Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2009

 

For those with a sweet tooth: Muar Chee

IMG_0901

Sin Hup Aun Kafe is situated in Pulau Tikus at the corner of Jalan Pasar and Jalan Moulmein. On the street in front of the shop there always are a few stalls selling fruits and sweets like those colourful rice snacks and other candy or Muar Chee.

IMG_1330

Muar Chee is made from glutinuous rice paste, steamed. And then, it is cut into small cubes and mixed with grounded, roasted peanuts and sugar. One can choose whether to add some fried onions on top too.

IMG_1457

Have a look how the Muar Chee is made:

Read Full Post »

Kopitiam Kek Seng... since 1906

Kopitiam Kek Seng... since 1906

Located along Penang Road, near Komtar Kek Seng is well known for its  durian ice-cream and ais kacang. For my better half, Kek Seng brings back childhood memories about visiting the place with her school friends.  IMG_1260

The shop started more than 100 years ago: established in 1906. 

IMG_1263

As the sweet stuff  is not exactly my thing, we went for some little snacks as we already had a great breakfast earlier at the Kedai Kopi Classic and it still was way to early for lunch. IMG_1262

We ordered a small plate of Loh Bak. I was surprised by its excellent taste but then I learned later that the place is very well known for the loh  bak as well as for its desserts.

IMG_1265

I also ordered a bowl of their Assam Laksa. I did like it although perhaps the soup was a bit light and watery. For the laksa there definitely are better places. I’ll write later about some of them that we patronized.

IMG_1266bis

 We then tried the Popiah. Very decent one although a little dry as they did not add some of the juicy soup. (My favourite one is served by a stall on Padang Brown.)

IMG_1269bis

Excellent and refreshing watermelon juice

Excellent and refreshing watermelon juice

All in all, Kek Seng is a nice place to eat and to contemplate the history of Penang… I wonder what George Town looked like in the early 1900s.

Read Full Post »

Hokkien Mee 

IMG_1366 

 Address: 126, Jln Perak, Pulau Pinang.
Open: 8am-12pm – Close: Tuesdays.
Contact Person: Mr Ooi Hee Phen.
Tel: 016-436 8910

Situated  close to Padang Brown food court, this coffee shop is known for its excellent hokkien Mee. A very popular venue among locals. Even if you show up before 8am you still might have to wait some time to get your dish. In our case, we only staid a little week in Penang, went about 4 times for breakfast there and waited always between 3o till 45 minutes to get our bowl of heavenly Hokkien Mee.

IMG_1367

Lots of regulars indeed do call to make reservations for picking up several batches. While we were there and waiting at a table, sipping on our drinks, the phone didn’t stop! Calling for take away 3, 4, and up to 7 batches.

The place is a real goldmine in our opinion. I couldn’t really count the number of Hokkien mee bowls that were delivered while we were waiting. I’m sure though that after a few hours of morning service, several hundred batches of Hokkien mee are sold every day.

IMG_1460

Also amazing is that the lady in charge of taking the orders never ever writes anything down. It’s all by memory to know whose turn it is and what dish: regular, with more prawns, extra or large. Beats me how she remembers it all but she’s really good at it.IMG_1369

As far as the Hokkien Mee dish itself is concerned: it’s    reallllllyyyy   and trulllllyy  the best I ever had in my life till today. Of course  it’s all about the secret of the broth. The soup here is very well balanced yet very spicy. I also think they add a lot of lala shells in the preparation because I thought eating some of that small shell-meat seafood while finishing the soup.

If you’ve never tried the kedai kopi Classic Hokkien Mee, by Jove,  I’ve only one suggestion for you. Get your butt running for it as soon as you can! You’ll not regret.  No boss, no ma’am, you won’t regret at all!

Read Full Post »

Padang Brown, also known as Padang Dato Keramat in George Town is bordered by Dato Kramat Road, Perak Road, Anson Road and Johore Road.

IMG_1441

The chinese section opens in the afternoon while the Malay section runs in the evening. At least that was our impression.

