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Everything posted by Shiewie

  1. Hi BlueSky Welcome to the board! Thanks for the fascinating post. The Kaaw-Yum you mentioned is very similar to the Nasi Kerabu / Nasi Ulam we get in Malaysia. A difference (but very nice one) is the addition of pomelo in the rice salad - perhaps I'll add some the next time I have Nasi Kerabu. I've tried a fried chicken with sweet chilli sauce and sticky rice from a street stall in Phuket - it was most addictive. Would this be similar to the ones in Hat Yai?
  2. Stir-Fried Vegetables with Belacan Here's a recipe for kangkung belacan. You can also use green beans, long beans, four-angled winged beans or asparagus in place of the kangkung. 10 oz of kangkung / grean beans / long beans / four-angled winged beans / asparagus 1 T dried prawns (look for this in an Asian Grocery) 4 shallots 2 cloves of garlic 1-1/2 tsp of belacan (shrimp paste) 4 red chillies (adjust this to the level of spiciness you are comfortable with, remove the seeds if you want it less spicy) 3 T oil 1/2 tsp salt (or adjust to taste) 1/2 tsp sugar (or adjust to taste) 1) Soak the dried prawns for 1/2 hour to 1 hour till softened. Drain. 2) Pound the drained dried prawns, shallots, garlic, belacan and chillies with a mortar and pestle until fine. Alternatively, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor with a little bit of the oil. 3) Heat the wok/pan until it is very hot, then add the oil. Add the pounded / blended dried prawn and spice mixture. Stir-fry the mixture quickly over high-heat and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Slowly stir-fry the prawn and spice mixture until fragrant - the colour of mixture will change from a bright red to a dark reddish-brown. 4) Add the vegetables, salt and sugar. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Keywords: Southeast Asian, Vegetables, Shrimp, Hot and Spicy ( RG560 )
  3. The acar recipe linked by SG is known as Acar Awak - this is probably the most common type of acar available. I remember my gran making it. Other types of acar are: - Acar Timun (Cucumber Acar) - Acar Nenas (Pineapple Acar) - Acar Buah (Fruit acar - preserved limes, prunes, nutmeg, starfruit, kedondong) - Acar Mangga (Mango Acar) - Acar Ikan Masin (Salt fish Acar) - Acar Ikan (Fish Acar) - Acar Cili (Acar of whole chillies)
  4. Shiewie


    Hmmm...Nouvelle Malaysian, perhaps? I know that Tom Yam soup has long since been adopted as a "Malaysian" dish (it wasn't so considered in the 70s, and was not normally available in the restaurants I went to in Malaysia), so perhaps this really is a Thai-influenced Malaysian dish. I'd love some comments by people more current with food trends in Malaysia nowadays. There are a lot of tom-yam style dishes in Malaysia nowadays like tom yam prawns, steamed fish with tom-yam paste and tom-yam noodles (both stir-fried and in soup). However, I think Tom Yam is still regarded as a Thai dish in Malaysia. There are Malaysian dishes with components of Kristin's creation but none that I know of with nampla. Cabbage is used mainly for stir-fries and soups in Malaysia. Some traditional Malay dishes which use cabbage are "Sayur Lodeh" (a mixture of vegetable cooked in coconut milk with turmeric, lemon grass, shallots and dried prawns), "Lontong" (nasi empit, the little cubes of rice you get with satay, served with Sayur Lodeh) and "Kobis Masak Lemak" (like Sayur Lodeh but only cabbage is used). Cabbage is also used in a Nyonya mixed vegetable pickle called "Acar Awak". Raw mangoes are used in pickles or in fruit rojak. As far as I know, ripe mangoes are only used in Thai-influenced dishes such as Mango Kerabu (Mango salad) or fried chicken/fish with a mango-kerabu sauce.
