Rabbit, Deer, Lamb and Ostrich Burgers @ Burger Boy Corner

Burger Boy Corner Truck

I was driving around Kota Damansara at 12:30 am just now looking for a bite to eat. The usual Ramly burger stand that I go to wasn’t open so I just cruised around the Encorp Strand area to find another and bumped into this one. Burger Boy Corner is a slightly more up-scale version of a Ramly burger stand – it offers a variety of different burgers in addition to the usual suspects.

Ostrich Rabbit Deer Lamb

I was particularly intrigued by their sign that advertised Rabbit Burgers, Deer Burgers, Lamb Burgers and Ostrich Burgers!

Rabbit Burger Patties

I’ve had lamb and venison burgers plenty of times before so I opted for the rabbit and ostrich burgers. I was curious as to whether they had their own supplier for the meat so I asked to see what the patties looked like and the guy (presumably Burger Boy himself) kindly showed me the cooler.

Ostrich Rabbit Patties

The ostrich burger seems to be the most popular since it’s already open and 3 patties are missing, but the others are all new, including the rabbit burger. I’ve actually had ostrich burgers in Sibu before – this was just before my mom passed. There’s actually an ostrich farm and I went with my mom to buy an ostrich egg (which the owner reluctantly parted with for RM 50 – this was before they were selling them).

Burger Boy Truck

We took it home and I planned to fry it in a HUGE omelet but despite both our efforts with a chopping knife, we couldn’t even crack it! I was sooo careful bringing it home coz I was afraid it’ll smash too. Haha. In the end, we just boiled it and had such a hard time opening it that I ended up using a screwdriver and a hammer.

Ostrich Rabbit Burgers

I digress. Anyway, I got both of the orders as Special, which means it comes with an egg and the choice of either black pepper or mushroom sauce (went for the former). I quite liked the ostrich burger (RM 7.50) – the meat is red coz it’s from the leg, it’s dark meat, just like chicken legs are. I’ve always seen people puzzled by the fact that ostrich meat is red due the fact that it’s a bird.

Interesting fact: The meat from an ostrich is red coz it’s from the legs! That’s the *only* part of an ostrich you eat, there’s no meat in the breast so there’s no white meat from an ostrich.

Ostrich Burger

The rabbit burger (RM 7.50) is on the lean side, so I was glad to see he took it off the grill faster than the ostrich burger patty. It was cooked just nice, right before it went dry and although it’s pretty lean for my tastes, it’s not too bad if you like lean meat. I still prefer the ostrich burger though.

Rabbit Burger

Burger Boy Corner also has jumbo hot dogs for around the same price as the new food truck Amaze K near Encorp Strand Mall. I was surprised to be told that the jumbo sausages are quite expensive so that’s why they need to retail it at those prices. They also sell cold drinks from the fridge and seating is available on one side of the Burger Boy Corner food truck.

Burger Boy Corner

Burger Boy Corner is open till 1 am and usually parked in front of the 7-Eleven beside The Joy of Sharing.

Yee Sang Dinner @ Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

Sheep Yee Sang

I just had my first yee sang dinner of the year last night. This salmon yee sang is made with shredded vegetables made to look like the Chinese character for “sheep” (羊) coz the Year of the Sheep is coming up.

Celestial Court Imperial Sheraton

It’s just less than a month till Chinese New Year so the annual “lou sang”/“sau kong” (traditional end-of-work before CNY company dinners) sessions are starting to kick in gear. This one was held by Tourism Australia at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial KL.

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang

I love how they made the raw fish salad to look like the Chinese character for sheep – 羊. I didn’t actually notice it until someone pointed it out. The waitresses poured in all the ingredients and each one signifies something e.g. fish for 年年有余 (Abundance throughout the year), oil for 一本万利 and 财源广进 (May you have 10,000 returns with your capital/Numerous sources of wealth), carrots for 鸿运当头 (Good luck coming) and even the crushed peanuts for 金银满屋 (Household filled with gold and silver).

Tossing Yee Sang

It’s a highly ritualized service and a lot of places actually states the auspicious Chinese phrases out loud as they pour in the ingredients. We tossed the salad while wishing for various things, mine was for family and more vacations and travel for 2015. smirk

Double-boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

Double boiled Baby Abalone Soup with Sea Cucumber and Fish Maw

I really liked this clear soup – the baby abalone is super tender compared to the wedding dinner I went to last weekend. The broth tastes amazing too, the seasoning is just right and the sea cucumber and fish maw just slides down my throat.

