Thursday, May 31, 2007

B.Y.O. @ ESPLANADE SEAFOOD CAFE AND RESTAURANT, SIBU

Don't attempt this in your own free time, if you live in Sibu, or just visiting. There's no such thing as Bring Your Own to a restaurant.

Ka-Ca-Ma Chicken

In a town full of " Can do" attitude, everything seems possible. I was invited for dinner at the tiny waterfront eatery. Most of the seatings are alfresco, and in this sedated town "shooting the breeze" or in Hokkien: La-Liang, Kong Eng-Wài seems to be the only game in town. It was a surprise that the host brought his wife's Ka-Ca-Ma chicken (which is cooked in local herbs and Chinese white wine) and Sio-Bee (steamed minced meat in wanton wrappers, which was bought elsewhere).

"Clam-fish" Umai

Another guest brought Umai, a local sashimi with creamy hot dipping sauce. The head of fish used resembles a clam, thus the clam-fish moniker. The sauce consists of a combination of chillies, lemongrass, shallots, peanuts and lime juice which are ground to a creamy paste.

Poached Shrimps

Yet another guest had 3 kg. of fresh shrimps, which came off the fishing boat that afternoon, delivered from the nearby market. The restaurant poached the shrimps for us.

Braised Chicken Feet

The braised chicken feet was ordered from a stall that rents a space within the restaurant's compound. The only thing we got from the restaurant were a plate of fried beansprouts, fried Midin (fungus leaves) and the drinks (3 cans of beer for RM11/US$3.25). If there's any restaurant that offers similar B.Y.O. food, I want to know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FRIED FISH SLICES WITH TOMATOES & ONIONS



This is a relatively simple quick stir-fry dish. The details are in the preparation. The fish used is the local N'go-Hu. Any fish with similar texture can be used.

Cut the fish into bite size, while retaining its skin. Cut the onion and tomatoes into ¼ wedges. Minced the garlic, mix the cornflour slurry, and a ¼ cup of water for the sauce. The fish slices cook pretty fast. H
ave all the ingredients within reach, so as to avoid over-cooking the fish.

INGREDIENTS


300 gm. Fish Cutlet

2 Onions (Wedges)

2 Tomatoes (Wedges)
1 Clove Garlic (Minced)

1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
Sugar & Salt
Cornflour Slurry




METHOD

Put in 4 tbsp. of oil in the hot wok. Throw in the onions and garlic. Stir to separate the wedges and prevent burning.

When the onions and garlic are fragrant, add the fish slices.

Stir and mix to get the fish coated in the oil.

Add the tomatoes to the mix.

Pour in the oyster sauce. Throughly mix.

Pour in the water, taste, and add sugar and salt if necessary. When it comes t a boil, lightly thicken with cornflour slurry. Scoop out and serve.


Monday, May 28, 2007

BEEF NOODLE SOUP @ AHO MEE SAPI & NASI AYAM RESTORAN, JALAN SANYANG, SIBU


This seems like a popular eatery judging by the morning crowd on a weekday (mostly "catching snakes": Liak Chuai). This corner coffee shop faces the main entrance of Wisma Sanyang, the de-facto shopping arcade in town. This is a halal (Kosher) place, as evident from the cooks to the busboy/girl.

Any
beef noodle that holds up to the test is in its soup. You could get a whiff of the broth as the bowl of koay teow soup was delivered to the table. Sad to say, the overpowering smell of cinnamon and star anise drowned out whatever credibility the bowl of beef koay teow soup held. The situation was made worse by the overcooked koay teow, making it soft and gooey; so was the tripe . A couple of gulps later, I gave up.


The dry noodle looked better but I didn't want to venture there. It's no different than a dark Kampua Mee with a dash of the soup thrown in.


All is not not lost for this place. Its fried Chinese crullers (You Char Kueh/You Tiao) is one of the best I have tasted. It's laced with bits of diced spring onions; its texture is kind of a cross between a doughnut and yet retaining the fluffiness of a cruller. For a Chinese specialty, this one is not done by a Chinese, but by a Malay lady. So much for stereotyping as one bites the dust!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

CHICKEN MEE SUAH @ SWAN FOREST, JALAN KHOO PENG LOONG, SIBU



Didn't intend to have mee suah here because I heard the stall here serves 'great' Pak-Tin (black herbal soup); 'great' meaning generous portion, because the person who told me of this place and the lady of the stall belong to the same clan - Chiang Chuan. Well, the Pak-Tin was not meant to be; it was one of those alternate Pak-Tin off-days. So we settled for the chicken Mee Suah. I think poached chicken mee suah is a fail-proof noodle, which can be remedied with additional red rice wine (with more of the stuff, you eventually can't tell the difference).

