Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bitter Come Back

Psst, has it been more than a month? Oh it is? Oh gosh, what excuse do would I have this time? What, none that could be sufficient you say? What bout it is the holidays? No? What bout it is the Olympic times? No? What bout it is my birthday? Phew, so that is reason enough? I nearly thought it would not and that would have greatly disappointed me.

So yeah, it’s the time of the year again, where as I mentioned just last year, would be time where families and friends get together with me to catch up and help me say good bye to tears and happiness of the past year and hello to more life to come. I have so much up my sleeves, life to live, goals to achieve and dreams to chase. First I have to have it all planned. Time and life seem to slip past me in tiptoes.

Recently J and I had finally ventured out again to a new eatery which we meant to try everytime we drove pass it but never did. Yes it is so near to where we live and besides, the name of the shop is does pick on one’s curiosity. It is called ‘Fu Kua Restaurant’ which means ‘Bittergourd Restaurant’ and yes, the notorious bitter vegetable that half the population love and the other loathe.


I still remember well on how my love affair with fu kua (bittergourd) started. Once my Ah Ma learnt this new dish, fried egg with bittergourd (chow fu kua tan) from a relative, she started to make it frequently whenever she got her hands on fu kua. It is like the style of your regular omelettewith onions, but sans onions and with fu kua sliced really thin (and amazingly uniformed,
if you know my Ah Ma). I. Hated. It. Yes, I did. First I shunned away from the dish entirely, then out of tham jiak-ness, I tore out bits and parts of the egg that are not attached to fu kua and eat it. Then next time when this dish came on the menu again, I did the same, where soon I started to tear of eggs that have some fu kua bits stuck to it and eventually I started to eat the fu kua with the egg. What happen? Well let’s just say I have eased myself into eating fu kua with egg. From then on, there was no turning back. I started even to eat other fu kua dishes and have ever since asked myself why have I deprived myself for so long. Of course up till now, my absolute favourite fu kua dish was still my Ah Ma’s fu kua tan, which sadly I cannot find anywhere else; maybe I should try replicating it.

Anyway, back to the fu kua restaurant. Guess what? Since the first time we tried this restaurant, it had been a love at first meal, and we have been back for four times, yes four, in the past few weeks. Why? This is because the food is yummy, and not to mention healthy and the services is quick and attentive. On all occasions they have not fail to deliver as expected. Oh ya, and the prices are reasonable too for its portions. Even J, the ever food and service critic, has given a thumb up to this place, now that is rare. It had became one of our we-will-definitely-come-back place. How can I not blog about it then? So to follow would be the galore of fu kua dishes for you from all of our occasions eating there.

This dish is our must have where we ordered at every occasion we are there, the fu kua tong (bittergourd soup). It comes with thin slices of fu kua (yes, uniformed and I am that detail) and pork slices, pork meatballs, chicken slices, ginger slices and tomatoes. I also taste that the soup base does have dried ikan bilis (anchovies).


Then the next dish was chow fu kua with taucu yu. It is a popular way that fu kua is prepared, where usually with chicken, but this one is with fish slices. Yummy as its counter part but with an extra bonus of soft meat.


We had also once ordered pork feet fu kua and was surprised by it. It is your usual stewed pork feet but this one added with the ubiquitous taucu to go with your huge slices of fu kua. Something different but I would not say the best. But beware, this one came in quite a huge portion, even when we ordered only for two.


I also could not resist ordering fu kua tan on the first occasion, but was slightly disappointed as it was not prepared my Ah Ma’s omelette style which I had been hoping for. Nevertheless, it was also good the way it is, if not better.


Then besides having meal with rice, they also have fried noodles dishes with yes, fu kua even! So we had tried both their fried tong fun (a kind of rice noodle) with fu kua and I would say it’s the usual dried style, just that it had been added with fu kua as ingredient.


But the other noodle which we had tried, fried kuey teow with fu kua and taucu was definitely different from your usual kon chao hor (fried kuey teow wet style). It was yummy and worth a try.


Before you start thinking that this restuarant has only all things fu kua, you are wrong. They do have many other Chinese dishes that does not have fu kua, some seem pretty interesting as well, so we did try a few. One which is new to us but surprisingly crunchy and delicious was the ham yu chao kai (fried chicken with salted fish). It came with chicken fried in salted fish batter and curry leaves, thus have the chicken with salty and deliciously crispy skins. A must try if you want something other than fu kua.


There was also once we ordered their chiu pai tau fu (house brand tofu) which was actually your usual block of local tofu but this version is fried and then top with minced pork sauce.


Oh yea, to end the meal, you just must have the fu kua drink. Yes I said fu kua drink. I ordered the first time anxiously and was surprisingly blown off by the taste. Its amazing. But do remember to first stir the honey at the bottom thoroughly to mix with your fu kua before drinking else it would be bitterly tasteless (if there is such thing). there is also a dried sour plum inside with the drink. It is a really special concoction that has me ordering every time I’m there.


Go on and be adventurous, and try this fu kua restaurant. Even a friend of mine, who was not that into fu kua, told me she found the dishes here to her liking. The place here prepared the fu kua in style that is not really bitter, most likely they have it soaked several times as how my Ah Ma had told me she does to take away some bitterness.

So there you have it, a seriously bitter post which is actually about something really delicious

Fu Kua Restaurant
Unit 19,
Jalan SS23/15,
Taman S.E.A.,
47400, Petaling Jaya
11am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 11pm
N3 06.931 E101 36.748


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