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

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Chuan Lee Char Koay Teow (Sect 11) and Choon Prawn Mee House (Paramount Garden) PJ

Saturday is a couple's time. Make the relationship work by putting food into the stomach. It will surely reach the heart in due time. Eating together is special. Or, for that matter, any together activities will bond.

Chuan Lee Char Koay Teow

 Choon Prawn Mee House
 Ice Coffee
Pahk Poh Ping
 Extensive menu

Weekdays are not a good time to go to PJ for food esp when there is a rigid timeframe. Leisurely Saturdays give time to slow down for the chow and to enjoy the food.

We decided to go Penang. First, it's the Char Koay Teow at (Chuan Lee) in Section 11 and followed by Prawn Noodles (Choon Prawn Mee House) at Paramount Garden.

At Chuan Lee, the CKT stall is at the side to avoid long ventilation ducts to channel the fumes from the wok filling up the shop. Wait for the Indonesian worker to take your orders.

It was not a long wait before the platter came. Super value for money. Three large fresh and juicy prawns. Right wok hei, moist and sweet savoury KL Penang style. If you don't fancy moist, too bad. It's the full works. Ipoh CKT uses much less caramel and savoury soy sauces. The look for wok hei. The smell of the fire and wok.

It was then adjourned for our Prawn Noodles. Again, everything was at the max level in taste. Super thick prawny broth with sweet undertones. It was a bit strong for me. It had pig's rind. It was soaked with broth and was a bit mushy. I preferred it firmer and with more texture. But my partner, a Penangnite, liked it.

Both have much more to offer. But mainly we went for what was well-known. We almost dropped by OS Restaurant just a dozen shops away for their famous Assam Laksa but thought otherwise. There will be other Saturdays.

Chuan Lee Restaurant
5, Jalan Bukit 11/2, Seksyen 11, Petaling Jaya
03-7954 9723

Choon Prawn Mee House 春虾面
13, Jalan 20/14, Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya
012-265 8193

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Sepiring Paradigm Mall, PJ

This was my 2nd order through Grab and Panda delivery. I have used Grab quite a bit until their special offer subscriptions were stopped. I have tried Panda service and found their service suits my lifestyle. Best, they have free delivery.

Sepiring's meals were packed and organised well. My favourite will be their nice-looking Nasi Pandan Ayam Berempah and Penang Rojak. I ordered both together. Their pandan rice was savoury. I had enough of the sweetish kind. The fried chicken was fantastically tender and flavourful. I liked their meat as it was firm and did not break up easily.

If there is a benchmark, their fried chicken is on par or better if compared to Village Park. Their rempah was rich, creamy, lemongrass-infused and tumericified. The sambal was sweet and flavourful, acting as a foil for the predominantly savoury dish. And finally, to round up the condiment, a bonus in the form of pickled vegetables added another taste dimension to the meal.

Penang Rojak has excellent sauces. It was thick, both sweet and savoury, spiced up and belacanised. Crushed peanuts were generous in the mix, giving out a lovely fragrance and a look so acted as a binding and filling agent. Once stuck to the fruit pieces, it improved their taste and texture. One grouse, the fruits lacked variety and colour. The Jambu Air and Jicama was missing. The red of half ripened papaya was not present too.

Overall, I was happy and will order again.

Sepiring Paradigm Mall
Ground Floor Paradigm Mall

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Sabah Keratang, Ara Damansara, PJ

Fish lovers got to try the Giant Grouper here at least once. Prolific in the eastern shores of Sabah, these fish do not come easy and often. Even Sabahans got to wait for the occasional huge and wild ones. This restaurant has tried to bring this particular species to KL.

Having eaten it quite a few times in Sabah, esp at Tung Fong, Inanam, Sabah, where their seafood and fish noodles have achieved legendary status, this particular shop excited me. Can't forget Tung Fong's fish head, fish lips and fish fillet with noodles.

I went over there twice at lunchtime and the crowd was there. Get there before lunch before the hordes come in. Is the food as good as Tung Fong? How was the broth? Is the fish fishy (hard question to answer)?

The two things I liked were the Keratang skin. Thick, luscious and crunchy. A desirable part of the fish. Collagen abundant and texture-wise, hard to find this as most fish either have soft skin or tough skin. Not crunchy and tight. The fillet came thick and dense. By examining the pectoral fins, the fish was large. Love the texture too, the meat felt solid and it was a great chew and that meant the taste was not lost but fully explored at the taste buds.

I did not get the best from the head. Too bony as I would like parts with meat and skin. I do hope the shop will freely and randomly distribute the various portions into the bowls.

The soup was a tad salty and felt thirsty after the meal. Also, the soup has a slight fishy smell. A bit too much for me. It may be in the cleaning, processing or storage.

Overall, still an exciting restaurant in my area that I can go at leisure every time I am hit with the giant grouper bug.

Sabah Keratang KL
Ground Floor, No. 8, Jalan PJU 1a/20a, Dataran Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya
019-809 6373