  5. Recommended Eateries in Kuala Lumpur My recommendations are a bit thin for this category...I've only been to the first 3 in the list below. South Indian Vegetarian 1) Annalakshmi - Ground Floor, Mid Valley Mega Mall (the entrance is outside the mall) This is probably the most well-known Indian vegetarian restaurant in KL. It's run by volunteers from the Temple of Fine Arts and the proceeds are used to support a free clinic for the poor. There's an a la carte selection as well as a daily buffet for lunch and dinner. The last time I went (sometime last year), they had removed the prices from the menu. Instead, diners make a donation. 2) Karuna's - Grand Paradise Hotel on Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields Been here once and it's quite interesting - besides the usual Indian vegetarian dishes, here they use Chinese vegetarian soya products as meat/fish substitutes in non-vegetarian Indian food. 3) Poori and appam stall in Lucky Garden, Bangsar The poori stall opens in the evenings - the dhall curry is excellent. 4) Madras New Woodlands on Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar 5) Govinda's on Jalan Bunus Enam, Masjid India Vegetarian restaurant run by the Hare Krishnas 6) Vegetarian places along Lebuh Ampang There are several Indian vegetarian places along Lebuh Ampang and the Masjid India area (referred to as the Little India of Kuala Lumpur). A friend says there is a hole-in-the-wall place here that has excellent dosai (generally spelt as thosai in Malaysia) but it's kind of grubby so they usually "bungkus" (take-away) their food. Besides the South Indian vegetarian eateries, there are also non-vegetarian South Indian places - I'd term these as the banana leaf / fish head curry places - banana leaves are used instead of plates for diners having rice - a little mountain of rice is piled onto the banana leaf, drizzled with chicken or fish curry and served together with the standard condiments of some vegetables, sambar and papadams. Diners choose from a selection of dishes to go with the rice, amongst them fish head curry. Various Indian breads are also available at these places. Would you like any recommendations for these?
  6. Hi Pan Try these websites for hotels in Malaysia: http://www.asia-hotels.com/hl/Greater_Kual...ur-Malaysia.asp - bit more helpful than the others as there's a customer review section http://www.asiatravel.com/malaysia.html http://www.asiatravelmart.com http://www.marimari.com/hotel/malaysia/main.html http://www.visitormalaysia.com/accommodati...tion/index.html http://www.malaysia-one.com/ http://www.terengganu.gov.my/vty97/calendar.htm http://www.kelantan.gov.my/accomodation_bi.htm I'm likely to be away (in the East Coast) from July 31 to August 3 - call when you get here as plans may change. Should be in town around August 25.
  7. Recommended Eateries in Kuala Lumpur Dim Sum Specialists 1) Xin at Concorde - what was previously the KL Merlin and they use trolleys here 2) Shang Palace at the Shangri-La KL 3) Li Yen at the Ritz Carlton 4) Dynasty at Renaissance / New World 5) Celestial Court at Sheraton Imperial - halal 6) Lai Poh Heen at Mandarin Oriental - halal 7) Ming Palace at Corus Hotel - halal 8) Tai Thong restaurants - some have trolleys 9) Overseas Restaurant - Central Market Haven't been in quite a while but they used to have trolleys 10) Shanghai at JW Marriot for Shanghainese-style dim-sum
  8. I thought they now farm udang galah (tiger prawns) in Malaysia and hence udang galah should be available (don't know whether they're the size of small lobsters though). However, I've heard that the better seafood that's caught off the Terengganu coast is not sold locally, so much so that some restauranteurs there actually come to KL to buy fish! Such irony! I haven't had any udang galah recently though as I'm not a big fan of huge prawns as I find the meat a bit tough - prefer them medium-sized, steamed with a dash of rice wine and ginger. A memorable udang galah dish I've had in the past was at this eatery called Tokyo in a suburb near the Selayang wholesale market that that we went to as part of our makan club sometime back. It's not in chilli though - it was grilled with hints of Chinese herbs and had caramellised sugar bits. I've only been there once as the other dishes that we had there were fairly average. Anyway, will ask around and see if anyone knows a place with good Cili Udang Galah. Oh dear! Guess this means Malaysians eat a lot and very often. Hmmm - this might explain the slimming centres that are popping up all over the place.
  9. Googled and one of the results shows a package of Jew's ear fungus. I can recognise the last couple of Chinese characters on the pacakage (my Chinese is probably less than kindergarten level) mean "tree ears". Tree ears are also known as wood ears and are commonly used in Chinese cooking - braised with meats, soups and stir-fried with veggies. It's thicker and crunchier than cloud ears. I haven't seen fresh ones that are refrigerated, usually get them dried and need to be soaked before using. It's supposed to be good for one's blood circulation and help prevent blood clots.
  10. They've renovated the shop recently so hopefully there''ll no longer be any dead lizards dropping from the ceiling into bowls of noodles!
