Quarantine Meals ! – Of Dimsum, Nasi Lemak and Char Kuey Teow

Hey guys! It’s technically Day 51 of the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia. I will be resuming work at the office tomorrow. After nearly 2 months, it’s time to say hello again to traffic jams. :/

Originally, the MCO was supposed to be lifted on May 12 – but the government has already allowed businesses to reopen from May 4. It’s all very confusing: on one hand, the MCO is still in place, but everyone is already allowed out to work anyway so what’s the point of having the MCO? Personally, I feel that the move is too sudden (it was announced on May 1, giving businesses just 2 days to prepare). There’s also been a lot of political bullshit going on. Imho, I think the government is pressured to reopen businesses because the coffers are running out of money and they can’t afford to have the economy collapse. We’re also seeing lots of U-turns in terms of promised aid. Can’t help but think it’s every person for themselves now.

But enough doom and gloom: here’s a #foodpost! Being at home for close to two months has been great for my eating habits because I’m eating out less and having more homecooked food. I am an okay (?) cook, but if it were up to me, we’d be eating pasta, fried chicken, steaks and wraps every day – so it’s my mom that does most of the cooking. Most days it’s simple stuff like boiled vegetables and something like chicken and potatoes, or dishes that are steamed, stewed or stir-fried (deep fried is almost a taboo in my household because it’s ‘unhealthy’). Some days, though, we get better than average ones:

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Roasted chicken wings glazed with honey. 

We have a tiny, portable oven which does the job for roasting and baking. It’s adequate, but not very convenient. Prepping the chicken is easy – you just have to turn it over halfway through to make sure that it’s cooked thoroughly, and keep applying the glaze so that it’s nice and glistening.

I miss the oven I had back in Sheffield when I was a student. My housemates and I had a large oven in our flat, and it was so easy to pop everything in there – fish and chips, sausages, chipolatas, bacon. Much easier to clean up as well.

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Baked chicken and mushroom pies. They didn’t look perfect (the tops were sunken) but they tasted great. The mini ones were adorable, although they were not created intentionally lol (Mom ran out of containers).

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Pork chops with white sauce. I fried the chops while Mom made the sauce with evaporated milk and a bit of flour. It turned out a bit too gooey, but the chops were moist, juicy and succulent so it wasn’t too bad.

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We don’t cook all the time – sometimes we also order takeout.

I am a big fan of dim sum, and I usually have it at least once a month pre-coronavirus days – but none of my usual dim sum haunts was open in the initial days of the quarantine. After 45 days, I finally broke my dim sum ‘fast’ with takeout from Jin Xuan Restaurant in Bandar Puteri Puchong. I don’t usually come here because it’s out of the way and their items are pricier than some other establishments, but at the time, I was just super glad to be able to get my dim sum fix lol. (Above, clockwise from bottom left – fried shrimp dumplings, shrimp rolls, siew mai (pork and shrimp dumplings), and har gaw (shrimp dumplings)).

JIN XUAN HONG KONG DIM SUM: 27, Jalan Puteri 1/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor (open for take-away only during the MCO) 

 

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Another time for lunch, we bought Nasi Lemak from Brilliant Nasi Lemak House, just a block away from Jin Xuan. The resto specialises in nasi lemak ie rice cooked in coconut milk and served with dishes such as fried chicken, rendang, curry and sambal sotong. Against my better judgment, I had the sambal sotong. It was good but the portions were rather small. If you like spicy food, the sambal here delivers a strong kick.

BRILLIANT NASI LEMAK HOUSE : 2, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Kuala Lumpur, Selangor (open for takeaway only during the MCO) 

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Last but not least, the all-time Malaysian favourite, char kuey teow or wok-fried flat noodles. This one’s from a famous franchise called Goreng Kuey Teow Tong Shin. You can opt to get kuey teow mee (mix of flat noodles and yellow noodles, as pictured above), and add on items such as cockles, Chinese sausages and other ingredients. The basic char kuey teow will usually have shrimp, egg, kuchai, cockles and chilli sauce. What makes char kuey teow so divine is the smokiness that you can only get from wok frying it over a huge flame. Control of the fire is essential. The one from Tong Shin is pretty good !

