Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.
Showing posts with label Food Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food Events. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TheQguides and Best Eats KL Launch

Remember my first ever event? Remember when finally this tham jiak came out from her hiding place? Yes, it was TheQguides first event, where they get to know us the Malaysian food bloggers. Since then it was loads of fun filled activities and truly chowtut events thanks to the lovely trio of TheQguides - Frat, Jek and Lisa! Since then I have to say it was truly a wonderful ride for me and I would also say that I have in fact grown not only in tham jiak wise but in terms of friends as well. There are truly many good people out there, in this case Malaysian food bloggers or lovers that not only share my passion in food but also my penchant for laughter, having good times and just living the life.

7 months since the first getting to know each other session, quite a number of food reviews invited by them and several bookings on for me since then, TheQGuides finally had its official launch! It was held at the TwentyOne Kitchen and Bars and in collaboration with the Best Eats KL book launch as well. That night was a blast, grace by many people from the celebrities to the media and to food bloggers of course, which I hung out with. We were served free flow cocktails and wine plus canapes which I gladly oblige, and yes we the food bloggers did sneak out for a meal down the road, we could not resist, and then rejoin the party for all the fun again!

In short, go now to, sign up if you haven’t and find out all it has to offer and next go out to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of the Best Eats KL, it has all the scoops of what Malaysia culinary has to offer from your neigbourhood coffeeshop to the extreme fine dining!

By the way, at the launch, there was a competition which was a collaboration of both Frat Mustard and Aly who jointly wants to promote the Malaysian F&B scene and guess what, I won first prize! Yes, yours truly tham jiak won first prize and she could not wait to eat her way through it! A big thanks to Frat and Aly!

Photos credit to Frat Mustard (first picture) and Eric Cheong.

Monday, October 05, 2009

One Night With

Once again Frat invited me for a food event (thanks Frat!), this time it is Asian Food Channel (AFC) premiering Chef Daniel Boulud’s documentary - ‘One Night in Singapore’.

I asked Frat that night in between the documentary, “Why is it one night in Singapore, when he is there for so many nights?”

He replied, after a pause, “Good question actually...”

Nevertheless, it was indeed a one night for me with Daniel Boulud, and a good one at that. Good one because I enjoyed meeting up with epicureans and bloggers alike, in fact I even finally, finally met Kenny for the first time (hi Kenny!), which was just awesome. It was also a good one because I thoroughly enjoyed the 1 hour show of Daniel Boulud showdown of “One night in Singapore” and then after that enjoyed a pretty good meal at Neo Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge.

But first who is Daniel Boulud, pardon me if you were to roll you eyes and think “duh, of course I know who is he”, but let me humour you as I have to admit I was not too sure who he is until this premier, and after that he had me, maybe not as much as Jamie, but he indeed had captured my interest to follow more closely to what he has to offer in the future on AFC. Short general bio-data is that he is a Chef-owner of ten-award winning restaurants and Feast & Fetes catering company. Hailing from France, he had expanded his culinary reach internationally, from Las Vegas to Beijing. He had a list of achievements in the culinary world with various awards, and to top it off he had himself authored six books and created his own television series – After Hours with Daniel. With such an impressive background, it was no wondered that AFC invited him for a special production in Singapore and I am glad they did because it indeed had further made Daniel’s presence felt In Southeast Asia, particularly now Malaysia.

Sadly that I do not have Astro at home, but I do enjoy AFC once in a while when I had the chance back in my hometown or at my sister’s place. I have always turn to this channel whenever I am surfing Astro and I would have been satisfied with just this one channel, back in my mind though I asked myself why didn’t we have this back when I had the luxury to enjoy TV. But anyway, kudos to Hian Goh and Maria Brown, managing directors and founders of AFC, for bringing Southeast Asia’s culinary exposure up on notch, it was about time for us as we all know that Southeast Asia boast one of the world’s best cuisine and to say that food is the centre of our daily lives would be an understatement.

