Friday, October 31, 2008

LUNCH @ IPOH TOWN KOPITIAM, BOULEVARD SHOPPING MALL, KUCHING


There's been a rash of revivalism of the old style coffee shop (anyway, in this neck of the woods), with one at the other shopping mall (already reviewed), and a few home-brewed ones sprouting around town; haven't we seen enough already? And each one tries to entice you with some exotic names that evokes vague memories, if any, of pleasant food from some distant land. Ha, will only fool some people some of the time! But then there are suckers who can be fooled all the time...

... that's what places like these are all about. The star of a place like this is the coffee and its toast; so naturally, one tends to gravitate towards that selection no matter if it's the wrong time of day to have such undertaking.

For drinks we had White Kopi-Peng (Iced White Coffee: RM2.40), and I
ced Calamansi & Syn-Boy (Lime & Preserved Sour Plum) drink, which came with the Set Curry rice. As for toast, I had something different (so I thought) from the usual square roti-bakar...

Iced Fire Polo Bun

... I guess the 'iced' part refers to the leng goo-u (cold butter); otherwise this is merely a twist on the ol' leng goo-u toast, using a polo bun, which has a caramelized top.

Like the other coffee and toast place, the curry is merely a supplement to the normal fare - to make up the numbers. The curry is quite good, and generous on the chicken parts. For a RM9.30 dish, it'd better be!

Curry Chicken Rice Set B (RM9.30)

For a halal place, it takes the spunk out of taking a Loh Mee, and it lacks the spunk too!

Loh Mee (RM5.90)

Be advised not to take the seatings inside the eatery (from where the top photo was taken), or you'll end up like a Si-Kay, and Kong-Kay no more! Those huge lamps above will roast you like a Kenny Rogers Roasters' rotisserie chicken.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DONG PO ROU (BRAISED PORK BELLY)



This could well be drunken pork belly, considering the amount of Chinese wine used in the process - from the legal Shaoxing Wine to the home-brewed moonshine . The wine lees adds color to the dish as well as a strong fermented aroma.

INGREDIENTS


6 1½" Cube Pork Belly • 2 Tsp. Lees
1 Cup Water
• 1 Cup Red Rice Wine
2 Tbsp. Shaoxing Wine
• 2Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. Light Soy Sauce
2 Bunch Scallion




METHOD

Tying The Pork Belly

Secure the pork cube with a twine as shown, and then tie the rest of the cubes...


... blanch the pork cubes, rinse and lay out in a claypot.

Boil 1 tbsp. of the wine lees with 1 cup of water to color the water and bring out the aroma on medium/low fire for about 15 minutes...

... strain the lees liquid into a bowl, add 1 cup of moonshine rice wine and sugar...

... 4 tbsp. of light soy sauce, 2 tbsp. of Shaoxing Wine, then stir to mix the ingredients.


Pour the mixed liquid into the claypot...

... bring the claypot to a boil, spoon the liquid over the top of the pork, then simmer over low flame for one hour (covered)...

after the 1st. hour...

... turn upside down all the pork pieces, continue to simmer for another hour.

The liquid will be reduced to about half or less. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary. Thicken slightly with cornflour slurry before serving.

Remove the twine before consumption unless you're one of those who have a fetish for all things bondage.



Monday, October 27, 2008

MEE POK & KOLO MEE, THE WORKS @ FRESH FOOD COURT, KOTA SENTOSA, 7TH. MILE, KUCHING

Kolo Mee

This place is always packed to the brim for an out-of-town eatery, even on a Sunday afternoon where most places are closed. In its old days, when it was run by a bald-headed guy, it was its abundant selection of pork's part and poultry that could be added to your Kolo Mee that brought in the crowd. It was a monopoly then with one person owning the entire operation from rice to noodle and drinks. And the prices and portioning were attractive. Alas, those days were gone.

Nowadays there are more stalls of different varieties than you can count them, and some operates on revolving shifts. From a laid back shop on a sleepy strip, it sure has come a long way. And this is the place that the 3 layers Teh-C-Peng supposedly originates.

