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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Monthly Archives / April 2007

Got a request from the special one for chicken porridge. I have never cooked porridge before, but since I know the basics and happened to have bought some decent quality dried scallops from Vietnam, I did not hesitate to take on this project.

Chicken Porridge for the Soul
the finished product looks pretty good isn’t it?

After a short 15 minute trip to Giant and RM 7+ later, I got the necessary ingredients and started to get busy.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups of rice
  • 2 pieces of chicken ribs, remove meat from the rib bones
  • sliced ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • some dried mushroom, sliced
  • spring onion, chopped
  • some dried scallop, sliced or whole

Steps:

  • boil about 8-10 cups of water, and add in ginger, chicken, and scallop to make chicken soup
  • after 10-20 minutes, use everything from the chicken soup as the “water” to cook porridge
  • you need around 3 times more water compared to cooking rice, for 2.5 cups of rice, have enough water in the pot for 7-8 cups of rice.
  • add sliced mushroom in the pot and start cooking the porridge
  • add salt to taste (2-3 tea spoon should suffice)
  • fry the chopped garlic with vegetable oil till golden brown
  • serve porridge with fried garlic and chopped spring onion

Chicken Porridge for the Soul
ingredients and the preparation method

The end product actually tasted pretty good. The dried scallop certainly contributed a dash of luxury to the taste of the chicken porridge. I actually had to add some soya sauce due to the conservative manner in salt usage, but it’s always better than having the whole pot goes to waste if too much salt is used.

Try it, if you don’t have a rice cooker with the porridge setting, a normal pot would work too, just have to watch out and not leave the porridge too dry.

After the interesting grilled frog at my favorite foreign city, I headed to a Vietnamese seafood restaurant for dinner the following night. At the heart of the city, the Hong Hai (pronounced as 红海, or red sea, in Mandarin) restaurant is not particularly lavish nor it is very eye catching. However, judging by the crowd of locals congregating at this place, it must offer some pretty good and authentic seafood.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
fresh fish, shrimps, and various types of clam

The restaurant was quite packed, but luckily we managed to secure a table at the balcony on the second level. My friend made the order as I would have no idea how to go about reading the 100% Vietnamese menu, with no translation nor any pictures. I doubt any of the servers speak English either.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
three types of clam, including cockle (blood clam)

The first four dishes that came consists of the various types of clam. The boiled cockles (I think) were very delicious, and goes extremely well with the fried garlic (including skin) and vegetable garnish. The fresh and somewhat bloody cockles with the slightly salty but strong tasting garlic was just perfect. A salt + dried pepper + dried plum + lime dipping sauce accompany the dishes.

We also had a grilled clam and a plum sauce clam dishes. While the grilled clam is best enjoyed with the dipping, the plum sauce actually goes well with some bread. Pretty interesting contrasting taste among these three dishes, the bloody cockles, the dry grilled clam, and the sourish plum sauce clam.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
oyster with cheese, and a great tasting hot pot with eel

Next in line were the two huge oyster with cheese. Though this dish isn’t something that is unique to this part of the world, the oyster served were the size of my palm. Needless to say, you can guess if I enjoyed it from the photo above.

Other than all the shell fish dishes, we ordered a hot pot with eel. As with most Vietnamese dishes, the pot came with a huge serving of vegetable consisting spring onion, bean sprout, okra, and interestingly, shredded banana flower, all arranged in a neat and pretty presentation. The soup tasted a little spicy and salty, but compliment the vermicelli noodle and the fresh vegetables. It was a very good dinner.

map of Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Pham Ngoc Thach road is located at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

Hong Hai is located at the heart of the city, not more than US $2 taxi ride away from any major hotels in District 1. The dinner itself was somewhere around RM 50-60, value for money indeed.

Updated 22/10/2010: moved to 236 Pasteur, district 3, HCMC

Address:
54, Pham Ngoc Thach,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam

Tel: 8.292977, 0908-103547

I have actually been to Ho Chi Minh City on business trip for more than half a dozen times since some three years ago, it is alway such a delightful place to visit. The Vietnamese people really does offer the very best of hospitality anywhere, and of course, the city offers some interesting food too.