So back to my one night with Daniel Boulud, where I had a chance to mingle a little with some Malaysian bloggers while being served with refreshing lemongrass and tamarind drinks, before we were ushered into the room to watch the one-hour long documentary that AFC had worked so hard to produce originally by themselves. It does seem a bit odd for me at first to sit together with a group of people to watch a show that would be on television soon, but after that I was so absorbed in the show; I totally forgot where I was. The documentary was quite exciting to watch, especially towards the end where it leads to the full fledge course that Daniel had worked so hard to prepared, definitely a show worth to catch on AFC if you have the chance.

After the show, we all then continued to mingle outside while we were served with food by Neo. Though there were a few hit and misses, I did actually enjoy my meal in an overall perspective. As they were still relatively new, and was sharing kitchen with their sister Tamarind Hills, I would certainly return again for a slow dinner to truly savour and review the food here, and to see if the atmosphere had improved as at that time it was pretty hot and stuffy. Till then, I shall now look for more chances to catch Daniel Boulud on screen, I believe he has so much more to offer and besides, Hian Goh said that he was truly a man with humility despite his huge achievements, how’s one not to like that?

For more info on Daniel Boulud and what AFC has to offer, check out

All pictures above are courtesy of the talented
Frat Mustard!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feast on Durian Fest

Durian, just mentioning this word makes me tremble inside with excitement. The kind of excitement that I feel I need to share with the world might not yet be understood by all. You see, durian is a kind of fruit that either one loves deeply or loathe completely, that is also if one have first got the chance (or rather many chances) to put one’s feelings to the test. Head over here to Travel Guide Malaysia (which I write for a weekly column on Malaysian food) to further read on what durian is all about in Malaysia, and how my relationship with it has developed over my life.

I have been deprived of this said King of Fruits since last year as I did not had the chance to hunt down for my favourite kind and indulge in them mindlessly. This year I was pretty lucky (ah this tham jiak is getting luckier it seems), as a good friend of mine, LH invited me to gorge on unlimited fresh, and by fresh I meant served directly from an ideal farm where the soil on the hill is fertile and the temperature is just right with enough rainfall, and also a huge variety, and by variety I meant many types of species including D24, D10, Golden Swallow and many more, at none other than Signature Kitchen’s very own Durian Fest! This is their 4th year in organizing such a fest, as it had been extremely well sought after, and why not if it is for durian? This fest is to bring Signature Kitchen’s clienteles, their friends and families together to of course enjoy durian feasting but at same time able to visit the kitchen showroom, which I took the pleasure of too. There I find myself poking around and imagining the kitchen that I would eventually have.

Pictures above courtesy of Signature Kitchen

Upon reaching there with Y, some of our friends are already there enjoying themselves, so I quickly sat down and attack! Then LH went and get even more for us to continue feasting, did I mention that this is like a durian buffet heaven? It is! Besides consuming copious amount of this evil fruit, I ate also copious amounts of the cooling rambutan to balance out the heat from the durian. How thoughtful of the organizers to let us indulge with less guilt. After that, I am still hankering for more soft, goeey and bitter kind of durian that is my all time favourite, so I head on to the booth, where all the butchering of various durians are carried out, choose my tried and tested D24 (which recently I had the chance to try out with J’s family at the infamous SS2 durian area, but mind you we did not go for the buffet but selectively chose this species to indulge in with due pleasure at home), took some pictures for this tham jiak blog, much to the amusement of the amiable durian ‘slayers’, and then head back with the prize possession to my fellow friends. I found that only one of them who shares my love for bitter-alcoholic-fudge-like durian, while Y and L prefer the sweeter kind. Ah, all with their own due of love for durian, I am one happy to devour more of these for myself.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself very much in this durian buffet, thanks again LH, and I am looking forward to Signature Kitchen’s 5th installment of this yearly indulgence. Burp! Excuse me! Now this tham jiak is satiated for the time being for this year’s durian season, and will once again hunt for a fix of this strangely addictive fruit next one, hopefully feasting again in this durian fest.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chow-what? Chowtut!

