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Ginger Wine Noodles: Imbi Pasar Mee Halia @ ICC Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

Here in Malaysia, wet markets are more than just places to get fresh ingredients and household essentials – they’re social hubs where people gather to shop or meet friends and neighbours (well, pre-pandemic, at least). This is why you will often find kopitiams and food courts close to or located within a wet market facility.

Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang (also known as Imbi Market) was one of these places. The market was an icon of Kuala Lumpur for over 60 years, and the food stalls there were equally legendary: you could get noodles, classic kaya butter toast with coffee, Nyonya Kuih and more.

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A couple of years ago, the market had to be relocated to make way for a building project, so they moved to new premises at ICC Pudu. The new building is much cleaner, has a better layout than Imbi and has proper facilities. While it lacks the chaotic charm of the old market, the hawkers are still the same – so you can still get that authentic taste.

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One of the stalls here sells a rather unique dish: mee halia, or ginger wine noodles. You don’t often find this dish sold commercially, as it is usually served at home to new mothers, especially during confinement (for my non-Malaysian readers, confinement is a traditional practice following childbirth whereby the mother stays at home to rest, and have to adhere to things like avoiding water, eating certain types of food to boost recovery, etc.). In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is thought to have beneficial properties and it is often recommended to expel ‘wind’ from the body, improve digestion and reduce bloating. 

The owner-chef is 70-year-old Wong Mei Lan, who has been selling the noodles for over four decades. “There was a young mother in my neighbourhood who had just given birth. She asked if I could make her a dish, as she didn’t have money to eat the proper foods for nourishment,” she explains. “More women started coming to me after that, and then even men because they said it was tasty. That’s how I started my business,” she shares.

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Each bowl costs RM9 and comes with a large portion of rice noodles, swimming in a cloudy broth topped with egg that has been fried with minced ginger, as well as tender pork slices and fresh prawns. The broth is definitely the star – after simmering for hours, the ginger, rice wine and pork bone create a deep and complex flavour, and a warmth blossoms in your belly with each sip. Comforting is the best word I can think of to describe the taste. The proportion of the wine has to be done right in order to achieve this effect, and although Madam Wong doesn’t make it in-house, she gets it from old folks from Perak who mix it at home. Basically everything that you’re eating is homemade, rather than commercially produced.

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One of the things I love about Malaysian hawkers is that they often last generations: you can find century-old establishments that are now into their fourth or fifth generation in the business. And even though age has caught up to Madam Wong and she can’t move as fast as she used to, she’s glad that there’s someone to take up the mantle: her youngest son Lee Chee Wai. Now, just as Madam Wong used to cook for her customers and their kids, so will Chee Wai cook for a new generation – and keep his mother’s cooking traditions alive.

IMBI PASAR MEE HALIA 

G20, ICC Pudu, Jalan 1/77C, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur 

Opening hours: 6AM – 2PM 

Note: I interviewed Madam Wong and Chee Wai for the October issue of Fireflyz, the inflight magazine for Firefly Airlines. This article features a few tweaks and some additional info I wasn’t able to fit in to the story.

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Trying Out Kuala Lumpur’s OG Hokkien Mee: Kim Lian Kee @ Petaling Street / Chinatown KL

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown has a storied history. Like many Malaysian cities with a rich tin mining heritage, it started off as a pioneer town, with a large Chinese migrant population. Although Malaya was then under British rule, the colonists often appointed overseers from within the respective communities – and in KL, a “Kapitan Cina” administered over the Chinese.

One of these Kapitans, Yap Ah Loy, is attributed to the founding of KL’s Chinatown. After devastating fires, floods and civil war between the Chinese (from the Hakka and Cantonese clans) for control of the tin mining trade, many of the miners and coolies were keen on skipping town. Yap  persuaded them to remain in KL and ply another trade: growing rice and crops. He opened a tapioca mill in Petaling Street, which allowed trade to recover. In Cantonese, Petaling Street is called ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ (starch factory street), a tribute to its beginnings.

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Over the years, Chinatown’s flavour changed (I wrote about this in a previous post, which you can check out here). It became less of a hub for Chinese culture and more of a cheap market for counterfeit goods, managed by foreign workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan and India. This loss of authenticity is the reason why I have not returned to Chinatown for many years – until recently. Times are hard, and the pandemic means that many foreign workers, whether legal or illegal, have been sent home. The street is much quieter now, and most of the stalls are manned by local Chinese again.

