McQuek’s Satay Steamboat Melaka

McQueks satay celup

You can probably guess from the boiling pot of satay celup sauce above that I’m in Melaka…and you’ll be right! I’m writing this from Dream Hotel (where all guests drift off happily into the warm embraces of sleep) – it’s a road trip planned earlier with Mel to go stuff ourselves silly in Melaka.

McQueks satay celup melaka

McQuek’s Sate Celup is not actually our first choice. We wanted to go to Capitol Satay Celup but for reasons unbeknownst to me, it’s closed. There’s a piece of paper on the metal shutters which presumably states the reason for that but not being able to read Chinese, I can’t tell you why it’s not open for business. :x

McQueks satay celup fridge

Thus, we checked the GPS and found a McQuek Satay Steamboat Recipe on it. It has parentheses that states it’s an outlet so we drove to the main McQuek Sate Celup. It’s quite a large establishment but also quite empty. I’m not sure if that’s coz today’s a weekday but it didn’t look very promising.

McQueks tvbs

They apparently have an appearance on TVBS but that doesn’t mean much – almost anyone and their grandma can be featured on TV or the papers these days, hell I’ve made my appearance more than once and I’m definitely not an authoritative voice on anything.

(well maybe on one topic, my pride will allow me that much, but it’s definitely not food ;))

satay celup selection

This is my selection from the fridge where the skewers of food is kept. The premise of satay celup is simple – you take what you want and when it’s time to pay the bill, the waiter comes over and counts the number of sticks you have on your table. I have to say though, I was not impressed by the meager selections they have – it’s less than half of what you’ll find at Ban Lee Siang.

satay celup ingredients

I also noticed the lack of perhaps the most important item – siham (clams). However, to be fair you can order it separately.

satay celup pricing

Behold my indulgence! It’s a full sized squid that has 11 (eleven – count ’em) skewers in it, making it RM 6.60 for that alone. It is pretty good though. I also had my staples – quail century eggs, cuttlefish, mussels, Taiwanese sausage, quail eggs, and brinjal (eggplant) – a nod to my daily food pyramid adherence. *cough* ;)

satay celup peanuts

I like the fact that McQuek Satay Celup has excellent service – they promptly refill your communal pot of satay celup sauce – complete with a healthy sprinkling of ground peanuts. The people there are friendly too, asked where we were from and whether we enjoyed the food etc etc.

satay celup squid

However, the lack of selection coupled with the non-compliant price of RM 0.60 per stick makes me wonder if there’s a reason why this place is so devoid of customers.

McQueks squid eat

The problem with this is that the portions are small too – one (1) century quail egg with a miniscule bit of carrot on top is one satay. The “good” establishments like Ban Lee Siang and probably Capitol Satay Celup price theirs at RM 0.50. It’s the golden standard.

free cucumbers

Oh well, at least they have free cucumbers.

McQueks us

I can’t say that it’s the best satay celup I’ve ever had, it was very average, but no worries, tomorrow is another day and we plan to eat a lot of meals in Melaka. I can foresee at least 3-4 meals before we head back, there’s a reason we stayed at a crappy hotel – so we can eat more. ;)

Tang Shifu

tang shifu

Tang Shifu literally translates to “soup master”. I was surprised that there is a place which has soup as the predominant feature of it’s menu. There is just a token nod to other dishes (probably half a dozen or so) but their menu is filled with pages and pages of soup! :)

tang shifu cheesie

I went there with Cheesie last week for lunch. I didn’t feel like eating a huge meal and a place that serves up soup (no, it’s not a soup kitchen) sounds pretty appealing to me so we headed over to Tang Shifu. It is actually a franchise with most of it’s branches in Johor but there’s two outlets in the Klang Valley.

tang shifu soup

American Ginseng Bei Qi Sharks Bone Chicken Soup (RM 19.90)
This is supposed to be a souped up version of chicken soup. It claims to replenish blood cells, calms the mind and nourishes the lungs. Ringo had this for lunch.

american ginseng sharks bone chicken soup

I like how they serve it – it comes in one of those containers you use for Cantonese style double boiling soup.

dried scallops petite abalone mixed rice

Dried Scallops & Petite Abalone Mixed Rice (RM 15.90)
To be honest, I ordered this one coz it looks good in the menu. Heh. It’s supposed to nourish and strengthen your physique and I like how they mix the steamed rice into the soup.

