Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Woo Lan Restaurant

Some of us in the Makan Club are well acquainted with Woo Lan Restaurant. Now housed in an air-conditioned shoplot at Jalan Scott, Brickfields, it didn't start out that glamorously.

A wooden structure under the overhead bridge next to the Holy Rosary Church. Cars parked haphazardly.

Was that all? Just another old shack to cater to those who lived and worked there? Probably not, judging from the old faithfuls that thronged the place. An interesting point to note about Malaysians (in general, anyway...there are some who have gone to the dark side...hehe) is that they do not care about appearances as long as the food is good. And that's the success story of Woo Lan.

"Progress" and "development" eventually took place in that lot next to the church. Woo Lan subsequently moved to its current location, barely 50 metres from where it last stood.

My love affair with foo yue yau mak (romaine lettuce stir-fried with fermented beancurd) first started in Woo Lan over ten years ago. Over the next few months, I tormented my friends by constantly ordering the same vegetable. I wasn't very compromising then! Pretty Pui and Bouncing Barbie are quite relieved that the obsession is over and that they can get on with life.

This evening, as Ecstatic Eeyore and I drove down to Brickfields in search of roti canai for dinner, instead of heading to our usual haunt, we were somehow drawn by a hidden force towards Woo Lan. Our minds were filled with visions of fried mee suah with seaweed and fried pak kor. The force was strong and in our moment of weakness, we yielded to it.

We are but mere fallible humans. Not only did we order the mee suah and pak kor, we also asked for yue sang. For two. The spirit of Chinese New Year was in us, and we wanted to be one with the yue sang.

What a wondrous sight it was. Our first yue sang (raw fish salad) for the year in all its colourful (artificial) glory. Bits of shredded vegetables, pomelo, crackers and raw fish drizzled with plum sauce and sesame seeds. Yue sang is normally consumed during the Chinese New Year period and is presented in the centre of the table whereby everyone, with chopsticks raised, toss the salad, uttering good wishes (good health, good job, lots of money, a girlfriend who looks like Amber Chia).

It must have been a sorry sight to see two very hungry looking people tossing the yue sang and yelling out every imaginable good wish to each other.

Pak kor is a rice cake that is thinly sliced. This dish was prepared in a nice garlicky dark sauce and fried with prawns.

The mee suah in Woo Lan is my current all-time favourite dish. A master of deception, this dish looks plain and unappetising. Mix it with the bits of crunchy seaweed, prawns, chinese cabbage and fried eggs and inhale...The combination of flavours arouse the senses.

Believe it or not, we finished everything. Burp.

Woo Lan
19, Jalan Scott,
Brickfields, 50470 KL.
Tel: 03-2274-8368

Opening hours: 11.30am - 3.00pm & 5.30pm - 10.00pm

Monday, January 29, 2007

My first Chocolate Crepe Cake

Inspired by boo_licious' mouthwatering chocolate crepe cake, I replicated her efforts on Sunday. Surprisingly, I didn't screw up. It turned out absolutely delicious. :-)
Note added on 31/1/07: To the unbelievers (Smokin' SOB), yes, this is the cake that I made. Not a picture taken in a bakery or a cafe. My cake. :-P

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chung Sam Restaurant - asam fish

Smokin' SOB normally doesn't get ecstatic about food; his philosophy in life is to eat to live rather than live to eat (unlike the rest of us). So when he mentioned to me, about a month back, that he had just eaten same "damn good f*#^ing good fish", I knew that it had to be something really special.

Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn't open for lunch, and the Makan Club doesn't do dinners, so we were unable to enjoy Smokin' SOB's out-of-body experience.

So naturally, when he suggested dinner today at Chung Sam Restaurant, I couldn't say no. :-)

Chung Sam is hardly what one would call a restaurant. It's more like an open-concept shack. The "kitchen" is in the centre, and the tables surround the kitchen. The problem with seeing the kitchen is that one can easily be tempted by the array of food ordered by others. Take Richard, for example. Richard loves crabs, and his attention was on the crabs throughout the night. Unfortunately, all the crabs were booked by another table, so the poor chap could only salivate. I've never seen anyone look so miserable.

But the star attraction at this restaurant is the asam (tamarind) fish. The fish is first deep fried in a wok, then placed on a lotus leaf. The sauce (prepared beforehand) made of tamarind juice, chillies and belacan is then poured over the fish together with sliced onions. The "package" is then wrapped up and deep fried again to allow the flavours to envelope the fish. It was served hot and it was certainly delicious.

