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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / nyonya

 

From this blog, I sometimes get invitation to events hosts by or for certain celebrity chefs and TV personalities, these are usually official or semi official events that are very structured and .. distant, something that I don’t usually enjoy that much.

Well, there’s those, and there’s the session with the Fabulous Baker Brothers who has a show starting October 16, 7:30p m on TLC (Astro Channel 707). Encores every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

Restaurant Limablas at Jalan Mesui Off Jalan Nagasari
Restaurant Limablas at Jalan Mesui Off Jalan Nagasari

Our initial destination of choice was Jalan Alor, but due to the uncooperative weather condition we moved the session to Limablas, and what a great adjustment that was.

Limablas, located right next to “No Black Tie” at Jalan Mesui, is a quaint little Peranakan Restaurant (Baba & Nyonya) run by Uncle John. The ambiance is that of an old Peranakan settlement, from the row of glass bottles filled with ingredients, to furniture, to the antique cash register.

Tom and Henry Herbert of the Fabulous Baking Brothers
Tom and Henry Herbert of the Fabulous Baker Brothers

While parking at Jalan Mesui usually isn’t most ideal, you can always leave your car at the paid parking at One Residence just a stone’s throw away.

Together with Tom & Henry Herbert, the baker and the butcher & chef who make up the Fabulous Baker Brothers, the group was about 20 strong, including PR, important people from Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, and writers/bloggers.

Our session was scheduled at 7 pm, and by 7:05 pm, everyone arrived. I cannot over stressed how happy I was in everyone’s commitment in respecting each other’s time. Being timeliness is often a lost art in many Malaysian.

nyonya tauhu telur, paitee, rojak
nyonya tauhu telur, paitee, rojak

Our dishes on the day were recommended by Uncle John, and it was (I guess) basically almost everything on the menu.

We started out with a few appetizers in Nyonya tauhu telur, rojak, and paitee. These dishes were a little bit sweet, slightly spicy, and positively full flavored. I particularly like the paitee with its crunchy pastry and juicy stuffings, that piece of small prawns on top is a nice touch as well.

ayam ponteh, nyonya curry chicken, kangkung goreng sambal belacan, ayam sioh
ayam pongteh, nyonya curry chicken, kangkung goreng sambal belacan, ayam sioh

Since this is a pork free establishment, there were plenty of chicken dishes.

Ayam pongteh, Nyonya curry chicken, and ayam sioh were the three we tried. They were all distinctively different in taste.

Ayam pongteh is the Peranakan’s version of stewed chicken, a comfort food. Nyonya curry chicken has the same familiar taste I’m familiar with, and I so desperately want some nasi kunyit to go with this. Ayam sioh, or chicken in coriander  and bean paste, is a stronger flavored counterpart that goes really well with steamed rice.

The kangkung goreng sambal belacan at Limablas is another well executed dish, carries a kick that this classic dish should.

cincaluk omelette, sambal udang petai, sambal terung, sambal ikan
cincaluk omelette, sambal udang petai, sambal terung, sambal ikan

Cincaluk omelette is a classic Nyonya dish that anyone should try, the cincaluk (fermented krill) gives it a slightly salty seafood taste that is a little similar to fuyu (fermented tofu). I find it very exquisite.

Sambal udang petai was awesome, but my favorite dish of the night had to go to the sambal terung – it was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

Our last main dish of the night was the sambal ikan (with tilapia). Another spicy dish that turned out to be rather decent, but in my opinion, doesn’t live up to the other dishes at Limablas. After all, it is just tilapia.

ais kacang & sago gula melaka, we had a feast
ais kacang & sago gula melaka, we had a feast

Desserts came in the forms of ais kacang, cendul, and sago gula melaka. They proved to be as good as those I’ve tried by the side of Melaccan roads, and it was a shame we had to share them.

