People don’t really make bread because they don’t want to knead and punch, knead and punch. It takes a lot of energy and time. By that time, your family is starving and you might as well go out and eat char kuey teow.
Another issue on bread-making is that many people do not know whether they are doing it right. Books can give you recipes… More »
"Dig into the bamboo depths for all sorts of goodies"
It was one of those rainy Sunday nights where most of the usual hawkers were closed. Hankering for something different, we arrived at Sao Nam with images of sour, sweet dishes in our heads. Nothing like rain to awaken hunger in the tummy. The Sao Nam at Plaza Damas is a nice place for a rainy night. You can sit outdoors under the covered sidewalk and enjoy cool breezes in an otherwise very hot city.
There’s a whole special menu at the back, some you need to pre-order but I’m here for the Goi Mang Cut or the prawn and mangosteen salad. It never ceases to amaze me how delicious Indochinese salads are. Vietnamese uses familiar ingredients like Thai but with it’s own twist. Chewing through the food it's easy to imagine the joined borders and love of fresh greens and fruits coupled with essentials like fish sauce and tender meats. This is a signature salad and marries the juicy, tongue tingling mangosteen and fresh, briny prawns to perfection. It is then mixed with a Vietnamese vinaigrette, a combination of vinegar and squeezed citrusy-sour fruits. For texture they mix in some dried coconut and strips of salted squid. So delicious…
I tried the beef in a bamboo tube next. This one is oily with tender beef, a little bit like the Cambodian Luc Lac
except it has more gravy and finely chopped herbs like mint and kafir lime interred thoroughly within it. Best thing about this dish is that it’s full of sliced onions adding mellow sweetness to the gravy. You eat this with a combination of starfruit slices, lettuce and more Vietnamese ulam
in rice paper.
The rice paper is as fragile as paper so the trick here is to layer it with the lettuce and starfruit, dollop on the beef and try to roll and eat it before the beef gravy soaks past the paper and lands in a mush on your plate. I find that eating this with a small bowl of rice a better option. It’s got a salty edge that goes great with sticky rice and though the bamboo casing looks small, dig into its depth and you’ll get all sorts of gravied goodies like caramelised onions and bits of beef that’s dropped off and grounded down into the herbs at the bottom.
"Make sure you bring some good company..."
Mmm, crabs … when you crave them, you really crave them. Your fingers twitch and tentacles sprout out of your head. Well, the next time you have a crab craving, try out the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant. There’s nothing like plain-grilled crabs to really enjoy their sweet taste without the distractions of gravy and condiments. Another simple way is to boil them with a little bit of salt, but that means you’ll have water-logged flesh and your fingers wrinkle like prunes.
We recommend grilled crabs at this restaurant.
The minimum order is two crabs, served halved or quartered – probably not enough unless you’re eating alone. Prices depend on the season but they’re definitely cheaper than in the city or suburbs. Regulars testify to some seriously pumped-up crab claws, so look forward to sinking your teeth in some thick, white flesh. Grilled plain, the flesh is firmer and sticks to the bone. Some chilli paste on the side will add a little zing.
Another favourite is the sweet-and-sour crab. Crab-wise, it’s not all that fantastic, but the sauce goes beautifully with man tao (a plain bun), which are pretty d*mn good here. You can have them steamed or fried, though the latter are more delicious. The outer part of the bread is crispy and brown, and the inner is sweet, white and fluffy. Dip it in the sauce and mmm … go straight to heaven.
Like most seafood restaurants, there’s fish here and it’s quite decent. They also have bamboo lala (clams), which is not always available in other seafood joints. But they’re somewhat ‘fishy’ tasting here, so unless you’re really crazy about them, you might want to give this a miss.
The squid is decent, especially cooked in soy sauce, and so are the prawns. The all-time favourite buttered prawns are a safe bet for a yummy dining experience. But nothing beats mantis prawns cooked with dried chilli.
"Oh that sambal"
“It’s located where?!?” I exclaimed.