  11. And I haven't even finished going through the categories you listed! Malaysians love to eat and good places to eat are spread through word of mouth. All the places that I have mentioned are generally quite well-known amongst the KL-lites. Eating out is also very cheap in Malaysia - RM1 (USD1 = RM3.80) will buy you a nasi lemak / roti chanai for breakfast. Noodles / rice for lunch at a hawker place is about RM3 to RM4 (and these are KL prices, probably cheaper in small towns). It's no wonder that many Malaysians hardly cook (this is evident from the Fried Chillies site where it's all about where to eat and nothing on cooking). Malaysians are also willing to drive far and wide for a good meal. Some drive for a couple of hours, for example to Ipoh, for a meal and drive back to KL after that. We used to have an informal "makan" club at work where we'd take turns to find and organise outings to new places to eat every couple of weeks...and eventually set up a Makan Guide. Unfortunately, it's been comatose for a while as some are now on diets, working elsewhere, have new babies to look after or have turned semi-vegetarian. Sigh - the Fried Chillies site has also beaten us to it.
  12. Recommended Eateries in Kuala Lumpur (continued from earlier post) Chinese Eateries Cheap The hawker-style places are probably the hardest section to cover, as they are so many all over the different parts of KL. The ones mentioned here are a sampling of the variety of hawker food in the Klang Valley - the list was getting kind of long so I thought I'd better stop! Pan - do post if there's a particular type of Chinese hawker-style food that you'd like recommendations for and I haven't listed it here. 1) Soo Kee on Jalan Ampang (next to the flyover, near the turn-off to the zoo) Excellent Char Siew (the dark kind with caramellised bits) and "Kon Chow Har Loke" (prawns fried in dark soya sauce). It's open for lunch and dinner. The prices here may cross over to mid-range depending on what’s ordered. 2) Soo Kee on Jalan Khoo Teik Ee (off Jalan Imbi) Good fried noodles – “Sang Har Meen” (fried noodles with freshwater prawns in an eggy sauce), "Wat Tan Ngau Hor" (stir-fried flat noodles with beef, ginger and spring onions in an eggy sauce) and "Nam Yue Pai Kuat" (deep-fried pork ribs marinated with preserved tofu). Open for dinner only (I think). The prices here may cross over to mid-range depending on what’s ordered. 3) Steamed Fish at Jalan Tiga off Jalan Chan Sow Lin Not sure what the name is but it's got really good "wan yue" (grass carp) steamed with crunchy fried garlic, ginger and chillies. The grass carp steamed with "tau cheong" (bean paste) is good too. The "yong tau foo" (literally translated as stuffed tofu, a traditional Hakka specialty where a mixture of fish paste, pork and salted fish stuffed into various kinds of tofu, bitter gourd, aubergines, ladies fingers, chillies) there is mediocre compared to the ones at Ampang New Village - (Open for lunch only, Mon - Sat) See excerpt from review in the AWSJ last November 4) Yoke Woo Hin on Jalan Petaling (Chinatown) Been around for ages - lots of old-timers still gather here to meet their friends for tea and dim sum in the mornings and is pretty packed for lunch too. (Open for breakfast and lunch. Not sure about dinner.) 5) Seng Nam Coffee Shop at the junction of Lebuh Ampang and Lebuh Pasar Besar (in the area between Chinatown and Little India) One of the old kopi-tiam (local coffee-shops) that's good for a breakfast of toasted kopi-tiam-style bread with kaya / butter and sugar, soft-boiled eggs and local coffee. The chicken rice and fried mee-hoon (rice vermicelli) sold for lunch is also excellent. (Open for breakfast and lunch. Likely to be closed on Sunday.) 6) Soon Kee Beef Noodles at the junction of Jalan Bandar and Jalan Silang (in the area between Chinatown and Little India) A variety of noodles (a choice of wanton mee noodles, rice-vermicelli, flat rice noodles or “loh-shue fun” (literally translated as mouse-tail noodles!)) topped with minced beef and pork and served with a beef-ball soup (as in meat-balls). (It’s open for lunch and dinner) 7) Ngau Kee Beef Noodles, Tingkat Tong Shin (the area behind Jalan Bukit Bintang) A stall on the road-side (near the Ching Hai coffee-shop) that’s open only at night serving beef noodles similar to that served at Soon Kee. 8) Beef Noodles at Lai Fong coffee-shop (next to the pedestrian bridge to Jalan Petaling) A different style of beef-noodles that’s cooked with “ham choy” (salted