Sunday, July 12, 2020

Zaman Restaurant - Kuantan, Pahang

We have not been back to the East Coast for some time. With a vengeance, we returned. Deliberately took 4 days of rest in Kuantan after 4 months of Movement Control. A good time to pause, reflect and let the body and soul heal.

Plans were afoot to eat East Coast food as much as we can. On approaching Kuantan, we stop by the famous Zaman Restaurant. Their Nasi Lemak and Nasi Dagang are highly recommended. We got 3 packets of Nasi Lemak to fill our empty tummies. No food since morning and it's now 2pm.

The pyramidal packs were packed tight. On opening, it was layered with banana leaf. Attention was given to enhance the flavour and smell. Their sweet sambal is very appetising. Even the Anchovies were sweet and cooked until almost black. It was certainly not burned. The Nasi can do with more lemak.

At 2pm, the Nasi Dagang has Tongkol Curry as the last dish. The rest were gone. The taste was exciting, spicy and savoury. Just can't find these taste in KL anymore. A full complement of cummin, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, ginger galangal, onions, garlic and what's more....? The fish was cooked till hardened. Likely it was deep-fried before being Adès j to the curry for infusion. The taste was great and appetising. Beware, you may whack another portion of rice with the curry gravy.

Restoran Zaman
Lot 1-3811, KM14 Jalan Gambang, Kuantan, Pahang
09-539 6007

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Warung Kita @ Kg. Melayu Sg. Buloh

It was a Saturday and it was packed. I was masked and in the queue for 30 mins. Entire families were out and in my line, we have those who were buying 8 to 10 packs.

I was here 3 years ago with buddies for lunch on a weekday and it was equally crowded. Did the food measure up? For sure, the kuah and sambel were excellent and delectable. Watch out before they entice you to whack the plate of rice. I ordered 3 standard packs, rice with fried chicken pieces. A portion is 5 pieces. And two coconut shake with ice cream. The price was RM24+. Guess the price has gone up. Previously was RM5 per pack.

So how's the fried chicken. The business is so good that customers should be getting piping hot meat all the time. Cauldron of oil was roiling with chicken pieces in the background.

How did these compare to 3 years ago? Well, it was tastier and juicier. I wished they marinate it longer and take off the frying oil earlier. Other than that, all are good.

Warung Kita @ Kg. Melayu Sg. Buloh
95, Jalan Kusta, Kampung Melayu Batu 13, Sungai Buloh, Selangor
013-996 2525

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lucky Seafood Restaurant, Tanjung Karang, Selangor

Lucky Seafood Restaurant Tanjung Karang has a good cook. The kepah came in light simple sauces undergirded by a heavy dose of Chinese wine. The meat peeled off easily and was at its smoothest and juiciest best. Each morsel was bursting with its fluid and flavours.

This was one mantis prawn dish done right, with generous caramelisation and a thin (not thick) layer of fragrant batter—my kind of taste and texture.

The crisp on the outside and moist flesh of the dragon tongue fish testified to the cook's timing again in the battle of heat control. The meat came off the bones, still piping hot. Best eaten with hands and without any of the usual sauces. Relish in its natural state's taste—the best of the lot.

The veggie didn't disappoint. Light seasoning in broth got the tongue-tingling and appetite worked up—very Cantonese.

The baby octopus was a shade saltier while the batter was slightly soggy. Probably lost the battle with the oil's heat. Oil got to be very hot and the dip to be quick but long enough to cook and crisp.

The cucur udang was a bit salty and also its oil was in need of a change.

Lucky Seafood Restaurant
17, Jalan Bagan Pasir, Tanjong Karang, Selangor
03-3269 0911
Tel: 03-3269 0911

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Big Apam Balik (Tai Kow Meen), Pulau Tikus Wet Market, Penang

Everybody's favourite sweet dessert and breakfast portion. Anytime and everytime snack. But not everywhere available nowadays. I detest the small apam balik. Where got kick? I opt for Tai Kow Meen (Big chunky face) anytime, everytime and anywhere.

