Thursday, June 26, 2008

Leong Kee, Kimberley St

It was a wet and rainy morning and it felt like a dim sum morning. We had just been to Anson Road's Zim Sum recently so we decided to try another place. Leong Kee has been around for a long time but I had only been made aware of it recently when Papa Chow pointed out they are now open in the evenings as well, ala Tai Thong on Cintra St.

We weren't especially hungry or hungover this morning, so we kept to the basics.

Steamed goodies. As you can probably tell from the pic, these tasted only so-so. But before you dismiss them, I must point out that the service was remarkably tip-top. The staff at Leong Kee were friendly and helpful without being stiffly patronizing or over-attentive. Just the kind of reception you'd want at your neighbourhood mom-and-pop corner store.

Pei Tan Chuk (Century Egg porridge). I prefer this to the one at Zim Sum. It's not quite Forum's but it warmed me up nice and good.

Wu Kok (Deep fried yam dumplings). The token deep fried dish of the morning. The char siu filling was a bit too measly for my liking.

Char Siu Pau (BBQ Pork Bun). Fat Tulip's must-have for the morning. He finished two of these but reported that they weren't quite up to mark either.

We'd probably be hard-pressed to come back here if not for the genuinely pleasant service extended by the staff. Also, at about RM13 for two of us, it was a right steal.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sushi Kappo Miyasaka, Burmah Road

On the same row as the culinary travesty that is Yataimura in Pulau Tikus sits this modest looking little Japanese place. Past visits have often been reassuring so when I'm hankering for good simple Japanese minus the price tag of Kirishima at Cititel, this is the place to go!

On this particular visit, we were both craving for a bowl of something hot, so udon seemed the answer to all our problems.
I started with a Potato Salad handroll. Loved the even distribution of the ebiko, right down to the last bite.

Fat Tulip made the star order of the day. Baby octopus tempura, served with dipping sauce. Beautiful when crispy hot, not so at the end of the meal when the batter's gotten all soggy.

Curry Udon. I didn't want just heat, I also wanted spice. This curry was chicken and my ideal type of Jap curry is pork. It wasn't quite spicy enough, but the udon was full of bite and the serving was plentiful and satisfying.

Udon in clear chicken broth. The fake crabstick initially put Fat Tulip off a bit but once he got rid of that, he enjoyed every slurp and drank every last drop of the light, flavourful broth.

The bill for two including tea, came up to around RM60. OK, so not exactly a cheap lunch but it was quality stuff so we dealt.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Boey Chong Kee, People's Park

As kids, our parents brought us to this unassuming little restaurant practically almost weekend. We haven't been back for close to two decades and recently, it came up in a conversation and it was decided then that we would go back for the dishes we remembered fondly.
The place looked exactly the same, with the background of People's Park flats blinking and bustling against twilight. The tables were filling up, even though it was barely 7PM and we spied familiar dishes being carried out and served. We placed our orders and waited. It must be a busy, tiny kitchen because they seemed only to be able to handle one table's orders at a time.

Flat dwellers going about their evening activity above the restaurant

Papa Chow and Mama Chow take a break from making fun of each other to stare into space.

Fried fish head with leek. Not a personal favourite.

Ginger duck. Practically a staple here at Boey Chong Kee. I spied an elderly gentleman dining alone with just rice and this duck dish.

Stir fried kai lan. Greens are great, aren't they?

Pork ribs in black bean paste. Absolutely lovely.

Now we were pretty much done with four dishes and rice among the four of us but then we spied a group of elderly diners next to us who kept ordering plate after plate of Char Hor Fun, on top of a pretty huge meal. Of course we had to have some, sans beef. And we understood. Silky hor fun, coated and sealed with the juices of slices of pork, pork liver and prawns, fried to near perfection. We polished this too-small serving in a matter of minutes.

It was a lovely trip down memory lane for all of us. And especially heartening is the fact that while we keep fighting to stay on course with the harsh realities of living and growing old, some things remain gratifyingly, tastefully unchanged.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Korea BBQ Chicken

The Korea BBQ Chicken chain of restaurants have been open for a while now and it's become a firm favourite place for us to get a good chicken fix, fried or barbequed.
The two outlets in Penang are located in Gurney Plaza and New World Park. One fine work-free day, Fat Tulip and I staggered into the Gurney Plaza one for a late lunch after a movie. The menu is fairly extensive and there are a few different types of chicken preparation, from olive oil-fried to ginseng infused to barbequed. The chicken comes with coleslaw and your choice of either shrimp fried rice of mashed potato.
Korean charbroiled chicken (with shrimp fried rice)

Jerk BBQ Chicken (with mash)

Both were delicious, infused with plenty of gorgeous flavours. The chicken were tender and juicy and the sides were substantial. However, I have to say I've tasted better mashed potato... may have something to do with the gravy, which tasted a wee bit manufactured.