Thankfully, one thing that has remained unchanged through the years is food – and Petaling Street is home to many well-established, decades-old institutions, such as a 40-year-old muachi stall, a 2nd generation roast duck kiosk, wantan mee, and of course, Kim Lian Kee. 

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Widely touted as the ‘birthplace’ of Hokkien Mee in Kuala Lumpur, Kim Lian Kee was founded by a Fujianese migrant, Wong Kim Lian in 1927. That makes it close to a 100 years old! The brand has since expanded all over Malaysia, with proper restaurants in malls and commercial areas. At Petaling Street, the ‘original’ hawker stall, which has outdoor seating, sits just across the road from a slightly more upscale-looking resto with air-conditioning. 

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The style of cooking and noodles may have Hokkien roots, but Hokkien Mee was created by the Southeast Asian Chinese diaspora – and as such, you will not find it in China. Three places are known for their Hokkien Mee, and they are all slightly different: Penang’s version features thick noodles in a spicy broth made from prawn shells, prawn heads, prawn and pork ribs, served with pork slices, hard boiled eggs, kangkung, bean sprouts, fried shallots, sambal and lard. Singapore’s Hokkien Mee is stir-fried, lighter in colour and comes in a fragrant sauce made from stewing prawn heads, meat, clams and dried fish.

KL’s version, which is what Kim Lian Kee serves, is known as Hokkien char by Penangite Hokkiens, to differentiate it from the soupy one. It is stir-fried in a dark soy sauce together with ingredients such as pork, squid, fish cake, cabbage and lard. A good Hokkien Mee should be cooked over a charcoal fire, and the intense heat (wok hei) helps to seal in all of the flavours.

I had high hopes for KLK’s Hokkien Mee. Unfortunately, while it was decent, I would not say it is the BEST that I’ve ever tasted.  The noodles were nice and had bite, but they also had a strong bitter taste, likely from kan sui (lye, used in making yellow noodles). The yuet kong hor (moonlight kueyteow – raw egg on stir fried kuey teow noodles) was also just… okay. A tad disappointed, as I was expecting more from a place touting itself as the ‘birthplace’ of Hokkien Noodles. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

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Aside from noodles, Kim Lian Kee has an extensive menu offering dai chow dishes like fried rice, fish and meat items, vegetables, tofu, etc. We got a fried rice with shrimp. Again, not bad but nothing wow either. The rice was a little hard. Uncle Roger would have a couple of things to say,

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The best item that we ordered (the bro agrees) was the fried chicken wings. They came in a set of three pieces, freshly fried and still piping hot. The chicken was marinated well and had great flavour, the insides were juicy, and the skin was crispy.

Our meal along with drinks came up to RM68, Considering that we were in a tourist area, I think it is still a fairly reasonable price.

Video below:

KIM LIAN KEE (PETALING STREET) 

92, Jalan Hang Lekir, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (closed Wednesdays)

*The original hawker stall is at No.42, across the road, and is only open at night from 5PM. 

**If you’re looking for awesome Hokkien Mee, I have two other suggestions. One is the Kim Lian Kee branch at Aeon Cheras Selatan, although I haven’t been back in 5 years so the quality may be different now), the other is Aik Yuen Hokkien Mee in Setapak, behind the Tawakal Hospital. The latter is literally a shack and looks dodgy af, but you know those are the kind of places that serve the best food lol.

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Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Street Snacks @ Monga, Damansara Uptown

Before the boba tea craze, there was the Taiwanese fried chicken craze.

I remember a time when Taiwanese fried chicken shops were popping up everywhere around Malaysia – Hot Star, Shihlin, Fried Chicken Master, J & G… but like many ‘trendy’ foods, of these, only a handful remain. Among them is Monga, a late entrant into the market which seems to be holding its own. There’s an outlet in Damansara Uptown which is pretty close to my workplace, so I’ve been dropping by for snacks every now and then during lunch break.

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The name Monga is apparently based on a place name in Taiwan. They also have another branch in SS15, Subang Jaya.

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One thing I like about the shop is that it’s impeccably clean. They are open for dine-in, but since these are snack foods, it isn’t much of a hassle to get your food to go.

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What does Monga offer? 

Well, their signature is the Taiwanese-style fried chicken fillet, featuring a boneless chicken thigh (Rm14.90). The price is on the steeper side, but the fillet seems huge. Aside from the Original, you also have the Seaweed and Chilli, and juicy Popcorn Chicken.

