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Tag / asam-prawn

While curry may be originated from Indian cuisine, here in Malaysia, the local Chinese has since adopted many of the same spices and cooking methods and embraced the dish as their own. Of many curry dishes out there, one of my favorites has got to be fish head curry, one of those dishes that may raise an eyebrow or two if you try to describe it to Westerners.

One of the many restaurants that can cook up a pretty awesome curry fish head is Ah Lye Curry Fish Head at Subang SS19.

Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang

Nestled within the housing area of SS19 in Subang Jaya, Ah Lye is one of those old school type of “tai chao” restaurant that has embraced the fact that Malaysian weather and dinner is sometimes not the best combination, hence the place is equipped with air conditioning, albeit with otherwise very basic set up.

Parking is quite a straight forward affair as well since it is not a busy commercial area like other shop lots areas in Subang.

curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg
curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg

It was a dinner for 7 pax, and we naturally ordered 6 dishes to share around.

The claypot curry fish head was definitely on point. Loaded with generous amount of okra, brinjal, and fish head, it reminds me of the Nyonya version that mom used to (and still) makes. I love it.

The asam prawn here is quite proper as well, with thick soya sauce covering those pretty decent size prawns. It would have been perfect if they make it slightly more charred.

Fuyong egg provided even more seafood on our third dish with bounty from the sea, if you have a history with gout, this may not be the most healthy diet.

fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege
fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege

Stuffed tofu skin and fried namyu pork provided some differing texture to our dinner, they were crunchy as they are savory, goes well with steamed rice.

Of course, we always have a vegetable dish to provide a bit of balance to the whole menu, choy sum served this purpose well in this case.

Expect to spend around RM 20-30 per pax here, and it will be well worth it.

map to Ah Lye curry fish head, Subang Jaya

Address:
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head
No. 28, Jalan SS19/1G,
47500, Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.075912, 101.575388
Tel03-5638 0468

Since Setia City Mall is arguably the most happening shopping center nearest to our residence, we’ve been going there quite a bit. To be honest, shopping mall food aren’t usually in my list of preferred lunch/dinner options, but sometimes you do find a gems among the thorns.

For Setia City Mall, Tuk Tuk and Little Nyonya being some of our favorites, and today we’re going to talk about the latter.

Little Nyonya at Setia City Mall, almost always packed
Little Nyonya at Setia City Mall, almost always packed

It’s easy to want to give Little Nyonya a try when you’re at the mall. It is almost always one of the most crowded restaurants on the lower ground level. The decoration is simple and optimised to packed as many customers as possible, so comfort level may not exactly be on top of their list.

Think of it as a place for quick eats instead of leisure dining with great ambience and you’ll not be disappointed.

asam pedas fish, asam prawn, two style kailan, rendang chicken
asam pedas fish, asam prawn, two style kailan, rendang chicken

Little Nyonya offers quite a comprehensive list of menu with individual dishes such as nasi lemak, rendang beef with rice, nyonya curry chicken rice and so forth as well as dishes to share ala “tai chao” style.

For the four of us, we ordered four dishes, a starter, and some desserts for dinner.

Apart from asam pedas fish (RM 22.90) which I thought had a good seasoning and base but lacking quality fish (dory was used I believe), the other three dishes were on point. Asam prawn (RM 19.90) had a balance of asam & cooking caramel taste to it, two style kailan was as advertised, and the redang chicken (RM 17.90) turned out to be one of our favorites of the night, really good marinate that seems to penetrate the poultry while not being over powering, we would definitely order this dish again.

pie tee, bubur cha cha, cendol, pengat pulut
pie tee, bubur cha cha, cendol, pengat pulut

Pie tee (RM 7.50) is a must-haves at any Nyonya restaurant, and this version is well, acceptable.

For desserts, I thought cendol (RM 5.50) was perhaps a little too watery for my liking, it did have a good gula Melaka presence. Others were happy with bubur cha cha (RM 4.80) and the rather rarely seen pengat pulut (RM 5.80). Pengat pisang, pengat ubi keladi, bee koh moy, and ais kacang were some desserts we did not try, perhaps next time.

for a restaurant this size, the menu is rather extensive
for a restaurant this size, the menu is rather extensive

If you find yourself at Setia Alam City Mall, Little Nyonya is certainly a place worthy to spend a meal on, especially when Tuk Tuk is overly packed.

map to setia city mall, shah alam

Address:
Little Nyonya
LG-43, Setia City Mall,
Persiaran Setia Dagang,
Setia Alam,
40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.085229, 101.458629
Tel: 03-3375 8788
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm

Horng and I were both from the same “11200” postcode back in Penang, an area that is called Tanjung Bunga (literally cape of flower). So it was a bit of a wonder why it took us so long to step into the Tanjung Bunga nyonya restaurant at SS2 despite having driven by the shop lots on multiple occasions over the years.

well, my very first address was under the Tg. Bungah postcode
well, my very first address was under the Tg. Bungah postcode

As a rule of thumb, if a restaurant has been there for ages and do very little in terms of decoration or renovation, chances are the food is usually at least decent.