Beer with friends at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
clam with pork, bbq frog with skin, and bbq prawns

I managed to contact an old pal of mine, Trinh, for some drinks on Sunday night. The last I met this guy was back in August 2005 for some Banh Xeo, more than one and a half year ago. We rode to one of the nearby seafood and beer restaurant to catch up on old times.

The host ordered a plate of BBQ prawn, some interesting “grilled clam rolled with Pig’s omental fat”, and BBQ frog with skin. Of course, a few bottles of chilled Heineken to go along with these local delights.

Beer with friends at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The words mean “welcome” and “see you”.. or something like that

The food were certainly very good. The BBQ prawn was marinated with some pretty spicy seasoning, and packs a kick even if you don’t dip it into the traditional lime + salt + chili paste. The locals usually chew down everything, including the head and shell.

The grilled clam was an interesting dish that tasted kinda like bacon and clam meat, except in a bigger and juicier bite. It went very well with beer, and definitely one of the heart surgeon’s worst nightmares.

Thought I’ve had frogs before, this is the first time I’ve had it with skin intact. The texture is similar to fish skin, but tougher and slightly sticky. The aroma of the frog meat was very good as well. Fresh vegetable is featured in every dish, not very different from the Malay ulam. It is actually a very nice concept, you have some meat or seafood, then some vegetables to freshen up the tongue, repeat.

map of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
this place is just right next to Legend Hotel in District 1, HCMC

It was a very good supper, and nothing beats meeting old friends from far away places. I’m not exactly sure how much the food costs, but the pork with clam was about 55,000 VND, with another 10% tax. One ringgit equals to around 4,500 VND.

This particular restaurant is situated on
3C, Ton Duc Thang
District 1, HCMC
Vietnam

I came across this place at Taman Mayang Emas and couldn’t help laughing at the sight. A row of toilet bowls (and some washing basins) being used as flower pots. It doesn’t seem like this is an advertisement either, no signs, boards, or any writings. It’s just, odd, but kinda refreshing in a way.

Toilet Bowls as Flower Pots
best way to utilize unwashed toilet bowls?

I will be going to my most visited South East Asian country again, and hopefully there’ll be some interesting dinners again this time around. Stay tuned!

I have drove past Restaurant Hoppy with the recognizable giant roast duck “statue” at SS2 many times, but for various reasons (eg: several of the noobs do not eat duck), I have never had a chance to try it until last weekend. This is despite the fact that I actually do love to eat duck, as evident from postings on Fatty Duck, Sunrise, Loong Foong, and the PJ State Loh Ngap.

Herbal Roast Duck at Restaurant Hoppy (好比药材烧腊)
herbal roast duck, tofu, and steamed soup

For the two of us, I ordered a bottom quarter (thighs and drumstick portion) Tang Gui (当归) roast duck, a tofu dish, and a steamed soup. The other types of herbal roast duck includes Ginseng (泡参) and Shin Chuan (十全) style. I know Tang Gui is supposed to be a female’s herb, but that’s the only type left when I was there, so be it.

To be fair, the skin of their roast duck, while very good, is not as crispy as Loong Foong. However, the unique herbal taste more than make up for this short coming. The duck meat actually tastes strongly of the herbs, and the gravy was very strong too. I must say that this is not for those who dislike the Chinese medicinal herb tastes, but I absolutely love it. The tofu and soup, while not exceptional, were pretty decent as well.

Herbal Roast Duck at Restaurant Hoppy (好比药材烧腊)
no frill but comfortable set up

The meal for two came to around RM 25 for two. That is including the 5% government tax and the curious 2% service charge. This is still very good value for the rather unique roast duck and some pretty good side dishes. The restaurant also offers other dishes commonly found in many Chinese restaurants, such as seafood, vegetables, poultry dishes, and so forth. You can actually bring friends who aren’t into eating ducks there.

map to Herbal Roast Duck at Restaurant Hoppy (好比药材烧腊) at PJ SS2
Restaurant Hoppy is situated at SS2

This restaurant, is in fact, not the only branch. There are branches of Restaurant Hoppy in PJS 8/5, Sunway, and Jalan Desa 2/1 at Kepong.

Address:
Restaurant Hoppy (SS2 Sdn Bhd)
40, Jalan SS2/66,
47300 Petaling Jaya

GPS:
3.119471, 101.620429
Tel:
03-7877 9729