"Forget the sweet milk, you can just eat this on its own"
The Buntong Apom Lady's apom is truly magnificent, browned and crisp at the bottom and the middle, a little gooey textured and slightly bubbly like the surface of a delicious edible moon. Now there's a thought, imagine the moon is not made of green cheese but soft, spongy santan infused apom (us Malaysians might get there a little faster).
Anyway, back to the apom lady. Her apom is so good, I sometimes dream of it on nights when all that can cure hunger pangs is something sourish and sweetish at the same time all realised in a cunning pancake shape. All you want to do when her apom arrives at your table is tear it with your bare hands. Forget the sweet milk, you can just eat this on its own. You can also get an apom telur, where an egg is broken in the middle and served sunny side up. The yolk swims with the santan when it arrives at your table.
And then... there's the pani aram. It's irresistable dubbed baby apoms because it's made from similar ingredients. However it resembles a Malay 'kuih cara' in shape- round discs of browned goodness, it's so scrumptious you can finish an entire plate before you can say 'apom lagi!' The taste of this is a little dense with sweetness of the santan coming through. Imagine it rather like an apom bud, closed and retaining all the intense flavour before flowering into the crisp full grown apom. Pani arams are best eaten with her mighty coconut chutney. All made fresh in the morning. Also crispy and wholesome are her toseis. It's fantastic when you have it with her array of chutneys.
"These curries are probably about 20 years old"
Yaseen is the kind of place where your Penang-born grandfather will come for some nasi kandar. This place has been in Kuala Lumpur for more than twenty years and has continually served good nasi kandar for its loyal fans. If you are familiar with the Nasi Kandar scene in KL, you will know that among the old rustic colonial designed houses along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman hides some of the oldest nasi kandar houses in town.
Nearer to the Coliseum, you have Ibrahimsha. Within the vicinity of Yaseen, you can find Eusoff and Kudu. The new more commercial ones are the likes of Pelita and Kayu. Whilst some of these places can be good, you loose the nice rustic ambience that places like Kudu and Yaseen offers. So, while the Chinese have old charming coffee houses such as Yut Kee's and Sing Seng Nam, the Indian Muslims have Yaseen and Kudu.
Now, why is it called Nasi Kandar you say? Ask any Penangite senior citizen. They will know. The story goes that back during the olden days, indian hawkers used to sell rice to townspeople by balancing a long stick in the middle, with both ends tied to pots of rice and an assortment of curries. The act of balancing a long stick in this manner is called 'kandar' in Malay, hence the name Nasi Kandar. The best nasi kandar houses in Malaysia is still located in Penang. They win hands down. In KL, Yaseen comes close (but still not close enough) to the ones in Penang. But then again Kudu, Eusoff and Ibrahimsha are worthy competitors as well.
"Torpedos erm... put it in a soup and its all good"
If you call yourself the King of Soup, what do you have to do to live up to that reputation? For Sabri Salleh, you have to serve not only the normal mundane Bihun Sup and Sup Daging (Beef Soup), you also have to expand your horizon and get a lot more adventurous. C'mon, there must be other parts of a heifer that people eat than just beef, right? At a small shop in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, occupying only half a lot, you can get ox tongue, tripe, intestines, gearbox, beef strips, tendons, bones and even torpedo to put in your soup stock.
Torpedos are actually the part that looks like a torpedo and can only be found on bulls... hence the name torpedo. Supposedly, it has some kind of an aphrodisiacal power, but is available only on days Sabri can get supplies from his suppliers. So yes, the King of Soup gets very adventurous with his soup offerings. You can actually do your own Fear Factor here if you want. But seriously, how would something like this taste? Let’s find out...
At Raja Sup, you can mix and match. Our rule of thumb is to mix in about 3-4 pieces of meat and two pieces of vegetables. Each piece costs about RM2- RM5 depending on what you pick. Our first experiment is a combination of ox tongue, rump, tripe, ox tail, button and oyster mushrooms. Second bowl has oxtail, rump and cauliflower. The third has intestines, tendons and oxtail. These selections are sent to the back where Sabri has two huge cauldrons of beef stock, and where the final spice ingredients will be added according to the selection. This means that each bowl of soup, whilst having the same soupy base will not taste the same. Nice. You will notice that soups with an intestine majority will have an essence of dried shrimps (belacan) while the oxtail broth will be sourish. It is this tweaking ability that gives Sabri an edge over other soup sellers. You might think that Sabri's soup recipes comes passed down from generations in his family but no, it is all his creation.