GORENG KUEY TEOW TONG SHIN: G, 27, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor (Open for takeaway only during the MCO). 

 

 

What are some of your quarantine meals? Are you cooking at home or ordering more takeout? Share them with me in the comments below; I’d love to hear about any delicious dishes you’ve had! 

 

Best Chinese Nasi Lemak In Kuala Lumpur @ Peel Road Nasi Lemak, Cheras

Nasi lemak. The perennial Malaysian favourite, and the country’s national dish.

The traditional version – often wrapped in banana leaf in a pyramid-like shape – consists of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan, served with sambal (spicy sauce), fried anchovies and peanuts, sliced cucumber and a boiled egg. While the dish is primarily served by Malay vendors (but enjoyed by people from all walks of life), Malaysia being the multiracial country that it is means that every race has their own unique version of nasi lemak. For the Chinese, it often means incorporating their own side dishes (sometimes non-halal) to go with the fragrant coconut rice.

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We’ve heard a lot about Nasi Lemak Peel Road – a Chinese-style nasi lemak stall in Cheras that has been going strong for over 26 years – so N and I decided to go check it out for ourselves.

Run by a husband and wife team, the stall is easily distinguished from the other hawkers thanks to its bright yellow signage. That, or just look for the crowd milling about the front, where makeshift chairs and tables are setup each afternoon. Parking is a pain so your best bet would be to park inside Sunway Velocity Mall which is just across the road.

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Served ‘chap fan’ (mixed rice) style, there are about 10 dishes to choose from to go with your nasi lemak. The bestseller is their fried chicken, which is made fresh on the spot at the kopitiam next to where the stall is. They literally ‘fly’ off the rack as soon as each batch is served! (Customer before us ordered 10 pieces). Other must-tries are the sambal sotong, rendang (only available on weekends), curry mutton, chicken curry and ayam masak merah, a Peranakan-inspired dish taught by the proprietor’s grandmother who was a Nyonya.

That aside you get items such as fried sausages and eggs, luncheon meat, stir-fried vegetables, pork and potatoes, sambal petai, and more. The lady boss cooks everything on her own (except the fried chicken, which the husband does) to ensure good quality control.

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Loaded my plate with fried chicken, sambal sotong and mutton curry. All the dishes went well with the rice, which was creamy but subtle. I can see why the chicken is so popular – extremely flavourful (not just on the skin but on the inside as well), addictively crunchy on the outside whilst being tender and moist on the inside. The mutton curry was not gamey at all and not too spicy; while the sambal sotong had a nice sweet and savoury tang to it with just enough kick. Two plates cost us RM15, which is very reasonable imo considering its a meal in the city centre.

Note: Come early to avoid disappointment; they run out as early as 8.30PM. Seats are limited so it’s best to tapau.

NASI LEMAK PEEL ROAD 

88, Jalan Peel, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening hours: 2.30PM – 8.30PM (closed Thursdays)

NON-HALAL

 

Review: Kwong Wah Ice Kacang @ Happy Mansion PJ

The weather has been sweltering hot these days – If you’re looking for a quick thirst quencher in a no-frills setting, look no further than Kwong Wah Ice Kacang @ Happy Mansion in PJ.

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The shop is small and jam packed with tables, so don’t expect to linger on for hours – strictly a “drop in-eat-and go” kinda place. That being said, the interior has a couple of nice touches, such as the counter boasting beautiful Peranakan-inspired tile, the warm yellow lights and the cool blue walls. The stall where their signature ice kacang and cendol is prepared is at the front.

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Food options are limited as most people come here for the desserts, but diners can also grab basic items such as nasi lemak and Mee Siam, as well as a variety of Nyonya kuih and freshly baked buns. The nasi lemak is cheap and tasty, but the portion is pretty small, as it only comes with a quarter slice of egg, some anchovies and sambal.