Chow what? You heard me right, chowTUT! When I first heard of this word I thought, chow as in a meal and tut as in censored where you’re suppose to insert profanities here. So what is there to swear about food? Oh my, trust me, after the chowtut session, you would start swearing too, for being condemned to your chair permanently, or at least for a significant amount of time.

But by the definition of the originators, Integricity employees, here is the real meaning behind Chowtut:

CHOWTUT [chow-tut]
- noun / verb
An excessive dose, especially of food or alcoholic beverage
"Wahhh! Last night I chowtut at Changkat!"
"That fella sleeping la... he chowtut for lunch"
In short according to Frat, it is “The ultimate smorgasbord of orgasmic-tut (real censoring here)-fingerlickin'good-auntieonemoreplate food all in one place... at the same time.”

So the very lucky people of the Integricity, would have a quarterly chowtut on good foods from various, and various is by the meaning of nearly all over Klang Valley, in one place – their office. How is that? Early before the traffic of long Friday lunches are out in our lazy Malaysian afternoon, few designated employees don their sunglasses, zip up their jackets and rev up their super bikes (exaggeration alerted), and zoom off to their respective assignments of various eateries, from nearby Uptown to TTDI to Bangsar and all the way to the heart of KL – Tengkat Tong Shin and also span out to even Batu Caves, just to pack their said important orders and then brace the starting-to-form-traffic back to the office.

After that scene I was stuck. You see, this tham jiak here took for granted that she could reach the food haven in 30 minutes (she forgot it’s a Malaysian Friday!) and so she had to crawl through the traffic, staying cool with promises to self of many good food to come. She was already forming the heart-stopping-artery-clogging spread of food in her mind and boy, when she arrived, she found herself reliving her imaginations, albeit a bit massacred. You see, upon arriving fashionably late of 30 minutes, the wonderful spread has already been butchered to near oblivion, so no acceptable pictures could be captured but fret not (pun intended), her trusted friend Frat shall supply her with drool-worthy pictures, taken by him plus stolen from his friend, Nigel. Without further hesitation, tham jiak threw her belonging away and start digging in, before all there was nothing left!

She bit her tongue, “mmm, where to start”

Somebody whispered behind her ear “you got to get the char siew, it is reaallllyy good, and it is nearly finished!”. A hand from somewhere, just like an angel, points towards the said precious meats. She zoomed right on it and grabbed a few, nearly all but conscience got the better of her, then she bit into the juicy meat and she was at a sudden revelation – the feast had finally begun!

747 Kopitiam (SFS)
Jalan PJU 1/3C,
Sunway Mas Commercial Centre.

Next on her plate was this unassuming looking noodle, but not to be misled by its looks, it was really more-ish kind of tasty! The mee mamak was special in its way, sort of fried with a Chinese flare but in a good way. Then on the other hand there was the undisputable Sang Har Hor Fun, with huge freshwater prawns on top of soupy flat rice noodles, it was as good as it looks, on contrary you can judge this book by its cover! Time to head all the way to Batu Caves for lunch one of these days! Maybe on another long lazy Friday lunch, any takers?

Pan Heong Restoran
No 2, Jln Medan Batu Caves 2,
Batu Caves, Selangor
03-6187 7430
8 am- 3:30pm

While deciding to pour more good stuff onto the plate or not, tham jiak just had to sit down and start devouring first. Then suddenly she saw right in front of her, the golden buttery squid, she just had to poke one and put it into her mouth, and oh my, was it good – crispy then chewy at the same time all creamy and buttery, ah, such bliss. Also from this restaurant that she have blogged before was the fried pork yee mee (egg noodles), which tasted sinfully good, just slightly on bitter side though.

Mama’s Kitchen,
48, Jln Datuk Sulaiman,
TTDI, 60000 KL
03-7729 3030l

Then she saw Jek, who is happily biting on his deep fried chicken, the tham jiak just had to have one too! She had these before, nicely fried with secret (as she cannot name what are they, she just know their good) spices and was glad to have them again in free-flow sort of way. She ate one. Finished everything else, and took another one again. Then she rested, or rather her tummy did, and then she had another one of these. Yes, it was that addictive!