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

Roasted Crispy Chicken with Golden Garlic Sands

This is my least favorite dish in every Chinese banquet and I don’t usually partake much but the golden garlic “sand” that goes with the roasted chicken is very nice.

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Homemade Stuffed Scallop with Dry Scallop and Spring Onion Sauce

Delicious! I liked the thick, reduced spring onion sauce which was heavily seasoned with dry scallops – it coated the stuffed scallops and added a lot of flavor and a slippery texture prized in traditional Cantonese cuisine. The stuffed scallops were very flavorful and I couldn’t help popping more than a few of these babies into my mouth.

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

Pan Seared Red Garoupa with Flower Fungus, Bird Eye Chillies on Lotus Leaf

The fish dish is my favorite dish in banquets! I like how this one was presented on a lotus leaf and it’s pan-seared instead of steamed, giving it the Maillard reaction and caramelization that adds a note of sweetness to the fish.

Red Grouper

It was slightly overcooked though and I felt it should have come before the saltier stuffed scallops dish but it’s still great paired with my white wine.

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

Braised Beancurd with Fish Paste

I was quite surprised to find out that I actually rather enjoyed this dish. I eat everything but there are certain things that I don’t like (but will still try) – beancurd/tofu being one of the examples. This doesn’t taste like tofu at all, it’s stuffed with fish paste and the tender texture of the beancurd contrasted nicely with the slightly resistant fish paste made in-house.

Fragrant Wok-fried Flat Rice Noodles with Black Bean and Seafood

sss

The staff at Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial offered to portion every dish (including the fish) which I thought was great. It’s a service that’s expected in higher end Chinese restaurants nowadays, although you can refuse, of course, it’s up to each table’s preference. I don’t know what that says about the evolution of community dining but even our family opts for that when we eat out in Singapore.

The kueh tiaw was actually pretty good, if slightly oily, and each bowl had a large prawn, slice of fish and scallop.

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

Screw Pine and Coconut Milk Crème Brulee, with Raspberry Jam, Grilled Jackfruit, Crispy Rambutan and Lotus Root Dessert presented by Chef Sherson Lian

This dessert was conceptualized by Chef Sherson Lian (have seen him on AFC before) who coincidentally sat on the same table as I did. It’s supposed to be a local crème brulee made with local ingredients, which begs the question about the glaring foreign ingredient in the dish – raspberry. It turns out that the component was supposed to be roselle jam but the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) came too late for it to be incorporated into the dish.

I loved the crispy battered rambutans, pieces of jackfruit and lotus root and I can see the direction it’s going – excellent stuff.

It was a great finish to the first yee sang dinner of the year and I polished off my (rather large) portion. :)

Chee Keong & Mei Sze’s wedding @ Summer Palace

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Banquet

This is the first wedding we attended this year! I had missed a friend (and co-worker) wedding in December 2014 due to prior commitments, so this is the first wedding of 2015. It’s a bit unusual as the traditional Chinese wedding banquet dinner was held on a Sunday night and the restaurant was quite far in Putrajaya Marriott Hotel so we got home quite late yesterday.

Summer Palace Putrajaya Marriott

The bride and groom had a ceremony earlier in the day which culminated in this wedding dinner. I knew the couple from a previous trip to Bangkok and the 9-course banquet was held at Summer Palace – the Chinese restaurant at Marriott in Putrajaya.

HB Ling Wedding

It’s a very nice place for a wedding – I’ve eaten here before at a company dinner and the food wasn’t too bad but the scenery and service is the main selling points. The servers are very conscientious about changing your plates after every course and I had a glass of The Macallan 12 year old for my drink.

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

Deluxe Five Happiness Combination Platter

This is the first course and instead of the traditional “Four Seasons” plate with four food items this has five different hot and cold elements. There’s also the increasingly common theatre that goes with the first course, with the servers getting in line and doing a performance before grandly putting the first plate on your table.

Deep Fried Salted Egg

I first saw this at my sister’s wedding in Sibu but it wasn’t present at her wedding in KL. We thought the cold pork belly/duck breast slices were the best part of the dish – it was lying on a bed of pickled jellyfish which provided a wonderful acidic element. We also loved the boiled and deep fried salted egg.