IMG_1292

Malay section closed in the afternoon

Malay section closed in the afternoon

The land on which Padang Brown is located was donated by David Brown, one of the wealthiest landowner in Penang at the time.
Brown Memorial, erected in Esquire D. Brown’s memory, once stood in the middle of Padang Brown. It was subsequently shifted to the corner, near the junction of Jalan Perak and Jalan Anson, and stands today in the midst of the Padang Brown Food court.
The food court itself has a Chinese section next to Dato Kramat road and a mostly Malay section that borders the Padang. The day of our arrival we checked it out in the evening and it seems that only the Malay section was in operation while the Chinese part already was closed down. I think they open only from noon till late afternoon. But there are also Chinese stall on the other side of the field, along Johore road. They open in the evening as well. We had some great Satays, prepared the Malay way:

img_1236bis2

Ordering beef & chicken satay from Satay Station No 33.

IMG_1238

IMG_1235bis
Cooking the Satay skewers to perfection over a charcoal fire.
IMG_1239

Padang Brown food court – Malay section Beef and chicken satay, accompagnied by the traditional cucumber, onion and a well balanced satay sauce. On another occasion we went back in the afternoon to some more food at the Chinese section of the food court. BTW, they have a parking lot that you can enter from Dato Kramat Road,just opposite the “Kedai Kopi Classic”, famous for its Hokkien Mee. This time the Malay section was closed while the Chinese one was starting to get in full swing. We came here to check out a specific stall. According to local foodies, one of the best popiah tastings on the whole Island defends its reputation here. We arrived round 01pm but the stallwas still not in operation. After asking around we were told they usually show up round 2 pm!  Ah…ain’t it sweet to be a famous hawker celebrity? You pick your own working hours as you know patrons will always be lining up to buy your stuff.While strolling around,  a Malaysian Pancake stall looked like selling very nice banana pancakes. I hesitated but still, as I am not really into sweet deserts etc,  I decided not to try it out. Maybe on a next visit.Yummy pancakes for those with a sweet tooth
Malaysian Pancake stall

Malaysian Pancake stall

While waiting for the popiah, my wife decided on getting some cendol. Looked great but again to sweet for my taste buds.IMG_1436

IMG_1437

 

Then, finally the local Prince of Popiah made his entree on the Royal Tricycle with pots filled with all his goodies.

IMG_1442

IMG_1301So, now let’s see what all the fuss is about. BTW, when you are ordering, do address the old lady because SHE says SHE is in charge of the orders. She was not the most nice person to address (attitude problem that might be related to be a [rich] local celebrity?) but hey, we didn’t come for her but for HIS popiah!

Indeed it is the best popiah I had till now. During our stay we went back several times for more and more. Have a look at the preparation on site, and enjoy.

Read Full Post »

We flew Air Asia before in 2004 but this was a first for a direct return flight from Hong Kong to Penang. Not a disappointment at all! Agreed, one has to walk a bit more to get to the airplane and you have to walk up a flight of stairs to get in the plane. So what? Even the POTUS has to do that on AF1!

3 hours and a few minutes after take off we walked through immigration, got us a taxi ticket and were on our way to savour Pg Food Paradise for a week. After getting rid of our luggage at mom’s place, we took the car and went for FOOD!

Kedai kopi Sin Hwa, Burma road, Pulau Tikus: here we come!IMG_1222

 

Sin Wha coffee shop

It happened to be “Malay New Year” this Monday 21st, so the place was crowded. No problem to wait for about 30/40 minutes because at the end of the tunnel there was something better than light: namely Char Koay Teow!

In the mean time we had some refreshing drinks and then, 75 minutes after landing + 40 minutes waiting:

CKT at Sin Hwa coffee shop  

However, the CKT was ok but did not convince me as being one of the best. Maybe the cook was under much pressure because of the many customers that day. It seemed to us that the dish was a bit off balance and a little too oily. I noticed he made batches for 4 to 5 plates at one go. Perhaps that influenced the finesse of the taste?