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The Ais Kacang (RM5.50) did not disappoint: the shaved ice was nice and fine, and it had a decent amount of ingredients to satiate one’s sweet tooth cravings. The fragrance of the coconut milk and thick, caramel-like sweetness of the gula melaka (palm sugar) bound everything together really well.  Definitely hits the spot in hot weather!

KWONG WAH AIS KACANG 

No. 5, Block C, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Section 17, Petaling Jaya

Business hours: 11am to 6.30pm (daily)

Lunch Time Eats: D’Jungle Food Court, Petaling Jaya

*Edit: A reader kindly pointed out that the place is called D’Jungle Food Court. Thanks a lot! 🙂

Ever had food under a flyover?

There’s a ‘hidden’ food court tucked underneath one near my office, which services mostly the office crowd. Even though I’ve been at this job nearly two years, it was only recently that I got to dine there.

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The space under the flyover houses tables/chairs and stalls selling mostly Malay cuisine. They’ve even got fans, lights and mounted TVs installed.

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My first visit, I had Western food from the stall upfront: they serve gigantic breaded chicken chops, fish n chips, sandwiches and spaghetti – all at a very affordable price. Not the healthiest, but its cheap and tasty.

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Second time around, I tried the Nasi Lemak which came with a side of fried egg, fried chicken and nuggets, coz JW recommended it. Sambal was a tad sweet but rice was nice and fragrant.

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Exterior.

I don’t even have the exact address of this place lol but it’s under the flyover near Menara Axis in PJ.

Review: Poppo Kanteen, Bandar Puteri Puchong – Nasi Lemak and Fusion Cuisine

Weekend usually means eating out and giving the Moomikins a well-deserved rest from cooking. We decided to go check out a Nasi Lemak place that was recommended by one of her colleagues, called Poppo Kanteen in Bandar Puteri, Puchong.

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Cosy interior, mishmash of modern and traditional elements. Like its namesake, it sports a ‘canteen’ style look but more upscale.

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Their signature is Nasi Lemak, but there are hundreds (yes, more than 100) of dishes on the menu, from local favourites like Briyani Gam and fried rice, to toast, pita wraps, Western food, spaghetti and more. Because there are so many dishes, one can’t expect each one to be tasty, as we soon found out.

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Service is poor, and staff do not seem well trained. I would think desserts like Cendol (above) would come after a meal, but it was the first item that they served. Taste wise, it was alright but still can’t beat the cendol at PJ Old Town’s Medan Selera.

We ordered three glasses of water. Only one came (together with the dessert). They forgot about the other two glasses until much later when we reminded them. Funny, seeing that the orders were keyed into a system and printed out onto a slip; which clearly showed three glasses. Do you not prepare the same items together?

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Bro and Pop’s Nasi Lemak with Ayam Berempah (fried chicken thigh) came to the table early.The rice was thick with the fragrance of coconut milk, served with spicy fried anchovies, emping (fried cracker), fried egg and spiced fried chicken, which was crunchy on the outside, flavourful and tender on the inside. Sambal delivered a spicy kick.

Moomins and I ordered dishes that required firing up the stove so it was understandable that it would take longer. By the 20 minute mark, however, when we saw other tables getting their dishes, we were certain that they had, again, forgotten our orders.

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Moomin’s garlic fried rice. Somewhat wet and greasy, although it did have a nice garlic fragrance.

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Ala carte chicken curry, which also arrived late and was obviously forgotten, since curry chicken is pre-made and would have only involved scooping it into a bowl.The meat was extremely tough. Sauce was meh.

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After more than half an hour, my order of Chicken Pita finally arrived. All my family members had finished their food by then and I was left to finish mine alone. The pita was cold – the heat came from the chicken which had just been fried (they obviously forgot to prepare my order). No sauces, only a slab of cheese, so it was extremely dry. It wasn’t that bad but not something I would waste my time waiting for.

Do you guys not prepare orders table by table? What kinda system are you using in the kitchen; that you key in orders into a computer and still somehow manage to mess it up?

