Friday, August 31, 2007

WONTON MEE @ THOMPSON'S CORNER, LORRONG NANAS 1, KUCHING


This is almost like the KL's Wonton Mee except the noodle is of the Kuching's curly variety, and not as thin as its counterpart. There is the small bowl of Wonton (background) soup; and the Wonton comes with a small dollop of minced meat. The noodle can best be described as "Q-Q" - having the spring in it.

The stall is operated by 2 brothers and a sister on a rotation basis, from morning till about 10pm. daily except Monday's afternoon and night. In a break from the stereotype, this is a Foochow family behind the counter. No Kampua Mee here as there's one 3 stalls down - shop's policy prohibits a repeat of the same type of food served.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

FOOCHOW NOODLES @ LEE COFFEE SHOP , LORONG 1,JALAN SONG THIAN CHEOK , KUCHING

Fried Tomato Yee Meen (Deep-Fried Noodle)

This is a 3-4 shop lots eatery in town, with stalls offering a range of food, from good to mediocre. This particular stall at the back-end corner of the shop does Foochow fried/cooked noodles. However, the one above is not a Foochow creation but more of a Kuching's staple fried noodle; it's those uncooked Kolo Mee deep-fried first before being cooked in the tomato ketchup sauce.

Double Cooked Noodle (Char-Zi Mee)


The Char-Zi Mee is the fat Hokkien noodle fried once with dark soy sauce, and then doused with pork broth to form a noodle soup. Basic ingredients added into the soup are sliced pork, liver, shrimps, crab sticks and Chai-Sim (local green).


Chow-Chai Hung Ngan

This is another Foochow specialty: Sour Hung Ngan (thick round vemecilli). The preserved Chow-Chai gives it its distinct taste. Tomato and sometimes vinegar are added to give it extra sourness.

Rating from top to bottom: Good, So-So & Not-So-Good.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PORRIDGE



Bankrupt of ideas? Maybe, maybe not. This is food for the soul, especially when one is feeling lethargic.

This watery rice can be as gluey (Chook) or that still retain its grainy form (Teochew Muay). The cooking is so simple, yet it is easy to screw up.

There's a yin and yang to eating porridge; the neutral taste of the porridge contrasting the extra strong flavor of its supplementary dishes like salted duck egg, pickled radish, salted fish and fermented bean pork, which are as easy to prepare as opening a can with a can opener.




METHOD


I use coffee mug as my measuring cup. 1 mug is good for 3 to 4 persons.

Wash the rice under running water; rinse until the water run clear.

Soak in clean water for an hour before use.This hastens the cooking period, as the rice has absorbed water already.

Pour the cleaned rice into a pot. Add water to the ratio of 1 mug rice to 6 mugs of water. Use a pot that has twice the depth of the water content, so that the content won't splutter out during the simmering stage. Turn the heat to high and close the lid of the pot. (A lid with vapor vent helps).

It will start to boil after 10 minutes or so. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Give it a swirl or two before closing the lid and let it simmer. (Use a pot that is twice the volume of your content, so that you have more leg room to maneuver when the porridge comes to a boil.)

This is the state of the rice after 20 minutes. Scrap at the bottom to ensure no rice sticks onto the pot.

At 30 minutes, you're almost there. Some people like their porridge at this state. From here on you have to stir right to the bottom of the pot every so often. The rice gets heavy and sticks to the bottom easily if not agitated regularly. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes, or stop when the state of the porridge is to your liking.
Dilute with boiled water if you find the porridge too thick. 40 to 45 minutes of cooking time should do the trick.




TAO CHEO BAK
I find the fermented bean minced pork from the can a bit too strong in flavor and the meat a bit too little. I usually add another 100 gm. of marinated (dark soy sauce, sugar, cornflour and oil) minced pork to it.

Fry a clove of minced garlic in a pot. When fragrant, put in the marinated pork. Fry until its color changes to pale white. Pour in the canned
fermented bean minced pork, and mix well. Add dark soy sauce to tan the color of the pork if necessary. Add about ¼ cup of water to give it more sauce. Finally thicken with cornflour slurry. Adjust the taste with salt/ soy sauce and sugar if required.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BEEF KOAY TEOW SOUP @ AH MUI MEE SAPI, OPEN-AIR MARKET, JALAN KHOO HEANG YUN, KUCHING


This is a Lau Cheo Pai (Old brand name) of a noodle stall. Most people associates beef noodle in Kuching with this stall, being the oldest of its kind in existence. Over the decades it has sprouted quite a few stalls bearing the same name: some by brothers and others by offspring of various parties of the clan.

Like the Vietnamese Phõ, it's the soup that makes this noodle dish stand out. What they put into the soup, nobody knows except themselves; could be just ginger and dark soy sauce!!! The noodle or koay teow comes with blades, tripes, tendon, or any of the combination one wishes, topped with bean sprouts and preserved salted mustard green. Lastly it's the galangal -vinegar chilli sauce that helps round out this hearty dish.

