Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Food FR - Kwai Lam Seafood Restaurant

Kwai Lam Seafood Restaurant
Subang New Village

Everyone was hankering for some seafood for some time it was kinda late in the evening and it looks kinda rainy of late, Teluk Gong was out of the question while our usual place in North Port seemed kinda far away. So we settled for somewhere nearer and this place in Subang New Village was just right. So bundling the whole family in the car and picking up my granny where i got an earful for staring at this pretty girl in a nice tube top...anyway we made our way to the place.

There are actually many seafood restaurants down this way. Some of the more notable ones are like LaLaChong, the place with the large prawn/crab in front etc. Most of these places mushroomed during the days when the international airport was in subang. I'd still remember it, standing by the fence looking at planes landing and taking off, many patrons are filling their time by having a nice meal...just very nice.

Anyway we got to the place. Its actually in an industrial area and the restaurant is an extension of the house which i presume the owners stay in. Parking is plentiful as you can park near the warehouses or factory at the back. The roof is your typical zing type but you'd have your fans and lights on it. Ok, down to the food. This place used to NOT serve rice but they do now. So first up was the fried rice. Somebody had to have it and best to order less than the number of people in your group. You could order fried tong fun as well which is just as nice. They have other styles and types of noodles but this is not the main event anyway. Next was the fried chicken wings. This dish appears on almost all tables and its fried to a crispy brown thing which everybody loves!. You are also given some fabolous chili sauce for dipping. Actually its not for the chicken but for the next dish which was the Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) which we of course choose stingray...nicely done and not burnt like some i know..its perfect with the chili. Next up was some vegetables stir-fried in garlic and fermented beancurd (fu-yue)..goes well with the meal. Then came the crabs.

We ordered up some sweet and chili crabs which came with a generous amount of sauce. We ordered fried buns as well to dip in the sauce but the buns weren't so fresh. This was something new too as we used to bring a loaf of bread along for this. Anyway the crabs were nicely cooked and had lots of flesh. Of course they serve other types as well such as marmite, steamed and fried kam heong style which is chilies, belacan, dried shrimp and curry leaves. We also had a oatmeal prawns which was basically fried prawns with oatmeal and egg. It was so so as we definitely had better ones in Klang. Anyway the food came at a decent time although i remember once it took 1 hour before but that hasn't happened for the last 8 times i've been there. The bill came up to about RM120+ including chinese tea. Its a place worthwhile going to try for and since i keep going back...its must be pretty decent!.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Food FR - Petaling Street Porridge

Kedai Han Kee,
Off Petaling Street (opp. Hong Leong and next to Koon Kee)

It was a blustery morning today, feeling kinda cold and hungry, what better remedy than a nice hot bowl of porridge!. Anyway i've been here quite a few times already. Growing up in Petaling Street, this was one of the old time goodies that have survived the modernisation of PS. Gone are the good old coffeeshops which served aromatic coffee drank in plates, thick toast with kaya and of course the half-boiled eggs..only to be replaced by Coffee Bean...meh..

Anyway we made our way to the porridge place. If you are particular about hygiene, then you'd have a heart attack here. Also do NOT look inside the shop to see how um..certain things are prepared. You'd never be the same again. I made that fatal mistake and i can't stomach certain things even though i had an iron stomach.

We ordered a bowl of pork meatball porridge which came with a bit of ginger, spring onion and sesame oil. Of course the mandatory "yaw char kuey" or deep fried pastry is a must!. If they run out of it, just pop down the street to buy your own. The guy even cuts it up for you. Anyway just one bowl to be shared between of us. Why only 1 bowl you ask?. Well so happens that there is a chee cheong fun stall next to it and it makes a nice starter to the porridge. Basically you can add whatever condiment you want to the chee cheong fun such as soya sauce, sweet sauce, green chilies, sesame seed, sesame oil..i'm not so sure if they have things like curry or prawn paste but i seldom go for that anyway. It is really a nice mixture. Cold chee cheong fun then finished up with hot porridge...ahhh..nice.

Anyway for the porridge you have a choice of chicken, century egg, raw fish or pork meatballs. Actually you can have all four together but that's gonna cost you a bomb. A lot of ppl actually go for the raw fish. I do to. Its actually tong shan fish..dunno the english name for that. Served on a small plate with loads of ginger, spring onions and chives, you add your own soya sauce and pepper to taste and dump it in the steaming hot porridge. The porridge will cook the raw fish somewhat and tastes really nice. If you are in town in the early morning, you might want to give this a try. You get to see the early morning activity down in Petaling Street. Traders getting their wares ready, the commaderie between the traders, the foul languages that you can pick up and generally how a market wakes up to another day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Food FR - Mun Tong Kee

Mun Tong Kee
SS2, next to Lim Mee Yoke

Chicken rice has got such appeal that if you can't think of anything else to eat, you'd just go for chicken rice. Easy, quick and simple, no wonder you can find it anywhere. Anyway this new place popped up in SS2 and i decided to give it a try.