petite abalone

I’ve never seen abalone like these either. The petite abalone is *tiny* – it’s the size of a piece of contact lens…that’s how small it is. It tasted pretty healthy (which means it’s blander than the stuff I normally eat) and you have to consume it quite rapidly before the rice starts soaking up the broth but it’s good soup. :)

snow jelly with gingko

Snow Jelly with Gingko (RM 8.90)
This is Ringo’s dessert – it’s a classic one, and the menu says it revitalizes and moisturizes your skin, calms your mind and regulates breathing.

dried pear with chuan bei

Dried Pear with Chuan Bei (RM 6.90)
I also went with this coz it looks appealing in the menu. It’s supposed to help with coughs and clear phlegm in addition to relieving heat. I don’t know about that but it tastes pretty good. ;) It’s the presentation more than anything – the slice of dried pear with the assortment of other things you’ll usually find in a Chinese herbal shop in a bowl, chilled.

tang shifu us

Tang Shifu has stuff like Buddha Jumps Over The Wall (RM 69.90) too. However, it doesn’t seem to be very popular – the lunch time crowd was decidedly absent, we had the place to ourselves except for two other tables and Tang Shifu is a huge restaurant…that specializes in soup. (of all things)

Kepala Ikan Asam Pedas Botak

botak asam fish head

Botak assam fish head is one of the more popular fish head places in JB. It’s different from the famous Kam Leong fish head at Jalan Wong Ah Fook – Botak asam fish head is spicy and sour, while Kam Leong’s is cooked in a more traditional Chinese style curry.

Botak asam fish head is their signature dish, but a lot of people order the deep fried fish head too.

botak johor

The proper name for the place is actually Kedai Makanan Jadi Baru (Botak). I heard that the name originates from the proprietor’s hairstyle – he’s bald. Thus, people started calling the place Botak (bald) asam fish head. It occupies two shop lots side by side and prior to their expansion, the queue for it is legendary too. In fact, it’s still very full when we went – almost all the tables are occupied!

botak restaurant

Behold! This is the huge claypot of asam fish head that we had for lunch. This portion is for five (5) people and it has okra, tofu and other miscellaneous vegetables. We opted for the fish slices instead of the fish head – I reckon the fish head will taste even better.

botak lunch

I noticed that they make a pretty good omelet too and one of the things that you must not miss is their otak-otak.

botak otak otak

The otak-otak from Botak (rhymes, doesn’t it) is simply delicious! It comes wrapped in banana leaves and when you open it up, a waft of steam rises, accompanied by the aroma of fresh fish and spices. This chunk of otak-otak is STUFFED with fresh fish flakes. It’s one of the most amazing otak-otak I’ve ever had – it’s spiced just right and 80% of the jellied contents is made of fish! Delectable.

botak asam fish

I wouldn’t compare Botak asam fish head and Kam Leong fish head side by side – it’s two different dishes. I like the spiciness of the asam fish in Botak – it leaves a nice sour aftertaste, and you can practically see the chili flakes on the fish. It’s amazing. I love asam and I can see why the perfect combination of spiciness and sour notes has people flocking in droves to Botak asam fish head.

The famous curry fish head in JB at Kam Long Restaurant

jb famous curry fish head

There is a Chinese style curry fish head place in JB that seems to be VERY popular among the locals. Kam Long Restaurant serves curry fish head and curry fish head only. It’s their flagship, signature dish and…the only item on the menu. ;) I have heard about the prodigious queues forming just to get a taste of this very dish and I was very keen to check it out.

kam leong restaurant

The funniest thing I heard (which I didn’t get the first time) was from Lainey bff who told me – DON’T WRITE ABOUT IT. Geddit? I didn’t the first (or second time) either. smirk

curry fish head

Anyway, it just so happens that I was reading The Dead Cockroach’s review of the place the day before we were heading down. We drove along Jalan Wong Ah Fook twice and still couldn’t find the place so we stopped and asked for directions several times.

fish head

Okay, the problem with this place is that you can’t exactly see the Kam Leong Restaurant signboard while you’re driving. It’s obscured by some pull down canvas shutters to keep the sun out. It’s actually not hard to find – you just have to drive down from the BEGINNING of Jalan Wong Ah Fook and stop at the first traffic light.

queue

You’ll be able to see the queue of people outside the humble restaurant – just cross the road to join in.

curry fish head prep

It should be noted that the queue is not strictly first-come-first-serve. The small size of the restaurant and the limited seating arrangements allowed us (a group of two) to share a table with other people while if you’re in a larger posse, you might have to wait longer until a table clears.

steaming curry fish head

Well, since there’s only one thing to order, we went for the famous curry fish head for two people. It’s RM 18 inclusive of rice and you best be able to read Chinese coz there are no other languages on the menu. In fact, there is no menu, save for a small signboard beside the industrious kitchen.

