Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Amandari, Kelawei Road, Penang

We had pretty much sworn off lunch after consuming a more-ish breakfast of Char Koay Kak. But then lunch hour rolled around and naturally, we started thinking. And well, it IS Mag and Ollie's last day in Penang for a while.

We ended up at Amandari for Malay fare. We'd been there some years back and remembered being suitably impressed. However, my experience today was somewhat soured by an uninspired order and service so bad it made me want to seriously hurt someone. Mag, Mama and Papa Chow were all happy with their food though.
Oh, note that I am now posting as myself and not as Memo's doppelganger.


Not quite as dense as the kind I prefer, this one was somewhat lighter and not as flavourful.

Nasi Tomato

Mama Chow's order came with three huge pieces of chicken drowned in curry. She gave it the thumbs up.

Kacang Botol Sambal
Kacang botol = Love. Especially when paired with fresh squid and sambal. This was near perfection and provided me reprieve from an oversight of an order (Nasi Goreng, which will not be featured here).

Nasi Lemak
Both Mag and Papa Chow relished this down to the last peanut. I could only watch and feel sorry for myself.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pambazos at the Mexican Maya Company, Ponsonby International Foodcourt, Auckland

By the time I thought to document the Pambazos, I was halfway through my meal - this was the first time I'd tried it. We had to wait an extra long time so I paid no mind when I dug in, the pambazos' 'buns' are deep-fried with potatoes and salsa in the middle, accompanied by salad, salsa and rice. All for the grand sum of NZ$10.51. I mention this because I've often thought the Mexican place to be a bit on the steep side, this dish totally disproved that though.

Close-up of deep-fried bun with sour cream and fresh chopped coriander. Beware the flash glareifying

And in between the buns, yummy potatoey, cheesy, lettucey.

Pyramid of rice drizzled with sour cream and garnished with coriander.

My friend, Beans, finishing up an identical order. Note the empty plates, a good sign of a good meal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nyonya Breeze, Abu Siti Lane, Penang

With impending departure of Mag, Ollie and Mama Chow, we gathered Ah-Ma and Seku for lunch today at Nyonya Breeze. Mama Chow has been adamant about trying this place out for some time, only to be derailed by whingebag family members who much prefer places without a fluoro-lit shopfront. Anyways.

We went overboard ordering and ended up with way too much food for a party of six. And they are:

Choon Peah (Spring Rolls)
Mag and I were somewhat irked by the fact that the wait staff did not have the good sense to inform us, a clear party of six, that one serving came in only 4 pieces. We ordered seconds, naturally. It was alright. I think I've hit Spring Roll plateau. As in, I've had enough mediocre Spring Rolls in my life and I can rest assured knowing that it's never going to be a dish that will bowl me over.

Sambal Prawn Petai
This was lovely, jumbo-sized fresh shrimp and stinkin' sweet petai in a sourish sambal gravy.

Curry Kapitan Chicken
Both Mag and I agreed that this did not blow the house down. The litmus test is in the gravy and while it was thick enough, it was just lacking in punch. I should've studied the exact discrepancy in ingredients. I am sorry.

Kerabu Kacang Botol

Jiu Hoo Char
Nyonya Breeze's version of this shredded turnip dish deserves a mention. Wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with fiery sambal, this oozes crunchy flavours in your mouth. Loveliness.

Looks better than it tasted, but it could've have been just me being distracted by the plethora of dishes in front of me. I thought it was a tad dry, but Mag appreciated the chunks of fish that stayed intact.

Nyonya fish curry
The highlight of the meal, hands down. By the time this was brought steaming to the table, we had forgotten about the order and had almost finished the meal. However, it went down right as rain, with extra scoops of white rice. They used cod fish, which was greatly appreciated. I particularly like the fact that it's chunks of flesh, as in fish fish, and not any of that fish head nonsense. The assam gravy was a total hit, despite the fact that it was consumed on very full stomachs. 10/10!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eating after Drinking

What inevitably follows a night of reckless drinking is a dire craving for carbs. Lots of it. So while Banana Leaf rice at Passion of Kerala has been posted here before, I feel it is necessary to revisit it once again, if only to reinforce its curative properties for all post alcohol binge maladies.

