Monday, November 30, 2009

DINNER @ HOI TIN LAU RESTAURANT, JALAN MANGGIS, KUCHING

Cold Midin Salad

This is my first time to this restaurant since it relocates to this new place. It's behind the shoplots at the junction of Jalan Simpang Tiga and Jalan Mendu (before the Spring). Being hidden behind the main road and all is no hindrance to gaining more popularity than before, as evident from the Sunday night crowd. Also the restaurant occupies a bigger space than before, with one shop space used solely as a kitchen. Perhaps it has swallowed more than it can chew.


Hors d’oeuvre Platter

Pumpkin Soup

Suckling Pig

Fried Soon Hock With Thai Mango Sauce

Soft Shell Crabs With Salted Eggs

Tong Sui

As you can see the food, ordered a couple of days earlier, doesn't look too shabby.  But the surge of the dining crowd stretches the kitchen thin, and its service is wanting. Our first dish arrives at the table more than half an hour after everyone settles in. Change of clean plates has to be instructed. Tsk!

Being out of the hotel environment, there's no longer any restriction on pork being served here; that calls for a celebration with its suckling pig, or so we thought. Oink! That dish turns out to be the worst of the lot - unevenly roasted, and not crispy enough on the skin (Maybe that rainy night prevents them from having a smoke-out). The memorable ones are the midin (refreshingly sharp and crisp), the soup (rich and sweet), and the soft shell crabs (piquant crunch). And it's price? A-tahan, lah!


* Photos by Seth

Friday, November 27, 2009

THINGS I DIDN'T POST: ITALIAN CAFE @ JALAN PADADA, SIBU




What can I say of this place? Well, if you're looking for Starbucks or The Coffee Bean in this town, you're out of luck; and if you're looking for Italian coffee, you're out of luck too! However, if you're longing for a quiet place to while the time away, Bingo! It's so quiet that we were practically the only 4 persons at this place that evening. But we didn't stay long enough to find out how the rest of the evening panned out for this enterprise; we just boldly went where we always go for the rest of the evening - our favourite watering hole of a cafe in town.

A strange place this one is as it has wine racks and liquors at its back potion of the cafe. I don't know its back story nor do I want to go there. It has a cake display case with a couple of cakes and pastries in it; you don't to go there either. I was hoping to get a nice picture of our drinks, but as you can see they all came out looking the same except with the scribble at the bottom of the cup to distinguish the different orders that we had. Even if you're hoping for a McCafe type of coffee, you're out of luck!




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FRIED LAU SU FANG WITH MINCED PORK STEW



Having tasted the KL's fried Lau Su Fang (Mouse Noodle), this is my take on it; nothing like the original, mind you. It's one of those off the cuff recipes that tastes reasonable on the first attempt, and that results 2 off-springs, which you see here. The amount of the meat used is good enough for 2 recipes.




INGREDIENTS

1 Bag Lau Su Fang

400 gm. Minced Pork

1 Tsp. White Pepper

2 Tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce

2 Tsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Cornflour

1 Tbsp. Cooking Oil

3 Minced Garlic

½ Carrot

4 Dried Mushrooms

1 Egg

Handful of Dried Shrimps

1 Stalk Green Onion





MEAT MARINADE


Add 1 Tsp. White Pepper, 2 Tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce, 2 Tsp. Sugar, 1 Tbsp. Corn Flour, 1 Tbsp. cooking oil. Massage thoroughly, and let it stand in the fridge for ½ hour before use.


In the meantime, soak 4 large dried mushrooms in water until they rehydrate, then dice them. Minced the garlic, julienne the carrot, chopped the green (spring) onion. Set aside.


STEWING THE PORK


In a pot, heat up 2 tbsp. of cooking oil; fry the garlic for a while before adding the marinated pork . Quickly stir to avoid burning.


When the meat is no longer pink, add the diced mushroom. Mix well. Then pour in water, just enough to cover the meat.


Bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for ½ an hour with lid on. After that remove the lid, and turn the heat to high to reduce the liquid to about 10% of it. This is to keep the meat moist. Add in additional dark soy sauce to give it a nicer, darker tone. Further adjust the taste with salt if you have to.



THE TOPPING


While the pork is stewing, beat one egg with a pinch of salt added, and make a thin omelette. Julienne it. Set aside.

Cut the Hay-Bee (dried shrimps) into bite-size. Quickly fried over hot oil to give them the crisp. Set aside.


FRYING THE LAU SU FANG

Drizzle 2 tbsp. of cooking oil around the wok on medium heat. Fry 2 of the minced garlic until fragrant. Then toss in the Lau Su Fang. Scoop from the bottom, toss and turn. Get the noodle oiled on all sides.


Gradually add the dark soy sauce while keeping up with the toss and turn to have a nice even tan. About 2 tbsp. of the sauce should do the trick. Sprinkle a bit of water if the noodle gets too dry. In about 2 minutes they should be done. Scoop out onto a serving dish.


Don't over cook the noodle as it's already "semi-cooked"; the frying is to give it a nice color and heat it up a bit. I didn't bother to add salt or do a taste test, as the pork mixture will even out the taste eventually.



THE ASSEMBLY


Pile on the stewed pork, omelette, dried shrimps, carrots and the green onion garnish.





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THINGS I DIDN'T POST: DRINKS @ UNCLE DOM



After going through some of my folder's scattered here and there, this is what I've found: This is my first visit to this place, and there's Anthea in the picture. I can't even remember what we had; I know Wil's is a combo fruit juice, and mine is coffee or something... nothing earth shattering. All I remember is comparing the diminutive size of its juice against that of Farley's giant tumbler.