kam leong curry fish head

I have to admit, the Chinese style curry fish head is very good. Lainey finished her rice, which is quite uncommon and I loved the curry sauce. They put in a lot of vegetables too – okra, long beans, tofu and so on but the fish head is the centerpiece and it does not disappoint.

hb lainey

The flesh of the fish is tender and juicy and the curry sauce complements the fresh fish head very well. My only complaint is that there isn’t enough fish meat to go around so if you’re feeling particularly hungry, order +1 people more than your group. :)

Anyway, I’m heading to JB again in a couple of hours despite just coming back early this week. Heh! We were in JB for Freedom. There’s another one this Saturday right in KL so don’t miss it! I’ll be going to the Freedom in Penang at the end of the month too!

Signature 8 flavor Dynasty Xiao Long Bao with foie gras and black truffle!

flavored xiao long pao

Okay, this is one of the most interesting and unique things I’ve heard in a long time. There’s an 8 flavor xiao long bao course at Paradise Dynasty which includes premium fillings like black truffle and foie gras.

paradise dynasty

I couldn’t wait to try it when I first heard about the concept. I headed down to ION Orchard in Singapore yesterday with Lainey to meet up with Michelle and Ben just for this.

8 flavor xiao long pao

Paradise Dynasty claims to have the world’s first 8 flavored xiao long bao and you have to eat it in order. The restaurant is famous for it – the open kitchen is filled with cooks preparing it and a lot of patrons order this specialty.

signature dynasty xiao long bao

The 8 different fillings are:
1. Original
2. Garlic
3. Ginseng
4. Foie Gras
5. Black Truffle
6. Cheesy
7. Crab Roe
8. Szechuan

dynasty xiao long pao singapore

…and you have to eat it in order to have the optimal experience. :D

tea

The set costs SGD 13.90 and it’s well worth the price. I found the Garlic and Ginseng xiao long pao very flavorful, with the juices bursting from the skin as you bite into it. The Foie Gras and Black Truffle ones are suitably decadent and I loved the Crab Roe filling too.

black truffle

However, I felt that the Cheesy xiao long pao should have been #7 as the overpowering taste of cheese can be a bit…well, overwhelming. The Szechuan deserves its final spot as the filling is extremely spicy (even for my desensitized taste buds).

lainey hb michelle ben

It certainly is an epicurean adventure that you MUST try if you’re ever in Singapore. Thanks for brunch Ben and Michelle! :)

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Feeling hungry but don’t want to go all the way to Singapore for some awesome food? Check out this MilkADeal offer:

charcoal king

RM15 instead of RM31 for Charcoal King Set Meal at Charcoal King Clay Pot Chicken Rice Restaurant, Kuchai Lama. Non Halal [52% OFF]

It’s a great deal at RM 15 – there’s even soup, drinks and side dishes in addition to the authentic claypot chicken rice and it feeds 2! It’s an unlimited purchase and redemption offer that just debuted today and heaps of people have already gotten their hands on it. Where else can you get prices like this for good food in the Klang Valley? :)

Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge in SS2, Petaling Jaya

kung pow frog leg

Yes, this is a branch of the renowned Singaporean frog leg porridge located in the more dubious part of the island. I’ve had the pleasure of eating at the original Geylang Lorong 9 frog leg porridge in Singapore and have been known to drop by their branch in Petaling Jaya a couple of times and I’ve always found that they cook up a consistently good frog leg dish.

geylang lor 9 frog leg

I went there for a late lunch yesterday and ordered the medium kung pow frog leg claypot (RM 24). You don’t have to eat porridge if you don’t want to – there’s an option for rice as well, which we both went for. However, it should be noted that the awesome kung pow sauce goes better with porridge.

malaysia frog leg porridge

Anyway, I was telling Bonnie about how producers sell food at a higher price to supermarkets compared to restaurants coz the former needs to display their goods while the latter don’t. I remember watching a documentary where a restaurant owner was interviewed saying how supermarkets require better looking food items coz for display while restaurants can get away with the odd ones, since most of the cooking is done without the customer seeing it, but for the life of me I can’t remember exactly where I saw that show.

She sat there listening patiently until it dawned on me…it was actually her reporting assignment that I was watching a couple of days ago and that’s where I heard that fact. -_-

frog leg claypot

The Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge name is a bit of a misnomer since they don’t just serve the frog legs but the entire frog. It tastes really good though – frog meat is exquisitely tender and juicy – it’s like a cross between a fish and a chicken thigh.

geylang lor 9 frog leg us

I still prefer the original Singapore one though. I know they import their frog meat from Malaysia but it still tastes better to me. I suspect it’s the way they cook it – the flagship Singaporean Geylang Lorong 9 porridge place just has better claypot kung fu.

frog leg rice

Order the fresh barley if you can’t take spicy food – their kung pow frog leg can be pretty intense.

