When it comes to Chinese tai chao restaurants, you often find very conventional names that usually involves someone’s surname or places of origin. XFrens Cafe & Restaurant though, likes to be a bit different, so I was looking at a map and this name came up, I’d have thought that they probably serve good pastry and maybe some warm pies…
Restaurant Xfrens, Subang Jaya SS18
Well, I have no idea what went through the owners’ thought process when they came up with the name, but we’re here for the food, and in this regard they definitely put in more thoughts than the naming exercise.
XFrens is located at Subang Jaya SS18, with few busy shops around the same short row of shop houses in the evening, parking your car is usually a relatively painless process. However, do plan to get there early as the place usually gets rather busy and fetch quite a long queue on weekend busy dinner hours. I’d say anytime before 6:30 or 6:45 pm and you should have a table immediately.
The menu at Xfrens is pretty comprehensive, with different sections offering dishes involving poultry, seafood, vegetable, tofu, and such.
For the group of 6 of us over dinner, we ordered five dishes to share.
“siong thong” lala, pumpkin tofu, paku with chili padi
Siong Thong Lala was a pretty decent dish that provides some spicy soup to open up the appetite, the shellfish was of decent size and freshness. Pumpkin tofu was one of their signature dishes, and one that provides a nice contrast in texture and taste, crispy on the outside with stronger tasting sauce, while soft and mild within.
I was also very glad that we ordered paku with chili padi, one of my favorite type of vegetable that should be more popular here (as they are in Borneo). This is one vege that I’ll order again.
garlic pork, teow chew style steamed red snapper
Garlic pork is another must-order at Xfrens, and it is what we’re here for. The dish was basically a dish of deep fried pork with many, many cloves of garlic. It was as simple as it was tasty, the combination was an assault to the senses in the best ways.
The last dish we shared was steamed red snapper teow chew style. This dish was executed rather well, with ingredients you’d expect from a typical toew chew steamed fish – tomato, tofu, salted vegetable, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and chili. I enjoyed this quite a lot too.
The dinner came to be around RM 40 per pax including drinks, a fair price considering the fact that we ordered quality fish as well as lala. Would definitely come here again.
As a Penangite, I’m always on the lookout for a good plate of Jawa Mee, one of those Penang hawker dishes that receive little attention outside the island. For those who may not be familiar, jawa mee is basically the Chinese version interpretation of Mee Rebus.
Park Way kopitiam Jawa Mee, Subang Jaya SS 19
When I posted an instagram video of the jawa mee at Segambut (one of my favorites), my friend Julea (also from up North) suggests that I should check out this stall at Restoran Park Way in Subang SS 19.
The kopitiam operates in the morning to about brunch time, and just like the stall at Segambut, this one also offers another Penang delicacy – Prawn Mee. Of course, I went ahead and asked for jawa mee.
Jawa Mee is basically a Chinese version of Mee Rebus
The version here come complete with every ingredient that makes up a proper plate of jawa mee – crackers, the indian kuih thingy, tofu, eggs, lime, vege, potato, and even a few slices of red chili for that extra color. I thought the chili paste was the only slight weak point in this plate of otherwise very on point jawa mee. Will visit again for sure.
Address: Restoran Park Way 1, Jalan SS 19/6c, Ss 19, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.064752, 101.579960
While Indian makes up for one of the big three ethnic groups in Malaysia, when it comes to Indian food, the Northern variety is definitely one of the least represented. There’s a 24/7 mamak restaurant in every commercial areas, but a true Nothern style cuisine, or in case of Big Singh Chapati, a Punjabi restaurant, is much less common.
BIG Singh Chapati, Subang SS15
So for the Nothern Indian cuisine fans like myself and Haze, we were quite delighted to stumble upon this place while visiting Jyu Raku, one of our favorite Japanese restaurants just a few doors down from Big Singh Chapati.
The menu at Big Singh Chapati is pretty extensive. There’s soup, salad, various types of chapati and naan, tandoor, chicken, mutton, fish, briyani, paneer (punjabi cheese), vegetarian, and even desserts.
love the butter & cheese naan here
On our two visits there so far, we tried four different dishes to go with butter naan (RM 5), garlic naan, and white rice (Basmati?).
