Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Classic Bottle-Rolled Pan Mee - Lrg Haji Taib 5

The old lady was working hard on her dough. She rolled hard for her money. Like the good old days in the New Villages. Soup base was from anchovies without the MSG. The soup was thick and cloudy with lots of suspended particles; mostly from flour and bits and pieces of dough.

By rolling and swinging and then folding it and then flattening it again requires labour of love honed by years of discipline and practice. I was in awe as I watched her swinging the dough in the air like the roti chanai man. She was nice to me and I thought for a moment, performing for the camera! Why not when you have a good thing going! Then the piece of flattened dough was torn into bite size. And viola, we have a classic noodles like those made by mom for those days where you wanted a change from the staple diet of rice and have something from wheat instead.

The Pan Mee in my bowl was of irregular size, shape and thickness. What a departure from those untouched by hands. There were even some knotty pieces that really enhanced my enjoyment. Remember those moments when hunger strikes hard and all you want is to have a carbo fix? It tasted so good and I was filled with contentment.

 Fold it and roll it again and again.

Old school Pan Mee with cloudy soup! I actually detested those machine made dough and finished with the portable noodle maker that looks so clean, clinical and sterile.

Thick soup with lots of suspended goodness. Unplugged and straight from the village kitchen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


A quick day trip to Singapore gave me another chance to go to McCafe for a quick early breakfast. Quick without the lines but quality enough to arouse me from my stupor that comes with getting up early to catch the first flight of the day. It's not only refreshing but also value for money. Where else can breakfast be had with a cup of quality coffee for under SGD6? McCafe has quite an incredible beverage menu from the hot, cold, frappe and juices/smoothies.

I got for myself a promo morning set: coffee and a sandwich. The aroma from my coffee and the pleasant sight of my sandwich really set the tone for the day. I was made ready. It was a moment of unbridled joy before the long day of meetings!

I am always impressed by the quality that comes with the McDonald franchise. A great business format that ensures great beverage and food in every country it operates from. Every McDonald taste the same and of the same high quaility in the countries that I have travelled to and eaten from.

So why McCafe is not in KL makes no sense. Why that long in introducing a winner? It generates 15% more revenue compare to the regular McDonald outlet. It draws customers from other more expensive coffee outlets. I believe it will compete well against more expensive brands like PappaRich and beyond.

Great wake-up beverage. The Cappuccino was really rich and aromatic.
 Pesto chicken, fajita chicken strips, cheese and pesto sauce with a zing. Warm and filling.
 Triple Decker, come alive with the great smell and taste of wholemeal bread with cheddar cheese and turkey ham.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kam Wan Ipoh Garden Food Court

I finally get to eat at a food court in Ipoh. Food court is a 20+ years phenomenon when hawkers were hounded of the streets like stray dogs. So unlike Kuala Lumpur, hawkers are systematized and organized. It is an off the grid thing especially for those so use to hawkers' colony sprouting almost overnight along road shoulders. Ipohan will remember Tong Sui Kai put together in site near Sam Tet School. In Penang and Kuala Lumpur food court is a government (less so) and a private sector initiative. Huge hangar like structure being put up and stalls rented out to hawkers,

Kam Wan is next to Woolley Food City. It is like a longhouse with frontage for each stalls to ply their trade. There was plenty of choices. Take your pick. Traditional Ipoh food plus more modern ones that the traditionalist will eschew like me. I try to pick ass many Ipoh-style food as possible. The only food out of the whack were some deep-fried mantis shrimp.It was 8:30pm on Wednesday but surprisingly the place is just a third occupied unlike in times past. Signs of time and also the competition from choices elsewhere. Part of the issue may the the food as I found some of it were very ordinary.

Brown Squid with Kangkung with Peanut sauce. This is by far the best dish of the night. The sauce was excellent and brought life to the bland squid and kangkung. The attraction is usually the sauce and the chewy,, firm and dense texture of the squid mixed with the sauce.

Sengkuang/Jicama Roll whu\ich was my childhood favourite. Lack the oomph and fragrance from being served immediately after deep-frying. It is like the sweet potato tong sui without the pandan infused fragrance in the soup. Average dish but good to renew acquaintance with a favourite.

 I was told these were Parang Fish Balls. Average in texture and taste also.

Duck Leg Wrap was the best literal translation from Cantonese into English at least for me. These can be found mostly in mobile steamboat trucks in Kuala Lumpur. I don't usually eat them there eventhough available as they are already cooked and ready to eat but the cruncher is that these have been exposed to the elements and what nots and one is not supposed to dipped it into the boiling pot of water to sort of to sterilise plus cook it. Inside was mostly char siew. Nice texture, felt solid to taste and chew. Kind of enjoyed it after years of going without it.

Fresh Lala in Savoury Sauce. The sauce was average. I know the Ipohans would disagree as my taste bud is more KL and prefer stronger mix of tastes, smells and flavours. I do like bigger ones and also more succulent meat. Not so easy to get those so got to make do with another palatable dish for the not so choosy.

Mantis shrimp deep-fried in Batter. This stalls have lots of these mantis meat ready and was already dipping them into batter and deep-frying it a cauldron of hot oil in a big wok. The batter was has nice fragrance. Great stuff and this dish can be addictive. Like an expensive plate of chips/crisps of a meaty kind rather than from potatoes or cereals. Recommended.

Footnote: There are to try, give it go as it won't burn a hole in the pocket.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prawn Noodles - San Peng Flats Kuala Lumpur

Simple delights dished by the second generation. The food has stood the test of time and keeping the food flag flying is the younger set. Needless to say I am impressed that these young fellows have decided to take-over their family's business.

There must be something special when a 50-something friend pointed out to me that she used to once upon a time treat this place as her regular haunt. I was told the Lam Mee here is also excellent. The food here is sans MSG which is a big yes yes for 2 reasons. Healthy and no thirst. I came away slurping clean the bowl of its reddish liquid goodness, with that good umami feeling and without immediatley craving for a coke to take away the dry and thirst feeling.

2 generations worth of simple ritualistic day in day out commitment to a good bowl of Har Mein.
A plate of another simple dish of Poached White Chicken. Delightful esp. with dashes of soy sauce.

The Prawn Mein shed.

Directions:  From Jln Maharajalela head  towards Jln Loke Yew, watch out for Tsun Jin school on your left, turn left adter passing the school, short distance TM building find parking somewhere. Next to a Hindu temple.