I actually have yet to try their signature because on both of my previous visits, I wasn’t looking for something heavy – but perhaps I’ll drop by for lunch proper one day!

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The first time around I got Fried King Oyster Mushrooms (RM9.90). The portion was generous, and the mushrooms were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, with a crispy batter enveloping thick yet soft mushrooms on the inside. I liked the texture as it had a meatiness and bite to it, and it still retained a lot of moisture even after deep frying. Highly recommended if you like mushrooms!

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On my second visit, I got Fried Chicken skin (RM7.90) – an order I regretted lol. It’s not that it wasn’t good – I just felt really greasy and icky afterwards. If you’ve read my previous post about losing weight, I’ve been on a streak lately – I guess old habits die hard, and I’ve been stressed with work. I will try not to fall into these unhealthy eating traps again… or at least try not to do it so often.

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With every purchase of a snack, you get to top up the meal with a drink for RM3.90. And ofc when you have Taiwanese snacks, you gotta have that Taiwanese boba !  The tea itself was quite tasteless and there was too much ice, so the sweetness only came from the pearls, which tasted decent.

MONGA (DAMANSARA UPTOWN) 

66, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Open daily : 11AM – 9PM

Available on GrabFood. 

 

Support Local Businesses ! Mee Jawa @ Restoran Wai Wai, Meranti Jaya Puchong

Hey guys!

I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy. A little update here on the quarantine life in Malaysia: it’s day 27 of the Movement Control Order, which means that it has almost been a month since all but essential businesses were told to close, and everyone instructed to stay in their own homes. Enforcement has gotten tighter because there are still people going out to jog, going out to see girlfriends, etc.

While it’s too early to say since new cases are still in the triple digits, our recovery rate is apparently, pretty high – and the mortality has remained low, despite the high numbers of infected. So kudos to the Health Ministry and our front liners for putting their lives on the line for the sake of the nation. Everyone else, do your part by staying at home.

One of the biggest sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is, of course, the small, homegrown businesses like coffeeshop and hawker stalls, that rely on a daily wage. Malaysians take great pride in our tasty and relatively cheap street food (you can insult us about anything else, but definitely not our food), so it was difficult to have that taken away so abruptly. Cooking at home is, of course, more economical and healthier, but one does miss the taste of Nasi Lemak from the auntie that peddles it from the corner stall by the road, or the fresh-out-of-the-wok pisang goreng as a tea time snack in the office… the list is endless.

As for me, one of the first things that I’m planning to do once the MCO has lifted is pay a visit to my favourite Mee Jawa stall at Taman Meranti Jaya in Puchong. I’ve been eating here for several years now, and I actually like the food so much that I did an interview with the lady boss for a story in the travel magazine that I work for. **Unfortunately, the issue had to be postponed, as flights are currently grounded.

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The stall is run by Madam Ong and her husband, who both hail from Teluk Intan in Perak (you know, the place famous for the Leaning Tower?). While the sign says ‘Mee Rebus’, her dish is really more similar to Mee Jawa, a traditional Indonesian-Javanese noodle dish which features a sweet and savoury broth served with slices of egg, beansprouts, tofu slices and crunchy fried condiments. Both dishes are often confused due to the similarities in ingredients, although Mee Rebus tends to use fermented soybean and shrimp as the base of its broth, while Mee Jawa uses tomato and sweet potato.

Madam Ong, who has been cooking for more than 30 years, says that she learned the recipe from her mother. “In Teluk Intan, we call it ‘Indian noodles’ in the Cantonese dialect because it was commonly sold by Indian hawkers,” says Ong, who first cut her teeth in the business helping her mother, who was also a hawker. “I’m not sure if my mother learned it from an Indian hawker, but the recipe I use now was handed down to me when I was young,” she says.

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Madam Ong ran her own noodle business in Teluk Intan for more than 20 years, but hung up her apron several years ago to come to Kuala Lumpur and take care of her grandchildren. But there was ‘no way to pass the time after sending the children off to school’, so she decided to come out of retirement and start selling noodles again, this time in Puchong. She roped in her husband, who was working in construction and had no cooking experience, to help out. Initial days were difficult, as Mee Jawa is not as popular here as some other dishes like chicken rice, or curry noodles. Madam Ong shares that she actually had to donate the leftover food to charity homes. But the couple persevered, and eventually built a loyal fanbase (myself included!)

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What I like about the dish? The secret lies in the gravy.

