Ikan Terubok (toli shad/Chinese herring), bitter gourd fritters, otak-otak sausage and other delights @ Eddy’s dinner

Dinner Spread

Eddy is my brother, not by something as accidental as blood, but something much stronger – by choice. He’s always been a solid friend ever since I met him in 2008. He’s usually the one picking me up when I fly back to Sibu and this time was no exception. His wife Jona is a great cook and I went over for dinner the other day.

Fried salted ikan terubok (toli shad)

Terubok Fish

This is ikan terubok (also known as toli shad or Chinese herring). It’s a very popular fish in Sarawak. Toli shad is only available here and there are two varieties – the fresh ones and the dried + salted version. You can see the distinctive pattern here coz the scales are not removed (!!!).

Ikan Terubok

You actually deep fry the entire fish and it comes out very crunchy so you can eat the scales and bones. I thought that was very intriguing – I’ve never had it this way before and wanted to get some for my better half to try. It’s sooooo delicious. You can only get this fish in Kuching though.

Meatball soup

Meatball Soup

I didn’t eat this until after I finished all my rice coz I didn’t grow up with soup so it’s not essential to my diet. I know some cultures like Foochow and Cantonese which accords soup a very important (even essential) place on the dinner table. I found the soup to be very flavorful from the meatballs and the texture of the soft vegetables (from boiling) to be quite heartening.

Stewed pig stomach

Stewed Pig Stomach

This is not for the picky eater but I love it. The hog maw is from Golden Happiness Restaurant. I’ve eaten the same dish before during Chinese New Year and they do it really well. It’s a mixture of organs – pig tail, pig ears, and duck.

Steamed vegetables

Steamed Vegetables

This is the healthiest item for the night. Eddy has two Indonesian maids and he treats them really well. We all eat together during buka puasa (the breaking of fast during the month of Ramadan for them, who are Muslims).

Otak-otak sausage

Otak-Otak Sausage

This is something new for me as well. I was quite hungry when I woke up (fell asleep at his place coz I’ve been working late nights during this trip) and had one of the otak-otak sausages before dinner. It’s very spicy and really tastes like otak-otak, although it’s not made of fish. I’m not sure what kind of protein is inside, let’s just say it’s a lip-smacking package of mystery meat in tube form. smirk

Onion omelet

Onion Omelet

A comfort food that most people has grown up with. It’s large Bombay onions chopped and fried with eggs. The sweetness from the onions make this a very familiar and welcome addition to the meal.

Pan-fried lamb chops

Pan-Fried Lamb Chops

I love lamb chops. My mom used to cook them for us when we she was still alive and all of our family like the taste of lamb. I’m particularly fond of unrendered lamb fat – it’s strong tasting and gamey to a lot of people but these very characteristics are the same reason I love the fatty parts.

Bitter gourd fritters

Bitter Gourd Fritters

Bitter gourd chips! This is thinly sliced bitter gourd that’s been battered and fried. It’s crunchy and slightly bitter – pure awesome! I’ve also never had it this way, that’s why I always like eating at Eddy’s house. Jona always comes out with food that I don’t eat often (or at all) so it’s a pleasure to sample these new dishes.

Group Photo

It was a delightful dinner. I’ve always enjoyed eating at Eddy’s place due to the splendid cooking. I tend to overeat and stuff myself but it’s worth it, coz I hardly ever eat here unless I’m back home. There’s always something interesting on the table and the fare is better than most restaurants out there.

Father’s Day dinner with my dad @ Ming Mei Shi

Ming Mei Shi

I asked my dad where he wanted to go for dinner on Father’s Day – Payung Café, Ruby Restaurant or some other place that he liked (perhaps one of the new cafes out there). He said he’s more used to eating Chinese food and opted for Ming Mei Shi.

Cinnamon Lamb Shank (RM 29.68)

Lamb Shank Rendang

This is cooked rendang style (which originated from Minangkabau in Indonesia). It was recommended as one of their flagship dishes when we asked for something different. I don’t eat lamb much when I’m with my better half since she doesn’t like it but my dad does. Granted, it’s been made to suit local Chinese palates but it tasted magnificent! The strong cinnamon and aniseed gravy goes perfectly with the rice and the lamb is fork-tender.

