Archive for October, 2010

Chicken Rice @ Fang Yuen芳園

 Due to time constraint , we couldn’t venture far from the hotel and so decide to walk across the street to Fang Yuen for chicken rice. FY occupy 2 shoplots and the place was packed, I was amazed ( and as usual, hungry)!

The Charsiu ( roasted meat) was good, they were sliced very thickly and the taste was a bit milder than the KL version. The meat was juicy and tender, lovely char siu

I found the chicken to be ok la..average , nothing to shout about

I like the rice – good ayam stock aroma.  The interesting part was the sauce – there were three choices of dip : chili paste ( the usual chicken rice chili) , thick soy sauce and sample belacan.

And apart from the 3 above mentioned sauce, FY also has curry gravy to go with your chicken rice, this was like curry powder-ish Indian curry, I don’t know about you, but curry and chicken rice doesn’t do it for me lah. The other bowl was the soup

While I was drafting this post, checked out some blogs on FY and some proclaim FY the honour of the being the best chicken rice in Kuching

 location :  Opposite Hock Lee Centre, Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim 93450 Kuching,

 

Laksa and teh si @ Chong Choon Cafe (泉春茶室)
My mantra during traveling is – when there is chance to eat, eat as much as you can since you don’t know when the next meal will take place ( and the same goes for fluid adjustment ( visiting the loo), wise ? or maybe it’s just me, being greedy.

 Had breakfast at the hotel, nothing great lah and when Mr Kuching Host picked us up, the first thing my colleague said to him when we got into his car was  ‘ got time for laksa ah ?’ $%$#@*<@$#@ cehhhhhh ! why didn’t tell me this plan worr ? no wonder la he didn’t eat that much of breakfast and there I was,  stuffing my face with  bone dry toasted bread  and tasteless kaya.

Mr Host mentioned that the teh-si is not bad, so I ordered that and my collegue had iced teh si ais, while Mr Host had his coffee

All 3 of us ordered laksa ( although there are other noodles and kuihs stalls inside Chong Choon too) and hmmm….this was good la. I am not sure what they put in Sarawak laksa, I just can’t place that fragrant …I tried to find the recipe on the www and most of the blogs mention the use of ready made laksa paste – aiya..itu cheating lah ! the laksa came with fresh prawns, chicken shreds  and bean sprouts. RM3.50/bowl. That aside, I think I am still more partial to Penang laksa and of course the Kelantan laksam which is heavenly  …

Location : Abell Road , 93100 Kuching

 

Kampua @亨記茶室Next Coffee Shop

 Mr Host asked me what would I like for lunch. The reply — Kampua ! we drove to the older part of Kuching town, parking was atrocious, we circled the area twice and finally found a place and still had to walk about 10 minutes to Bishopgate Street  for Kampua.

 The coffee shop was not that big and the tables were pretty cramped to maximized the space and horrr…Just that you get an idea of the time frame  : we had to wait for almost 20 minutes to get a table ( self service- you find your own table )  And horrr…only 20 minutes after that someone came and took our order ( don’t ever ever be a kaypor ( busybody) and place your order if you are not asked- when it’s your your turn – they will approach you and not the other way around )  ..and horrrr…only half an hour later the food came..

 We had to share our table with another diner , since there was nothing to do while we wait – apart from sweating like a pig ( and worse :  a famished pig ) – Mr Uncle -Diner-sharing –our- table – who is a regular and seemed to know this Kampua family- told us the story of the family and also that – if you can’t wait  – don’t eat here , if you have a meeting  in an hours’ time – don’t eat here , spare about 2 hours – including time to look for a parking space – if you plan to eat here..Gulp….wahh..like that also can ?

Business was really good, non stop one lerr, before you get out of your chair, somebody is already wanting to take your seat . And then – before  it was our turn,  they run out of  noodles! and the substitute : mee pok ( another type of noodles) , was offered.

Finalllyy……the food arrived.

I quite like the noodles and could be happy with just the noodles and the minced meat that came with it and the white sauce. what was in the soup ? –liver, intestine , kidney and meat, plus slices of fish paste and fish balls. The soup was sweet and the organs were fresh and tasty – the intestine was floury and soft , fish balls were springy and tasty. Worth the wait ? ok la..i guess..

 The bill  : 2 bowls of noodles + 3 bowls of soup plus 3 drinks came to RM23.50

Comments : I was really thirsty after the meal – which seemed to say  that there is MSG in the meal

 Location : Bishopgate Street

Thus end my eating adventure in Sarawak – after this trip – i realised that Sarawak food also boleh tahan lahh..and Yes lah..i didn’t just eat , i got some work done too !

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Mr & Mrs Host picked us up from the hotel at 7 pm , throughout the drive, the conversation was dominated by my colleague ( C) who was a bit pi**ed  of being called Ah Pek ( a term reserved for an older uncle) by Mr Host’s colleague,  and that he will retaliate by calling her ‘Ah Phor’ ( grandmother ) when he sees her – and I thought only the women folks are sensitive to things like that – e.g scenario at the market place where –they might not buying vegetables from the seller that called them Auntie but prefer to buy them from someone that call them ‘ Leng Leng ‘ (pretty miss )

 It was about a 30 minutes drive , we traveled from big roads with traffic lights, to smaller roads without any street lamps  flanked by mengkuang ‘forests’ and later come to  a narrow road passing through a malay village and then we reached the end of the road- and any further we would be in the sea lah.Mr and Mrs Host are regulars at Lim Yong Kee , they come here to eat and also to buy seafood. So, we left it to them to select the menu.

