Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grouchy Stomach, Hidden Gem - Pizza Milanos, 1 Utama Old Wing

Being hungry is a normal physical drive. Being very hungry demands quick rectification. Grouchy stomach makes one grumpy and irritable. We were fortunate to quickly discover one of those hidden gem (in retrospect after eating) - the couldn't get it wrong, tasty, cheap and fast service joint.

I usually size up a joint by their condiments and sauces. If they are generous it is a harbinger of good things to come. Big bottles of black pepper and chili plus it got big holes to discharge the contents freely. Then the Tabasco is parked right in front not in some shelves. I was rubbing my hands with glee. The service (5% service charge and 0% gov. tax) was attentive and the food ordered was served in good time.

Beef Supreme (S) - RM9.99 plus RM2.00 for extra toppings. Hot, sticky from the melted cheese and with tons of toppings! Yum... 7/10.
Chicken Lasagna - RM9.50. Piping hot and with lots of feel from the meat. A bit too sticky though. But then a grouchy stomach will not complain with the this sight. 6/10.Fettuccine Alfredo - RM10.00. Again this assuaged our hunger pangs. Fresh and crunchy prawns and pieces of fish and squid. Again the sauce is a bit too sticky. 6/10.
Pizza Milanos (Next to the Cinema Complex)
Lot S64, 2nd Floor, 1 Utama, Old Wing.
Tel: 03 62790896

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For the Last Time, it's called Yong Lieu and not YTF - Ipoh Nam Fatt

Catching up with food in Ipoh almost always mean a trip to the "Yong Lieu" coffee shops. It is just a kind of cannot help it attraction. I grew up amidst these healthy "lieus". It comes in the form of all kinds of vegetables and soy products slather with a generous portion of fish paste. Yong "long beans", "bok choy", "mushroom" and the list goes on! As for soy products, they have "tau pok" stuff on the right side and also inside out, "foo pe", tofu and etc. Now tell me if this isn't healthy what is?

Nam Fatt not only offers Yong Lieu" but also beef dishes and noodles plus the prennial favourite, steamboat.
Prawn Rolls came piping hot with thick succulent prawns. You guess it the soy skin was crispy and thin allowing one to enjoy the prawns with a crunch. Really good. 9/10. Must order!
Another beautiful Ipoh dish. Ipoh Choy Sum that is soft almost devoid of fibers and sweet to the bite!. 8/10. And for those who loves vege 9/10.Claypot Stew Beef. Its worth ordering as it is so hard to get beef in Ipoh Chinese eateries. This pot lack the zinnng confining to being average fare. I prefer it with thick sauce and more gelatinous. 6.5/10.
And a bowl of beef noodles! The broth was light. 6/10.
My previous visit and post.

Address: Nam Fatt Fish Ball Noodle House

86C Jalan Permaisuri Bainun
(Jalan Kampar)
30250 Ipoh
Tel : 05 2536454

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Restoran Hock Hin - SS19/6D, Subang Jaya

Address: SS 19/6D
Tucked in the old district of Subang Jaya this "tai chow" has been dishing out good stuff to the locals and outsiders alike. We like to go to these places for lunch as the group of 5 or more get economies of scale plus variety.

The "tai chow" may not have air-con but some are airy and spacious. Here we can forget about going into the complexes and malls and do without the parking cost and claustrophobic spaces. The prices inside can be steep too.

Another good thing for "tai chow" is the menu is basically all things Chinese plus off course some Malaysian fusion variety. Come on, lets support these folks in the kitchen to earn a decent living. Many young kids with dyed golden hair cut their teeth in the kitchen before moving to become the man in charge of the kitchen.

The "Hor Chien in Batter" comes crisp on the surface. The batter gave body without the gluey feel and texture. Excellent twist to an evergreen seafood dish. Kudos to the cook's creativity and also obviously customer feedback. 8/10.
Huge field frogs. Legs with plentiful meat. Though done "kung po" style it was not watery but rather the sauces were bound together with some cornstarch. Another nice turn to an ordinary staple. Wished the cashew nuts were better. 7/10.
Our main dish - the curry fish head. We took every opportunity to sample this dish wherever we go. Generally most get the gravy somewhat right. Some were really Indian style while others were a fusion (Nyonya). Most use evaporated milk as a substitute for santan (coconut milk) which is healthy but reduce the intensity of the taste. The key to my assessment will usually be how firm and fresh is the fish. How much and thick gelatinous skin and lips are there? Most disappoint in this department. Same for this place. 6/10.
Our usually vegetables to balance the meal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Penang Fruit Rojak - Macallum Flat, Penang

Its relative when it comes to judging food. Each palate decides differently. But then when there are a lot of happy customers, we may have hit the jackpot. The vendor I meant. Well the customers benefit too as we get to enjoy some excellent culinary pleasures. It is no matter how the food was "simply" prepared or how simple the person who prepares it. Mind you Hock Seng served me barefooted. Didn't mind it one bit.