Butter Fried Prawns (RM 16.96)

Butter Prawns

We usually go for butterscotch prawns but wanted something different so we switched to the drier butter fried prawns. Ming Mei Shi also has big head prawns for RM 50 per prawn which I was personally interested but my dad vetoed the idea since he doesn’t really like that type of prawn (don’t know if it’s coz of the price but I know he doesn’t eat crustaceans much). This doesn’t have the nice gravy but we have 3 other wet dishes so we thought it’ll make for an agreeable change. It was delightful!

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable (RM 16.96)

Four Heavenly Kings Vegetable

This is a classic Chinese restaurant dish that consists of 4 different types of “beans”. The quotation marks are there coz brinjal (eggplant) is not actually a type of bean. They usually use the purple type but there’s also a green variety. The four vegetables are ladyfingers (okra), squash, brinjal and long beans. It’s topped with pork mince and taucu (fermented soya beans) and it’s very good.

Dongpo Pork (RM 19.08)

Dongpo Pork

This is another one of their signature dishes. Dongpo pork is braised before being slowly stewed with Chinese wine. It comes in a huge square chunk tied with cooking twine, which is then snipped off by the waitress before the meat is cut into manageable bite-sized portions with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Dongpo Meat

Interesting fact: I was using Pleco (the Chinese-English app) to research why this dish is called such. My dad thought it was dong as in east but it turns out that it’s named after the poet Su Shi a.k.a. Su Dongpo who perfected the recipe. It’s usually very good but the execution was a little off this time since the ratio of fat to lean meat was really low despite being from the belly of the pig. I had to chew very hard to swallow the tough bottom meat.

Fathers Day 2015

My dad enjoyed the meal immensely though and so did I. We usually just order 3 dishes for the two of us but I thought we should order 4 since it’s a special occasion. The waitress warned us against the large portions but I managed to polish off everything after my dad was full. The unusual decimal prices is due to the recent implementation of 6% GST and the bill came up to RM 90.95 although I only paid RM 90 coz the owner gave me a discount.

Fathers Day Dinner

Me: Dad, you’re not smiling in the photo.
Dad: What do you mean? I am!
Me: Hmm…I don’t see it. *show my dad the digicam*
Dad: That’s me smiling.
Me:

LOL

Happy Father’s Day, dad! :)

Dinner with my cousin, her fiancé, his mom and 9 from our extended family

Hong Fu Sibu

I know, the title sounds a little unwieldy but it’s actually very accurate. smirk We had dinner at Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant last night. There were 12 of us and we took the largest table available and could barely fit everyone in.

Hong Fu Seafood

This dinner is supposed to be a “meet the parents” kind of thing for my cousin’s fiancé (and his mom) before their wedding at the end of the year. It morphed into a “meet the extended family” coz that’s just how we roll. Two of the uncles I’m closest with were there, as well as my dad, my grandma and several of my cousins and aunties to round things up.

Hong Fu Seafood Restaurant in Sibu is actually known for their crabs. It used to be RM 13 / kg which is an amazing price for Sibu (we’re a landlocked town). Here’s what we had:

Philippines Pork Leg (Crispy Pata)

Crispy Pata

I’ve always found it amusing that people from Sibu refer to this iconic Filipino dish as “Philippines pork leg” when so many other places have a similar implementation e.g. Germany. The proper term for this dish is crispy pata.

Philippines Pork Leg

It’s deep fried pork leg (with trotters) that’s been simmered in water along with spices beforehand. There’s usually a dipping sauce made with some combination of acidic, sweet and sour elements e.g. vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. Hong Fu makes one of the best implementations of this in Sibu. It came in two huge platters to accommodate our late party.

Midin (Local Fiddlehead Fern)

Sibu Fiddlehead Fern

This is a Sibu classic, fiddlehead ferns called midin that’s cooked with a bit of chilli. I quite like it, it’s one of my favorite dishes.

Signature House Tofu

Tofu Pork Mince

The large slabs (about the size of a CD case) of tofu is made in-house and lightly fried before a thick pork mince gravy is poured over it. I have been eating more tofu lately (get your mind out of the gutter) and I’m starting to enjoy it.

Stir Fried Vegetables

Hong Fu Vegetable

This the obligatory green dish. I’ve also been eating more vegetables lately and I’ve been developing a fondness for it too, thanks to my better half. I did not grow up eating veggies – in fact I hardly ever ate vegetables until I was in my late 20’s.

