Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bangkok Tom Yam


Bangkok TomYam is located in a house actually. 23, Jalan 2/23, 46000, PJ Old Town. The house is actually located behind a corner house opposite of Georgetown Pharmacy. If you still can't locate the place you can also call 03-77824469 or 012-6171862. Open from 5 to 10pm. The chef is actually from Thailand and I believe some of the ingredients used for the dished are imported from Thailand too. This restaurant have been operating for many years now and have been on various magazine and newspaper reviews before.


Pork and eggs omelet. Crunchy, meaty and soft at all the right areas. But I think it would be nicer if they have put a little more meat in it. Rating: 8/10


Sweet sour spicy squid with mints leafs. I absolutely love this dish! The sweet sour spicy thick sauce is just perfect. The sauce fills the squid and when eaten with the fresh mint leafs...fooyohhh heaven! Rating: 10


Kai Lan with salted fish. The salted fish that is used for this dish is really fragrant and the texture is just crumbly and crunchy. Very nice. Rating: 8/10


Tom Yam Curry Fish Head. This is one of the best Tom Yam curry fish head I have tasted so far. The taste is just sour and spicy enough. Before you order, you will have to pick out a basket of fish head and fish meat to be cooked with the Tom Yam. The price of the dish will depend on the quantity of the meat you choose. And if you love the Tom Yam as much as me, you can request to take away the remaining of the Tom Yam sauce. You can reheat it later and add your own fish meat or seafood to eat with it, or use it was a dip with bread. Lovely! Rating: 9/10

The bill came up to about RM140 (with tea and four coconuts). I'm not sure if it's consider pricey, but it's all worth the money.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

O'Viet Vietnamese Cuisine

There used to be a really good Vietnamese food stall in the Kelana Jaya Giant Hypermarket food court that serves cheap Vietnam noodles and desert. Sadly not many people know about their good food and another stall took over sometime ago. The good news is, I found another place to eat nice authentic Vietnamese food.


O'Viet Vietnamese Cuisine, Sunway Pyramid, Ground floor, the ice skating ring area.






The entrance


I ordered Mr bean aka Triple Delight for my drink. It is actually a mixture of chin chow(grass jelly), cendol (short and soft green flour noodle) and red beans mixed with fresh milk and coconut milk with shaved ice. The drink tasted a little too milky at first. But after mixing up the whole drink, it taste quite ok. Icy, milky, and only a tiny bit of sweetness. Rating: 7/10


Vietnam salad.


This is the same salad except this picture is taken with flash. The above picture turned out too yellow. The salad was really nice, or maybe it tasted good because I have a thing for salads now. The salad contained mint leafs, basil leafs, bean sprout, shredded carrots and cucumber, groundnuts, fried shallots, and mixed and tossed in a sweet, sour and spicy Vietnamese sauce. You can also have the salad with strips of beef or chicken. Rating: 8.5/10

I will definitely go back to O'Viet to try out their noodles and rice. I just hope I get the same experience I had the first time I'm there. Nice place, good food and very good service.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Local Living in Pangkor

Pangkor Island is located at the west side of the peninsular of Malaysia in the state of Perak. It is a 20 minutes ferry ride away from Lumut where the jetty is at. Pangkor had 2 main mini towns where all the island hustle and bustle happens. One of them is Pekan Pangkor, located just beside of the main Pangkor jetty.

Let me take you on a blog walk through Pekan Pangkor. Like any small towns, everyone knows everyone, and everyone is friendly. Food is good and always fresh. Food in Pangkor is always never mass produced (except for dried seafood) so the quality of what you get in every dish or product is maintained.


Homemade mee suah. If you come across any of this mee suah in any shops in Pangkor, be sure to buy one and try. This is the same type of noodles used for the Red Rice Wine Noodles aka Ang Chiu Mee Swa (see Eating journey to the Mid North Malaysia for more info).


The noodles will also taste great with chicken, ikan bilis (anchovies) or rice wine soup!


Since majority of the chinese in Pangkore are Hokkien's, many Hokkien dishes and food stuff can be easily found, such as the Hokkien Mee Tiau. This is actually just noodles made from flour (not too sure what kind of flour is used). It's not commonly found in KL, but there are shops that sell this if you really hunt for it.