Double-boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone, Top Shell & Chinese Herbs

Double boiled Chicken Soup with Baby Abalone

Shark’s Fin Soup has gone out of vogue since the environmentalist types and the wannabes/sheep started a crusade against it. I’m personally ambivalent about the issue, as most people who really understand the issue, with the entire hypocrisy (and racism) of Sea Shepard and other militant environmental organizations on one side and the heritage of Icelandic culture (hákarl – fermented Greenland shark), Canadian legal seal meat and Japanese/French proudly unapologetic cuisine on the other.

However, I think the substitution of shark’s fin soup with a clear soup with premium ingredients like abalone, fish maw, top shell (magpie shell) and such is a good thing too and it tastes better and there was been a spate of fake shark’s fin going around in the few years before it became the “S-word”.

This is a good example of a nice clear soup which highlights the abalone, top shell, chicken and fish maw and it’s individually portioned beforehand.

Roasted Sesame Chicken & Roasted Chicken

Roasted Sesame Chicken

The chicken done two ways is a nice twist on the traditional roasted chicken. However, I’m not a huge fan of chicken done this way – there’s no sea salt or plum sauce for the slightly overcooked and dry roasted chicken and the roasted sesame chicken wasn’t much better.

Steamed Mandarin Fish “Unicorn” Style

Steamed Unicorn Fish

This seems to be the latest trend in serving fish at Chinese banquets! The fish is totally de-boned and filleted. The fillets of fish is then wrapped around a long, tubular “fish ball” and presented on the carcass of the fish so it looks like rolled up fish flesh.

Unicorn Fish

I’m a purist so I still prefer steamed fish served whole but I have to admit, this “unicorn style” platters of fish is very easy to eat, and the fish ball inside makes it taste artificially good with lots of MSG!

Chilled ‘Ming’ Prawns with Mayo & Stir-fried Prawn Balls with Butter Cream

Chilled Ming Prawns with Butter Cream

This is the best dish that we had the entire night! There’s huge prawns done two ways, and they’re all de-shelled and de-veined. One is cooked in a sweet and wet butter/mayo sauce and the other is deep fried in butter. It’s very creamy and I love the huge, juicy prawns – I had three and my better half had two.

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Broccoli

I love the texture of sea cucumber! I’ll actually order this if I see it around. There was a RM 60 PNG (Papua New Guinea) sea cucumber promotion at Glory Cafe in Sarikei when we went but I was too full to order it. The sea cucumber here is done well, thickly sliced and full of slippery and chewy collagen. I also liked the mushrooms – very flavorful, especially with the bits of dried and rehydrated scallops in the reduced sauce.

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

Special Three Layered Fried Rice

There’s nothing special about this dish – it’s just rice done three ways. There’s plain fried rice on top, rice fried with light soy sauce in the middle and cooking caramel (dark soy sauce) fried rice at the bottom. That’s what causes the layered coloration and it was very oily – this is a dish for people who’re still hungry to fill up before dessert is served.

I know people who eat this way – main dishes only (fish, chicken, pork etc) with no accompanying rice in a multiple course banquet where they fill up on fried noodles or rice as the last course, it’s a different style of eating but we were too full at this point to eat more than a spoonful of the rice to taste it.

Special Dessert Combination

Special Dessert Combination

This is actually pretty decent! They made the crushed peanut covered mochi to be flavorless (except for the smoky and nutty accents from the peanuts) so the sweet component comes from the mung bean shaped and moulded into a cartoonish ear of corn.

It’s meant to be eaten together and it’s a good pairing.

The Chinese characters makes a lot more sense than the English translation though. Haha.

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

Chilled Mixed Fruits with Avocado Cream

This is the highlight of the dish and it was what we had saved up space for. We both thought an avocado based dessert sounded delicious and we’re glad we waited for this even though a lot of people were leaving at this point to beat the traffic and try to get home before a work day. It has a wonderfully rich mouthfeel and a nutty flavor that’s very morish. Delectable!

Chee Keong Mei Sze Wedding Photo

Congrats and all the best to the newly-weds! :)

The latest food truck in KL – Amaze K

Amaze K Food Truck

I was on my way to a haircut the day before when I passed by this food truck. It was close to dinner and my better half was cooking so I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, but I was a little hungry and needed something to tide me over for a couple of hours, so I pulled over.

Halal Food Truck KL

Amaze K Cafe is actually a food truck that sells all kinds of hotdogs. It was their very first day of operations when I visited on Friday evening! I talked to the two guys running it for a while and they said they might not be located here all the time but they decided to situate themselves in front of Encorp Strand Mall for their première.