Mongolian Chicken

Mongolian Chicken

This is really yummy. I like sweet & sour pork and this tastes a little like that, but better! Everyone does this slightly differently, and it’s been bastardized in so many Chinese restaurants abroad. The chicken is fried so there’s a bit of crunch and the sauce is sweet, sour and spicy. Lovely stuff – I can just eat this dish alone with rice.

Braised Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

I don’t know why restaurants in Sibu always pair sea cucumber with broccoli but I ain’t complaining about Hong Fu’s implementation. The sea cucumber is wonderfully tender and flavorful from the sauce. There’s just something very visceral about slurping the slippery things into your gob.

Steamed Red Snapper

Red Snapper

My uncle brought this fish to the restaurant. You can actually do that here if you have a better or fresher specimen that you want to eat. You’ll be charged for the cooking but not the fish – it’s a similar concept to a corkage charge for wine in BYOB restaurants.

Yih Wen

I actually came back to Sibu for several reasons – I needed to meet with my first client for Pulse Consulting, open up my company bank account, discuss a new project that’s in the pipeline (potential new client, yay), celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, and hang out with my bro Eddy whose mom just passed last week and I’m glad I managed to catch my cousin Yih Wen and her fiancé too.

It’s very rare that we all get together like this in one big family. :)

Bar IPPUDO Ramen @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Bar IPPUDO

I have been to IPPUDO a couple of times in the past and found their Hakata tonkotsu pork bone soup to be better than most. IPPUDO is famous for their Kyushu style ramen and pork buns. The latter is actually really yummy! The one in Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) is actually a new Bar IPPUDO – one of their IPPUDO x sake outlets.

Bar IPPUDO Malaysia

This doesn’t mean that Bar IPPUDO don’t still serve good ramen though. I was there for lunch with Ang Khian and the place was packed! I originally wanted to meet at MidValley but due to the school holidays, there was no parking to be found. I circled two parking lots (C and H) for almost an hour before giving up and going to BSC instead.

Ippudo Ramen

There was a waiting list to get a table and I finally managed to get seated. I was tempted to order the Samurai Rock (around RM 40) cocktail which is made with Nikka From The Barrel but since it was a lunch meeting, I abstained and just stuck to their lunch sets.

Perfect Ramen Set Combo

Perfect Ramen Set Combo A (RM 29.90)

Shiromaru Motoaji

This is what I had. You can choose from Shiromaru Motoaji or Akamaru Shinaji and I opted for the former. It’s a half bowl ramen instead of a full serving since it came with other stuff. In addition to the half bowl Shiromaru Motoaji, there was:

  • Pork Bun
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Nappa Cabbage
  • Dessert
  • Green Tea (hot/cold)

Ippudo Pork Bun

I made this choice for the Ippudo pork bun, which sounds mundane but is surprisingly good. My first bite left me wanting more – the pork belly in the soft and warm enveloping clamshell dough was simply divine!

Nappa Cabbage

I really liked the sweet tamagoyaki too but the nappa cabbage was left half-eaten. The dessert of watermelon with a wedge of orange was pure genius though – the orange slice was cut in a way that each cube of watermelon *absorbed* the orange juice and it tasted wonderful.

Bar IPPUDO Set

Perfect Ramen Set Combo B (RM 31.90)

Akamaru Shinaji

This set had two different items – sashimi replaced the pork bun and beef enoki the tamagoyaki but it’s otherwise the same. You also get the same ramen options and Ang Khian went for the Akamaru Shinaji half bowl ramen.

Ippudo Sashimi

She asked me if I wanted to have a slice of her salmon sashimi and I said it’s fine. I was just being polite coz it’s only the second time I met her and we were discussing some business over lunch. Haha. I really wanted to eat it but I haven’t seen her since Chinese New Year in Ipoh in 2009 so I decided to be gracious.

Beef Enoki

I was quite tempted to eat her beef enoki too. smirk

Ippudo BSC

The service was really rushed and you can see the waitresses visibly harried – the lunch crowd at Bar IPPUDO, BSC is surprising considering the amount of F&B outlets there. People came, they ate, and they left – the turnover was so fast that we couldn’t talk shop and finished our lunch before heading over to CBTL for coffee (forgot there was a Dome there).

I’ll be back for that Nikka Japanese single malt and grain whisky cocktail with a perfectly round and spherical ball of ice though. :)

Ramen Bari-Uma @ Jaya Shopping Centre

Nori-Uma

I asked my better half what she felt like eating over the weekend and she said pan mee. I’m not a huge fan of pan mee (and I had a feeling she just wanted me to save some money) so I asked if she would prefer Korean food or Japanese food. She opted for the latter and that’s how we turned up at Ramen Bari-Uma.

