Monday, March 31, 2008

ZI-CHAR @ 119 SEAFOOD, AH LIONG CAFÉ, BDC, KUCHING

Fried Chicken With Dried Chilli

Another random eat... I'm not too familiar with the eateries around this area, except for a few bigger coffee shops facing the main roads. This is a little Zi-Char tucked at the back of the coffee shop off the beaten path.

Fried Bean Sprout With Salted Fish

This is not a bad family setup, with momma, pop and kids helping out the joint. The 3 dish course with 3 rice came to RM30, with the major cost going to the seafood Tom-Yam. The Szechuan inspired chilli chicken had enough dried chillies to make you shed a tear or two. The beansprout had the crunch; the salted fish would benefit from a more thorough workout to bring out the smell. What can you say about the Tom-Yam soup paste that came out of the bottle? It contained the pre-requisite hot citrusy flavor expected from this dish, and the mix of the various seafood is generous for its price.

I later learnt from the proprietress that there was more to its menu... we'll be back!


Seafood Tom Yam Soup

Friday, March 28, 2008

HAWKER FOOD @ SIN WAN FOOD COURT, JALAN SONG, KUCHING

Griddle Fried Sambal Stingray

You may not get the best of food here, but the selection are bountiful. So is the crowd on weekends and holidays, plus the pain of finding a parking space you have to put up with at these times. But it's all worth it, I tell ya!

This coffee shop is in between to similar types on either end. Seating is alfresco as most of the stalls occupy the shop proper and on the pavement as well. In fact, the exterior stalls take up the length of 2 shop blocks. Best of all, the food can be ordered inter-changeably from the different shops (excluding the ones from Expert Corner). Order at your own risk, as there are more misses than hits, like the porridge and oyster mee suah; but then again it's to each own's liking.

It's a good place to bring your visiting guests, and most of the times, they'll walk away fully impressed. It's a sock-it-to-them effect! At the end of the evening, a stroll at the park across the road will work off whatever you've put on a while ago.

Barbecued Chicken Wings

Shrimps & Char Sui Chun Fang

Pork Porridge


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

FRIED KAILAN WITH P'NEE HU



P'nee Hu is whatyamacallit 'flat fish' in Hokkien; otherwise it's dried flounder. It's used to infuse the cooking oil, thus giving it a slight fishy aroma, but it's hardly noticeable once the oyster sauce is introduced.

I used a bag of the Kailan (Chinese broccoli) vegetable; don't know its weight. The amount of the dried fish used is really up to you, however, practise moderation; it doesn't really alter the taste, but it's treated as an accompaniment to the vegetable.

As is with most vegetable, quick frying time is of the essence to maintain the crunchy and its greenness. Any dilly dally will get you a limp willy. So get your stuff together and flame on...




INGREDIENTS

1 Bunch Kailan

1 Clove Garlic

4 P'nee Hu





METHOD


Cut the vegetables into bite size. The stems into slices.

Get enough water boiling hot, shock and awe the vegetable.
Blanching the vegetable is a 'touch & go' affair. Once submerged in water, give it a once toss over. Then out of the water and drain.

Use 4 tablespoons of oil to fry the P'nee Hu over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Remove from oil and set aside.

Use the fried oil in the wok to fry the garlic and julienned chillies.

When the garlic is fragrant, throw in the vegetables. Give them a quick toss or two to fully coat them with the garlic oil.

Pour in a ¼ cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. Mix well, and then add salt to taste.

Thicken slightly with cornflour slurry if desired.

Finally pitch in the fried p'nee hu, and toss.

Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DINNER @ LING LOONG SEAFOOD, TAMAN KERETA, KUCHING


This looks like a tourist trap, feels like one, smells like one and located within the major hotels district. But is it?

This is a first-timer for us at this particular eatery, and it is the third nearest to the main lift as you exited at level 6. If you're clueless on this place, the pull and cajoling from the eatery's helpers will nudge you towards this place.

This particular eatery has another 2 branches at King's Centre and Jalan Song Commercial Complex (this one is the cheapest, I hear). Like most of the seafood places, the food on offer doesn't veer far from the norm. We had had sour sea cucumber soup (top left), 2 seafood and a vegetable. The bill came to RM66 for a meal for 4 persons. Whether it's expensive or not, you be the judge. There isn't anything to fault on the cooking or service. Despite the crowd, the wait for the food to be served wasn't shabby; it's more of the case of quickly shoving you off to make way for the in coming crowd. Whatever perception one has of this place, you can safely leave it at home and dine with a whole new perspective.

Curry Bamboo Clams

Vietnamese Shrimps

Fried Kailan With Garlic

Monday, March 24, 2008

FISH BEEHOON SOUP @ JOHN'S PLACE, JALAN TEMPLE, KUCHING


I've come across the Eurasian looking lady running this eatery several times at the market and at the roti kahwin shop along Temple Street; but never knew she's running this place until I parked the car near her kitchen, at the back of the shop. The shop is in the block that houses the Hokkien Association from across the road of Harbor View Hotel. And next door is a sort of local run lodging house. From its setup and its food, it seems to be catering for the tourist trade, not your usual Kolo Mee and Laksa crowd; and you know you're no longer in Cheapville from its prices on the menu.

However, it's higher than the average price is reflected in the ingredients used in food. The vermicelli in fish soup (above) has all the right ingredients and almost right flavor - the milky color of the soup seems like it'd be induced rather than from naturally brewed.

The Thai inspired fried rice (below) has the correct balance of heat and the spiciness, and the richly seafood endowed rice tastes as good as it looks. When the check hits you, that's when reality bites; you know you're not in Thailand! Seriously, it's not that expensive...