Village Park Restaurant
5, Jalan SS21/37,
Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
7 am to 8pm daily,
7 am to 6 pm on Sunday/Public Holiday

Then finally, she stood up from the remnants of her food on the plate to go get the rest of the soupy goodness. She found a cute orange bowl, thankfully, and heads on to get her fair share of our very own famous Malaysian dish - bak kut teh. Ah, as FBB say, can’t go wrong with this one from Teluk Pulai, and also thanks to boo for going all the way to get it and then even sponsor it! Some say she had just bought a permanent ticket to all future chowtuts at Integricity, I better think of my ticket for the next one, wouldn’t want to miss it!

Last but not least, some sweetness to end a meal (or was it multiple meals in one sitting?), there were doughnuts! Though she would love to have the chocolatey creamy one that Jek ate or rather lap up, those were so popular she was just left with either the plain or the chocolate glaze, she had to go for chocolate, you know her the chocoholic!

Krispy Kreme
Midvalley or Berjaya Times Square

Oh yes, that is Frat with the doughnuts, she suspected he was guarding the chocolatey creamy ones for his master Jek, ah he forgot about her on this one! Maybe this can be an excuse for tham jiak to make him give her a ticket for the next chowtut. Now after having a session of her first chowtut, this tham jiak totally understand now the meaning of “An excessive dose, especially of food or alcoholic beverage” and totally up for the next round of chowtut!

PS: Pictures are courtesy of Frat and Nigel

PPS: Fellow chowtutties (term from lemongrass) blogs on this:
Mr. Cheong
Frat Mustard

Monday, February 23, 2009


Silence at this blog for nearly a month, guess it had been a post-CNY recovery for me, the year had finally started. There is so much to do, so much to see and so much to achieve. I am so looking forward to a wonderful year ahead now.

Before we got into the subject of food again, I would like to talk about something in regards to food, to be more precise, dining out. Earlier on I was invited by for a food bloggers ‘makan’ (eating) session, whereby 16 of us, food bloggers attended. This event was held in Carlsberg’s newly renovated Visitor’s lounge, which I might say at first I was pretty unsure of an event held at a factory site but was immediately stand corrected at the sight of the cool place. This event was able to be held at such a wonderful new place thanks to the collaboration of Carlsberg Marketing Sdn Bhd.

I had arrived really early thanks to the rare no-traffic of Malaysian road scene, which turned out to be real blessing as we all have bottomless, yes drink-all-you-want of Beer, Stout and Shandy to keep us busy while we mingle. The lounge had a uber-cool bar for refilling your said drink. Have I mentioned that the place was so cool? Then we filled ourselves with a delightful spread of Malaysian dinner, so that then we can all settle in to hear the talk without the distraction the thoughts of food.

Jek Tan, the co-founder of, then gave a presentation on what this whole event about – the ‘s project, which is a online table reservation portal. Let me tell you, in summary from Jek, what is so awesome about this reservation portal:
  • Make table reservations online with ease.
  • Get rewarded for dining out.
  • Locate food and restaurants effortlessly.
  • Access to exclusive discounts and promotions.
  • Feature articles and exclusive interviews; just a click away.
  • It is truly INTERACTIVE! Users have the power to review restaurants, submit comments, police and rank content.

Take the above as a short preview of what's table reservation portal has to offer. Just think of how much more convenient it is to be able to make your table reservation online without going through the hassle of calling, where usually there are communication breakdowns like language barriers or noise from the restaurant. Take up your hand if you have times where your bookings that were confirmed on the phone are then met with head-shaking at the restaurant later on after they search through scribbles of handwritten names that don’t seem to be yours. Ah, the frustration, and yes, this portal can save you from that. They are in midst of launching the full-fledged portal soon and yours truly here will be the first to tell you when it is all ready for you to make your reservation. Stay tuned!