All in all, their nasi lemak was decent but I’ve had better, and it was definitely not worth the wait and the bad service. There are better alternatives offering better service in the area. Would I come again? Maybe not.

  • Food: 3/5 (good nasi lemak, meh everything else)
  • Service: 1/5
  • Ambience: 3/5
  • Price: not too expensive, value for money

POPPO KANTEEN 

55G, Jalan Puteri 1/4, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Business hours: Daily (8AM-12AM)

Phone: 603-8066 3923

Lazy Weekends – Nasi Lemak@ Village Park and Shopping at IKEA

When mentioning nasi lemak, that perennial Malaysian favourite, Village Park at Damansara Uptown needs no introduction. Often touted as the best place for nasi lemak, the restaurant is well known among locals and foreigners alike, and has hosted an impressive guest list including ministers, celebrities and sports personalities!

We got there on a Saturday afternoon and there was already a long line snaking outside the store for takeaway. Outdoor seats were fully taken, so we slipped inside and were lucky to get a spot within minutes.

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Full house. Cramped, but worth it for good food!

Sometimes when there is really no space, they might even ask you to share tables. Walls have blown up pix of famous people who have dined here before.

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Their signature is the Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng (RM9) . Lying on a bed of fluffy coconut milk rice is a whole fried chicken thigh – crunchy and flavourful, with bits of crispy batter clinging to the skin. You can really taste the blend of herbs that they use to marinate the chicken, and the flesh was firm but tender and juicy. Better than KFC any day! 😛 I also liked the fact that they chopped the gargantuan thigh into smaller bits for easier eating.

Ofc, nasi lemak wouldn’t be complete without the customary sides – boiled egg, slices of cucumber, peanuts and anchovies, and sambal. The sambal here is not too spicy, so good news for those who can’t handle the heat!

Aside from chicken, diners can get other stuff like Sotong (squid),rendang, udang (shrimp) and more. Be ready to wait though, especially on weekends.

VILLAGE PARK DAMANSARA UPTOWN (HALAL)

5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Business hours: 7am – 8 pm (Mon – Sat), 7am – 6pm (Sunday)

Tel: +603 7710 7860

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Since we were in Damansara, might as well drop by Ikea for some window shopping . Also to get some home decorating ideas for when I finally have my own place 🙂

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As land and property prices soar, spaces for the modern urban dweller are getting smaller and smaller. What I really like about Ikea is their ingenious designs for smaller homes. You can have a seemingly big space with living room, office, dining area and kitchen within a small 40m2 apartment.

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Interesting lights 🙂 Aesthetics are down pat, but I guess they’d be a nightmare to clean.

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Interesting counter with many storage compartments for keeping cutlery. Looks like something I’d like to have in my own kitchen. 🙂

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Cozy 🙂

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Then walked over to e-Curve for McDs. Happiness is just RM1.06.

 

Malaysian Flavours – Nasi Lemak

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One of Malaysia’s best and most well-known dishes, hands down, is the nasi lemak. 

If you’re a tourist, no trip is complete without trying this at least once. 🙂 It’s like going to the Philippines and not trying their adobo!

Nasi Lemak literally means ‘fat’ or ‘oily rice’, because the rice is cooked in coconut milk (santan) and pandan leaves, giving it a rich and creamy flavour. The basic nasi lemak comes with half a boiled egg, fried anchovies, peanuts, slices of cucumber and sambal – a fiery sauce made from sauteeing chillies, onions, garlic, shallots and prawn paste. You can choose to add on from a variety of side dishes, such as fried chicken, chicken, beef or squid curry, veggies, and many more.

While it is easily available everywhere, even high end coffee shops and restaurants (which charge you a bomb!), I think the best ones are those from the street. Just look out for a nasi lemak seller at a makeshift store by the road.

The one above is just RM5, sold by an Indonesian aunty near my workplace. Pretty value for money, non?

Here are some lists for the best nasi lemaks in Kuala Lumpur !

Hungry GoWhere picks

TimeOut picks 

Fried Chillies picks

Happy hunting! 🙂