Previously, I've also tried the regular olive oil-fried chicken (the other option being the ginseng-infused one) which was well above a notch from the trite and tired Colonel Sanders' secret recipe. I'll be back!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Melaka eats

Made it back to Melaka to take care of unfinished business from previous trip - more eating! And here are some of the highlights:

Satay celup on Ban Lee Siang, Jalan Ong Kim Wee. Works on basic lok lok premise with skewers of goodies lined up in front of you, and a boiling vat of satay sauce at the centre of the table. Choose skewer, dunk in till cooked and enjoy glorious stain-assured mess. We had this at around 10pm on a Thursday night and the place was packed. The locals sure like their celup!

Wantan mee at Jln Tun Tan Cheng Lock. This was supposed to be a great Melakan secret and it was just down the road from our guest house, so we popped in for breakfast the morning after. I just didn't get it. It was not dissimilar to the Penang version, but perhaps coated with more lard. More miss than hit.

Chicken rice ball, Hoe Kee on Jonker Walk. I didn't want to partake in this as not a huge chicken rice fan to begin with but Fat Tulip had a serving for one and I sampled some. One teeny rice ball and one slice of chicken confirmed it was good stuff, but he complained about feeling ill from too much grease after.

More up my alley was the lotus root soup. I am used to my mom's version at home which will always remain superior but this was lovely, the peanut blending perfectly with the subtler flavour of the root.

And no trip to Melaka is complete without these gorgeous otak-otak, a repeat sampling at Newton food court. We also ordered some wonderful pork satay (no pictures sorry!). We polished off quite a few of these and bought extra to bring home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Waroeng Penyet, The Curve

I had heard ayam penyet being raved about to the nth degree and had gotten increasingly aggravated by its absence in Penang so when the opportunity came up for us to swing into the Curve off our road journey for a late lunch, we did so without further thought.

Ayam penyet is apparently Indonesian in origin, and means chicken that has been flattened before it's fried. The Waroeng Penyet outlet in the Curve, its first in Malaysia, is relatively new. Its menu offers plenty of other dishes including grilled fish, ayam panggang, gado-gado etc. but we were there for ayam and by golly, ayam it was!

Both Fat Tulip and I had the one order of Ayam Penyet each, which came with rice. The chicken came fried and topped with batter, accompanied by fried tempe and bean curd (tau kua) and garnished with some sides of raw vegetables and special flaming hot sambal. Now the chicken was good, there's no disputing this whatsoever. But I had heard so much about it and had looked forward to it with such profuse anticipation that anything, I suspect, would have fallen short. I didn't think the chicken tasted "flattened" but then I did ask for breast, and not drumstick so I may have compromised on some tenderness there. Also, I found it a tad too dry to eat with rice alone.

We decided to add on an order of Soto Ayam. This turned out somewhat bland and watery. I imagined Soto Ayam to be of a thicker, richer consistency than plain clear soup but perhaps I'd been mistaken.
I wouldn't be in a hurry to get off the North South highway for this, although Fat Tulip loved it and threatened to polish off another order.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mucking about Cameron Highlands

We were not expecting a culinary trove in Cameron Highlands. We just wanted to be some distance up from sea level, enjoy cooler weather and poke about. We agreed to NOT indulge in steamboat, for some reason synonymous with Cameron Highlands. If we were to attribute the unanimous choice of dining around boiling heat solely to the lower temperature, why then not the more enjoyable barbie? Slapping meat over hot flames and devouring it out in the cool mountainous air is surely sexier (and tastier!) than dipping daintily into a pot of boiling water, rendering every measly portion-measured morsel tasteless. Steamboat is, and will forever remain a mystery to me.

However, we couldn't exactly go hungry either. Especially when we were preparing for some exercise on the jungle trail the following morning.

We paid a visit to the much-talked about T Cafe. We enjoyed the atmosphere very much and feasted on salads and burger (pictures too bland to be posted here). Here, Fat Tulip sips beer and looks wistfully out the window, merrily decked with plants.

The entrance facade of the T Cafe

We spied Marrybrown, a local fried chicken chain downstairs from the T Cafe and could not resist later into the evening, after we've packed a few beers in. We've not tried Marrybrown before! And that made it a new dining experience! The chicken was fine, as all chicken are after a few beers.

Next morning, we stopped off a farm somewhere to sample some fresh homemade strawberry ice cream. This was a really refreshing pick me up, although it was more sorbet than ice cream. No complaints whatsoever.

Not content with merely ice cream, Fat Tulip decided to up his strawberry quota with fresh strawberry juice. Strawberries rule.

Bangkok Pork Leg Rice, Genting Cafe

One of the things desperately missed about Bangkok is its infamous pork leg rice. I was informed some time ago that there was a stall at Genting Cafe serving up some delish pork leg rice. Prior to leaving for Cameron Highlands, we stopped over for lunch. Despite it being late-ish, the place was still crowded and we waited a fair bit for our orders to arrive.

When it did... WAS good, but it wasn't great. I don't know if it was the absence of preserved vegetables on the side, or if the fact that the rice was a little dry/undercooked, or that it lacked the general mise en scene of street eating in Bangkok, but it just wasn't anything like the real thing. Still, if you're hungry and it's pork leg rice you're craving and nothing, absolutely nothing else will do and a trip to Bangkok is out of the question, this will do fine.

The stall is only open for lunch, closed Mondays.