Saturday, 31 October 2009

CHONG TIAN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

This restaurant has changed management many times over the years. In fact, the Bukit Mewah Restaurant (one of our Top 10) used to operate here some time ago.

The current operators Ah Tian and Ah Chong (hence the name Chong Tian, duh) are relatively new and we are still experimenting with their food here. The general verdict so far has been good. Some dishes here are pretty unique or rare dishes. Here are some of our recent discoveries.
1. Assam fish
This can be done with either tilapia or siakap. We prefer the tilapia as it is meatier. The assam gravy is spicy and sour thanks to the addition of pineapple slices and assam keping.
Verdict : Very good and recommended





2. Braised duck


This is a pretty rare dish these days as it needs many hours of cooking to make the duck tender. The duck here was cooked until practically falling off the bones. The gravy was full of flavour from the spices used. It is not available on order but can be pre-ordered (RM55 per duck) or if you are fortunate as we were, you could get it on certain days when it is pre-prepared by the cook (ask for the days 'special').
Verdict : Very good

3. Sweet sour pork

OK, we ordered this just to test them. If you can get a simple dish like sweet and sour pork right, then the cook should know his stuff right ? Well, the cook here passed with flying colours. The pork was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The sauce was ... sweet and sour as it is supposed to be ! Pineapple was again used to give the sauce a tangy edge. Great!
Verdict : Very good and recommended

4. Baby french beans with garlic

A simple dish done well leaving the beans juicy and crunchy.
Verdict : Good








Some of the other dishes we have had here include:-
i) Lotus leaf wrapped tilapia fish - this is one of their speciality dishes, but we prefer this dish at Bukit Mewah Restaurant. Their version is pretty good too and gets the thumbs up from us.
ii) "Shanghai style" pai kuat - a unique dish here but is only available on certain days. The pork ribs are cooked in a sweet sauce with some spices which seeps into the meat. This was a real hit with my wife and mother-in-law.

A simple chicken soup is thrown in for free if you order rice and dishes a-la-carte. If they keep turning up great dishes, this place will be contender for our next Top 10 list.


Location : 45 Jalan Bukit Mewah 11, Taman Bukit Mewah, Off Jalan Semenyih, Kajang.
(this is an end lot at a row of shophouses where Lawrence Klinik is located at. Contact : Ah Tian (017-355 5138) Ah Chong (016-977 1592)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Curry spice 'kills cancer cells'

Here's a good reason to go out and eat some curry today:-

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical - curcumin - has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

Cancer experts said the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments.

Dr Sharon McKenna and her team found that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

'Natural' remedy

The cells also began to digest themselves, after the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals.

Dr McKenna said: "Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value."

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: "This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

"Rates of oesophageal cancer have gone up by more than a half since the 70s and this is thought to be linked to rising rates of obesity, alcohol intake and reflux disease so finding ways to prevent this disease is important too."

Each year around 7,800 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the UK. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death and accounts for around five percent of all UK cancer deaths.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8328377.stm

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The "Temple Restaurant", Jalan Mendaling

Right at the 'bend' of Mendaling Street in Kajang, there is a restaurant that has been there for about 30-40 years now, surviving many recessions and new competition. This restaurant, which does not have a sign board or name, operates on the grounds of a temple situated along Jalan Mendaling in the heart of old Kajang town. We affectionately refer to it as the "Temple Restaurant". The kitchen and part of the restaurant are actually situated under an elevated performance stage for the temple! You could try the "under-stage" dining experience or eat at the tables set at the spectator area.

Not having a name or sign-board, it is understandably frequented by the Kajang town-folk and those in the know only. They do not have an extensive menu but what is available is well executed. The cooks are conscientious about not using too much salt or MSG, so you need to add soy sauce if the dishes are too flat for your liking.

The Hokkiens' in Kajang town swear by this restaurant and the Hokkien Mee is certainly a signature dish. Before you rush over to try it, let me warn you - it is the simplicity of the Hokkien Mee that attracts the diners here. I swear, the level of MSG here will disappoint many, but heck - it is also the reason why, they have so many regular customers.

Their noodle dishes are generally recommended. Some of favourites are:-

1. Hokkien mee

The noodles are home made and have a softer and chewy texture which blends well with the dark sauce. Best eaten with the chilli "sambal" which is available on request, mixed with some soy suace.
Rating : Very good and recommended.