vegetables). The wanton noodles and the chicken and char siew rice at the shop next door is pretty good too. There are other stalls serving other types of hawker food at the coffee-shop. (Open for breakfast and lunch) 9) Low Yau Kee Porridge on Jalan Tun HS Lee near the junction of Jalan Bandar and Jalan Silang (in the area between Chinatown and Little India) Fish, chicken or pork/pig intestine/tripe porridge (congee) and poached chicken. Another of those places that has been around for ever. (Only open in the evenings) 10) Hawker stalls at the Madras Lane market off Jalan Petaling (Chinatown) Very good curry laksa - the hawker stalls here are quite territorial about where customers sit - if you sit at a certain section, you have to order from those stalls! (Breakfast and lunch) 11) Nam Heong Chicken Rice on Jalan Sultan (Chinatown) This has since become part of a chain so may not be as good anymore. (Lunch. Not sure about dinner. The outlets in the suburbs are open for dinner.) 12) Ipoh Hor Fun at Soo Kee on Cecil Street (Cecil Street is the old name, can’t remember the new one, it’s the lane that links Jalan Petaling to Jalan Sultan in Chinatown). There’s a spin-off in PJ. Ipoh Hor Fun is a noodle dish of flat rice noodles served in a chicken and prawn stock with chicken shreds, prawns, bean sprouts and chives. Prawn wantons and poached chicken are available as side orders (Open for lunch only) 13) Sambal steamed seafood stall on the sidewalk at the junction of Jalan Petaling and Cecil Street (Chinatown). Extremely spicy. Be prepared to wait for a table and your food. It’s open for dinner only. It’s next to a stall which sells “air mata kuching” during the day – it’s a drink of “luo han guo” (googled it and the English term for luo han guo Arhat Fruit), winter melon and dried longans - a "cooling" drink that good for sore throats. 14) Ching Hai Coffee Shop at Tingkat Tong Shin (parallel to Jalan Bukit Bintang) Good Ipoh hor fun hawker stall. The char siew at the chicken rice stall here is also most yummy. The chicken / char siew rice stall also sells some Hakka dishes – “Mui Choy Kau Yook” (Pork with Preserved Vegetables), Woo Tau Kau Yook (Pork with Yam). 15) Meng Kee, Tingkat Tong Shin (parallel to Jalan Bukit Bintang) Char Siew and Chicken Rice in the front-yard of one of the pre-WWII terrace houses along the street. There’s also a shop that sells pretty good char kuay teow on the other end of Tingkat Tong Shin (evenings only) 16) Eateries along Jalan Alor (parallel Jalan Bukit Bintang) Food at the most stalls along Jalan Alor are pretty good. Some are open for lunch, more are open for dinner. There a stall at the junction of Jalan Alor and Jalan Hicks that sells very good yu-tiao and other Chinese fried dough snacks – opens around 3pm. 17) Hakka Yong Tau Foo in Ampang New Village A traditional Hakka specialty where a mixture of fish paste, pork and salted fish stuffed into various kinds of tofu, bitter gourd, aubergines, ladies fingers, chillies. I normally go to Hoong-Hoong (it’s called Fong-Fong in the Fried Chillies reivew, anyway, it’s the shop furthest to the right if your’re facing the 3 shops) (Open for lunch only) 18) Woo Lan on Jalan Scott in Brickefields Good steamed fish head in a ginger sauce, guiness-stout pork ribs, fried tofu, honey chicken with ginger, tomyam prawns in a coconut 19) Roast duck at Sunrise in Section 21, PJ The best roast duck in town. 20) O&S Coffee-Shop in Paramount Gardens, PJ A popular coffee-shop with a wide variety of good hawker food – Penang prawn mee, char kuay teow, Penang chee cheong fun with prawn paste / chicken curry, curry laksa, yong tau foo and Chinese egg tarts (Tong Kee confectionery). 21) Hokkien Mee (KL style) – Ah Hwa at the coffee-shop near the Shell gas station on Jalan 223 in PJ Hokkien Mee (KL style) is dish of wide wheat noodles (shaped somewhat like udon) fried in a dark soya sauce with lard, pork crackling, pork, shrimp, squid and cabbage and served with sambal or raw garlic in dark soya sauce. Besides Hokkien mee, there are other stalls selling “tauhu bakar” (grilled tofu puffs with bean sprouts, cucumber and a peanut sauce), “oh chien” (oyster omelettes), ikan bakar (grilled stingray in a sambal sauce).
  13. I loved that movie too - laughed till my sides split! I think the dish that her mother wanted her to learn was Aloo Gobi - a dish of cauliflower with potatoes. Here's a link to a Aloo Gobi recipe I found on the web. Tried searching on egullet to see whether was one here but couldn't find any.
