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Tag / steamed chicken

A couple weeks ago we were invited to a food review session that promises a good dosage of “Dong Po” (東坡肉) pork belly, and since that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it was an easy decision to not miss this one.

Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ

The restaurant is Secret Garden at Taman Megah nearby Wolf Modern Dining and almost a walking distance from our previous home in PJ, but alas, this time around it was a bit of a drive, which was fine for some a porking promise.

The restaurant is stunning, with vertical garden, beautiful wooden long table, and tastefully use of empty space. I’m going to go on a limb here to say that it is most likely attributed to the fact that the founders include an interior designer, a fine art illustrator, and a mural artist.

When the surrounding is awesome, appetite also increases, kan?

crispy fried prawn cracker
crispy fried prawn cracker

Anyway, let’s get on the food.

For the review session, we got to sample quite a few dishes from the menu, starting with the appetizer – crispy fried prawn crackers. This is not your typical prawn cracker, but rather thin layer of pastry stuffed with plenty of prawn meat in between, best enjoyed with a dip of Thai chili sauce. I had white wine to go with this, but beer would make for excellent liquid to wash this down.

home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon
home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon

Any Chinese restaurant worth it’s salt should serve up a decent bowl of hot soup.

At Secret Garden, the choice was a simple and comforting home style Taiwanese chicken soup with pickled pineapple and bitter melon. I love myself a good bowl of soup, and this version checked the box as well as any with simple everyday ingredients done right.

steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce
steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce

Up next was steamed free range duckweed fed chicken with homemade sauce. You can taste the difference in duckweed fed chicken meat compared to the normal wet market/hypermarket variety, the meat is firmer and the skin springier. With the condiments it makes for a good meal by itself with a bowl of rice.

signature Taiwanese style "dong po" pork belly
signature Taiwanese style “dong po” pork belly

Then came what I was here for – the signature Taiwanese “dong po” pork belly. I love this dish so much I actually remember where I had it the first two times – first at Chatterbox Bangsar Village, and then at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.

If you love pork, you gotta try this dish named after the famous Chinese poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) . The interpretation of this dish at Secret Garden is very, very good, and only made better when you have it with their super soft steamed bun. Can I get this combination for breakfast, please?

grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk
grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk

Perhaps to demonstrate the range of dishes this kitchen is able to come up with, we had grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk next.

If really spicy and rich Indian or even Nyonya style curry is your cup of tea, this may disappoint, but if you enjoy milder curry with all the necessary ingredients with a much gentler assault on your taste buds, then this yellow curry may fit the bill. I’m a Penang boy who loves me some really spicy curry fish head, so it was just a tad underwhelming for me.

pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce
pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce

Pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce was my favorite seafood dish of the day. Instead of the usual tiger prawns or “meng har”, this version uses fresh water king prawns, which has big and juicy prawn head to suckle on (human cholestorel isn’t from what you eat, right?). I liked it, and wished I had some rice to go with this.

(btw I’ve published a recipe to my version here, if you care to cook your own)

homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy
homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy, & the hungry bunch

The last dish I got to try before we had to leave due to another appointment was the homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy. I was told the tofu is made in-house, and it certainly tastes fresh as can be with the texture that’s almost like tofufar, it was nice, and pumpkin gravy certainly served as a good contrast to the salty and savory bits on top of the tofu.

our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too
our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too

Overall it was a more than satisfying dinner, and certainly an experience that is made unforgettable thanks to the beautiful dining area and excellent companions we had.

Secret Garden is current modelling the upper level and will be offering Private Dining. You give them a budget and number of pax, and the chef will come up with a menu from carefully chosen ingredients available. There’s currently no set price for Private Dining, I suppose the more you are willing to pay, the more exotic the dishes get.

Thank you Jessica for the invitation and for hosting us!

secret garden chinese restaurant, taman megah

Address:
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant
家園私房菜 
7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15,
Taman Sea,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.116306, 101.612408
Tel: 03-7887 6999
Site: secretgarden.my

A week or so ago I went to KK for a short working trip. Of the many places my career brought me, KK has always been one of my favorite spots, so I was glad that I had the chance to visit the city again after some 7-8 years since I last stepped foot on it.

I was incredibly blessed to have awesome friends from KK for brought me to lunches and dinners while I was there the entire time. After all, you can’t get any better than having local food guides who knows the city in and out.

Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi, Kota Kinabalu
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi, Kota Kinabalu

On the second day, Nelson, whom I got to know through some weird circumstances revolving a possible purchase of Aprilia motorcycle suspension (you can meet people from all sorts of settings kan?), came to my office and took me to the best chicken rice stall in KK for for lunch at Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi.

steamed chicken, charsiu, and the unique pyramid shaped rice
steamed chicken, charsiu, and the unique pyramid shaped rice

Since there were only two of us, we ordered the steamed chicken and chasiu (bbq pork) with a side of vegetable to go with some rice.