Have a good Tuesday!



Monday, November 23, 2009

2ND. TIME 'ROUND @ CAUSEWAY BAY HONG KONG RESTAURANT, CROWN SQUARE, KUCHING

Tong Zai Rice



It's been ages since I last went to Crown Towers - has it been 2 years? Ever since they imposed the parking fee, I stopped going; call me a  cheapskate or whatever, I find the shops there uncompelling, and this is made worst when they closed the home store, and segregated all the eateries.

We've been on a dim-sum trail over the last couple of weekends. Memory fails me, and against my initial choice (the new dim-sum place at the Spring), we  are here on a Sunday morning only to find that this place doesn't serve pork; and the other place (halal too) gives discount on dim-sum. So why fret, but grudging enter this place. Btw, this cheapskate parks at the free parking space on the western front.

Hong King Fried Vermicelli


Instead of going for the customary all-out dim-sum fare, this morning's selection is more towards a lunch affair despite the fact it's only nine in the morning. The first 2 items can easily filled us up - the rice and the fried noodle.

The Steamed Prawnball Rice with Spicy Sauce (top) is out of the norm; a sambal shrimps flavored rice that borders on nasi lemak without the coconut 'lemak' on the rice. The delectable looking vermicelli fried the Hongkong way is actually delicately wonderful.

Chicken Floss Onion Bun


I seldom indulge in the sweets and cakes at dim-sum, however the oddity above has a "eat-me" tag written all over it, and begs to be wolfed down. Interesting!

The freckled sambal hay-bee fried radish cake; radically teases the taste buds to the point of evoking a Meg Ryan's When Harry Met Sally number (Ok, that's stretching a bit). One has to divorce oneself from the perceived tasted of what a radish cake tastes like to really appreciate this pumped-up zing.

Fried White Radish Cake

Although the dumpling below has a great sounding name to it, it's no different from that of an ordinary Seow Mai, except for the bit of Irish, which presumably comes from the Po Chai vegetable. Well, maybe deviating a bit from the usual dim-sum grub is a good way of avoiding any of the halal shortcoming.

Seow Mai Po Chai

Friday, November 20, 2009

BREAKFAST @ YEOW KEE KOPITIAM, JALAN KAMPASS, KUCHING


This block, collectively known as 101, has seen a hive of activities, where food is concerned, both day and night; well, some operate by day, while others along the 101 corridor only come out of the slumber after dusk. This particular coffee shop at the end of the commercial block does both, but on a different term - all-in-one coffee shop by day, and grilled western fare at night. I seldom venture into this part of the neighbourhood for breakfast, had it not been for my cousin, who wants to pay her niece a visit at her work place.


For a place that doesn't offer anything out of the ordinary, this place is packing them in on a working weekday; it seems everyone is on a working breakfast these days. There are Kolo Mee, Laksa, Foochow Kampua and the likes , Lui Chai, Penang Fried Koay Teow, Foochow Zi-Char and Tien Mien Hu.

The centre piece of the place is its roti bakar, done over charcoal at the centre of the shop. And there are Nonya Kuehs to be had as well, and popiahs too! So whatever your fancy, it seems to have it. But whether A-G'am, Bay-G'am is another matter. But can so many people be wrong, unless they are lemmings!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FRYING SHALLOTS (KHENG U-CHANG)




Fried Shallots is one of those great garnishes that gives a dish the extra "oomph!" You find them used mostly on soups. And what would Kampua be without it? It'll be like the Kam without the Pua; it makes no sense, but it'll be like Romeo without Juliet, or Samson without Delilah.
 

"Hmmm, fire, fire
Burnin' in my soul, it's out of control
Fire
"

METHOD

The preparation is simplicity in itself. All you need is just shallots and cooking oil. But it's the frying bit that gets to be a drag!


Skin the shallots (1 kg.) , halved, and slice them into equal thickness.



Pour in enough cooking oil (about 6 cups) into the wok on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, dump the whole lot of the sliced shallots into the oil. (Notice the flame on the burner).



Continuously scoop from bottom up, turn and stir the shallots. Scrap any that sticks to the side of the wok. 



Always agitate the shallots so that they don't lump together. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes before it starts to get gold brown.



The next few photos are the critical stage of frying; it happens within seconds. Once you see the shallots beginning to turn golden brown, yet there are patches of purple bits, scoop and turn in a faster pace. When they are almost there...



... you can turn off the fire, but agitate a bit more. When they are all clear of the purple...



Immediately scoop out onto a colander, drained of oil, and into a paper towelled receptacle.


Let the fried shallots cool...


... then into an air-tight container. The leftover oil is great for Steamed Baby Bok-Choy with oyster sauce, or Kampua - tastes like the ones from Indomie's Mi Goreng.



Monday, November 16, 2009

NAAN AND SUCH @ BOMBAY MASALA, LORONG NANAS 3, KUCHING

Roti Tisu

Indian restaurants going by its signature signage of red wordings against a black background have been popping around town like a rabbit on heat. At last count, they have 10 restaurants scattered around town, with some as near as a couple of hundred feet away from each other. It has got to be the youngest and fastest growing chain of restaurants in town. Its food, on a certain level, has some mojo going for it to be taken to hearts by Kuchingnites. But then again, not all it has to offer are great tasting goodies; they have their fair shake of hits and misses at times; and it makes you wonder: "Why then, leh?!!!"...


... or has someone discovered the economy of scale, and puts its practice to the fullest? Ever see its name-bearing pick-up traversing the streets of Kuching? Those people are not having joy rides, mind you.

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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