When it comes to Vietnamese food, pho usually gets all the glory, and to be fair, before I stepped foot on Hanoi, I too did not know the existence of this arguably superior Vietnamese dish – Bun Cha.
Bun Cha Dac Kim, Hanoi
For those who aren’t familiar, bún chả ( is a dish consists of grilled pork with rice vermicelli, bún stands rice vermicelli, and chả is pork.
My first taste of this wonderful dish came at Bun Cha Dac Kim in Hanoi, a rather famous joint for this dish and coincidentally situated near where we stay at Ancient Lane Hotel (pretty decent room and situated right at the morning market)
bun cha comes with plenty of vegetables
At this place, bun cha comes with freshly grilled pork and ground pork soaked in the dipping sauce (or broth) which is made of fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar. The vermicelli is served separately on a plate, and of course there’s plenty of herbs & raw vegetable, as well as those yummy spring roll with crab filling.
You can eat this dish by dipping the vermicelli in those broth and then mix with the pork & vegetable, or alternatively, wrap it the Korean bbq style, either way is not wrong.
mom loves the accompanying spring roll, so did I
The version at Bun Cha Dac Kim was really good, especially with those super spicy chili padi that they have too. We ordered 2 portions for the three of us and that turned out to be plenty enough. If you find yourself at Hanoi, do make sure to treat yourself with Bun Cha!
When it comes to hawker dishes in Sabah, the most famous of them all is none other than north Borneo’s very own version of pork noodle – Sang Nyuk Mian (生肉面), or raw pork noodle in Hakka, the most spoken Chinese dialect this part of Malaysia.
Melanian Sang Nyuk Mian, Kota Kinabalu
To be honest, the difference between this and the KL version isn’t particularly huge. While pork noodle usually comes with kuih teow, yellow noodle, meehun, or mee suah, sang nyuk mian usually has their own version of noodle that is slightly more refined and perhaps a little closer in texture to Japanese soba.
The other reason this being called the equivalent of “raw pork noodle” is the method in which it’s prepared, usually with raw pork slices and offal made to order, thus ensuring freshness and to retain the soft texture.
There are usually two versions to choose from – “kon lou”, or dry version comes with noodle being mixed in dark sauce and the porky goodness in soup, or soup version having the noodle and porky bits all in the same bowl.
Sang Nyuk Mian with extra pork kidney
If you find yourself at KK town, one of the places to try out his famous local dish would be at Melanian 3 kopitiam, a short walk away from the city center.
Over here you can get a bowl of Sang Nyuk Mian anywhere from RM 7.50 to RM 11 based on the ingredients – pork slices, kidney, tendon, liver, pork ball, intestine, and even heart.
I had mine with extra pork kidney but otherwise a standard dry version with inclusion of liver, intestine, pork slices, and pork ball.
The soup was more subtle but still sweet and flavorful, and true to its intention, the meat & offal were fresh and soft, but above all, I really like the texture of the noodle used in this version compared to KL’s. Definitely something to try when you find yourself in KK.
Address: Melanian Sang Nyuk Mian 21, Lorong Lintas Square, Lintas Plaza, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.984318, 116.076363 Hours: 6:30 am to 4:30 pm daily
Loh Mee, one of the few hawker dishes that can mean different dishes at different region in Malaysia. Today, we’re going to concentrate on one particularly unique Northern version of loh mee found at EUPE Food Court in Sungai Petani.
Eupe food court Loh Mee stall
For those who aren’t familiar with EUPE, it is this huge food court occupying 28 different shop lots joined together in Sungai Petani, and as you can imagine, it is quite big in size. The modus operandi for most stalls here is by self-service, which can sometimes bit a bit inconvenient, but that’s.. er.. life.
be sure to ask for dark vinegar too
The loh mee stall here specializes only on loh mee, but it does come with three different main ingredients to choose from – loh bak, chicken feet & mushroom, or fried fish.
The queue for this stall is often long (second only to the curry mee stall), but the reward is absolutely worthwhile. The broth is thick and flavorful, with the loh bak giving it that extra omph you don’t find in other versions of loh mee. There’s also half a hard boiled egg, bean sprouts, fish cake slices, and your choice of yellow noodle or meehun, with chili, garlic, fried shallots, and green onion, and a dash of vinegar making up the rest of the ingredient list.
A delicious treat for sure, and all for less than RM 5 per pop.
yeap, there’s loh bak in this loh mee
If you find yourself at Sungai Petani, do give this a try.
Address: Eupe Food Court Jalan Gamelan 5, Taman Ria Jaya, 08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah GPS: 5.652733,100.517535 Hours: 9 am till around lunch time
Good old fashion beef noodle is one of the must-try dishes in Macao or Hong Kong, and if you’re at Taipa area in Macao (where all the fancy big new casinos are), Chi Kei Ngao Chap is perhaps one of those places to check out.
Chi Kei Ngao Chap, Broadway Macao
Chi Kei is located at Broadway Food Street, a small street with some 40 different eateries across the road from Galaxy Macao, which itself is a huge establishment with way too many casinos & luxury hotels right next to The Venetian. Do use the overhead pedestrian walkway as the main road is a bit tricky to navigate on foot, not to mention illegal.
Chi Kei Ngao Chap has a fairly simple set up with a small tables both inside and outside the restaurants. Of course, the seating outside was perfect during the breezy late autumn afternoon when we were there.
beef offal with noodle
We tried their beef noodle with offal (45 MOP) that came with a generous serving of various yummy parts perfectly cooked to a smooth and soft texture. The turnip based soup also gave it that natural sweetness which I thought was pretty good as well.
Additionally, they also serve beef offal hotpot (168 MOP) fit for a small party, with additional side orders you can add as well (check menu below).
look at those tripe and beef tendon
The similar version of beef noodle in Malaysia would be the one at Pudu’s Yung Kee.
Here’s another place to go if you long for some good old fashion proper cafe or as we would call it … “Western” food while at Taipa, the artificial, mostly casino filled island of Macao – the restaurant by the name of Common Table.
Common Table, Macao
Common Table is one of the more spacious cafes you can find in Macao, partly because it is located in the newer part of the country on Taipa. The interior decor is a mix of industrial cement walls with tasteful wooden furniture.
The menu here is pretty extensive (find the full menu below)
Starting off with breakfast that’s served from 8 am to 5 pm, you’ll find French toast, egg benedict, various type of walnut toasts, scramble eggs, muesli, or waffles. Prices are from 48 to 78 MOP.
Taipa Salad, Forest Mushroom Risotto, Latte
For those who likes it green, they have four different salads on the menu at 78 or 88 MOP. We tried the Taipa Salad with Avocado and Balsamic Vinaigrette (88 MOP), it came with generous amount of greens and half an avocado with really thick vinaigrette which I thought was quite nice.
If you are hungry for a proper meal instead, they do serve some proper Italian dishes, with several choices of pasta, risotto, and even ox tongue. I tried the Forest Mushroom Risotto (88 MOP) from the recommendation of the waitress and thought it was quite a competent dish. The rice was cooked al dante and properly coated with butter/cheese. Rich and satisfying.
Forest Mushroom Risotto
As for drinks, Common Table serves the usual espresso based caffeinated drinks, as well as a good selection of organic blend full-leaf tea. If those aren’t your cup of.. tea, there’s always lemon soda, juices, or even fresh milk.