"Meaty cockles, smooth noodles, and a hint of chili!"
So you’re in the Klang Valley. Where do you go for the best char kuey teow? It’s not an easy question; everyone has his or her own opinion. And it was with this question in mind that I came to Panmour Villa in Section 20, Shah Alam, where rumors of an excellent char kuey teow were being told. A friend of my father first told me about this place.
Panmour Villa is actually a small hotel with… uhm, no stars I think, but that’s beside the point. It’s situated just opposite Selangor Medical Center in Shah Alam, nested in a row of shophouses. It’s a small, double-story unit, where the upper level is where the rooms are, and the ground level is their own food-court. We (my friends and I) arrived on a damp-ish Monday night, armed with nothing but an empty stomach, craving for char kuey teow.
The restaurant features open kitchens, with sections denoting Western, Noodles, Thai, Nasi Campur and such. What décor they had was minimal; you wouldn’t want to come here for Valentine’s Day, if you know what I mean. Plastic chairs and hard tables abound. We were handed simple laminated menus. A quick glance showed they had basic western, and a lot of Thai stuff. The food was fairly cheap, with only the western fare going above the RM20 mark. But we skipped those and went for the dish people talk most about when they come here: Char Kuey Teow (RM4/-).
"Plump and juicy cockles..."
The grimy lane is a mere inconvenience; loyal patrons still come in droves to sit on tiny stools and dine by the back alley behind the Jalan Bunga Raya shoplots. The bare lighting from the street lamps adds to the ambience and also distracts us from the less than spartan surroundings. This is as grubby as gutter grub gets…
The cause for this nightly madness is none other than Tong Bee’s cockles or ‘longkang siham’ as locals would call it. There is no proper system to scoring a seat amidst the waiting crowd. You just hang around until a seat vacates and plonk your butt on the next empty stool to stake your territory. It does not matter who arrives first because the owners are too busy to care. So cast all niceties aside, the rule is: Get your claws on the first available seat or go hungry. Be prepared for hungry stares from the waiting crowd as you triumphantly tuck into your food!
Other shellfish are also available like siput (snails) and lala (clams). The preparation is simple as these mollusks are simply boiled then served. Each diner will be given a plastic saucer of their secret dipping sauce along with a metal fork. I detect hints of ‘harkou’ (prawn paste), chilli sauce, peanuts and lime juice in it - definitely addictive. As our orders arrive, I understand why their siham is their bestseller. It’s very fresh and only requires quick boiling so it comes out plump and juicy. Combined with the sauce, I could easily polish off a plate on my own in no time.
2010 is here and among the resolutions out there, eating right is always high on the list. I’m sure after the festive season your waistline could use a little something friendly to shed a few pounds and help you feel better in general. Kick start your day with a nutritious smoothie and you’ll be well on your way.
When it comes to smoothie… More »
"Slobber... grilled catfish... slobber..."
Ah... nothing warms the cockles of the heart more than the wafting scent of grilling fish. It's barely 12pm and the crowds are already arriving in droves. Taking a cheeky peek on the grill, I spy mackerel, catfish and stingray nestled in banana leaf, riddled with spices. It's a pretty laid back operation. Grab a seat, choose your fish and then help yourself to the rice and other dishes at the back.
And in the flash, the fishes arrive. And let me tell you the fish here is super duper fresh. The stingray flaked in white lusciousness in my fingers. Dipped in their killer air assam, I rekindled my infatuation with pari bakar. The kembung too is white-fleshed, moist with natural oils. The marinade is simple, turmeric, salt, chillies and lemongrass being the dominant spices. However with fish this fresh you hardly need much embellishment. I suck my fingers and reach out for more.
My absolute favourite is of course the ikan keli (catfish). It comes to the table still sizzling and I burnt a few fingers tearing into it eagerly. The ikan keli is soft, almost milky and falls in your hands with a sigh relinquishing its creamy goodness. For catfish fans out there I dare you to only eat one. I can sit here till the sun sets and work my maws over a mountain of this fish. Best thing about the ikan bakar here is that they have a light hand. It's not over-cooked or over-charred. It just imprints the spices into the flesh and leaves the insides tender.
"Doze off into a lovely food induced coma.."
When I heard about a place that delivers banana leaf right to your door I was skeptical. My initial reaction at finding out about Spicy Corner was that banana leaf cannot be as good delivered to your home as when you go out to get it. However, knowing about its existence made me hungry for something spicy and filling for lunch and we were all a bit lazy to drive out of the office to get some. So we ordered in!
Our order took 1hr to arrive and we were pleased to see all the cartons filled to the brim with spicy delights! Each of the banana leaf sets come with the usual: 3 vegetables, 3 curries, papadam, acar, and the morru molagha (fried flavoured chilli). You can then choose to add fried chicken, chicken varuval, tenggiri fish, mutton, or fried kembong. We decided to try out the varuval and fried chicken set. The sets are delivered in eco friendly cartons with the banana leaves rolled up in the accompanying bag.
I found my set to be delicious with just the right amount of heat and spiciness. The chicken varuval is tender and tasty and I enjoyed eating my rice with the fragrant vegetable curry. I also like that my papadam is crispy despite the journey. The fried chicken set is tender and juicy but unfortunately due to the travel time it is no longer crunchy on the outside. This is to be expected though with delivery meals.
A heinous crime has been committed! The Sugar Plum Fairy found Mr. Ginger sprawled in the icing sugar snow. Who killed the gingerbread man and why?
A bit of CSI fun during the holidays. Tweet your answer to @friedchillies
by noon 31st December 2009 and best answer wins a recipe book. We got 2 books from David Rocco & Kylie Kwong to give out to two lucky people courtesy of Discovery Travel and Living.
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Twas a blistering cold Christmas Eve
With nary a peep in sight
Shimmering snowflakes sprinkled down
Like powdery sugar shaken atop a cake
Christmas trees adorned in their finest ornaments
Glittering and sparkling as they swayed in the wind
Gingerbread families huddled in their homes for warmth
With a… More »