For 2 persons, we ordered chicken (steamed), a plate of Kai Lan in oyster sauce and their fried tofu. The chicken was smooth and nice served with cucumber and soya sauce. They also gave you their own made chili sauce, dark soya sauce and ginger with spring onions to go with it. The Kai Lan was fresh and crunchy (stem) and the oyster sauce truly added the right flavour and topped off with fried shallots. The fried tofu was interesting. Its actually uses the white tofu and while the exterior was crispy outside, the tofu was soft inside. Given that the tofu actually has no taste on its own, the interesting was that the crispy skin was salted to provide the taste for the tofu. In any case, the bill came up to RM24+. In my opinion that was a bit pricey as this was a coffeeshop type of place but if you don't eat there so often, its ok.

They also served porridge and various other dishes such as braised pork. They also have chee cheong fun but i am still worrending how that came about. Must be a singaporean thing. Anyway nice to give it a go. Anyway i found out later that the vegetables cost RM6 while chicken per person costs about RM5..pretty ok lar unless you are a stingy fellow like me..

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Food FR - Canteena Pub & Grill

Canteena Pub & Grill

If you remember such places like Cooler in State, PJ, then this place is for you. I have no idea why i ventured into this place some time back. Before its renovation, you couldn't even see into the place and its dark, dodgy and filled with people drinking themselves silly. Anyway don't be alarmed with the patrons at the bar, they won't mess with you as they are more focused on their drinking buddies.

Sit yourself down at the tables and the friendly foreign waiters will hand you the menu. Oh they do have set lunches which are pretty nice and decent. Anyway don't worry is half the people there are drinking and not eating. I ordered an apparagus soup which is nice and sweet but i prefer their tomato soup which has a thick sour and sweet taste. They also give you a complementary basket of buns which is really for me, the star of the menu. Basically its bun smeared with cheese and butter and popped into the oven/microwave which tastes absolutely delicious!!..

Anyway back to the main course, they have the local food variety such as fried noodles, fried mamak mee, fried rice etc and of course the western stuff. They do have a daily/weekly special but i did not try it. Anyway i ordered the Oriental Chicken Chop which comes with a brown gravy with peas, carrots and corn on a fried cut of chicken. Served with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and fries, its your typical malaysian chicken chop. They also have others and i've tried the BBQ Chicken Chop which comes with almost similar sauce. Don't go for the plain chicken chop as it is rather dry.

My other half order the fish and chips which was served with tartar sauce, fries, vegetables and coleslaw...its ok nothing much to really shout about. They do have a selection of omelletes as well and i recall it was pretty nice too. We have never tried the desert but i guess it should be ok. If you like the old, musty and dark appeal of such grill houses eg. Coliseum than you should give this place a try. Its not too bad. No loud music. No flashy people. No pretentious show offs..just drunks. Nice place for dinner in Bangsar.

Food FR - Fasta Pasta

Fasta Pasta
Ikano Power Centre, Mutiara Damansara

You know there isn't much to eat at Ikano so i decided to give Fasta Pasta a try for my Sunday lunch. The crowd at Ikano/Ikea was overwhelming as usual but it was a lazy day so i thought i'd brave the traffic once more. Anyway got to the place at 12.40, there were a few tables which was occupied but we managed to get a booth at back of the restaurant which gave us more privacy.

Anyway it was just the 2 of us and not feeling extremely hungry anyway, we ordered our food. Ok i admit i am very bad in trying to recall the any case, it was a nice wagon wheel like pasta cooked in cream with yummy turkey ham, onions and mushrooms...lovely. My other half who wasn't very hungry ordered the kids size spaghetti cooked in tomato sauce which was ok except for me it lacked meat...hey who knew kids don't eat meat. Also avoid ordering this if you are an adult as the free drink and ice-cream is only available for kids. Anyway they gave us free bread to compliment the meal. We paid RM33.50 for the meal including a bottle of mineral water.

