I’ve been on a bit of a hot pot hunt as of late (or as well call it in Malaysia, steamboat), especially Sichuan style mala hot pot. So when the opportunity to be one of the earliest group to sample Xiao Long Kan Sichuan Hot Pot (小龙坎火锅) came calling, I was quite excited, to say the least.
Xiao Long Kan at Fahrenheit 88
Xiao Long Kan is one of the most popular spicy steamboat chain originated from Chengdu, which is the capital of Sichuan province in China. So when it comes to authenticity, you can’t do any better than that, this is the ground zero of Spicy mala hot pot.
pork bone broth, tomato, or mala soup?
Xiao Long Kan’s first branch in Malaysia is located at Fahrenheit 88, more specifically, at the side that is facing Starhill shopping mall (don’t try to look for it INSIDE Fahrenheit 88 like I did..)
While there’s plenty of seats spanning across 4 levels, it already gets pretty packed, but a little patience from your end and I’m sure you’ll agree that it is definitely worth it.
original condiment, without all the other fuss
There’s four different soup base to choose from – traditional spicy soup (mala, a must have), tomato soup, mushroom, and pork bone broth. You can always go for up to three like we did (all except mushroom). Additionally, the level of spiciness can also be customized. Do refer to the menu below.
Condiment situation is different here at Xiao Long Kan compared to just about every other hot pot outlets. Instead of a dozen or even more choices, here they stick to the traditional way of cilantro, green onion, and garlic. A special oil (xiang yu) is then added to the condiment which has the property of lowering heat. You can also choose to add soya sauce or black vinegar, though the good chef does not recommend doing so.
This blend is to ensure the taste of ingredients and soup is tasted to its fullest instead of being overpowered by fancy condiments. Can’t say I disagree.
Australian wagyu A5, we had to order another portion, so good
And then there’s ingredients. Xiao Long Kan does not lack in “special dishes” not easily found at other restaurants. Some of which even requires some sense of adventure.
We were served with Astralian wagyu A5 (so good we went for seconds), pork ball, pork neck, fish paste, prawns, pork belly, chili beef, rose meat ball, sliced lamb, and these are just the “normal dishes”.
In addition, we also had duck intestine, tripe, pork blood (my love!), pig’s brain, and even aorta!
I like that they also include a guide on the menu on how long you should cook each ingredients – ranging from 30 seconds (sliced green bamboo shoots), to 8 minutes (pig’s brain). Following the guide ensures that you don’t overcook certain items to the point where flavor is lost, or worse, under cook dishes and end up having an washing machine within…
sliced green bamboo shoots were definitely on point
Their rice cake & fried crispy meat are two of the ready-to-eat items we tried, and both are pretty delicious too. The rice cake should be consumed soonest possible to enjoy that crispy on the outside and soft inside texture.
As a rule of thumb, meat is best cooked in the clear or spicy soup, while vege goes better with tomato/clear soup, as advised by the head chef from Chengdu. These sort of pairing ensures that taste doesn’t clash, sorta like how you pair red with meat, and white with seafood kinda idea.
Jess, Mei Mei, KY, Eunice, Mag at Xiao Long Kan
Overall I got to say that this was one of the best hotpot I had recently, the super thick tomato soup, to the aroma from the red spicy soup, and all those fancy, fresh, and mostly imported ingredients. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back again for more mala goodness.
To be fair, Nomad Adventure does offer food after the whole ordeal, but if you want something slightly more exciting, the closest option would be Mee Kari Ami, just minutes of drive away.
Mee Kari, with home-made sauce
Mee Kari Ami is probably the most happening place in this otherwise sleepy kampung. The old fashion restaurant offers mee kicap, mee sup, and laksa in addition to mee kari. Each bowl costs RM 4, but if you go for “special”, it’ll be RM 5.50, and “besar” is RM 6.50.
with crackers and fish cake
We went for their ordinary version of Mee Kari which comes with crackers, fish cakes, and some sort of homemade chili sauce which gives it a bit of a kick, but not overly so. To be fair, it wasn’t the absolute best curry mee I’ve ever had, but it was one hell of a satisfying meal after a day at the river.
If you had a chance at Gopeng for some white water rafting or other activities, give this place a try.
One day while trying to find something new to eat, we chanced upon Chu Cha Dan Fan (粗茶淡饭) at Seksyen 14, a restaurant that I’ve noticed for quite a while but somehow never manage to try. Looking at the menu posted at the stairway leading up to the restaurant, my buddy Horng immediately agreed to give it a try.
Chu Cha Dan Fan is one of the very few restaurants in Klang Valley that offers Hunan dishes, and since Horng spent a few years working in China, he was keen to relive the taste of some of those dishes.
Chu Cha Dan Fan at PJ Seksyen 14, or in English, humble food
粗茶淡饭 literally translate to “rough tea and bland rice”, or humble food.
So prior to looking at the menu, I initially thought that this is perhaps a place offering comfort food like porridge or tongsui. As it turned out, they have quite an extensive Hunan dishes instead. I think they can really use a line of description on their signboard outside.
