"Tastes like assam pedas from my childhood"
For some odd reason, Negeri Sembilan always gets a little left out when we are doing roadtrips. Perhaps because people glaze over it en route to Melaka or it's always been rather relaxed and humble when it comes to their dishes. Do not be fooled, there's good food to be had here like smoked meats in rich savoury broths, spicy rubs on fried chicken and masak assam like I used to have when I was a little girl.
So when I dropped down to visit my expecting friend and future godchild, I took the opportunity to get my paws on some good Minang cooking. She took me to Hard Wood. This eatery is a little strange, it appears to be selling garden furniture and statuary (I was quite taken by a matching pair of stone lynx) but no one seems to be there to buy anything except eat. Afterall the tagline is "a special taste in an unusual place". There's a handsome wooden barn of sorts where the food is laid out. Best of all is the lagu-lagu rakyat
(Negori folk songs) playing from out the speakers, usually a mum berating her lazy son (named Jang) and hopeless crushes on rich girls (engko anok orang kayo, aku drebar bas
On to the food. The colours are rich, a smorgasbord of vermillions, fresh greens and sunny yellows. It's hard to have restraint here. The first thing I attacked was the ikan keli goreng (fried catfish). Negeri Sembilan style is to slather it within an inch of its life with a turmeric and cili padi paste then submerge it in hot oil. I found this a little on the salty side but inside the fish was white and tender.
The good stuff here is the daging salai masak lemak- smoked beef stirred lazily in a rich gravy. The mushrooms in the same gravy is delicious, mellow and tasty making you pour more and more of it on your rice.
"Lots of choices and robust flavours!"
The food they serve at Gandhi's is the usual Indian and Chinese fare just without the meat. During the afternoon the food is laid out nasi campur style with many delectable choices. In the evenings however you can order dishes to enjoy. There are specialties such as sambal ikan, mutton varuval, popcorn-fried chicken, and more. All of these are made with various soy proteins to mimic the texture of meat. They are then cooked just as you would cook a regular meat dish. No garlic or onions are used in the cooking here, so that every branch of vegetarianism can eat here. Despite these alterations the food does not lack in the flavour department and I am sure any meat lover would be able to appreciate the various dishes on offer.
The sambal ikan is tangy and spicy and just slightly sweet. The 'meat' is soft and almost fish-like although it doesn't quite have the flakiness. I especially enjoyed the mutton varuval that is robust in flavour. Since I'm not a fan of mutton I ate this happily knowing that it wasn't mutton but still had the delicious essence of a varuval. The little popcorn chicken pieces are extremely addictive. Dipped in an orange tinged spicy batter these are fried till crisp. They could easily be a tasty movie snack.
Double, double, toil and trouble…Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!
Okay so maybe in our modern day world potions aren’t quite stirred in a cauldron with a witch in a pointy black hat hovering as it boils…but it can be a bit amusing to mix up a concoction with your loved one…an aphrodisiacal drink of sorts. So forget that sex therapist… More »
This is a great way to indulge in this delicious smooth dark delicacy without packing on the pounds. Cocoa naturally softens the skin and the antioxidant properties could prevent free radicals from damaging the skin’s elastin, collagen, and other protein. So apart from smelling deliciously good it does the body good!
When I arrived at… More »
There are desserts and then there are DESSERTS, the kind that makes you sink back in your chair with relish. There are those that are so good, it borders on the ridiculous- you won't even notice if a bus is hurtling down towards you (not that you would be eating dessert in the middle of the street anyway). Desserts that bring forth words like, "if I… More »
"Each bite will have you oohing and aahing in pleasure"
Betty’s Midwest Kitchen has done the burger justice with the special ‘Jucy Lucy’. This thick burger patty has a melty surprise in the middle. A cube of cheddar is inserted into the patty before grilling and the result is ooey gooey cheese as you bite down. Melty cheese…is there anything that can top that off? Each bite will have you oohing and aahing in pleasure. To make it even better this isn’t a pure beef patty, it’s a mix of beef and pork giving it extra flavour and juiciness. I also detected fresh cilantro chopped in to the patty. Sublime!
Other offerings on the menu tend to be very porkified with specialties such as the pulled pork burger, pork chops, and meatloaf…typical American favourites. The pulled pork burger is messy in a very good way. The pork is tender and not too dry and the BBQ sauce is very tasty. One bite of this and you’re sure to get the stick smoky sweet sauce all over your hands. The pork chops have a variety of toppings to choose from and I got a taste of the one with stewed apples. The sweetness compliments the savoury pork. I haven’t had the chance to try the meatloaf yet so this will give me a chance to go back.
We figured you might need some inspiration as to where to go for a delicious CNY or Valentine's meal so we've complied our favourite five for each:
Chinese New Year Yee Sang and Dinner
Golden Phoenix at Equatorial Hotel
This restaurant is a favourite Yee Sang spot especially during lunchtime. Its location is smack in the middle of Sultan Ismail making it very easy to access. This year they have specialties such as Snow Pear, Seaweed, Jelly Fish, Salmon or Abalone Yee Sang.
Contact: 03-2161 7777
Tai Ze Heen at Prince Hotel and Residences
The treasures here are tossed in a dressing that is a bit different from the usual citrusy vinegar. A mouth puckering plum dressing is used to coat the shredded veggies. Choose from options such as Tuna, Shellfish, Shark Continue reading »