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Posts Tagged ‘traditional’

Just while checking through my library, I stumbled upon an old French language marabout book [editor: Marabout; 1987 – Alleur / Belgique]. In it some humourous food drawings by Frapar, who I guess, was a local artist worldwide known in his own village.

Thomas Keller, a U.S. chef, explains that Sous Vide is a foolproof technique, involving cooking at precise temperatures below simmering, yielding results that other culinary methods cannot. However: literally it means  “under emptiness” which I hope helps explaining the wordplay that makes up the joke.

Petard means fire-cracker. – Dinde means Turkey. –

Farce has a double meaning -> or stuffing, or joke.  So they were “just joking” or “stuffing the turkey with a fire-cracker” is the wordplay in this cartoon. Always difficult to get the point translated I’m afraid, isn’t it?

An easy one: “I tell you it smells like paint, your lackered duck! Great line in a Chinese restaurant enjoying Peking Duck.

The boss of an eating place who identifies a inspector, the one who decides about the stars attributed…  “How many stars do you see now, mister G&M ?”  (Gault et Millau is a french institution commenting on the quality of restaurants.)

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 Click the above “écusson” pic for a direct link to the interactive map and website for the history of L’ Ilot Sacré.

L’ Ilot Sacré got its name after a battle of the local restaurants, land lords and associations in the 1950-ties against promoters who saw big bucks to be made. Just read the history in the above mentioned website. They wrote it better than I would.

My contribution: just some suggestions about the places where you will get good to excellent quality food or where you can go sniffing the local atmosphere, sipping coffee, enjoying a beer or other drink while watching people. Although it is a popular and touristic area, you still can enjoy the buzz, just be attentive to avoid tourist traps. Just don’t forget the place is prime location and that means pricier than in less popular neighbourhoods. So, no real cheap deals available!

 Two of the most popular streets in  L’ Ilot Sacré are called ‘Rue des Bouchers’ and ‘Petite Rue des Bouchers’. That translates like ‘Butcher street’ and ‘Small Butcher street’. A lot of restaurants are attracting patrons while lots of seafood and vegetables are on display on ice, in front of the resto. A waiter at the door will be soliciting you in any possible language. As my wife and I walk by, it’s all “Ni Hao” from left and right… 

In general these are the places where you take some nice souvenir pictures with your friends and family. Just don’t eat there. They might propose Belgian, French, even Italian, Portuguese or Spanish cuisine. Many of the very young kitchen staff are sometimes not even trained cooks, but people from all over Europe including Eastern Europe, the Balkan, North and Sub-Saharian Africa.  Nothing wrong with that, unless they got declared ‘cook’ after half a day training!

 

Let’s point out some addresses  in  the neighbourhood. For drinks and watching people:

Delirium cafe –

A La Mort Subite-  (translates as: At A Sudden Death) 

Inside "A la Mort Subite" - Click the picture

Inside "A la Mort Subite" - Click the picture

Le Roy d’ Espagne –

Toone estaminet –

Beer shops, restaurants, taverns all over the place – I suggest “Aux Armes de Bruxelles”  – “Restaurant Vincent” – “Scheltema” – “L’ Ogenblik” – “Le Marmiton” etc…

More to follow in Part II, coming soon.

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Wa i chiak Hokkien Mee!

According to Wikipedia there are 3 kinds of Hokkien Mee. My favourite is the Penang version.

Hokkien hae mee
(prawn noodles)
Hokkien char mee
(fried noodles)
Refers to either the Penang prawn noodle or Singapore prawn noodle Refers to the Kuala Lumpur Hokkien noodle
Soup based (Penang) and stir fried (Singapore) Stir fried
Egg noodles and rice noodles Fat yellow noodles
No dark soya sauce used Dark soya sauce is used
Prawn is the main ingredient with slices of chicken or pork, squid and fish cake.
Kang Kong (water spinach) is common in the Penang version
Slices of chicken or pork, squid and cabbage

◊◊◊◊◊◊

Together with Penang Assam Laksa and Char Koay Teow, Penang Hokkien Mee is one of the signature dishes of the state and more precisely of the island [Pulau] of Penang. The soup is a ‘sourish’ and ‘shrimpy’ tasting seafood broth using fresh prawns, dried shrimps and pork meat. It’s served with egg and rice noodles, small prawns, sometimes with thin slices of pork and a half hard boiled egg. Served with a spoon of chilli paste for an extra kick aiming at your taste buds. I’ve eaten Penang Hokkien Mee at different kopitiam and hawker stalls and here I’m trying to get a few of them in some kind of  ranking with my personal rating.