  14. I use a electric rice-cooker (not non-stick) or microwave rice cooker.
  15. Yes, bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge) is a traditional Malaysian dessert. Some versions here add some dried longans to it. Here's a link to a recipe of bubur pulut hitam with dried longans. It's traditionally served hot. However, I like it cold from the fridge without the coconut cream topping. Another traditional Malaysian dessert which uses black glutinous rice is "kuih koci pulut hitam". A mixture of white and black glutinous rice flours are used to form a dough with a filling of dessicated coconut cooked in palm sugar ("inti"). The dough is then topped with some coconut cream, wrapped in a banana leave and is steamed. Here's a recipe for it from a Malaysian food magazine, Flavours (I haven't tried the recipe though) Kuih Koci Pulut Hitam (Makes 15-20 pieces) Ingredients Inti (palm sugar filling) 150g palm sugar ("gula Melaka") 1/2 cup water 1 pandan leave, knotted 175g grated fresh coconut, white only Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour Dough balls 70g black gluntinous rice 130g glutinous rice flour 3/4 cup and 3 tablespoons thin coconut milk Coconut cream topping 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup thick coconut milk Banana leaves fpr wrapping, scaleded and cut into 14 x 15cm rectangles Instructions Filling Place palm sugar, water and pandan leaf in a saucepan and cook until sugar dissolves. Strain syrup into a clean saucepan and add grated coconut and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking over a low fire until filling thickens. Stir in plain flour to bind filling. Set aside to cool. Dough balls and coconut cream topping Combine both types of glutinous rice flours in a bowl. In a small saucepan, combine thin coconut milk and salt, cook mixture over a low fire until the milk is warm. Do not let it boil. Pour warm milk into bowl of mixed glutinous rice flours and knead the mixture lightly to forma smooth pliable dough. Pinch off small pieces of dough (20g each). Roll the pieces of dough into smooth balls. Flatten the balls slightly and fill with 1 teaspoon of inti (coconut and palm sugar filling) and pinch dough over to encase the filling. In a wide tray, mix thick coconut milk with salt and place the filled dough balls on it leaving some space between the balls. Steam for 15 minutes. Place the cooked dough balls in the centre of a rectangle of banana leaf. Top with 1 teaspoon of the cooked coconut cream mixture from the tray. Bring the two sides of the banana leave to meet. Make small rolling folds where the edges of the banana leaf meets until it forms a tight roll. Fold the ends under. Arrange on a steamer and steam for 5 minutes.
  16. Hi Pan You are most welcome. Just contact me if you need directions, references to places eat/shop or want to go and eat when you are in KL - I'll pm you my contact details. I have greedy friends who'd be quite happy to go 'makan'. Loads of chilli would not be a problem at most places - just tell them beforehand that you want it with the full works. (1) Price Range Cheap - Under RM20 per person (some of the places I'll include in this range may cross into the mid-range ones depending on what is ordered). Mid Range - Approx. RM20 to RM50 per person for a table of 4 or more (food and tea, without other drinks) Upmarket - Above RM50 per person (2) Public Transportation in KL There is a LRT running from PJ to KL and onto Ampang - the Putra Line (sigh - KL has 2 different LRT lines built and run by 2 different companies and they do not share the same stations. The only sort of interchange is at Masjid Jamek - one has to get out of one station and walk to the next in order to change lines.) Think it's approximately RM3 - RM4 for a trip from KL to PJ. The LRT is a much better option than busses - not sure whether they even have a schedule here! Think it's about RM1 - RM1.50 for a trip from KL to PJ - haven't taken a bus in quite a while. Taxis here are still fairly cheap compared to most other places.
