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 Guest Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gypsies Seafood Fare

Finally, my guest blogger is back in action! Some of you might still remember her from reviews from up north in Penang, as well as the few food hunts I had with her. So as we know that now she is in KL, it seems this time she brought a food review all the way from East Malaysia. Let’s see what she brings for us:

I was in East Malaysia for my wonderful year end holidays. As shocking as I am trying to comprehend it myself, it was my third time there this year. 2007 had certainly been an eventful year for me – to graduate, start working and learning to live on my own while assuming bigger responsibilities.

Anyway, it’s about time I write this post for Tham Jiak as it has certainly been awhile. I owe this post to my good friend, rokh, whom I constantly recount my interesting eating experiences with, but never blog about, because of the absence of my camera. Now that it is back with me, I hope to get back to the active blogging cycle again.

If you have been to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, you would probably have trawled the Filipino market, also known as Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market. Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, right across Sinsuran Complex, it is renowned for fresh, baked seafood. Anyone whose palate waters up upon the sight of fresh and baked, humongous seafood will be an instant convert when you are here.

This is probably my favourite place to have dinner whenever I am in KK. The Filipino market sells everything from handicraft to food, and by sundown, locals and tourists will have a variety of food to have for dinner.

Locals usually come here for the cheap seafood fanfare if compared to Chinese seafood restaurants. Walk further into the market and you will see make shift stalls lined up with tables and stools at the side for dine-in patrons. Inspect closer and you will notice that each stall serves an almost homogenous menu. Though that may be the situation, some stalls may have an extra item compared to the next, so do observe. A seafood fan will go berserk to see the variety of fishes, prawn, crab and squid that are lightly baked and marinated with sambal because I do whenever I am there!

All you have to do is choose the seafood that tempts you well and the vendors will proceed to re-bake them before serving them to you. Opt to have your seafood with white rice or on their own, either way, it’s an experience to savour.

My dining experience at the Filipino market stretched an extra mile when I was with my company. Like they say, eat like the locals when you are with the locals. My company who has ¼ Filipino blood in him explained that, he comes from a family lineage of sea gypsies. Living in the sea fine-tuned seafarer resourcefulness. Thus, anything edible is a gem.

It is the original sea gypsies’ recipe to have rumpai laut with baked seafood. He shows me plastic containers stacked on the tables containing ingredients I have never seen in my life. There are slimy seaweeds, one type, yellowish, the other, dark green seaweed on stalks with round buds for leaves. Both are known only as rumpai laut (seaweed), the locals treat them like vegetables to their meal but not before, a little D-I-Y mixing.

So how should you do it?

Squeeze one or two limes, shred some cili padi and pour some soy sauce in accordance to your preference, and this will be the add-ons to your concoction of seaweed. You can also choose to add on fresh/uncooked ikan bilis marinated with lime.

The baked seafood, though garnished with an aromatic blend of chilli, onions and garlic, may not necessarily exude enough taste like how it looks. So, you have them alongside your D-I-Y concoction for extra flavouring!

My weakness for seafood, particularly squid is satisfied here but most of the time, the serving is so incredibly huge, I can never finish them. Nevertheless, I find myself, wanting to go back, whenever I want to have seafood.

So, don’t miss out the Filipino market when you are in KK and do try to eat like the gypsies!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guest Post by L: Delicioso

This is another guest post from my dearest friend, which I would use as an escape for me from my own proper posting. Enjoy again on Penang food fare, but this time something of a hole in a wall, hidden even from most Penangites. It is no hawker food, but once in a while, even the most hawker food lover needs a break for some fresh style. Now let us see what L has brought us.

What’s with Mexican food? For one, I loved it to bits. And second, there’s never a joint here for Mexican till recently. Or at least, just recently, I found it. Penang isn’t just about the finding food at the usual places; it is the “Hole in the Wall” thing that appeals more to me.

So, it was a gloomy evening as my friend and I made our way on foot from Upper Penang Road to Little India. I love Little India as well. I will try blog about it in the near future as there are unanimously good banana leaf restaurants there.