Kedai Kopi Kwai Lock is one of the bigger coffee shops in Pulau Tikus. It is located at the corner of Jalan Burma and Solok Moulmein.

HokkienMeeRating: 13/20.

Good balance between the sourish broth and noodles, little prawns. A decent but average plate. Good spicy chilli. It’s a big coffee shop and very busy in the morning.

Kedai Kopi Swee Kong is situated just opposite Kwai Lock, also on the junction of Jalan Burma with Moulmein. Opens very early in the morning till about 9:30. Reopens afterwards for lunch.

HokkienMeeRating: 15/20

Comes without the egg but it’s very tasty. If I recall correctly there are also some small clams mixed in the broth. Worth a try but do come early,  you might have to wait a while as the place can be very crowded.

Kafe Khoon Hiang – Jalan Dato Keramat at the corner with Jalan Dunlop.

HokkienMeeRating: 9/20

When I ordered the dish was looking very promising. Alas, at the first tasting it turned out to be a disappointment. The secret of a good typical prawn broth was definitely not mastered by this cook. Way to sweet and even adding lots of chilli paste was not able to improve the taste. A pity.

Bee Hooi Coffee Garden– on Kimberly road is a big cafe. We were strolling through the neighbourhood and decided to have some refreshments at the outside terrace. Then my eyes made contact with a Hokkien Mee stall in full schwung. Of course,I had to order a bowl> Mind you, only for analysing and rating purposes [grin].

IMG_1316  Rating: 15/20

Very good balanced broth with many prawns and added hard boiled egg.

Kedai Kopi Classic –  Address: 126, Jln Perak, opposite Padang Brown food court. It has the reputation of being one of the best Hokkien Mee stalls on the island and yes, the stall lives up to that reputation!

HokkienMeeRating: 18/20. Simply superb.

Sungai Samagagah-Kuala Jalan Bahru. Fishing village near Balik Pulau at the Kampung Jalan Baru. Private houses that open their kitchen for guests only during the weekends. This one is famous for both Hokkien Mee and Penang Assam Laksa. The Hokkien Mee was very good and served in a rich broth with plenty of sliced prawns and pork meat. Yummy.

HokkienMee

Rating: 17/20. Excellent, full of rich flavours. Quality ingredients.

My apologies for only reviewing a small number of outlets. I’m sure there are many more excellent Hokkien Mee sellers. It would take a life time job to review them all. When returning and testing more places I’ll update this post.

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De Oesterput (oyster pitt) is very well known by a few in Belgium. It’s in Blankenberge, a popular seashore town along the Belgian coast. It’s a typical family holiday place, not fancy like Knokke… just a place where the hard working commoner family goes on holiday since the early 50ties.

I know my parents went there since I was a baby. Every year. Again and again. Probably that’s why, when I grew up I only very rarely visited the place again. However, last year when my wife and I returned to Belgium for a family visit, we also took a trip to the Belgian coast. (68km of North Sea coastline: yup… that’s Belgium… a HUGE country -grin-)

BlankenbergeBlankenberge, West-Flanders.

Anyway, we had lunch at the Oesterput with some great seafood: Dutch Zeeland flat oysters which are definitely the best in the world, unfortunately also the most expensive;

OestersZeeuwse platte Oesters. The best in the world. Because of these little animals I’ll forgive the Dutchies for being Dutch!

Mjam!

Soupe de poissonsFish soup with rouille. We both loved it. Wonderful dish.

And another speciality from Flanders: Garnaalkroketten -> think  gray shrimp croquettes, dipped in egg-white and bread crumbs, then deep fried in oil. I’ll post the recipe in a future cooking post but just forget about cooking this in Asia, as there sadly is no way to buy those North Sea grey shrimps here!

croquettesA Classic with Capital C in Flanders’ cuisine.

 

IMG_0389bis

If you want the real stuff: catch a flight to Belgium to enjoy them. Just don’t tell me, as I would turn green and have a tantrum out of jealousy!

Oesterput1Behind the windows in the back are 4 large basins where they keep life lobsters and oysters. It used to be an open space but due to health and safety reasons they had to separate the basins from the restaurant with those windows. People call that progress but I preferred the charm from before!

Oesterput Blankenberge

Oesterput restaurant

 

Port of Blankenberge

Website of this place: http://www.oesterput.com/

Although they announce 4 languages on their home page, English and German is still unavailable. Sorry for that. If you want to read, you’ll have to stick to Dutch or French!

 

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