  17. Recommended Eateries in Kuala Lumpur Chinese Restaurants Upmarket 1) Dynasty at the Renaissance / New World Hotel on the junction of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail 2) Golden Phoenix at the Equatorial Hotel, KL on Jalan Sultan Ismail (Food at th Dynasty and Golden Phoenix is good but service can be a bit poor at times. The food at all the Equatorial dining outlets are generally quite good.) 3) Xin at the Concorde (what was previously the Merlin Hotel) on Jalan Sultan Ismail 4) Li Yen the Ritz-Carlton on Jalan Imbi It seems that the chef who was there when the restaurant won its awards is no longer there so am not sure what the food is like now 5) Lai Cheng Yuen at the Regent on Jalan Bukit Bintang 6) Ming Palace at the Corus Hotel (previously known as Ming Court) on Jalan Ampang - halal 7) Shanghai at The Marriot on Jalan Bukit Bintang - expensive Mid-Range 1) Tai Thong on Jalan Barat, off Jalan Imbi (Tai Thong and Overseas are a chain of Chinese restaurants scattered all over the Klang Valley - I like the original outlets at Jalan Barat (off Jalan Imbi) and Jalan Imbi best) 2) Overseas on Jalan Imbi 3) Hakka Restaurant on Jalan Kia Peng 4) Marco Polo at Wisma Lim Foo Yong on Jalan Raja Chulan - generally good but didn't quite like a couple dishes when I went there last 5) Classic Restaurant on Jalan Pudu Lama (next to the Tong Shin Hospital, opposite the Puduraya bus terminal) - have always liked the food here but haven't been since they refurbished it 6) Magic Wok in Damansara Jaya - this is in one of the suburbs in Petaling Jaya 7) Ho Poh Village - Hakka food - the address in the FriedChillies site is not current - the new address is 30 Jalan Sri Hartamas 8 Taman Sri Hartamas Tel: 6203 1400 This is also in the suburbs, mid-way between KL and PJ. The Lui Cha Fan featured in the FriedChillies review is a specialty. However the taste gets some getting used too. I prefer the other Hakka specialties like "Mui Choy Kau Yook" (Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables), "Woo Tau Kau Yook" (Pork with Yam). 8) Greenview - this is also in the suburbs in Petaling Jaya. Famed for it's crabs and "Sang Har Meen" (deep-fried crunchy noodles with freshwater prawns in an eggy sauce). I also like the "Fatt Pud" (yam basket) there. It was one of the restaurants featured in John Krich's list of places to eat in KL featured in The Asian Wall Street Journal last Nov: 9) Fatty Crab at 2 Jalan SS24/13, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya. They have a very limited menu (pei tan/ century eggs with slices of preserved ginger, grilled chicken wings, crabs done two ways - in either a sweet and sour sauce with slices of toast to dip into the sauce or steamed with egg white and a dash of Chinese rice wine, steamed prawns, steamed fish and fried rice) but there are queues waiting for a table here on weekends. 9) Purple Cane Restaurant at the Chinese Assembly Hall Quite interesting as everything is cooked with tea / tea leaves in it. Cheap / Hawker Chinese places next!
  18. Hi Hitchmeer The black glutinous rice needs to be soaked at least 4 hours / overnight before baking / steaming it. Black glutinous rice is also used in Malaysian cooking and is called "pulut hitam" (Malay) or "hak lor mai" (Cantonese).
  19. The Singapore version of the laksa is known as Curry Mee in Penang and as Curry / Kari Laksa in the rest of Malaysia. The gravy of the Penang-style Curry Mee is slightly thinner (less cocunut milk). Besides those two, there are quite a few other variations of laksa in Malaysia - Laksa Lemak / Siamese Laksa, Laksa Johor, Laksa Kedah etc - have a look at the laksa thread. Have a good time exploring the world of laksa!
  20. Krista G Here is a link to a list of Penang Hawker Food - it's a forum on the website of the Penang Turf Club - scroll right to th bottom and it's the 4th post from the bottom. The list is very extensive but kind of hard to read as it's all lumped together. Most of the places I went to are on the list. - My favourite is the hawker area on Swatow Lane (Lorong Swatow) - behind the Sheraton Penang and Fima / Cold Storage Supermarket - practically everything there is good - assam laksa, curry mee/laksa, char kway teow, ice kacang, oh chien. It's open only in the afternoon/early evening from around 3pm to 7-ish. - The Sisters coffee-shop has good char kuay teow (more pricey than what one would normally pay) and grilled otak-otak. - Penang Road chendol - Ice Kacang with durian ice-cream at the Keck Seng coffee shop - Assam Laksa at Air Itam - at the foot of the Kek Lok Si temple - Assam Laksa at the Balik Pulau market - Assam Laksa at the Keck seng coffee-shop - Assam Laksa, fruit rojak, mochi at Gurney Drive A couple of other food related places you may like to visit are a tropical fruit farm in Balik Pulau and Bao Sheng durian farm