So, the night ended with all of us receiving a bag of Carlsberg premiums, Patchi chocolates (can’t help to include the cool Patchi chocolates picture above, we only get one each though – hinting to Jek for more) and a copy of Best Eats KL food guide. This is my first ever appearance in food-blogger events or alike, and I must say I was first excited to the possibility of being a food writer/contributor for them (you all should know by now my passion for both food and writing), which was then later accentuated with the excitement of the portal itself. team’s amazing optimism, passion for good food as well as daring to bring new ideas had amazed me. I wish them all the best in this new venture, and hopefully they and us food bloggers plus you guys, yes my dear readers and food aficionados, can have a truly win-win-win relationship between us, where having a successful reservation portal, food bloggers like me contributing ideas/articles while you guys get all the above mentioned points for reserving online while dining out. How’s that?

Note: All the above photograph is courtesy of’s photographer

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Apples & Thyme: The First Four Years of My Life

Where have I been missing for so long? Happily busy as commented by a new reader of mine? Yea, I would say so. Currently my tasks are getting heavier, where I see myself working later and later but there is one other thing that is making me go crazy, preparing to be a bridesmaid and helping out in my sister’s wedding! Oh boy, now I know that planning for wedding needs so much of an attention. Every little details counts for big things.

Anyway, enough bout me as I am here to tell you a story about an amazing woman. I mentioned about my Lai Ma in my Chinese New Year great feast at her home. I practically spend the first 4 years of my life at her humble home, surrounded with lots of love from her, her husband and her children. There were also chaos and mischief as I had my dear god sister U and her brother as partners in crime.

The story of how Lai Ma became my nanny started like this. My first nanny was not her, but another lady somewhere in Aulong (a suburb of Taiping) and at that time I was about few months old. My mum had to send me to a nanny because she was working and could not take care of me full time. So one fine day, my Pho Pho(grandma) decided to give me a visit, and took a cab to Aulong. She found me at the hall, crying pitifully, desperate for a nappy change and yet with no one attending to me. As she reminisced to me, she found the nanny happily cooking in the kitchen seemingly unaware of my predicament. That was enough for Pho Pho where she called up my mum immediately, and with a recommendation from a distant relative, my mum drove right over after work, pick me up and drove me straight to my Lai Ma’s house. That was how Lai Pa described, where I came in my mum’s car late in the evening, in need of love and attention right into their home that was never deprived of those. And so begin my years of growing up there.

I would say it had been the shaping years of my life, trust me we children do absorb everything like sponge during the first 5 years of our lives from family and people surrounding us. So environment counts and lucky for me, it was a great one. After that it is the school, the teacher and then to friends. So if you had just turned into a mum or are expecting, remember this, the next 5 years is the time you take to shape your child. Anyway, not to divert, so my Lai Ma, her husband and her three children (all in their teens then) had shaped me in many ways. When I finally move back permanently with my family, I somehow felt I was different, albeit a bit on the stubborn and naughtier side due to fact that I was exposed to peers other than your own siblings, so I was somehow the stronger and mischievous one in school, but that would be another story.

Quite a pity though as when I was young, I was a rascal who refused to eat. All I want to do was play, play and just play. So when it comes to meal time, it was either wham bam thank you ma’am and then rush off to continue whatever game that we were in, or it would be a long torturous road of trying to cheat me into finishing my meal. This was how un-tham jiak I was when I was young. Maybe I did not know how to appreciate food then, which I make up real well now, I hope. I even shied away from Malaysia’s king of fruit, the durian when I was young and no amounts of coaxing or brain-washing can make me eat it. This was another real pity thing as my Lai Pa goes to an estate all the time, to hunt wild boars (yes, hunting with big long guns that you would only see in the movies) and also harvest many wonderful fresh local fruits, and one that always came back fresh from falling off the tree is the durian.