The soup place at Jalan 1/77B

soup hairy

There is a decripict looking place behind Berjaya Times Square that is supposed to serve a wide range of Cantonese style double boiled soup. It doesn’t have a name. It seems that people call it “The place beneath the huge tree“. Jeanie told me about it and sold me on the fact that they have some interesting soups with unusual ingredients like anteater (the animal).

soup place

I’m not a soup person but the prospect of eating wild animels is totally down my alley so we drove there to have dinner at around 10 pm. Jeanie was sick that day too and she’s a firm believer in the Chinese concepts of “heaty” and “cold” food so she wanted to have some chicken soup.

soup me coconut soup

I can’t say I share the same beliefs since I take everything that hasn’t been scientifically proven with an armful of salt.

soup crowd

The place seems to be very popular – most of the exotic soups have sold out by the time we got there so I chose a black kampung chicken with ginseng roots while Jeanie had their famous coconut chicken soup.

soups

The soup is kept in a steamer so it’s still nice and hot when they serve it.

soup pork

It should be noted that they also serve other food – the braised pork leg was recommended to us and I took it up, being a huge fan of swine based dishes. It’s cooked with chillis so it’s slightly spicy – this makes it more like the stuff my mom makes. I like the fact that they have a lot of fatty meat instead of the lean meat that most establishment serves.

soup chicken

This is the black kampung chicken with ginseng soup. I was told that the ginseng comes from a special part of the root – it’s the hairy bits from the ginseng root that’s used in this soup.

soup black chicken contents

It tastes pretty good and there’s also other herbs in there to enhance the taste. The chicken becomes tasteless after being made into soup though.

coconut soup

The coconut chicken soup is one of their flagship dishes – it comes served in a whole coconut shell and you can taste hints of the coconut and the ginseng they put in it too.

soup coconut soup

Jeanie likes chicken soup. Hell, it has become a bit of an inside joke since she drinks so much chicken soup. I once asked my grandma if she has chicken soup when Jeanie came for dinner. Turns out she did. smirk

soup spread

Anyway, you’re supposed to eat the soup with rice but to be honest, the only way that you can do that is by heavily saturating the chicken with lots of soy sauce and chilli (provided). The chicken loses all flavor when it’s cooked like this – the taste is transferred to the soup itself.

soup%20feline

The place is a little hard to find and your dining companions will likely include the resident canines and felines but they serve pretty good soup and their pork leg is divine! The soups are priced from RM 7 upwards.

soup us

I’m going to go earlier next time to get the more exotic soups.

Soong Kee beef ball mee

soong kee beef noodles

Soong Kee beef ball mee is another legendary beef noodles place in KL. Some people prefer Ngau Kee beef noodles but after having eaten both, I vote for Soong Kee beef noodles. It’s all in the beef balls!

soong kee beef noodles uncle

Soong Kee beef ball noodles is located at Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sing. I don’t know how to get there but if you have a GPS device and and you’re near Petaling Street – go to Food and it’ll appear on the list. That’s how I got there anyway. smirk

soong kee beef ball noodles interior

Soong Kee has both air conditioned and al fresco seating and the noodles are prepared by a nice elderly gentleman which looks like he’s been doing this for ages:

The beef noodles I went for is served dry and comes with a topping of minced mystery meat which you mix into the noodles.

soong kee beef noodles mee

This is the large portion. I like the springy texture of the noodles and the black sauce (don’t know what it is coz I’m brain dead right now) is really awesome. It’s salty enough to saturate the entire bowl of tossed noodles – always a good thing.

soong kee beef ball noodles

The beef balls is served with soup on the side and according to my count there are six balls in total. It tastes better with a dash of pepper but it stands alone well enough with the spring onion infused broth. The texture is also something to be reckoned with – it’s juicy, yet firm to the bite, a feat many aspire to but few achieve.

soong kee beef ball noodles mee

Eaten together with the minced meat noodles, it’s hawker food at it’s best – neither the most hygienic nor will it win any awards for presentation – but it’s so good that it practically deserves a Michelin Star.

soong kee beef noodles large

Soong Kee beef noodles is my current favorite beef noodles. My only beef with it is that it’s so far away.

Okay, that was lame.