Smokin' SOB was right. It was damn good f*#^ing good fish. :-)

(Note: If you'd like to sample the fish, do go there early as they run out of the sauce pretty fast. We had arrived at 8.15pm, and we were the last customers to get the asam fish.)

Chung Sam Restaurant
No. 3, Jalan Anggor,
4th Mile, Off Jalan Klang Lama (coming from KL, just before the Tmn Desa exit),
58100 KL
Tel: 03-7822291/012-3685164

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chicken Cuisine, Glenmarie - Curry Chee Cheong Fun

Every Saturday morning, for as long as I can remember, breakfast has always been curry chee cheong fun. Now, for those who have gone out with me, you will know that when it comes to chee cheong fun and yong tau foo, I always go for the sweet black sauce and never for the curry. I am usually not very fond of the curry version in most places as I dislike the watered down, barely-there curry.

We came across this place by chance. As most of you may know, Bukit Jelutong is rather secluded and good chinese food is hard to come by. So when we discovered the shops in Glenmarie which were a stone's throw away from home (relatively speaking, of course...one man's rock is another man's pebble :-) ), we were excited about the fact that we could stop eating nasi lemak and roti canai for breakfast and have something different, for a change. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.

Chicken cuisine has grown. From it's humble beginnings of a very ordinary looking kopitiam, it has now undergone extensive renovation with a cafe-like ambience but still retaining the chinese kopitiam-quality food and prices. You can get mixed rice, a variety of noodles, nasi lemak and kuih here (all non-halal). The place packs up pretty fast on a Saturday morning; there are a lot of early birds in Shah Alam and Glenmarie.

I love the chee cheong fun (flat white noodles) here, not so much for the yong tau foo bits that go with it (although those are really tasty too), but the wonderfully rich and thick, spicy chicken curry that they add to the chee cheong fun. So what you get is a really dry version that gives enough flavour to the entire dish without overpowering it.

The stall also serves very good curry noodles, again with the same curry base as the above. This dish is as popular as the yong tau foo, and is served with lots of cockles (my favourite!), taufu pok (fried beancurd), long beans and a very good sambal (chilli paste).

Chicken Cuisine
6, Jalan UI/Seksyen UI Hicom-Glenmarie Industrial Park,
40150 Shah Alam

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sri Nirwana Maju, Bangsar - Banana Leaf Rice

When my office was in Brickfields, we were spoilt for choice when it came to Indian food. We had our favourites, like the stall at the alley between Jalan Tun Sambanthan 3 and Scott Road which had the world's best chicken peratal (fried chicken in very dry, thick curry). Our main problem, again, was familiarity and a resistance to try something new. With so many options to choose from in Brickfields, why venture further for the same kind of food?

Because of our cockiness about our knowledge of Indian food, we hardly ever explored outside Brickfields.

Now that we are no longer in Brickfields, we have become a lot more adventurous with food.

We chanced upon Sri Nirwana Maju in Bangsar when I went to AmBank to settle my monthly car HP installment payment. I was poorer, but starved due to a diet of bread and more bread for 4 days. The restaurant is located next to AmBank and is packed with people at lunch time. I dread to think how we're going to brave the traffic now that Bangsar Village II is open. The traffic jam leading to Bangsar this evening was horrendous!! Back to the topic at hand (I do get so easily carried away!), we were very lucky to find a table for four and grabbed the table. Yes, the Makan Club is quite resourceful in getting tables. :-)

Thanks to Smokin' SOB's intimate knowledge of Indian dishes, we could sit back and wait to be served. Four pieces of banana leaves were promptly placed in front of us, and shortly after that came the rice, sliced cucumbers in yoghurt, fried long beans and crunchy fried bitter gourd (see picture above). We were also served fried papadums (spicy Indian crackers), rasam (a spicy Indian soup that tastes quite similarly to mulligatawny soup), dhall, fish or chicken curry, pickles and yoghurt. These are the fixed items, and one can order various types of meat dishes to complement the meal.

Smokin' SOB must have thought that we were famished as he ordered fried tenggiri (mackerel) (hot from the stove), mutton peratal (mutton in thick curry), fried fish flakes and chicken. I thought the fish flakes dish was rather tasty and it's something I'd order again.

