Tag / laksa
Arguably one of the biggest names in the food industry, Gordon Ramsay was in Singapore for SingTel’s HAWKER HEROES, and thanks to HungryGoWhere Malaysia (coming very soon, and I’m one of the contributors), Chris, WeiZhi, and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the event in Singapore.
Yes, we got to see Gordon Ramsay up close, and got a taste of his foods too.
crazy crowds at SingTel’s HAWKER HEROES
The challenge started with 10 short listed hawkers, and after public voting, three finalists were chosen to represent Singapore hawker foods and goes up against Ramsay. The poll gathered some 2.5 million votes online, so yah, it was a big deal.
The voted representatives were
- Ryan Koh of 328 Katong Laksa (316,611 votes)
- Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood Restaurant (319,922 votes)
- Foo Kui Lian from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (318,151 votes)
So it was laksa, Singapore chili crab, and chicken rice. Ramsay then visited the hawkers and spent 3 days learning how to cook these dishes before the challenge on Sunday night, 7/7/2013.
Gordon Ramsay and the hawkers from 328 Katong laksa,
Jumbo Seafood, and Tian Tian chicken rice
The crowd was huge at Newton Food Court, we heard that there were some people who lined up for a food ticket (limited to 1000 servings) a day prior. Thank goodness for people from SingTel we got media passes.
The scene was pretty intense, loads and loads of people at the smallish venue. Chef Ramsay somehow managed to spent a few minutes meeting the people in the media area, but each time was perhaps a few minutes only. No such chance as taking a photo with, but we were super lucky and got something (more of that later)
the dishes, both from Ramsay (top) and the hawkers (bottom)
The dishes were served in 6 plastic containers, understandable since they had to prepare 1000 portions. One side were the chili crab, laksa, and chicken rice from the hawkers, the other side were from Ramsay and his team after 3 days’ intense learning session.
I was pretty excited getting to taste something from him and see how it stack up against the best from Singapore.
Chris from PureGlutton, Wei Zhi of kampungboycitygal, and yours truly
My thought before the tasting was that the one ingredient that is most familiar for Gordon Ramsay is probably crabs, and hence Singapore Chili Crab would be his best bet, and in either case, the competition won’t end up in a clean sweep either way.
Here are my verdicts on the dishes after tasting them:
- Chicken Rice – I really like how smooth Ramsay managed to make the chicken breast tastes, but the rice from Tian Tian was more moist and nicer, and as for chili sauce, Tian Tian’s version was clearly superior, Ramsay’s version tasted like it had too much vinegar. I chose Tian Tian over Ramsay but it was close.
- Laksa – I tried Ramsay’s laksa and thought it was pretty good, and then I had a taste of 328 Katong’s and it turned out even better! Though both dishes had similarly well executed ingredients (prawns, fish paste etc), the soup from 328 was that much better. More sour and had a better kick than the more lemak version from Ramsay’s camp.
- Chili Crab – Again, the crab itself were both excellent. As for the sauce, Jumbo’s version was very familiar – sweet & slightly spicy, and chunky with eggs. Ramsay’s version was a lot more spicy and had a more curry kinda taste to it, I actually liked it, but thought this could go either way.
these aren’t the real chefs I think, with Hanis & Shing from HungryGoWhere Malaysia
After tasting, we spent the next hour hanging out at the nearby community centre while waiting for the result. It does take quite a bit of time to feed 1000 people.
Then the results came in.
It was 2-1, Tian Tian & 328 Katong Laksa can now claim that they are better than Gordon Ramsay, while the chef managed to edge out Jumbo Seafood’s chili crab. I really can’t argue with the result and thought it was rather fair (from more than 5,000 votes).
Perhaps surprising to some, but Gordon Ramsay took it very well and applaud the food scene from the area. He also talked about how tough it was to learn the tricks of the trade in such a short time. Check out the shaky video I managed to take above.
I thought it was a pretty impressive feat.
Florence, Sally, Chris, WeiZhi, KY, Linda & kids
Oh, by the way, though I didn’t have a photo with Gordon Ramsay, Chris, Wei Zhi, and I did manage to get an autograph from Gordon Ramsay, and it’s on my KYspeaks name card too! During the time he came over to the tent I think only four people managed to get his autograph, so we were extremely lucky.
my name card, signed by Gordon Ramsay!
Most awesome trip indeed, and stay tuned to Hungry Go Where Malaysia version!
Last week we found ourselves at Cheras looking for a place to fill the stomach in the morning. Searched the web a bit and decided to head to Taman Midah for something which I can’t even remember. Didn’t manage to find the place, and ended up at this road side shack by the name of 陈记缅档 (Chan Kei Noodle Stall).