Some places use fillers like flour to make the broth, so that they don’t have to use as many ingredients –  but the result is watery and unpleasant broth. Here, every spoonful of broth is packed with the richness of sweet potato, potato and tomato, and it tastes wholesome and natural. The sweetness is subtle, rather than overwhelming as is usually the case if you add sugar. While Madam Ong doesn’t make the noodles in-house, they are quite decent and have an al-dente, springy quality, with minimal smell of kansui (lye water, which is used to make yellow noodles and when prepared poorly, can be quite overwhelming). Another great thing about the dish is its wonderful combination of textures – there’s the crunchiness from the lightly salted fried flour snacks, which remain crispy even after they’ve been swimming in the broth for awhile, paired with the softness of tofu slices, the bounce of the egg and the springiness of the al dente noodles. All of this for just RM6! 

While you’re here, don’t forget to order a few pieces (or 10) of fried shrimp cakes, aka keropok udang. These are fried by Ong’s husband, and for someone who had no knowledge of cooking up until a few years ago, he has really mastered the art of frying. The keropok is crunchy and crispy but not oily, with airy, fluffy insides. The seasoning is done just right as well.

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Ong’s Mee Jawa/Rebus stall is open for breakfast and lunch only, and she usually closes by 1.45PM. I’m not sure if she’s still open during the MCO, but I’m definitely going after this lockdown is lifted.

Which hawker stall / local cafe/restaurant are you supporting after the MCO?

MEE REBUS TELUK INTAN 

Inside Restoran Wai Wai, 149-G, Block J, Tanming Boulevard, Jalan Meranti Jaya 3/1, Taman Meranti Jaya, Puchong.

Opening hours: 7AM – 1.45PM (closed Tuesdays)

Review: Restoran Kong Sai, Bandar Puteri Puchong – Best Poached Chicken In Town

When Restoran Kong Sai first opened in Bandar Puteri Puchong, it quickly gained a reputation for its delicious poached chicken; attracting hordes of hungry diners who would queue to get in over dinnertime. While the resto has since expanded to include the adjacent shop lot, the crowds remain – so it’s best to come early to grab a seat, especially on weekends.

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The air-conditioned area was packed so we sat outside. Service was fast and efficient. They don’t have an extensive menu, but the few items that they have are all excellent.

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The star of the establishment is the poached chicken, which can be ordered in half and whole portions. There are two types available – Kampung (jau dei gai) which is smaller and has leaner meat, and dai san keuk gai (commercially reared) which is fatter and larger in size. Some people prefer kampung chicken because it’s healthier, while others prefer the fattier commercial chickens. Whichever you order, expect smooth, flavourful pieces of chicken that soak up the soy/sesame sauce really well. Getting poached chicken right without drying it out is difficult, but Kong Sai delivers with aplomb. Each piece is juicy and tender. I usually don’t eat the chicken skin when it’s poached, but it’s nice and chewy here. 😀

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I would also recommend the stuffed tofu (minimum order five pieces), which consist of minced meat and vegetables stuffed into beancurd and served in a soup. The tofu balls are sizable and the meat is seasoned just right, with a delicate bite to it.

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Veggies are veggies.

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Another house speciality is the curried pork ribs. These are prepared in a limited amount each day. I think not everyone will like this as the curry is very mild and barely has any kick to it, but the curry has good flavour and the ribs are done well. Personally, I would prefer more ribs. You get a couple of huge potatoes and a few ribs, but they don’t have much meat on them.

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Kong Sai also offers various soups; such as peanut with lotus root and black pepper pork stomach soup. The latter is one of my favourites and they are generous with portions; even throwing in some pork belly slices. The pepper is not overwhelming either, and the offal tastes clean with no gaminess.

Our meal for four came up to RM94 for 2 soups, 4 dishes, 4 portions of rice as well as drinks, which is quite reasonable. The star is surely the chicken, but everything else is pretty good as well.

RESTORAN KONG SAI (PUCHONG BRANCH) 

44G, Jalan Puteri 5/2, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11.30AM – 2.30PM, 5.30PM – 10.30PM (Closed Mondays).

 

What To Do At Khao San Road: Bangkok’s Backpacker Mecca

So after years of incredulous looks whenever I tell friends I’ve never been to Bangkok (“but it’s so near!”), I finally got to visit Asia’s City of Angels, The Big Mango; or more notoriously, Sin City. It was a short trip and we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer – but N and I enjoyed our time here immensely. Now I see why everyone was like “why haven’t you been to Bangkok yet?!”