  21. Uhmm...I've never really noticed the numbers in the ratings. I think the numbers pretty subjective - a question of personal preference. For example, if we look under the Malay category in the Fried Chillies and compare the various reviews of Nasi Lemak (the ones that I have tried), the ratings for taste are as follows: Nasi Lemak Cikgu - 8 Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa - 7 Nasi Lemak Tanglin - 6 My personal preference is Nasi Lemak Tanglin and would rate it higher than the other 2. For me, a good Nasi Lemak must have rice that is al dente (mushy rice is a no-no) with sufficient santan (coconut milk) and hints of pandan leaves that have cooked with the rice. The sambal should be slightly sweet (but not overly so) to balance the spiciness. The texture of the rice at Nasi Lemak Tanglin is excellent - I haven't been in a while but a phone call to a friend who just went there for breakfast yesterday confirmed that it's still as good - wonderfully al-dente rice - the grains of rice are separate and do not stick together. Nasi Lemak Tanglin used to be the highlight of my Saturday mornings on the way to work - some offices here are open on Saturdays . Nasi Lemak Tanglin is located in the Lake Gardens, near the Bukit Aman police headquarters and just up the road from the Methodist Girls' School. It's also near the KL Bird Park and Islamic Museum so it may be pretty convenient to have breakfast there if you're going to these spots. However be prepared to wait as there's always a queue. It's open for breakfast Mondays to Fridays and alternate Saturdays (2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month). Nasi Lemak used to be one of my favourite places for a late night nasi lemak. Unfortunately I think the standards have dropped somewhat - was last there in Oct last year. The rice was not sufficently firm and the sambal a wee bit too sweet. However, it's still pretty crowded. It's located on a street in Kampung Baru where there are lots of other food stalls. Parking is anywhere you can find a spot on the roadside. However, there is a LRT (Light Rail Transit) station located nearby - I think it's the Kampung Baru station on the Putra Line. I've only been to Nasi Lemak Cikgu once. The fried chicken is good but I don't remember it as being particularly memorable. But then again my memory of it may be clouded by the hot midday sun and heat of the zinc sheds which the stall is located under. This stall may be pretty hard to get to without a car as it's located in the burbs. FriedChillies organised Nasi Lemak cook-off in Oct last year - see these links under the Misc. Articles section http://www.friedchillies.com/features.php on the Fried Chillies site. Since we are on the topic of nasi lemak, there are a couple of pretty good nasi lemak places in KL city centre area which may be easier to get to: - stall in front of the old clock tower on Lebuh Pasar Besar - it's near the HSBC Bank and down the road from Central Market - there's no place to sit down - it's purely 'bungkus' (take-away) for the people who work in the offices in that area - breakfast only - stall at coffee shop on Jalan Dang Wangi (what used to be Campbell Road) near the bridge - it's breakfast only as well - can't remeber the name of the shop (will note it the next time I go past it). However you can spot it quite easily as the there's a huge wooden container (at breakfast time only, of course) which the rice is served out of.
  22. Yes, Madam Kwan should be halal, if not, definitely pork-free. (Restaurants need to be certified by the Religious Department in order to claim halal status.) It's hard to find non-Chinese restaurants that serve pork in Malaysia. (To sidetrack a little - Spaghetti Carbonara with beef bacon is a total waste of calories .) The Nasi Bojari and Nasi Lemak at Madam Kwan's as mentioned by tonkichi are really good but some of the other stuff there is pretty mediocre - Assam Laksa, Kuay Teow soup. Remember Sakura Restaurant on Jalan Imbi? Think it's been around since the 70s. Well, the lady who started Sakura opened Madam Kwan's after she sold out of Sakura. Although I don't agree with all the reviews on Fried Chillies, I do agree with Pumpkin Lover that the site does capture the essence of the Malaysian obsession with food. I do trawl through the site from time to time to find out what new places have been reviewed and also to see what's discussed in the forum there. Sigh, as mentioned in an earlier post, there are never any unfavourable food reviews here in Malaysia. I would only recommend 2 of the places in Fried Chillies' Western category - Jake's for charbroiled tenderloin and Colliseum for the nostalagic atmosphere. Colliseum has been around for ages - my mother remembers going there as a child in the 1930's ... and the crockery, tablecoths and waiters all look as if they've been in service since then! The food there typifies what was served in colonial Malaya - heavy gravies, mushy veg and salad means a couple of pieces of iceberg lettuce with slices of cucumbers, tomato wedges, capsicum/bell peppers and onion rings with thousand island dressing . They're famous for their sizzling steaks drowned in gravy (which I used to like as kid but I think my tastes have changed somewhat since). I do like the fluffy kopitiam (local coffee-shop) style bread served with a hunk of salted butter, fried mee-hoon and baked crab. Songkhla Hawker (in the Coffee and Dessert) received rave reviews in the Malaysian segment in Asian WSJ series on great eating places in Asia. Attached here is the section of the review by John Krich in The Asian WSJ dated 15 Nov 2002 on Songkhla Hawker "Songkhla Hawker I'm relieved that much of this amazing stall, claiming a whole corner of a broad side street in the Chow Kit neighborhood, is more or less in the dark. Because much of the food here is as indescribable as it is unfamiliar. I could see that I was served a plate of lemongrass-charged rice, nasi kerabu, topped with grated coconut. But I had to be told that the rice was blue, a north-eastern specialty achieved with natural coloring. The