2. Fried tang hoon (glass noodles)

This dish is done using less oil. The crunchiness in the noodles comes from the addition of strips of cabbage. Tiny prawns and fried egg make this a tasty favourite with the regulars.
Rating : Very good


3. Fried rolls

They have three varieties here, pork, fish or vegetable. All are good but we prefer the pork as it is the tastiest. Served with their home-made chilli sauce. A great choice to accompany the noodles.
Rating : Very good and recommended.

4. Fish maw cooked in an egg sauce

The fish maw is cooked in a sauce similar to the Cantonese sauce consisting of lettuce, carrot and egg in a starchy sauce.
Rating : Good


5. Char yoke (fried pork with black fungus)

This is a dish that would benefit from being cooked and left overnight to allow the sauce to seep into the pork. The dish here is prepared on order so it is not exactly the best dish to order.
Rating : OK


Other popular dishes here are the loh mee (recommended) and Cantonese fried noodles. Best of all, the prices at this simple restaurant will make you fall off your chair. Perhaps that is the reason why it has been so popular for over 40 years!

Location : Temple off Jalan Mendaling, Kajang Town

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Best nasi kerabu in Kajang ?

Nasi kerabu or nasi ulam is a Kelantanese dish. I have fond memories of having nasi kerabu in Kota Bahru for breakfast when I used to frequent KB on work matters more than a decade ago. I used to look forward to my trips and the guy who fetched me from the airport, a local by the name of Zul, knew that I loved nasi kerabu. He'd go out of his way to take me to many of the favourite local nasi kerabu places. Our favourite was a small decrepit shack on the outskirts of KB along the Pasir Mas road, located near a bridge (I do not recall any signboard or name for this place). I wonder if it still there ?

To make nasi kerabu, various fresh herbs (ulam) are chopped finely and mixed with cooked rice (sometimes coloured blue using colour from the bunga telang). There is no fixed formula for the herbs used and it usually depends on whats available. The common ingredients are kerisik (fried grated coconut), serai (lemongrass), bunga kantan (torch ginger), cili padi (birds-eye vhillies) or normal chillies, ginger, onions, and various types of local ulam such as daun cekur, kunyit, selasih, kesum etc. Chopped vegetables may also be added including long beans, cucumber, bean sprouts (taugeh) and kangkong. A good nasi kerabu should have at least 10 different herbs and vegetables in it. This is usually mixed on order as pre-mixing would make the rice soggy. The mixed rice is topped with some budu (fermented fish sauce) and chilli mix according to individual taste. It can be eaten plain, and the best nasi kerabu is delicious without any accompaniment. However most people have it with daging bakar (grilled beef), fried chicken, rendang, fried fish or salted egg. Solok lada (chilli stuffed with fish paste) is a popular accompaniment in the East Coast. Fried keropok (fish crackers) is served on the side and for extra crunch, it should be crushed and mixed with the rice.

Having honed my taste on the real thing in KB, I have pretty high expectations from local nasi kerabu operators. It should be noted that nasi kearbu has only become available in the West Coast in recent years, and usually sold by the migrant Kelantanese. Ingredients have been localised with less herbs and more taugeh (maybe because it's the cheapest vegetable ?).

There are several local nasi kerabu of note in Kajang, and my recommendation (in order of preference) would be:-
1. A decrepit stall along Lorong Sentosa 1, Taman Jelok Indah, Sg Jelok, Kajang. Their ayam goreng berempah is pretty good and is a recommended accompaniment for the nasi kerabu.
2. Restoran D'Bukit, Jalan Bukit Mewah 9, Taman Bukit Mewah, Off Jalan Semnyih, Kajang. They have a wide variety of accompaniments including the solok lada.
3. A house opposite Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kajang Utama, Kajang Utama, Kajang.

All sell nasi kerabu in the mornings only and all also have nasi dagang (which may be the subject of a future post). Do let me know if you have come across any other good places for nasi kerabu in Kajang. I'm still looking ....