So now I am all grown up, appreciating food in its myriad of tastes, smells and textures, that I see how much I have missed then, oh and yea, I do eat durian now and enjoy it very much. Funny how much one’s taste can change so much as they grew up. My Lai Ma’s cooking was superb, sadly that I realized this so much later, but still not too late fortunately. I also learnt that she was an excellent baker only after I had left Taiping for studies, where her husband and children had once bought her a huge mixer (maybe it was smallest at that time), that lasted her for more than 20 years until now, where in occasions I got to use to bake a few cakes with her and even made my first virgin cheesecake at her place, her acclaimed best recipe from those who had tried. It was a really cool stand mixer, like a KitchenAid of that time, where I believed I would have dream and wish for it then like how I wish for KitchenAid now.

From the recent Chinese New Year (the most celebrated occasion for the Chinese every year is still vividly fresh in my mind), I had managed to learn one of her ‘secret’ recipe, the young papaya pickle. It is thinly sliced young papaya soaked in Chinese rice vinegar, sugar and sliced chillies, in glass containers, which can last for ages but it never does, not in my household anyway. I was lucky last year when once during a visit to her house, she had just made a big batch, soaking in few glass containers of various sorts such as jam jar, taucu jar (her favourite) and other sauces jar, just like how we Chinese like to keep these containers/bottles/boxes for ‘just in case’s, which this time, rarely I might say, was really put to good use. She even reminded me to bring back the container the next time I come back so that it can be reuse for more pickled papayas! So, this year when I visit her again, I casually mentioned that I had brought back the containers for her (proudly as I was really famous for forgetfulness, especially in her household of really keen and responsible people), and she was indeed surprised and happy. Then I also casually mentioned that I simply looove those pickled papayas, where I polished off in just a week and had been yearning for more since then. She perk up immediately to know I enjoy it so much and offered immediatly “it is so very easy to make, let me make a batch for you to bring back tomorrow!” I was thrilled yet worried as my plan was to go back with my cousin was right after breakfast, which she waved off as no problem as she said it can be done in a jiffy.

Come the next day, my mum fetched me to Lai Ma’s house early in the morning before meeting my cousin for breakfast to pick up my precious pickled papayas. My mum was also very intrigued and want to give it a try, which later I passed one jar to her (later claimed by her to be excellent) and took two jar back home to PJ. Yes, my dear Lai Ma had made a huge batch for me, where she had skipped her daily morning walk that day just to get to the market early to buy papaya, come back and then slice and soak them just in time for me to pick up before I leave. I felt so loved, people say food is the way to a man’s heart, for me that is the way to a child’s heart, yes I am still very much a child to her, for me at least, and for all time to come I’m sure.

Young Papaya Pickle

When I asked my Lai Ma how do I know how to pick an unripe papaya that is just right for this pickle, my Lai Pa was right there listening, and as I said that he was a wise food enthusiast too, he told me straight away “when you just see a tiny hint/streak of yellow on a green papaya, then that papaya is just right for pickling”. See, I told you my Lai Pa was a wise food enthusiast (and also in many other areas of life, I’m compelled to add), he gave me such an easy and fool-proof method to my pickling journey! The recipe below is more of an estimation as it really depends how much papaya slices you can get from your papaya, how strong your rice vinegar is, and how sweet and spicy you want it to be, so follow it as a guideline and then taste as you go on.

Green with a hint/streak of yellow papaya (sliced thinly)
Chinese Rice vinegar
Red chillies (sliced in inches)

Put the sliced papaya into a jar (from your stashed of ‘just in case’ glass containers)
Pour in rice vinegar to 3 quarter full (do not add to full as the papaya will produce more water as it pickle)
Put in sugar to taste, stir in each addition and continue tasting to just right
Throw in few slices of chillies (as many as you like, but for mine I saw bout 1-2 chilly for a jar)
From time to time, give it a turn around (i.e. spoon bottom to top and vice versa so that all the papayas could get to soak), with a really clean dry spoon.
After a while all the papaya will be happily soaking in rice vinegar and its own juices, so then onwards you can keep as long as you want, just remember to take out with clean spoon every time. (Psst, sometimes I dip in with my fingers when I could not resist but no worries, mine do not need to be stored for long anyway).

P/S: I am submitting this entry to Apples & Thymes to celebrate my Lai Ma, just like a mother to me and a mother to her lovely children, and how she play a big part in my life and my love for food.