“In the car park…and make sure you go during lunchtime and not a minute later because the food disappears fast…oh that sambal
…I could just drink it on it’s own, ” my colleague replied with a distant look in her eyes.
My curiosity was peaked from this conversation and I just knew that I had to try the mysterious ikan bakar place located in the car park behind the Estana Curry House on Sultan Ismail. It was still two hours till lunch and I was eagerly counting down the minutes, after all places that usually taste best are in the most obscure locations.
To find this gem you have to walk through the hot dusty car park meandering past the vehicles parked in any which way. It’s situated in the little section in the corner of the lot by the trees. A tattered tin roof along with barebones tables and chairs scattered around is the scene you’ll find once you arrive, along with a crowd lining up for food and waiting for available tables. The area that is most crowded is where the food is laid out and this is where you have to use some elbow action to be able to grab at the best dishes and pieces of fish. This shack serves typical nasi campur with a huge array of Malay dishes freshly prepared each day.
From fried chicken to beef rendang, kangkung belacan to spicy tofu just about any dish can be found here during lunch but it gets snapped up pretty fast. By 1:45pm you’ll be lucky to get a little sauce leftover from the dishes with your rice.
The piece de resistance here though is the ikan bakar which is grilled right on the spot just before the lunch crowd trolls in. Different types of fish are marinated overnight and then grilled to charred perfection.
"The economy rice selection can put any eating shop to shame"
Blue Boy, a name that normally strikes intrigue due to the fact it is often mistaken for a rather unsavory establishment with a similar name. But this Blue Boy is wholesome, a place you can bring your momma to and a real hot spot during lunch and early dinner for those seeking a vegetarian option. The reason for this is that contrary to most vegetarian places that mainly serves economy rice, this place has a wide selection of local dishes that can make you renounce meat- well almost.
Blue Boy did not originally set out to serve vegetarian only. Originally a non-vegetarian place, it transformed organically into a fully capacitated vegetarian food court when their owners turned vegetarian some 20 years ago. Wrap your mind around this- fully vegetarian Nasi Lemak, Char Kuey Teow, Mee Jawa, Yong Tau Foo, Prawn Mee, Lam Mee, Curry Laksa and even Assam Laksa! Now how does one go about creating such creations with a vegetarian substitute? The answer is very simply and incredibly very tastily. Unbelievable to most carnivorous meat eaters such as we, meatless substitutes are actually very tasty.
Let us enlighten you on the finer points of vegetarian food, as we were ourselves at Blue Boy Mansion. For starters we had the Yong Tau Foo, which is normally stuffed with flour and fish paste, but this time it is a mock fish paste. Then came Nasi Lemak with mock Rendang Chicken and also Sambal Sotong that gave us a shock as it looked and tasted exactly like the real thing! As per recommendation we had it with the Sambal Petai. It was mind-blowing although the sambal petai had to be ordered separately. To substitute the normal ikan bilis, they serve it with crispy potato slivers with a saltish hint. If you closed your eyes, you could swear it was ikan bilis.
Mention ‘Satay’ and those who know this dish will most likely begin to salivate. A quintessential contribution of the Malay Archipelago to the planet’s culinary repertoire, it has been claimed by just about everybody else as ‘their’ influence.
Let’s explore the origins and hidden features of this exotic meat-on-a-stick preparation.… More »
Once a year California Pizza Kitchen unveils their new family members on the menu. Mainly famed for their Pizzas, their Salads are nice for a light change. Mediterranean salad is served with a side of pita bread.
The salad consists of Romaine leaves, cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, red onions, Greek olives tosses in a lemon-herb vinaigrette and topped off with feta cheese cubes, sun dried tomatoes and homemade Tzatziki sauce.
Many liked the Asian inspired Miso salad which is crisp salad in a tangy sweet dressing, crispy rice noodles and wanton for texture. This Miso salad also has elements of edamame and avocado to give it depth. For new pizza additions, there's a simple tomato, fresh basil and cheese Margarita or if you're feeling… Continue reading »