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.
Sheng May Restaurant, Pandamaran Klang
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.
steamed crab, size – L @RM130 each
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).
sweet and sour crab, same size, same price
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.
tapioca noodle, meehun, mee goreng, Hokkien mee
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, fried baby octopus
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.
ginger chicken, sweet potato leave, green dragon vege, mantis prawn with dry cili
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.
this was the bill for 16 pax, RM 1740.50
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.
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.
Ai Jiak Penang Food, PJ Seapark
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!
Penang style “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.
Address: Ai Jiak Penang Food 9, Jalan 21/12, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 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.
Ching Han Guan biscuit shop, Ipoh
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.
pork floss biscuit from top left – original, pandan, bakwa, salted egg yolk
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.
Ching Han Guan biscuits are individually packed
If you’re in Ipoh and look to bring back some handy food gifts, be sure not to miss this.
It was a span of almost half a year since my last work trip to Kota Kinabalu, and I believe anyone would know that this was due to the Covid-19 lock down (2020, what a year huh?).
I had only two meals to dine out on this stopover, dinner was at one of my favorite restaurants in KK – Tung Fong Seafood, and for next day’s lunch, I met up with Ben and was introduced to this new-ish fish noodle place by the name of GK Fish Soup.
fresh fish head vs fried fish ‘lam’
The operation has only been around for about 7 months, it is located about 10 minutes away from city center and can be slightly tricky to find – but if you thought you end up at light industrial area with lots of car workshops, then you’ve reached the right place.
Menu is a simple one page affair – you get to have fish filet, lam ikan (fish stomach), sirip ikan (tails), mix ikan, or kepala ikan (fish head) either fried, or fresh. Soup base can be either peria (bitter gourd), tomato, hamchoi (salted vege), or tomyam.
Ben had fresh fish head and I ordered fried fish stomach with tomato soup, partly due to us being late in arrival (almost noon) and ran out of other options. The seafood were prepared just right, and of top quality, something that I now came to expect at this part of Malaysia. The soup too was packed with flavor and I especially enjoyed the cili paste that was served alongside. This was a good departure as some of the other places often serve subpar condiment (looking at you, Fatt Kee), or have it ultra limited (hello Madam Ing).
GK fish soup, plenty of social distancing
Priced at RM 10 – 18, it offers rather good value. There’s plenty of seafood in a bowl, but portion of meehun can be a bit on the low side, which suits me but not everyone. I am going to come back here again for sure.
Address: GK Fish Soup 23, Lorong Nosoob Jaya 1, Taman Nosoob Jaya, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.931134, 116.075720
Right after announcement of the easing of movement control order, I made a plan to travel up North for some long overdue family time, and on the way back, stopped by Ipoh for a bit of R&R. And since it was already late afternoon by the time we were heading back, I thought it was probably a good idea to have dinner packed from Ipoh “sekaligus”.
The choice for dinner was Ipoh’s famous Salt Baked Chicken at Aun Kheng Lim, located right in old town Ipoh – right by Jalan Theathre.
Aun Kheng Lim Salt Baked Chicken
Aun Kheng Lim is somewhat of an institution and a bit of a tourist attraction in itself, there’s only one item on the menu – chicken stuffed with some Chinese herbs, baked in coarse salt, aka salt baked chicken (fresh or frozen, RM 21 a pop in year 2020). You only get to order to go, the shop does not have any dine in area, or do they offer any fancy side dishes. You line up, asks for the number of chicken you want, take them, and eat at your own leisure.
whole salt baked chicken, tender enough to tear off by hands
You can have the chicken at room temperature, but warming it up with a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes is my preferred method of serving. The chicken is probably just a little over 1 kg, not terribly big, and perfect for 2 person of moderate appetite if you’re going all paleo and without rice. The combination of herbal note and those saltiness brought out the taste of the bird, so satisfying to gobble down with a glass of ice cold water (or beer) to go with.
If you’re in Ipoh, you owe it to yourself to tapao a few birds back home.
P/S: there’s another shop selling the same thing, and to my untrained tongue, they tastes pretty similar.