Bangkok at night 01 (MK)
Mathias Krumbholz [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D
We didn’t do much research prior to going (a mistake seasoned travellers should avoid!) so I wasn’t sure which area would be a good place to stay. Bangkok is a huge city, divided into many subdivisions, each with its own attractions and experiences. We were on a budget so I picked the cheapest accommodation I could find that wasn’t a hostel. I found one near Khao San Road, a backpacker’s paradise. The only problem? We aren’t exactly party people, so I wasn’t sure what we could do around the place. Turns out, plenty.

Bangkok, like Kuala Lumpur, has two major airports: Don Mueang, which services low-cost airlines, and Suvarnabhumi, which is about 20 km away. Traffic can get pretty bad in the city so always allocate plenty of time going to and from the airport.

HOW TO GET TO KHAO SAN ROAD from DON MUEANG AIRPORT 

The night before we were due to depart for Bangkok, I scoured various websites for info, but there seemed to be no easy way to get to Khao San from Don Mueang. If you’re landing at Suvarnabhumi, things are much easier as there is an airport rail that goes directly to the city centre. The worst case scenario (for our budget, anyway) was to take a taxi (900 baht (!!!) (RM 121) from the official taxi stand inside the airport).

I wasn’t about to spend a good chunk of the money I brought for one taxi ride, so I stubbornly went to the tourist information counter to ask if there was any other way to get there. Lo and behold – the airport runs shuttle buses to various tourist-centric areas within the city ! The A4 bus would take us directly to Khaosan Road and it only costs …. 50 baht! (RM6.77). That’s like a 95% cheaper alternative! 

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The A4 bus runs every 30 minutes. You need to wait for it at the airport’s Exit 6, which is just after arrivals. If you have a lot of luggage, this might not be the best mode of transport since you’ll have to lug it on and off the bus, then up to wherever your hotel is.

The coach was air conditioned, clean and cosy. We got on around 2-ish, and it was quite empty so we had a lot of space to ourselves. From the airport, it took us about an hour to reach Khao San Road.

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We hopped off near Banglamphu, because our hotel/hostel was actually on Soi Rambuttri, just off Khao San Road. Rambuttri is a good place for people on a budget who want to be close to the action, but not at the centre of it. The place is much quieter, with a quaint hipster vibe. The streets are well paved, there is very little traffic except for the occasional bike or trike or two, and there are loads of shops that mirror the ones you find at Khao San, but with less crowd.

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Rambuttri is known for its chill cafes, bars and restos, with large and shady trees and greenery.

 

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There are street stalls as well, peddling souvenirs, cheap clothing, bags, shoes, and more.

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Street massages are a thing. No one bats an eyelid if you’re reclined in full double-chin glory with your feet exposed by the side of the road. An hour-long foot massage will set you back around 250 – 300 baht.

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Exploring the Banglamphu area

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We took a short cut that ran through a covered area, which had more souvenir shops and massage parlours, but also some interesting gems like indie bookstores

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Cue N pushing me past this 2nd hand bookstore really quickly lest I stop to look (after which he wouldn’t be able to get me out of there again)

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Souvenirs for sale. Many sold the standard stuff like fridge magnets and T-shirts saying “I Love Thailand”, but there were also some interesting pieces like paintings, decorative wall hangings and handmade items.

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Finally emerging into the 400-metre-long Khao San Road, we were greeted by dozens, if not hundreds of signages proclaiming various services, from bars and massage parlours to jewellery stores, fashion and retail centres, tattoo studios, restaurants, money changers and supermarkets. Not to mention the many street stalls selling food and clothes on the pedestrian-only main thoroughfare. Loud music blasted from every corner, vendors shouting cheap beer! massage! exotic show! party! fun! It seemed like if you had the money for it, you could find anything along Khao San Road.

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Bangkok’s famous tuk-tuk 

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Khao San felt like a riot on the senses. The swirling colours, the different faces from all walks of life in every shape, colour and size, the smell of barbecued meat and steaming corn wafting into the air, whole barbecued crocodiles and exotic insects on sale, touts shouting “Ping Pong Show!” while holding up placards of sexy women, open air bars where the music was so loud the ground felt like it was shaking slightly.

There were tall blonde Westerners dressed in strappy spaghetti tops laughing boisterously over drinks as they flirted with the tanned, handsome bartenders, petite Thai college girls giggling with their friends as they checked out merchandise, young local women clinging to the arms of older white men, old Japanese tourists, families, students. An essayist once wrote that Khao San was a ‘place to disappear’, and she wasn’t wrong.

