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When I moved to KL from Penang many years ago, one thing that I was never able to really get used to is the taste of sambal. In this region, sambal is often a pretty sweet affair, prepared with oil, galangal, turmeric, sugar, and involves process of cooking.

What I’m more familiar with instead, is mom’s version that is ultra simple and requires only 2, or maximum of 3 ingredients. This sambal is superb as a condiment with fatty food such as tau eu bak, and can also be used as an ingredient for other recipes such as sambal fried rice.

sambal belacan recipe

Here’s how you can prepare yours, all you need is fresh cili (maybe also some cili padi if you want it really spicy), and good quality belacan.

Instructions:

  • toast 2 tablespoon of belacan in frying pan until dry and fragrant
  • remove seeds from red chili (a dozen), and cut into small chunks
  • pound with pestle and mortar until they’re crushed
  • keep in fridge, squeeze a calamansi when serving and it’ll be instantly “fresh”

Good luck, stay safe, and happy cooking!

We’re well into second “proper MCO”, so I guess most of us here are back to tapao, delivery, and cooking, so I suppose it’s timely for me to go back to sharing some recipes again.

Today let’s look at one of the easiest meals you can make with a sous vide machine – duck breast. This is one dish that takes a couple hours but only perhaps 5 minutes hands-on cooking, with the result being rather satisfying and properly delicious, if you’re one who loves smoked duck.

sous vide duck breast recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 smoked duck breast (or normal duck breast, seasoned well with salt)
  • some aromatics (optional – dill, rosemary)
  • a side dish – asparagus in this case, with some garlic

Cooking instructions:

  • sous vide duck breast in vacuum bag with aromatics for 2 hours at 57 Celsius
  • remove, pad dry, and sear skin down until crispy (2-3 minutes)
  • use the duck fat reduced from searing to cook asparagus (2-3 minutes)
  • slice up duck breast (after we’ve let it rest for 3-5 minutes) and serve!

I always try to have some frozen duck breast in the fridge handy for this dish, it’s super easy to prepare and takes the headache of “what to eat” away. Invest in a sous vide machine especially if you love to eat meat, it’s worth it!

Well, back when going out to eat was an option, we took a trip to Kota Kemuning and had ourselves a couple bowls of Japanese ramen at one of the very few “proper” ramen outlets in Shah Alam at Menya Hanabi. Yes, there are more than one Menya Hanabi in Klang Valley, this is the one closest to me.

Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning
Menya Hanabi at Kota Kemuning

Menya Hanabi is located right next to Gamuda Walk within Kota Kemuning, a bustling township within Shah Alam that has perhaps the most “up to date” eateries. Fortunately, parking is still a relatively simple exercise at this area.

The restaurant is of a typical Japanese ramen shop set up, with a long kitchen/bar taking up 30-40% of the floor space, and tables on the other side. I also love the fact that they have pictorial menu that showcases every single dish they offer, though some description would have been helpful as well.

shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba
shoyu soup ramen, gyoza, Nagoya mazesoba

For our visit we tried their classic shoyu soup ramen (RM 27), Nagoya mazesoba DX (RM 31), and a portion of gyoza (RM 10).

The soup ramen came in 3 options, shio (salt), shoyu (soya sauce), and Nagoya (spicy with minced meat). The shoyu version I had was on par with most Japanese ramen I’ve tried over the years. The noodle was springy, the soup too packed quite a punch. The chasiu had the awesome 3 layer texture and came with decent thickness, though I’d love to see 3 instead of 2 pieces in there. The egg too was prepared just nice. Overall it was a very competent bowl of ramen, satisfied.

the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza
the chasiu was super yummy, so was their gyoza

As for the Nagoya mazesoba DX, well, the ramen itself is of a thicker variety, when stirring it up with the minced meat, egg yolk, and leek, the entire bowl felt almost not exactly unlike a more expensive version of chili pan mee, except one that’s less spicy and carries less “kick”. Once you are done with this “dry” version, they will also give you a scoop of rice to fully utilize those sauce, something that I thought was a bit of a gimmick to be honest. I’d give this dry ramen a “meh”.

Lastly, do order their gyoza, one of the best I’ve tried, and well worth the RM 10 asking price.

