Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Old Man Restaurant, Sg Chua - New Location

Our Top 10 pick, the Old Man Restaurant in Sg Chua has recently moved to spanking new premises in Taman Kajang Impian which is just further down the road from their old location. We went by recently to check out the new place. They have certainly expanded their operations - occupying two double storey shoplots. Half of one lot downstairs serves as a kitchen and the remaining area is non air-cond dining area (fan cooled) . Upstairs is an air-cond dining area.

Here's what we had:-

1. Steamed tilapia in assam sauce
The fish came in a thick dark sauce so much so that we could hardly make out the fish. After digging in, we found it was actually half a fish (one side only) ? Very strange for tilapia to be served this way. The sauce was suitably sour but is was much to starchy for our liking. And at RM33, it was pretty steep as well for half a fish.

Verdict : OK only

2. Sweet sour pork
This is one dish we order when we want to test a restaurant. A pretty simple dish but sometimes difficult to execute. The dish here was done well with the pork slices crispy and the sauce sweet and sour (like is is supposed to be).
Verdict : Very good

3. Gui Lin taufoo
A piece of deep fried taufoo topped with minced meat and some sort of vegetable - couldn't quite make it out. Tasted good but not really exceptional.
Verdict : Good

4. Mixed vegetable with gobo
I had to Google to find the correct translation for gobo which is burdock root. Supposedly a medicinal root, this dish was much appreciated by my mother-in-law. I found it rather plain. It was RM18 for a pretty small serving but I'll give it extra points for the medicinal properties.
Verdict : Good

5. Hong Kong kailan
This was rather flat and tasteless.
Verdict : Poor

Prices are a tad higher at their new premises. And the clean new floors really show up the dirt. Not very clean downstairs. Maybe the air-cond section upstairs would have been a better choice.You can read our previous review of this restaurant for some of our favorites.

Location : No 5& 7 Jalan Kajang Impian 1/11, Taman Kajang Impian, Bandar Baru Bangi, Kajang
Telephone : 012-345 0575

Monday, 14 June 2010

Restoran AG Seafood Sdn Bhd

UPDATE : As at mid-2012, this restaurant has ceased operations.

This is another restaurant located in Kajang town which we have tried several times before but on which we have not done a proper review. There used to be another operator at this location previously under a different name and their specialty was claypot loh shee fun (rat's tail noodles), but that was many years ago. The current operator has been here for at least 5 years. So we decided to give it a critical look this time.

Here's what we had:-
1. Assam steamed tilapia. This was actually described to us as "tiga rasa" but it's more aptly described as assam (sour) fish. The tilapia was fresh (full marks for that) and the assam gravy was suitably sour thanks to the use of pineapple. There were also brinjals, long beans and lady's finger (I think) in the curry gravy. The fish and gravy were promptly polished off - top marks from us including Jeremy who is quite discerning about curry. This would make an excellent one-dish meal with fish and vegetables in one serving.
Verdict : Excellent

2. Honey marmite pai kuat (pork ribs) - instead of the usual honey or marmite ribs, why not combine the honey and marmite? The results are pretty good. Another dish that was polished off promptly.
Verdict : Very good

3. Special taufoo with minced pork - three pieces of their 'special' taufoo fried and topped with mince meat.
Would have been better with some gravy.
Verdict : Good

4. Sweet potato leaf with preserved bean curd sauce - they were pretty generous with this dish but watch out for the bird's eye chillies (cili padi). As usual, most of it ended up in my sister-in-law's plate - and she has low tolerance for chillies !
Verdict : Good

5. Foo yong tan (egg omelet with prawns and onions). This was another generous serving. Well executed.
Verdict : Good

The total bill was RM82 for 5 dishes for 7 of us with tea and rice. Pretty reasonable. The restaurant is located close to the Jalan Mendaling Temple Restaurant that we have blogged about previously and is actually situated within the grounds of another larger temple located diagonally across from the other place. The entrance to the restaurant is via a side gate (which is actually behind Maybank's Kajang branch). There's an air-cond room here but we chose to dine el-fresco as the air-cond room was rather cold. Certainly a place worth returning for the fish. We'll be trying out more in future I'm sure.

Location : Situated with the temple grounds along Lorong Mendaling, Kajang Town.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Restaurant Fish Valley Semenyih

I must thank Simon Phun for his photographs of this place which lead us to go in search of the same. And it really wasn't too difficult to find, even at night. It's about 3.5 k.m from the Jalan Semenyih junction and past our favorite Restoran 52.

We did not expect such a large restaurant in the middle of nowhere and were pleasantly surprised to find rows of vehicles (lots of luxury sedans) parked outside the restaurant. Luxury cars = expensive ??? It was bustling on a Friday night (but it was also a public holiday for Wesak Day) and most tables were full. There are easily about 50 tables here, making it a pretty big operation. Here's what we had:-

Nyonya steamed tilapia fish. This was recommended as the house specialty and was said to be quite mild. The 'mild' turned out to be tear-inducing for my sister-in-law but was greatly enjoyed by the rest of us. The blend of herbs and spices used to create the Nyonya sauce gave it a pungent, spicy and slightly sour taste which complemented the fresh tilapia.
Verdict : Very good

Marmite chicken. This was supposed to be a non-spicy dish for my sister-in-law again but it arrived with chilli padi in the sauce! It just wasn't her day, but no complaints from the rest of us. The sauce was sweet and tasty but not really exceptional.
Verdict : Good

Stir-fried four beans with belacan. They were generous with the petai but taste wise, it was OK only and a bit oily.
Verdict : OK

Clear Soup Tom Yam. Notice the dried chillies in it! potent! They have a different version with santan (coconut cream) but my sister-in-law preferred the clear version. I personally prefer the santan version as the mild sweetness of the santan tempers the fiery pungency of the chillies. Don't have this on a hot day - truly sweat inducing.
Verdict : Good

Full marks on ambiance! A place to entertain your guest in style.
BTW. It is 'pork free' but not quite sure if it's halal.

