Yes it's the silly season where for some odd reason, you enter a shop completely thinking you are going to be sensible and then... you buy this... Wajik durian, gooey and lovely... yummers
And some of this... How long does it take to strip meat to make a whole bushel of that?
Then you poke your head for a while at a stall that has basins of rendang and spicy, sticky acar buah (a dish that doesn't make sense to me except at old school weddings and Raya.) Mari-mari, Opah punya spesel acar buah!
And you come out with tupperwares of acar and rendang and dodol, tiny wrapped perfect to pop in your mouth or in 1kg packs. Let's not even get to the mind-boggling array of kuih raya on offer! Check out the pointing finger in case you need to know what you are buying
I also like the fact that you can indulge in ketupats and rendangs way before Raya. Somehow when Raya rolls over, the abundance… Continue reading »
Char Kway Teow is a local dish that every back street glutton, and most Malaysians for that matter, has eaten. Flat rice noodles, blanched bean sprouts, siham (cockles) and prawns thrown together in a wok, with egg and soy sauce and preferably a fat helping of chilli paste stands on par with nasi lemak as one of Malaysia’s favourite dishes.
Let’s get down to hawker hunting. I heard about this place in PJ Old Town (located opposite the Old Town market) that has Char Kway Teow so good, it runs out at about 1pm. Some even say it’s the best in PJ. So with no time to lose, I headed over there with some friends as food is never as good when eaten alone. This poky little hole in the wall can be difficult to spot although it is located along the roadside.
The setting was a little quiet as the shop was preparing to close for the afternoon in order to prepare for the night crowd. I spotted a few customers (all of them eating char kway teow) still halfway through their meal so I grabbed the opportunity to order a plate before the ‘kitchen’ closed. I ordered mine with extra chili, as I believe that every meal should leave your tongue burning a little. But it’s optional of course!
The stall is run by a husband and wife team. Both of them mainly understand Cantonese only, so I had to use more interpretive communication. But from what little conversation we had, I could tell that the wife is the more outgoing of the two. The husband cum ‘Char Kway Teow extraordinaire’ is a meek guy on the outside, but when standing in front of his well-seasoned wok, he transforms into a master of his art. We had to wait for about 10 minutes because this guy only fries two plates at a time, which I hear is the best control technique for frying perfect Char Kway Teow.
Chocolate lounges. That seems to be the in thing now. Something different to the food scene no doubt, but the idea of a place with a whole menu of different items made with chocolate sounds like a meal that screams sugar high while I'm more of a savoury kinda person Unimpressed as I was, I decided to try it out.
The Theobroma Lounge has a lot of publicity so I headed over to the branch in One Utama. They have two others, one in Bangsar and another in Pavillion. No doubt, the layout of this caf Continue reading »
"Lemongrass gives the fried rice a flavour dimension"
One sunny weekday afternoon I found myself in creAsian's neighbourhood and decided to try out the food. I asked Jason for recommendations and he told me to go with the Tom Yam fried rice, black beef, devil’s curry, mee goreng, and chicken cutlets. Once the order was placed, there was nothing left to do but sit back and salivate in anticipation of the tasty dishes.
I have to tell you right now that the fried rice was my favourite dish! It was spicy and filled with all kinds of fresh herbs. All the various flavours played nicely on the palate. The lemongrass gave it an additional flavour dimension and the rice had a good bite to it without being too soggy or overcooked; just the way I like it.
And oh the black beef! Tender thin strips of beef cooked in a thick fragrant peppery black sauce. The words uber delicious come to mind. I ladled a lot of that sauce on the fried rice to make it even more decadent. The black beef is a family recipe which is a popular choice here.
The devil’s curry scared me a little with its name and red sauce; I was expecting something extremely hot and spicy but was pleasantly surprised when I was hit with only a mild heat. The dish is packed with pieces of bone-in chicken and potatoes and topped off with fresh cilantro. I have a soft spot for this misunderstood herb and was happy to see it generously sprinkled on top.
Opposite the road from Melaka Sentral, there's Taman Cempaka's Food Market. I love to try markets in different states as sometimes I find that the same kuih can taste very differently way way way out of town. And sometimes, they crave for different things as well. For example, one of the top selling hawker there is a grilled chicken Stall called Ayam Bakar Bangsar (Bangsar Grilled Chicken). Wow, whilst people in KL crave for nyonya food, chicken rice balls, cendol and other stuff, Melaka people likes KL's Bangsar Grilled Chicken. People even had to reserve for the next day if they are to be guaranteed a piece.
Next, in the wierd world of food... we get Murtabak Maggi... also a best seller. Maggi Kari used as a filling instead of the typical meats. This one also is a fast selling dish. Come late and all you have is just the sign below an empty tray. As you can see, there's only one left. No points guessing who that belongs to
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Next in my quest to find good local delicious homemade food brings me to Taman Dato Harun. This wondeful food market is not to be mistaken with the one near the mosque but rather about a minutes drive heading towards Taman Medan along PJS2/2. You can't miss this place. At 5pm, it has probably one of the longest rows of food stalls in Klang Valley stretching almost half of PJS2/2 and a quarter of PJS 2/3. Now that's long. What I love about this place is that you can get the typical malay kuih's and also laksa's, malay nasi biriyani, putu piring, ikan bakar, ayam golek and other stuff.
The market has a nice aroma due to the different types of food grilling on skewers, pans and others. Also, due to the sheer variety of foods sold, you can find almost anything you want here. One of my favourites is the Alladin's Grilled Chicken which is grilled specially in an aluminium casing with a glass front.
There is also a long queue for Popiah Kak Raja. Nice malay spring rolls. Kak Raja's spring roll skin is homemade and has a nice sweet chilli base. This is topped with sweet sauce, taugeh, sliced cucumbers and ground nuts. Modus Operandi? Pick a card and wait your turn. Mine's number 38.
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"A great array of sambal belacan"
Here, they specialise in good Malay fare. We heard that their chefs go around the nation trying out and learning recipes from other states, to see what they can bring back to PJ. So it's no surprise that they have a selection of rendangs as part of their buffet spread. Walking into the place, one of the first dishes to greet you will be the Malay Rendang Tok with lemang (glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf). Surprisingly, their rendang version is good. As the Malay saying goes, the ingredients are 'cukup'(complete) which signifies that the chef knows how to make this dish.
Beside the rendang, is the Malay beef soup. The difference here is that the Malay version is lighter than Indian soups, as the ingredients are not herbs and spices heavy. Therefore, it has a heavier beef flavour and taste. We like the fact that they serve the soup with several kinds of chopped meats as toppings. Not for the unadventurous, some of the sliced meats are actually tripe, liver and lungs. But don't worry as these toppings have been expertly cooked. No trace of 'gamey-ness'. A bit of spring onions and crispy fried onions on top completes the dish. A splash of lime juice gives it a bit of kick. One sip and I know they got this right too.
Right at the back, someone is busy barbequing satay. Beef and Chicken. Quite nice comparatively to other hotels. But satay is not street fare here at Paya Serai so flavours are a bit subdued to cater to a wider audience. They do serve a wide selection of Malay fare and lauks. There's gulai ikan masin on one side, an array of sambal including one which I suspect is tempoyak, different kinds of malay ulams (organic Malay vegetables) and a variety of rice from biriyani to white rice.