Bari-Uma Ramen

Ramen is kinda like the Japanese version of pan mee anyway and it’s something she likes to eat too. smirk

Ramen Bari-Uma

Ramen Bari-Uma is one of the more recent authentic Japanese places in town. This is not one of those “pork free” outlets, this is unabashedly pro-oink and features real chashu and even tonkotsu (pork bone broth) as the base.

Charcoal Grilled Chashu

Lovely, that’s just how we like it. I ordered a bottle of Kirin Ichiban 100% Malt Beer (RM 20) and my dear had green tea while we browsed through the menu.

Kirin Ichiban Beer

Ramen Bari-Uma really just serves one type of ramen – its namesake Ramen Bari-Uma (RM 26). This type of specialization is a really good sign in an authentic Japanese ramen establishment. You can have it with or without ajitama (soy marinated soft boiled egg), the latter making it Ajitama-Uma. (RM 28 – RM 2 for the egg). You can also have it with seaweed – Nori-Uma (RM 27) and if you want an egg with that it’s concatenated into Noritama-Uma (RM 29). There’s also a spicy version called Kara-Uma (RM 26) and a double portion chashu version appropriately dubbed Chashu-Uma for RM 32.

Homemade Ramen Noodles

…and that is the streamlined menu of Ramen Bari-Uma. The ramen here is all freshly made in-house and you can have it firm, original or soft. It’s served original if you didn’t specify.

Ramen Bari Uma Dinner Set

My dear went for the Dinner Set (RM 35.90). It’s really good value if you can eat a lot. You can choose from any of the regular (non-ajitama) priced ramen. She went for the Bari-Uma – their flagship offering. The settu also comes with a starter of Japanese salad and two pieces of tamagoyaki, which is quite sweet, an apt dessert. Of course, the drink is also included in the price – although it’s limited to green tea (either hot or cold)

Pork Rice Ramen

There’s also a bowl of rice topped with pulled pork in the dinner set. It’s meant to be dumped into the leftover ramen broth. You can literally ask for a “little bit of rice” in some ramen-ya in Japan to finish your ramen broth! When you’ve eaten all your ramen noodles and there’s still some soup in the bowl (and you’re still a little hungry, of course) you can ask for some rice to finish the ramen broth.

Yakitori Set

We also ordered some yakitori to share. There are five types of yakitori – butanegima (pork thigh and leeks), butabara (pork belly), negima (chicken thigh and leeks), sasami (chicken breast), toriniku (white chicken meat). It’s RM 5.90 for 2 pieces each or you can get one of each type in the Yakitori Combo (RM 13.90) which we went for. I didn’t think much of it, I’ll pass on this one, this is a ramen-ya, yakitori isn’t their strong suite.

Noritama-Uma

I had the Noritama-Uma (RM 29) coz I though the presentation in the menu looks absolutely fabulous. :D There are three (3) pieces of large dried seaweed flanking one side of the bowl, partially submerged, so you can slip them individually into the ramen broth to eat together with the noodles – it provides a welcome savory crunch. I had the firm version which can be a little too hard for some people’s tastes – the consistency is like al dente pasta.

Ajitama

However, the best thing about Bari-Uma is their chashu – it’s thickly cut and flamed! Most ramen-ya in Malaysia serves braised chashu and while that’s good, grilled chashu is even better. The Maillard reaction gives the caramelized surface a nice charcoal sweetness and the chashu is nice and thick. I love the ajitama egg too, although I had to slice it myself, the presentation was a little bit off that day.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

We also ordered their entire dessert menu! action Haha! It wasn’t very hard since the dessert menu at Ramen Bari-Uma consists of two (2) items in total. There’s Green Tea Ice Cream (RM 7.90) and Black Sesame Ice Cream (RM 7.90). We had one of each and while my dear didn’t like the black sesame, I though it tasted pretty good. Fans of black sesame mochi would love it! The matcha ice cream was pretty spot on too.

Ramen Bari-Uma Us

The shoyu based tonkotsu broth at Ramen Bari-Uma is really good, you can see how much collagen is in the soup just by scooping it up. The viscosity and thickness is palpable! It’s made with chicken feet and pork bones. The broth makes or breaks a ramen place and the one here is excellent. The bill came up to RM 135.95 for the two of us. Bari-Uma literally means delicious and it’s an accurate description of the ramen here.

