I’m one of those tourists who love to go free & easy and almost never took up any sort of tour packages. Guided tours = wake up way too early in the morning, going to too many places, spending too much time in buses, and ended up buying things in overpriced places that give kick backs to the tour guide, or so I thought.
Then there’s short guided tours, which I was more open to but never really took the initiative to partake in one, until we were signed up for the East London Food Tour by the good people who organized our London trip. It proved to be one of the most enjoyable part of the trip.
Harry, our tour guide for the East London Food Tour
We met up at Old Spitalfields Market, just a short walk from Bill’s at Clink Street, the place where we had breakfast (which was a mistake, note to self – don’t have breakfast, or anything, before a food tour.)
Our guide was a young half-hipster/artist gentlemen by the name of Harry, who was very entertaining and carries a wealth of knowledge about the local food & art scene in which he was very eager to share. Over the course of 3.5 hours, we walked around East London sampling some of the best foods and learned about local history.
Our group had American, Swiss, Malaysian, Norwegian, and even Londoners, and since it was only about a dozen of us, we manage to carry a good flow, which was great.
Here are the 8 places we went, and while you can try them individually if you happen to be at East London, I do recommend joining the food tour to sample them all at once, plus, it’s always nice to not have to be in queue.
bacon sandwich at St John Bread & Wine
Our first stop, bacon sandwich at St. John Bread & Wine. The back bacon was juicy and we really enjoyed the special apple infused home made ketchup that they have. Quarter sandwich for everyone to get us started, and while I usually prefer streaky bacon, this back bacon was juicy and together with the home made ketchup and fresh bread, made for a pretty good opening act.
St. John Bread & Wine
94-96 Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ
GPS: 51.519758, -0.074289
Tel: +44 20 7251 0848
bread and butter pudding at the English Restaurant
Our next stop was the restaurant that has the least interesting name in the whole of England – the English Restaurant. In this 17th century building we sampled one of the original “poor people”s food – the bread and butter pudding. Truth be told, this was the best bread and butter pudding I’ve ever had, it was rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious. I guess having them made in small batches makes a huge difference to the standard hotel buffet fair.
50/52 Brushfied St, Spitalfields, London E1 6AG
GPS: 51.519731, -0.074310
Tel: +44 20 7251 0848
we tasted a cheddar and blue cheese at Androuet
At Androuet, we had a short briefing about the few types of cheese made locally, and got to sample their cheddar and blue cheese on location. A glass of wine would certainly made this stop even better. Androuet carries a variety of European and English cheese.
Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial St, London E1 6BG
GPS: 51.519663, -0.075484
Tel: +44 020 7375 3168
fish and chips at Poppies, listed as Time Out’s top 100 foods in London
Next stop was the inevitable fish & chips, and we had this at Poppies, rated one of the best fish & chip outlets in all of London. The fish used was cod (a luxury in Malaysia), with a light and crispy batter while keeping the fish moist & just-cooked, it was actually rather good. The chips did not illicit any additional revelation, it was okay.
Interestingly, the fish & chip is now served in a food safe paper with newspaper print instead of actual newspaper.
Poppies Fish & Chips
6-8 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
GPS: 51.520236, -0.073956
Tel: +44 20 7247 0892
Pride Of Spitalfields – a local pub for some beer
Pride of Spitalfields was next on the agenda, we got a taste of the life at local pub for a bit, sampling a couple ales and even got to pet Lenny, the pub cat, who was fat, lazy, and seemed rather used to being around strangers.
Pride of Spitafields
3 Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ
GPS: 51.518942, -0.071205
Tel: +44 20 7247 8933
Aladin at Brick Lane for UK’s national dish – curry!
After a short stay at the pub, we moved to the national dish of England – curry!
With the heavy influence of South Asian in the region, East London, and especially Brick Lane, has a whole slew of curry houses, with each of them having an intimidating looking Indian guy trying to convince you to get into their restaurants that are often decorated not entirely unlike a strip club.
That being said, the dishes we had at Aladin was excellent, I remember the chicken tikka masala to stand out and went really well with garlic naan. It wasn’t very different from the North Indian cuisine we got back home, but this was certainly among the better versions.
132 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU
GPS: 51.520504, -0.071795
Tel: +44 20 7247 8210
Beigal Bake, Jewish bakery with the best bagel with salt beef
Our penultimate stop was my favorite – bagel with salt beef at the Jewish bakery, Beigal Bake. The 24-hour bakery had quite a long line extended to the sidewalk when we were there, and it was easy to see why, while the bagel was fresh and had a balanced taste, the salt beef was super succulent, juicy, and just perfect. The combination was irresistible.
If there’s a must-have in this list of 8, it is this.
159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB
GPS: 51.524496, -0.071743
Tel: +44 20 7729 0616
salted caramel tart with some English tea at Pizza East to conclude the tour
Finally, after some 3.5 hours, we concluded the tour at Pizza East sampling their famous salted caramel tart, and of course, a glass of English tea to go with. The tart was rich and those salted caramel really brought out the flavour of the chocolate. Tea was, well, tea.
56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
GPS: 51.523665, -0.076442
Tel: +44 20 7729 1888
I want to thank Harry for the excellent tour and Micaela & gang for organizing it. It was an excellent few hours and certainly very entertaining and provided much food for thoughts and for my stomach. Still wished we didn’t have breakfast prior to this though.
Note: This UK – Malaysia Influencer Exchange programme was organised by Malaysia Airlines.
However, opinions are of my own. Malaysia Airlines flies between London and Kuala Lumpur
twice a day on the A380. There are 8 seats in the First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420
in Economy. Make your flight reservations today on www.malaysiaairlines.com.
