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?
When we inquired… Continue reading »
"We happily slurped it up"
When I invited an Indonesian classmate to come with me, she agreed so fast you would think she hadn't had any Indonesian food for a year. As we escape college grounds during lunch hour, she declares, “It's alright, it's only class. This is Resto Surabaya!”
We make our way to the restaurant, which reminds me of so many other Indonesian restos not just in KL, but in, well, Surabaya. Sparse with the occasional handicraft, smells of sambal and bacem in the air – my lunch date's enthusiasm is so contagious that I cannot help but tap my foot impatiently for our food.
Drinks arrive first. The soda gembira is served a little differently than other places; they pour in the milk and syrup first, and give you a can of ice cream soda separately so you can mix it to your desired sweetness. We also have teh kotak, which I cannot go without ordering at an Indonesian restaurant.
Soto ayam lamongan arrives first. Similar to soto madura, it's filled with soun and chicken strips in a clear yellowish broth. We dive into it with our hands, happily slurping up flailing strands of noodles noisily. The chicken is chewy yet soaked through with the broth, while just a touch of sourness hits the back of my throat.
A friend of mine recently called in a favour to accompany her to Melaka for a day trip. Now I love Melaka but getting stuck in a teaching workshop for hours didn’t sound and wasn’t appealing at all to say the least. Having been to this historical city before I just had to get out and walk around town to scope out some grub. I was hungry of course.… More »
"Wonderful fish paste delights!"
The parking here is not ideal, in fact my car was once hit pretty badly and the person took off. I didn’t even realise anything happened till I made my way back to the car stuffed and satisfied after a yong tow foo binge. It’s a good thing that I was on a high from my meal because I would have reacted a lot differently to my dented in hood.
But let’s get back to the food…there is something so sinfully delicious about deep fried tofu skin parcels and vegetables stuffed with fish paste. The mixture of chilli sauce and sweet bean sauce highlights the subtle flavours of each piece of yong tow foo, and you can easily go overboard with ordering especially if you’re hungry.
On the menu there are the usual suspects, tau fu, stuffed brinjal, bitter gourd, chilli, lady fingers, fish balls, fried sui kau, and foo chok. A must try is the fried foo chok, fish paste wrapped in tofu skin and deep-fried. I could easily eat a whole plate of these in one go...crisp on the outside and once you bite down the skin gives way to bouncy fish meat. Another fried delight is the sui kau, a deep fried dumpling where the fish paste is pureed with other vegetables to give it slight texture and a more complex flavour.
Markets can seem intimidating, what with the various vendors, loud haggling, and an array of products which leave you wondering what you came for in the first place. It is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed, which is why many people these days prefer to head to a sterile and safe supermarket.
We have many wonderful markets in Malaysia… More »
Last night at Raju Continue reading »
"The aroma of grilled fish will have you drooling"
I was quite surprised to see that this little hidden away makan spot was quite packed at noon, and I am told that by 2pm you’ll be lucky to get anything at all. How do people even find out about the food in an area like this? I knew I was in for a treat.
The waft of fresh fish sizzling on the grill hit me as I entered and my tummy rumbled, a deep low grumpy rumble. This made me a little impatient waiting in the line eagerly with my plate in hand, but I knew I had to wait because good things come to those who are patient.
There is a good spread to choose from and I can see why many make this a favourite lunch stop…nothing beats a laidback kampung style meal in the midst of a busy workday. We made our way back to the table with plates of rendang, perkedel, ikan pari, paru, daun singkong and of course the famous sambal hijau.
I tucked straight into the rendang as soon as we set it down. As the sliver of beef touches my tongue I experience fireworks in my mouth, the complex mélange of flavours are all balanced well. The only thing I would have changed would have been the texture of the meat, it is a bit tough and chewy and I love my meat to melt in the mouth.
The perkedel here is not a smooth mush of potato that is fried, but instead textured with bits of spices and other herbs speckled within. The grainy potatoey texture makes this a pleasure to eat, especially when topped up with the rendang gravy. This alone could have been my meal and I would have walked away happy.