Before the end of the meal, Cheng Yi of fatboybakes fed the two brothers some home made durian cheesecake while the rest of us (Nigel, Umei, Josen, Meena etc) watched on, they didn’t manage to finish the slices, but I give them credit for trying tho.

we had loads of fun, the two guys are really friendly and down to earth
we had loads of fun, the two guys are really friendly and down to earth

The two brothers were ultra friendly and very down to earth, we had an awesome session sharing lots of stories over some really impressive food at Limablas. A few glasses of wine certainly helped too, I wish we’ll have more of these kinda meet ups.

map to Lima Blas Peranakan cuisine at Jalan Mesui

Address:
Limablas
15 Jalan Mesui,
Off Jalan Nagasari,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.708399
Tel: 03-2110 1289
Hours: break from 3pm to 530 pm Mon – Sat

Economy rice (or mixed rice) is a dime a dozen, you can find them at every 3rd kopitiam in the country. More often than not, they are just what the name suggests, an economical way to have a few dishes and rice to fill up your stomach.

In another word, they are usually not exactly exciting.

That’s the run off the mill economy rice place, then there’s this Baba’s Nasi Lemak place at SS2’s wai sek kai.

SS 2 wai sek kai, a place with dozens and dozens of food stalls
SS 2 wai sek kai, a place with dozens and dozens of food stalls

While the name is a bit misleading, this super busy stall is in fact, closer to an economy rice outlet than a nasi lemak place. There’s those ‘buffet’ containers with various different dishes, and more people actually order usual steamed rice instead of nasi lemak.

So why is this place special?

Well, the short answer is that it’s super delicious!

here's maybe half of what they cook up everyday
here’s maybe half of what they cook up everyday (except Thursdays)

There are usually over 2 dozen dishes to choose from at Baba’s nasi lemak, and they aren’t always made with very economical ingredients. Here you’ll find some of the more “up market” dishes like “kao yok”, prawns, steamed fish, and even mantis prawns.

I’ve tried more than 10 different dishes from there thus far, and every single one of them was superb. Never too salty or too sweet or too anything, it was always just right.

As the name suggest, the cooking style is closer to Nyonya cuisine, which means you get a good mixture of spicy dishes and those prepared with traditional Chinese food methods.

and every plate is arranged precariously, macam pro!
and every plate is arranged precariously, macam pro!

The operators also seems to take their food very seriously. Every dish is meticulously placed on the plate, with appropriate amount of sauce on the rice.  I mean, when it looks good, you’ll feel more appetizing too kan? Just check out the photos above for some examples.

The down side is though, with the amount of dishes offered and knowing that they’re all super tasty, this economy rice is often not very economical for us. Picking 4 good dishes with rice can sometimes come close to RM 10 per plate.

Yah, it can be a bit pricey, but we kept going back, and judging from the rather long queue every time we were there, quite a lot of people shares the same sentiment. Maybe you should give it a try too? :D

Happy eating!

map of SS 2 wai sek kai

Address:
Baba’s Nasi Lemak
SS2 Wai Sek Kai (hawker center)
Jalan SS 2/61
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.118491, 101.620787
Hours: daily from 7pm, closed on Thursdays

Baba’s Nasi Lemak

Malacca Peranakan food, or better known as Nyonya cuisine to most, is one of the very few truly Malaysian food hailed from the state of Malacca, and to a slightly lesser extend, Penang too.

The Legacy of Melacca Peranakan food spread
The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan food spread

This brand of food evolved from the blend of Chinese and Malay cuisines through the inter-marriages between the Chinese migrants and local Malay during the 15th and 16th centuries. The usage of Malay spices with Chinese ingredients, or Chinese herbs with the more traditional Malay ingredients are among the unique points of Pernakan food.

Guest chef Florence Tan at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
Guest chef Florence Tan at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton

While there are various Nyonya restaurants to be found in Klang Valley (in PJ there are Ah Tuan Ee, Bibichick, & Nyona Restaurant all at SS2), there isn’t usually any place where you can sample many different Nyonya dishes at the same time.

kuih lapis, pai tee, kuih koci
kuih lapis, pai tee, kuih koci

But for the month of June, 2011, we’re in luck. PJ Hilton have guest chef Florance Tan featuring her Pernakan food at Paya Serai, and I was among the fortunate ones to be invited to sample the spread just late last week.

popiah basah, nasi kembuli, acar awak
popiah basah, nasi kembuli, acar awak

All the usual suspects are there, pai tee, popiah basah, and a selection of Nyonya kuih as appetizers, with pai tee and popiah made fresh right in front of you too, I particularly love the kuih koci, and while the popiah doesn’t come with lard like this one at Jonker street, they are yummy too.  There’s also very “kao” and rather spicy laksa lemak too.

sambal jantung pisang, ayam pong teh, udang goreng asam
sambal jantung pisang, ayam pong teh, udang goreng asam

I know my mom will love the acar awak, a type of Peranakan salad.

