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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / stingray

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a fan of street foods, and it is not confined to any particular category of street food either. Chinese, Malay, Mamak, I love all of them.

In recent time we have a bit of a food truck movement, but while those are cute and neat, we actually already have food trucks since yonks. The only difference being that food truck 2.0 operates inside the truck, while the original food truck has the operators standing on the road side, eye-to-eye level to diners. I feel that the experience is always a bit more intimate.

Kelana Jaya laksa and ikan bakar stalls
Kelana Jaya laksa and ikan bakar stalls

Anyway, here’s a couple old school food trucks opposite the small Giant hypermarket at Kelana Jaya we discovered a short while ago. I first came to this place back in 2007 with my Malay friend Naida (who has since moved to the States) for nasi lemak kukus. Time flies huh?

love the ikan bakar with sauce plastered all over the stingray
love the ikan bakar with sauce plastered all over the stingray

The first stall is Ikan Bakar Fend, offering a variety of ikan bakar, including pari, talapia, kembong, cincaru, keli, as well as chicken and cockles.

I went with the default choice of ikan pari (stingray) with rice (RM 10) and was delighted by the portion as well as the quality of the dish. The fish was split into halves with the spicy and slightly sweetish sambal plastered all over, it was delicious and went very well with steamed rice. In fact, the accompanying sauces weren’t even really needed. I really want to try their ayam bakar next time.

Laksa de Kelana, Haze approved of the taste
Laksa de Kelana, Haze approved of the taste

Another stall worth trying is Laksa de Kelana that offers laksa, and apparently also Malay char kuih teow basah. Haze tried the laksa and was happy with it. The bowl of laksa and two coconut drinks (in cups) cost us RM 6 and was definitely more than worth it.

Maybe next time I’ll try the kuih teow basah.

Nasi Lemak Kukus at Kelana Jaya

Address:
Laksa de Kelana & Ikan Bakar Fend
Jalan SS 6/3,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.105838, 101.600329
Tel: 012-917 6965

– Advert – 
Transitions lens at Ah Weng Koh

Another demonstration on how Transitions® Signature lens is useful in day-to-day life. Going from brimming bright outdoor where the lens is tinted to under the roof at one of my favorite breakfast places at Ah Weng Koh, and the lens goes completely transparent in an instant. It’s the sort of convenience you don’t realize until you have it.

I first learned about the Dato’ Keramat ikan bakar from my Malay colleagues when they tapao some all the way to KLCC for lunch. Fast forward a couple years later, I finally managed to convinced one of my colleagues to follow me there for a quick meal.

Mat Teh ikan bakar at Dato' Keramat
Mat Teh ikan bakar at Dato’ Keramat

After a bit of searching and asking about at the market, we finally located Mat Teh Ikan Bakar, with the stall situated within the Dato’ Keramat wet market, facing the parking area.

We immediately knew that we were at the right place, the place was packed, and on the grill was at least 30 pieces of grilled fish in the process of cooking, all neatly wrapped in banana leaves for that extra flavor.

huge slab of ikan pari, soup, and ulam
huge slab of ikan pari, soup, and ulam

For this trip, I ordered a piece of ikan pari (stringray), which also comes with a generous amount of ulam (Malay style salad) with sambal, soup, and a plate of steamed rice.

The fish was thick and huge, it was probably meant for two person, which also explained why it cost something like RM 14-16 (but definitely worth it). The cooking method utilizing banana leaf ensures that it was plenty juicy and flavorful, and with those accompanying sambal, I was more than satisfied.

the place is very busy, and with good reasons
the place is very busy, and with good reasons

Mat Teh stall also offers some pretty good juices, I had a glass of mango juice which complimented the meal very well.

This is definitely a place I want to go again, but this time I’ll make sure to share the fish with someone else, Shabana can’t be just an observer drinking teh ais again.

shabana - my partner in crime
shabana – my partner in crime

If you’re in town looking for some good ikan bakar, this is one place to check out. Getting there is as easy as taking the LRT and getting off at Dato’ Keramat station.

map to dato' keramat ikan bakar

Address:
Mat Teh Ikan Bakar
Dato’ Keramat Wet Market
Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT
Jalan Dato’ Keramat
GPS3.166079, 101.730992
Tel: 016-336 2123

Sentul is one of those places in KL that I probably go less than once per year, and both times in the last two years, I went there for dinner at Zhen Liew Siang, courtesy of Haze’s aunt, one of those old school ladies who  loves her good, strong tasting Malaysian Chinese food.

Zhen Liew Siang at Sentul, always packed at weekends
Zhen Liew Siang at Sentul, always packed at weekends

The restaurant is located at Sentul Raya, the part of Sentul that has seen quite a bit of rebuilt over the years, you’d easily mistaken the area with some of the more glamorous parts of KL.