 Then again: hear, hear… are we too picky? We will try again on a next visit. And yes, even if we are critical, the CKT still was tasty!

IMG_1221

At the corner of the street, facing Kopitiam See Kong was a hawker stall selling Malaysian pancakes. A big crowd around was telling the best marketing publicity story ever… One day I’ll try the pancakes, even if I don’t have a sweet tooth!

pancakes

Read Full Post »

Food Atelier

The kitchen equipment in western cuisines is sometimes very abundant. Also sometimes silly.

I remember buying tools that afterwards are kept in the closet unused. One of my worst buys was a fruit press that I used only once. Why? Well, because of the time it took to clean the press after using it!  Not really a good investment.

On the other hand, some other kitchen ware and tools are almost a must for cooking. Ever heard about something called “Un saucier” or Sauce-maker? I do recommend this little pearl if you are a lover of tricky-to-make sauces, like “Hollandaise, Bèarnaise, Choron, Ravigote, etc.”

IMG_1167

 

Another little gadget I like very much is a so called grill pan, made of cast Iron and a great tool to grill fish, steak and even veggies like peppers (paprika) and such.

grill pan

Anyway, yesterday for diner we had some grilled steak (and Belgian fries, of course) with a home made bèarnaise sauce.

For the sauce: a half glass of white vinegar, a half glass of dry white wine, pepper and salt, fresh chopped tarragon, shallots, chervil, parsley. Put it all in the saucemaker at heating level 5 (hottest) Turn on the sauce maker and allow it to reduce till only 2 spoons of liquid remain.                                        Sieve and allow to cool down.

IMG_1166

Afterwards, add 3 egg yolks and the sieved reduced liquid to the saucemaker. Turn on at heating level 2 and start adding cubes of clarified butter. The sauce will thicken and after about 15 minutes turn the heating level down to 1. Add some freshly chopped tarragon leaves. Réserver.

IMG_1173

Heat up the grill pan and start grilling the (slightly oiled) steaks.

IMG_1175

Finish the fries and serve:

IMG_1177bis

Bon appétit!

Read Full Post »

witloof

Here is another recipe from Flanders’ traditional cuisine – (serves 4)

  • 8 endives aka witloof or chicon.
  • 8 slices of cooked white ham
  •  milk
  •  flour
  •  butter
  •  a mix of grated gruyere cheese and grated  parmegiano (parmesan) cheese.
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg

——————————————————————————–

  • Clean endives and remove outer leaves, cut and hollow out the root base to remove bitterness
  • Steam endives till almost soft.
  • Collect the cooking juice.
  • Cover and braise for 3 minutes in a pan with butter.
  • Combine evenly until endives are slightly caramelized.
  • Endives should drain off a maximum amount of water for the next cooking step.
  • Make a clear roux:
  • Melt butter in a pot
  • Add flour as soon as butter has melted but do not allow it to brown.
  • Return to heat and gradually add milk while stirring well
  • Add juice from cooking endives
  • Continue to stir
  • Reduce heat
  • Salt, pepper and grate a generous amount of nutmeg
  • Add most of the grated cheese and let it melt in the sauce while continuing to stir
  • Reduce to obtain a creamy, thick sauce
  • Remove rind from ham slices
  • Roll each endive in a slice of ham and place them in a baking dish
  • Pour white sauce over all roulades
  • Add the rest of the grated gruyere to the dish after 10 minutes of cooking time and let it brown and cook the dish in a pre-heated oven or salamander
  • Serve hot accompanied with homemade mashed potatoes that are also cooked under the salamander till the top layer is crispy brown.

 

Next time I’m cooking the dish, I will take some pics of the process and update this post.