As we sneaked our way through Chulia Street, we passed the Blue Diamond Inn – a backpackers place and one which serves Western and Mexican food! This isn’t the usual restaurant one would stop by for a meal, at least for me. It looks shady and ‘questionable’ but the sight of a Mexican food sign nailed outside the Inn is enough to convince us to stop by after our ‘trip’ to India.

The place was mostly young tourist lads. I wanted fajitas as I love anything with tortillas but *Pedro, a bandana clad moustache dude told me there was none. So I parted with the beef enchilada while my friend ordered chicken quesadilla.

I’m just kidding. The cook, *Pedro is obviously nicknamed by my friend and I. Heck, his picture is even on the Mexican food menu. Check that out if you are ever there. We wanted to believe that *Pedro was a runaway from Mexico after he accidentally murdered someone there. So with a glimpse a better future here, he opened his Mexican food joint here in Penang.

When he brought us our food, my friend asked if he’s from Mexico. All he did was looked at us and shook his head with cold gleaming eyes. Alright, he is obviously Malaysian who is pissed all the time. But hell, he cooks really good Mexican food.

My Beef enchilada is the best I ever had. The portion is huge. With minced beef, button mushrooms cooked in lots of spices wrapped with warm tortillas, I was struggling to finish it up. It was really delicious.

While it was the first time I tasted quesadilla, I loved it as well. Sandwiched between crisped, toasted tortillas are bits of chicken sautéed with tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce and cheese, topped with some chili sauce, it was spicy

Hey, this is probably the second to best authentic Mexican food ever here in Penang and given that *Pedro is Malaysian, he must had known what us Malaysian folks like – spicy food!

Then, it rained in between our meals. The heavy downpour ‘blessed’ our seats but we were too reluctant to move, indulging in our food. While we were dining, an older gentleman began serenading us with his ‘Kapok’ guitar. Obviously drunk, his intro to his song is 15 minutes of yapping, which he then proceeded to strum a couple of lines and went back to repeating the same words.
I loved the place! So down to earth and of course, a budget meal!

My enchilada is RM7 while my friend’s quesadilla is RM6. Don’t think there could ever be a more colorful meal – good & cheap food, dining in a backpacker’s inn, getting the feeling of being a tourist and getting entertained by a drunkard. I would definitely come back here for more action.

P/S: Mr. Drunkard is actually one hell of a guitar player. He once played in Oktoberfest, Munich. Boy, I’m sure he drinks everyday on his trip.

Blue Diamond Inn
Chulia St. Penang

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guest Post, Again, by L: SOHO

Come weekend and with a friend from mainland visiting, the first thing that I wanted to do is EAT! Naturally - since my dream during my final year here in university is to review as many restaurants as I can. Although money is always a constraint, but dining out once a week should very much be allowed.

Soho, in the UK is well known to be a red-light district and boosts a similar name elsewhere across in New York. Here in Penang, it is very much a British concept pub, which serves food typical to the public houses in the UK. Located at Upper Penang road, Soho is a half club/half pub and a restaurant all in one. A hard to be missed double story building which is usually choked with tourists.

I had been there for drinks but never there for its food until recommended by a Penangnite who frequents it. So last Friday, I needed a place to eat and to review and decide to give Soho a try.

The lower floor has a bar, pool tables, dart boards and a dance floor and upstairs is mainly for dining purposes. I always loved the upstairs of Soho, with its lush interior wall carpeting, mini chandeliers, deep red curtains which boosts a very grand atmosphere, a solid wooden bar and my favorite part of it, an old fashioned balcony overlooking Upper Penang Road – the place where Penang’s party scene happens.

I was told that Fish & Chips lovers will not be disappointed with the one in Soho. Deep fried fish fillets to the scrumptious, in crisp yellow batter, with a dash of salt and pepper, - It is simply delicious. My friend ordered just that and another pal, ordered the roasted herb chicken. Roasted chicken that comes with a serving of homemade mashed potatoes and boosts thick gravy, a recipe by Soho itself.

I had Grilled lamb chop which honestly, the best lamb chop I had in years. Delicious lamb chops that is first marinated in their own concoction, served in mint sauce, chips and a garden salad. The chops are thick and succulent and grilled to perfection.