Restoran Yip Sheng

Yip Sheng is located at Bandar Teknologi Kajang, on the outskirts of Kajang along Jalan Semenyih. We've been frequenting this restaurant for many years and have some fond memories of seafood dishes here (our cousin from India now relocated to London has recurring fantasies about eating crabs here). Our recent outings here though have been rather disappointing . Here's some dishes we tried:-

1. Steamed fish (kerapu) with salted vegetables and taufoo

This was good. The fish was fresh and firm and the salted vegetables were not too salty. The fish 'soup' was good enough to scoop.
Rating : Good


 2. 'Kung po' pork

This was not a well executed dish. It lacked the chilli pungency although there were lots of dried chillies thrown in. It could also have done with more onions.
Rating : OK


3. Four beans with sambal


The four 'beans' consisted of long beans, brinjal, petai and lady's finger. The sambal was unexciting and rather flat.
Rating : OK


4. Cabbage with dried pawns and bird-eye chilli

A simple dish that is difficult to get wrong. This turned out well.
Rating : Good



5. Seaweed and seafood soup



The soup too was unexciting and rather bland.
Rating : OK

Perhaps there's been a change of cooks over the years or perhaps we have not tried their specialty dishes yet. Do let us have your feedback if you have had any good dishes here before.

Location
No 73-75, Jalan Seri Baiduri 1
Taman Seri Baiduri
Bandar Teknologi Kajang
43000 Kajang
Phone : 019-363 2668

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Our review system

If you are wondering why everything is rated Good, Very Good and Excellent so far, it's because we've been reviewing our Top 10 favourite places first. Generally however, our ratings would mean:-
  • Excellent - really good stuff and you should give it a try. May indicate a unique dish or speciality of the restaurant.
  • Very good - really good too but it may be a more common dish. Indicates that it is well executed.
  • Good - it passes our taste test and gets our thumbs up.
  • OK - means that the results are so-so only. May indicate inconsistency in execution.
  • Skip - this is our thumbs down.
We do not do paid reviews and all our meals are paid from our own pockets (did we mention the hole in our pockets?). The idea for this blog is to share the places we enjoy with fellow foodies out there. We hope that you will take the 30 minute drive from KL (or from wherever you are) to experience some good 'small town' kampong style cooking which is fast disappearing in KL.

Bon apetit !

Monday, 19 October 2009

Restoran 52

This restaurant has been around for a long time and is well known among the people in Semenyih where it is located. It is very popular with the working crowd at lunch time and slightly less busy at dinner time (except weekends and public holidays). It's a rather new discovery for us though - we had been frequenting a place further along the same road but only recently decided to give this place a try. My brother prefers to other place down the road but I like the variety of dishes at this place. Here are some of the dishes that we have tried:-

1. Oil cooked tilapia with soy sauce (their Signature dish)

It looks like a steamed fish but it is actually cooked in hot oil. The temperature of the oil has to be perfect and the timing just right to prevent the fish from turning crisp or burning. The cooking style produces a firm and well cooked fish whilst the light soy sauce with garlic, chilli padi and garlic brings out and complement the natural flavours of the fresh tilapia.
Rating : Very good

2. Pork ribs in Guinness sauce / Guinness pai kuat (another signature dish)

Many restaurants serve this dish but this must be one of the best I have ever had. The caramelized Guinness stout is thick and sticky and coats the pork ribs in a delicious black layer. This will definitely leave you licking your fingers and asking for more.
Rating : Excellent - must try.



3. Salt & pepper fried chicken wings

This is a popular order here and is on their list of recommended dishes. It's pretty simple, fried chicken wings with salt and pepper - but done to perfection.
Rating : Excellent - must try.




4. Spinach soup with century egg and fishcake

Another simple dish but done really well. I can't resist this every time I go here.
Rating : Very good





5. Fish head curry


A pretty good version but a bit heavy on the coconut cream (santan). There's lots of vegetables in the curry too so it could make a good one-dish meal with rice.
Rating : Good




6. Butter squid (sotong)


This preparation is usually done with prawns, but can be done here with squid too. The result - great. Crunchy squid with fried egg butter strands and crispy curry leaves.
Rating : Very good.




7. Kam heong prawns

Again, a common dish but well executed here. The prawns were fresh and juicy too.
Rating : Very good





8. Long beans and brinjals stir fried with dried prawns


This is similar to the usual 4 bean vegetables (petai, long beans, brinjals and four-angle beans) but done with just the long beans and brinjals - which are my favorites. Not too oily and with lots of dried prawns.
Rating : Good




They have a printed menu with their popular dishes listed at the end. Prices are pretty reasonable.

