Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Makan Nyonya, Ipoh

Yours truly managed to clear one backlog post again! Having tried this almost few months ago, blogging seems to be a good past-time when you are confined within the remote area in Lumut whereby civilization is almost a 20 minutes drive away. Tonight, I shall share with you a remote breakfast spot in Bercham

Occupying just one shoplot with most of the manpower from family members, Jason wish to share the beauty of Nyonya cuisines which he has inherited and improved from her mother's recipe. While some people feedback that the place is quite noisy when it is crowded, I remember trying this place on one public holiday and it was really tranquil. At least you have some peace in admiring all the decorations they have to offer here.

Yup, Jason has shown much effort in ensuring your dining experience is in line with the Nyonya theme and some photo angle is indeed instagram worthy if your are a foodie yourself. 

Not your average coffeshop setting, right? Generation nowadays would have very less chance to be exposed to the rich Baba-Nyonya heritage - their furniture, kitchenware, handicrafts... and not to mention, their cooking! Their food!

This is the spring roll and lobak gou if I remembered correctly. Served with a dollop of sambal cili for good measure. Its something savoury to nibble on while waiting for your main dishes to arrive. Just like any other coffeeshops, the beverages here are very reasonably priced with almost all coffee/tea drinks below RM2

The Kai Si Hor Fun (Chicken Kuay Teow) ticks the list when it comes to serving appearance. Nevertheless, the taste of the broth is a bit too light to my liking. I do not wish to go further in detail on my personal preference as I do not wish to be bombarded by the owner. Okay, it was actually like this. I read one of his post towards a response from a customer. The customer being also a food hawker, advised the owner to use some MSG into the cooking as the taste was bland. The owner stood firm and sarcastically suggested to provide a bowl of water with MSG mixed inside it to the customer. Well, kudos for him making a stand to serve food which is naturally flavoured. But bear in mind that, not all of us are accustomed to food which has a light taste.

The Nasi Lemak Nyonya (RM4.50) appears to be very captivating in terms of the myriad contrasting colour spectrum. The blue coloured rice is naturally coloured from the pigments of butterfly-pea flower, the same natural dye for Nyonya kuihs like pulut taitai. Surrounding the scoop of blueish grains are greenish cucumber slices, brownish fried peanuts, white and yellow from the hard boil egg and reddish and dark orange from the curry chicken and sambals. The nyonya curry chicken is above average, just that I have a minor suggestion of increasing the portion. I only have one piece of chicken, one potato and one piece of bone without meat. It is fine to raise the price further in the quantum of 50cents to RM1 due to a step-up environment from the usual chinese coffeeshops but ensuring the portion should be sufficient to go along with the rice. Midway on eating the rice, I ran out of sambal and curry chicken.

This is the Lam Mee (RM5) which looks really attractive from the toppings. Based on visual, it seems like most of the mandatory ingredients to be present in a bowl of Lam Mee is there, including chives and fried onions. The same comment as the Kai So Hor Fun in terms of the flavour/taste of the broth.

Being named Makan Nyonya, the menu would not be complete without some sweet Nyonya delicacies right? While the texture is just right, again I feel the kuihs is not sweet enough. Mom said that there is possibility some of the kuihs were outsourced. There is quite a vast difference between the overall quality and taste of different kuihs served here. Again this is a personal opinion, if the owner really care, he should accept feedbacks with an open heart. After all, it is down to customer preference which drives the revenue of your business.

Nevertheless food here is very reasonably priced at a cosy environment. Parking is ample here though as most of the shops are not opened for business yet. Perhaps the photo below could give you picture on what to look for when you are passing by the row of shops behind/beside Tesco Bercham.

Makan Nyonya is opened for breakfast all the way until late lunch. But apparently most of the items are sold out by late breakfast period, as posted in their Facebook page. Do follow their Facebook page as the owner really take delight in updating all on his new creation along his culinary journey. I have read some of his inspiring journey from a stall all the way to operating his own shop. Though some of the food may not be up to my personal preference of liking "heavy taste" food , I sincerely wish him a prosperous business ahead! They also have Prawn Mee, Nyonya Laksa, Assam Laksa which could be a better bet if I make a return trip one day

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Roy Thai, Ipoh Garden

If you pass by the road from Ipoh Garden leading to Canning Garden, you would notice there is a new black and white signboard attached to the lot in between of Season Cake Shop and also Y Food Box. This lot belongs to the iconic Kam Hor which is among the top few choices for beansprout chicken meal and is notoriously famous for the slow wait, especially on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday night whereby the owner will casually chuck all preparation work aside and check on the lottery results at 8pm onwards, regardless of the long queue of orders in line. 

Rumours have it that the chef from Lanna Thai is now attached to RoyThai. For benefit of those reading, LannaThai has now shifted from their previous location in Ipoh Garden East to Ipoh Soho and is currently drawing a lot of flaks from dissatisfied netizens over the poor taste and quality delivered not up to the price charged. Another piece of information claim that the current RoyThai’s owner is the son of the proprietor of Kam Hor beansprout chicken. Enough of background information, lets move towards the menu and also the food sampled

They have a few appetizers which are fairly common if you are familiar with Thai cuisine, namely the fish cake, pandan chicken and various salads such as the papaya, mango and also chicken feet salad. I always reckon that the pandan chicken is a worthy benchmark on how good is the food in the Thai restaurant. The verdict for the version in Roythai was... a bit disappointing. I could not help to give kind comments as the chicken was not well marinaded and the taste was rather flattish. The chicken has a faint unpleasant frozen odour which was not masked by the weak marinade. No, this dish is not meet my expectation at all. Its RM15 for 5 pieces but price is no longer a consideration as the taste is already substandard

The Grilled Pork Skewers fared slightly better than the Pandan Chicken. Probably this is my first time eating this as yours truly has not been travelling overseas, even to Thailand. Neither yours truly bothered to sample one in pasar malams. Though being slightly sweetish from the pandan leaves marinade and a sugary glaze, the meat, albeit tender, but it was far from being memorable. Maybe if it has a more distinctive aroma with some charred bits with smoky aftertaste, it could score a few more points there. RM15 for 5 skewers, yay or nay?