Overall, Menya Hanabi is a pretty decent Japanese ramen place, give the dry ramen a try if you must, stick to soupy version if you’re into more of a traditional taste kinda guy.

menya hanabi kota kemuning map

Address:
Menya Hanabi
2-37-1, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla,
Seksyen 31, Kota Kemuning,
40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.000433, 101.532942
Tel: +603 5131 9308
Hours: daily 11 am to 10 pm

Some of the most famous dishes in Ipoh revolves around chicken, isn’t it? There’s many chicken rice places such as Pak Kong, kai si hor fun which features chicken at Thean Chun, honey chicken wings at Menglembu, and salt baked chicken at Aun Kheng Lim.

Well, to add to this list, today we’re going to talk about one of local’s favorite bean sprout chicken hor fun place at Ipoh – Restaurant Cowan Street.

Cowan Street Chicken & Horfun, Ipoh
Cowan Street Chicken & Horfun, Ipoh

Restoran Cowan Street Ayam Tauge & Koitiau is the full name of the place, and despite the name, is located at Jalan Raja Ekram in Ipoh New Town, a stone’s throw away from other popular eateries such as Ming Court dimsum.

The restaurant has a reputation of having erratic opening hours, and has 3 rest days per week. They’re serve dinner for quite a limiting hours of 6-9:30pm, do call ahead and check if they’re opened to avoid disappointment.

dinner for two - chicken, bean sprouts, chicken feet, offal
dinner for two – chicken, bean sprouts, chicken feet, offal

We ordered chicken for two, a plate of bean sprouts (always a must!), chicken feet, and added a plate of chicken offal to go with two bowls of hor fun, there’s no rice served at Cowan Street.

Ordering was very quick, and service was even quicker, it took only a couple minutes before everything was served, I was quite impressed.

chicken feet, steamed chicken, chicken liver/intestine/gizzard
chicken feet, steamed chicken, chicken liver/intestine/gizzard

The review of the food is simple.. everything here was absolutely on point!

The chicken was cooked just right, smooth, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. The bean sprouts did not disappoint, and even the chicken feet and chicken offal were all just spot on.

I absolutely love the texture of everything here, those meat, fats, and innards’ soft and tender texture in contrast with those crunchy bean sprouts, perfect. If one would to nitpick, you could perhaps say that the dishes are just very slightly to the salty side, but they do balance out with the hor fun.

when in Ipoh, one must always order bean sprouts
when in Ipoh, one must always order bean sprouts

Dinner came to be RM 45 including two drinks, perhaps a little pricey according to some, but I’m more than happy to pay for the quality and will certainly be back here again when I have another chance.

cowan street ipoh menu

map to cowan street restaurant

Address:
Cowan Street Ayam Tauge & Koitiau Restaurant
44, Jalan Raja Ekram,
Kampung Jawa, 31350 Ipoh, Perak
GPS: 4.597606, 101.085821
Tel012-520 3322

Chicken rice is perhaps one of the most popular lunch options for Malaysian, a plate of rice, with a portion of the nation’s favorite meat on top and maybe a few slices of cucumber will satisfy most people as a quick refuel option during the day.

Wan Shoon kopitiam, Damansara Kim
Wan Shoon kopitiam, Damansara Kim

When it comes to chicken rice, we’re usually familiar with those offering roast chicken or steamed chicken, but the less popular third option exists – and that’s our topic for today – Fatt Kee’s soy sauce chicken rice.

Fatt Kee is located within Restoran Wan Shoon in Damansara Kim, a small township nested right next to TTDI, on the border of KL & PJ.

Like many other chicken rice stalls, other than chicken, they do offer roast pork (siu yok) as well as bbq pork (chasiu). While I’ve yet to try their chasiu, their siu yok is uninspiringly average and something that I would definitely skip the next round.

The star here is their soy sauce chicken, a version I can only describe as the cross between steamed and roast chicken that managed to have the best of both worlds. It’s flavorful, tender, and succulent all at the same time. The soy sauce blend here is addictively delicious, and I also felt that they put a bit of effort into the accompanying soup as well.

soy sauce chicken rice with roast pork, Fatt Kee
soy sauce chicken rice with roast pork, Fatt Kee

Prices here is a little higher than “usual”, the portion above for two pax came up to RM 18, but well, sometimes it’s worth paying a little more for good food. On my next visit I’m going to only have the chicken and forgo the pork, a position I don’t usually stand for.

Another soya sauce chicken place I tried was the one at Jalan Ipoh, I’ve also got a recipe for soya sauce chicken, tho the result is a little bit different.

map to wan shoon kopitiam

Address:
Fatt Kee Soy Sauce Chicken Rice
Wan Shoon kopitiam
47, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.135504, 101.627173
Tel: +603 7499 7188