I get to enjoyed this particular Penang Fruit Rojak exactly 1 year ago. My nephew packed a few for us to sample while in Penang. He was literally singing his praises on how good this particular rojak is. No I did not post it as I just could not managed to get there to shoot the pics. Further I have to be on-site too. But this CNY I made the effort to get there.The sauces were one of a kind. A standout and a knockout. Spicy and hot. Savoury from the shrimpy goodness that comes from dried shrimps, 'har ko' and the usual light and dark soy sauces with an accompaniment of other secret ingredients. Then thickened into a gluey molasses like heavenly paste. It didn't come cheap. RM5 for a fix.

Herein lies the their so likable characteristic. Its not runny or watery. In fact its so thick that it hugs the spoon until gravity pulls it down. I found difficulty dipping and even trying scoop the sauce up with the fruit!

Enough said! It has to be eaten to allow the sweet, sour, savoury and spicy intermingling of flavours to caress or palate and buds. You will be taken.
My wife was bantering with Hock Seng as he pasted coloured label on each plastic box of sauce we took away. "Wow, you look handsome with tie and suit. Like a graduate" He genially replied, "I am a graduate in making rojak!"

We "ta pau" with additional sauces for distribution in KL.
Getting there was a breeze. After exiting the Penang Bridge head towards Georgetown using Jelutong Expressway. After 2 flyovers turn right at the first traffic lights junction. You will see almost immediately Pengkalan Weld Post Office on the right while Hock Seng Rojak is diagonally opposite.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Manila and Quezon City Unplugged

Riding on a decrepit jeepney in Manila gave me the unplugged feeling. Its wild and its off the beaten track at least to me. Not the best description for Manila, I guess. The hot but not so humid weather made the ride bearable. Though I have ridden the jeepney in various parts of Philippines but not in Manila till now.

Pics below showed the end of the EDSA North freeway. This is near the huge and sprawling SM Mall which has a chain throughout the archipelago. Named after the freeway, SM North EDSA has an equally huge bus terminal at ground level for company. A mass rapid transit station is also sited nearby making this area extremely busy. From EDSA North one can just turn into Quezon City which is actually adjacent to Metropolitan Manila. Forget about the map which seems to show it some distance away. Many from the old order (translated rich and powerful) have links through land, homes/buildings ownership in this city. I had meetings after meetings and did not really get to slow down so food was at some trusted and regular joints like the buffet in Dad's Kamayan and Saisaki. The tempura shrimps here were incredible - large and juicy. Eating 50 pieces will have a fair returns to the price per head. The calamari came in large slices. Not forgetting the famous Filipino pork dishes like lechon (roast) and kawali (fried) and many others. We waited 40 minutes for our table on Saturday night.Yes we were serenaded in the nice confines of the restaurant. No matter how bad a Filipino band sings they are still good. Imagine when they are on song!!I like the cello bit but the instrument was not top-notch.
Roast PigletPork and pork and pork.
Tempura. There were more but as I am never good at eating buffet for I get tanked up fast, so it was reflect in my shots too.
I had Dim Sum in SM Mall North EDSA. The food was bearable and far behind the big brother Hong Kong. It was expensive too.Nothing prepared me for a shocking but pleasant visit to maximum Bilibid Security Prison. Prison reforms are at its best or worst depending on who you ask. Religious buildings dot its landscape as all major religions were represented. Prisoners do not wear uniform. In the day it seems all were out in the open milling around and going about their lives. Education and recreation facilities are available. This 500+ hectares prison which has 16,000 inmates did not have a riot since a few decades ago due to the reforms. You can see some prisoners selling hawkers' food in their small stalls. Some prisoners were given the right to own and use cell phones. Prisoners can get married. Spouses can make conjugal visits during the weekend and stay overnight in private rooms.

I met a reformed convict doing social/religious work in the prison. He was pardoned just 5 minutes before execution at 3pm. The phone call from Malacanang Palace came at 2:55pm. He actually confessed to murder in Dumaguete, Negros. Shot and killed the victim and burned the body. He was strapped to the electric chair and the executioner at the ready to pull the power lever. His sentence was commuted to life and was released on good behaviour later.
Bilibid Maximum Security
My passport in and out of the prison. Passing through 2 gates I was frisked and then stamped. These stamps differentiate me as a visitor.
We had some nice Chinese Filipino food for lunch after the prison visit. Foodhouse is located just diagonally opposite the Bilibid main gates.Sweet sour porkSeafood Fried RiceFried PorkStir-fried VegetablesMiscellaneous - McDonald's Longganisa (pork sausage)
The best and most popular fast food in Philippines.
Some roadside fare - deep fried calamari
Biko - sweet sticky rice
Just before I left for the airport my businessman friend takeaway the best fried chicken (even better than KFC according to him) in Philippines for me to take home. It is fried whole. Obviously the chicken is smaller than the standard regulation size for other fast food chains. After 7 hours and on getting home I heated it up in the oven but did not get the effects. It was normal but still good. I guess I will hit the stores when I am there to have it off the fryer.