Banana leaf rice is an interesting concept as the servings of rice and vegetables are unlimited. The spiciness of the dishes coupled with the richness of the food are indicators, though, that one should not overeat. Etiquette also dictates that if you find the food good, you should fold the leaf away from you, and if you feel otherwise, then fold it towards you. We think that folding the leaf away is just to stop the curry from spilling all over you. :-)

Sri Nirwana Maju
43, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru, KL.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mr. Ho's Fine Foods - Siew Yoke

After eating food at stalls in the sweltering heat for a number of days now, I was desperate to go somewhere airconditioned. After weighing the options taking into account parking and distance, we agreed on Mr. Ho's Fine Foods in Midvalley Megamall.

Before I discovered the siew yoke (roasted pork) in Pudu, I would go to Mr. Ho's in Bangsar Shopping Centre. Admittedly, it's a little more expensive than siew yoke anywhere else, but I felt then that it was worth paying more for the lovely fatty piece of roasted pork.

The most noticeable difference between the siew yoke in Pudu and that of Mr. Ho's is the crust. The Pudu version has a thin, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth crust, while Mr. Ho's version is a little more thicker and crunchier. I guess it all boils down to personal taste.

The restaurant in Midvalley serves siew yoke in various dishes. Aside from the normal dish of siew yoke with rice, they also serve siew yoke with spaghetti. We ordered siew yoke with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

The restaurant was running a set lunch promo which included mushroom soup and coffee/tea. The soup had crunchy bits of mushroom, garlic and ginger, but I found the taste of garlic and ginger too intense. It was also a little too salty for my liking.

The siew yoke, on the other hand, was worth going for. Despite the uncreative selection of vegetables on the side (broccoli, carrots and cauliflower), the main part of the dish was lovely. The side serving of chilli sauce masked the flavour of the siew yoke, so after a while, I put it aside and concentrated on savouring the fatty, salty taste of the roast meat. It would have tasted better if it were served warm, though, but I was in a forgiving mood this afternoon. Yes, I do have a heart, girls.

The meal came up to RM22 per person. More expensive than Pudu, but hey, would you want to brave traffic and parking woes to queue up for forty five minutes to eat the siew yoke there? Okay, don't answer that. I know what I'd choose, but I'm not telling. :-P

Mr. Ho's Fine Foods

Lot LG-060A, Lower Ground Floor, Mid Valley Megamall,

Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2284 1330 Fax: 03-2284 1330

Teck Kee, Subang Permai - Bak Kut Teh and Ginger Wine Chicken

When we came back from our three-week vacation, most of our plants were either dying or dead. I'm not sure if I willed it. What used to be our pride and joy turned out to be the neighbourhood eyesore, just because we were too involved in our own lives to do anything about the garden. We used to tend to our garden lovingly, and spent many hours admiring the blooms. We knew which plant had new buds. We welcomed the sweet scent of the white ginger in the middle of the night. I painted glass jars and put tea lights in them and hung them out on the tree, and its branches would be illuminated by the flickering flames. Sometimes, I'd cook dinner and we'd have it out on the patio, so that we could drink in the colours of the garden, and be entertained by the sounds of the water feature. And occasionally, we'd have a guest - Tom, the frog. He'd hop over to us like an old friend, and he knew we'd never do him harm. Tom doesn't visit us anymore. He's probably found a nicer garden.

It was time to bring back the colours and scents to my garden.

Home is not far from Sungai Buloh where nurseries stretch as far as the eye can see. Which is convenient if one wants an instant garden. :-)

I got into my little car and drove to my favourite nursery owned by Albert. I was euphoric as I selected plant after plant for my garden. Eventually, I knew I had to go home as every tiny space in my car had been filled with plants.

Driving back, my gastric juices started acting up. Without hesitation, I drove straight to Subang Permai where Restoran Teck Kee is located. Subang Permai is located about 5 minutes from home (Bukit Jelutong) and if you're coming from Bukit Jelutong, you will have to skip the Guthrie Corridor expressway and use the trunk road to reach this place. Upon arriving, I knew what I wanted. If you read my blog last week, you will know that I had an unsatisfactory meal of ginger wine chicken. I still had cravings, so instead of ordering bak kut teh like everyone else, I got myself a meal of ginger wine chicken with onion rice.

The ginger wine chicken here has got generous servings of ginger, chicken pieces and wine. Lots of wine. It was an interesting combination of sweet and hmmm...how does one describe alcohol? :-) Eaten with the onion rice and side servings of chopped garlic in soy sauce, it was a very satisfying meal. The meal, priced at RM10 for one person, was worth every cent.

I'm probably going to make it my mission to find the best ginger wine chicken in the Klang valley.

Teck Kee
Jalan Alfa D
Section U6
Subang Permai.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Prawn mee a.k.a. lard noodles - Jalan San Peng

The formation of the Makan Club and our friendship began approximately six months ago with the anticipation of two events - eating char siew at Salak South and eating "lard noodles" at San Peng.