This is the stir-fried brinjal with minced pork (RM12). Not really a Thai specialty but the vegetables here are not cheap. I picked this because it was one of the cheapest vegetable dish available. The fried beansprout was at RM9 though but was poorly executed as the taugeh was already "lifeless"and "mourning" on my table

After all my not-so-positive comments, you would probably wanna skip this place right? Well, there is a saying save the best for last. And I reckon their Thai Lime Steamed Fish is quite good. At RM38, you are assured of a fix priced and spared from getting a heart attack by certain restaurant who go by weight or worst still, play the Joker card/Draw Four/Wild card called SEASONAL PRICE. Yours truly detest SEASONAL price remark as it shows how irresponsible the owner in the poorly managed procurement of their ingredients until there is the need to pass down the burden to the customers. Okay, enough ramblings on unscrupulous Chinese businessman, lets give a review on this Siakap. The sauce is made from generous squeezing of lime and fish sauce (nampha) and finally topped with some cilantro, garlic and red chilies. This dish manage to turn the verdict around and saved the meal on an overall basis. The bill came to over RM100 for 4 pax. It is neither the best Thai restaurant, in fact far from being a decent one, but I wouldnt stop you from giving it a try. I seldom give the RED LIGHT unless its really as poor as Choo Choo Chicken (refer earlier posts - purposely give them another stomp to bury them under!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Go Noodle

The outlets are springing forth one by one in major shopping complexed within the Klang Valley. I heard people were willing to wait for more than half an hour to secure a seat to dine here. And a buddy of mine who is not a foodie also made special mention of this place, saying that the pricing is reasonable for KL standards and it taste kinda decent too. Knowing this person from university days who is a sucker for fried food, if he recommends something soupy and clear, it gotta be good I reckon? Not to mention that when my ex-superior went down to KL to visit her son, out of all places, her son brings her to Go Noodle! Another friend of mine also keep craving for this everytime she drops by KL. Makes me wonder what is the sorcery behind this craze over noodles, which seems to me appear quite generic.

Upon planning a solo-trip to Genting during my transition period between jobs, I browsed through the list of food available in SkyAvenue and already set my mind to try both Kyochon and Go Noodles. After checking in to my room, I made a dash to have a late lunch. Nothing is more rewarding that a bowl of steamy and soupy dish to warm your hungry stomach at a chilly weather setting.

It may appear generic, with customizable noodles, soup base and toppings. Not wanting to upset my already empty stomach, I went for the clear soup and their signature Mi Xian. The “Bursting Meatball” seems very attractive. Well, at least by the sound of its name, as who could forget that iconic scene of Stephen Chow’s God of Cookery.

There you have it, the Bursting Meatball. The movie scenes of the meatball fillings squirting some broth to the face of the person sitting on the opposite end of the table. Yours truly took the counter table just in case, I will just only dirty the wall in front of me. Well, fortunately or unfortunately, none of the mentioned happened. There is actually another flavourful layer of minced pork inside the pork meatballs. From the closeup picture, you can actually notice that the filling is more coarsely minced which has a contrasting texture to the outer layer and it is more packed with flavours from the marinade/broth. Though there is no explosion effect to the surrounding, do take caution not to scald your tongue as the filling is indeed quite hot.

This is a glimpse of their outlet in SkyAvenue, far from being full because I dined in some off-peak hours. The decoration is similar across as I visited their Gurney Plaza outlet. The seating maybe be slightly uncomfortable as diners are packed close to each other and the stools provided will ensure that you leave soon after your last spoonful of noodles.

On my second visit with my parents, we ordered 2 bowls for sharing. This time, we managed to try both the clear soup and also the spicy broth. And I have the liberty to have add-ons for my noodles as the menu in Gurney Plaza adopts the standard price, unlike in Genting whereby the entry level bowl of noodles will cost you about RM15

This is the fish paste Mi Xian with an additional topup of fish maw (RM8 for 60g if I remembered correctly). The fish paste is very bouncy without any unpleasant fishy smell. The Chinese wine complemented the clear broth well. Although I dislike the strong-smelling coriander sprinkled on top, I think most will agree that it plays a complementary role in enhancing the taste of the soup. Not a person who appreciates fish maw myself, my dad says that it was quite good though

As mentioned, the second bowl was the spicy broth. Far from being the tongue-numbing "ma lat" type, the spicy version gives a slightly sourish taste, something similar to a cross between kimchi and your usual Szechuan style of soup. I opted for the pork belly noodles with a top-up of bursting meat balls. Note that for top-up, you only get 3 meatballs. I forgot how much was the top up but it was reasonably priced. Two bowl of noodles above and one drink comes to slightly above RM40.

In conclusion, I will still recommend the clear broth over the spicy broth and Mi Xian over the usual beehoon. For the toppings, lala and garoupa slices in clear broth is topping my wishlist if I were to step in any Go Noodle outlet. The bursting meatball and fish paste are still in my recommended list though as I find the pork belly nothing really special to shout about. They serve pan mee as well but I think the texture of Mixian in aromatic soup with wine will keep you satisfied for at least another few tries.