Kueh and desert stalls can be found everywhere. A lot of them sells really good Ikan Nasi Lemak because fish is ample and cheep in Pangkor. If you come across Otak Otak (steamed fish with herbs and eggs wrapped in banana leafs), you have go to try one of those because even the yuckiest of the Otak Otak is really good because of the fresh fished used in it. And just for your information, these Otak Otak are the authentic Otak Otak aren't like the imitation fishball like paste Otak Otak you find in the KL's night market. During the late evenings and nights, there are also stalls selling Chinese cakes and traditional delicacies like the 'fat kou', Hokkien 'chai kueh', Yam cakes and many more.


Shops selling seafood products such as dried salted fish, dried shrimps 'heh bee', satay fish, satay jelly fish and dried anchovies 'ikan bilis' guaranties you the freshes of these dried products. However, these shops tend to charge the non-local more. (But still cheaper and more fresh compared to the ones you get in the city) Some seafood stuff can't be bought from these kind of shops. The locals in Pangkor usually would go to the place they manufacture the foodstuff (usually a small hut or even homes). It's a good idea to ask the locals of these locations for more unique seafood tidbits


Since Pangkor is a fishing island village, fish stalls like this are commonly found is Pangkor. Fresh sea harvest from the sea to the boat to land.


You can ask for your fish to be de-scale and the internals removed for free. Also ask them for tips on how to keep your fish fresh.

Here's a few tips for keeping your seafood fresh.
1# When buying fresh (and I mean really fresh) fish, removing the scales and internal is ok, but do not wash the wish with clean water. It is a good idea to freeze the fish that way and only wash it when you want to cook it. The sea water actually keeps the fish fresher, and the meat sweeter.
2# Kill, clean and cook crab immediately. Keeping crab meat over night spoils the meat.
3# If you have frozen fish to transport but don't have an ice box, just wrap it in thick layers of newspaper. You fish will still stay cold if not frozen for up to 8 hours. (And that is more than enough time to travel from Singapore's Senoko fish farm to Alor Setar!)
4# Keep shellfish in their shells until cooking.


Fresh sotong! (see sambal cincalok sotong for recipe)


Vegetables and fruits are a little more expansive in Pangkor. If you do find them, I believe most are brought in from the Peninsular, only a minority are organically grown in the island itself.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Seafood restaurant Villa in Kampung Cina, Perak

If you have read my entry on my eating journey to the mid north of Malaysia, you will notice that I have mentioned the good and reasonable seafood restaurants in Kampung Cina. I have recently... tried another seafood restaurant there and YUM! Really good!

FYI, Kampung Cina is a few kilometers away from Setiawan, Perak. Don't miss out on the seafood there. Just ask the locals there and get them to point out the directions to Kampung Cina. Very easy to locate, and there are only a few roads main there.


Seafood Restaurant Villa, Kampung Cina is located right beside Amu Seafood restaurant. Go for Villa... much nicer and more reasonable priced.


They have individual little eating huts that fits one table so you can have a more private and comfortable eating space. They also have the open restaurant concept eating space at the center of the restaurant for multiple tables.


Cat fish in curry. Ok, I'm sure the fish is not called cat fish, but ...flat headed with whiskers, dark scaled, takes forever to die fish should be called cat fish. The curry was just right, not too thick and not to watered down. I love it because they didn't over power the curry with 'santan' coconut milk.


'Heh Kor' in Hokien, 'lai lui har' in Cantonese, but I have no idea what this prawn is called in English. Before this prawn is cooked, it's as large as a rodent. But once it's de-shelled and fried, it shrinks to the size of your thumb. The famous way of cooking this type of prawns is deep frying them first, then stir frying them in sauce.


Swa Chuie Hu. ('Hu' means fish in Hokien) This is bascally deep dried 'Swa Chuie' fish. This should be some local fish in Kampung Cina. This dish is famous among the locals and usually eaten with chili sauce.


And of course, there's Oh Chien! 'Oh' means oyster in Hokien, and Chien means fried. In a whole, Oh Chien is flour/eggs fried with fresh oyster into a omelet. The find the Oh Chien's in KL totally sucks compared to the once's I eat in Perak. (Kampung Cina is in Perak) This taste really good with chili or with curry on top.


Don't forget the crab! This is a 'kong pou' style of frying the crab. They have used curry leaves, onion, garlic, dried chili, dried shrimps and other ingredients to fry with the crab. The outcome is DELICIOUS! SLURP!


With all the seafood, come the vegetable. Bittergourt fried with with salted egg. Bittergourt...yuck... but bitter gourd with salted egg is Yum! I hate and don't eat bitter gourd, but surprisingly I ate a lot of it in this dish.


Foo Yong Tan aka egg ommelet. You can get this is any restaurant, seafood or non-seafood.