*The greenish tint in the photos is the result of the green plexiglas awning.

Friday, March 21, 2008

TEOCHEW CRAB PORRIDGE @ PENANG SEAFOOD, JLN. TAN SRI ONG KEE HUI, KUCHING


I was informed of the availability of Teochew crab porridge for Sunday breakfast when I dined here the previous night. However, when I was here for lunch on a Thursday (the day after the SPRING has sprung), I was pleasantly surprised of the dish being served that day.

I have heard of similar dish sold elsewhere in town, and this is my first encounter of this marine beast... beast in a sense that it's more of a bragging dish than anything else. It's not everyday you have crabs, let alone crab for breakfast or brunch.

Truth be told, there's nothing special about this dish, except for rice to be cooked in a costly seafood item's broth. If you recall the way Teochew porridge is cooked, it is as simplistic as that. No doubt the broth has a pelagic flavor to it, but when it comes to eating the crab, it's another kettle of fish; it's all fives or sixes, that's the fingers and thumbs, working in tandem with your mouth. And it can be a smelly affair; you know when you have crabs in restaurant, where they provide a bowl of lime juice water to bathe your fingers... well, the fingers stank just as bad, and the lime bath is not provided here.


Well, the fried beehoon with Chinese sausage and stout bean sprouts (below) looked dainty. I didn't try though... I had my hands full.


Fried Beehoon

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

FRIED BITTER GOURD WITH FERMENTED BLACK BEAN


There's something about bitter gourd that most people dislike... it's the bitter taste that is associated with it (stating the obvious) that gives it a bad reputation. If you can swallow this vegetable, you can probably swallow anything vegetables in the land - it's the last bastille of all vegetables.

However, I find that having the gourd done this way erases any bitter memories one might have for the misunderstood fellow. I use pork to compliment its flavor; chicken or beef works just as well. The usual marinade of light soy sauce, sugar, cornflour, white pepper and cooking oil is used (if you've been following the cooking method so far).




INGREDIENTS

1 Bitter Gourd

1 Chilli

1 Clove Garlic

15 Black Beans

100 gm. Pork Fillet

Cornflour Slurry





METHOD


Cut the gourd in half lengthwise, scoop out its seeds, rinse it, and slice it to bite-size. Rub it with salt and let it rest for 15 minutes to have it moisture extracted.

Run over with water to wash away the salt. Squeeze dry with your hands. Set aside.

In a hot wok with about 4 tbsp. of cooking oil, fry the garlic, fermented black beans and julienned chillies until fragrant.

Put in the pork slices as the garlic turns golden in color. Scoop and turn the meat with the spatula to mix the meat with the rest of the ingredients.

Once the meat is no longer pink, throw in the sliced gourd.

Toss and turn to coat well with the meat and stuff.

Add enough water (about ¾ cup) to moisten the vegetable.

Bring it to a simmer and add salt to taste. (The black beans are salty, so go easy on the salt.)

Finally pour it enough of the cornflour slurry to give the dish a bit of body and glister.

Some people prefers the gourd soft, while others like it crunchy. Cook it whichever way you like (frying for too long causes discoloration of vegetable). It won't kill you having it undercooked; after all, the gourd can be taken raw.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

LUNCH @ RASA MAS, BOULEVARD SHOPPING MALL, KUCHING

Roaster Rice Set A

When I saw this place under renovation a month back, I was thinking: "Someone's gonna eat grass!" (expression for 'on the loosing end'). After all this rotisserie chicken place is located 2 doors away from Kenny Rogers Roaster. One's an international franchise while this one is a local one, which one would you choose?

I was at this mall over the weekend, and this roaster was packed, while the next door was swatting flies. You know how it is when everyone tried to have a piece of the action... so here I was again on a weekday for lunch, as usual at around 3 p.m. Next door had one table, and this one had 4, including ours.

One thing for sure, this place serves fare that is more acceptable to the local palate in terms of pricing. Its cheapest starts at RM7.90... it makes you want to go next door and serenade : "But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant to have more rotisserie than one."

The meal we had cost about half of what we had the last time next door. But like our beloved ("beloved" 'cos he has a fan club) prime minister would said: "It's like comparing apples to grapes." So any comparison wouldn't be fair... you have to savor it to cast your judgment.

PrimeRoast Steak Set D

Monday, March 17, 2008

DINNER @ STARJOY GARDEN RESTAURANT, JALAN IGAN, SG. MERAH, SIBU

Crispy Pig's Knuckle

This is a new setup slightly beyond the fringe of Sungai Merah township or rather village-ship. It has a coffee shop eatery downstairs and a restaurant on the upper floor.

On the first visit, we naturally let the maitre d' parlay the best food forward. And this was what we got... Ho-hum!!! Ah Lau might have been still tipsy then! Why would I say that? 'Cos a couple of my friends, a few table away, had nicer platter (Haw-Kow sort of mixed hor'dourve than we did... that's why... and we did order in advance. Instead we got some same-old-same-old that you see below...

Fried Spinach With Century Egg

Steamed Fish

Toh Miaw With Beef Tendon

Fried Mushroom With Luffa (Ridged Gourd)

Fried Noodle

... but somehow, I know I'll be back to taste the one that eluded me... someday...

The food, overall, wasn't too bad, but nothing outstanding, considering the majority of the dishes were vegetables fried the normal way. The pork knuckle was a bit too fat, with not too much meat on it; the skin didn't have the wow factor.

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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