There’s also sambal jantung pisang (banana flower with shell fish), ayam pong teh (a chicken dish in clay pot), udang goreng asam (similar to my asam prawn recipe but with more spices). All these dishes go very well with the nasi kembuli (rice with ghee, cinnamon, cumin powder etc).

the buffet spread at Paya Serai remains, in addition to the peranakan food
the buffet spread at Paya Serai remains, in addition to the peranakan food

If you think that’s a lot of dishes, well, they are but one of the 4 buffet lines at Paya Serai. There’s also the usual raw food & salad bar with prawns, oysters, etc. Pastry, Chinese/Malay food (there’s even tempoyak - fermented durian), Western food, and so forth. The Pernakan food is but an addition to what is already usually available.

ulam, KY & Haze, laksa lemak, and tempoyak (fermented durian)
ulam, KY & Haze, laksa lemak, and tempoyak (fermented durian)

The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan at Paya Serai runs from now till 30th June, 2011. The buffet spread is available for lunch at RM 68++ for adult & RM 45++ for child. Dinner at RM 75++ & RM 45++ for child. Opening hours are from noon to 3pm for lunch, and 7pm till 10:30pm for dinner.

For those who want to get up close to Chef Florence Tan at the exclusive private dinner on 14, 15, and 16th June and have a chance to learn the culinary tips from the good chef, the event is priced at RM 150++ per person. Make your reservation if you’re interested ya!

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Paya Serai
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

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milkadeal June 5

For the slightly more than half of the readers on this blog (who are female, HELLO!), here are some deals from MilkADeal in the Beauty and Wellness section that you might want to check out.

RM 49.90 for 1.5 hours of Swiss Signature 5 element facial + hydrating black clay etc etc (as if I really do know what they mean). RM 68 for Gelish manicure at Damansara Utama, and RM 59 instead of RM 366 for Oxygen facial & ampoule with ultra sound, etc.

I can’t say I understand half of what these days are saying, but the amount of discounts seems pretty awesome. So far I’ve bought some food deals, a Guinness deal, a spa deal, and a car polish deal from MilkADeal, I urge you to check out the site too. (OK they don’t only have just beauty stuff ya, so if you’re a boy.. ) :D

Ladies and gentlemen, today we’re going to talk about asparagus. Now most of us associate asparagus as sort of a Western style vegetable, something you find in a fancy restaurant sitting pretty next to your steak (such as this side dish at Mandarin Grill), or being wrapped in bacon and BBQ-ed (ala BBQ Addict’s menu).

You will be right, but I’ve always known asparagus from Sambal Belacan Asparagus, one of my favorite dishes from childhood, a Hokkien/Penang Nyonya specialty of sort.

ingredients for sambal asparagus
ingredients for sambal asparagus – sambal, garlic, ginger, dried shrimp

This dish is also surprisingly simple to make, but it is mighty handy if you’ve already have some ready made sambal belacan. For instruction on how to make a jar of wholesome sambal belacan, click here – sambal belacan fried rice.

Anyway, here’s the ingredients:

  • a bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-3 inches, only retain the top 2 sections, throw away the bottom wooden parts
  • 2 table spoon sambal belacan
  • 15 shalots
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 10 dried shrimps
  • 4 fresh prawns, peeled

the secret is the steaming
the secret is the steaming

Cooking this dish is fast and simple too!

Instructions:

  • use pastel and mortar to pound shallots, garlic, and dried shrimp
  • marinate peeled prawns with salt for a couple minutes
  • heat up a couple table spoon of cooking oil in medium heat
  • throw in prawns first, then everything else
  • fry for 5 minutes, then add a quarter cup of water, and close the lid to steam the vegetable for 2-3 minutes
  • remove lid and fry again till water evaporates
  • food is ready to serve!

a few prawns go a long way
a few prawns go a long way

The secret to cooking asparagus is really the steaming part, since the vegetable can be a little tough if not properly cooked, but frying it too long will get the outer layer burnt. So there you go, another recipe from yours truly who reignite the cooking passion ever since our kitchen is renovated. :D

Astro Byond PVR

I’ve recently gotten Astro B.yond PVR installed at home too, and check out what sort of programmes we have recorded.

