As far as food that we consume, crabs must be one of the stranger looking type isn’t it? I mean, they are basically sea spider with really tough exoskeletons and clamps that can snap off a baby’s finger. Once you get pass that (which most of us in Malaysia do), crab is perhaps one of my favorite the ocean has to offer.
Earlier this year (when the world was still relatively normal, pre-Covid 2020), our collective cravings for crabs brought us to one of the more famous spots in Klang for a dinner in which this crustacean takes center stage – at Restoran Sheng May.
The place is one of those unremarkable house-turned-restaurant set up that are quite common in this part of Klang Valley at Pandamaran. Plastic chairs, zinc roof, and ceiling mounted fans, zero luxury, but adequate for a meal.
Crabs aren’t a certainty here (as with Kali Little, another great spot for crabs in Klang), call ahead to be sure, and even then you may need a little luck. We were semi-lucky to get fairly large sized crabs at around 900 gram each (RM 130 each).
There are several ways to have them prepared, we chose steamed and sweet and sour. Both were delicious due to the freshness as well as how juicy and sweet the crabs were, but on hindsight, if you want the true taste of it all, steamed or salt baked would be my recommendation. Any sauce only serves as distractions to the main event.
As for other stomach lining dishes, we had fried tapioca noodle (a Klang specialty, imagine bubble tea bubbles but in noodle form), fried meehun, Chinese interpretation of Indian mee goreng, and this overly wet Hokkien mee. All were decent though I wouldn’t describe any of them to be outstanding.
Steamed lala with superior soup was spicy, fresh, and carries a strong flavor, as good as many of the other restaurants more famous for it. Fried baby octopus too was sweet, crunchy, and rather delicious, wish I had some rice with them though.
There’s also ginger chicken, while fragrant with its generous use of ginger, I thought they could take a lesson of how to chop chicken without resulting in so much bones…
The mantis prawn with dried chili (kung pao style) was an outstanding dish, combination of hotness from chilli, sweetness from onion, sauce, and the way they prepared the mantis prawn resulting a crispy outer layer while remaining juicy within, awesome.
Overall it was definitely not a cheap dinner but one that was very satisfying. We did end up ordering way too many crabs by making the dumb assumption that everyone needed an entire crab for him/herself, not wise.
If you’re a fan of big crabs, this is certainly a place to have them at “reasonable” price.
The funny thing about tastes is that for things that you absolutely loath as a kid may yet turn out to be one of your favorites as an adult – such is the case for me with bitter gourd, and to be frank, quite a few other items.
So for those of you who dislike durian, petai, asparagus, Guinness, and more, perhaps ya’ll just need more doses of them until you like it!
Anyway, here’s one of the recipes I did with bitter gourd over the course of this Covid-19 season.
Bitter Gourd Tofu and Pork Soup Recipe
Comfort food especially on rainy days, I usually have it with steamed rice and some soya sauce + cili padi as condiment.
Since Covid-19 season is still not over, cooking at home remains a feature even though dining out is slowly becoming an option due to the slight relaxation of government movement control order. The latest ingredient I got to experiment was this bag of frozen oysters.
I was initially looking for some recipes for Taiwanese style oyster mee suah, but at the end decided to invent one of my own with the inspiration from the awesome lala meehun at Lai Foong kopitiam which I sorely missed.
There isn’t exactly an official name for this dish, I’d simply call it my oyster mee suah. A surprisingly simple recipe that you can make at home with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.
Ingredients for 2 bowls:
Pretty simple dish isn’t it? Love the spiciness from ginger, if you want it spicy, add some cilipadi too!
When I was growing up in Penang, I remember there was a period of time where we’d head go grandm’s over the weekends and more often than not, having Hokkien Char for breakfast at the old shack right outside Weld Quay. That was how I developed a taste for this particular dish.
Hokkien Char (福建炒) simply meant Hokkien style fried noodle in Penang. While sharing almost similar name as Hokkien Mee in KL, the two dishes are quite different from each other.
While KL’s favorite comes with thick, fat noodle drench in very dark sauce, Penang’s style is quite a lot lighter and usually done with yellow noodle and meehun. Additionally, the Hokkien Char sambal is often a lot hotter and less mushy.
Back to Ai Jiak Penang Food restaurant.
I’ve actually heard about this place when it was situated in the old location at the Chung Ling Alumni Association in Jalan Utara, KL (fun fact, I am from the same school), the restaurant has since moved to Seapark, directly opposite Public Bank.
The restaurant offers a few Penang classic dishes to go with rice, such as asam fish head, curry chicken, pineapple curry prawns, pork trotter vinegar, sambal petai prawns, and so forth.
Additionally, they also offer single serving dishes such as asam laksa, chee cheong fun, herbal chicken meesuah, and what I came here for – Hokkien char!
So is their Hokkien Char any good?
The answer is a resounding yes! To be perfectly honest, if you didn’t grow up having Hokkien Char, it may not be a dish that speaks to you, but if you love spicy sambal and a dish of fried noodle that’s not overly strong or starchy, you may want to give this a try.
Ai Jiak Penang Food
9, Jalan 21/12, Sea Park,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +6 011 2778 8428
It is a bit of a custom to bring back some food whenever you travel, right? And none better than those type that can be kept for a week or three before consuming, when it comes to Ipoh, the default for such item would be these Ching Han Guan pork floss biscuits.
The shop is located at the epicenter of Ipoh town, in fact, just a stone’s throw away from the Aun Kheng Lim salt baked chicken that I penned just a couple entries ago on this blog. Ching Han Guan can command quite a queue especially on weekends, so bring your mask and prepare to wait if you don’t call ahead. If you can call in advance, you’ll have your order prepared to be picked up without having to line up, so do that.
These biscuits aren’t exactly biscuits, but pork floss wrapped in thin, fluffy layer of pastry that oozes a mixture of umami and porky goodness, they are savory and sweet at the same time, and goes super well with a cup of black coffee. The biscuits come in four different flavors – original (with only pork floss), pandan, bakwa (sweetened dried pork), and salted egg yolk.
My favorites are between the bakwa and salted egg yolk, and I suppose it is due to them carrying a slight saltiness that brings out the sweetness of pork floss even more.
If you’re in Ipoh and look to bring back some handy food gifts, be sure not to miss this.