They have many other nice pastas as well but that's for another time. You know i can't help but wander and compare to this place called Manja in Bangsar which has unfortunately closed down. This is because they served some wonderful gnocchi which is my favourite type of pasta. In any case, i have started to cook my own pasta at home which consists of 1 can of Prego pasta sauce, several slices of streaky bacon, cut and fried to a crisp, one can of tuna, onion and garlic and your choice of pasta. Feeds 2 - 3 and cooks within 30 minutes..Nice healthy and fast meal.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Food FR - Cafe Melise

Cafe Melise
Damansara Jaya (next to RHB Bank)

Ok i have heard some good stuff about this place and decided to try it out on Sunday night. Not knowing exactly what to expect except knowing that it was about Western food, we decided to see for ourselves. We got there at about 7.30 pm and the place was 3 quarters packed. As we stepped in, a chubby fellow in a cooks uniform asked us whether we've been here before. We answered no and he promptly introduced himself as the boss and owner of the place. A rather warm and jovial person he was, he opened by saying that his restaurant was basically your 'chap fan' type of stall meaning that some of the food was prepared and you could just pick out what you pleases your eye.

Not stopping there, he also pointed out that you could also give the various sauces a try to see if you like what you saw. So the array of food that was before us could be generally divided into meat and vegetables. On the meat side, you have your chicken, beef, pork and lamb. Oh and did i mention that this was non-halal? No, well it is. In any case, i selected this chicken with mushrooms and bacon in a light greenish sauce. Not fried which suits me better nowadays. The boss informed us that they change menus and the food served so you have to try it for yourselves. In any case, they had pork meatballs, other types of chicken, some i think cooked in a brownish garlicky type of crazy but i did not venture to try. I added in some garden vegetables and mashed potatoes in gravy to top off my plate.

The vegetable section was basically vegetables either just steamed, cooked with cheese in a caserole, puff pastry, mash potatoes etc.

According to the boss, they also have a grill menu in case you did not like what you saw. They had sausages, steaks etc which they could grill for you. They also have a pasta kitchen which serves 4 kinds of pasta, spaghetti, linguini, fettucini and the spiral ones cooked in carbonara, bologniase, one spicy style and another one. My girlfriend decided to have the spiral type of pasta cooked in the spicy style which is served with bacon!. Anyway she seems like to it but i would have preferred a creamy type of sauce. It does look rather soupy and doesn't look that appealing to me but she almost finished her meal. I concluded that my chicken was probably the better choice.

They also served some desert eg. ice-cream which the boss says its nice. I told his wife that i was not allowed such luxuries much nowadays and she said that her husband is also chubby so no problem there. Promising that i will try it next time round, i paid my bill which came to RM25+ for two persons including drinks which was well ok i guess. Its not an economical sort of dinner but it was satisfying.

One thing i must say is that service was excellent with the boss making most of the effort. His warm and friendly demeanour does encourage people to return while the food may be subjective for some. A smart businessman i would say who knows that besides good food, excellent personal service is also very much a plus point for returning customers and spreading by word of mouth of his restaurant. I did not meant to eavesdrop but there were a few who like me, heard about his place from someone who had been there before and gave it a try. Anyway cheers!

Food FR - Ah Yat Abalone Forum

Ah Yat Abalone Forum
Swiss Garden Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Too many good food already but i'm not complaining. Another family dinner brings us to Ah Yat Abalone Forum again. We've been there several times and thought that we'd return for another. We originally wanted the RM99++ set per person but some communication breakdown ended up with us settling for the RM980++ per table.

Anyway we took their set menu which started off with prawns cooked in rice wine. The rice wine was very fragrant and to some even, a bit too intoxicating. The prawns are fresh and dipped into a sauce which was basically soya sauce, cut chillies, onions and spring onions which was a lovely change.

Next came the peking duck which the waiters carefully wrapped the duck skin in the egg like skin topped off with hoi sin sauce and spring onions. They did serve some prawn crackers to go along with it. Nice but somehow i would have liked to have some more.

Next up was the soup which is brewed with chicken, chinese ham, abalone, shark fins and some other lovely stuff. Now this soup may taste a tad salty to some but for me, it was just lovely. Of course i had two bowls!. They served the remaining ingredients such as the chicken and chinese ham which was very nice.

Next was the abalone, mushroom and vegetables. Needless to say the abalone was the star dish and it was very tender. The sauce itself was abalone sauce which gave the abalone a nice taste. In case you found it a tad salty, the vegetables do act as a balance for the salty taste.