Over the years, I find the soup deteriorates in quality: it's sort of diluted and pale looking. Or is it just me?

Monday, August 27, 2007

SNACKTIME @ FISHERMAN RESTAURANT, JALAN CHEW GEOK LIN, SIBU


This was supposed to be a snack, as Ah Lee had treated me lunch to his curry rice. I called ahead to say I would be coming after one, to make sure it would still be opened. It was 2 blocks away. I was on a tight schedule this trip, so I had to squeeze in this place to try its specialty.

I bumped into Robert Law, the proprietor of this eatery, at a recent dinner party. Somehow, the conversation drifted to food and his establishment. After all this years, I've never stepped into his place although I've known him for quite sometime.

The restaurant is renowned for its baked stuffed clams (Lokan), and it proudly proclaims itself as the only one in Malaysia serving them this way. I asked Robert how he came to the conclusion; well, the restaurant was featured in TV3 years ago, and he was told his is the only one. So there you go! Incidentally, flavours has an article on this place for its Aug.-Sep. issue, I was told.

The baked stuffed clams are RM1.50 a piece; it's an amalgamation of the lokan's meat with other meats and vegetables to form a paste, then compactly packed into the clam's shell. It's as good as it's claimed to be. The perfect nibble food! We ordered 6.


Initially, that was what we were going to have, but Robert convinced me otherwise. So here's the Baked Big Headed Shrimp (ordered 3 of them)...

...And the deep-fried Malang.


This last one, baked Ikan Teburok, is not ours. It was the other table's order. It looked nice so I snapped it.


Notice how bare the dishes are presented; it epitomizes the whole essence of the setup - unpretentious. This place was known as a pub and restaurant from its old check (with the old address). This "No Pork Served" restaurant was offered to have the place turned into a halah eatery, and forfeiting its drinking license. Never!

Before anyone accuses me of
sponging off here, let it be known that I paid the full tab - RM120 inclusive of drinks (RM18).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

ECONOMY RICE #2 @ HOCK PING CAFÉ, JALAN PADUNGAN, KUCHING


Another RM3 meal from this Padungan coffee shop. It consists of pig's blood, fried eggplant and tau-eu bak. Out on a limb here.

Come early to get the choicest selection. You won't disappoint of its display of food.

Pig's blood is hard to find from the butcher nowadays, but there are aplenty at noodle stalls and eateries like these. Sydneysiders can get these relatively cheap from the butcher next to Thai Kee IGA supermarket, Haymarket. Speaking of Sydney, Sui Zhen is having her gig at the following dates....

- Friday 24th August, 8pm : Sui Zhen (band) supports The Brunettes (NZ)

At: The Hopetoun, cnr Bourke and Fitzroy streets, Surry Hills

Cost: $15 (www.moshtix.com.au) or $17 on the door.

- Sunday 2nd September, 6.30pm : Sui Zhen (solo) plays for the FBi 94.5fm/MUM party
At: World Bar,
Bayswater Road, Kings Cross
Cost: $25 or so...it's a fundraiser

- Friday 14th September,
8pm : Sui Zhen (solo) supports The Smallgoods
At: The Hopetoun

All other details TBC

- Friday 5th October, TBC : Sui Zhen (solo) plays the launch of The Adelaide Fringe Festival.

- Friday 6th October, TBC : Sui Zhen (solo) plays at The Hopestreet Markets, Surry Hills
CDs and Dino Badges on sale

- SATURDAY 13th OCTOBER: Sui Zhen (band) headlines THE FACTORY!

Just out of Newtown, and only $15 More info soon!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

ANGMOH @ CENTRAL MARKET, SIBU


The two Italians, Massimo & Elena from Milan, we met at Pelagus Resorts decided to make an extra night stopover in Sibu before taking a bus to Bintulu. They were lured by the promise of a good time the next morning. They were up and about at 7:45 a.m. to join the begging crew for the Sibu Benevolent Society.

This is better than what any tour agency can offer, and it's free!!! That week's route included a passage to the old market and back, and they took care of the fish and pork section of market.

At the end of tour of duty, someone who won 1st prize at 4D treated all to Popiah and fresh sugar cane juice. These are seasoned travelers of South-East Asia, and go with the flow of the locals in terms of food.

As Champion (sinking kitchen under renovation) and Co. were going to Miri that morning,
the Passerinis got a free ride to Bintulu.

Note: According to the Penangnites, U-Chang Kueh used to be available in Penang; still have it? Can someone pls. confirm?

Friday, August 24, 2007

LUNCH @ CHONG SENG FOOD COURT, KAPIT


The morning we left Pelagus Resort, the chef followed us in one of the boats. Wonder what the Italians were having for the day without the chef proper? They relish nasi goreng so much, I think that was probably what they would be having.

The Laksa left was what the Penang friends ordered the day before. Unlike the one in Kuching, it has all sort of stuff thrown in: pig's blood, sausage, char-sui, alkaline cuttlefish, fishballs and tofu. I guess it was good; Semua hentam-sai!

