"Rich broth with generous servings of seafood"
One Saturday night we packed the whole family into two cars and took the 40min drive over to Klang and after many toll booths and a couple of wrong turns we finally arrived with rumbling tummies in anticipation of the tasty dishes my dad had described.
An interesting thing to note is that there are quite a few Chinese seafood restaurants in Pandamaran town away from the waters edge. I usually equate delicious fresh seafood with the sea, but my dad’s enthusiasm for the place was enough for me to know that the food would be good despite the lack of an ocean view.
A specialty dish here is the ikan pari with the ginger chilli oil. Unfortunately they had already sold out for the day, and it was only 8pm! We asked if any other fish could be prepared in the same way and the owner agreed to serve us something similar. We also ordered the kangkung belacan, sizzling tofu, seafood curry mee, and the chilli crabs.
The curry mee was the first thing to arrive at our table. A large clay pot is filled with a curry broth and a generous serving of noodles, plump prawns, tender squid, and chopped up ikan pari. The broth is undeniably flavourful without being extremely spicy. It is also not too thick, which makes slurping it up a pleasure. This could have been dinner on it’s own as there was plenty to go around
"They call themselves the beef noodle specialists!"
This unassuming restaurant occupies a tiny shoplot along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok. So unassuming, that for the two years I studied at a college down the street from it, I never noticed the shop during my morning walks from the Pasar Seni LRT station. After a friend introduced me to it last year, however, I've been going back almost every week.
“Beef Noodles Specialist” as the sign in their storefront says, is an apt boast of the family that runs the place. The Koon family specialises in Hakka-style noodles comprising your choice of noodles (yellow mee, kueh tiao, bihun, lo shue fun) and beef cuts (meatballs, strips, brisket, tripe), served with a clear broth and minced beef sauce.
This minced beef sauce is a furiously guarded family secret; the woman of the house does not allow it to be packed separately for take-away orders. It's also the reason why people keep coming back as the unique flavor and texture is truly addictive. Hints of garlic and fish sauce are all I've been able to discern so far, which means I need to go back more to figure it out!
Ever since I was a child, I would read cookbooks to sleep. I still do. Imagining proportions and flavours while looking at the pretty pictures in my mother's Betty Crocker cookbooks, and hoping that someday I would get a big shiny kitchen with an island counter to crank out one elegant meal after another for my gourmet husband. I never did cook any… More »
"Freshly baked treats"
This bakery has a small seating area where you can choose some pastries to indulge in or there’s a chalkboard with the specials of the day for a more substantial meal. All the treats here are baked fresh daily with no added preservatives or artificial substances and on Wednesdays and Saturdays organic bread is available. They even have a specialty known as the broom bread. This is filled with grains that sweeps through your digestive system and cleans it. What a fun name for a loaf of bread!
We decided to sample a few of the sandwich specials; the smoked chicken, roast beef, and beef pastrami. The smoked chicken is served on thick grain bread slices with a chunky basil tomato salsa. This is very tasty as the smokiness of the chicken slices pairs well with the fragrant salsa. My favourite is the roast beef sandwich that is served on a ciabatta with relish. The beef slices are tender and moist and I enjoy the crusty bread. I wish that they would use a grain or spicy mustard though instead of the bright yellow American mustard. The most interesting of the sandwiches however is the beef pastrami on a croissant as this is topped with mango slices. The sweetness of the mango offsets the salty pastrami and the buttery flaky croissant finishes it off perfectly.
While Gula Melaka is traditionally used in desserts we wondered if it would work just as well in savoury dishes. After all there are many meals that require the use of molasses or brown sugar and the structure of Gula Melaka is not too different in comparison. So as usual we narrowed down some recipes and played around in our kitchen. These turned out… More »
The rich dark golden liquid that is Gula Melaka is a popular sweetener in most parts of South East Asia. While it's hard to work with (as in you literally have to pound the huge chunks with a mortar and pestle) we couldn’t fathom a world without it. We love it for its molasses like qualities and the additional sweetness it brings to our favourite… More »
"Stop a while, grab a bowl of something soupy..."
I am a late riser aspiring to be an early bird. For sleepyheads like me nothing is more gut-wrenching then to crawl out of bed (thinking it's early) and only to see the last fishball go to the person in front of me. A lot of great breakfast places run out before the sun's first yawn. Sometimes I figure the only way to be up early enough is to stay up all night.
Markets too are a whole lot more fun at daybreak. By 10, what's a charming morning gambol becomes rather smelly. Wet markets are always more tolerable in the cool dawn hours. Pudu is one such market. A classic wet market with all sorts of food. The earlier you come, the fresher the products. They open extremely early in the morning, around 3 AM, and at 7 AM most of the action is over. This market is very `local` in flavour, it is predominantly Chinese but you can find Malay and Indian traders here as well. It can get noisy as the street vendors fight for the attention of shoppers by shouting out their bargains. Besides food and clothes, you can find the most unusual items: pet fish, scorpions, frogs and terrapins.
The market is long, intense and most people start loosing their appetites at the frog butcher. I know many of you out there enjoy a kermit or two in your diets but for us who rather watch him on the Muppets, the frog butcher here is the apex of squirminess. Especially when you see him skin those croakers while the poor creature is still gasping it's last breath watched by his buddies awaiting the same fate. It's an amphibian Apocalypto. I'm all for knowing where your food comes from, but this is too early and too real even for me.
But I digress, before you even venture into the depths of the market, right at the front are the eating shops. Take a seat, have a sniff. Fresh noodles await. Everything here is pretty good. You order drinks at the kopitiam in front and just grab whatever you wish for breakfast. There's very good prawn noodles here in a spicy, briny broth and a fragrant lam mee.