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We traveled to Macau in late July 2014 for a three day two night of sightseeing and food spotting trip, and I’m happy to report that when it comes to food, this former Portuguese colony surely did not disappoint.

Should you find yourself at Macau, here are some of the places you may want to check out. This is the entry where I cover snacks and cheap eats, there will be another talking about the few restaurants that we tried during the trip.

we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape
we arrived at Macau on the evening, beautiful cityscape

As for weather, Macau isn’t different from Malaysia at this time of the year (July), temperature and humidity are pretty much the same, so light clothing and perhaps an umbrella if you’re afraid of the heat is advised.

The city is one that never sleeps, and I got the impression that it was very safe to walk around at any time of day. Public transportation by bus is very good, so keep plenty of coins and small change available as change is not provided on the buses.

HK dollars as well as Macanese Pataca or MOP are accepted pretty much everywhere, including the buses. At the time of travel, 1 MOP = 0.40 MYR.

Pro tip: there are many free hotel shuttle buses going to and from the airport, you can utilize them even if you don’t stay at the same hotel.

road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city
road side stall with chee cheong fun and dimsum in the city

The first thing we tried at Macau was this little road side stall situated  opposite Centro Commercial Central.

We tried the chee cheong fun with siu mai which was priced at $30 MOP. The sauce was lighter than the one usually served in Malaysia, and the chili sauce has a stronger taste of vinegar to it. We found it pretty delicious and fitting as a pre-dinner snack or post-dinner supper.

Address: outside 48 Avenida do Infante D. Henrique
GPS22.191888, 113.541432

the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret's Cafe e Nata
the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata

When in Macau, one of the snacks that you must not miss is the famous Portuguese egg tart at Margaret’s Cafe e Nata.

The egg tarts are $8 MOP each and was really as good as everyone claimed. The pastry soft yet crunchy, and the filling smooth and super flavorful with the aroma of milk and egg at their best. We only had 2 each but we really should have brought more. It was very delicious!

There’s always a queue at the shop, but you wouldn’t have to wait for more than a few minutes before being served.

Address: Margaret’s Cafe e Nata, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191993, 113.542178

fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret's
fried fish paste, pork bun, and beef tendon noodle at Sang Lei, next to Margaret’s

Right next door to the egg tart place is Sang Lei, a shop that perhaps thrive thanks to Margaret’s being constantly filled to the brim. We tried fried fish paste ($19 MOP), pork bun ($22 MOP), and beef tendon noodle soup ($22 MOP) there.

The food actually turned out pretty decent. The fish paste is pretty similar to those we get in Malaysia but tasted fresher, the beef tendon noodle was simple but if you’re a fan of tendon, you’d be delighted. The pork bun though, did not impress.

Address: Sang Lei, Rua do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Macau
GPS22.191954, 113.542136

cheap roast goose "fan hap" at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon
cheap roast goose “fan hap” at Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon

While trying to go to Taipa island by bus on the second day, we accidentally took the bus heading to the wrong direction and ended up at this little strip of shops at Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, which is located near the border between Macau and China up north.

Since I was hungry, we stopped by Sek Kei for a roast goose rice that was served in a styrofoam box commonly for those who wants it to go. Lucky for us Sek Kei actually has ONE table in their shop that I could eat. It turned out to be rather good and only cost us $27 MOP for the meal!

If you want a bargain, you can’t top this.

Address: Sek Kei, Rua Dois do Bairro lao Hon, Macau
GPS22.212118, 113.550351

Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!
Yee Shun steamed milk, a must try!

As for dessert in Macau, Yee Shun steamed milk is the one place that shouldn’t be missed.

The steamed milk custard ($28 MOP) has the consistency of our familiar “tau fu fa” but with that creamy aroma of fresh milk that made it so irresistible. We also tried their warm milk ($22 MOP) and papaya milk ($30 MOP) which did not disappoint either. The same place also serves sandwiches, eggs, and even pork bun.

Even as a person who’s slightly lactose intolerant, I now want to know how to make this at home!

Address: Yee Shun milk company, 60 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
GPS22.192741, 113.540461

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A few weeks ago my colleague Joyceanne came out of nowhere and told me she was going to give me some live crab and if I was going to be able to bring them home on my motorcycle. Well, since you don’t get opportunities like this very often, with the help of her friend Kaiqi, who actually supplied the crabs all the way from Johor, we loaded 3 live mud crabs into my backpack. Thank you Joyce & Kaiqi!