The butter naan (RM 5) was my favorite, freshly made and packed with generous amount of buttery goodness. Use it to wrap with any of their dozens of dishes and you’ve got yourself a winner.
palak mutton, aloo gobi
Palak mutton (RM 22.9) is a bit different from the palak paneer (spinach + cottage cheese) dish I’m more accustomed to, but they got the muttonsoft and flavorful as well as the spinach on definitely on point here.
Aloo gobi masala (RM 12.9), one of my go-to Northern Indian dishes did not disappoint here, the symphony between potato, cauliflower, onion, and various spices worked wonder.
naan, masala chicken, baingan bharta
Masala chicken (RM 16.9) was again a more than decent dish here, and I was really happy that they have baigan bharta (RM 11.9)a type of smashed eggplant dish), the very first Nothern Indian dish I first had over a decade ago as a student in US, I probably had this in Minneapolis, certainly brought back the memory.
Overall, we rate Big Singh Chapati pretty high, and would definitely return again rather often in the future.
A couple weeks ago while getting myself a band saw from a hardware supply shop in Subang SS15, we walked past a restaurant with no name that seems to be enjoying quite a healthy stream of customers. Upon closer inspection, the nameless restaurant is called Uncle Seng, and they just didn’t bother fixing up the sign board that has half its letters fell/worn off.
Uncle Seng at SS15, a short walk from the colleges
I’ve not heard of Uncle Seng before, but a shabby restaurant that has a good crowd is usually a positive sign, so we went in and took a table.
Ordering system here is pencil & paper sort of affair, and we ticked our options without too much trouble. The choices consists of combinations of char siu, wantan, shredded chicken, chicken feet + mushroom, deep fried pork, and curry chicken with their homemade noodle. They’re priced at RM 7 to RM 10 depending on your choice of combo.
what ingredients do you want on your plate?
For lunch, I chose chicken feet with mushroom + charsiu wantan while Haze had the noodle with deep fried pork plus charsiu.
The order did take some 15 minutes to arrive, and at first, we thought while the texture of homemade noodle was good, the overall taste was pretty average. It was not until the owner came over and informed us that the unique thing here is their chili sauce, and that you have to mix it all in.
Well, that sure made a whole lot of difference. The chili sauce give the otherwise muted tasting noodle dish quite a kick and added dimension, it was quite enjoyable.
mixing the chili sauce up is the way to go here
At the end, it was clear to us that there isn’t a secret why this place is packed even in a lazy rainy afternoon over the weekends. If you’re around the area, Uncle Seng is worth a try, they have a branch at Puchong too.
While curry may be originated from Indian cuisine, here in Malaysia, the local Chinese has since adopted many of the same spices and cooking methods and embraced the dish as their own. Of many curry dishes out there, one of my favorites has got to be fish head curry, one of those dishes that may raise an eyebrow or two if you try to describe it to Westerners.
One of the many restaurants that can cook up a pretty awesome curry fish head is Ah Lye Curry Fish Head at Subang SS19.
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang
Nestled within the housing area of SS19 in Subang Jaya, Ah Lye is one of those old school type of “tai chao” restaurant that has embraced the fact that Malaysian weather and dinner is sometimes not the best combination, hence the place is equipped with air conditioning, albeit with otherwise very basic set up.
Parking is quite a straight forward affair as well since it is not a busy commercial area like other shop lots areas in Subang.
curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg
It was a dinner for 7 pax, and we naturally ordered 6 dishes to share around.
The claypot curry fish head was definitely on point. Loaded with generous amount of okra, brinjal, and fish head, it reminds me of the Nyonya version that mom used to (and still) makes. I love it.
The asam prawn here is quite proper as well, with thick soya sauce covering those pretty decent size prawns. It would have been perfect if they make it slightly more charred.
Fuyong egg provided even more seafood on our third dish with bounty from the sea, if you have a history with gout, this may not be the most healthy diet.
fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege
Stuffed tofu skin and fried namyu pork provided some differing texture to our dinner, they were crunchy as they are savory, goes well with steamed rice.
Of course, we always have a vegetable dish to provide a bit of balance to the whole menu, choy sum served this purpose well in this case.
Expect to spend around RM 20-30 per pax here, and it will be well worth it.