Read Full Post »

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 016

Malaysia, truly Asia…

Last year in January we quickly had to use up  free Cathay air miles as their expiry date was nearing. We decided to spend a week in Sabah on Borneo and booked a  little hotel, The Hamin Lodge.  Ratings on the travel websites were better than average and while the place was not High End, it was clean and had a nice bathroom. Also important:  it came really inexpensive, especially if comparing with those resorts à la Rasa Sayiang and Co. It might seem like comparing apples and oranges but all depends what you expect from your holidays. In this case no need for a lazy stay at a beach resort alongside  the pool/bar/spa, nibbling on not so good resort-like finger food etc. We wanted a bit more action to get an idea about the environment, the local [sea]food and get on some Rain Forrest trail to visit our brethren, the [red] men of the woods… aka bro and sis Orang Utan.  

As for the Lodge, the only negative experience was the mattress on the first night: hard like rock. After remarks made the morning after they immediately changed ours to a softer version. Terima Kassih!

Hamin Lodge website: www.haminlodge.com

Another positive coincidence was that the hotel was next to one of the most popular food courts of KK. – Seri Selera @ Sedco Complex. The $$ saved on Hotel prices were used to make our tummies purr with joy. Most evenings we ended up here enjoying the seafood, lobsters, steamed garoupa, satay, veggies, cockels and all you can dream of  in coastal Malaysian seafood places.

Have a look at their website here: http://www.seriselera.com/public/aboutus.asp

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 008

Staff in the morning cleaning the veggies and setting up the tables.

 Kota Kinabalu 01-08 002

Early evening. Food court getting ready for welcoming  the customers.

 Kota Kinabalu 01-08 017b

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 019

Rock lobster RIP. ‘t was an excellent beast.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 018

Garoupa steamed to perfection.

 

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 020

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 021

Making your choice from the many fish tanks is serious business.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 022

 

Videos with thanks to the bloggers from www.malaysia.com 

Even if the place is a bit touristic, top food quality is also present.

 The entertainment provided did include dancers performing the Magunatip, Sabah’s most famous Murut bamboo dance.

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 036

Kota Kinabalu 01-08 037

Read Full Post »

Steak frites is another signature dish from traditional local cuisine in Belgium. Sure you’ll find great beef meat in other regions ( think US beef, Argentina beef, Japanese beef, Scottish beef etc… All are succulent yet different in their own ways.) The differences make it typical ambassadors of  their own native regions.

About the local popular Belgian beef breed/race:  “BBB” or Bleu-Blanc-Belge (Belgian Blue-White also known as Belgian Blue). Look what Wikipedia writes:

“Belgian Blue cattle are a beef breed from Belgium, known in French as Race de la Moyenne et Haute Belgique. Alternative names include Belgian Blue-White, Belgian White and Blue Pied, Belgian White Blue, Blue and Blue Belgian. The sculpted, heavily muscled appearance is known as “double muscling”, and is a trait shared by the Piedmontese breed. They are named for their typically blue-grey mottled hair colour, although it can vary from white to black.

The Belgian Blue has a natural mutation of the gene that codes for myostatin, a protein that counteracts muscle growth. The truncated myostatin is unable to function in this capacity, resulting in accelerated lean muscle growth. The defect in the breed’s myostatin gene is maintained through linebreeding. This mutation also interferes with fat deposition, resulting in very lean meat. Cows bred to double-muscled bulls are often unable to give birth naturally, requiring a caesarean section.

250px-Sectio_caesarea

The breed originated in central and upper Belgium in the nineteenth century, from crossing local cattle with Shorthorn cattle from the United Kingdom and probably with Charolais cattle. At first there were milking strains and beef strains of the breed. The modern beef breed was developed in the 1950s by Professor Hanset, working at an Artificial insemination centre in Liege province.”

280px-BlancBleuBelgeHow about this ox? Growing lots of yummy steaks! As said above their meat is very lean, so it does need some special attention while cooking . More about that later.

Second part about the fries… easy? Not really. Even in my native country it’s sad to see how those stalls selling fries are no longer an evidence regarding the quality. People want to sell but don’t want to work. Buying themselves pre-cut fries: what a joke!  The freshness of the product and the know-how of the cook must go hand in hand. Just compare it to making Char Koay Teow. It seems simple but finally it’s not!

