Monday, May 31, 2010

Unremarkable Yut Kee - KL

Yut Kee's boss with 83 years old Mr Robson of Sg Buloh. Came all the way for his chicken chop fix.

Food is for living while for some they live for food. Like the Mr. Robson that I met, a loyal customer of Yut Kee remarked to me, "Where you can get a chicken chop with gravy and sides for less than RM10?" My first trip was in 1986 with a group of friends. Then a long hiatus of 10 years before breaking it when eating with my wife. It was another 15 years that I came back for my 3rd outing.

The floggers have been raving about the food here. But then there were detractors as well. Yut Kee like any iconic joints must be treated with care. One must understand its strengths and weaknesses. It can be fickle and unremarkable but yet can still shines and delivers with distinction. The key is to get acquainted.

Perhaps after 15 years I had lost touched or made the mistake of not going with a regular of Yut Kee. We have attended a funeral and went looking for food after the service. Since nobody wanted to take the lead on where to eat I suggested Yut Kee. We went for its simpler fare - fast food for the lunch crowd. My eating companions were quiet about the food. There was nothing more to say if it was unremarkable. Was there a change of the kitchen crew? Was it an off-day performance?

I envy those who came for its roast pork from Friday - Sunday. A 'star' that is available for 2-3 hours. A frightening scenario esp. with the hungry lunch horde competing for a slice of it. Oh, yea, I forgot about the Roti Babi. Should have ordered it. The toast, the homemade 'kaya', the rolls.... Here's to a remarkable revisit and to get acquainted!

The gravy was on the light side and so were the taste. The sides were also average. The Pork Chop was overcooked and coarse. But the price was cheap.
We have had better Hokkien Mee. Food for living I guess!
Another simple and quick meal for the those in a hurry.
Tung Fun/Glass noodles was lumpy and wet.
Yut Kee Restaurant
Jalan Dang Wangi
03-26988108

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Perting Pandak Waterfalls aka Lata Hammers - Bentong,Pahang


An hour's drive and 45mins of easy trekking take us to Perting Pandak Waterfalls aka Lata Hammers. The river minus any silting is still clear with good waters. The natural and circular pool off the falls is the largest I have seen. The area is almost an Olympic size pool. The refreshing cool water with a sandy and deep bank gives the impression that we are in a lagoon. In fact I laid down at the water edge for a long time reluctant to take my back off the sand and water!
The equally mesmerising river.
In the midst of fun do observe a few safety rules. Most of the pool is more 6 feet deep. The deep end may be over 20 feet. There are tree trunks buried under the pool. My foot was almost caught by some branches. Divers be extremely careful here. If using simple flotation devices make sure that the leveraging and gripping do not tire you easily as the current will push you to the deep end and panic may set in. Life vest will be the best. For those who want to jump off the rock face, do so at your own risk.
Imagine the strength that comes from the voluminous amount water coming down from the upper reaches after heavy rain. Large rocks and thick tree trunks can be seen along the river - being washed down from higher up. So avoid waterfalls during the rain. Shift the tents to higher ground too.
Perting Valley is used by Adventure Companies for commercial team building. Massive slope conditioning is happening near the trail head, harbinger of some major development activity. I am sure when it rains the soil will be washed into the river. The good times may not last long. Already discarded rubbish is left behind by irresponsible campers and picnickers. Plantation esp durians, rubber and palm oil trees can be seen in and around. A welcome sight only if it is not hugging the river as fertiliser and pesticide will definitely contribute to the waterway.
An easy 45mins hike. Wear long pants to avoid scratched from the underbrushes.
The waterfall and its lagoon.The murky and dark deep end.
1 in a 100 or even 1,000 moments. Shot a mature Rajah Brooke butterfly in full flight using my phone camera. A protected species under CITES (Appendix 2). The bright luminous green stripes against its jet black wings is a sight to behold.
Another 1 in a 1,000 moments. I was waiting patiently for another shot and was rewarded! A Rajah Brooke in a parking position! Alas as I zoomed in the sharpness was lost. Time to get a good and small compact. Perhaps a S90.
This is a really distressing and disgusting sight.A huge tree stump framed against a backdrop of development in progress. The circumference may need at least 3 adults with outstretched hands to encircle.Massive slope works! What more can I say (sigh). Deep in Perting Valley. Another angle for perspective. We have to walk up this slope that extends to the riverside trail head. A late lunch in Bukit Tinggi at Restoran Chee Hoong. One of the two pioneer "tai chow". Be prepared to wait an hour during dinner time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hanis Cafe and Bakery - National Library Singapore