Must go if in Pulau Tikus market. Someplaces, long queue esp if the hawker has only one stove operating. And when they cut corners to speed up, you get less crispy sides and wetter insides.

Everything being equal, nuttier is not monkey. Hand me more crushed peanuts. And the more margarine, the better. I don't care if its a molecule away from that of plastic, so what! Add some salt even better and being indulgent, make it sweet, but to look after the health, not too sweet lah

Enjoy man!

Pulau Tikus Wet Market
3, Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus, George Town

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Kean Seng Lee Café, Kuala Kurau, Perak

A trip to Kuala Kurau means fresh seafood. I am glad to make this trip beyond Sepetang into Parit Buntar then dropping by a pomelo orchard with very good and juicy fruits. I reckon, comparable to those in Ipoh.

Seafood was simple kembong and some prawns. Kembong has some delicate flesh and steaming makes the flesh more fragile. Doing it right is the key. The meat came off tasting as a kembong should. Nuance and light in taste yet exhibiting the strength of character with its distinctive kembong smell. This is the reason why kembong is the Malaysian favourite small scaleless fish. The broth complemented the fish, lightly accented soy sauces and subtle, with some julienne ginger and chili to bring the kick — a good combination.

The prawns were done Thai style with a surprise bamboo twist. It's going native as bamboo cooking is an indigenous style of the Orang Asli. I would have preferred a more straightforward form, but alas, we eat together, so give and take. The sweet, sour, savoury and spicy dish has lots of onions slices to kick it up for a heightened chow.

Don't miss your seafood when in Kuala Kurau!

Kean Seng Lee Café
Kuala Kurau, Perak
011-2652 2991

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Kuala Kurau Prawn Fritters, Perak

What do you do with an abundant supply of fresh prawns? Wisdom and entrepreneurship produce some great culinary delights. One of them would be the Prawn Fritters. They are quite a few around, but this is the popular one. It is part just behind Kean Seng Lee Café that also serves excellent seafood, which is by the seafront. If there is a long queue for this delicious snack move on, there are a few nearby. Call ahead if you want to tapau a substantial amount to feed the whole village.

It's painful watching them adroitly in multiple tedious steps setting up the base or mold for the fritter in a ladle. Then the ingredients were added and followed by the topping up to put together each fritter. Finally, they put the ladle, which acted as a mold into the hot cauldron of oil for the final step. So don't begrudge the price.

Besides the basic batter made from flour, there were the Chives, Jicama (sengkuang) and a few pieces of prawns. These were quality prawns. The fritter was soft, fluffy and moist inside while it's external was crispy. The crunch from the Jicama, the distinctive scent from the Chives and the unadulterated and sweet aroma from fresh prawns these fritters make a good snack.

Kuala Kurau Prawn Fritters
Kuala Kurau, Perak
05-727 8171

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Kheng Pin Cafe, Jalan Penang, Georgetown

This kingpin has a long history. Another Penang flagship coffee shop that serves breakfast and lunch. We already had our starters in Swee Kong at Burma Road half an hour earlier. We intended to go for their big 5. We managed only 4 and missed the Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Top of the line will be their Loh Bak, with pork marinated in 5-Spice Powder enclosed in a beancurd sheet. Deep-fried, it emited an aromatic fragrance like no other meat can release.

Loved by Penangnites and other dialects, it is a must-have in any Hokkien home during festivities. Crunchy and crisp beancurd with sweet, savoury meat, this is one dish no one can refuse. They have refrigerated ones for takeaways. It is easy to fry it at home.

Next, we go for their Char Koay Teow, which is famous Penang wide. Wok Hei and a combination of sweet and savoury soy sauces plus a splash of chili and a few large prawns made this dish so delectable for breakfast.

Then, the ubiquitous and obligatory Prawn Mee. It came in delicious thick broth replete with diffusion from prawn shells and pork bones with a small dish of sambal to enhance the soup any which way the diner wanted. It was topped with sliced pork and prawn with the eggs and deep-fried onion fritters. A complete meal that will satiate not only hunger pangs but also the taste buds.