Palsaik 8 color pork belly Korean BBQ, Mont Kiara

Palsaik

We’ve been meaning to go to Palsaik for a very long time. The concept is quite intriguing – there are 8 pieces of different flavoured pork belly (samgyupsal) in lieu of the standard “beef bulgogi” in a Korean BBQ setting. It’s a South Korea franchise, so it was really authentic too – everything from the beer to the foliage that comes with your meat just feels right. I’ve been to Korea twice and decided to bring my better half here on Sunday for lunch.

Palsaik 8 Color Set

There are only 3 items on the menu and it all revolves around pork so if The Divine Pig is not your thing, this probably isn’t somewhere you want to come. However, for the rest of us who loves oink oink, this is exactly the place to be. The 3 items on the menu are basically portion sizes – there’s a 3Color Set (meaning you can choose 3 different pieces of flavoured 150 gram pork belly) meant for 2 pax, an 8Color Set with the full range of 8 flavors for 3-4 pax, and a Premium Set with everything in the 8Color Set plus grilled deodeok (a root of a plant) for 3-4 pax.

Palsaik 8Color

We chose the complete 8Color Set since we wanted to try every single flavor they have. It’s called Palsaik after all – which I assume means “eight colors”. The pork belly comes in neatly sliced 150 gram pieces in separate bowls on a wooden board with an arrow from left to right indicating where you should start eating – from the mildest to the strongest/most intense flavors.

Palsaik 8 Flavor Pork Belly

The 8 flavors of pork belly are:

Palsaik Ginseng Wine Pine Leaves

Palsaik Garlic Herb Curry

Palsaik Miso Paste Hot

  • Ginseng
  • Wine
  • Pine leaves
  • Garlic
  • Herb
  • Curry
  • Miso paste
  • Hot

Makgeolli Korean Rice Wine

I also ordered a bottle of makgeolli – a milky, off-white Korean rice wine that weighs in at a surprising 14.45% alcohol. It comes in a plastic 750 ml bottle for RM 20, which is quite cheap – that’s the same abv and content of a regular wine bottle. I’ve had this in Korea during my two trips there and an interesting attempt by Seoul to export their culture and food has resulted in this being apparently dubbed “drunken rice”.

Palsaik Premium Set

The 8Color Set also comes with a bowl of seafood soup. This is quite authentic jjigae type dish that comes with *tons* of seafood like crab, prawns, squid, clams, mussels and octopus. We both loved the hearty spicy soup.

Palsaik Seafood Soup

There are servers who will help you grill the garlic and meat and you really just need to sit back and fold the pieces of meat together with the condiments in various types of leaves – from butter lettuce to herbs.

Palsaik Mont Kiara

I quite liked the ginseng one, it started very well. Surprisingly, the wine one was a miss for me, the marinade didn’t work through the meat well and all I got was an overwhelming taste of slightly-off pork. The pine leaves was mild and unique, the garlic superbly done with tons of flavor – they must have soaked that in for a very long time. The herb one was very interesting too. The curry pork belly slice didn’t do much for me, and we were too full by the time the miso paste one was done. The treacherous sounding hot flavor was in fact quite good, with lots of thick hot sauce still sticking to the meat.

Palsaik Us

Palsaik is a nice change if you want a porcine instead of a bovine Korean BBQ experience. We went to the outlet in SohoKL, Mont Kiara but they have another one in Scott Garden. It’s an authentic Korean BBQ chain that has taken Melbourne by storm too. Try the makgeolli when you’re there – it goes very well with the 8 flavored pork. They also serve Korean beer and soju. The bill came up to RM 153.90 for the both of us, inclusive of drinks. Needless to say, this outlet is not halal.

Palsaik Korean BBQ

Palsaik
J-01-09 SohoKL
Solaris Mont Kiara
No. 2 Jalan Solaris
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

A delicious home-cooked dinner for 8

Pork Belly Tongue

I wasn’t very hungry at that time since I had a very late lunch but the plate of beautiful pork belly slices and pork tongue was staring back at me, begging me to *ravage* it. It would be like saying No to the Borg, resistance is futile and all that. I packed a man tou (fluffy Chinese steamed buns) full of the fatty pieces of meat and tongue and dug in.