Chan Kei noodle stall at Taman Midah
I basically followed the conventional wisdom that if a place is packed, it can’t be bad. So we parked the bike and waited for a minute to get a vacant table.
Business at this noodle stall was brisk, and they seemed to offer quite a variety of noodle dishes. Haze ordered asam laksa (only available on Sundays), and I asked for a bowl of curry mee.
asam laksa and KL style curry mee
The KL style curry mee came with plenty of fat, juicy cockles, slabs of fried pork skin, tofu, bean sprouts, and rather fragrant sambal. While I still prefer Penang style curry mee, this one did not disappoint. It was as good as any central style curry mee I tried.
Asam laksa from here got the seal of approval from Haze as well, having all the necessary ingredients working well together.
This place is another old school stalls that kept dishing out good food over the years, I think we gotta go back there to try other dishes next time.
Jalan Midah Besar,
Taman Midah, Cheras,
GPS: 3.10188, 101.732857
When it comes to Penang food, laksa is always one of the first dishes to be mentioned (especially by girls, I don’t know why), and when it comes to laksa for many Penangites, the best laksa on the island is this little stall located all the way at the other side of the island at Balik Pulau’s Nan Guang kopitiam.
some say this is the holy grail of all asam laksa
This place too has been around for a while, my first visit there was when I was a little boy probably close to 25-30 years ago. Going to Balik Pulau from my grandma’s place at weld quay was a pretty long journey then, before the relatively recent improved road system, but it did not deter my aunts & grandma then.
When you want your laksa, you find a way.
two “normal” asam laksa, and one “lemak” version
On our last visit back to Penang for Tim & Audrey’s wedding, we took the opportunity to take an hour’s drive (traffic…) to Balik Pulau for some laksa goodness.
While it wasn’t RM 0.80 a bowl anymore (they are RM 3.00 per bowl now), the laksa still tasted as good as it was. Other than the “standard” asam laksa with plenty of vegetable, cucumber, mint, and fish meat laden asam soup, they also serve a different variant – the “lemak” laksa.
The laksa lemak tastes closer to Nyonya laksa, with added santan (coconut milk) in the fish-based gravy to give it a richer taste that is slightly less sourish than asam version. It was a little different, and I really liked it.
Cheesie, Haze, Li Ling, Michael, and I, we drove almost an hour for this
When you go to Penang, always try to make sure laksa is your last meal, and bring a cooler too. That way you can buy some to go for later consumption in KL (or wherever you’re from), and they make excellent gifts too (my braces dentist was overjoyed). Soup, vege+noodle, and the prawn paste is always separated for tapao too, very convenient.
Nan Guang kopitiam
67, Jalan Balik Pulau,
11000, Balik Pulau, Penang
GPS: 5.351844, 100.235845
Tel: 012-428 6235
Char kuih kak (fried radish cake) might not be in many people’s radar when it comes to Penang hawker food. It is somewhat a less glamorous dish compared to the likes of char kuih teow, laksa, curry mee, and hokkien mee (prawn mee).
The reason is probably due to the relative rarity of this dish, there aren’t many places that offers them in Penang, and generally only available at pasar malam in Klang Valley as a bit of a novelty dish. It’s a shame really, cos I absolutely love char kuih kak, and none of them at pasar malam around Klang Valley manage to impress me thus far.
batu lanchang food court, just right next to the wet market
So last weekend while traveling back to attend Tim & Audrey‘s wedding, Haze and I stopped by Batu Lanchang wet market’s food court for some char kuih kak love.
I have a bit of history with this char kuih kak stall, it used to operate at the (now defunct) Fettes Park market in the morning nearby where I grew up, and at current location in the afternoon. I had it pretty much on a weekly basis as a kid. It’s good to see that the same stall is still doing well after all these years.
char kuih kak is what I came for
By default, char kuih kak is a pretty bare dish with radish cake, bean sprout, egg, and preserved vegetable. However, over here you have the option of adding seafood and spice it up a bit, which we did.
The result is a plate of char kuih kak worth RM 4 but laden with a couple good size prawns, cockles, squid, and crab stick. It was the same old taste that I remember, savory, strong, and absolutely delicious. A bit like char kuih teow but with more texture, try it!
You can opt for either chicken or duck egg, ours was RM 4 per plate with chicken egg (ran out of duck egg that day).
curry mee and laksa were our second dishes
Of course, one does not simply consume only one dish per meal in Penang. I ordered a follow up dish in the form of curry mee from the stall located behind the #42 kuih kak. This was only RM 2.80 and came with prawns (small size lah), coagulated blood, cockles, tofupok, cuttle fish, and even mint leaves. It was fairly decent and absolutely worth what I paid for, would not hesitate to have it again.
it was hot and we were sweating, but it was worth it (blue case – invisalign)
Haze ordered a bowl of asam laksa (RM 3) instead, and yep, it’s laden with fish meat, vegetable, and managed to satisfy her Penang laksa craving, even just for a while.
