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Tag / otak-otak

Nothing beats a dish of lor mai kai (glutinous chicken rice) when you want quick and wholesome breakfast on a work week. It is something that requires less than a minute to be served, and usually fills up the stomach pretty good. You can also have it tapao and even eat it on the go without much fuss.

lor mai kai and otak otak, an unlikely breakfast combination
lor mai kai and otak otak, an unlikely breakfast combination

Then there’s otak-otak, or to be more specific, the Penang style otak-otak. Perhaps it is because I am from Penang, I prefer this over all form of otak-otak. It is fragrant, soft, and very easy to eat. The combination of fish, egg, coconut milk, and betel leaves works in harmony in this dish to create a taste that is unmistakeably Nyonya in its origin. I love it.

the same stall also sell pau, bak chang, and nyonya kuih
the same stall also sell pau, bak chang, and nyonya kuih

Yong Len kopitiam at TTDI happens to have a stall that offers both these two dishes at the same time in the morning, and both are some of the bests I’ve tried from anywhere. The lor mai kai comparable with the one at Redang Island which we love, and the otak otak is as good as any I had in Penang.

The two items added up to around RM 7 or so, and you can also find one of the best Penang prawn mee at the same kopitiam too.

While breakfast is served pretty fast at Yong Len, I usually end up chatting with the prawn mee’s boss for extended period of time. He’s a fellow bike enthusiast and we talk about bike news and such, always a good start to the morning.

Address:
Restaurant Yong Len
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1
(opposite Perodua showroom)
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.141630, 101.629243
Hours: Morning and Lunch, Closed on Mondays

My friends have been raving about this place with the best fried eggs for a while now. Yuki, Winnie, and Kerol kept talking about the fried eggs that everyone must try, and my thought was probably exactly like yours, “Fried eggs? Serious?”

So we made a trip to Restaurant Muar at Tengkat Tong Shin a couple weekends because I had to know what the fuss is all about.

Restaurant Muar is situated right next to Ngau Kei at Tengkat Tong Shin
Restaurant Muar is situated right next to Ngau Kei at Tengkat Tong Shin

Located just a few doors down from the popular 24 hour beef noodle place Ngau Kei, Restaurant Muar serves home cooked dishes from a comfortable home-turned-restaurant setting. There’s air conditioning and some attempts in interior decoration, but we’re here for the food anyway, right?

The menu has your usual home-cooked dishes broken down into a few categories – seafood, chicken, egg, beancurd, vegetable, and soup. Pork is missing from the list though.

this fried egg is what we came here for
this fried egg is what we came here for

And.. this is what we came here for. The famous crispy fried eggs (RM 5/RM 7) at Restaurant Muar was really a very simple yet very well executed dish. A few eggs deep fried and with dark soya sauce or cooking caramel sprinkled on top, that’s it!

It was really as what they said – the best fried eggs there is! Crispy on the side with the egg yolk still slightly runny, it was glorious. I kinda miss it right now while penning this down actually.

paku pakis, otak otak, prawn with petai
butter kailan, otak otak, prawn & squid with petai

To go with steamed rice, we also ordered a few other dishes for the four of us.

The petai squid and prawns (RM 16) was positively spicy and rather fragrant, goes well with rice. Butter kailan is another interesting dish and tasted like the crumbs from butter prawns with a hint of kailan taste, it worked well I think.

I thought the otak-otak (RM 12) was merely average, a little bit too firm for my liking and didn’t carry the reputation of Muar otak-otak well.

Kerol, KY, Yuki - the cendol is pretty good too
Kerol, KY, Yuki – the cendol is pretty good too

Restaurant Muar also serves set meals for 1 pax (RM 5.80), 2-3 pax (RM 25.90), 4-6 pax (RM 45.90), and even 7-10 pax (RM 65.90). Prices are pretty reasonable for what you get and food is generally rather delicious. Now if I have a super hot deep fryer at home…

map to Restaurant Muar at Bukit Bintang

Address:
Restaurant Muar
No. 6G Tengkat Tong Shin
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.145677, 101.706941
Tel: 03-2144 2072, 012-219 2199
Hours: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm Closed on Mondays

Nasi Lemak Itik Salai, now that’s something that you don’t commonly see. We are used to nasi lemak having sotong (squid), ayam goreng (fried chicken), daging rendang (beef), and for the non-halal version, even pork; but itik salai (smoked duck)? That’s pretty interesting so far as Malaysia’s national dish nasi lemak goes.

note: this place has moved. new address is at No 70 jalan Pekaka 8/3, Kota Damansara Section 8
(Same row with jabatan pendaftaran and hospital Pusrawi)

Izwan Woon Abdullah, located just behind Taman Bahagia LRT station
Izwan Woon Abdullah, located just behind Taman Bahagia LRT station

The restaurant that offers this dish is Izwan Woon Abdullah, located just behind Taman Bahagia LRT station at SS3, a few doors down from the famous pork noodle and Luckly Loke tai chao at the corner.

nasi lemak itik salai, you don't see this very often
nasi lemak itik salai, you don’t see this very often

The restaurants offer nasi lemak and a few other more traditional Malay dishes, but I had to try their nasi lemak itik salai.