IMG_1130

As for the fries, the potatoes that give the best results are the [big] Bintjes variety. Peel and cut into fries of 1 square cm large and about 8 to 10 cm long. Wash in water and make sure you get them dry with a kitchen towel. If no Bintjes are available, you will have to check different varieties before choosing. If the fries start to get dark brown spots while deep frying, the potato is useless. It’s a proof that they carry too much sugar. It helps a bit to blanch them for a minute in boiling water before deep frying but the end result will never be real good.

Deep frying in fat or oil? – Best result for taste is using 2/3 of vegetable white fat and 1/3 of horse fat. As nowadays the food police is always religiously concerned about eating as healthy as possible, their followers will be against using this kind of fat. The industry came up with special refined liquid oils as a ” less unhealthy” cooking method. The result is that taste-wise the fries are only a shadow of what they used to be in Grand-mom’s time… but, if it makes “them” feel better, so-be-it !!! However, I stick to the original whenever I can.  

IMG_1124

Regarding the frying pan, I suggest a high quality, electrical frying pan with a big oil capacity up to 5 liters and a very sensitive thermostat. When starting the frying use small batches of potatoes for avoiding the frying temperature dropping too fast. Fry the first time at temperature between 140 and 160 degrees C. The exact temperature depends on the oil and the quality of the potatoes. Don’t  fry till golden yet.

IMG_1132

After this first deep-frying keep the frites apart for at least half an hour on kitchen tissue that will absorb some of the oil/fat.

IMG_1133

For the final frying session heat up till 180 degrees C, fry the batch in a few minutes till crispy and golden. Take them out of the oil, shake to get rid of the remaining oil and serve with a pinch of salt.

IMG_1146

 

About the pics posted here: as I’m not living in Belgium I have no access to the white fat, Bintjes or BBB beef. So, I used vegetable sunflower seed oil.

Sunflower seed oil.

Sunflower seed oil.

 

Red potatoes (U.S.) who are the only ones I found to be relatively low on sugar.

IMG_1127

 

Australian tenderloin fillet steak.  BTW, if the steaks are very lean, ask the butcher some extra fat and pan fry it together with your steaks. It will enhance the taste. I always use extra fat when cooking BBB back in Belgium.

IMG_1139

IMG_1141

 

This recipe was served with home-made black pepper cream sauce.

IMG_1147

 

Other traditional accompanying servings are “Beurre Maître d’Hôtel”, “Sauce Béarnaise”, the steak’s own “butter gravy”, “Sauce Provençale”… All all great if home-made. Please never use industrial sauces, gravies or mayonnaise. It’s an insult to your and my epicurean taste buds.

Bon Appétit

IMG_1148

Read Full Post »

Regarding Hong Kong food and more specifically seafood I would like to refer to the following link. It explaines well about the where, what and how.

I do agree very much with this article: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/dining/seafood.html

Below a few pics of Sai Kung, a very popular seafood place, well known but maybe a bit too touristic nowadays.

Live seafood

Live seafood

Pick your fish, lobsters, prawns, cockels here and have them cooked to your liking by one of the surrounding restaurants.

Sai Kung

Also on Lamma Island there are a big number of seafood places. Below you can notice the restaurant in the back, their open air terraces are built on stilts opposite the kitchen. Your order the seefood from the menu or you choose your own directly from the aquariums.

Lamma

Seafood Lunch on Lamma

Seafood Lunch on Lamma

Lamma3detail

 

Cheung Chau ( Long Island) also has a reputation for yummy seafood. Same recipe: pick from the aquariums or order from the menu.

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau Seafood

Cheung Chau seafood1

About some menus – you also can enjoy the funny way of writing in Chinese English or… Chinglish:

Cheung Chau Chinglish

 

Cheung Chau is the home base of Hong Kong largest fishing fleet. The picture below was taken on July 1st, 2007, the 10th anniversary of the return to China, hence all the flags.

hk 023

Read Full Post »