Amaze K Cafe

I asked for a recommendation and got their flagship Mushroom & Chicken Hotdog (RM 10). It’s the one that they’re most proud of and for good reason – the juicy chicken frank was large and has that “snap” to the bite that good sausages have. I was told the halal chicken hotdogs are specially made for them.

Amaze K Hotdog

They also recommended the Burritos (RM 11) for next time, which is just their chicken sausages wrapped in a commercially available tortilla wrap – no rice or beans, so it isn’t so much a burrito as a wrap. The menu items all revolves around their ½ foot chicken sausage and is either priced at RM 10 or RM 11.

Amaze K Food Truck Menu

This is their entire menu.

Hotdog Food Truck

I thought the pricing is a bit on the high side for a food truck that is basically selling hotdogs. There are Ramly burger stands around (though they only operate at night) and the shops near them includes a Korean BBQ set lunch with drinks for RM 9.90 and a RM 1.90 Chinese small bowl mixed rice shop.

Food Truck Me

There’s also Encorp Strand Mall’s own Sam’s Deli – which hits the exact target market as these guys are aiming for – halal deli items and the latter has a lot more choices. Amaze K Cafe Food Truck does a very good hotdog though – the one I had was loaded with fresh sautéed mushrooms, chicken mince sauce, and mayo and I particularly liked how the juicy mushrooms goes with the snap of the hotdog.

Mushroom Chicken Hotdog

I think they might struggle if they don’t revise their pricing, but if they do, it’ll be a welcome addition to the local food truck scene.

Amaze K Cafe Food Truck can be found in front of Encorp Strand Mall.

5 popular street food we ate in KL over the weekend

Lot 10 Hutong

Hutong Lot 10 has some of the most established and famous stalls from all around Klang Valley located in one convenient place. If I recall correctly, the criteria for getting a stall here is very high – your street food stall needs to be a household name and it has to be in operation for at least 2-3 generations.

Famous Street Food KL

This is the best of the best street food KL has to offer, and we ate here *every meal* during our staycation (our hotel was right beside Lot 10). Here’s five of our favorites:

1. Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles

Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles Stall

This is the distinctive fish noodles cooked with fresh milk that’s famous over here. The broth of the fish head noodles is almost white in color, due to the addition of either fresh milk or evaporated milk. It offsets any “fishy” taste and to top it off, the fish is fried, making this a very friendly dish for people who don’t like fish.

Cheras Woo Pin Famous Fish Head Noodles

Woo Pin Cheras Fried Fish Noodles (RM 10.85) comes with a few pieces of fish head and part of the fun is digging out the flesh from it. There’s also an option where you can add more fried fish slices for RM 21.30. My better half ordered this, I actually prefer a clean broth and blanched fish to fried fish – the latter destroys the taste but I know a lot of people like it and I’m trying to get over my discriminatory thinking. smirk

2. Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh

Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh Stall

This is one of the best BKT or “pork rib tea” I’ve had. There are a lot of Klang Bak Kut Teh outlets around nowadays but not all of them do the dish justice. Pin Qian has been operating since 1986 and they also have an outlet in Hutong Lot 10 (at ridiculously high prices).

Pin Qian Klang Bak Kut Teh

I had a small mixed bowl of fat and lean pork belly with a side of rice for RM 18.20 (over RM 20 after tax and the mandatory tissue packet). There’s always a long queue to get this though coz it’s absolutely fantastic – the meat is fork-tender and the herbal soup is so thick, it’s divine!

3. China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice Stall

This is the sister outlet of the famous place in Petaling Street. It was actually the first place I ever tasted “KL style” Claypot Chicken Rice as a kid. We were living in Sibu and came to KL for a family vacation and my dad brought us here since he missed eating this from when he was himself a university student.

China Town Seng Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

I love the crispy caramelized rice at the bottom of the sizzling hot claypot which you have to dig out! I ordered it with an extra egg cracked on top for RM 14.25. It’s delicious but China Town See Keng in Petaling Street is more famous for their Claypot Loh Shu Fan, which they also serve here in their Hutong Lot 10 branch.

4. Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle

Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle Stall

This is an awesome place to eat if you love pork although I still think the original outlet in Jalan Imbi is better. The RM 9.90 bowl of pork noodles here is made by foreign cooks and although the same process and recipes are used, as you can see in this video:

It somehow tastes better at the founding outlet.