Soho is also the only pub in town that serves Kilkenny beer, all the way from Ireland and I was told that this waterhole probably boosts the cheapest beer in town. So if you are from out of Penang, looking for both cheap booze and the party scene, Soho is the best place to be.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Guest Post by L: A Girl's Night Out

One of the exuberance of youth to me is going out on dates. It gives you this surge in self confidence as you know someone had actually asked you out and would like to know you better. It’s a great feeling when someone takes an extra interest to you and there’s the whole dressing up part for the wooing and dining which is always fun.

Sadly it had been a long time since I had dates and in an impulse attempt to revive it, I asked a friend out. A dear friend of mine, PY whom also had been a lil’ drained in the love department. There are so many reasons to ask her out, for one, she’s a great companion and then, there’s the part I know, there’s never a chance that she will bail on me.

So we went out. A day before, I asked my local Penangnites friends on where can I go for good food, good ambience and all must come with a fair price due to the constraints of being a student. I was then referred to this small restaurant located right in the middle of Georgetown called Pintail. It is on the same row as Cititel Hotel, right opposite Oriental Hotel.

Pintail, sandwiched between the old buildings is dimly lighted and with a signboard that isn’t too prominent for new diners to come to realize. My date with PY happens on a Wednesday evening where both of us took a little initiative to dress up for dinner and then, dancing later on.

It wasn’t hard locating it but it was not prominent like I mentioned. Just a shop lot on its own, and a very warm ambience upon arrival, it was pretty packed on a Wednesday night. We were lucky to get the final table and as I realized it was mostly backpackers, tourists and some locals dining there.

I ordered rosemary lamb with a serving of sautéed vegetables in butter and pepper and mashed potatoes. PY had a half done steak with diced potatoes and sautéed greens as well. I would give a lot of credits to their selection of drinks which were made up of fresh fruits juices, on its own or a mixture and even alcoholic beverages at a fair price. My honey lime got me hooked as it was made perfectly for the sweet tooth that I am.

I wasn’t too pleased that my lamb was all chopped up for me upon arrival but I love the vegetables and mashed potatoes. PY’s steak was a little chewy and her potatoes were rather blunt. It fascinated me that she could eat it all with her braces.

But overall, I love the ambience and the service is extremely friendly. Cozy, warm and serves good food at a fair deal, I will definitely go back to that place more often. The bill for our meal was a little over RM60. Last order of the day is at 10.45pm and the restaurant closes at 11.30pm.

Pintail restaurant
84, Penang Road
10000 Georgetown

For reservations call: 04 264 2694
Opens whole week except on Mondays. From noon till night.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chee Cheong Fun: The Breakdown

My friend L has once again came up with new findings. This time she outdid herself by going all over Malaysia (almost) in search of all types of chee cheong fun. I had talked about this particular special noodle before, and the one I showed was the fried style. This one is the true way chee cheong fun is served, but of course in also its many varieties. Let’s see what L had come up with, after a series of searching, tasting, analyzing and documenting (now I sound like I studied too much).
Chee Cheong Fun: The Breakdown

When I was growing up, ‘chee cheong fun’ was one of the foods I grew up eating. It is basically steamed flat rice noodles (about a finger’s diameter), cut up into little pieces and then served with a dash of sesame seed and sauce. Now, I can’t tell you what kind of sauce in particular because as the years go by, and when I began to venture out of my humble old town, I realized to my delight, that ‘chee cheong fun’ comes in different variations in different regions.

In my old town Taiping, ‘chee cheong fun’ comes with a rich dose of sesame and fried onions and a type of red sauce which is pretty sweet. The makers would usually add some chilli sauce alongside, to enrich its taste. Sweet is pretty blunt for a Chinese cuisine, you see.

There’s another type of ‘chee cheong fun’ found here and pretty much everywhere else, called the Hong Kong ‘chee cheong fun’. Steam flour noodles, with shelled prawns and pork embedded in between. It usually comes with soy sauce as its gravy, topped with fried onions and again, sesame seed.

Then, found in central Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur’s ‘chee cheong fun’ is actually my favorite among all. Again, the signature steam flour noodles and sesame seed, the version here allows you to choose from a choice or steam or fried ‘yong tau fu’ to accompany your noodles. Garnished with fried onions as well, it is a great alternative to rice.