The restaurant occupies two floors of a shop lot, and a big chunk of parking space as make shift alfresco dining area. On weekends, parking is terrible and you almost always have to wait for a table, telephone booking is recommended.

fried mantis prawn with egg yolk, deep fried choi sam, belacan fried chicken wings
fried mantis prawn with egg yolk, deep fried choi sam, belacan fried chicken wings

For this session, we ordered five dishes for the six of us, and had to wait for some 20-25 minutes before the food is served on a Saturday night.

Fried mantis prawn is battered and coated with salted egg yolk, and curry leaves to spice it up a bit. Anyone who likes squid with salted egg would love this.

For greens, we had fried “choi sam”, a cooking method that’s been gaining popularity recently, especially with kailan. The choi sam version is just as good, and I especially  like it that they sprinkle some deep fried imitation crab meat on top for that extra texture and complexity.

The belacan fried chicken is a dish taken from classic Penang Hookien/Nyonya cooking style, and according to Haze’s aunt, the head chef is apparently a Hokkien, which explains the chicken wings and the next dish – curry fish head.

nyonya style curry fish head
nyonya style curry fish head

The curry fish head here is excellent, and pretty much the same as the way my mom cooks it. There’s brinjal, long beans, lady’s fingers, tofu pok, curry leaves, and of course, the fish head itself (I believe it was red snapper). Gravy positively thick and flavorful, with just enough hotness to go with steamed rice. If you want a full flavor Penang Nyonya style curry fish head, this is the place to go.

steamed stingray, irresistibly spicy
steamed stingray, irresistibly spicy 

The last dish we had was the steamed sting ray. Smaller sized string ray is used here as they often have a much smoother texture. The fish is covered with a thick layer of really spicy sambal that is slightly sweet and positively addictive. I struggled a bit to cope with the hotness but find myself unable to stop scooping up more of those spicy sauce. It was really good.

Zhen Liew Siang also offered other signature dishes like their steamed lala, banana leaf prawns/sotong, and even “shark mouth”. Do yourself a favor, make a trip to Sentul and give it a try!

map to Zhen Liew Siang, Sentul

Address:
Restoran Makanan Laut Zhen Liew Siang
No.30, Jalan 14/48A,
Sentul Raya, Off Jalan Sentul,
51000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.18472, 101.69212
Tel: 03-4041 3781

Being a mom has one of the toughest job descriptions ever. In this upcoming Mother’s day over the weekends (see? even their “day” falls on a weekend so they don’t get days off from work), it’s time for a role reversal and cook her dinner instead.

But for those who can’t or otherwise not capable of doing so, bringing mom for a nice meal would be a good alternative.

Utara Cafe at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya
Utara Coffee House at Armada Hotel, Petaling Jaya

Last weekends a few of us were invited to Armada Hotel’s Utara Coffee House to sample their Mother’s Day promotion – Loveably Mama:

  • Eve of Mother’s  Day (12/5/2012) – 7 pm to 10:30 pm – RM 70++ adult, RM 35++ child/domestic helper
  • Peranakan “Ho Chiak” Buffet Hi-Tea (13/5/2012) – 12 pm to 4 pm – RM 75++ adult, RM 37.50++ child/domestic helper

Mothers also dine for free (subject to 2 moms per group of 10, call for more info). On top of that, the first 10 moms get to have free caricature drawings, plus there are goodie bags, games and prizes too.

the usual buffet spread - fresh oysters and prawns among the dishes
the usual buffet spread – fresh oysters and prawns among the dishes

OK, now on to the food choices at Utara Coffee House.

The buffet spread, while not the biggest I’ve been, does offer pretty decent selections considering its price point.

there are some exquisite entrees too, the girls preparing laksa
there are some exquisite entrees too, the girls preparing laksa

There’s the raw bar with fresh oysters, prawns, as well as sushi and a selection of sashimi (from their Shokudo Japanese restaurant I assume).

There are also those exquisite little salad and prawn thingy served in a shot glass,  cold cuts, satey, and even a noodle bar where you make your own nyonya laksa.

wide variety of food, including many local delights
wide variety of food, including many local delights

For the Peranakan promotion that they are having, you’ll also find otak-otak, nyonya chap chai (mixed vegetable), ayam pong teh (stewed chicken), kiam chai ark (salted vegetable duck soup), jui hu char (fried cuttle fish, or nyonya hokkien sengkuang), loh bak, ayam buah keluak, sambal petai, and so forth.

Desserts include kuih kochi, sago gula melaka, kuih onde-onde, pulut tekan with kaya, ang koo kuih, pasembor, and pulut tai tai.

we tried their duck soup, sashimi, sushi
we tried their duck soup, sashimi, sushi

I had some oysters, salad, and cold cuts from the buffet (normal everyday line up), then for the review, we were served several items that were going to be available for Mother’s Day.