This upper floor eatery is an airy spacious place with a nice view of the Rejang River. Below is the express boat terminal for the upper-Rejang travelers. Pity it was almost deserted when we were here that morning. According to the lady the Pak-Tin is popular with the Ibans. So what do you know? There are people who are more appreciative of this Pak-Tin than I do; I've tasted it not more than a handful of times.


During one of the trips to Sibu, I once had this guy sitting behind me at the Kuching's airport lounge; he was like yakity-yak, none-stop like a Chabo, with another Chabo, who was quiet most of the time. When it was about time to board, he said: "Let's behave like Sarawakians, and be the first in line." (It's a no-frill, first-come-first-served airline). And they both scuttled to the front with the senior citizens. Sounds like Lam-Pah, Pah-Lang to me! (Oxy as in Oxy5 - the half-assed brethen of Oxy10, the acne buster, and Moron - moron as moron gets). If you think who it might be, it might be you... think 8/12/06.

Friday, May 25, 2007

DIM-SUM @ CAUSEWAY BAY HONG KONG RESTAURANT, CROWN SQUARE, KUCHING

Guo TÍé


It's been months since I last ate at this place... well, its last incarnation as Thien Court. It has since under gone a major revamp. Instead of just one entity (an open food court), there are now several enclosed individual restaurants, namely Japanese, Indonesian, Hongky, Chinese and Western and a watering hole.

I was here the night before looking for the old Thai iced dessert but to no avail; I think it's still available within one of the restaurants. Anyway, I had a quick run-through of what was on the menu in the various outlets. While browsing the Japanese menu in front of the restaurant, the waitress scurried out of the empty restaurant to greet us saying: "Masay! Masay!" I immediately retreated and say: "Paisay*, paisay, just looking at the menu!" *Hokkien: Sorry (embarrass).



Siew Mai


Slept through lunch, I was back on a late afternoon before they stopped serving Dim-Sum (at 4). This outlet is basically the same old Dim-Summy under a new funky guise. Still Halal and pork-less. Our waiter kept up with his heavy accented Teochew, which would have raised a few red flags for some people. A Teochew Ah Teo is the same as a Cantonese Ah Tiew, so WTF! Some poor sod has to do the waitering!


Char Siew Bao


By all accounts, the food is the same as it was before; if it's palatable then, it's palatable now. Except....


Har Kau


Fried Hor Fun with Sliced Beef


...for this plate of fried flat noodle - over-fried with burnt-bitter taste... and sorry sickly looking state too!


Kui Ling Kao


I might be wrong, but the food seems to be pricer than before.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

FRIED HOKKIEN MEE (WET) @ BAN SENG CORNER, JALAN KERATAPI, KUCHING


It's one of those night when a late night craving for some dessert/drinks turned into some late night stuffing. To make things worse, most of the places were closed on Mondays, and this place had some people sitting outside having a all you-can-eat steamboat/BBQ orgy. Having encounter a couple of non-starters, and not wanting to venture farther, this would have to do (few blocks from Jln. Keretapi/Green Rd. intersection, before the Digi building).

First off, they were out of Ambula juice (buah kedongdong), so settled for Ang Moh Durian (
SourSop) juice, which was a bit diluted. All the eating activity beside us got the better of us, and caved in to our Tam-Chiak urge.

There's nothing particularly outstanding about the noodle. Just Hokkien Mee fried with dark soy sauce, laced with pork slices, a couple of factory packed fishballs and local vegetable (Chai Hwa), then finally covered by a layer of clear starchy sauce. At least the sheep were fed and dozing, and I wouldn't be counting any.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TOMATO EGG DROP SOUP



I'm sure many of you who have done take-away from your corner Chop-Suey shop will be familiar with the egg drop soup - generic yellow color chicken soup with flaky egg swirl. This is a notch up the yummy barometer.




INGREDIENTS

1 Large Pork Bone

2 Large Tomatoes

2 Dried Mushroom

2 Dried Woodear Fungus

2 Liter Water

1 Egg

1 Sachet Dashi (optional)

Salt







Blanch the bones to rid the scums. Then wash the bone over running water.

If you want skinned tomatoes, blanch scored whole tomatoes for a minute, then peel off the skin.

Cut the tomatoes into cubes, soaked mushrooms into thin slices, and the fungus likewise.



I've taken the easy way out by putting all the ingredients, except the egg, into an electric pressure cooker and top with water, and set according to its instruction.

Traditional way is to simmer the bone for a hour or so to get the broth. Then add the fungus and tomato to the skimmed broth, and simmer for another 30 minutes.



Lightly beat one egg.



If using a pressure cooker, transfer the soup to a pot over medium flame. Swirl the soup, and slowly drizzle the egg into the soup.