The chicken rice here is served in a distinctive pyramid shape, which was kinda cute though it doesn’t contribute to the way it tastes, obviously. The steamed chicken though, was smooth and quite delicious, with the chasiu tasting pretty decent as well.

As for the often neglected vitamin C entry, this vegetable dish was rather good. In fact, over my stay at KK I’ve found that the vegetable here tasted so much fresher, crunchier, and juicier than their peninsular counterpart.

For those who complains about the lack of good hawker food in KK, this is one place to check out. Thank you Nelson!

map to Wiya chicken rice, Kota Kinabalu

Address:
Wiya Nasi Ayam dan Kedai Kopi
Block F, Lot 4,
Jalan Padas, 88000,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.983967, 116.074422
Tel: 088-214 378

The pasar malam at Taman Megah operates every Sunday evening from about 6pm to almost midnight and conveniently located only about one kilometer away from where I stay, hence eliminating the pesky problem of having to find a parking spot when one goes to pasar malam.

Even then, it is not a pasar malam I often go due to the relatively lack of good food.. or so I thought.

Evidently, things have changed for the better, and here are the three stalls we found from the visit last Sunday that I thought worth a try for any foodie.

char kuih kak at Taman Megah Pasar Malam - legit!
char kuih kak at Taman Megah Pasar Malam – legit!

First and foremost, there’s char kuih kak!

Char Kuih Kak is one of the Penang dishes that aren’t easily found in Klang Valley. There isn’t many stalls out there, and prior to this, my only go-to char kuih kak stall would be the one at Jalan Sayur in Pudu. So when I saw the stall here, I had to give it a try.

finally I found a good version of char kuih kak outside Penang
finally I found a good version of char kuih kak outside Penang

The RM 3.50 worth of char kuih kak turned out to be rather good, perhaps the best version I’ve tried in Klang Valley. The radish cake is chopped to tiny pieces with the two metal spatulas so that it’s well coated with oil and dark soya sauce. There’s also plenty of “choi pou” and chili, I love it.

The fact that the operator spoke perfect Penang Hokkien definitely help too, I think. 😀

BBQ oysters and seahum? yeap!
BBQ oysters and seahum? yeap!

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw there’s oysters at pasar malam, so obviously we had to give it a try.

A set of 3 oysters go for RM 10 here, and you can choose from any combination of three flavors – spicy, cheese, and garlic. The oysters took some 10-15 minutes before they were ready, and tasted more than decent.

RM 10 for three oysters, RM 6 for those juicy cockles
RM 10 for three oysters, RM 6 for those juicy cockles

Of the three, I prefer the garlic version, and will probably avoid the cheese next time around unless I bring my own cheese.

The BBQ cockles go for RM 6 per portion. They were rather juicy and certainly went well with the accompanying homemade chilli sauce.

steamed chicken with chrysanthemum, pretty satisfying
steamed chicken with chrysanthemum, pretty satisfying

Last but not least, there’s the steamed chicken with chrysanthemum. Since it was something I’ve never even heard about before, we gave it a try.

The steamed quarter chicken (RM 8) came with plenty of mashed garlic, ginger, and chrysanthemum flower. The skin smooth and chicken meat was well salted. The flower certainly gave it a unique taste but not something that is overpowering, worth a try, and certainly fills the stomach.

map to Taman Megah pasar malam

Address:
Taman Megah Pasar Malam
Jalan SS 24/8
Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.113745, 101.611061
Hours: 6-11pm every Sunday

The eating culture in Malaysia is so rich that even after some 9 years of writing about it, there are still many famous and well established eateries within Klang Valley I’ve yet to explore.

Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, also known as Ngau Kei
Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, also known as Ngau Kei

A few days ago after another routine invisalign appointment with the good people at My Dentist, I was invited to join them for lunch at a nearby restaurant by the name of Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, or more commonly known as Ngau Kei on Jalan Ipoh.

The proprietor of My Dentist, a massive foodie in his own right, explained that Ngau Kei have been in business for almost 6 decades at the exact same location, and is still a favorite among locals.

salted steamed kampung chicken
salted steamed kampung chicken

Parking situation around this old shop isn’t the most ideal, hence getting there before the peak of lunch time is recommended. Waiting time too can be rather long as it is almost always packed, this is not a place to visit if you’re in a hurry.

For the four of us we ordered only three dishes for sharing.

