Yam Rice is something of a specialty that’s often forgotten when it comes to Penang food, for one, it is not exactly a famous dish from the island, but rather on the mainland. Additionally, it is also a little bit difficult to call it a “hawker food” as this is more of a full blown meal best had for lunch or even dinner.
But alas, for those who loves pork, yam, or both, this is definitely a must-try if you find yourself by the lesser known half sister of Penang island – mainland Penang.
Chai Leng Park yam rice at Chip Heng kopitiam
When it comes to yam rice, the go to place is Chai Leng Park at Seberang Jaya, a stone’s throw away from the infamous Penang Megamall, once the biggest shopping complex in Penang, and I believe the first to have had an ice skating rink in Northern area.
In fact, there is more than one shop offering yam rice in Chai Leng Park, each serving its own customer base. My mom’s favorite is the one at Chip Heng kopitiam, so that’s where we went.
My last visit here was over 20 years ago with my late dad, a quick lunch detoured from buying tractor parts at a shop around the area. There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia for me. Things at Sebarang Jaya does seem to change little after all these years.
For mom and I (later joined by an uncle), we ordered a big bowl of mixed pork soup, a side of braised tofu and egg, and a tiny bowl of braised trotter for lunch. These were of course, accompanied by their famous yam rice.
The soup has a sourish undertone brought on by those salted vegetable, with generous amount of perfectly cooked pork parts – including kidney, pork slices, pork ball, liver, and even coagulated blood. A dash of chopped cilantro completes the dish, and it’s as wholesome and would only be made better with a rainy, cold weather.
price list above
Those braised dishes did not disappoint either, I thought the trotter could be just a tad more tender but perhaps I was too used to the ways Klang bak kut teh is prepared.
Over all it was definitely a lovely lunch, 3 pax, and just a tad under RM 30.00.
For Chinese New Year of 2020, we decided to head to Siem Reap for a short family getaway, while we may not necessarily enjoyed the local food at the Old Market that much, one thing that did not disappoint was the visit to Angkor Wat.
Monks at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
For those who prefer moving pictures and some of my mumbling, the three minute video below shows our experience at Angkor Wat, though for the other four temples I’ve only taken photos in the interest of not having it overly long winded (that and who’s got time to edit all those clips!).
We pre-booked our tour earlier via many of the online website and asked for a tuktuk driver for a day. The package includes visit to five different temples and lasts some 6-7 hours (or until you give up due to heat).
As scheduled, our guide picked us up at 8 in the morning.
tickets will have your face printed
Our first destination was to the ticket counter building, some 20 minutes away from Siem Reap city center.
Ticket was at a cool USD $37 per pax for a day pass, $2 goes to some education fund apparently. We each had to have our pictures taken and printed on the ticket as their semi high tech way of ensuring tickets are not transferable. Fair enough.
Angkor Wat, since the 12th century
Our tour includes the following temples:
Bayon temple, with lots of smiling stone faces
Angkor Wat was obviously the most famous site, with the huge body of water surrounding it, you’ll need to walk through the temporary floating bridge to get to the temple. For those who wants to have those iconic sunrise/sunset photos, you’d have to book a separate type of tour instead, we obviously did not do that.
Ba phuon with the “sleeping buddha”
Bayon temple was our next destination. It was famous for having a lot of stone faces. Thank goodness that they are all smiling, otherwise this could make for an interesting night time visit on a daring mission (though unfortunately you can’t get there at night..)
yeap, expect some really steep steps at Ba Phuon
Next up was Ba Phuon where we also encountered some monkeys, and a lot of really steep steps if you’re adventurous enough to get all the way up to the top. The view was not overly impressive, but a view nonetheless. What was more impressive though was the “sleeping buddha” made of stone blocks at one side of the temple, barely recognizable due to years of erosion.
Lunch break at Banana Tree (overpriced and lousy)
Our guide then took us to this tourist trap of a lunch place called Banana Tree, where we had our first “amok fish”, a dish I could only described as someone trying to make otak-otak and gives up half way.
Food was again overly sweet, and too pricey for what we got. Didn’t blame the tuktuk driver much.. “cari makan” lor.
Ta Prohm, with trees growing out of the ruins
Next temple was a proper ruins made famous by Lara Croft & Tomb Raider. In fact, the guide just called it the Tomb Raider temple..
Trees growing out of crumbling stone buildings, do expect line of tourists all wanting to take photos at the same first tree spots. My advise is, walk a little deeper and there’ll be less of a wait.