The crustaceans took a ride of their lifetime, and arrived safe and sound at home just in time for Haze and I to decide that butter crab is in the menu of the night.

first, you have to do the dirty job by killing the crabs
first, you have to do the dirty job by killing the crabs

For the muslims who may not want to consume mud crab, flower crab can be used in replacement with this cooking method as well.

Here’s the pretty simple recipe we found online for butter crab, originally shared on Rasa Malaysia.

The ingredients to serve 2-3 person:

  • 3 live mud crabs (or flower crabs)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch as thickening agent
  • 6-12 chili padi
  • 2-3 stalks of curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)

 melt butter, add chilli padi and curry leave before the crabs
melt butter, add chilli padi and curry leave before the crabs

The trickiest part of this recipe turned out to be .. killing the crab!

For those of you who has a heart made of steel, just go ahead and rip apart the crab’s shell alive and that’ll do the trick. We ended up using a chopstick and drove into the belly of the crabs, which also effectively killed the crab after about 10-15 minutes.

add evaporated milk and simmer for about 5 minutes
add evaporated milk and simmer for about 5 minutes

Anyway, here’s the cooking instructions:

  • clean and kill the crabs, then cut in halves and remove gills after removing shells, use pestle to pre-crack the crab claws for easier consumption
  • heat up wok with medium heat and melt butter
  • add chilli padi and curry leaves
  • when aroma is released, add crab and stir until the shells turn red
  • add evaporated milk and cover to simmer for about 5 minutes
  • add cornstarch (pre-mixed with water) and stir for a minute to thicken sauce before serving

here it is, creamy butter crab, goes well with some fried buns
here it is, creamy butter crab, goes well with some fried buns

And here you go, the butter crab turned out rather delicious. You can enjoy this dish with some fried buns or with rice/noodle, or basically anything.

Now you know what to do with live crabs! Check out other recipes by yours truly by clicking on the KY Cooks category. :)

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After the wild success of MyKuali’s Penang instant Curry Mee, and perhaps not surprisingly, every other player in the market was quick to come up with their own version of this Penang’s favorite hawker dish in instant format.

I was contacted by the representative from Kim Curry to sample their interpretation of Penang Traditional White Curry Noodle.

the end result - Kim Curry Penang White Curry Mee
the end result – Kim Curry Penang White Curry Mee

So a few weeks ago I received a few samples of this instant noodle via mail from Kim Curry marketing all the way from Butterworth, Penang.

The instant noodle seems to be following the ideas from MyKuali, packaging 110 gram of noodle instead of the usual 85 grams like other instant noodle products. Additionally, there’s also separate packets of craemer and chili paste. Total energy from this product is rated at 466 kcal with 219 kcal from fat. So far so good.

the packaging, with sambal paste and white santan flavored powder
the packaging, with sambal paste and white santan flavored powder

To test the Kim Curry Penang White Curry Mee, I went to market to obtain some prawns, long beans, and tofu skin at the cost of about RM 12 to  prepare for dinner for two.

Cooking instruction is simple, bring 350 ml of water per packet to boil, add instant noodle, then add creamer and paste. I also threw in the prawns and other ingredients for the last 2 minutes.

a few prawns go a long way for this curry mee
a few prawns go a long way for this curry mee

The result is a version of instant noodle that is unmistakenly Penang Curry Mee. The aroma of curry is pretty decent, but not nearly as strong as the version from MyKuali. This would suit those who can’t stomach that sort of spiciness level MyKuali offers.

Additionally, the noodle itself is a little thinner. So if you prefer Penang instant curry mee with a little less kick but still retains the essential aroma, this version may be for you.

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As someone who’s born and bred in Penang, we obviously love our hawker dishes, and hence it is always a mission for many of us Penangites to find the local taste right here in KL whenever we can.

New Apollos kopitiam at USJ 4
New Apollos kopitiam at USJ 4

Now when most think about hawker foods in Penang, curry mee, prawn mee, laksa, and char kuih teow is often high on the list, and if you mention kuih teow th’ng (or kuih teow soup), many don’t even realize how difficult it is to find a place that offers the dish here in KL. Hence when I accidentally ended up at Restaurant New Apollos in USJ 4 and saw this stall, I knew it was something I had to order.

proper Penang style kuih teow th'ng
proper Penang style kuih teow th’ng

The operator (not the one in the picture, she was just the helper) speaks Penang Hokkien, which passed the first litmus test whenever I order Penang food.