Update: The lovely round-up of Apples & Thyme can be found at Mele Cotte.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best of 2007

When I first read this event from One Hot Stove, I was like “wow, what a great idea!” Ecstatically I click to my own blog to review it for the year 2007. To my own disappointment though, I found Ithat I was actually a bad blogger of 2007, for the first half of the year I was practically missing in action, with just an occasional post as if to revive a dying blog. Then I started to pick up the momentum again for the last half year, with me resoluting recently to be once again active in the food blogging scene. Anyway with just the half year efforts of postings, and very little cooking, I will try to give you the bests of my blog in 2007, with more to look forward to in the New Year to come.

Best Recipe attempted in 2007

Banana Fro-yo
A delightful healthy treat that I have churned out many times every since
my first try, taking advantage of our local sweet bananas that are crazily cheap when they are at the ripest blackened time, which also meant the sweetest and softest time, best for churning to make Banana Frozen Yoghurt.

Best Restaurant discovered in 2007

Grandma’s Kitchen

J and I have been back there for numerous times when we hanker for some authentic home cooking fares. Never failed with many of the dishes we tried, maybe time for a second review when I had tried more new dishes.

Best Dish encountered in 2007

Som Tum

I have nearly expressed all my love for this dish in
my love letter, what more can I say about this sweet yet tangy delectable salad that had me looking out for it every time I am in Bangkok.

Best Idea thought of in 2007
Malaysian Floggers Interviews

The idea struck me one day out of nowhere that it would be great fun for me to interview the bloggers behind the scene of various great Malaysian food blogs out there. There are many more to come in 2008, as now Malaysian food bloggers are popping up like mushrooms after the rain, therefore they would certainly be interested in so many of our
seasoned food bloggers that had been around for years.

Best Place traveled in 2007


Alright, this one seem to be a bit cheating as it seems to be the only place I traveled that I blogged about but what who am I to resist, it was certainly a land of good food, great affordable massages and cheap yet trendy clothes. It was also
testified by many food bloggers out there.

Best Celebration and Gift for a tham jiak in 2007

My Birthday

It has to be definitely my birthday celebration where J had brought me to a buffet of delectable spread of food, food and more food. I wish it is my birthday again, but then again, we all do not need a reason to splurge once a while on food right (hinting to J)?

Cooking and eating resolutions for 2008
These resolutions would seem like the most
overused and over committed resolutions of this blog, just like the resolution to lose weight by so many people of this world, year after year. But somehow, we can’t run away from our unfulfilled resolutions, it will haunt us till we finally make it, therefore along with the crowd of just-human, I resolute to once again do more cooking and baking; try to eat in more often on my own home cook fares, make more delicious and healthy desserts for breakfasts or munchies, bake cakes for my family, 1984 and friends for their birthdays, start again on my abandoned ‘Exploring My Origin' project, venture out to try more of the food that Malaysia have to offer, travel to more places to eat what the locals eat and most of all, to put it all into this humble tham jiak blog of mine to share with everyone in the food blogosphere, where without you all, I would not have learn so much on cooking, baking and enjoying food to its fullest! In other words, I am aiming to be more tham jiak in the coming year, he-he.

Till then, see you next year and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apples & Thyme

I have many times told stories on my grandmothers, have I not? What about my grandfathers? Sadly I do not have much time with them as they both passed on when I was less than 5 years old. But anyhow, when it comes to food, especially in our Asian culture, it is almost mostly about our grandmothers. It would be them toiling away in the kitchen day in day out just to feed the family and as well as their dear husbands.

It had been a long time since I last join a food event, but this time it got me out of my cold storage box again, just because the theme really got me at my heart. This event is about, quoting african vanielje, celebrations of mothers and grandmothers and time spent with them in the kitchen, in dedication to Jeni’s mother. Apples and Thymes, it seems like the perfect name for the theme today, though I cannot explain why.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would have read bout my stories about my Ah Ma (grandmother) in so many occasions. For Ah Ma, the ever diligent wife, mother and grandmother, the always seeking of self improvement, the only bind now to our big family tree, the reason we all should appreciate and celebrate life and the ties to our roots back to China itself. I bet these reasons are truly strong enough for a celebration, a big one at date. So let’s toast to my Ah Ma and all the mothers and grandmothers in the world. You all somehow make this world a better place.