Banteay Kdei – A Citadel of Chambers
Our last spot was Bantaey Kdei, and to be perfectly honest, things start to look a little bit like they’re repeating itself. Also, the afternoon heat on a dry season-day starts to take its toll.
yeap, a hat is good, umbrella is better, and wear your sunscreen
To me, one day is just nice for touring Angkor and its temples unless you’re a hardcore history fan. If you do plan to go there, bring an umbrella, plenty of sunscreen, and water to drink.
I need to do a better job at posting on this blog, as this was from a trip to Bangkok last year….
Anyway, if you find yourself at Thong Lo, an upscale area in Bangkok with quirky cafes and plenty of Japanese restaurants, this Khao Jao Thai Restaurant is one modern eatery serving pretty traditional Thai fare worth checking out.
Khao Jao Thai Restaurant, Bangkok
The restaurant is located along Thong Lo 17 Alley, a stone’s throw away from a popular hipster watering hole that is The Commons. It’s air conditioned, tastefully decorated, and offers quite a good selection of traditional dishes to choose from (see menu below).
For the three of us, we had the prawn with petai, bamboo shoots yellow curry, a plate of vege, and stuffed omelet.
The petai came with pretty big and juicy prawns, with a strong, slightly sweetish belacan taste that was also spicy, a perfect combination.
Last week mom was here for a bit, so naturally it was my duty as a son to bring her form some breakfast worthy of trying. And since we’ve had bak kut teh, and red wine mee suah the day prior, I thought it was appropriate that we try one of the other less “normal” breakfast choices – chicken rice.
chicken rice with mom
Yeap, chicken rice is as popular as the first meal of the day in Klang as it is for lunch or dinner.
We headed to Jalan Gelugor for one of my favorite chicken rice fix in the area – Top 1 Chicken Rice. The stall is located at the same food court with the Jalan Batai Char Kuih Teow – with zinc roof, plastic furniture, and generally acceptable hygiene standard.
Top 1 chicken rice offers only steamed chicken, of normal and “walk on the ground” chicken, which I assumed to be kampung, or organic variety.
perfectly cooked steamed chicken with Bentong ginger
What sets this place apart though is their use of Bentong ginger as condiment in addition to their home made chili sauce. As you maybe aware of, Bentong is often touted as the place that produces the best ginger in the country, with its slightly more spicy and stronger taste profile. I love it, so did mom.
The chicken too is steamed perfectly, on that fine line between being under cooked and overly hard/tough when you boiled chicken seemingly only half a minute too long.
dark soya sauce on rice is the Klang way
Overall, this is as proper as chicken rice goes, I’ve heard that you can request for rice balls as well, maybe I’d have to try that next time.
There are two types of travelers, the one that plans for everything including transportation, hotel, point of interests, and which restaurants (and sometimes what to eat) to dine in; then there’s the type who likes to have a bit of surprises and a sense of adventure. It’s not surprise which type is me, and luckily, my brother is pretty much the same.
pork offal soup with rice, breakfast of champions
One of those adventures brought us to this pork offal soup with rice place when we went to Bangkok over CNY with mom.
This little stall is located on Soi Sukhumvit 55, the road in which we walk by on the way from our hotel to the Thong Lo BTS Station (Bangkok Mass Transit System, not that Korean boy group thingy..)
What intrigued us was how busy the stall is, and that it is seemingly a slice of time capsule wedged in between two roles of shop houses in this increasingly modern city that is Bangkok. So we did a bit of pointing here and there and had our orders for brunch.
blood, intestine, kidney, liver, and meat
As it turns out, they serve only one dish – pork offal soup with rice, and yep, just like Klang, there are people who has rice and porky goodness as breakfast.
the stall is wedged between two buildings
The soup came with a good mix of coagulated blood, intestine, kidney, liver, and pork slices, the soup is quite flavorful if slightly too salty for my taste, there’s also generous amount of cilantro to provide some balance to those fatty bits. The chili sauce condiment accompanying the dish is rather spicy too, as you’d expect from Thailand.
It was overall a rather yummy dish and one of the best meals we had in Bangkok. For 35-40 baht per bowl, this was also one of the more affordable meals too.
there’s a coffee stall next to it too
Address: Pork Offal Soup (Opposite El Gaucho) Soi Sukhumvit 55, THONGLOR KLONGTON NUA Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand GPS: 13.730904, 100.581437