Location : Fish Valley Semenyih, Sri Haneco Industrial Park, Jalan Kachau, Semenyih, Selangor
Contact : 012-3825518 & 016-2784092

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Best way to have your tasty chicken

Today I am stepping into the kitchen and moving away from doing reviews, after a long break. Yes, I do cook too, but it largely depends on the mood. I had some 'sunshine' chickens in the freezer, thought I'd take it out and give it go. Actually, this was done a couple of months ago, but I finally got down to blogging it.

What you need is a Good Tasty Free Range Chicken - this is important! The normal chickens (white bird) that you find in hypermarkets/markets is not cut out for this - there is too much fat and the meat is tasteless. Find a nice 'kampung chicken', I recommend the big meaty one. Anything between 1.6kg to 2.5kg nett weight. I used a big one, about 2.3kg.

According to my friend's mother, this aunty in her 70's - the most important thing in preparing chicken is the cleaning up of the chicken - the internals, then the skin/feathers/etc. Inside the chicken, it is recommended you use rough (rock) salt and rub it like a sandpaper to clean off the inside. Old aunties are never wrong, just do it!

On the outside, all remaining feathers are to be pulled out and washed thoroughly. Leave the chicken's skin on. The best feature of a kampung/free range chicken is its skin - that yellow rubbery skin, that makes eating chicken tasty and enjoyable. No! there are no chunks of fat under the skin, just a thin layer, which is needed for the cooking. However, at the rear end, there are two chunks of fat that should be carved out and we are good to go. Wash the chicken properly, I normally layer some normal salt inside the chicken 15 mins. before cooking.

What you need is illustrated on this photo: A chicken of course! Nice fresh spring onion leafs - mine came from the garden outside the kitchen. Celery - a few stalks chopped, Young Ginger, 1-2 inches, cleaned and thinly sliced. Rock salt for cleaning inside and salt for taste.

You will need a big pot, enough to fit in the chicken and ingredients plus water enough to cover the entire chicken when boiling. Boil the water, bring to to boil (as you can see, I use an induction cooker - so much easier).

Once boiling, place all the ingredients into the pot, bring all to a boil then, lower the flame/temperature and place the chicken into the pot. Make sure there is enough water to fully cover the chicken. If it is not enough, add more water. I normally keep the temperature low as hurried boiling causes damage to the chicken's skin. You want it to look good, when you take it out of the pot.

How long to boil? This depends on the chicken size. Generally, for a small chicken, about 25 mins to 45 mins for a larger chicken. Some 'chefs' I've met, say that the chicken taste best, when its slightly 'undercooked' and bloody, this is why they remove the bones from the chicken when served (so that customers don't see the bloody bones). The other school of though insist that chickens must be fully cooked, otherwise you risk of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria found in chicken. You decide which is best for you.

Did I mention the soup that was going to go with the boiled chicken? I normally keep aside the broth derived from the boiled chicken (from the last session, frozen and stored away) that can be used as natural chicken stock in cooking and in soups. I had one such from my last boiled chicken which was going to be the base to my 'pork ball soup' today.

While the chicken was boiling, I prepare the ingredients - very simple - old chicken stock, defrosted and ready to boil. Pork balls (the one made from a mix of minced pork and squid - very tasty). Spring onion (from the garden), chopped. Sliced ginger - not too much. Black pepper and salt to taste. Set aside - just boil all these later.

Once the chicken is cooked, switch off the stove, let it sit for a few minutes, then bring the chicken out and lace the skin with some fine salt - use good quality and to taste. For a nice shine and fragrance, you can also use some sesame seed oil on the skin. It also makes the chicken look moist and more inviting.You normally see this being used in chicken rice shops.

Again, two schools of thoughts - chop the chicken with bones or de bone it and serve the meat only. Either way, that nice chewy yellow skin goes along with the chicken. Yum!

What I like to do is garnish the served chicken pieces with some shallots fried in sesame oil, then sprinkled over the serving. It adds additional fragrance and taste to the boiled chicken.

I personally de bone the chicken, then use the bones to get additional flavouring from the bones into my chicken stock. The bones are then placed back in the earlier broth and boiled for another hour or so, in low flame. What you get is a tasty chicken stock for cooking/soup. I then sieve it and put aside the 'broth' in the freezer for future use.

This is one such future use; The side dish of pork ball soup to compliment my boiled chicken. Served with cooked or steamed rice, this makes a simple tasty meal, be it lunch or dinner.

BTW. The simplest way to cook tasty chicken is to 'just boil it'. The ingredients I added in here is just to enhance the fragrance and flavor of the chicken and its stock. You may tweak it to your personal preference. Happy cooking!