It was a span of almost half a year since my last work trip to Kota Kinabalu, and I believe anyone would know that this was due to the Covid-19 lock down (2020, what a year huh?).
I had only two meals to dine out on this stopover, dinner was at one of my favorite restaurants in KK – Tung Fong Seafood, and for next day’s lunch, I met up with Ben and was introduced to this new-ish fish noodle place by the name of GK Fish Soup.
fresh fish head vs fried fish ‘lam’
The operation has only been around for about 7 months, it is located about 10 minutes away from city center and can be slightly tricky to find – but if you thought you end up at light industrial area with lots of car workshops, then you’ve reached the right place.
Menu is a simple one page affair – you get to have fish filet, lam ikan (fish stomach), sirip ikan (tails), mix ikan, or kepala ikan (fish head) either fried, or fresh. Soup base can be either peria (bitter gourd), tomato, hamchoi (salted vege), or tomyam.
Ben had fresh fish head and I ordered fried fish stomach with tomato soup, partly due to us being late in arrival (almost noon) and ran out of other options. The seafood were prepared just right, and of top quality, something that I now came to expect at this part of Malaysia. The soup too was packed with flavor and I especially enjoyed the cili paste that was served alongside. This was a good departure as some of the other places often serve subpar condiment (looking at you, Fatt Kee), or have it ultra limited (hello Madam Ing).
GK fish soup, plenty of social distancing
Priced at RM 10 – 18, it offers rather good value. There’s plenty of seafood in a bowl, but portion of meehun can be a bit on the low side, which suits me but not everyone. I am going to come back here again for sure.
Address: GK Fish Soup 23, Lorong Nosoob Jaya 1, Taman Nosoob Jaya, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.931134, 116.075720
Right after announcement of the easing of movement control order, I made a plan to travel up North for some long overdue family time, and on the way back, stopped by Ipoh for a bit of R&R. And since it was already late afternoon by the time we were heading back, I thought it was probably a good idea to have dinner packed from Ipoh “sekaligus”.
The choice for dinner was Ipoh’s famous Salt Baked Chicken at Aun Kheng Lim, located right in old town Ipoh – right by Jalan Theathre.
Aun Kheng Lim Salt Baked Chicken
Aun Kheng Lim is somewhat of an institution and a bit of a tourist attraction in itself, there’s only one item on the menu – chicken stuffed with some Chinese herbs, baked in coarse salt, aka salt baked chicken (fresh or frozen, RM 21 a pop in year 2020). You only get to order to go, the shop does not have any dine in area, or do they offer any fancy side dishes. You line up, asks for the number of chicken you want, take them, and eat at your own leisure.
whole salt baked chicken, tender enough to tear off by hands
You can have the chicken at room temperature, but warming it up with a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes is my preferred method of serving. The chicken is probably just a little over 1 kg, not terribly big, and perfect for 2 person of moderate appetite if you’re going all paleo and without rice. The combination of herbal note and those saltiness brought out the taste of the bird, so satisfying to gobble down with a glass of ice cold water (or beer) to go with.
If you’re in Ipoh, you owe it to yourself to tapao a few birds back home.
P/S: there’s another shop selling the same thing, and to my untrained tongue, they tastes pretty similar.
While home cooking is often healthier, cheaper, and quite fun on its own, I was quite ready to go out for a proper meal after months thanks to this Covid-19 era.
Hang Sing seafood restaurant, Pandamaran
So when Yann May came over to this part of town, we decided that dinner should be cooked by someone else, and in this case, one of the restaurants she used to frequent as a kid – Hang Sing Seafood Restaurant all the way at Pandamaran, Klang. Suits me just well since I do stay rather close to Klang itself, and limited movement control period means that traffic isn’t exactly too troubling.
tapioca noodle, sweet potato leaf, kung pao mantis prawns
After having our temperature checked and names signed into the log book, we were seated down on a rather large table to accommodate for social distancing SOP.
We ordered kung pao mantis prawn, deep fried calamari (squid), sweet potato leaf, and a rather large portion of prawn dish that’s a bit spicy and strong tasting, can’t remember the name if my life depend on it… these dishes were all rather delicious and we chowed them down like hungry teenagers.
deep fried calamari, err.. some sort of prawn dish
With the insistence of May, we also ordered fried tapioca noodle (in fact she even ordered another one to go for next day breakfast. If you love the texture of bubble tea, you’d love this dish, I am not a huge fan of those bubble’s texture, so you’d be right if you guessed that I did not embrace this dish.
Dinner came out to be RM 170 for all these and 4 glasses of kedondong juice. Considering prices of prawns, squid, and mantis prawns, I thought the bill was reasonable.
Last week I went back up to Penang for a bit and managed to meet up with Evon for a late afternoon “tea time” noms. The lady suggested prawn mee at Lebuh Presgrave, I am always happy to get some prawn mee in the system, so why not?
888 Hokkien Mee at Lebuh Presgrave (or 3rd road)
Lebuh Presgrave is also known as “3rd road” in Hokkien or Mandarin, as it is the 3rd road from Jalan Magazine, which was considered as the “first road”. This in fact goes down all the way to 7th road, but that sort of details aren’t exactly important.
The Prawn Mee (known as Hokkien mee in Penang), is locally referred to as the 888 Hokkien Mee. Essentially a house converted coffee shop with the anchor tenant being this big hokkien mee & loh mee stall.
Operation starts at 4:30 pm, and there’s usually quite a healthy line in front of the stall. It goes like this – line up, order, get your food, pay, eat.
prawn mee, loh mee, or mixed loh + prawn soup?
Like many food stalls in Penang, in addition to standard bowl of prawn mee or loh mee, there’s also a list of different optional ingredients you can add. We had ours with intestine and roast pork, in addition to the usual sliced pork, prawns, noodle, egg, bean sprout, fried shallots, and even lard.
I was going to have pork ribs as well, but at that time it wasn’t ready yet (see video), bummer. There’s also apparently pork skin from time to time.
hello Evon, and hello lard!
The verdict? Well, it isn’t famous and popular for nothing. The soup was on point (I had mixed broth), and everything was “just right”. Those bits of lard certainly also contribute to the overall taste. It was that wholesome feeling that I remember from childhood, would definitely go back again.
A couple weeks ago I found myself at the South of KL for some work related assignment near lunch time. Naturally, after our appointment, we went to the most famous nari briyani restaurant for some well deserved lunch.
Our destination was none other than Kafe Beriani Gam Putrajaya.
Nasi Beriani Gam Putrajaya
Getting there can be a bit tricky as the restaurant is located right beside SKVE, you can only get onto SKVE from the restaurant but not the other way around. However, Waze/Google Map is your friend, so do use the link below for your convenience.
It is a bit of a road side set up with upgraded roof and rather proper table and chairs, there’s also some ceiling fans, though one should still prepare to sweat it out a bit on a hot afternoon.
lamb or chicken, which would be your choice?
Ordering is simple, get your nasi beriyani, then pick the type of meat you want to go with. There’s normal ayam (chicken), ayam kampung (village chicken), daging (beef), kambing (lamb), and our favorite – kambing kuzi – all of us ended up ordering the same, with an additional ayam kampung as center plate.
kambing kuzi, hands down
The briyani rice itself were perfectly cooked, fragrant and delicious enough you can have this even just with some sauce. As for the kambing kuzi, we love the tenderness and the rather heavy tasting marinate that makes it a little sweetish, compliments the rice perfectly. The accompanying sambal was on point too.
Expect to pay some RM 20 or more per pax, but if you love briyani rice, this is definitely worth checking out.