Finally, the Wantan Noodles. It sprang a surprise. Really good springy noodles with a balance of sweet and savoury sauces that brought the noodles to life. Another jolt awaited us. It had chicken slices, mushroom, Wantan dumplings and BBQ Pork. Nice....

Kheng Pin Cafe 群宾茶餐室
80, Jalan Penang, George Town

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Traditional Indian Apom at Swee Kong Coffee Shop, Jalan Burma, Penang

"Your Airness" will be the best description for this traditional South Indian dish. Light and crispy sides with a concentrated dense yet fluffy central mass. It has a touch of coconut milk and sugar with a base of milled, fermented rice.

It is crafted over charcoal fire over in an evergreen clay pot. The only thing modern will be the stove with stainless steel coat to prevent cracking. If traditional is equated with quality and art, then the Apom should be good.

They did not disappoint. Crispy sides and fluffy and moist centre. Sweet, rich and satisfying. Mind you, beware; one will not be enough. If that is the only breakfast, you are having, go for 3 to 5 pieces. It is highly recommended to add an egg on top for a creamier Apom with the yolk staring out, inviting you to eat. It will also have a lighter tasting core with the presence of the egg white.

Try their Prawn Noodles and other delicacies in this old flagship of a coffee shop in Georgetown.

Swee Kong Coffee Shop
232, Jalan Burma, George Town

Friday, March 20, 2020

Jyu Raku, SS15, Subang Jaya

My go-to restaurant when I have a 'brilliant' idea to dine Japanese food. Will not go wrong. Get there early to settle down, order the food and relax.

For sashimi, beyond plumping the depths of its subtle taste and the fragrance of the sea, I look for texture. You can feel the freshness while tasting it. The tongue has, not just taste buds, but also nerves to feel.

The sashimi platter has the best to offer in terms of taste, smell and texture. The raw meat from the fish and sea creatures titillate and make the tastebuds tingle.

Each has its distinctiveness. You recognised them, but with superior selections, you get a heightened and newer dimension in culinary delight.

The salmon tasted so much better, it's stickier and denser. The meat clinged on to the palate. The tuna was smoother than its leaner cousins. Relished the bits of omega. Rolled eyes and tongue.

The prawn's smell was robust. I did not need to draw it out. They just wafted in and the richness of the meat just couldn't be described except that it was a strong fragrance, albeit from the sea. Again it was like plaster gripping on to the mouth. The sea urchin was not limp. It has a life of its own, some crunch and was rich and creamy. Tasted earthy and briny.

When it comes to grilling with sauce and tasting it, much care was put in to get it right. We got to taste the tenderness of each clutch of protein fibre intermingling with the rich soy sauce so peculiar and identifiable to the Japanese. Couldn't have enough....

Jyu Raku
13, Jalan SS 15/5a, Ss 15, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
03-5633 3819

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hup Kee Glass/Crystal Char Siew - Setapak KL

My favourite Chinese Roasters will be Hup Kee in Jalan Ayer Lombong in Setapak. Reasonably priced and tastes that scratch you where it itches. All the roasts are there plus white (poach) chicken. I managed to eat all except their roast duck and pork this time around

Their BBQ Pork is known as Glass/Crystal BBQ (Po Li Char Siew). This is one stall that gives you the fat portions. It is highly sought after and will melt in your mouth. I enjoyed this caramelised meat tremendously.

The roast chicken was done Chinese restaurant style. The skin was thin, taut and it is well roasted and flavourful. A bit of pepper and salt will enhance their taste.

And finally, their white chicken is flavourful, firm and juicy. The skin is another well-liked part. Smooth and not fatty. You will not miss any of the flavours a good poach chicken has to offer. Don't forget the ginger dippings.

The lady boss marshall her space well chop and cut like nobody business. Open just for a few hours for lunch. Go early, before noon to get the fat BBQ Pork and the juicy morsels from the chicken and duck.

BTW you can call ahead to order large quantity

Hup Kee Char Siew
13-20, Jalan Ayer Lombong, Taman Ayer Panas, Kuala Lumpur
016-688 4976