We had a couple glasses of fresh sugar cane juice to go with these as well at RM 1.20 a pop.
That brought our total for this late lunch to RM 16.20, which is almost RM 12 cheaper than our breakfast at this Hometown Hainan Coffee in Taman Megah where we had 4 half boil eggs, 2 sets of toast bread with kaya + butter, 1 carrot juice, and a large coffee. I vow never to go back that chain again.
Batu Lanchang market
Lorong Batu Lanchang
Jelutong, 11600 Penang
GPS: 5.38945, 100.30633
Penang One restaurant, oh how I am glad I found you. Even though you are located at this god forsaken place that is ruled by the trafic devil, I will still visit you whenever my cravings for Penang food arises.
The back story: last Saturday I had a sudden cravings for a bowl of good old Penang curry mee. I woke up early enough (they usually run out before 9:30 am) and headed to Restaurant Okay at SS2, they were closed for Wesak.
I recalled that masak-masak blogged about this place at Hartamas, so I drove 13 KM to the destination, well, they’ve been closed like 3 years ago.
Not to be deterred, I then drove another 12.5 KM to the curry mee at Restaurant Good Food in PJ Old Town…. to find out that they’ve moved. By then I was too hungry and settled on a bowl of kuih teow soup, which actually turned out to be very good, but that’s another post on another day.
This was when I shared my unfortunate adventure on twitter and facebook, with quite a few of you suggested that I should try Penang One, so here I was, a day later, with another fellow Penangite in Fresh, and the laksa expert in Haze as my partners in crime.
Penang One, delivered daily from Penang for original taste
According to their website, the food here is professionally cooked by the original masters of the selected famous street foods, and then transported to Puchong on a daily basis. By their account, this would be as good as the original.
So I ordered my long overdue curry mee, Haze had laksa, while Fresh asked for a plate of char kuih teow with duck egg.
curry mee, char kueh teow, and Penang laksa
Service wasn’t the fastest considering the relatively low volume of people when we dined, but it wasn’t terrible either. Some 15 minutes after ordering, our food came.
The curry mee (RM 8.50) is purportedly from Pulau Tiku’s Keong curry mee. Prawns, cuttle fish, coagulated blood (YES!), tofupok, long bean, cockles, and mint leaves. That’s about all the ingredients you’ll ever need in a bowl of good curry mee, and the sambal too was top notch, fragrant and spicy.
Char Kueh Teow (RM 9.90 with duck egg) is of Kampung Jawa Pee Chuan’s recipe. Fresh had it and she didn’t speak a word while eating, it was as good as original, and really comes with those huge prawns and all.
The asam laksa (RM 7.90) that Haze had was from Lorong Selamat’s Ji De Chi, and when asked about how it tastes, she replied “just like those in Penang lor”, and then continued slurping away. It passed her test.
chee cheong fun, kueh teow soup (with blood too!), ice kacang
Since we were already there and that their portion rather close to Penang serving size, we decided to go for seconds.
Fresh had the chee cheong fun (RM 3.30) from Lorong Macalister and I took bite too, no disappointment, the only other place in PJ to get this version of chee cheong fun would be at O&S restaurant in PJ.
Haze’s second order was the duck meat kuih teow soup originally from Lebih Cecil. There’s duck meat, shredded pork, fish cake, and even coagulated duck blood. Now if you like pork blood, you’re going to love duck blood, they are quite a lot smoother and has an even more exquisite taste to it. I love it. The fish balls though, were just very average in my opinion.
I had ais kacang (RM 6.50) Swatow Lane New World Park, and it tasted just as I remembered, except for the serving size being larger here. All the ingredients you’d expect is in, give me a bowl of ais kacang anytime over any Snow Flake shaved ice.
KY, Fresh, and Haze, we were well satisfied
Prices are a little on the high side, but not any more than other Penang themed restaurants such as Penang Village or Little Penang Cafe. The difference is, this place isn’t halal and really do serve you the original ingredients in all their dishes.
By the end of the afternoon, we were very well fed and very well satisfied with the food from Penang One. The 6 different dishes we tried did not disappoint, and I can’t wait to go back there again, we still need to try the Hokkien mee (Jalan Burma), Yam Cake, and Bak Chang (Cintra Lane).
more photos at KYspeaks.com facebook page
No. G5, Jalan Puteri 2/1
Bandar Puteri, Puchong Jaya
47100 Puchong, Selangor
GPS: 3.024748, 101.615945
Tel: 03-8052 0181
Hours: 9:30 am – 9:30 pm