We started out with kiam chai ark (salted vegetable duck soup), and it was as authentic as they come. Slightly spicy and absolutely flavorful, something I’m used to growing up in a Penang Hokkien family where Nyonya food is our staple.

The asam sting ray (wish I took some rice) and jiu hur char (sengkuang with cuttlefish) too tasted very similar to what my mom used to make, I really liked them.

asam stingray, nyonya hokkien sengkuang, pulut kuning and rendang, dessert
asam stingray, nyonya hokkien sengkuang, pulut kuning and rendang, dessert

I enjoyed the pulut kuning too, and while the ayam rendang was good, I must say that I am more used to curry chicken as a companion dish instead. Sushi and sashimi that we had were decent, but as with most buffets, they aren’t exactly going to be those type of offers a life changing experience.

My takeaway from buffet at Armada was that it was genuine, with food true to the origin (Chef is an experience guy originally from Penang and had extensive working experience overseas), and offers very decent value for money.

More photos at facebook page

map to Armada Hotel

Address:
Utara Coffee House
Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C,
Section 52, 46200 PJ, Selangor
GPS3.104199, 101.640964
Tel03-7954 6888 (ext 4557)

 

This is the follow up to the previous Lang Tengah dive trip post.

After two dives on the first day, we spent Saturday going underwater three times. The first dive in the morning was a deepish dive that bottomed out at close to 30 meters.

The visibility going down was excellent, but once we reached the bottom we literally couldn’t see anything past 3 meters, sometimes you’re lucky, other times you aren’t, and this is an example of the latter.

blue spotted stingray
blue spotted stingray

However, even with the lackluster visibility, we did spot quite a few creatures at this dive site. A beautiful blue spotted stingray were found laying at the bottom, and there were juvenile bamboo sharks hiding in the reefs too. We also spotted a huge cuttle fish who wasn’t too thrill to see us, I did manage to snap a couple pictures of the undersea alien before it jetted off from us.

cuttle fish, not looking terribly happy
cuttle fish, not looking terribly happy

this is 1/3 of a bamboo shark hiding within the coral reef
this is 1/3 of a bamboo shark hiding within the coral reef

We spent some 20 minutes at the bottom and another 15 minutes or so slowly ascending to the surface. The temperature at the bottom was a chilly 26 C, making it the coldest I’ve been (other than Aquaria KLCC)

underwater thugs wannabe
underwater thugs wannabe

After brunch, we had another dive, and on this second site, we found what we were looking for – the magnificent leopard shark.

Leopard Shark at Lang Tengah
Leopard Shark at Lang Tengah

I’ve seen leopard shark while diving at Aquaria KLCC, but seeing a beautiful specimen in the wild is something else. Ed and I navigated slowly to the side of the resting leopard shark to take a closer position for photography, and just as we were settling down, Terence landed at the back of the shark, thus startled the creature, it took off..

Luckily I was able to snap a couple photos before it got away. Sharks are often more afraid of us than we are of them, and if we are to be able to see these beautiful creatures in the wild, do SAY NO TO SHARKS FIN.

leopard shark taking off
leopard shark taking off

underwater photographer at work
underwater photographer at work

The fifth dive of the trip turned out to be our final dive. Terence and I had initially planned to conduct a night dive at the house reef, but thunderstorm that started at around 6:30pm or so pretty much doomed whatever plan we had.

We took it easy on this dive, averaging only at around 14+ meters, with the maximum depth of less than 23 meters. The seascape was beautiful, and again there were plenty of clownfish to be toyed with.

the ever so photogenic clown fish in anemone
the ever so photogenic clown fish in anemone

a fish that looks like coral, or coral that looks like a fish?
a fish that looks like coral, or coral that looks like a fish?

All the photos taken in this post were with the aid of the INON UWL & DOME unit. The ultra wide angle conversion allows me to get to the subject much closer, hence reducing the wastage of light from the external flash unit (I have a single unit of Sea & Sea YS-01).

For those who are unfamiliar with underwater photography, the deeper we go, the more red we lose (hence everything looks blue), and thus underwater flash comes very handy. However, flash units are expensive, and has limited range, a few feet further and all you see is blue again.

All this means that the closer you can get to the subject, the easier you can lit them up. To make matters trickier, water has an amplification factor of about 30%, hence the importance of wide angle lenses.

this would make a good aquarium backdrop
this would make a good aquarium backdrop

sea fan and ikan bilis
beautiful sea fan with them ikan bilis

I hope you enjoy the photos, hopefully there are more to come. What I really want now is another flash unit and some external arms get better pictures. We shall see. Expensive hobby, le sigh.

Can’t wait for the next compressed air escapade.

more photos at my flickr set, and for more posts on my diving trips, click here.