First up- Balitong with vermicelli – the balitong ( a kind of shellfish , aka bamboo clam , the English term was rather apt although a bit too descriptive – something to do with the private part of the monkey, go figure )  were medium sized- which was a good size as then they wouldn’t be tough, this was steamed with shreds of ginger and garnished with parsley and chilies , the vermicelli was full of flavour as these had soaked up the sweetness from the steamed balitong plus the seasoning  .. 

Next up : Ikan India ( Mr Host had actually used a rather non 1Malaysia term)  stir fried with dried chili and onion. The fish was meaty and fresh ( fresh seemed like a no-brainer term here ) and the combination of the flavour  was superb- lemongrass, finely shredded ginger, onion, parsley, dried chili, black pepper ,  plus seasoning , Yumyum

 

While we were digging into the Bollywood fish, we saw a fisherman coming from the jetty heading towards the kitchen ,  holding a very big fish , Mr Host quickly consulted his wife and then shot up from his seat and headed towards the kitchen and came back to our table with a big grin on his face ‘ I cancelled the ‘tau dei chong’ ( pomfret), and replaced with the fishhead of that big fish ’.

 Steamed prawns – when the seafood are fresh, you would probably want to enjoy them in their pure form without any adulterations. Ah..need I say that the prawns are very fresh, sweet, firm and crunchy, I stopped at 3 but was  told that : eating deep sea prawns will not increase my cholesterol level as they contain lower cholesterol levels than prawns caught at the shallow area, and that beer can wash away cholesterol. Got this sort of theory mehh ? sounds like those Internet hoax that tell you that I am the sole survivor of civil war in Africa and have access to a few billions worth of cash that I will part with if you help me blah blah blah…anyway, just in case they were right- I had another 3 prawns

Steamed fish head – this was the catch that we saw earlier, the stand-in for Mr Pomfret . the fish was steamed with ginger shreds, mushrooms, pickled vegetable ( kiam chye) and garnished with parsley! Mr Host said the fish was  called Ngor-fish, which he thinks is = ikan kurau . I mentioned before ( somewhere, some old post) – I am not a fish person , but even for a non-fish person – this was a really really wonderful fish, it was all a person could ask for from a fish ( actually, I am not too sure about this, since I don’t speak their lingo I hadn’t ask anything from a fish before) . Mr Host dug into the fish eye socket and plunked the gooey slimey extract on my plate , I dutifully scooped it up and slurp it , smooth and gooey as expected..euuuuu…wasted on me. i guess..

 

Fish belly and liver- Mrs Host say that today was a lucky day and even for them as regulars, it is not often that they get to eat the fish belly as only big fish would have these belly – when dried – these are called fish maw, do we call them fish maw when they are fresh ?  The cooking style was similar to that of the earlier Indian fish. Fish belly had a chewy, crunchy , elastically kinda texture – interesting. The fish liver was very rich and the texture was kinda like chicken liver except that it was finer and doesn’t have that sandy grain –kinda like agar-agar. Taste wise, it was a fishier version of chicken liver.

 

I couldn’t move … too much food… Superb meal !!

 Lim Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant

Muara Tebas, Kuching

( next to the  Kuan Im temple ( Goddess of Mercy temple)

I had 1 hour to kill before dinner , and decide to take a quick walk down the road, passing the huge Sibu market , medicine halls , kopitiam, groceries, mini market etc etc –  my destination ?  the Tua Pek Kong Temple.

The temple with it’s 7 storey pagoda is one of Sibu’s landmark.

 

The two intimidating looking  door guardians

  

 The elaborate altar inside the temple

 

I do not know who Tua Pek Kong ( TPK)  is or  the history /story behind the TPK , decide to do a web search.From http://www.huayan.net.my/news.php?id=49&sid=62d8e95c0a8b82e20a883ea0eb2d6059 , i learn a bit about the TPK, following is my humble attempt at telling the story :

Long long time ago, three friends from China went to sea to search for a better life and ended up in Penang , they were said to have landed in Penang 40 years before Sir Francis Light.  Their names were Zhang Li (张理) , Chew Chow Siang (丘兆祥) and Ma Fook Chun (马福春), Zhang was the eldest and was probably  a teacher in China, the other two were ironsmith and coal something (煅炭 – I don’t know what this is, anyone can help ?) respectively , but as they landed on a forsaken island, naturally they became fishermen.

These three friends gathered occasionally and are as close as brothers. One day Chew and Ma  found that  they hadn’t seen Zhang for few days  and when searching for him. They later found his body by the stone cliffs, they gave Zhang a proper burial beside the cliff. Many years later, Chew and Ma died , by this time the population of the island had increased and Chew and Ma kampong folks, buried them beside Zhang. On this isolated  island, there were no religion or temples  to seek refuge from , out of respect the people started to pray to the three brothers and seek their protection.

 Close up of the statue of the Tua Pek Kong at the altar

 

An interesting looking incense holder

 

 Lanterns bearing names of devotees and what they wished for ( usually it’s  good health, prosperity and peace) – hanging at the entrance of the temple

 

The TPK temple faced the Rejang River, a picturesque walkway where anglers gather

i didn’t have much time to explore  further and unwillingly head back to the hotel ( for a quick bath before dinner)