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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
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
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
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
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, 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
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
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.

sheng may klang menu (1) sheng may klang menu (2) sheng may klang menu (3)

Sheng May Klang, map

Address:
Restoran Sheng May
22A, Jalan Woo Ten, Pandamaran,
42000 Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.015277, 101.418394
Tel: +6016 6356268

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
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"
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.

ai jiak penang food map

ai jiak menu (1) ai jiak menu (2)

Address:
Ai Jiak Penang Food
9, Jalan 21/12, Sea Park,
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS:
Tel: +6 011 2778 8428

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'
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
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.

map to GK fish soup, Kota Kinabalu

Address:
GK Fish Soup
23, Lorong Nosoob Jaya 1,
Taman Nosoob Jaya,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.931134, 116.075720

Last week I went back up to Penang for a bit and managed to meet up with Evon for a late afternoon “tea time” noms. The lady suggested prawn mee at Lebuh Presgrave, I am always happy to get some prawn mee in the system, so why not?

888 Hokkien Mee at Lebuh Presgrave (or 3rd road)
888 Hokkien Mee at Lebuh Presgrave (or 3rd road)

Lebuh Presgrave is also known as “3rd road” in Hokkien or Mandarin, as it is the 3rd road from Jalan Magazine, which was considered as the “first road”. This in fact goes down all the way to 7th road, but that sort of details aren’t exactly important.

The Prawn Mee (known as Hokkien mee in Penang), is locally referred to as the 888 Hokkien Mee. Essentially a house converted coffee shop with the anchor tenant being this big hokkien mee & loh mee stall.

Operation starts at 4:30 pm, and there’s usually quite a healthy line in front of the stall. It goes like this – line up, order, get your food, pay, eat.

prawn mee, loh mee, or mixed loh + prawn soup?
prawn mee, loh mee, or mixed loh + prawn soup?

Like many food stalls in Penang, in addition to standard bowl of prawn mee or loh mee, there’s also a list of different optional ingredients you can add. We had ours with intestine and roast pork, in addition to the usual sliced pork, prawns, noodle, egg, bean sprout, fried shallots, and even lard.

I was going to have pork ribs as well, but at that time it wasn’t ready yet (see video), bummer. There’s also apparently pork skin from time to time.

hello Evon!
hello Evon, and hello lard!

The verdict? Well, it isn’t famous and popular for nothing. The soup was on point (I had mixed broth), and everything was “just right”. Those bits of lard certainly also contribute to the overall taste. It was that wholesome feeling that I remember from childhood, would definitely go back again.

888 hokkien mee map

A couple weeks ago I found myself at the South of KL for some work related assignment near lunch time. Naturally, after our appointment, we went to the most famous nari briyani restaurant for some well deserved lunch.

Our destination was none other than Kafe Beriani Gam Putrajaya.

Nasi Beriani Gam Putrajaya
Nasi Beriani Gam Putrajaya

Getting there can be a bit tricky as the restaurant is located right beside SKVE, you can only get onto SKVE from the restaurant but not the other way around. However, Waze/Google Map is your friend, so do use the link below for your convenience.

It is a bit of a road side set up with upgraded roof and rather proper table and chairs, there’s also some ceiling fans, though one should still prepare to sweat it out a bit on a hot afternoon.

lamb or chicken, which would be your choice?
lamb or chicken, which would be your choice?

Ordering is simple, get your nasi beriyani, then pick the type of meat you want to go with. There’s normal ayam (chicken), ayam kampung (village chicken), daging (beef), kambing (lamb), and our favorite – kambing kuzi – all of us ended up ordering the same, with an additional ayam kampung as center plate.

kambing kuzi, hands down
kambing kuzi, hands down

The briyani rice itself were perfectly cooked, fragrant and delicious enough you can have this even just with some sauce. As for the kambing kuzi, we love the tenderness and the rather heavy tasting marinate that makes it a little sweetish, compliments the rice perfectly. The accompanying sambal was on point too.

Expect to pay some RM 20 or more per pax, but if you love briyani rice, this is definitely worth checking out.

nasi beriani gam putrajaya map

Address:
Nasi Beriani Gam Putrajaya
Lot Sub 4, Jalan Kajang – Puchong,
43000 Kajang, Selangor
GPS: 2.976269, 101.725893
Tel: 017-288 4876