And what inevitably follows after a banana leaf meal is a state of sluggish intoxication. I spent the afternoon watching The Other Boleyn Girl and soon enough, it was dinnertime. I really didn't feel much like food at this point but I figured Burbee might want to see what we're getting up to at home. A simple fried tomyam rice and stir fried broccoli with carrots, shrooms and capsicum.

Steaming Hut, Basement Food Court, BNZ Tower 125 Queen St, Auckland

So last Wednesday, I was working a different shift than usual and determined as hell to have some steamed buns love at 10am. Which are about one of the only boast-worthy things round here - I paid up in cash (NO EFTPOS at STEAMING HUT) $4.50 for my usual, four 'vegetarian' buns in a bamboo basket, a quinoa-like porridge, a saucer of pickles for porridge-eaters only! and the delectable Bark Sauce (commonly known as chilli oil but Bark is way more visually appropriate ) I believe this meal might have gone up $0.50 since I went away, but still a steal, still a steal....

Puff Buns invite you to eat them please!

Mhmm Bark, bark in oil, I spills you all over my fingers as I feed some into my buns.

It is most popular Bun V4, filled with chives, vermicelli, egg, garlic, shrimp - hence its pseudo 'vegetarian'ness. Bad breath almost certainly guaranteed. Pashing can get awkward post-bun. No complaints here. Soz shrimpz tho.

Aforementioned Bark makes appearance atop Bun 2. There are usually a variety of 4 'vege' buns but because I showed up at 10am, only two types were ready. Bun 2 contains cabbage, bean sprouts, shitakes and is actually a vegetarian bun!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Should've been Thai but it wasn't

It's been a while since we made the beeline for a buffet but with the impending departure of Mag and Ollie next week, we felt it was time to pay a visit to the fail-safe Friday Thai buffet lunch at Cititel.

Alas, what should've been, wasn't. We found that they had swapped the buffet theme days around and we'd just missed the Thai spread yesterday. We had to contend with the nebulous "Asean" theme. Still, a buffet is a buffet and we had serious eating to do.

Clockwise from Top: Ulam (assorted raw greens with sambal belacan), Chicken kerabu, glass noodle kerabu (both kerabus tasted suspiciously similar), jellyfish kerabu

Mee Bandung
Yellow noodles, beansprouts, a wedge of tomato blanched, and drowned in a chicken-and-tomato-based thick broth, topped with half (not a quarter but HALF) a hard boiled egg, shredded cabbage, shrimps and some fishballs. Optional condiments: Fried shallots and chopped coriander. Tasty schizzle, I say!

Clockwise from Top: Singapore fried beehoon, brinjals with minced chicken, fried fish with mango kerabu, grilled chicken (ayam panggang). Blah blah!

Sweets: Coconut tart, chocolate cake, old-skool fluffy pandan sponge. Props to Cititel for not being too cool for fluffy old-skool fluffy sponges.

Also, Mag's keen to contribute entries to this blog so with the right amount of perseverance and industry, we could make like we live in 3 different countries and eat extremely well all the time. Mag's going back to Japan, so you can imagine what's in store for us, once she finds time from little Ollie.

Melaka (Part II)

Following the waistband-tightening exercise at Benji's, we filled the rest of the Melaka trip with other tastings.

This version of otak-otak from Newton was heavenly, grilled to perfection at just the right consistency so it didn't fall apart once we removed it from the banana leaf wrap, held it between thumb and forefinger, and proceeded to chomp it down and wash with beer.

And yes it tasted as good as it looks! This one was off that famous place on Jonker Street and the thing that stood out about this version was the thickness of the gula melaka syrup (palm sugar syrup). They also retail the bottled syrup alone in the store and I bought one of those babies home. It enhances the flavour of just about everything, but I use it in my morning coffee.