Rice Bowls Restaurant, Pusat Bandar Damansara

rice bowls chicken rice

Rice Bowls Restaurant is hands down the best halal chicken rice in the world. I happen to hold the Mayorship on foursquare for this place for one simple reason – I eat here almost every day. However, a couple of weeks ago, I got a piece of shocking news – they’re closing down coz the proprietor is moving to Australia.

rice bowls restaurant

I was horrified. It took a couple of hours for the realization to sink in. Where am I going to eat lunch now? There’s nothing remotely as good as this chicken rice place in Pusat Bandar Damansara. It was a shining beacon in the rat race – a sanctuary I look forward to every single day. I’ll have to go hungry and die of starvation. :(

rice bowls chicken rice meal

Dejected, I started eating at other places again until someone told me the good news. Rice Bowls is open! It lives again! It’s the modern resurrection! I could scarcely believe my ears. I had to see it with my own eyes, being the Doubting Thomas that I am.

Behold! It’s true! Rice Bowls is open under new management. Shout it from the hills! It’s back, and so is the chef and the people working there.

rice bowls staff

I always eat the same thing over here so when I walk in the staff will just smile at their regular and go “Biasa?” and prepare my order. It’s apparently more renowned for the roasted chicken but I prefer their steamed chicken. My usual is the drumstick chicken rice with an extra bowl of rice and iced tea. I love the oil and sauce that goes into the steamed chicken and the chilli sauce is fucking awesome as well.

rice bowls chicken rice mine

My routine for eating it is to dump the extra bowl of rice in the plate and pour the chicken + oil + sauce on top. It’s almost like a ritual. I’ll eat 3/4 of the rice + sauce and save the 1/4 virgin chicken rice for eating with chilli sauce. I’ll down the hot soup after that and finish the meal with the iced tea.

rice bowls chicken

It used to cost RM 8.10 for a drumstick with chicken rice and an extra bowl of rice (free) plus iced tea, but under the new management, there is no more free extra rice. It costs RM 9.60 for my regular meal now so that makes an extra bowl of chicken rice RM 1.50.

rice bowls lunch

I don’t mind though. It is indeed the best halal chicken rice in the world and I’m glad to see that it’s back!

Yangshuo beer fish

yangshuo beer fish restaurant

Yangshuo is famous for beer fish – a local specialty that is cooked with lots of chillis, garlic, peppers and of course BEER! The fish is called Li River fish (another must-try if you go to Guilin) although I don’t know exactly what type of fish that is.

yangshuo view

I went to a rather touristy place to sample this awesome dish so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of it. The view is great though and we were each given a RMB 50 coupon to dine on. I was the only person traveling alone in that Li River cruise tour and this girl Kiko who was there with her mom and dad was kind enough to wave me over to share their table.

chinese menu

WHY DO THE MENUS ONLY HAVE CHINESE CHARACTERS?

yangshuo tofu

I left the ordering to them since I can’t read anything but I managed to order beer fish and beer to go along with it (it’s the perfect combo). It is obvious I didn’t do the ordering coz here you have tofu. REAL TOFU. As in the kind that comes without anything to somewhat mask the inherent tastelessness of tofu.

yangshuo shoots chicken

This is a vegetable dish cooked with chicken. It consists primarily of shoots and it’s not too bad but I’m not a huge fan of vegetables.

yangshuo local fern

Now this is an interesting one – it’s a local fern gathered in Yangshuo by the locals. It tasted bitter but I found it quite interesting and ate quite a bit of this. I think the fact that it’s indigenous to Yangshuo made me go against my vegetable principals.

kiko

This is Kiko. She’s with an MNC and was based in Malaysia for a bit.

yangshuo beer fish

I always leave the best for the last so here I present to you the famous Yangshuo Beer Fish!

yangshuo tea

You can actually taste the malt and hops from the beer fish and it surprisingly adds a lot to the taste of the tender and succulent Li River fish. The gravy was so good I drizzled it over my rice, which apparently is not compliant with the etiquette of Chinese dining, along with my propensity for sticking my chopsticks into the rice bowl. smirk

beer fish

I can’t remember how much the bill was but we had to top up about RMB 100 (about RM 50). I offered to pay since I was the only one who ordered beer (although Kiko and her dad drank it too) but they won’t have anything to do with that. I had to literally force my Yuan into the hands of the waitress, to the protests of the family and a lot of back and forth before I escorted the waitress away with my Yuan.

yangshuo beer fish end

That’s Chinese culture for you. Heh! Anyway, the family is not from around here too – they’re visiting from Guangzhou and their family was kind enough to ask me to visit anytime and they’ll be my tour guide (and a place to stay). w00t! I’ll be going after my Melbourne trip. :)

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