Once all the egg has been poured, turn off flame.



Add salt to taste, and serve.



Garish with fried shallots and ground white pepper.



Of course, those of you who can't be bothered by all the fuss over a simple soup can opt for the dehyrated stuff from China.... I've seen one in the supermarket.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CHICKEN MEE SUAH @ THOMPSON'S CORNER, JALAN NANAS, KUCHING

You may recall me having Foochow noodle soup with Chinese red wine here some months ago. This time it's thread noodle with chicken soup cooked in Chinese red wine as well. The soup has been pre-cooked; so when you order, the noodle is boiled separately and then ladled with the chicken soup and topped with one drumstick plus a couple of Chinese mushroom, which are cooked together with the chicken soup. This is not just good for pregnant ladies... it's good for everyone!

This stall does not open for business in the evening anymore - another sign of good times?!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

SARAWAK LAKSA @ TAT SOON CAFÉ CENTRE (LONGHOUSE HOTEL), JALAN ABEL, KUCHING


Frustrated with finding a seat or the long wait for your Laksa at Chong Choon? Why not take a stroll 2 blocks up the road and get similarly prepared Laksa. This stall shares the same trait as Chong Choon's being that the brother (of the lady) runs this one. But he's hardly there; it's mostly a one-lady's show. As for taste, it's indistinguishable from Chong Choon's as they learnt from mom/mom-in-law.

You'll miss the crowd, and it's not congested here in terms of table arrangement. The big prawns are limited, so come early, say around nine the latest.

The brew-to-order drinks of the coffee shop are not bad. There is a noodle (Kolo) , a fried noodle and a Muslim stall at this place as well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

À LA CARTE MEALS @ CHILLIPEPPERS, LIHWA HOTEL, JALAN SONG THIAN CHEOK, KUCHING

Black Pepper Beef


Kosher (Halal) Chinese food has been popular with the Muslim populace - it's somewhat like tasting the forbidden fruit without going to purgatory. This is another of those hybrids. The food is reasonably priced. It features quite a handful of spicy items... tasty but best eaten blindfolded, as evident from the photos - fugly!


Sambal Squids



Green Chilli Chicken

Friday, May 18, 2007

FRIED SWEET KOAY TEOW/MEE @ HAWKER STALL, JALAN KUEH SIAK HONG, KUCHING


This is a combo of flat rice noodle and yellow Hokkien noodle fried with sweet sauce (T'nee C'noy). It's a bit like Hoi Sin sauce that is used mostly in Poh-Pia (spring roll). It's made from soy sauce, sugar, flour and water. Just say it's a watered down version of Kicap Manis - not as thick and dark. This is one of those quirky dishes that is intentionally sweet. Weekend Sweet Char-Kueh at Carpenter St. 5-foot-way is another that comes to mind.

How's the noodle? It's a love/hate affair..... either you like it or don't! If the benchmark of a good fried Koay Teow is measured by its
caramelization (as one food critic so fondly puts it) then this is it. But somehow this time, it's a bit over-caramelized - more like Chow-Hoi-Tar (Hokkien literal translation: Smelly Fire Dry = charred = burnt!). Serves me right for interrupting and talking to the chef while she was strutting her stuff.

This noodle stall used to occupy the grass shoulder at the corner of the present street, which is opposite the present stall. The lady above (a grandma now) apprenticed under her dad, and is now the sole touch-bearer. Haven't seen her daughter learning the ropes. As opposed to the early days, it doesn't open at night as most of the stalls along this stretch of wooden stalls close for the evening (sign of good times). This place is behind K.Y. Café (if you coming from Jalan Sekama), and it's the only stall doing the frying.




Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FRIED SAMBAL BABY CORN


Some like it hot.... and some like it wet; whatever your preference, you do it your way you like it. The basic is the same.


INGREDIENTS


1 Bag Baby Corn (10 pcs.)

30 gm. Carrot (Julienned)

10 gm. Dried Shrimp

3 Dried Chillies

1 Clove Garlic

2 gm. Shrimp Paste




Blend everything to a paste except the baby corn and the carrot.



Heat up the wok, and oil around the edge with 4 tbsp. of cooking oil. Drop in the ground ingredients, and fry on medium heat for about a minute. Toss to prevent burning.



Add baby corn and carrots; Coat evenly with the sambal.



Pour in ¼ or more cup of water. Bring it to a boil. Simmer for another minute before adding a dash of sugar and salt to taste.



For a 'dry' dish (right), let the liquid evaporate before adding seasoning. Don't fry for too long if you want to retain the crunchiness of the corn; otherwise, it will come out like a limp biscuit, or rather limp Ku-Ku-Bit - then you might as well use a canned baby corns than the fresh ones.


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!

BAG OF TRICKS

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