The plate comes with fragrant nasi lemak on a slice of banana leaf, a side of sambal, anchovies & peanuts, half a hard boiled egg, smoked duck, and some brown sauce for the duck.

The brown sauce though, was a waste of time, so we asked for more sambal instead, which more than made up for it. :D

the sambal and the rice itself was quite awesome too
the sambal and the rice itself was quite awesome too

The sambal was top notch, spicy and very flavorful, and the duck tasted pretty close to Chinese style smoked duck but with a slightly different taste that I can’t exactly point out, it was good, and certainly a different experience being paired with nasi lemak. I find myself enjoying it.

they have nasi lemak ayam too, and the otak-otak is pretty good
they have nasi lemak ayam too, and the otak-otak is pretty good

Their nasi lemak with chicken was able to satisfy one of the biggest nasi lemak fan in Horng, and otak-otak Johor (RM 0.80 per stick) was delicious enough we ordered second servings (even Suan who was from Johor approved of the taste).

The restaurant has been in business some 2-3 months and I sure hope it stays. I’ve only been there a couple times but looking forward to head there more often. =)

map to izwan woon abdullah, nasi lemak itik salai

Address:
Restoran Izwan Woon Abdullah
SS 3/59E Petaling Jaya
47300 Selangor
GPS: 3.109904, 101.611722
Hours: lunch and dinner

Nasi Lemak Itik Salai

My siblings and me share the same passion when it comes to food – we want to eat everything and anything that is delicious, and usually would travel to illogical distances just for this purpose.

Over the last CNY holidays, we paid a visit to my younger brother who works at Sungai Petani as a houseman and he brought us to this little hidden gem that is Mae Salong Thai Restaurant for dinner. Most of us are tomyam fanatics, so the destination suits us very well.

Mae Salong at Sungai Petani
Mae Salong at Sungai Petani, crazy decoration

Mae Salong resides in an unimpressive part of Sungai Petani, which is a pretty unimpressive town in a state that isn’t known to be impressive. The restaurant however, is anything but.

Nestle in the kampung is a structure that could easily confuse diners as a set for fantasy movie. There’s hanging bridge, a huge koi pond with a two level dining area that is half submerged, and even a massive water wheel and fountain and the center. Oh, it is also some sort of a mini zoo as well.

All these fancy decoration proved to be useful when we had to kill time waiting for table on the Saturday evening when we were there. (booking highly advisable)

the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby's nice!
the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby’s nice!

After securing a seat, we were given some Thai tidbits as some sort of appetizer, and they come in the form of dried anchovies with curry leaves, peanuts, and dried chili padi. That thing was quite awesome, and you could actually buy them at Thailand in packets, beats potato chips anytime. :D

We made our orders with the friendly Thai lady, and asked for desserts to be served first since we knew it was gonna take a while before food is ready. The red ruby (RM 2.50) was delicious, with the right amount of santan, fresh nangka, and that chestnut in tapioca.  Yummy.

We ordered  honey dates with sugar cane drinks (RM 12 for all) to quench our thirst, and was happy that they come in big bottles instead of individual cups.

thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak
thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak

Our first dish that came was the the Thai style lala (RM 15), though the shellfish wasn’t exactly big in size, the taste more than make up for it. There’s chili, green onion and garlic all mixed up with the lala soaked in spicy sourish broth that’s kept warm with a small fire under. The soup itself was very very delicious.

Mantis prawn (RM 15) is deep fried with salted egg yolk, another dish that never disappoint. Again you find chili padi in the mix, spicy, savory, with the hint of saltiness, love it.

Thai otak-otak (RM 15) was perhaps the only thing that was a bit disappointed. It was packed with seafood, but somehow the otak otak paste wasn’t exactly up to the level of standard I was expecting. Not a bad dish per se, but nothing special.

steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam
steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam

Of course, no Thai meal is complete without an order of tomyam (RM 20). The seafood tomyam is hot, flavoful, and absolutely packed with ingredients – prawns, fish, squid, and more lala in addition to tomato, chili, and other ingredients that make up a proper bowl of tomyam soup. We enjoyed this a lot.

We also had a fish to go with all the other seafood dishes, the steamed siakap (RM RM 27) was the most expensive dish we ordered. It was fresh and does taste very good, the soup made me suspect that it is a cross between the lala and tomyam, and hence didn’t make a very good combination to the other dishes we oredered. It was however, a quality dish nonetheless.

Last but not least, there’s omelete (RM 8) that again, has a hint of seafood in it – very tiny baby prawns, the same size that you find in cincalok. It brought back some childhood memories when we’d catch them in the sea, good times. The omelete was pretty decent as well.

mom, sister, brother, haze, niece - happies!
mom, sister, brother, haze, niece – happies!

By the time we are done and headed back to Penang, it was already some 11pm, but that was after a very good dinner that only cost less than RM 140 for the 6 of us. If you find yourself anywhere within 50 or even 100 km from Sungai Petani, give this place a try, but do call and book your table if it’s on weekends.

direction map to Mae Salong

Address:
Mae Salong Restaurant
199-E, Kampung Bakar Bata,
08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah
GPS: 5.62594863, 100.46545
Tel: 016-424 6842

This blog is often criticized by many of my Muslim colleagues and friends for its lack of halal/pork free food content, well, here’s an entry that will perhaps right things a little. (wait, I do have a little less than 30% of my posts in this category, oh well..)

