turn off the flame and let it sit in the hot soup for another 5 minutes before serving.





INGREDIENTS

20 gm. Dried Shrimp

2 Cloves Garlic

3 Chilles

1 tbsp. Granulated Chicken Stock

1 Litre Water

1 Bunch Spinach

Salt





METHOD


  1. Soak the dried shrimp in water to soften.
  2. Blend the chillies and garlic first until fine. Add in dried shrimp. Blend slightly to have a coarse texture. If you have the time, mortar and pestle are the preferred choice of equipment to used.
  3. Add 4 tbsp. of oil to a pot on moderate heat. When hot, put in the dried shrimp paste. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Add in more oil if necessary. The end result should be amber in color (right bottom).
  4. Pour in water, and add in the granulated chicken stock.
  5. When the soup comes to a boil, add in the spinach.. Shove all the way down into the soup. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, and a further 5 minutes with the flame off.
  6. Add salt to taste before serving.



Tuesday, November 07, 2006

JAMES BRODIE'S MARBLE CHEESECAKE



If this looks like an advertorial for some cheesy product..... well, it is! I don't see how I can present this without sounding too patronizing floozy. Let me put things into perspective.....

I learnt of James' endeavor into baking from his neighbor. He's just been put out to pasture, and with the kids out of the house, what's a guy to do other than pottering around the house? This is not the first time he's put on the apron; he used to help his late mom fry Murukku during festive seasons. His mom was renowned for her curry powder.

I find the cheesecake a bit rich, when you're the only one consuming most of the cake. According to James, he uses 500gm. of cheese for his 8x8, without any sub. or filler. Some of you in Kuching might have tasted his creation before if you had purchased any similar stuff from some churches' charity fair. If not, you have to call either 451973 or 016-8887213 (since he only operates from the house) to satisfy your curiosity. Mention my name, you won't get any discount nor I, any commission, but a blank stare!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

KUEH CHAP @ SUNCO FOODCOURT, JALAN AHMAD ZAIDI ADRUCE (JLN. KERATAPI) KUCHING



This stall only operates in the evening. And this is not the only thing it sells (a bit of that in a later post). I'll have you know that Kueh Chap is not a nocturnal thing for me. Out of curiosity, I had a go at it.

From the whiff of the broth as the bowl of Kueh Chap was delivered before me, it didn't smell promising. I detected a strong scent of 5 spice powder in the broth. The spice was too strong for its own good. It masked out all the natural taste of the mixed pork parts, or spare-parts as some would have called them. This dish was a substitute for its braised duck Teochew porridge at one time. And it has since become the mainstay.

This coffee shop is next to the 100% discount store, at the junction of Green Road and Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce. The proprietor of the stall once apprenticed for the Kueh Chap stall (evening) at Lau Ya Kheng, Carpenter Street. Thus the similarity of the food served at both locations.

6 FLAVORS KUEH CHAP @ CHEERS CORNER, BATU KAWA



If you think 5 spice is common enough in a Kueh Chap broth, somebody has to up the ante with a six flavors one as a sale gimmick. What's the addition, you might ask? Well, it tastes like dried anchovies. A fishy combination! But it seems agreeable to a lot of people judging from the Sunday crowd at this place.

This is an out of town village. Once it was accessible by row-boats only. Its claim to fame is its pork meatballs. The Sunday I ventured here was pretty late in the morning, and the meatball stall was closed; so I had to settle for this coffee shop across the road. I'm not too keen on 5 spice Kueh Chap in the first place. So the sixth flavor will not make a fan out of me.

Friday, November 03, 2006

CURRY @ GOT KICK KARI, BROTHER CAFÉ, JALAN TUN AHMAD ZAIDI ADRUCE, KUCHING

Curry Chicken


This is the branch of the main stall at Jalan Padungan/Jalan Song Thien Cheok. It's off Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce (Jln. Keratapi) behind the Suzuki car showroom. It prides itself as having "kick" in its curry with its large banner (in front of the shop) advertising its bigger than life curry. It even got itself mentioned in the local daily ("hootless" reviewers - not the hooties kind but the "bo-lan-hoot" ones).

Does it live up to all its self-created hype? That's the RM3.50 question. That's the price of each curry dish. For starters, the single drumstick in the teeny-weeny bowl (above) is a different image from its clay pot brethren in the banner. As for taste, I can't refrain singing the number : "I get no kick outta you!" The tamarind fish fares better; hot and sour enough with a color to match.


Assam Fish

**Sampled this place some weeks ago; passed by yesterday and it's no longer there. Guess the only place to try out the curry is at Yam Seak Cafe, Jalan Padungan.

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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