Stewed Pork Belly + Pig Tongue

Pork Belly Tongue Burger

This is a combination of fatty pork belly and the leaner tongue served with a side of raw onions, cucumbers and other vegetables which you can eat with rice, or with a Chinese bread called man tou. I opted for the latter and speared two huge pieces of the pork belly, added a generous slice of pig tongue and slapped on a few onion rings before topping it with gravy. Divine!

Stir Fried Cuttle Fish

Stir Fried Cuttlefish

I had eaten a similar dish by Jona during Chinese New Year – it was grilled on skewers then and it was the most amazing execution of cuttle fish I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. It was mind-blowing, how tasty that dish was. I think the recipe for that was scrapped due to the huge amount of food and thus this version was stir fried. It’s still awesome but the CNY one was epically delicious, like a culinary version of Homer’s Iliad.

Peas in a Pod with Garlic Sauce

Peas in a Pod

This is the plate of greens with lots of vitamins and fibre to complement the meat-based dishes. I quite liked it and was munching on these even after I’ve finished my dinner. It’s perfect with rice – the beans are tender, juicy and sweet – it’s like kissing the sweet lips of your lover when you’re both relaxed and lounging in bed just before you turn in for the night. :)

Baked Chicken Thigh

Baked Chicken

I’m calling it this but I don’t actually know what it was since I didn’t ask about this one. The marinade was fantastic though and it gives the entire chicken thigh a saffron like undertone. There were a lot of aromatic herbs thrown in too, and although I was quite full from the large pork belly and pig tongue burger I helped myself too, I managed to take apart one all by myself, picking at the flesh with my fork with nary a care for the faux pas I was committing with the tines of the fork coming into contact with the glass plates with a loud CLINK.

Grilled Garoupa

Grilled Grouper

This huge grouper is a 10 kg beast that was done really well. It’s quite hard to fry fresh and good quality fish well since it’s very easy to overcook it. I’ve eaten a great piece of breaded and fried cod in Sheraton which changed my mind about fried fish and this gives equal lip smacking satisfaction. This fish was freshly caught and bought from the source, and it’s treated with respect, just a short time on the grill caramelizing the sides and producing a white, flaky and moist interior.

There was also a very flavorful soup which I forgot to take a photo of and we had a bottle of wine which someone brought and single malt Scotch from Eddy’s bar to go with the long dinner. I was craving for a cigarette before I had taken my last bite, that was how much I stuffed myself.

Eddy Dinner

I had this wonderful dinner last night at my bro Eddy’s house. He’s a really solid guy, always there for his friends. He picked me up at the airport when I came back for Ching Ming and I saw the huge 10 kg grouper he bought for this meal. I was one of 8 invited over for a feast cooked by his wife Jona and it was one of the best home-cooked meals I’ve ever had, on par with the delicious lamb he came up with during Chinese New Year.

Yee Sang @ Xia Mian Guan, Sunway Pyramid

Toss Yee Sang

Xia Mian Guan is a Chinese restaurant located outside Sunway Pyramid. I went with my better half for lunch (and our first yee sang together). The food here is surprisingly good, and we’ve never even heard of Xia Mian Guan before – this is our first time eating here! :)

Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang
Made with 7 colorful prosperity ingredients and fresh salmon, topped with special plum sauce

Salmon Yee Sang

I’ve had my first yee sang of the year last month but this is my first with my dear. I like how they’re very generous with the salmon – there’s none of that “thin slivers of salmon” thing going on here. You have thick slabs of salmon with the yee sang and that’s always a good thing.

However, I felt the yee sang at Celestial Court is much better, but these are two very different places – one is a high-end hotel restaurant and the other is a more affordable mall dining experience. It’s still decent but the best dishes are yet to come!

Tea Leaf Smoked Village Farmed Chicken
Healthy fresh village farmed chicken smoked with Pu Er tea leaves

Pu Er Tea Smoked Duck

I thought someone had lit a cigarette or at least popped out for a quick smoke before coming back into the room. That’s how strong and intense the smoke was! Of course, on second whiff, it doesn’t smell like tobacco at all, but your mind just automatically makes that connection. I have to stress that the plate was very far from me when it was brought it, which makes it all the more amazing!

My better half really liked this. The smoky flavor of Pu Er tea leaves can be smelled on the whole organic free range chicken and it’s really something different.