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a classy Malay restaurant hidden in the midst of the city for a food review - Songket restaurant.

Songkek restaurant at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
Songket restaurant at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng

Songket is actually a type of traditional Malay and Indonesian fabric that is hand woven in silk or cotton, and often with intricate gold or silver threads in them. In short, the restaurant, like the fabric, is one of class and quality.

Anyway, lets get on with the dishes!

satey & cucur udang, otak-otak, begedil
satey & cucur udang, otak-otak, begedil

We started out with appetizers, naturally.

There were satey ayam & daging (beef and chicken satey, RM 18) that is served with peanut sauce and some raw onion, cucumber, and ketupat, just like how they’re supposed to be. The meat were marinated properly, succulent and void of impurities like hard tendon or chicken skin, tasty.

Then there’s cucur udang (prawn fritters, RM 10) in light batter and home made chili sauce with a kick. I was happy that they also serve Northern style otak-otak (steamed fish cake, RM 12) with generous amount of seafood in it.

My favorite appetizer of the night though, has gotta be the begedil (deep fried potato cutlet RM 10) – it is basically deep fried mashed up potato with chicken (or meat). A little sweet, a little savory, and positively brilliant!

kerabu mangga, ayam sambal petai, ayam lemak asam gelugur
kerabu mangga, ayam sambal petai, ayam lemak asam gelugur

Kerabu mangga (raw mango salad, RM 12) is another Northern dish that is very similar to those found in Thailand, certainly appetizing.

I like the way they prepare the petai by splitting them into half and taking away the centre stem for the ayam sambal petai (chicken with bitter beans, RM 28) dish. Personally though, I still think that petai goes better with seafood instead of chicken, but this dish was actually not bad.

Ayam lemak asam gelugur (chicken with tumeric, coconut milk, curry gravy, RM 23) is a light curry dish that I thought could use a little more kick, I suppose this has to do with catering tourists, you should be able to ask for hotter version if only you ask.

nasi minyak, pandan nasi lemak, nasi kerabu
nasi minyak, pandan nasi lemak, nasi kerabu

We sampled 3 types of rice at Songket, the nasi minyak (oily rice, RM 6) goes well with curry dishes, pandan nasi lemak (RM 6) is aromatic with a light pandan taste, and nasi kerabu (rice with herbs and vegetables, RM 8 ) can almost be eaten just by its own. I would recommend any of these over the normal steamed rice.

ikan siakap masak manis, pucuk paku goreng, kari udang raja
ikan siakap masak manis, pucuk paku goreng, kari udang raja

Ikan siakap masak manis (sweet style barramundi, RM 60) definitely tastes like a traditional Malay dish, the fish was fresh, and tomato, chili, onion, and other ingredients complimented the seafood perfectly, I like it.

My favorite dish of the day though, has gotta be pucuk paku goreng (stir fry wild fern, RM 12), the texture of fern and its taste are something that can’t be substituted by another vegetable. Chili, garlic, shallots, and a few shrimps made up the rest of this fabulous dish. This is a must-order.

For those who wants the ultra luxurious dish, there’s the kari udang raja (king prawn in curry, RM 75). The prawns were definitely huge, and there were some eggplants to go with in the rich, thick, curry.

rusuk panggang (chargrilled marinated short ribs)
rusuk panggang (chargrilled marinated short ribs)

Rusuk Panggang (chargrilled marinated short ribs, RM 60) is dish not to be missed by any meat lovers. The marinate as well as the grilling were perfect. As a result, the ribs were really tender to the point where you can cut it just by using the spoon. The flavor too were absolutely marvelous. Best of all, this is served with the same begedil that I really like.

durian tiramisu, sago gula melaka, pandan pudding
durian tiramisu, sago gula melaka, pandan pudding

Then it was time for desserts.

For the durian lovers, you must not miss the durian tiramisu (RM 15), rich, creamy, and full with that unmistakable durian aroma that will probably prevent you from taking this to your hotel room.

The sago gula melaka (RM 10) is a classic, with plenty of sago swimming in coconut milk and palm sugar beneath it, another rich dessert. Pandan pudding (RM 10) is well, a pandan infused pudding with palm sugar. After the other two desserts, this one came across without much excitement for me.

traditional dance, KY & Haze at Songkek restaurant
traditional dance, KY & Haze at Songket restaurant

Songket is not just about food, if you stay a little longer on Mon-Sat, by 9pm there are traditional dance performances of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and native origins. A pretty cool show especially if you happen to have foreigner friends.

The prices at Songket is definitely a little on the high side, but the food quality, ambiance, and all the extras that were thrown in definitely make this a place worthy of a visit especially if you’re looking for fine Malay cuisine.

map to songkek restaurant

Address:Songket Restaurant & Bar
29 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.162557, 101.714998
Tel: 03 2161 3331