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Way up north in the gourmet island of Penang, the ‘chee cheong fun’ here, is of sweet taste. Thanks to its sauce which is made up of chilli, rojak paste and peanut paste. Again, it comes served with sesame seed.

I hope you enjoy my ‘chee cheong fun’ review found here in Malaysia. If I missed out any version, please drop your comments and till then, happy eating!

*Food, glorious food* - Ice Age 2

Friday, February 24, 2006

Malaysian National Dish?

L came again and saved this blog of mine from mediocrity. I always longed to cook, experiment and blog again but I guess time is not on my side. Besides, food for the week had practically been ‘ta-pau’ed (packed) from my cousin’s housewarming since Sunday. (Yes, we packed a huge amount of leftovers). Then there was some little cooking here and there. I made cheese steak and oyster tomato soup for Valentine, but was too tired and did not have the time to take picture. The steak was good; I planned to do it again one day and then blog about it.

Well, as for now, enjoy another round of L’s eating adventure about a very popular dish,
char kuey teow (stir-fried flat noodles), which is known to be the best in Penang, hers is a lightly revamped version being a wet one. Sounds kinky eh?
Sany Café

The debate raged on which food we should proudly proclaim as the Malaysian national food. The nominees had been roti canai, nasi lemak and char kuey teow. All three nominees are distinctively Malaysian, each one originated from the three main races in Malaysia, with roti canai an identity to the Indians, nasi lemak, an original Malay cooking and the hot from the wok, char kuey teow of the Chinese. What truly make these food truly Malaysian is that it is consumed by all races and that recipes had assimilated among the people here, sometimes giving a new breath into the menu altogether.

Sany Café, located in Jalan Sungai Dua, right opposite USM is a popular restaurant among students here. Everyone seems to only come here for the char kuey teow or more popularly known as ‘Kuey Teow Basah (wet)’. I was introduced to it late last year when my friends and I went there for supper. I though the dish was like any other kuey teow served in soup, but I was surprised to find out, it is actually char kuey teow served with a lot of gravy.

I was since hooked and always went back for more. Patrons may need to order the large one as the regular one is always too little to satisfy your taste buds and what more, after a long day of classes, you would need more of this delicious dish.

Kuey teow basah is pretty much like the usual Chinese char kuey teow which is usually fried with eggs, bean sprouts, cockles and prawns. The crucial difference is that, like its name, it is served soaking wet with its gravy. People told me, that what makes it so sinfully delicious is that instead of using plain water for its gravy, the cook uses the water that the prawn comes soaked in. It does sound unhygienic, but hey, that’s perhaps the whole selling point of kuey teow basah.

Being Malaysian is truly a blessing. Because when cultures assimilate, the food just always turns out better.

Sany Café
Jalan Sungai Dua,
(Opposite USM)
11700, Gelugor

Char Kuey Teow (Stir-fried flat noodles)

I noticed I had not been sharing enough recipes nowadays, and so I thought of putting a char kuey teow recipe up, which I always wanted to try but have yet to. Take note that this is the usual dry version, unlike the one L had reviewd. This is from Gina, founder of Kitchen Capers, and I’m sure, since it’s from her, it is going to turn out well and be really delicious. By the way, I heard that the real secret to a tasty plate of char kuey teow is by using lard oil and adding pork lard. It lends a delicious crunch and a distinct taste! I will try it once I have the time. In the meantime, if you did, let me know alright?

1 kg kuey teow (white, flat noodles)
300 g bean sprouts
200 g tiger prawns
200 g chicken fillet (parboiled in hot water, shredded)
2 stalks of spring onions, chopped (white part only)

2 tbsp Sweet Black Sauce
1 tbsp Fish sauce (or Light Soya Sauce)
1 tbsp Dark Soya sauce

5 tbsp corn oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
200 g fresh cockles (optional, if unavailable in your country)

In a wok, heat 1 tbsp corn oil and add garlic to stir fry.
Mix all the sauces together.
Add to the noodles and stir well to mix.
Add remaining 4 tbsp of corn oil to stir.
Add prawns and chicken, bean sprouts.
Add 20 ml water and spring onions. Stir to mix.
Lastly, add fresh cockles and briefly stir for about 2 mins.
Turn off fire.

Serve hot to 4-6 people
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