Location:-
52 Jalan Sungai Lalang
Semenyih
Selangor
Contact : 87238733 or 0126439892

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Kedai Makanan Wan Fatt

This rather obscure restaurant is located in Kajang town but is mostly frequented by locals, due to it's hard-to-find location. It's actually situated on the back lane of Jalan Mendaling on the riverbank of Sg Langat.

This is another restaurant which has seen business boom after a spotlight on the Ho Chiak TV programme. The cook is quite inventive, creating new or modified versions of classic Cantonese dishes.

It's one of our top 10 places to eat in Kajang. Here are some of the dishes we have tried on previous visits:-

1. Steamed tilapia fish topped with fried preserved radish (their Signature dish)

This is the dish that propelled them to fame on Ho Chiak. Tilapia fish steamed to perfection and served with a light soy sauce. The secret to their version is the deep fried preserved radish topping the fish. It adds a crunchy texture to the dish, not to mention the added taste dimension of the preserved radish.
Rating : Excellent - must try !



2. Three Taste Pork Ribs ( Kam Heong pork ribs)

You'll find kam heong crabs and prawns at many establishments but few have meat dishes in this style.
Rating : Very good






3. Kailan prepared in 2 styles

On a single dish you will get 2 styles of kailan. First, cut into thin strips and deep fried, the kailan actually looks and tastes like dried seaweed. Strips of crab stick are added for more crunch and flavour. The second style is the typical stir-fry with garlic which is well executed.
Rating : Very good



4. Home-made taufoo with sotong

Soft home-made taufoo topped with squid (sotong). It has enough vegetables in it to qualify as a vegetable dish too.
Rating : Good





5. Cantonese style fried noodles with prawn (Sang har meen)

This is one of the few places in Kajang where you will find this dish served, and they do it quite well here. The prawns are medium large and served with deep fried yee mee in a Cantonese style egg gravy. Stir the dish and leave it for a while to let the gravy and prawn juices infuse the noodles. A great choice for a single-dish meal.
Rating : Very good


6. Deep fried pork ribs

Tasty and well executed.
Rating : Good






Location :-
4, Gerai Penjaja Lorong Belakang,
Jalan Mendaling,
Kajang
Contact : 012 6566 553

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Top 10 Restaurants in the Kajang area


Top 10 Restaurants in the Kajang area
These are our current favourites in the Kajang area (with a few from Serdang, Sri Kembangan, Semenyih and Broga - anything within a 30 minute radius from Kajang). These are mainly Chinese restaurants (we are still looking for Indian, Malay or other restaurants that that are worth including in our top 10). In no order of preference:-

  1. Old Man Restaurant, Sg Chua, Kajang
  2. Kedai Makanan Wan Fatt, Kajang town
  3. Bukit Mewah Restaurant, Jalan Semenyih, Kajang
  4. Restoran Min Kee, Broga, Lenggeng, Negri Sembilan
  5. Restoran 52, Semenyih
  6. Fook Loy Restaurant, Sg Chua, Kajang
  7. Kopitiam Soon Lee, Seri Kembangan
  8. Restoran Huat Kee, Semenyih
  9. Restoran Malaysia, Kajang town
  10. Haji Samuri Satay, Kajang town

Being from the Kajang, we can not exclude what has made Kajang famous – satay. So the last 2 places on the list are our favourite satay restaurants in Kajang.

Look out for more reviews of our top 10 places in future posts. Do let us have your comments on our selection and whether there are any other places you think are worth including.