The main market displayed a variety of interesting local produce unique to this part of the region from vegetables to wildlife. That was what our lunch was going to be...


We had made prior arrangement for our lunch the day before through its sister-coffee shop - also called Chong Seng.

The Terong Fish Soup with a hint of belacan is akin to the
Sinigang ; it's the round orangy eggplant that gives the soup its sour taste.

Sour Terong Patin Fish Soup

The Percha is a vegetable that smells and tastes like Bunga Kantan with a slight minty flavor.

Chicken Fried With Pachra

The local venison, without the tenderiser, is divine; just fried with garlic, ginger, onion, chilli and green onion.

Fried Fresh Venison Meat

This is how wild boar is meant to be eaten... fried with just garlic and salt, au naturel - not with any herbs like most restaurants would do. There's no heavy flavor one comes to associate with wild boar; just lean and smoky.

Fried Wild Boar

This is a local fresh water fish; it has a lot of fine tiny bones. The flesh is delicate and soft. It's steamed without any soy sauce added, just salt to bring out it natural flavor.

The fish goes for RM80 per kilo in the market, and it's not the most expensive fish from this region.

Steamed Semah Fish

This last dish is a local vegetable; it looks like spinach but a lot coarser and it's bitter.

Stir-Fried Ensabi With Garlic and Anchovies

Thursday, August 23, 2007

CHAR KUEH @ MIN JOO KEE CAFÉ, JALAN ANG CHENG HO, KUCHING


This is the lil' stall next to the Too-Kar P'ng which I mentioned last week. The white radish cake is fried to a crisp, and it is firm. The best part is that garlic is added in the frying process, which makes the whole dish Eccellente!!!

Plus, if you wash the whole thing down with a glass of iced Barley-Peng with lemon, from the sourpuss-face owner of the coffee shop, I say man!!!, your morning will be complete.

You know it's either Tuesday or Thursday (which are supposed to be "no show" days), when you get these crappy fillers. Although I eat out 7 times a week (breakfast, lunch or dinner), the stress is getting to me - stress on the waistline, that is. Needless to say, but I'm saying it anyway, the writing part is more difficult than the eating part. Wouldn't it be great if this blog is like Eating Asia, a partnership in the eating spree?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

LUNCH, DINNER & BREAKFAST @ REGENCY PELAGUS RESORT, ULU KAPIT


I accompanied my father's friends, all from Penang, to the Regency Pelagus Resort, which is an hour's speedboat ride from Kapit, for a night stay. Apart from the 7 of us, there was an Italian couple, who arrived earlier in the morning for a 2-night stay. We had the resort to ourselves!

We were met at Kapit's jetty by our boat-driver, who wears many hats, which we soon found out. The journey to the resort was exhilarating enough - shooting the rapids, and I've never seen so many rocks in a Malaysian river before. The resort, which sits on a luscious green forest, has a majestic view of the rapid. On arrival, we were greeted by the full-regiment of the staff - giving us welcome drinks and face towels. The boat-driver gave us a brief intro. of the place, and introduced himself as the operations-manager. We fixed the lunch-time at 1:30 p.m., as we had something to eat in Kapit during the brief stopover.


LUNCH

Our chef, Chef Reduan Bin Zaini, was brought in from Bintulu, from its sister-hotel (The Regency Plaza Hotel) to cook for us; otherwise, their in-house cook manages simple meals.

Do excuse me if I get the names of the dishes wrong.. I tried to get the menu from the chef that evening; due to my verbal skill (or lack of it), he gave me the recipe to 2 of the chicken dishes instead. If you read Malay, I'll email those who want them.

Hot & Sour Soup with Borneo Eggplant

Umai (Raw Fish Salad)

Ayam Goreng Berempah (Fried Chicken)

Stir-Fried Beef With Onions

Assam Fish with Terong (Hot & Sour Fish with Borneo Eggplant)

Stir-Fried Midin (Stir-Fried Curly Ferns)


DINNER



Late afternoon, we went jungle trekking along the riverbank. The trail is a tiny 2½ ft. path with a steep drop to the rapids below.

We had pre-dinner drinks prior to dinner at the deck; we brought our own 4 bottles of wine and a whiskey (no corkage). The evening's highlight dish was the Ayam Pinsoh, Chicken cooked in bamboo's cavity.

Chicken Soup

Steam Patin

Ayam Pinsoh

Mixed Vegetable

Fried Paku

After dinner entertainment was quite something else... the percussion section comprised of operations-manager onwards down. Our waiter slipped off his uniform, and on with the loin cloth; instantly he was transformed into a Dayak warrior, and was doing the Ngajat. After a few drinks, whatever inhibition was left was tossed out the verandah.



BREAKFAST

Initially, toast, butter and jello with coffee and tea were served. We thought that was it. We were wrong....

Nasi Lemak With Curried Chicken, Paku and Anchovies-Peanuts

That was just the start of the day's culinary adventure; we had something planned in Kapit for our return journey...

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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