Last but not least, with all the heaty curry, chili, deep fried and seafood stuff, drinking coconut water or the coconut flower juice ('Yeah fah Chouw' in Cantonese) is nice to cool the body down. The coconut flower juice is actually the sap collected from the coconut flower. It tastes sweet and sour, gassy, fermented and a give a little alcohol effect.

Everything tasted above average YUM! And wanna guess how much the total bill including 1 jug of coconut flower juice, 5 coconuts and a large pot of tea is? RM130! Darn cheap! Where else can you get cheap delicious food like that?

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Char Siew (BBQ pork) rice and recipe

I'm not really a char siew (BBQ pork) fan, so when I was told I should try Meng Kee's char siew rice, I wasn't that keen. But knowing me and food, I tried it anyway. Now when you say let's go for char siew... there's no place I would go other than Meng Kee's


Meng Kee Restaurant. 13 Tengkat Tong Shin, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. The road is just behind Jalan Alor in KL. They are open for lunch from Mon to Sat. (11am to 3pm)


The Char Siew. The onces here don't look that nice, but it's a whole different if the char siew goes into your mouth muahahha. It's unhealthy, but the char siew with more fat usually taste better. So ask for the one with more fat! hehehe. Eat once in a while ok la.


They also serve 'pak cham kai' (steam chicken) and other side orders like bean sprot (see above picture), green boiled vegetables and other chicken internals.

I took a few friends for lunch at Meng Kee's and after lunch, one of them, shared with me her char siew recipe. Here's how she makes her home made char siew.

Char Siew (Barbeque pork)

Ingredients:
- 600g half lean pork ('fa yuk')

Seasoning:
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tbsp thick soya sauce
- 1 tsp cooking wine

Cornstarch mixture
- 1 1/5 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 to 5 tbsp water

Preparations:

1. Remove the pig skin and cut the meat into strips.
2. Marinate for 2 hours with seasoning. You can also marinate over night. (Place in an air tight container and place in the fridge. Remove the pork from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking)

Method 1: (Oven roast)

1. Place the seasoned pork into a preheated oven and grill at 250ÂșC for about 20 minutes. For more moist texture, baste the pork with the remaining seasoning while grilling.
2. When done, separate the oil and the sauce from the grilled pork. Cook the remaining marinate sauce with a little add cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce.
3. Cut pork strips into 1/3 of a centimeter and pour sauce over.

Method 2: (Wok fry)

1. Separate the marinated pork and the sauce.
2. Fry the pork in a wok until cook and fragrant. You can cover the wok with the lid to prevent the oil from spilling all over the place, but check frequently. Do not cover for too long as the heat will built up steam that will make the pork soggy.
3. Remove the pork from the wok. Pour in the marinate sauce into wok.
4. Cook till boil then add cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce.
5. Cut pork strips into 1/3 of a centimeter and pour sauce over.

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See also my updated post on Making chinese rice dumpling (bak chang)

Friday, May 19, 2006

China Lou Tan (Boiled Eggs)

Back at my previous work place, my colleagues travel to all parts of China quite frequently. We can talk about food on and on and on... *drools* Well anyway, one of them brought back something that I think we can't find in Malaysia.

The 'China dried lou tan'. Let me explain what 'lou tan' mean for those who don't know. 'Lou tan' is egg hard boiled in a sauce, usually in a salty herbal sauce. If you are asking, 'Char yip tan' is it? No, both are two different dishes.

For 'lou tan', eggs are hard boiled first and de-shelled, then soaked in a sauce to be simmer for a few hours until the eggs absorb the aroma and taste of the sauce.

'Char yip tan' is made with tea leaves, but usually also with additional herbs. Water is boiled with the tea leaves and the whole egge is placed in the simmering water for a few hours.


For this China 'lou tan', the eggs are boiled continuously in the sauce until they shrink into the size of a dried plum! Yeppp super small! This boiling process usually takes up to 48 hours or more.

The blackish part of the egg you see in the picture is actually the egg white, the rest is the yoke.


I think there are 50 of these eggs in this package. Hm... better not pop one to many in the mouth... the cholesterol!

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Restaurant Harbour Steamboat

There seem so be some technical issues with my 'chung' post. Will get the pictures up ASAP. In the mean time, here's a text review of Restaurant Harbour Steamboat.

When I saw the pork, lamb and beef strips, Inner Mongolia and Sei Chuan sytle steamboat came to my mind. But Harbour Steamboat serves no Mongolian food, but steamboat with herbal pork leg's soup. I'm not sure if they have other soups there though.