Yes, mostly cooking shows. It’s brilliant, I can’t tell you how many times I missed out crucial part of cooking show just because they go over it a tad too fast. With the PVR’s record function this problem is a thing of a past. Of course PAUSE and REWIND function comes in mighty handy too.

I’ll be reviewing the PVR’s function soon too. In the mean time, happy cooking!

When I first got the invitation from foodstreet for a food review session from Peony Garden at Kota Damansara, I did some searches on the internet and but was not able to find any blog entries. So I went to the restaurant with Eiling (who is going to give me some golden tickets) having little to expect.

note: tragically, this place is no longer in operation, it was one of my favorites! (20/9/2010)

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
seven dishes to sample, with original ingredients

As it turns out, Peony Garden serves Northern Nyonya food, which means they are actually from Penang, my hometown. The relatively new restaurant is run by a pair of siblings, Karen and Eugene Chew, whom despite knowing little about blogs and the way of cyber world, were very friendly (especially when we arrived at our common mother tongue, Penang Hokkien).

We were served the unique “green leaves drink” that is made of seven different types of grass and leaves. It tasted pretty refreshing though slightly on the sweeter side. The owners explained to us that many of the ingredients used are sourced from Penang and other states, and Karen cooks everything from scratch, the traditional way, even the sambal is made by pounding fresh chili and shrimp paste by hand.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
Penang otak-otak, asam prawn, curry black pomphret, salted vegetable duck soup

We were then served seven dishes, and I recognized what they were instantly without having to be explained! Tau eu bak (soya sauce pork), asam prawn, curry bawal hitam (black pomphret), salted vegetable duck soup, Penang otak-otak, jui hu char (fried sengkuang with dried cuttle fish), and fried spring roll. These are the dishes I grew up with, the memory of mom working in her kitchen flashes back like a tsunami wave, the familiar smell, the sound of sengkuang sizzling in the wok, and how she always peel the asam shrimps for us. I wish mom was here to have this session with me.

In the taste department, the food actually measured up very well. The asam prawn, cooked with asam and dark soya sauce carries a strong and fragrant asam taste that is slightly salty and sourish, complementing the sweetness of the shrimp perfectly. The fish curry is done the traditional way as well, with black pomphret and a generous portion of laksa flower that adds to the taste. There is no substitute with another type of fish as “lemak” (fatty) taste of the black pomphret suits the asam curry best.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
soya sauce pork, jui hu char, spring roll

I personally always prefer the Penang style otak-otak, and the version at Peony, though not the best I’ve had, was not bad either. As for salted vegetable duck soup, it might take a little used to if you are not accustomed to it, sourish and slightly spicy, I liked it.

Jui hu char is a dish that is cooked by many Penang family whenever they worship ancestors (don’t ask me why). It is best eaten with some sambal and wrapped with fresh lettuce, much like the way you’d have Korean BBQ meat. The deep fried spring rolls actually shares the main ingredient (sengkuang) with jiu hu char, but served with a unique blend of dark soya source and chili that gives it a pretty interesting taste, in a good way.

If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know that I am a pork lover. The tau eu bak here was absolutely fantastic, cooked for hours to the very soft and tender texture, the soya sauce is imported from Nothern state to get the taste just right. Coupled with the original sambal, I had to fight with Eiling till the last piece, it was as good as it is sinful.

Poeny Garden, Nyonya Food at Kota Damansara
green leaf drinks, and eiling with the Peony plate

Dishes are priced from RM 8 to RM 20+, pretty decent even though the portions aren’t big. Authentic foods are hard to come by these days, and I don’t think you can get them any more authentic than here. A family run restaurant that prepares everything painstakingly the traditional way. I am sure I will return.

map to Poeny Garden at Kota Damansara
Poeny Garden is just 5 minutes away from IKEA/Ikano/Curve

The restaurant also host private events and birthday parties. If you like it the old school way with nasi kunyit, curry chicken, and hard boiled egg for your baby’s full moon, they do it too.

Lunch: Tue to Fri 11am – 2pm
Dinner: Tue to Sun 6 – 10pm

Address:
16-1, Jalan PJU 5/10,
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.150886, 101.593237
Tel: 03-6141 8323