Pretty Pui, Bouncing Barbie and I were initially taken aback when the guys waxed lyrical about lard noodles. Seriously, how can anyone be excited about lard? Lard in this context is crunchy fried pork fat which is used in various chinese dishes like char koay teow, hokkien mee, and in this case, prawn noodles.

Bizzy Bertie and Ecstatic Eeyore described the dish as prawn noodles where half the bowl is filled with lard. Naturally, I wasn't too impressed with the description.

The stall is located at Jalan San Peng, just after the flats and opposite a TM building. There is an open air carpark (which is actually just a vast piece of empty land) across the stall, so parking is not a problem.

A normal bowl of prawn noodles at this stall contains a generous portion of prawns and kangkung (water convolvulus) with noodles of your choice in a thick murky broth of prawn and pork soup. The lard is added according to your preference. This is a picture of Smokin' SOB's bowl of noodles (with a normal serving of lard):

Ecstatic Eeyore's bowl looks like this:

Eeyore normally consumes a pot of chinese tea after eating his noodles in the hopes of washing down the fat and cleansing his system, but who's he trying to kid? :-)

We normally order a plate of steamed chicken together with our noodles. The steamed chicken is served on a bed of crunchy taugeh (bean sprouts) and is drizzled with aromatic sesame oil which adds a smooth texture and enhances the flavour of the chicken.

My initiation took place some time in July 2006. I have since returned to this stall several times.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hup Yick Restaurant - Taste of Foochow - Ginger Wine Chicken

It was a very hot Wednesday afternoon and we decided to drive out for lunch. We had heard about the famous ginger wine chicken in Pudu and were keen to try it even though we had no idea where the restaurant was. Perhaps the heat coupled with our hunger brought out the adventurous side in us.

On an aside, I am now laughing, alone, while writing this as it is highly amusing to think that this is what I would classify as "adventurous". hehe. It must be the age thing.

After some very skillful parking at Jalan Yew, we trudged along the old shoplots, the smells of the market still in the air as workers swept up the debris from the road. Directions were promptly obtained from one of the shopowners.

We are big fans of ginger wine chicken, and we were trembling with excitement at the thought of savoring the dish in a matter of minutes.

Our order of fishballs stuffed with minced meat came first. I felt like I had bitten into a cottony-soft pillow. Our excitement grew.

The mee suah (wheat noodle) in red ginger wine soup arrived. Mee suah has traditionally been the stuff one would eat when sick. Pretty Pui wasn't too excited about the noodles, but was willing to overlook that for the sake of the soup.

I love mee suah, so the entire dish sounded perfect. Served with sliced ginger and black fungus in a thin red wine soup and generous portions of chicken, it looked rather interesting (the soup was red, after all) but nevertheless, appetising.

One mouthful, and the bubble burst.


Hup Yick
No. 30, Jalan Yew
Pudu, 55100 KL

Monday, January 15, 2007

Siu Siu Restaurant, Jln Sungai Besi

I hardly drive along the Sungai Besi road, so when I visited the Technology Park about a week back, I was surprised to see Siu Siu just after the RMAF Air Base. After making the necessary enquiries with my learned friends in the Makan Club, I was informed that this was a branch of Siu Siu Restaurant which I had blogged about in December. Naturally, we had to see if the food was as good as the other restaurant.

We are definitely creatures of habit. We loved the claypot vietnamese seafood curry so much at the other place that we insisted on having the same dish. I must say that I was just as impressed with the seafood curry. It was very creamy and not too spicy - the kind of curry that you can drink from the bowl without finding the taste overpowering. However, I found that it tasted even better with the fragrant white rice that was served to us.

The mixed vegetables consisting of celery, lotus root, lily buds, almond flakes and slivers of brinjal was a bit of a disappointment. We agreed that it was rather bland in flavour.

On the co-owner's recommendation, we tried the Peking Tofu which was tofu blended with egg, water chestnut and fish paste and fried so that it was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It was served with mayonnaise.

We were informed that this branch did not serve the excellent char siew that we had tried at the Syed Putra location as the restaurant was relatively new and did not have as big a clientele as the other restaurant.

The claypot vietnamese seafood curry came up to RM28 while the other two dishes were priced at RM12 each.

The decor in the open-aired restaurant was simple, but the co-owner, Flora Cheong, mentioned that they were in the midst of constructing balinese-style gazebos to enhance the decor.