Nasi campur, or Malay mixed rice, is usually a pretty uneventful type of meal. You pick a few dishes from a couple dozen precooked “lauk” to put on top of steamed rice, and go about filling up your stomach.
Unless of course, you head to Istana Budaya.
Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur
Most people associates Isatana Budaya as a place where you dress up to catch a fancy play such as Puteri Gunung Ledang, but did you know that they also serve perhaps one of the fanciest nasi campur over lunch?
Well, I was just as surprised when I got there the first time with a couple of my colleagues who are just as big a fan of good food as me – Razi & Amalia.
yes, this nasi campur spread looks like a luxurious buffet
The nasi campur spread here looks as good as any hotel grade buffet, complete with a huge selection of halal dishes, including appetizer, main course, dessert, and even selection of kuih and other tea time favorites.
The modus operandi though, is the same as any nasi campur places – fill up your plate, go about filling it up with your favorite dishes, head to the counter to pay, and makan!
laksa, sago gula melaka, and more
Other than rice dishes, there are also noodle dishes such as laksa. I also recommend ending the meal with a small container of those really sinful yet delicious sago gula Melaka.
Amalia sure looked happy
Prices are not out of the ordinary, a usual meal cost less than RM 10 in an air conditioned dining hall, and being located at a big function building, parking is not a problem either. Have a try!
One of the more popular thing to do for many restaurant owners is to name their restaurant with the place the business is conducted from. After all, it is convenient for anyone to remember, and also make it sounds a lot more legitimate.
That is, until you expand to another location. One of such example is the confusingly named Peel Road Yong Tau Foo located at Sungai Way, our subject of this entry.
Update 21/11/2014: unfortunately this place has already changed to a “tai chao” operation and no longer serve yong tau foo
Restaurant Peel Road Yong Tow Foo at Sungai Way
We actually stumbled upon this place as Sing Kee was closed when we wanted to go for their asam fish a couple weeks ago. Since this shack/restaurant seems to be offering more than just yong tau foo, we thought why not?
As it turns out, the place is more of a tai chau restaurant that happen to offer yong tau foo.
naturally, we had to order some yong tau foo
Naturally, we ordered a selection of yong tau foo as appetizer.
True to the name, the YTF here were actually rather good, with the fuchuk particularly tasty. The tofu, chili, bitter gourd, brinjal and such did not disappoint either. The stuffing is a little heavy but we liked it nonetheless.
steamed egg, vegetable, curry fish head, bitter gourd chicken
For the six of us, we ordered another four dishes to go with rice for everyone.
The steamed egg was smooth n silky with a hint of sesame oil, reminding me of the version we had at K.T.L. Cheras. The vegetable more than passable, in addition to ticking off the vitamin C requirement in every meal.
The third dish, bitter gourd chicken, was also pretty decent, though not exactly the best version I’ve tried.
the curry fish head was really good
However, the curry fish head here turned out to be superb. We asked for grouper head which isn’t very commonly available in Klang Valley, but in my opinion, the best candidate for curry fish head. The version here has a thick flavorful gravy and packed with extra vegetables that adds to the overall experience. If I had to order only one dish from here, this would be it.
Over all this branch of Peel Road YTF at Sungai Way makes for a more than decent dinner option. We ended up paying around RM 15 or so per person.
Peel Road Yong Tow Foo
Jalan SS 9a/14 & Jalan SS 9a/19
Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.086527, 101.622316
A couple weekends ago I had an epiphany. I had garupa fish fillet in the fridge, and a pack of curry powder, so why not put them together and see what happens, right?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – fried fish fillet with curry powder.
cover the fish with a layer of curry powder before frying
This dish is so easy to make you could do it in kemahiran hidup and not mess it up.
- fish fillet (any type of fish)
- curry powder
- cooking oil for frying
- 1 bulb of garlic
- petai (optional)
some garlic and petai for garnish
- apply salt and curry powder to fish fillet (must be dry)
- fry fish in medium heat for 7-10 mins each side depending on thickness
- separately, fry chopped garlic to golden brown
- fry petai for 2 mintues
- serve while hot!
fried curry fish fillet with petai and garlic
So there you go, a simple recipe anyone can try. Fried curry fish fillet with petai. For more simple home-cook recipes, check the KY cooks section.
A few weeks ago I had a couple hours and a hungry stomach to kill before a futsal session at Ampang Sports Planet. Since Dato’ Keramat is sort of a half way point between where I was and where I need to be, I thought I’d explore the area a little bit and see what I can feed myself.
Malay roti canai/roti arab stall at Dato’ Keramat market
My initial plan was to have the ikan bakar (grilled fish) for dinner, unfortunately at almost 6pm in the evening, the stall has already closed for business (even though it says until 6:30pm).
Walking about the market and around the area, I spotted this roti telur/roti arab stall by the makeshift food court/restaurant opposite the LRT station .
the roti is a quite unique, puffed up and slightly sweet
After a brief description by the friendly waitress on what exactly this roti arab is about, I ordered a portion to load up some carb before exercise. Like roti canai, you can have it with curry, and I think it will also go very well with some condensed milk.
The ingredients of roti arab is pretty similar to normal bread, with the addition of butter on top of yeast, flour, and some sugar. The dough is then pan fried instead of baked.
I think it tastes great with some fish curry
I find myself enjoying roti arab quite a bit. It is easy to eat, almost like in between roti canai and normal bread. Dip it wet with fish curry and viola, instant carb loading that cost less than RM 3 including a glass of teh-o-ais. Perfect afternoon in-between meals.
I hope more places started serving this.
Dato’ Keramat Market
Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT
Jalan Dato’ Keramat
GPS: 3.165396, 101.73118