Creating the environment for intellectual room and creativity in the mind is one of the most important function of any government interested in the knowledge economy. The National Library of Singapore is one such space. Cavernous with lots of glass and granite it portrays a no nonsense and serious approach to attaining educational excellence.

It is of no surprise that after scrutinising their Math taught to Lower Primary students they are at least 6 months and more ahead of their counterpart across the Causeway. My assessment did not include their additional introduction of Critical Thinking Math in the Math syllabus as yet.

The hangar-like open space within the library is airy and gives the impression of openness and a readiness to receive. Undoubtedly a good place for exhibitions for books, artists or for that matter any discipline that promote art, culture and knowledge.
Hanis Cafe and Bakery is also found at the airport too. I like their facade that blends in well with the building.
The al fresco cafe that has super high roof is expansive and will attract the visitors and then lull them into its relaxing embrace. One will lose track of time here!

My pumpkin soup. In my mind pumpkin is used as a food conditioner. It gives volume and body by sacrificing itself so that other food may shine. I am discovered pumpkin when introduced by my Filipina domestic helper 15 years ago. And my Teochew friend that enlightened me that Or-Nee is not just 100% Yam but also includes Pumpkin! And I just took Pumpkin with Tofu for lunch - interesting!Focaccia
My "intellectual" food. Fish and chips. Hanis @ National Library is a great place to relax.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pan Heong Again - Batu Caves

There were three reasons for me to have another go at Pan Heong. I was disappointed with their frog porridge the last time. Secondly, I have yet to try their highly regarded Nam Yue Pork Belly. Thirdly, a flyover and ramps were built to accommodate the new KTM station probably bringing convenience to Pan Heong and Batu Caves for the better.


This time round I asked for Frog Wat Tan Hor. Noodles have "wok hei". The gravy was flavourful and replete with wonderful fragrance of comfor food well done. A good change from the flavourless, plain and colourless porridge that usually goes with my frog dish order.Deep-fried with a crisp 'nam yue' flavoured exterior layer. Pork layered with lean and fat cooked to perfection. Porkilicious!Evergreen Mee Mamak. My favourite side-dish.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

McCafe

McCafe turned McDonalds' breakfasts around when the business was heading south. Coffee addicts will not want to get McDonalds' breakfast and then head to Starbucks for their coffee. Now I am not talking about the Premium Roast Coffee but gourmet coffee. Yes, mochas and lattes are brewed to compete with Starbucks.

I got a taste and feel of McCafe in Singapore after touching down at Changi and late. Basically the business model is simple (not as simple if taking into consideration the market study) - an annexe was added to the regular McDonalds restaurant.

This one was packed to the brim and it was Chelsea vs Portsmouth FA Cup Final but with no large screen.
The 'barista' brewing our beverages. Just like the specialty coffee houses!
My Himalayan Tea Latte. It was 11.00pm and I do not take coffee. My usual cuppa at Starbucks would be Chai Latte. A very good cup indeed. Warming and satisfying. Nice preparation for me hit the sack later on.
A nice chicken chunks wholemeal sandwich. Bread was toasted. Really ground-breaking to get this at McDonalds.
McMuffin!?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Foong Yit Revisit - Taman Bukit Sri Bintang, Kepong

It was the crabs that drew me back to Foong Yit. Not that I have eaten it but I have seen these large crustacean on the next table. That was enough. The eye-gate once opened and the picture drawn on the canvas of the mind, forms a powerful 'fatal' attraction. Don't you think so, gentlemen. Maybe not the ladies. They may be drawn more through the sense of smell and feel.