Imbi Road Original Pork Noodle

This isn’t my taste buds playing tricks with me or ambiance issues, there is also another famous noodle stall at Hutong Lot 10 – this time dedicated to our bovine instead of porcine friends – Soong Kee Beef Noodles, and it tastes the same as the first outlet.

5. Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau

Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau Pork Chop Bun Stall

Yup, the wildly famous Macau establishment which everyone goes to for the esteemed Macau Pork Bun has an outlet at Hutong Lot 10 too! They had a loop of Anthony Bourdain visiting their original Macau outlet in Tai Lei Loi Kei Taipa playing on a TV in an episode of No Reservations.

Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau Pork Chop Bun

The RM 13.90 Choapa Bao (Pork Chop Bun) here is decent, but not as good as the one I had in Macau. We ordered one to share and found the pork chop itself to be slightly overcooked and overseasoned. I did find one inch of juicy meat though but unfortunately the rest of the (rather large) pork chop was dry.

Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles (RM 18)

Garoupa Fish Noodles

Min Yee is located at the same coffee shop which hosts Ah Po Grouper Noodles so it has some stiff competition. However, their estuary grouper fish noodles are cheaper at RM 18 compared to Ah Po’s RM 22. The portion seem to be slightly larger too, at least at first glance – this is due to them not slicing the fish too much and presenting beautifully thick slabs of fresh garoupa.

Min Yee Grouper Fish Noodles

They’re also known for their fresh handmade grouper fish ball noodles too! The Estuary Grouper Fish Ball Noodles are RM 6 per bowl and the fish balls have that prized bouncy texture:

Grouper Fishball Noodles

I ultimately found that each stall has its own charms. I’ll go for Min Yee’s Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles if I want a simple clear broth, untainted by soup stock, that allows the thick slices of estuary grouper (also known as “Loong Tan”/King Grouper) to shine through. The fish slices are equally fresh but this stall does it thicker so it’s more satisfying to eat.

Loong Tan Fish Noodles

I love eating fish noodles, and I don’t mind paying the higher prices, especially if it’s good fish. There’s a RM 30 fish noodle in Sibu but the fish noodles I’ve eaten here is a lot better, and more reasonably priced too.

Estuary Grouper Noodles Me

My current favorite is Ah Po Grouper Noodles but Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Noodles does a more than satisfactory job too, especially if you prefer a blander broth with no MSG that allows the estuary grouper fish slices to shine through.

Estuary Grouper Noodles

Min Yee Estuary Grouper Fish Ball Noodles
Restaurant Big Family
Lorong TSB 10A, Taman Industri Sungai Buloh
GPS: 3.166326, 101.569765

An unexpected meal by 1 Michelin Star Chef Dirk Maus in Germany

Lufthansa Dirk Maus

I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to experience this exclusive event – a meal prepared by Chef Dirk Maus of Restaurant Dirk Maus in Domherrenhof, Essenheim in Germany. He holds One Michelin Star and was invited to do a short collaboration – Lufthansa x Dirk Maus.

Lufthansa

His meals are only available between April – October 2012 for European flights on Business Class only (there is no First Class for domestic flights). I fulfilled *all three criteria* when I flew from Berlin to Frankfurt on the 25th of June 2012 and was pleased when the cabin attendant told me about the specially crafted menu by Dirk Maus.

Warsteiner Beer

The dishes are all from Rheinhessen – this is Chef Dirk Maus’ interpretation of the cuisine in the largest wine producing region in Germany. He’s taken the time to perfect his creations for 35,000 feet since things tastes different when you’re flying. My better half (who shared a delightful meal at the 2 Michelin Star Relais LOUIS XIII with me earlier this year) told me about how tomato juice goes well with flying and it actually has a scientific reason!

The two culinary treats awaiting for us on board was:

Chef Dirk Maus

Brennnesselsalat mit Grapefruit und Orangensegmenten
Nettle salad with grapefruit and orange segments

I had just recovered this batch of photos from a damaged HDD and also found the “tasting notes” which I have recorded on my phone as soon as the flight attendant told me that I’ll be having a meal created by a One Michelin Star chef. Heh. I liked the nettle salad – some of the leafy greens in there are quite bitter but it’s tempered well with the mild nettle and the juicy grapefruit and orange segments.