The noodle here has a generous serving of liao (meat, the works) on top; most of the usual suspects. However, roast or braised duck or braised pork (Loh Bak) is no longer on its menu. The dry and the soup version are equally good. If there aren't enough reasons to entice you come all the way to eat here, its market across the street is one; it's one of the better ones that are well stocked with fresh fish and local produce.

Mee Pok Soup

Friday, October 24, 2008

TURMERIC CHICKEN RICE @ JANE'S NOODLE, BEHIND SYN WEI HUI, MAIN BAZAAR, KUCHING


I have reviewed this side-street stall, which is behind the Star Cineplex, before for its Kolo Mee... well, there I was a few nights ago having its 2-wontons bowl of noodle, and I noticed a white banner on its wall proclaiming the coming of an addition to its normal noodle dishes - TURMERIC RICE!!! That's spelled T-U-R-M-E-R-I-C, and mind you, not Y'nui K'nio Kay-P'ng! And that's why the stall is called Jane's Noodle, and not Ah Jan Kolo Mee... this girl knows her English. Yup, that's her in her pretty-in-pink apron! Back to the banner, and less banter... it said that the new offering would begin on the 18th. of this month. I was there on the 19th., a Sunday, and the stall was MIA... now you know, Sunday is its rest day. There I was again the evening after; still early part of the evening when she had just finished unloading the chicken and stuff from the car parked beside the curb.


On with the food... for starter, this is no different from your ordinary chicken rice. Instead of using Planta margarine to grease the rice and give it a yellow hue, turmeric is used here; however, there's moderation on its usage. The rice doesn't have a ghastly yellow color one usually associates with those Planta infused ones, neither does it have a greasy feel - fluffy with just the right touch of chicken flavor.

What can be said about the poached chicken? For a seemingly humble chicken that goes through the motion being doused with boiling water, what can possibly go wrong? Aplenty - from bleeding under-cook parts, to falling off its bits by way of being over-cook. Well, I can safely vouch that our 3 plates of chicken had none of the aforementioned. The chicken portion given is generous for its RM4 price. The chilli vinaigrette condiment isn't too shabby either.

The best part of the meal is the charred black porky bits that sit nonchalantly by the side of the chicken. What seems like pork steeped in spice broth and then grilled to give it a flossy texture is a bit like pork jerky without the dried-out jerkiness, but bursting with flavor that tempts you to take another step into the unknown in the first place. Why am I writing deliriously
so? Must be the Kong-Tau-Hoon kicking in!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SPICED UP CANNED SARDINE


Why settle for a plain old tin of sardine when you can dress it up to spice up your meal. It's simple and the flavor goes a long way to your tummy. Some snobs may scoff at the idea of eating from the can, but it's one of those handy standbys that can be whipped up in no time and with a little effort... and none will be wiser!

The ingredients used are similar to the Thai red curry paste except I omitted the coriander, which can be added (1 tsp.) for the spicy fragrance.

The other thing to remember is to handle the sardine with care when dislodging from the can, to avoid any flaking of its flesh. Use more or smaller chillies if you want to turn up the heat.





INGREDIENTS
1 Can Tomato Sardine • 1 Clove Garlic • 1 Stalk Lemongrass • 1 Chilli
2 Shallots • 1 tsp. Palm Sugar • 10gm. Belacan • 2 Tbsp. Ketchup
½ Cup of Chicken Stock



METHOD

Blitz in a processor, 1 clove garlic, 1 stalk lemongrass, 1 chilli, 2 shallots, 1 tsp. palm sugar and 10gm. belacan (shrimp paste) into a paste.


Open a can of tomato sardine; separate the liquid from the meat. Carefully remove the fish from the can.


Heat up 4 tbsp. of cooking oil on medium heat. Fry the blended ingredients until fragrant.


Pour in the tomato liquid from the sardine, and mix well with the fried paste.


Let the paste simmer for a minute....


... add about 2 tbsp. of tomato ketchup to give the sauce a nicer hue.


Add ½ a cup of chicken stock or water and stir well.


Dish the fish individually, and spread them around the pan. Simmer over low heat...