So with just one agenda we head out here. But because of lack of pax only one large crab was ordered. They were kind. Some insist on at least 2 to cook. It is grilled in salt to perfection. Fresh succulent meat that can be easily peeled away. Just love these rock salt. It taste so much better.
Then we had pig's fallopian tubes (Sang Cheong). It was cooked with crunchy dry shrimps and bird's eye chili. Time to savour this dish as supply is scarce. It's been sometime I had this.
And finally Stir-fried Potatoes Leaves(Yin Choy) was ordered to balance the meal.
Address: 36, Jalan 3/36
Tel: 03 62761385
Business Hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm and 5:30pm - Midnight.

Tangkak Beef Noodles - 133, Jalan Imbi, KL

Zipping down the North South Expressway and hungry we quickly turned into Tangkak for a quick meal of the best beef noodles in town. Alas we missed the boat. The shop was closed for the day. What a bummer! But that was about 2 years ago.

Chilli sauce unplugged (left) which is my favourite esp. those with zero food conditioner and chilli sauce with lime on the right.

But then when I was not looking, I chanced upon their branch at Jalan Imbi while running an errand. This time round 2 years late, I would not want to missed the opportunity esp. when it dropped literally on my lap. Wow, I really missed a good bowl of beef noodles.

I salivated with Pavlovian timing while ordering. This is not the table manner to have, but then who cares. The dogs of Ivan Pavlov did not either!

Thick and murky soup base. Sad that it was tainted with moderate MSG. But then the beef, tendons and tripe were just too good. Well maybe I am exaggerating. Its been a long time. Above average I ventured to suggest. The beef was on the dry side as it had yielded its best to the soup. Still a great bowl of noodles. Consoling and warming.
The beef balls were good. Slightly gamely, a reminder that this is beef! Robust and firm as beef balls should be.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Restoran 126 - Bukit Tinggi, Pahang

Bukit Tinggi was on our radar for a few weeks. There was this "Ah Poh" that I wanted to meet. His name was mentioned with great reverence by my friends. From Batu Cves it is just 20 minutes away. Nice ride through some stunning scenery and mountains which only serves to whet the appetite. We got there all right for lunch. Yes there was this Ah Poh that watch over his turf (which was landscape somewhat) and customers with an eagle eye. His PR is good and he took our orders. He recommended tienchi leaves (in Cantonese its Tin Chat). More of that at the end of this post.
We tried to keep our orders manageable price-wise so that we can release some budget into the vegetables and food buying frenzy from stall nearby! So tilapia was ordered as the main course!
The tilapia was so big that we had it done 2 ways. On one side was pan-fried till crisp. The other was steamed with sour and spicy assam sauces. Fresh and appetising.
The Hakka Tau Pok was average as I found the meat somewhat dry. But still a good eat served with some refreshing soup.Somehow we had to order an unhealthy dish. "Heong Hau Far Lam" - Deep Fried Sliced Belly Pork. The thin morsel gave in with a crunch and with plenty of thick, caramelised gravy it was thumbs up!
Tin Chat (Tienchi - use this word if you want to google!) leaves are valued for its pharmaceutical qualities. It has been used from time immemorial in China. Yunnan has tons of these and it can be bought in dry powder, capsule, steamed etc from the medical halls. Its efficacy is mostly in treating internal injury, blot clot, hemorrhages, bruises and sprains.

The leaves are really green in look. It tasted medicinal. Making it less palatable, it is slimy and I thought the penchant for it stir-fried style must be an acquired taste. I like the crunch that come from the thick leaves but put off by its sliminess. Its slipperiness is similar to the our local red spinach.

Total Price for 6: RM62 nett!