When the bowl of kuih teow soup arrived, I was already pretty happy. The dish looked the part, with three fishballs, shredded steamed chicken, a few slices of fish cakes, vegetable, fried garlic, and a few bits of lard.

I was well satisfied with the kuih teow soup
I was well satisfied with the kuih teow soup

As for the taste, this RM 5 bowl of goodness hits all the right spots. It might lack strips of duck blood, but the fish balls and fish cakes had the right texture and tasted rather good. Portion was not overly big like other KL hawker dishes, and the shredded chicken cooked just right as well.

In fact, I liked it so much I rode all the way from Damansara Perdana to USJ 4 just for this yesterday. This kuih teow soup is now on the top of my list so far as Klang Valley is concerned.

map to New Apollos kopitiam, USJ 4

Address:
Restaurant New Apollos
2, Jln USJ4/6B
Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.051770, 101.576209
Hours: Lunch and Breakfast, Closed on Tuesdays

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Penang is often know as the heaven of hawker foods, from char kuih teow to asam laksa, and kuih teow soup to nasi kandar. However, you don’t often hear people talk about ikan bakar, also sometimes known as ikan panggang as the locals like to call it, and that I think, is a grave mistake.

Here are top three different grilled fish places I think you should check out if you’re in Penang.

Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan, Kampung Teluk Tempoyak
Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan, Kampung Teluk Tempoyak

If you fancy a little drive to the southern end of the island, ikan bakar Adnan bin Hassan at Kampung Teluk Tempoyak is definitely a place worth checking out. There isn’t many choices of fish to choose from as they’re sourced from the local fishermen, but there are siakap, kerapu, jenahak, ikan merah, and bawah talang to go with prawns and crabs.

I also particularly like the way their fillet the fish with sambal on the inside for easy access to those tender and absolutely satisfying meat. Starting from RM 35 to about RM 50 per KG, these grilled fish isn’t heavy on the wallet either.

Just one thing, you gotta be quick to grab your share before your mates.

better get your share before your friends finish them all
better get your share before your friends finish them all

Address:
Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan
Medan Selera Kampung Teluk Tempoyak
11960 Bayan Lepas, Penang
GPS5.277330, 100.287968
Tel019-413 2572
Hours: 6pm – 11pm (Closed on Mondays)

Ikan Panggang stall at Song River, Gurney Drive
Ikan Panggang stall at Song River, Gurney Drive

One of my favorite “kopitiam” ikan panggang (more appropriate since it’s not strictly grilled) stalls is the one at Song River, Gurney Drive. The fish is covered in a special sauce that has a strong presence of fermented beans, belacan, chili, and shallots. Together with the sambal, this makes for an excellent treat.

There’s always quite a selection of different fishes and squid, but my favorite is stingray since the meat soaks up the paste easily and there’s no fish bones to deal with.

The same restaurant also offers great chicken wings too.

full flavor with plenty of chilli and garlic
full flavor with plenty of chilli and garlic

Address:
Song River Cafe
65 Persiaran Gurney,
Georgetown, Penang
GPS5.432392, 100.31738
Tel012-488 8275
Hoursdinner and supper

East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court, Penang
East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court, Penang

For those who love something slightly different than just fish, squid, or crabs, East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court is a place you must visit.

On top of the usual fish and squid, there are different types of shellfish and even vegetable for grilling. My favorite here would be their grilled scallops. Topped with garlic and spring onion, then grilled to perfection, this is an absolute must try for anyone who loves scallops. At RM 5 a pop, it’s quite reasonably priced as well.

Grilled brinjal is done with similar toppings and tasted fantastic, while the slightly spicy long bean might perhaps give you an illusion of having consumed enough vitamin C for the trip.

BBQ scallops, egg plant, and long beans
BBQ scallops, egg plant, and long beans

Address:
East Coast BBQ
Sungai Pinang Food Court
Jalan Sungai Pinang
Georgetown 11500 Penang
GPS5.400029, 100.325711
Tel04-281 0943
Hoursdinner and supper