Restaurant Harbour Steamboat is at 19, Ground Floor, Jalan 13/149L, Seri Petaling, KL. There are also a few other steamboat shops in that area, one of which serves porridge base steamboat.

I don't have any pictures of the steamboat goodies, but here's a text review.

The herbal pork leg soup is so so. Although they have the herbs and a whole pig's leg in it, the aroma and the taste was't that impressive, a little stale I might add. The restaurant should have boil the herbs with the pig's leg while making the soup. I knew they didn't do that because when the soup came, it was obvious from the looks of the herbs that they were just freshly dumped into the soup.

The steamboat ingredients are ordered separately, and comes in plates. Here's what I have tried.

- Prawns. It comes with a satay skewer in it, so you can do some 'lok lok' action.
- Whole "hak chong" fish.
- Fish fillet. The fish was so so, not that sweet.
- Fish stomach. The 'Yu Piu' was ok.
- Fishballs. So so.
- Fresh oyster. 'ho see'
- Fresh jelly fish. Since the jelly fish is fresh and not marinated with other ingredients, there's a more pungent jelly fish smell to it. I kind of like it, but this is not for everyone.
- Fresh sotongballs. When it's raw, the sotongballs are really soft, but tasted really good and sweet after it was steamboated.

- Pork strip. These came in really thin strips. To eat, you will just need to dip it in the steambpat soup for 3 to 5 seconds and it's done.
- Pork intestines. This should be eaten the same was as the pork strips. Over cooking the intestines make its very rubbery.
- Pork stomach. Erm.. I guess it was ok.
- Minced porkballs. These are freshly made, but... its was so so. They could improve on the recipe.
- Pork wantan. So so. Tasted like the once I can buy from the supermarket.

- Beef strip. These should be eating the same was as the porl strips. Sweet meat.
- Beef chunks. Chunkier version of the strips. ...sweet meat hehe.
- Beefballs. Recipe for these needs improvement too.

- Mutton strip. 3 to 6 seconds dip and sweet meat!

- Chicken strip marinated in rice wine. Ahh this one is nice. But sadly no one else shared my taste buds and realized that the chicken was actually marinated in rice wine before it was served to us.
- Green vegetables. Hong Kong kai lan fah.
- Needle mushrooms.
- White Japanese taufu.
- Deep fried taufu. 'Taufu pok'

Last but not least, you should really try out their chili. Dried chili fried with shallots, onion and preserved salted vegetables. It's looks spicy but it's not, so you can really eat a lot of it. ....I think I had 3 4 full tablespoons of it!

I have to face the after effect of the chili the next day though. My body felt hot and stuffy the whole day. I'm not sure if it was the chili or the herbal (they put 'tong sam' in it) soup.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Making chinese rice dumpling (bak chang)

The dumpling festival aka 'chung chit' is around the corner. Since my brother was going back to Singapore after his visit, my mom decided to make a few (...actually, much more than a few) chung for his to take back home and to my auntie’s family.

FYI, 'chung', in Cantonese is Chinese Rice Dumplings. The Hokiens call it 'chang', or 'bak chang' for meat dumplings. There are many variations of chung that can be found. The 'pillow chung' is rectangle and flat like a pillow, the 'nyonya chung' which may or may not contain any content. The rice of the nyonya chung is some part bluish because of a type of flower used with the rice. If the nyonya chung is with filling, it is usually filled with something a little spicy like spicy 'heh bee' (small dried shrimps) or spicy groundnut mixture. There's also the mini chung which is yellow in colour called the 'kan sui chung'. Kan Sui chung is made using alkaline water and the glutinous rice. Taste really nice if eaten with sweet dips like kaya, jam, syrup or honey. Last but not least, there's the typical triangle chung. Depending on the maker of the chung, you can find many different ingredients in it from all meat to all vegetarian beans.

Some people pay up to RM15 for one chung (make by *ahem* well known restaurants) but seriously, if it's good, it's worth the money because making them takes a long time and a lot of hassle.

Ingredients and preparations:

- 'lap cheong' Chinese pork sausages, sliced
- salted duck egg yokes, cut into quarters/halves


Whole salted duck egg. It usually come covered with a later of mud and charcoal powder.


Salted egg yoke


This is how the yoke looks like then the process of salting the egg is not complete. Still can be eaten.


Preparation 1: Chang leafs
1. Boil leafs for 2 to 3 hours and let it soak for another 30 to 40 minutes or until water cools down.
2. Remove and wipe leafs individually with a wet cloth (under running water) to remove the dirt.
3. Dry leafs with a damp cloth when ready to be use.