Looking back, it seems that I did not spend enough time with my Ah ma in my earlier days. What a shame, I certainly could have learned a lot. It was not until I went to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, to study and now to work, that I learn what I have all these while been taking for granted – real food laboured with real love. Maybe it is also our Asian way of life, where kids are not allowed to play in the kitchen; too dangerous, too troublesome, going to cut self with knife, breakables would be broken, edibles made inedible and the list would go on. That is how then, this little Chinese kid got left out of her Ah Ma’s kitchen, much to her lament.

But I remember the festivals, the time where we (kids) just might have the reason, or rather the chance to help out in the kitchen. I remember once, during Tanglung (Lantern) festival, I don’t know why this event was etched firmly in my memory where I can picture it vividly in my mind, where my sister and I walked into the kitchen where there were hundreds of mini Tong Yuens (glutinuous rice dumplings balls) in plethora of pinks, whites, greens and yellows in a huge metal tray. Ah Ma’s version of Tong Yuen is more of the north Malaysia style, small and plain with no fillings. My sister and I would eagerly help to shape the balls. I still remember Ah Ma saying, “Aiya, not like that, one big one small. Aiya, not round enough, let me show you”. She then will show her spectacular skill of rolling Tong Yuen into a round ball at the right size at amazing speed, due to years of making of thousands of them. Although she would try her best to advise us, we end up with Tong Yuens of various sizes and some oval, some round, some flat. In the end, she would still smile, praise us for our help and then throw it all in boil and then add into the prepared sweet ginger soup. I found a video here at Malaysia Best, where there are two little boys helping out with making Tong Yuen.

Anyhow, after I went to the big world out there, I do also always try to return to my little hometown, where every time I would bombard my Ah Ma with various questions on how she make this or that dish. Just like every cook, especially the ones who enjoy it, she would go into a long and detail description from picking of the right vegetables to the right cut of meat, then to right preparations and the many seasonings up to the right way of cooking and down to the right time itself. I would sit there fixated, nodding occasionally and try to absorb everything. Sometimes when the list got too long, I might whip out my PDA or a paper to note things down. When I got home again, I would try to replicate some of dishes that I learned, mostly a success as Chinese cooking when once you understand its basics and have spent years in eating them, you can easily make it, but mostly it is never up to par to Ah Ma. Maybe in the future, after years of practice, I might make it as good as her.

Although there were many of her dishes that I loved, there was one dish that I hold really dearly to my heart personally. This one dish that I always beg her to make is ho lan shu chu yok (stir fry potato and pork in dark soy sauce). Whenever she cooks this dish is I would be eating and eating it way after I finish off my rice. I would have to pry myself from the table in risk of finishing it before anyone else can have the chance to eat it. Then, after a while off, I would then pester her again, “Ah Ma, when are you going to cook potato chu yok (this mixed term was coined since I was really young) again?”. She would then just smile and ask if I am ever bored at it, which I would shook my head vigorously. Even after long gone from home and back again, I once again request for this comfort dish of mine. I am so excited when we finally cook it together in her kitchen; after all I am not a kid anymore right, where I would be more of a help than a nuisance, then again, arming with camera in hand, I do seem worst off, but a food blogger got to do, what she got to do – shoot!

There would be no recipe this time, as I was busy shooting the video which I use to submit to a contest (which I did not win), so I did not note down the details of the recipe. I would not want to put in estimations here of it, as I want this perfect dish to be replicated successfully in another grandmother or mother’s kitchen, to serve a really happy kid, so I would put it up once I have it. Anyway, I hope you had enjoyed this short video of mine, if you have watched carefully, you might have catch a glimpse of my Ah Ma :)
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