Siu Siu Restaurant
No.1, Kampong Satu,
Jalan Sungai Besi
57100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 012-233 7880/016-370 8555/016-309 8038

Opening hours: 11.00am - 11.00pm everyday.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Loke Fook Moon Restaurant

Mum turns 60 next week. Since all my siblings were down, we decided to throw her a birthday lunch today. Mum is well-travelled and is exposed to various cuisines, but when it comes to special occasions, she's old-fashioned and only a chinese meal would be good enough for her. Coupled with her various demands when it comes to chinese food, we felt that she would like our choice of restaurant.

We started our meal with the Five Seasons, a dish consisting of five different appetisers. The springrolls were nice and crispy but I found the minced sausage (in the foreground) a little salty. The salted eggs (on the right) was delicious, especially since the flesh had been mixed with fish paste.

We ordered two different types of chicken; fried, with sliced mangoes to give a nice, tangy taste, and steamed.

The pièce de résistance was the roasted suckling pig which we ordered a day earlier. The skin was crispy and done to perfection.

The steamed fish was just okay. The hot and spicy thai sauce that went with it somewhat made it a little more acceptable.

The vegetable dish consisted of celery with tofu.

We ended the meal with sang har meen (fried egg-noodles with prawns). Although it still ranks behind Green View Restaurant in PJ (which, incidentally, I think serves a mean sang har meen), this dish was pretty decent, the gravy rich with the flavours of the prawns.

And since we were celebrating mum's birthday, there had to be a cake! We got this lovely chocolate cheese cake (I think they called it "Pralinosa") from a mom & pop bakery called Australian Confectionary at Jalan Imbi. It was a welcome break from the usual stuff we get from the normal bakery chains in Malaysia. The proprietor, Susan Chan, was very accommodating to my quirks.

Loke Fook Moon Restaurant

No. 29, Lebuh Pulau Pinang, Pusat Perniagaan NBC, Jalan Meru, 41050 Klang

Branch: No. 30-32-34, Lrg Lang, Berkeley Garden, 411050 Klang

Tel: 03-3341 8241, 012-238 9531 (mobile)

Australian Confectionary

No. 74, Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2142 1759

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Disneyland, California

I'm back in Malaysia, but an unknown stomach illness has caused turmoil in my life and prevented me from eating all the lovely nasi lemak, char koay teow and thosai that has been beckoning...calling my name....Lemongrasssssss.....Alas! Until I recover, bear with me as I entertain you with tales of my vacation in the US.

On 1/1/07, we went to Disneyland. I've been to Disneyland before, but the child in me gets the thrills and the shivers, just thinking of meeting Snow White in Fantasyland. I attribute this excitement to The Mickey Mouse Show which I used to watch as a kid (which kinda gives you an idea about which generation I belong to!).

To those who are planning on visiting Disneyland in California, I recommend the 1st of January as it is less crowded due to the large number of people choosing to visit the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena and an equally large number of people choosing to stay at home to watch the Rose Bowl game.
I have a VERY strong aversion to rollercoasters, the level of which gets increasingly higher as I grow older. My first taste of rollercoasters was in 1997 in the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Canada. The mall houses the world's largest indoor triple loop rollercoaster. Having never experienced a rollercoaster before, and seeing the excitement in so many other faces, I decided to go on that ride, alone, in a moment of insanity. After that ride, I swore off rollercoasters.

On my first trip to Disneyland, I must have suffered memory loss, and I accompanied Tim on the Space Mountain ride, a high energy twist and turn ride in blackness and neon coloured surroundings.

The same memory loss affected me again on this trip. When I saw the unbelievably short queue at the Matterhorn, I did the macho thing again and went on that ride. It was fast, but having experienced the triple loop before, I merely closed my eyes and screamed all the way until the ride ended and I walked off on legs of jelly.

The Indiana Jones Adventure ride was as promised; I was thrown around like a raggedy doll on a bumpy jeep. It reminded me of Tim's driving.

Surprisingly, I was beginning to enjoy these thrills.

But when I saw Splash Mountain, I knew it had to end. I wasn't ready for a 52-foot, 45-degree, 40-mile-per-hour plunge. I abandoned Tim.

Not everything was fast-paced. In typical Disney style, a lot of the attractions were cute and creative as displayed by the following photos.

Also, when in Disneyland, don't forget to try the funnel cake.
In the diffused light of twilight, as the sun set, Disneyland turned into a fairyland...

We ended our day in Disneyland by watching the Christmas Parade. We had front-row seats...on the pavement! Only in Disneyland.