many cloaked and shy Malay ladies who ply their trade here hail from Malaysia's northernmost states of Kelantan and Kedah. Hence, loyal regulars have named the business after the Thai border town of Songkhla, and many dishes show a Thai influence-such as the beef curries and a fiery green mango salad, pounded to order with chilies and dried shrimps in a mortar a la Bangkok. While there are only a few stunted plastic tables for diners, there are three sections to this ambitious sidewalk enterprise. (Is this place the equivalent of a five-star hotel buffet for those on a one-ringgit budget?) One wing consists of numerous, spice-charged stews, including a coconut-tinged tuna curry. Another wing holds fresh roasted cockles that promise an intense burst of mollusk flavor. Sewing up Songkhla Hawker's selection is a central section displaying an astounding assortment of sweets. Scanning the rows of quivering rice and coconut balls, rolls, dumplings and porridges, I was reminded of my first sight of a Turkish bakery with its long display cases full of more variants of baklava than I thought could possibly be forged from mere filo pastry, honey and nuts. This time, the main materials at hand are tapioca and sago, banana and the nicely bitter molasses-like cane syrup Malaysians call gula melaka. But you don't need names here, just point and try, unless you like the sound of ordering bubur chacha -- a porridge featuring sweet colored nubs that resemble green beans turned to candy. As I washed down my sixth or seventh sweet with a huge mug of fresh-blended watermelon juice, I wasn't a bit bothered by the sight of a Snickers-sized cockroach crawling toward a basin full of the stall's surplus dishes. Fortunately, the pots of cooked food nearby looked fresh and untainted. If there has ever been an argument for the superiority of food over atmosphere, servings over service, this place is it. + Dazzling array of desserts, unique Thai-Malay seasonings. - Front-row views of the curb, dirty dishes and cockroaches. Songkhla Hawker, on Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, in front of the post office, Chow Kit. (Turn a half-block east at the Pizza Hut on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.) No telephone. Open: daily, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Prices: by world standards, free grub; a ringgit or two per dessert. No credit cards accepted." More on other categories later.
  23. Hi Pan Am compiling a list for you - mainly KL except for a couple in Terengganu. A foodie mag here has recently published a food guide for Kelantan, will extract the list for you. However food reviews in publications here are somewhat unreliable - I've yet to see an unfavourable review. Question - how basic / spartan can these places get? Some of the best food in Malaysia is found in roadside hawker stalls / some place under a tree and the surroundings can be kind of grotty. Another question - will location be a consideration? Some of these places are located quite a distance from the city centre and traffic in KL can be a nightmare.
  24. The term Dumpling Festival probably originated from a combination of the various Chinese dialects and colloquial English spoken in Malaysia and Singapore. Zong / chung / chang is commonly known as dumplings here - don't think many here would have heard of tamales. Dumpling Festival is probably a literal translation of "Chung Cheet" in Cantonese.
  25. The Chinese dumplings eaten during the Dumpling Festival are made of glutinous rice with various different kinds of filling, some of which Tonkichi has described. They are wrapped in bamboo leaves (Hainanese ones are wrapped in banana leaves - tropical island so banana leaves are more plentiful?) into little pyramids or pillows, sort of like tamales. The Dumpling Festival is celebrated in remembrance of a famous poet who was also a minister in the emperor's court. He was framed and banished from emperor's court and subsequently committed sucide by drowning. When the people heard that he had drowned, they trawled the river to search for his body and beat loud drums and gongs to scare away the fish from eating the poet's body. Failing to find the body, they threw rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river, hoping that the fish in the river would eat the dumplings instead of the poet's body. The Cantonese style rice dumpling that Tonkichi described is readily available in Malaysia and Singapore - with slight variations by each cook. The ones I like are quite plain, just fatty pork, salted egg yolk and split green beans (luk tau) encased in glutinous rice that is wrapped into a little pyramid with bamboo leaves which is boiled for a couple of hours. Sometimes the uncooked glutinous rice is fried with soya sauce, salt and sugar and hence the dark rice pyramid you see in the picture. The filling in the Nyonya dumplings is a mixture of miced pork, chopped candied winter melon (hebce the sweetish taste that Tonkichi mentioned), chopped peanuts fried with herbs and spices. Some of the rice is also stained blue with colouring from the blue pea flower (bunga telang). The yellow dumplings are the sweet dumplings called "kan sui chung" (alkali water dumplings - lye is added to the water the dumplings are boiled in). Besides the ones with red bean filling that Tonkichi mentioned, they also come plain and are eaten with a treacle and palm sugar syrup.
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