May Chixuan is one of those neighbourhood haunts that I often come to for a comforting dinner. It's got some good home style dishes, and maybe a thing or two that you don’t often find on just any menu. Take ostrich for example, which is not a type of meat you find just anywhere Here they prepare it in many different styles. Try it sautéed with dried chillies, the meat is extremely melt-in-the-mouth tender and when paired with the thick savoury sweet spicy sauce you’re in for a treat. It is almost like beef but the tenderness sets it apart from the average meat dish. They also serve frog’s legs here but I haven’t had a chance to try it the way they prepare it. I’m told it is very well done though.
Another comforting dish I enjoy is the sweet and sour pork, but be sure to tell them if you like it extra crispy. I enjoy when the batter is extra crisp on the outside but the meat is tender on the inside. There also needs to be a balanced meat to batter ratio so that you’re not just chewing into batter with no meat on the inside. They do it just the way I like it here and it is one of the dishes that keeps me coming back, although sadly they do sometimes have off nights where the pork is not quite as scrumptious.
If it’s seafood you’re after do try the butter prawns. They are large in size and fresh and the best part is that they are not too oily as butter prawns can sometimes be. This dish is satisfying without being too cloying. Have it with the sizzling tofu, which is delicious bathed in the thickened sauce. The tofu is made in house which is why it is especially smooth and silky.
What happens when a man loves Char Kuey Teow more than his hot wife? Well, Honey rounded up the gang, wrote a script and with our team, directed her first food film called "The man who loves Char Kuey Teow too much..." We are kinda experimenting with food fiction now and I thought maybe we can have some fun with this format for our Love Your Street Food Campaign that is now going into full swing (psst! food crawl tnite). So here's the video. We got 5 food fiction vids. This is the first in the series. Hope you guys like it. Do share the video around ya.
How in the world did Old Klang Road suddenly become this rough where diamonds of Japanese restaurants could be found? First there was Sanuki Udon with its brilliant offerings of udon and yakitori. Not long after, a friend pointed me in the direction of Nihon Kai. We now find ourselves braving the evening traffic crawl to satiate our Japanese food cravings...
Just like Sanuki, you will not notice Nihon Kai if you are not looking. We reach the brightly lit corner shop a little after 7 o’clock, and already there is a wait for a table. The restaurant is a bit of a mixed bag of atmospheres: there are booths, counters and sidewalk seating. Diners of all variety are there too. When we are eventually steered to the tables upstairs, we had to squeeze in between a lively group of colleagues and a father out with his toddler daughter.
Wanting to sample a wide variety without busting our guts, we order a mixed sashimi platter, Nihon Kai’s special maki, and agedashi tofu. I had originally wanted to order shake atama (salmon fish head with ginger sauce) but they had run out, so a saba shioyaki (grilled mackerel with salt) is a great substitute
A rather kitschy boat of sashimi arrives first. When I say boat, I mean the platter is literally shaped like one. Thankfully, the sashimi itself is in very good taste. The tuna is so clean and tender, I immediately claim both slices. Many Japanese restaurants, even the higher end ones, tend to serve tuna that is a little stringy when pulled apart. The ones here darn near melt in my mouth! The salmon is excellent too, with a good bite. My dinner companion says the crab sticks smell a little off, which makes me glad I did not reach for any.
Pizza Brava is an Italian restaurant owned by a group of friends that specializes in pasta and wood-fire pizza. They have other stuff on their menu, like a selection of starters, meat and seafood entrees and desserts, but the focus is definitely on the quintessential Italian pastas and wood fire oven pizzas; An entire side of their double-sided, A3 sized menu is dedicated to pizza and pasta.
As one could guess from the tagline beneath the restaurant name, the restaurant is proud in having a wood fire oven, a relative rarity for local pizzerias. Their pizzas cook in next to no time using this oven.
The restaurant is brightly lit and very minimalist in décor and design. Jars of anchovies and tomato sauce, cans of olive and olive oil as well as Pellegrino bottles adorn the racks and shelves. At the front of the restaurant is their pizza area, and at the back is their open pasta kitchen. The restaurant seats about 30-40 people maximum, attended by staff dressed in black. I went with a friend to sample their offerings.
We settled on simple tomato Bruschetta (RM8.90) to start with. The Bruschetta were surprisingly large slices of toasted bread, about half a dozen to plate. The chopped tomato topping was zesty with lemon, garlic and parsley, although it could do with a bit more salt and pepper.
If there’s one guy who knows his cakes, it’s Cheng Yi, better known as the blogger Fat Boy Bakes (FBB). “The one thing about having that as my blogger name is that I can never lose weight now,” he laughs. FBB can bake 10 cakes in 2 hours and takes orders for about 30 cakes a week, but will do a maximum of 15 orders per day; this is all while… More »
They say never to judge a book by its cover; I however judge restaurants by their menus. To me, if you can’t be creative enough when putting together a menu then you really have no business being in the food industry. I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped open the menu at this chic little hangout. The first item that popped out at me was the roasted pumpkin and couscous salad with a mint mustard dressing...as I thought about those ingredients together I realised that the combination is genius and was slightly jealous that I hadn’t thought of it first. Reading this gave me hope for a delicious meal because everything on the menu intrigued me…and we had trouble narrowing down our choices.
Of course the roasted pumpkin salad was one of the orders I placed, along with a French burger (yes, I’m still in a dreamy just-got-back-from-France mood) and my dining companion decided to go for the Huevos Rancheros wrap. We also ordered the popular Bee burger to takeaway for another colleague.
As we sat back and waited, my colleague noted that the music selection is really good here. The tunes they play are worth listening to as you kick back and enjoy your meal. It also seems to be a popular dining outlet especially for those working in the area; the tables were packed with colleagues hunched over dishing the latest office gossip. Our tummies rumbled as tables around us got their burgers and everyone was happily chomping down.
The salad was the first to arrive. The pumpkin is spiced and then roasted till it is still firm but soft as soon as you bite down. The sweetness with the tangy minty mustard dressing is beautiful and the fresh crunch of the mesclun salad leaves is refreshing. I’m told that the dukkah prawn salad is another must order: grilled prawns in dukkah spice with grapefruit, watercress, salad leaves and a mint yogurt dressing. I’ll definitely be making a trip back for that soon.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen would be walking in the scorching hot sun in the middle of Buntong, Perak searching for a taugeh farm. Well one English lass and four mad Malaysians more like it.
Now I've eaten taugeh all my life- can't really avoid it being an Ipoh girl. I love how it's fat and crunchy, just blanched in hot water with soy sauce and sesame oil drizzled on top. It's a small brand of made-in-Ipoh-happiness. Yet I never once wondered where they plant all the sprouts. It can't be undulating green fields like paddy. I figured it be cottage-sized, behind someone's house in large plastic barrels.
A lucrative cottage industry
I was not far from the truth. "No, go away! Find someone else," a painfully skinny man in shorts shooed us off his property. We were resorting into peeking at people's backyards because one thing I did not anticipate about beansprout cultivating was the secrecy.
We had Ipoh free paper Echo in our hands because one of the journalists managed to get access to one of these sprout farmers. Even then, they are a surly lot, not impressed by the press and want to be left alone. Is growing the best beansprouts a trade secret? Restaurant owners are also reluctant to disclose their suppliers, maybe because they are afraid that someone else might steal them away?
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