A week or so ago I went to KK for a short working trip. Of the many places my career brought me, KK has always been one of my favorite spots, so I was glad that I had the chance to visit the city again after some 7-8 years since I last stepped foot on it.
I was incredibly blessed to have awesome friends from KK for brought me to lunches and dinners while I was there the entire time. After all, you can’t get any better than having local food guides who knows the city in and out.
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi, Kota Kinabalu
On the second day, Nelson, whom I got to know through some weird circumstances revolving a possible purchase of Aprilia motorcycle suspension (you can meet people from all sorts of settings kan?), came to my office and took me to the best chicken rice stall in KK for for lunch at Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi.
steamed chicken, charsiu, and the unique pyramid shaped rice
Since there were only two of us, we ordered the steamed chicken and chasiu (bbq pork) with a side of vegetable to go with some rice.
The chicken rice here is served in a distinctive pyramid shape, which was kinda cute though it doesn’t contribute to the way it tastes, obviously. The steamed chicken though, was smooth and quite delicious, with the chasiu tasting pretty decent as well.
As for the often neglected vitamin C entry, this vegetable dish was rather good. In fact, over my stay at KK I’ve found that the vegetable here tasted so much fresher, crunchier, and juicier than their peninsular counterpart.
For those who complains about the lack of good hawker food in KK, this is one place to check out. Thank you Nelson!
Address: Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi Block F, Lot 4, Jalan Padas, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.983967, 116.074422 Tel: 088-214 378
A couple weeks ago I was invited to Di Wei Chinese Restaurant at Empire Hotel to sample their mooncakes for the upcoming Mid-Autumn festival as well as a few of their new fish dishes.
It was my second time visiting this rather classy non-halal Chinese restaurant, with the first time sampling some alcohol product that was never brought into the country commercially (Yuzu!), hence the lack of prior blog entry.
Di Wei Chinese cuisine restaurant at Empire Hotel, Subang Jaya
The restaurant is accessible from the hotel as well as directly from the top floor of the shopping mall. Like most Chinese restaurants, Di Wei carries a pretty decent selection of dishes, from bbq meat, traditional double boiled soup, dried seafood such as abalone and sea cucumber, live seafood, beef, pork, chicken, duck, beancurd, egg, vegetable dishes as well as fried rice and noodle.
On our review session, we sampled three new fish dishes as well as their mooncakes.
Braised Marble Goby Fish with Iced Beancurd and Pork Belly
First dish was braised marble goby fish with iced beancurd and pork belly (RM 168++ per portion).
Marble goby is one of the most prized freshwater fish for its smooth texture and layering meat. The usual preparation method usually by steaming, but the chef at Di Wei decided to deep fry the fish and braise with special sauce with addition of pork belly and iced beancurd.
The beancurd, being frozen prior has many air pockets that soaks up the sauce, which makes for an interesting way to enjoy the dish. The fish did not lose it’s original taste with the deep frying process, but gained extra smoothness from pork belly. I love it.
Steamed Seabass in Assam Sauce
Next up was steamed seabass in assam sauce(RM 122++ per 100 gram). It was basically a high class version of asam fish that is quite common in many Chinese restaurants, with seabass doing the major lifting in the quality department. This dish should be consumed quickly if served in the heated bowl, as the heat may otherwise overcook the fish over time.
Pan Fried Giant Grouper with Green Apple Sauce
Pan fried giant grouper with green apple sauce (RM 23++ per 100 gram) is a dish that may not get approval for giant grouper lovers who love to have this fish the traditional way – steamed with superior soya sauce.
I tend to agree, but pan frying the fish gives the skin a new and exciting texture to ponder about, with the addition of apple sauce making it pretty interesting. It is a bold attempt no doubt, but one that hasn’t surpass the traditional cooking method of this prized seafood yet, I’m afraid.
traditional baked mooncakes, RM 18-23 each
So then, lets move to mooncakes.
The traditional mooncakes from Di Wei we sampled are as follow:
pandan lotus single yolk
white lotus single yolk
black sesame single yolk
pure lotus single yolk
bamboo charcoal single yolk
My favorite being the bamboo charcoal and white lotus single yolk, and my complain is – why not double yolks? or even better, quadruple yolks?
snow skin mooncakes, RM 18-23 each
As for snow skin mooncakes that are best chilled, we had the following:
snow skin white lotus single yolk
snow skin green tea single yolk
snow skin black sesame single yolk
snow skin bamboo charcoal single yolk
I like them all, but my favorites were black sesame and bamboo charcoal versions.
Di Wei’s 3 meat platter
Since mooncakes and three dishes of fish weren’t exactly fulfilling enough to our collective stomachs, we ordered Di Wei’s three meat platter as extra (small – RM40++, medium – RM60++, big – RM80++).
The BBQ pork (chasiu) was perhaps not the best I’ve had, but the roast duck very good, and roast pork turned out to be really excellent.
So if you’re into mooncakes, Di Wei offers some excellent choices, and for good quality fish in some non traditional cooking style, this is also a place you should check out.
Address: Di Wei L1, F20 & F21 Empire Hotel, Jalan SS16/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716 Tel: 03-5565 1228
One of my favorite dishes to cook during my time in the States was scallop fried rice, the reason is two folds – it is very delicious, and scallops are very affordable there (a pack of 8-10 huge scallops went for less than $10).
first, “marinated” your scallops and prawns in brine
Back home in Malaysia, scallop is quite a prized ingredient, so having scallop fried rice is a bit of a luxury. That is unless, you get the seafood from East Malaysia. I picked up some frozen scallops and prawns while on a work trip to KK a week ago, so I immediately thought of recreating the very same dish that I’ve been missing.
boil the vegetable, and pan fry the seafood separately
Here’s how you can cook this simple scallop and prawn fried rice at home, feel free to substitute with other shellfish or seafood items if you like.
Ingredients (for two servings):
a dozen scallops, medium size
6-8 prawns, medium size
vegetable (choi sum)
2 bowls of steamed rice (cook from 1.5 cups)
1 bulb of garlic, chopped
black pepper & salt
start by frying garlic, then rice, and finally eggs
marinate seafood with brine for 5-10 minutes before cooking
boil the vegetable separately for about 5 minutes, add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the water to make it smooth and more palatable
heat up 3-4 tablespoon of cooking oil and fry the seafood for about 2 minutes, set aside
reuse the same cooking oil but add another 3-4 tablespoon
fry garlic till fragrant
add rice and 2 tablespoon of soya sauce (dark soya sauce optional), fry for a minute
add pepper to taste
split the rice in the middle, and add eggs
continue frying until eggs are cooked
plate everything and serve!
scallop and prawn fried rice with a side of vegetable
This fairly simple dish only takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, tastes pretty awesome too. Total price for two person came up to be about RM 20 or so, I got the seafood from KK airport.