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Even the McDonalds here has a Thai flavour ! (pun)

It was fun for awhile to observe the goings-on at Khao San, but also draining for introverts like N and I lol. We retreated back to the Rambuttri area for dinner. Popped into one of the nicer restaurants, which was still reasonably priced.

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Can’t come to Bangkok and not have a coconut shake

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Cheese-filled wontons

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Chicken tom yum for that spicy kick

 

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Gotta pad thai like a basic tourist. It was great though!

Me to waitress: I don’t want beansprouts.

*Waitress does not understand.*

Me: You know, the long white things.. vegetables

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Walking back to our hotel we came across this souped up van that was converted into a mobile bar, with seats on the pavement and a TV installed into the boot. If you like your alcohol, I think you’d be very happy at Rambuttri / Khao San.

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There was still some time to kill so we had a massage (in the shop rather than on the street). Wasn’t much in terms of privacy as everyone was chatting away, but still relaxing.

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Ended the night with a banana nutella pancake!

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Review: Capitol Satay – Melaka’s Original Satay Celup

Happy New Year, everyone!

Whether you celebrated with loved ones at home, with friends out partying, with your pets in your jammies or just alone with a nice book (that’s what I did anyway), I hope it was a good one. I’ve been a bit lazy with my blogging (spent the holiday season gaming, mostly), so now it’s back to the grind again (at work as well)!

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N and I were in Melaka recently, and being foodies, we had to try the local specialty. The original plan was to get oh-chien (stir-fried oyster omelette), but it started raining heavily and we ended up at Capitol Satay instead. Founded in the 1960s, the place is extremely popular with out-of-townies so there’s always a line. We got seats relatively quickly, within 15 minutes of waiting.

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Seating is limited, and the restaurant is not air conditioned. That doesn’t stop the crowds, though.

What do they serve?

Despite the satay moniker, I think it’s more accurate to call it lok lok, ie hotpot. First, choose from a variety of meat, seafood and vegetables on skewers. Then, bring them to your table and dunk the skewers into an aromatic peanut-based sauce, kept bubbling at the middle of your table, until your food is cooked. Voila! Enjoy with bread and cucumber for dipping.

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Choose your poison. There is a dizzying selection at the chiller – sausages, meatballs, seafood tofu, beancurd sheets, oyster mushrooms, Taiwanese sausage, crabmeat sticks, pork, squid, chicken, lamb, etc.

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What we got

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As we ate, restaurant staff came over occasionally, to add more sauce or to stir the pot so that stuff didn’t stick to the bottom. The peanut sauce was fragrant, with a sweet and nutty flavour. I especially liked the bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom. After awhile, everything started to taste the same, although N seemed to like it well enough. Our meal for two came up to about RM30++ which was reasonable since we only took about 20 skewers. If you’re dining in a large group, or if you’re a big eater, the portions might not be filling.

CAPITOL SATAY 

41, Lorong Bukit Cina,
Bandar Hilir, 75100 Melaka,
Malaysia
Opening Hours: 4PM – 12AM (daily)

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Review: Tuck Kee @ Ipoh

Ipoh is a foodie haven, and there are many decades-old institutions in town – like Tuck Kee, a famous noodle house along Jalan Yau Tet Shin, which has been in operation since 1963 (Not to be confused with Sun Tuck Kee a couple of doors away, and also the Tuck Kee in Taman Hoover which serves roasties).

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Basic and no-frills, the resto’s decor is typical of Chinese kopitiams – very much a dine-and-dash kind of place. Specialising in wat tarn hor (stir-fried flat noodles in an egg drop sauce/soup) and moonlight kuey teow (same but topped with an egg), it is a popular dinner spot with local families as much as tourists. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the wat tarn hor, but it was tasty – full of wok hei (breath of fire) and well flavoured. Can’t say I’m a big fan though, but that’s just me.

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Another one of their popular dishes is the boiled baby octopus (RM18). The price is pretty steep, and the portion is not that big either, but you’ll be rewarded with springy, chewy pieces of baby octopi, drizzled in a light soy sauce and fragrant fried shallots.

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Giant pork balls are among the new offerings on the menu. Had a nice bite to it, and no overwhelmingly porky smell.

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Another new offering – featuring the same egg drop sauce, but with fish paste shaped into ‘noodle’ strands.

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You can also order fried gyoza from the stall across the road !

TUCK KEE 

61, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Opening hours: 5PM – 2AM (Daily)