Pork Ribs infused with Red Wine
Succulent pork ribs cooked with Xia Mian Guan’s signature red wine sauce

Signature Red Braised Pork

Mmm…there are lean pieces, fatty bits and pork ribs mixed into this dish. I quite liked the house signature red wine sauce. This is Chinese style red wine meant for cooking, not the red wine you see in French cuisine. The common name for this dish is “Red Braised Pork” or 红烧肉.

Prawns in Curry Sauce
Made with chilli sauce, milk and fresh prawns. Best served with fried Man Tou for dipping.

Prawn Curry

My favorite dish! I was raving about this for days! This is easily the best thing that has come out of the Xia Mian Guan kitchen by a long shot. The prawn curry is so intensely infused with prawn flavor (perhaps they blended up the prawn heads) that it’s pleasantly shocking! The prawns are big and juicy and the fried bread is crispy on the outside and warm on the inside.

Man Tou

I can dip the fried bread into the delightful sweet and spicy curry sauce all day long!

Hong Kong Kai Lan
Specially selected Hong Kong Kai Lan, made with a pinch of salt to enhance its flavor

Hong Kong Kai Lan

The interesting thing about this dish is the contrasting texture – the stalks of the kai lan is steamed while the leaves are shredded and deep fried! There’s not a lot of oil so I suspect it might have been done in an air fryer. We’ve had a different twist on this dish before in banquets and dinners before – it’s also part of the “4 Heavenly Kings” way of preparing vegetables – this makes for crunchy, crispy vegetables combined with the soft juicy stalks.

Red Bean Kuih
Freshly prepared daily, the red bean kuih is soft, tasty and complements the sweetness of red bean

Red Bean Kuih

My dear was waiting for the final course to come out coz it sounded quite promising. The dish is portioned individually, with each person having one Chinese soup spoon. The red bean kueh is very nice – it’s not sweet at all, in fact there’s barely a hint of sweetness, all there is comes from the red beans so it’s a nice finish for people who don’t like overtly sweet desserts. I love the mochi-like texture of the chewy kueh too!

Xia Mien Guan

Xia Mian Guan (no English name) is a gem of a restaurant that we’ll be sure to go back too. Conventional wisdom suggests that hotels and malls don’t have really good restaurants but there are of course exceptions to this (there’s a couple of Michelin-starred establishments attached to hotels). This is one of them – a very nice restaurant that’s located at a very popular mall – Sunway Pyramid!

Xia Mian Guan
Outside Oasis Boulevard
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
Jalan PJS 11/15 Sunway
Tel: 03 5611 7949

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.

Thai Boat Noodle Soup in Hat Yai

boat noodle soup

Boat noodle soup is known as guai dtiaw rua (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ) in Thailand. We happened to chance upon this popular stall during our last day in Hat Yai. This place seems to serve both pork and beef noodles according to the signboard but the cook told us it’s pork noodles.

boat noodle soup hatyai

Better still, the stall makes their own pork rinds! It’s hanging above the stall and these beautiful pork crackling is the product of the deep fried skin of the pork and is meant to be eaten with the noodles. They carry other brands on the table too but their own is the one with the red pig.

Just listen to the pork rind crackling in the boat noodle soup!

boat noodle soup thailand

The name boat noodle soup came from the early days when boats will pull up to the pier and tie off before serving soup to people who would come and eat at the banks. There are still markets like these in Hat Yai e.g. Hat Yai Floating Market but mostly boat noodle soup has become a land based operation.

boat noodle soup locals

You can choose from several kinds of noodles from rice vermicelli to kueh tiaw and we tried two different ones. The serving is really small – probably 2-3 heaped spoonfuls of noodles in total. However, it’s loaded with pieces of pork, meatballs, and pork liver as well as a smattering of vegetables.

thai boat noodle soup

There’s also a side of raw vegetables and bean sprouts as per Thai custom. I’m not sure if it’s THB 35 or THB 40 per bowl coz we didn’t ask but I know the pack of pork crackling is THB 15.

boat noodle soup pork rinds

You’re supposed to add the pork rind into the boat noodle soup before you eat it. The soup base is delicious – they actually put blood into the broth and season it with various herbs and it tastes fabulous. The soup base really has all the five tastes inside – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami! I was very impressed.

boat noodle soup pork crackling

This is indeed a good find as we saw that the patrons of the stall were almost all locals. They did not seem to charge us a “tourist price” either. The total came up to 110 baht for two bowls of boat noodle soup, a pack of pork rinds and drinks.

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