... spoon the sauce over the top of the fishes to moisten, and let the sauce sink in. Simmer for 5 minutes, turn off heat, and let the fishes sit in the sauce for another 5 minutes before serving.


Monday, October 20, 2008

RICE & NOODLE @ SA CHECK GON CAFÉ, JALAN ANG CHENG HO, KUCHING

Fried Beehoon

Following the heels of getting the pink slip from Cuixiang Garden, like the Far East guy, this is another prodigy from that kitchen. Though less ambitious, this guy just concentrates on the quickie single-plate items like rice and noodle. And he does a good job of getting good looking and tasting noodle and rice out of the kitchen, as obvious from its crisp dry vermicelli with crunchy beansprouts, and the not in-your-face kind of fried rice, which has dry-loose grains and yet slightly moist at every bite, with particles of salted fish planted like mines ready to explode on you.

Fried Rice With Salted Fish

Sounding like a long lost son of Charlie Chan, this third grand uncle (as translated from Hokkien) occupies one of the 3 blocks of shops that have plaza walkway between the shops along this stretch of road, and it faces the Cantonese Association across the road.

* The thing with keeping a post for far too long is that this one has past its shelf's life.... the coffee shop has been replaced by a new one. Don't know whether the kitchenette is still there or not.

Friday, October 17, 2008

DINNER @ FAR EAST CAFÉ, 4½ JALAN TAWI SILI, KUCHING

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crabs In Batter

An evening stroll by to the car after dinner at the Food Junction, opposite the Boulevard, brought about a chance encounter with the former waitress from Ciuxiang Garden. She now works for one of her former junior sous chefs from the old restaurant; this prompted us to return to try this place within the next few days.

Deep Fried Belly Pork With Fermented Red Tofu

What you see here were the recommendation of the waitress. To our disappointment, any remains of Cuixiang was evidently absent. It didn't rise above its Zi-Char facade to bring some signature dishes to differentiate it from others.

Mixed Vegetables

Butter Shrimps

Belacan Midin

I'm sorry to report that the chef didn't bring any flame from its former work place... whatever glimmer of light there was for its food, it certainly didn't shine through during this visit. For a RM75 meal (excluding drinks) was a bit expensive for what was laid on the table. Maybe we had set our expectation on the food too high.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ASSAM FISH CURRY


We've come a full circle to complete the circle of the curry paste... thus ending the trilogy to curry paste saga. From a simple curry paste, we've done curry chicken, vegetable curry (or Sayur Lodeh, if you want to impress your friend), and finally this - a sour tasting seafood curry. This one doesn't need coconut milk. It's a watery soup base curry.

The ingredients may vary slightly from dish to dish, but the same basic rumpah paste is there; which is similar to the Thai Red Curry Paste. Some people may omit the belacan (shrimp) paste like my mum did, or add coriander seeds to the mix, which may bring a subtlety of variant to the taste.


INGREDIENTS
Curry Paste • 1 Liter water 1 Promfret (Fish) • 2 Eggplant •
8 Lady's Finger (Okra) • 4 tbsp. Tamarind Pulp + 1 Cup Water • Salt



METHOD

Add 4 tbsp. of oil to the wok over medium heat. When it's hot, fry the curry paste until a bit dry and fragrant. Press, stir and toss the paste around to wok up its flavor, and avoid burning.

When the paste is no longer its wet form, and a bit amber, pour in about 1 liter of water. Stir to dissolve the paste in the water. Bring the curry liquid to a boil.

In the meantime, cut a prepare the vegetable: eggplant and lady's finger.

When the curry comes to a boil, add in the eggplant. Mix and submerge in the curry.

Then add the lady's finger. Do likewise.

Next introduce the cut fish into the curry. Add a teaspoon and half of salt, and stir to combine. Cover the wok, and allow it to come to a boil.

To prepare the tamarind pulp, mix 1 cup of water to 4 tablespoon of tamarind pulp. Use the fingers break down the pulp, separating its seeds. Strain the mixture, and reserve the liquid.

Pour in tamarind liquid, and let the fish simmer for 10 minutes or so.


Finally, adjust the curry to taste with salt and sugar, if necessary, before serving.


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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