Auberginen-Ziegenfrischkäseterrine
Terrine of eggplant and goat’s cream cheese

I’ve eaten a lot of terrine and this is visually different from the terrine which I’m used to eating. The contrast between the white goat’s cream cheese in the middle and the aubergine outside was accentuated with a chunk of apricot in the middle. It makes for a very rich and rewarding experience – I didn’t know eggplant could taste this good and it’s seasoned well – salty, but not overtly so.

Dirk Maus HB

I wished that I was on a longer flight so I had a more substantial meal. This is just a small meal on a short hop on a domestic flight in Germany but I’m glad I had the chance to eat Chef Dirk Maus’ creations during such a limited time (and place) promotion. Eating a Michelin star meal at 35,000 feet is one of the more unusual places I’ve done it too (the other being our rented apartment in Paris). smirk

RM 30 Coconut Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles @ Dian Xiao Er

dian xiao er prawn noodles

I’ve heard people telling me about this after I posted about the RM 33 big prawn noodles in a coconut available at Glory Cafe in Sarikei. Rowena and Alex both told me that Sibu itself has a version of this which they copied from Glory Cafe so I went to check it out with my dad yesterday. It’s located far inside the Ding Lik Kong industrial area near Igan River, which is about a 20 minute drive from Sibu town.

ding lik kong 31

It’s actually quite easy to find, I just forgot about the place. My dad called my uncle and got us oriented and it was just a matter of following road signs after that.

dian xiao er

The name of the coffee shop is Dian Xiao Er and it’s located along a block of shophouses that has three (!!!) coffee shops – it’s the middle one and they have a large banner promoting their Coconut Tom Yam Big Head Prawn Noodles.

dian xiao er sibu

The guy taking our order was a very friendly and chatty young kid who seemed to take a liking to me. He told me that there’s at least 5 different places in Sibu that offers the same thing now – all duplicates of the original recipe from Glory Cafe. He also confided that he’ll be shifting work places at the end of the month and he personally did not think this was as good as the Sarikei version.

sibu coconut big prawn noodles

I was pleased to see that the big head prawn (大头虾) is indeed quite large with claws intact.

big head prawn

The big head prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is favored by Sarawakians due to the more intensely flavored meat. The other common type of prawn here is the big white prawn (Litopenaeus vannamei) which is milder. You can see the difference – the former really has a huge head in relation to the size of its body. If it were an inanimate object, I’ll compare it to a bobblehead or a chibi anime character. smirk

claws 2B pencil

The claws are very important too as the meat from them is equivalent to a *2B pencil*!

me big prawn noodles

I had a taste of the tom yam soup and I thought it was quite similar to Glory Cafe except for five key differences:

  • Calamansi lime not cooked in
  • Lemon grass stalk is chopped up (makes it hard to eat with the short inedible bits)
  • Cheap canned mushrooms from China used here
  • Not as much coconut juice
  • Spicier tom yam soup but less prawny broth

uncooked calamansi lime

The uncooked calamasi lime is the obvious one as Glory Cafe in Sarikei has a very mushy lime that’s almost *disintegrating* compared to this relatively fresh specimen and that adds a lot to the tom yam flavor profile.

sibu me dad

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my meal and it turns out to be cheaper than driving down to Sarikei for their RM 33 Tom Yam Coconut Big Prawn Noodles. It’s also better than the notorious RM 35 big head prawn noodles in Min Kwong. There are some problems with the recipe and it’s not exactly similar to the original one in Sarikei – anyone would be able to tell from a blind test taste.

sibu big prawn noodles

However, the one in Dian Xiao Er is a reasonably good facsimile of the original Glory Cafe Tom Yam Coconut Big Head Prawn Noodles and I’ll recommend it if you don’t feel like driving down to Sarikei – you can have your fix right in Sibu! It’s located at Lorong Ding Lik Kong 31.

Ruby Restaurant revisited

big prawn rice

I haven’t been to Ruby Restaurant in quite a long time. My dad and I wanted to go on Wednesday but that was their off day so we had to go somewhere else instead. However, I was quite determined to head over since I’ve enjoyed their food a lot and so I went with my dad again and found them open.

ruby restaurant christmas

The place is much as I remembered, with a warm inviting interior and their small neon sign outside (the large signboard seems to have been taken down). The Christmas decorations are up though! :)

ambarella juice

We both ordered kedondong juice. Kedondong is a tropical fruit also known as ambarella (Spondias dulcis) and it’s makes for a tart and acidic drink.