Blowing Our Minds… Fruitastic!
Fruitastic! was awarded the prestigous Gourmand World Cookbook Awards prize for the categories, "Best Single Subject Cookbook" and "Best Health and Nutrition”. The book is all about treating fruits as complete meals instead of after meals, and has stuff like Guava Curry and Jackfruit Biriyani. Weird!… More »
"Nice but the ribs are not superior to the ones from other franchises"
The first time we heard that Tony Roma's(TR) is coming to town was through our kopitiam food forum. Some kind soul out there posted this good news for all to savour. You know, news like this, you can't keep to yourselves. You just can't. Sooner or later... you will burst out and tell someone.
The Foodster HQ was engulfed with joy. Some even reported that they saw a ring of rainbow somewhere in the office. Happy hallucinations. And then it came.... the news that no fan of TR would want to hear. No baby back ribs (the white meat kind ... no.. not fish.. the other white meat). There was confusion. A lot of confusion. It's like someone telling you that you've won a brand new Ferrari (we are not equating TR for a Ferarri here. Just to prove a point) but they are giving you a specially tuned engine that can only go up to 60 km per hour. But the engine is still made by Ferrari though. Huh? How does that work? Is that even possible?
Six months after TR's opening, we opened our minds a little and plugged a team of foodsters' that consists of kaki's who have been to their overseas joints such as Bangkok, Singapore and Los Angeles (Lets call them TEAM EXPERT) and kaki's who has not been to TR but are well versed with the Malaysian steak and ribs scene (Lets call them TEAM VIRGIN). We shoved them to TR's at Cineleasure to 'incognito' the onion loaf, beef ribs and the Tony Roma Burger. The mission was to find out whether can the beef ribs live up to the high expectations of baby back lovers and whether it was even worth going to a TR joint? No point in waiting further, here's the lowdown. To be fair, we'll show comments from both TEAM EXPERT and TEAM VIRGIN.
TR's onion loaf are huge spanish onion rings, breaded, fried and served with TR's BBQ sauce. You can get them in half (RM12.90) and full loaf portions. Errr... we didn't even finish the half a loaf! Sigh! And this comes from both teams. TEAM EXPERT reported that the onion loaf was a lot crunchier in the Singapore TR and the batter was finer which gives it a delicious crunch. The Cineleasure version has a courser batter. TEAM VIRGIN reported their loaf was a bit oily but the main thing is that they just can't figure out why this is one of their signature dishes. It was pretty standard. Then again, if you can't make up your mind, you can always try the Tony Roma's sampler which are taste portions of buffalo wings, potato skins and onion rings.
Zak Pelaccio, celebrity chef, restaurateur and practitioner of the dark arts of fusion cuisine (I read fusion described this way in an article and thought it so apt) is stuck. He is stuck deep in a huge fish head cleaning out the cheeks and gills and all those delicious nooks and crannies where flesh exists. We were by a road in Lucky Garden scoffing… More »
"Order up the off menu garlic dip, delicious"
I remember skipping over to Tarbush at Ampang Point and standing at the corner eating their kebabs, juice dribbling down my chin (because there’s no graceful way of eating kebabs) almost a decade ago. During that time they’ve spread their wings first with a nice lot on Bukit Bintang and then pride of place at the Starhill Feast Village.
This is a beautiful restaurant with contemporary Arabic deco. And even though, food here is a little more expensive (the ambience darling…), and the waiters better dressed, they still serve delicious Lebanese food. Here’s a little trivia for you, Tarbush actually serves both Syrian and Lebanese food (according to a source at the Syrian Embassy) since both their cuisines are intertwined deeply.
When you sit yourselves down, perhaps have a sip or two of their mint tea and then order the not-on-the-menu garlic sauce. Now every middle-Eastern restaurant worth its salt can be judged by how good their garlic sauce is. They don’t normally serve it as a dip probably because it’s used more as a sauce for their kebabs and as marinade but order it anyway and they will be happy to oblige. Basically from what we can tell, it’s egg white aioli beaten until light and then mixed with a garlic paste. The garlic sauce here passed with flying colours. Light, garlicky with a hint of lemon and hot days in the sun. You can spread it like jam on their warm pita breads.