Old Man Restaurant, Sg Chua

The original Old Man Restaurant is in Kajang town and this 'branch' is operated by a relative of the original proprietor in Sg Chua. The cook here is pretty innovative and has created some dishes which have been featured on the Ho Chiak TV programme and other Chinese mainstream media. With all the publicity, getting a table here on a weekend can be rather difficult :-(
Check out their Facebook entry

Our latest visit was yesterday, which was Friday and fortunately it was not too crowded. Here's what we had:-

1. Teochew style tilapia fish in claypot
This was a pretty good. The fish was cooked in a claypot with salted vegetables. The broth was tasty but rather too salty. Perhaps the salted vegetables should have been soaked in water to remove some of the saltiness. But the fish was cooked to perfection and every morsel of flesh was polished off. gd attacked the fish head and ensured that nothing was wasted!
Rating : Very good


2. Fried oyster mushrooms (their speciality)
Coated in flour and deep fried, the mushrooms were crunchy. There were curry leaves and chilli padi added to give it added flavour.
Rating : Very good





3. Fried rice with ebiko (another speciality)
The photo was taken after the rice was mixed with the ebiko (fish roe). It looks really pretty before you mix it (see the image on Facebook). Taste wise, it was not exceptional although the prawns and fish paste were fresh and crunchy. The fish roe added a unique texture and crunchiness to the dish.
Rating : Good



4. Fried pork chops in oatmeal (yet another speciality)
This was good but the mayonnaise sauce to accompany the dish was unexciting.
Rating : Good






5. Fried long beans with brinjals
Good but would have been better with some dried prawns and more chillies ?
Rating : Good






I like their wall of photos. Diners can take their pick from the visual menu !

Location :-
CG-1 & 2 G Floor, Block C Jalan Putra,
Sungai Chua, (nearby Bintang Supermarket)
Kajang, Selangor

Friday, 16 October 2009

Chicken Farm Visit with Press

Having the privilege to be with the press (mainstream Chinese media) on a visit to the Sunshine Chicken Farm (www.sunshinechicken.com), I did not want to miss out on this first hand tour and more importantly, the feast awaiting us - my first bite at the Yim Kai (Capon/Castrated chicken). It took about 3 hours from Kajang, 2 hours or so from Kuala Lumpur to reach the farm in Kuala Lipis.


First thing you will notice on the farm, this unique grass - Ma Cho (or horse grass) - seen all over the farm. These lucky free range chickens get to run around and feast on them juicy grass all day long. It is said, this grass gives the chicken a special flavour when cooked - and this was about to be tested over lunch. Awaiting us was a meal with the Yim Kai as the main course of our lunch with the pressmen.



Restaurant Fung Seng Lao is located next to KFC, as you enter Kuala Lipis town and food here has never let us down.


First out was that Huge Yellow Bird, placed on a big plate for us to snap away. The chef wanted us to see for ourself, how big this chicken really was! It was huge and the yellow colour was just so natural and lovely. Then back to the kitchen went our chicken to be cut for the feast. A feast it was - the Yim Kai was absolutely marvelous. Chicken never tasted better. The yellow skin was so inviting, the thin layer of fat underneath the skin was absolutely sinful, taken together with the chicken and skin, it was perfect! The texture of the meat was right, slightly chewy with a little 'spring' to it.



The dip that came with the dish was complementing but minus the dip, the chicken was already tasty. This chicken passed the acid-test - plain steam with a little soya sauce and salt, to bring out the real taste of the chicken and that it did! This was a tasty chicken and it really reminded me of tasty chickens we had at home, some 30 years ago - nostalgic !







The other dishes was very tasty, the fresh farm vegetables, the fish ball soup - made locally from the river 'parang' fish. This restaurant also dishes out one of the best 'wild boar' dish I have ever tasted. It surely is worth the drive up to Kuala Lipis for this.

BTW. You have to call and book your Yim Kai in advance, if you are planning a feast at this restaurant. Ma Cho Kai is available all the time, they get it directly from the farm and it does not get any better then this.

Restoran Fung Seng Lao
Tel: 09-312 5072
Kuala Lipis, Pahang

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Crab feast at Fook Loy Restaurant



Our first entry is a crab fest at Fook Loy in Sg Chua, Kajang. The crabs were our own - sourced from a supplier. One HUGE Alaskan crab weighing over 1 kg and three smaller Bangladeshi (yes! Bangla) crabs weighing over 2 kg. The Alaskan crab was cooked with meehoon (pix above) and the crab juices seeped into the noodles making it one of the tastiest noodles we had ever eaten.


The mud crabs were cooked in 2 different styles - kam heong and butter with salted egg. The kam heong here was rather different with the addition of curry power and lemongrass (serai). A little odd actually. The butter with salted egg crabs turned out better and was promptly polished off. Very good in our humble opinion!