butter prawns

I wanted to have their creamy butter prawns and the owner told me they have the large prawns that I like so I jumped at the chance to have that. This seems to be big white prawns instead of big head prawns but delicious regardless – the prawns are so crunchy you can eat them, shells and all but still soft and moist inside. I love their butter sauce – it’s so rich and appetizing.

puo chai chinese wine

My dad also ordered a vegetable dish – puo chai cooked in Chinese white wine. I was quite surprised at how good it tasted. Ruby Restaurant used to be a favorite of mine before I switched to Ming Mei Shi – which serves a more KL-style dai chow. I like the localized Ruby Restaurant better now. This is delicious, not overcooked, with a hint of raw Chinese white wine.

sour mayonnaise lamb

The other dish we had was recommended by the owner when I asked for something new. She suggested sour mayonnaise lamb. I asked her what the acidic component is and she *pretended* not to hear me twice before smiling and said it’s a trade secret. That definitely sounded promising and even my dad loved this – the addition of citrus or vinegar brightens up this otherwise cloying dish and the lamb isn’t overtly gamey too.

ruby restaurant sibu

The bill was quite reasonable – the prawn dish *alone* came up to RM 40 due to the two large prawns but the lamb and vegetables are surprisingly affordable. The two of us polished off everything in sight!

ruby dad me

My dad mentioned that everything they served tasted delicious and I have to agree. We had just come from a terrible dinner the night before and it’s nice to revisit an old favorite like Ruby Restaurant again.

sour mayo lamb

It’s even better when you find that the standards have increased and not dropped – Ruby Restaurant is truly a gem! smirk

Umai and other local delights @ Fisherman Restaurant

claypot tom yam prawns

I’ve been craving for umai lately and had the chance to eat it again for dinner with Arthur last night. Fisherman Restaurant is a popular local restaurant to bring visitors coz it has a lot of Melanau native delights like lokan, umai and ikan terubok. These are all Sarawakian dishes – they even have dabai (a local type of olive) when it’s in season.

umai

Umai is a local version of ceviche. Fisherman Restaurant does it in a style that’s similar to umai jeb in Mukah. I’ve had it when I went to Mukah in 2008 – it’s very fresh fish (in this case white pomfret or ikan bawal putih) that’s been cured with lime and mixed with chopped onions and chillies.

sarawak prawn crackers

It’s delicious when you eat it with the prawn crackers they serve as an appetizer.

prawn crackers umai

(although it’s traditionally eaten with sago pearls)

individual prawn claypot

We also ordered an individual serving of large prawn in a mini claypot. These prawns are huge and used in big head prawn noodles. The prawn is cooked in an assam tom yam broth soup and it costs RM 20 per prawn. It’s worth it though coz they do it very well – the broth is flavorful and spicy and the prawn meat is firm and juicy and sweet.

paku santan

The fibre quota was fulfilled by paku santan. It’s a local fern cooked Melanau style in santan (coconut milk) and shrimp. I really liked this dish too, everything the cook sent out really hit the mark.

fisherman restaurant

That’s why Fisherman Restaurant is so popular despite being relatively decrepit – peeling paint on the walls, dated single-unit wall air conditioners, and a musty interior. There were a lot of people who came after us coz we went really early – the place was quite full. I do wish that they put some money into renovation though – it looks the same (except a bit more worn) as when I went in 2008!

fisherman restaurant sibu

This isn’t even the original restaurant – they were located at a different part of town at first and shifted to this place.

fisherman restaurant us

I have to say that the best dish of the night is the roast lamb with mint sauce. This is a newer dish that came to pass with the current generation (the son came back from New Zealand where he had his own restaurant and brought some recipes home) and it’s cooked really well. I have to say that it’s even slightly better than my late mom’s famous lamb (sorry ma). smirk

roast lamb mint

The roast lamb here is sliced generously thick and the meat is juicy. You’ll love this if you’re fond of the slightly gamey taste of lamb, and they don’t overcook it unlike other places. They have two sauces – the mint sauce and a garlic inspired Asian dip, the former is the one you want since the latter is uninspiring. It costs RM 50 for the dish with two large slabs of lamb, definitely a must-order if you visit.

thick lamb slabs

The bill for the two of us came up to RM 126.40 but the roasted lamb (RM 25 per slice) and the tom yam prawns (RM 20 per prawn) accounts for RM 90 so the dishes aren’t really that expensive if you don’t order the premium stuff. Thanks for dinner Arthur! It’s always good to catch up when I’m back home. :)

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