In that sense, Tanjung Bunga Penang Nyonya Cuisine is one such places, the interior is rather basic but clean, with air conditioning system that sort of works.

curry fish head, asam prawn, perut ikan
curry fish head, asam prawn, perut ikan

Tanjung Bungah restaurant offers pretty much all the essential Penang  nyonya dishes. For the five of us, we ordered five different dishes for dinner. Serving time was actually pretty fast, with the first dish arriving some 10 minutes after ordering.

Curry fish head with garupa was rich, spicy, and true to Nyonya style, comes with a plenty of vegetable and even mint leaves. Fried asam prawn was prepared the way my mom would, which also reminds me of the version at Kah Soh – retaining the sweetness of tiger prawns while infusing the dish with just the right amount of dark soya sauce and asam.

Perut ikan, or pickled swim bladder curry, could be slightly richer and creamier, but a passable dish nonetheless.

inchi cabin and paku pakis
inchi cabin and paku pakis

Then there’s paku pakis, or the wild fern shoots, a vegetable dish to fill the vitamin C quota, and one with texture that I always love. The preparation method here is more “lemak” than spicy, which suits us just find as there was already curry on the table.

Our favorite dish turned out to be the inchi cabin, or the Nyonya fried chicken. The unique blend of spices and sauce used to marinate this version of fried chicken was just spot on, We wish we ordered more.

Dinner came to be about RM 15-20 per person, which is on par with other similar restaurants, would not hesitate to go back there again.

map to Tanjung Bungah Restaruant, SS2

Address:
Tanjung Bungah Nyonya Cuisine
117, Jalan SS 2/6, Ss 2,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.116029, 101.616522
Tel: 03-7877 4531
Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on Thursdays

This is a really quick and simple Penang Nyonya Style Asam Prawn recipe from mom. To us, asam prawn was always this version, and it wasn’t until I came to KL when I found out there is also the asam curry version like the one at Hoowan, Kelana Jaya.

While both versions make use of asam (tamarind), they couldn’t be more different.

steps in cooking Asam Prawn
steps in cooking Asam Prawn

Ingredients:

  • 600 gram big white prawn, cut away the tentacles and legs
  • 2 tablespoon of asam (less than RM 2 per packet)
  • 2 tablespoon of dark soya sauce or cooking caramel
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • optionally, some greens like cabbage

glorious Penang Nyonya style asam prawn
glorious Penang Nyonya style asam prawn

Here’s the instructions:

  • mix dark soya sauce, sugar, asam, and prawn in a mixing bowl
  • heat up cooking oil to medium/high heat
  • fry till the shells starts to show some caramelize a little
  • serve on a couple cabbage leave (just for presentation la)

haze enjoying some prawns
haze enjoying some prawns

Like me, some of you might hate peeling prawns on dinner table, but it is important to not cook this dish with prawns that have their shell removed since you will lose the juiciness of the prawn that way.

The seasoning will naturally sip into the prawn and using your mouth to peel the prawn also ensure that you get to suck on the caramelized bits off it. It’s fantastic. I recommend a good home-made sambal to go with this.

In many ways, Korean food is like a bastard child of East Asian cuisine. With THE big brother Japanese food enjoying tremendous success around the world with a million types of Japanese restaurants from conveyor belt restaurants to ramen stalls to supermarket takeaway, Korean cuisine is still largely represented by Korean BBQ places.

Most Korean restaurants look the same, a hold in the middle of the table, with an exhaust vent extended from the ceiling. With such specifications and most foods involving BBQ meat with full service, Korean restaurants are also typically out of many young adult’s budget. It became a bit of a one-in-a-while cuisine, like Japanese food 20-30 years, or French food today (and most likely, forever.)

KimichiHaru at Jaya One, PJ
KimichiHaru at Jaya One, PJ

Then there’s KimchiHaru, a quaint little restaurant located at the slightly less glamourous corners of Jaya One. I actually discovered this little restaurant while making my rounds in the parking lot looking for a spot. The photos and menu on the outside looks enticing and reasonably priced, hence we went in for a quick lunch.

Sam Gye Tang and Beef Bulgogi set
Sam Gye Tang and Beef Bulgogi set

A quick look at the menu revealed the usual Korean BBQ dishes – the chicken, pork, and beef bulgolgi, kimchi soup, fish/pork cutlet, and spring rolls too. We ordered Sam Gye Tang (chicken soup with ginseng, RM 23) and Beef Bulgogi (RM 23).

Instead of the unlimited supply of banchan (side dishes) found at full service Korean restaurants, we were served with 4 small portions of them with kimchi and salad too.

While the kimchi was a bit lackluster and the banchans we had were nothing to shout about, the sam gye tang turned out to be pretty decent, it was a quarter of a pretty good size chicken with the typical ingredients you find in such dish. I finished the soup too. Haze’s beef bulgogi was commendable too.

Haze and KY at KimchiHaru
Haze and KY at KimchiHaru

To me, KimchiHaru represents a step in the right direction for Korean food in this country, with it’s affordable menu (weekday bibimbap at RM 9.80, lunch set at RM 17.80), clean and modern set up, it is sure to attract younger crowd that will graduate to appreciate Korean food.

map to Jaya One, Petaling Jaya

Address:
KimchiHaru
No. 13-LG1 Block D, Jaya One,
No 72A, Jalan University,
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.118298,101.635294
Tel: 03-7629 8020