Chung leafs and dried grass when it is still dry.


Chang leafs boiling.


Preparation 2: Marinate pork
- 1kg pork, cut to cubes
- 2 tbsp foo yui (red bean curt)
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- 2 tbsp five spice powder
- 2 tsp pepper
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.
*Note: Add more rice wine if marinate is too dry, but not over use the rice wine. There is no need for salt as 'foo yui' is already very salty.
2. When ready, fry pork until cook and fragrant.


Pork cut into cubes. Remember to sharpen your knife first. I had a "wonderful" time chopping mine up with a "really sharp" knife.


Pork ready to be marinated.


Preparation 3: Glutinous rice
- 3 kg pulut rice (glutinous rice), pre wash and soaked for 5 hours
- 'hak yau' black sauce, according to taste
- 1 handful 'hou see' dried oyster, chopped
- 3 tbsp garlic
- 3 tbsp shallots
- 5 tbsp five spice powder, stirred in water
- rice wine
1. In a wok, heat oil and stir fry garlic, shallots and hou see until fragrant.
2. Add rice and continue to fry for 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add black sauce and five spice powder and continue to fry for 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Add rice wine and continue to fry until fragrant. Add black sauce, 5 spice powder or rice wine to taste. Continue to fry until rice is dry, oily and fragrant.


Rice.


Preparation 4: Fry Heh Bee
- 1 handful heh bee, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1. Stir fry shallot and garlic until fragrant.
2. Mix heh bee and continue to stir fry until fragrant and golden brown.


Scallops and heh bee.


Preparation 5: Green beans
- 2 tbsp chicken stock
- 1kg de-skin green beans
1. Fry green beans with oil until fragrant.
2. Add chicken stock and continue to stir fry until fragrant and equally mixed.


De-skinned green beans.


Preparation 6: To stir fry:
- scallops
- fong lut, pre washed and soaked for 3 hours
- Chinese mushroom, pre washed, stem removed and soaked until soft
- Bailing mushroom, sliced
- 'hou see' dried oyster, sliced or whole
1. Add oil to wok and stir fry with garlic until fragrant.
*You can do this together, or stir fry the ingredients separately


Bailing mushroom in a can.


Dried hou see, washed and ready to be sliced.


Dried mushrooms, soaking.


Fong lut


Okay, when you have all that prepared, it's time for you to fill the leafs with rice and the fried ingredients. How? For that, I have recorded a video starring non other that my mom. The file is big, so be patient. =)

Method:


1. Take 2 chang leafs and shape a cone out of it.
2. Fill the bottom and sides with rice and hollow the center.
3. Fill up the hole with all the ingredients and with a little more rice, cover the top.
4. Press and compact the con and wrap and fold the remaining of the leafs.
5. Secure with string.
6. Boil the chung for 2 to 2 and a half hours according to the size of the chung.



At the end of the day... I mean after 30 minutes and 4 + 1 chang, my mom shooo'ed me off because I was disturbing her more than helping out with the wrapping of the chang. LOL! But I think I did not bad for a first timer.


The chung that I have made. Out of shape but at least they didn't burst open while it was boiling in the water.


Mom's finished bak chang.


I had 2 of these for breakfast. *burb*


Leave me a comment if you have any questions...... or if you need a lesson from my mom, I think she can be hired HAHAHA. Have fun!

Edit [21 May 2006]: My mom made some other types of chung today and I though it would be nice to put up some more pictures.

With the mushroom stem, she pounded and marinated it. She shaped it into smalll flat round pieces and fried it. She used that to replace the pork for a vegetarian style chung. She also added fried groundnuts, kidney beans, de-skinned green beans and a few types of mushrooms with the vegetarian chung.


She also made my great grand mother's Hakka mix Hokkien chung recipe with contain fried groundnuts bits with herbs and spices. This is something like the Nyonya chung except this one is not spicy and much more fragrant. The rice for this chung is also cooked different, there is no need to fry the rice before it is wrap, and the colour of the chung will be white, not darks as no black sauce is used.


I managed to find the Kan Sui Chung (alkaline chung) too, my mom didn't make them. They usually come in small sizes. As you can see in the pictures, it's about a quater of a normal chung.

I'm still looking for the pillow chung, I got to know it is called the Shang Hai Chung. I think I shall head to the night market today to see if any are sold.

Edit [17 June 2007]: Added a new chung post here.

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