The next dish was the Alaska King crab which was steamed and served in little bowls. I have been used to eating fried crabs most of the time so this was a nice change. As it was steamed, it was rather refreshing and finished off with egg white and spring onions. However, we actually wanted the Hairy crab or Sri Lankan crab but anyway i still like it.

Next up was a shell fish kinda like Bamboo clams cooked in garlic, spring onions and ginger and had some vermicili served together with it. The meat was slighty on the tough side but other wise it was ok. To me, this dish wasn't much to talk about.

Finally came the noodles fried with the duck meat from the peking duck. Nicely done and rounded off the dinner for those who have a larger capacity to fill. The desert was hot almond juice which unfortunately was everyone's favourite. Some compared it to smell of mothballs but in any case, i grew accustomed to the taste and have no complains although i would have liked something cold to cap off the dinner.

In any case, it was a nice dinner and we were not dissapointed at all.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Food FR - Mdm Fong's Kitchen

Mdm. Fong's Kitchen
67 Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya

If you are looking for a dining experience akin to having a dinner at home with your family, friends or colleagues, this would be a great place to go. First off, you will be eating at Mdm. Fong's house which sits about 4 - 5 tables of about 10 - 13 persons. She takes reservations at least 1 day in advance and no walk in customers will be entertained. This is mainly because certain dishes may take up to 10 hours to prepare so please book in advance. By the way, parking is very limited as well.

Her house is nicely decorated with chinese artifacts, pictures of diners and other decoration. You should probably go in a party of at least 10 persons as it is rather lonely to eat there unless you have very good company. There is little to distract you except for a karaoke if you feel like it but conversation while eating is perhaps the best companion with your dinner. Anyway, to start of the dinner, we had a nice fish soup. Basically the ingredients were ikan haruan, dried scallops, pork meat, chinese herbs/nuts and apples!!!. The soup was very refreshing and you could taste the
sweetness of the soup. Mdm. Fong informs us that we should not add any soya sauce to the soup as it would ruin it. In fact, it would be a prelude to the things to come. if you are looking for intensity of tastes i.e salty, sweet, hot then you may be dissapointed as you may find it bland. In any case, it was a very nice chance and the soup was equally nutritious and refreshing. They also serve you the remains i.e the pork meat, fish meat, scallops and apples and this goes really well with the soya sauce. Mdm. Fong assures us that she does not use MSG in her cooking.

Next came the main course which is the Hakka "Pun Choi" served in a very big plate which comes with an obligatory photo session. Compared to the other i previously had before, in terms of presentation, this was much nicer as the other one was served in a pot instead. Mdm. Fong told us to eat this dish, you should start with the top and eat your way to the bottom!!. They also served us rice to go with the food. Basically this "Pun Choi" is a big plate of food layered on top of one another. The layers go in the order of prawns, bacon/ham, abalone mushroom, salty chicken, duck, peas in their pods, fishball, sotong ball, 'ho sie' balls, stuff taufo pok, brocolli, carrots, cuttlefish, celery, shitake mushrooms and chinese cabbage. The dish is completely dry and had some stock at the bottom. The other i tried had much stock compared to this one. Overall, the dish tastes nice and the beauty of eating this dish is that its a 1 dish meal where the entire family can tuck into at the same time and enjoying each other's company while doing so. Also you don't have to wait for other dishes to show up.

Finally for desert, we had a nice pumpkin sago which was hot. Again, if you are looking for a sweet desert then you might be dissapointed. Mdm. Fong tells us that she uses rock sugar instead of granulated sugar but there is some available if you want. For someone like me who is used to intense tastes, i found this a nice change and the sweetness of the pumpkin and rock sugar develops once you put aside your initial reaction to its taste. They also served us dragon fruit and star fruit as well. Of course chinese tea was also offered.

Eating at this place was really a nice event. You won't have bratty kids running around, kids screaming and crying, rude waiters, smoking patrons around you. You won't even have to wait long and service is just a door away. In the end, its mainly having a nice meal cooked for you and served in someone's house which you can share with your family or friends. Mdm. Fong informs us that she does many other dishes as well. There is no menu and you have to speak to Mdm. Fong to discuss the food which you would like to eat. There are other dishes mentioned such as a cold chicken in rice wine, a fish that apparently takes 10 hours to go, there is is "Lui Cha", a vegetarian dish comprising many condiments such as crushed nut, mint etc which only at a minimum of 20 people will she make the dish. To find out more, i guess we will have to go a few more times. By the way, i did not pay for the bill but i would think that for the 13 of us, it would be rather pricey. As a benchmark, some other places chared approximately RM500+ for 1pun choi. Anyway happy trying!.