The look of the restaurant though, really exudes that “humble food” name, there isn’t any decoration to speak of, but it was pretty clean and air conditioned.
all three dishes turned out to be spicy, in a good way
Since there were only 3 of us, we ordered 3 classic Hunan dishes for dinner – Mala chicken (辣子雞 RM 16), Hunan skewered prawns (串烧虾 RM 28), and dry fried green beans (乾煸四季豆 RM 10).
All three dishes turned out to be more than decent. While Horng commented that the mala chicken was not as aromatic as he’d like them to be, I found them to be delicious with the right amount of mild spicy numbing feel.
Our favorite was the shrimp on skewer, spicy, crunchy, and full of flavor, you can actually eat the whole thing with shells and all. The green beans weren’t bad either.
love the prawn, even though Yuki was trying to avoid spicy food that night
Overall it was a pretty pleasant dinner, we should go back there again with a few more people so that we can order more. I’ve heard that they also offer simple set lunches for the office crowd as well, so do give it a try.
Address: Chu Cha Dan Fan No. 6A-2, Jalan 14/20 Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya Selangor GPS: 3.109763, 101.635860 Hours: Open for lunch and dinner
Thai food is of course, more than just tomyam and pad thai. However, there are certain dishes that are quite rare in Malaysia since most Thai establishments are set up with providing halal food in mind (Ying Thai 2 at Melbourne serves a good one). So this is one dish that isn’t particularly easy to find around here, but luckily, it isn’t difficult to cook it up at home either.
Yes, the recipe for this post is Kapraw Pork, or minced pork with chili & basil.
note: you can actually substitute pork with chicken.
kapraw pork – Thai style chili basil pork
The ingredients are simple:
pork, 2-300 grams, minced
4-5 chili (red & green for better color, but either color is fine)
4-5 cloves of garlic
dark soya sauce (or caramel sauce) – 1 table spoon
fish sauce – 1 table spoon
ingredients for kapraw pork – pork, chili, fish sauce, basil, garlic
using pestle and mortar, crush chili & garlic
heat up 2 tablespoon of cooking oil, and fry chili & garlic till you start coughing (around 2 minutes)
add minced pork, then fish sauce and dark soya sauce
stir fry till pork is cooked
add basil and stir for another 20 seconds or so before serving
For purely aesthetic purposes I also saved half a green & red chili and sliced them instead of having all crushed. You don’t necessarily have to do that.
The result is a dish that is spicy, slightly salty (from fish sauce), and savory at the same time. Best served with rice.
I’m a self confessed gadget freak that spends too much money on toys, I think I’ve used at least half a dozen smart phones already, from Symbian to Blackberry to Android.
Celcom is rolling out all these smart phones deals that looks to be the best in town. Check these out:
Android system, for the gadget freak that syncs everything to the cloud –
Samsung Galaxy SL (from 468)
Samsung Galaxy Tab (from RM668)
LG Optimus 2X (from RM978)
LG Optimus One (from RM48)
LG Optimus Me (from RM0)
Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 (from RM0)
Blackberry, for workaholics who absolutely needs their emails on time, all the time –
BlackBerry Bold 9780 (from RM888)
BlackBerry Torch 9800 (from RM1,188)
BlackBerry Curve 9300 (from RM488)
Windows Phone 7, for those who want to be different, with a sense of adventure –
LG Optimus 7 (from RM1,068)
Symbian, for the old trusted brand in Nokia –
Nokia E7 (from RM958)
Nokia C7 (from 468)
Nokia C3 (from RM18)
Nokia C2-01 (from RM0)
iPhone 4, that needs no introduction – COMING SOON!
Being from Penang where pan mee is not common, this is still one hawker dish that I have yet fully embraced. I guess same can be said for most from central region with regards to Penang style curry mee or even koay chap.
dry “mala” pan mee with chili sauce
So I was a little bit apprehensive when Winnie suggested that we give this a try (since the lunch gang of Terence, Horng, and I all felt that our wallets gotten too light). After trying, I went back there again a few days later, it was very good!
This particular pan mee place is located at the ground floor of Wisma Cosway, just across the street from Pavilion. The tables are sprawled along the corridors below and behind the escalator, and they are rather popular with the rat racers over lunch, and often times you have to wait for an empty spot.
with anchovies and lard too
There are a few versions of pan mee to choose from – dry, soup, mala (麻辣) dry, mala soup, and so on. My favorite is the mala dry version. The chili sauce here is closer to traditional pan mee chili (unlike the dry chili at superkitchen or kin kin), but they are really really super spicy (do ask for extra serving, usually the portion of chili is very small).
The soup that came with the noodle is a bit underwhelming, but the dry noodle itself was superb when you mix in the chili. The combination of super spicy chili, anchovies, pan mee, black fungus, and of course lard in that dark sauce is perfect.
map to wisma cosway
If you’re around the area on weekdays looking for a good bowl of spicy pan mee, look no further than this place at Wisma Cosway. The whole thing is less than RM 5-6 including drinks too!
Address: Ground Floor Wisma Cosway
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50540 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.150875, 101.711812