Our first dish was their signature salted steamed kampung chicken. I’m usually not a fan of kampung chicken due to it’s much tougher texture, but this version at Ngau Kei was absolutely delightful. It was tender while not fatty, and carries that flavor of kampung chicken which I really enjoy.

vegetable, deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce
vegetable, deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce

For fish, they usually serve it either steamed or deep fried. We tried the deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce. The seafood was fresh, and deep fried to perfection with the outer layer and fins crispy but the meat still steamy hot and tender. The sweet and sour sauce pairs well with the fish and was a great with steamed rice.

The simple fried vegetable with garlic dish dish was our last dish, and while not exciting, it certainly did not disappoint.

a plate of fruits is served at the end of meal
a plate of fruits is served at the end of meal

There’s also a plate of fresh fruits at the conclusion of the meal. I’ll certainly be back to try their other famous dishes such as fried fish fillet with salted vegetable, steamed eggs, prawns with dark soya sauce, and fried binjal.

map to Ngau Kei jalan ipoh

Address:
Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Sin Ban Fatt
647, 4th Miles,
Jalan Ipoh
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.195444, 101.679899
Tel: 03-6258 2839

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food, situated next to Giant at Taman Paramount, is one of those restaurants that is somewhat a victim of its location for the fact that it is located just a stone’s throw away from the more established Kong Sai, the famous herbal soup & rice stall that is Meng Kee, and another rather popular outdoor tai chao place – Ming Heong.

This was why it took us all these while before finally giving it a try, and that turned out to be a nice little surprise.

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food at Seapark
Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food at Seapark

Restaurant Goldview has a pretty basic set up, there’s air conditioning indoor and a couple of tables outdoor on the balcony. Interior decoration was done probably in 5 minutes, but it is clean, and the tables & chairs are rather comfortable.

The photos here are from 2 separate visits.

"fa tiu kai", omelete with preserved vegetable, hakka fried pork with black fungus
“fa tiu kai”, omelet with preserved vegetable, hakka fried pork with black fungus

“Fa tiu kai” (RM 19, medium), a type of clay pot drunken chicken cooked with Chinese wine, is as good here as anywhere I’ve had. The flavor seeps its way through the poultry and mixing those sweet, fragrant sauce with steamed rice will leave you wanting for more.

We also love the simple “choi poh fried egg”, or omelet with preserved vegetable (RM 6, small), though usually taken with porridge, it goes pretty well with rice as well.

Hakka fried pork with black fungus (RM 12, small) is one of my favorite dishes in Hakka cuisine (New Grand View’s wantan mee has this), but the version here was just passable in taste, perhaps the pork we had wasn’t fatty enough, or that the taste of namyu (preserved red bean curd) was not as strong as I prefer.

salted steamed chicken, "mui choi kao yok"
salted steamed chicken, “mui choi kao yok”

Hakka salted chicken (RM 12, small) is a steamed chicken dish that carries a hint of saltiness, goes pretty well with rice, and would have been better with a more superior (chili) sauce or other condiment. This is something that Kong Sai fared better, but truth be told, it didn’t disappoint.

We love the “mui choi kao yok” (RM 12, small) here, the cut was excellent. Those glistering fats in between layers of meat topped with that perfectly cooked skin, oh my. I can have this pretty much every meal. I suspect that their “wu tao kao yok”, or yam with pork belly, should be equally as good.

and the spicy soup "lat thong" was superb! KY, Winnie, Horng, Yuki
and the spicy soup “lat thong” was superb! KY, Winnie, Horng, Yuki

Last but not least, for those who can read the signboard in Chinese, you’d notice that spicy soup is mentioned on their business name. So naturally, we had to order a bowl to share.

There’s a choice of kampung chicken, pork stomach, and lala as the main ingredient. We had wanted to try lala but ended up with pork stomach (RM 14, small) instead due to availability.

The soup was super peppery and spicy, but in a good way. It was one of the bests we’ve tried and I dare say, on par with Kien Kee at Seri Kembangan. If you find yourself here, this is a must order.

map to Taman Paramount

We ended up with less than RM 15 per person for dinner, excellent value for pretty awesome food. This is a place that we surely will visit again. Other dishes that I wanted to try include trotter vinegar, sweet sour intestine with pineapple, salted fish steamed pork, ginger duck, and more.

Hakka food might not be the most popular type of Chinese cuisine, but you should definitely check this place out.

Address:
Goldview Hakka Food Restaurant
26, Jalan 20/16A
Taman Paramount
Petaling Jaya
46300 Selangor
GPS: 3.107092, 101.62475
Tel012-321 2725
Operation Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm (Closed on Tuesday)

Restaurant Goldview Hakka Food