Assam Laksa and Nyonya Laksa
I don't understand why kembung's gone out of fashion in laksa, to be replaced by tuna? Or sardines? It is curently a great source of distress for me.

Melaka (Part I)

The next couple of posts are somewhat backdated but the photos need to go up. Lots of good eating went down in Melaka earlier this month and here are the highlights from the home-cooked feast specially prepared by a very generous friend's aunt and uncle:

Ayam Buah Keluak (Keluak Nut Chicken Curry)
This had to be the highlight of the entire trip. Buah keluak is a blackish nut about the size and shape of a golf ball, often used in traditional Nyonya cooking. The nut needs to be prepared carefully to remove the poisonous effects of its raw seeds, which can be used to eliminate the people you don't like. Luckily, these ones we had were thouroughly washed and boiled and made for a wonderful accompaniment when mashed together with steamed white rice. Like a black olive tapenade, with the texture of a Hass avocado. Supremo!

Ikan Cili Pedas (Fish with Spicy Chilli Paste)

Ayam Pong Teh

Itik Tim
A hearty soup, filled with sour and salty goodness of duck and preserved vegetables.

Home-made cincaluk (Fermented shrimp sauce)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Maa Roy Thai, Abu Siti Lane, Penang

Saturday, noon, the clouds started to roll in. The last time the clouds rolled in on a Saturday lunchtime, Tulip and I paid a visit to Maa Roy Thai so today, we felt it appropriate to repeat the weather-lunch pairing.

Clear tomyam seafood soup. The last time we tried the red version and found it a little sweeter than regular tomyam. The clear version is more sour than sweet, which is just the way I like it. Plentiful flesh from the sea. We drained this clean.

Pork Sambal (northern style). First I've heard of a Thai sambal but anything that looks this fiery is well worth a try. It was sweetly smoky, extremely heavy even as a dip, and it probably wouldn't have worked with anything other than raw vegetables.

Crispy Fish Salad. Strange crunchy floss? of fish meat heaped onto a basic mango salad. It was a great play on texture but got tedious about halfway through the dish.

I feel I ought to exercise some restraint after this meal because in approximately a week, I will be joining some people to Melaka for some serious grub. Stand by for more glorious food porn!

Ribs, Burma Road, Penang

OK, so technically, this isn't quite authentic local fare either but much has been said about the gorgeous barbequed pork ribs this joint serves up on the island. We are ribs-starved, for obvious reasons but once you've had a full plate to yourself, it's unlikely you'd think about coming back for a while.

Tulip and I both had the smallest serving of no less than 4 solid ribs, with sides of coleslaw/baked beans and garlic mashed potato. The meat fell off the bone easily and the flavours worked well. But a serving of 4 ribs to yourself is really pushing it. By the 3rd one, I was well intoxicated and having trouble working the cutlery. Either go for a plate of 6 ribs to share between 2 or come really, really hungry with a massive craving for meat.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Not your ordinary garden salad

I feel like I ought to post something here, even if it's old and even if it's not Penang, for I cannot leave Burbee's good work hanging. I firmly believe that keeping a food blog is what will unite us sisters as we live our little lives in different parts of the world. And it's way more fun than keeping an I-feel-I-think blog. Because food speaks to us in ways that sometimes words cannot.

If there's one other place in the world I'd label a heavenly food trove outside Penang, it'd be Bangkok, hands down. We've had many, many, many gorgeous meals on the streets, in the cafes, at the markets and there're still many more to go. Here are some mean salads sampled on our last trip in December 07. Unfortunately, I did not document the names of the places where they were eaten.

This is Laab Gai, basically minced chicken, green crunchies and mint leaves.

Salad with raw blue prawns, served with a sour and spicy dressing. Very delicate.

Yam Talay, or a version of a Thai seafood salad, sampled at a cafe on Phra Athit Road.

This was a strange concoction of coconut milk, rambutan fruit and shrimps.

I shall endeavour to do a better job of documenting the whereabouts next time.