Monday, September 29, 2008

Diang Miang Ngu @ Sibu Central Market

This looks more like a stadium than a market, don't you think? I was told it is one of the largest market in Malaysia, it is definitely one of the best looking one I have seen in Malaysia. 

It is also very orderly and neat but still retains a feel of a market place. First there is the tamu area (you can't mistaken it for anything else because most of the produce are displayed on the floor like in all tamus with the vendors squatting) and then you have the market proper. First tamu I have been to that is fully covered and operates daily. That sure beats shopping under the hot sun.

Seems like a very common and popular item, the pickled kangkong. Quite a number of stalls offering them in the tamu.

No, these are not for cooking lemang. These bamboos are for the native's special dish, the bamboo chicken. They use coconut water (not santan) to cook this dish. Really like to taste it.

This is midin, but I really can't tell the difference between this and paku ferns just by looking, they taste much better though. 

Another edible fern.

I found these chickens all wrapped up and ready to go. First time I have seen dressed up chickens :-) 

Sure enough, we found the only stall selling this at the upstairs market place.
 cook was kind enough to let me squeeze into her tiny kitchen to take pictures while she prepared the dish.
This is a batter of rice flour and water (the gruel). 

She put some stock, black fungus and mushroom in this wok. I waited eagerly for her to lace the edge of the wok with the batter like what L had described to me earlier.

But no, she then heated another wok and started to cook the batter in it. When I asked why she did that she said it is faster and easier but...but... I don't want fast and easy.. I want a spectacular show!! Oh man, I felt so cheated.
Here was my diang miang ngu in two separate woks... :-(

When the gruel set she just flipped it over to the wok with the boiling soup which by now she had added minced meat and fish balls.

The final product. The noodle was very smooth and tasted good but I still felt cheated.

We ordered a plate of fried rice cake too. Not bad, good wok heat but still light, the rice cake had just the right bite.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kompia @ Sibu

The humble kompia transformed into culinary delights. These were deep fried, slit and stuffed with a minced meat filling. Although a little oily they were so delicious and I had 3! 
L told us she had tried making with many other fillings and found sambal udang kering the best with these buns. For a less oily snack, better to pan-fry than deep fry. 

L said a kompia is only worth eating if it is handmade and charcoal baked. She volunteered to bring us to this place where she gets her supply of kompia. If it is of any help this shop is in front of the Rajang Park wet market. 
She told me the buns can be kept very well frozen for a month or so. It used to be RM1 for 10 but what with the price of flour rocketed sky high they are now Rm1 for 4 buns only... 

This small shop manned by two young men is only about the size of a room (10'x12'). A big table cover with stainless steel stood in the centre. A charcoal furnace (very similar to those found in shops making naans) next to it at the entrance of the shop.

They flattened, 

dimpled, (according to L, in the olden days the dimples were originally small holes so that the buns could be strung on a cord and hung around the neck of men going out to work on the farms. All they need to do when hungry were to tear off the bun from the cord and lunch was ready. How's that for fast food?!)

sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds (before this, he sprayed the dough with a fine mist of water, didn't catch that)
(amazingly they didn't fall off into the red hot charcoal)

with charcoal burning.
They did all these in less than 10 minutes! I had a hard time focusing on their actions because they moved so fast.

The finished product were then fished out with this net.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mee Kang paun, Sibu

The next morning, I was excited as L had mentioned bringing us to the best kang paun noodles in town. Mee Kang paun is Fuchow's version of kon lou (dry stired) noodles. Waited patiently and refused to eat anything from the hotel. She drove us to Jalan Ling Kai Cheng (sorry don't know Sibu at all so can't tell you whereabout was that, only managed to jot down the street name). As soon as we turned into this street the shop is right ahead. 

To L, noodles are not worth eating if they are not handmade. She mentioned the noodles being made in the shop and I was eager to take some pictures to show but when we arrived they had already finished making the morning batch. Sadly, this picture is the only one I took. Couldn't wait to taste the noodles as the aroma from the fried shallots and the lard used made me drooled all over and my hands were quivering with hunger and anticipation. I was a little dismay when the noodles arrived at the table because the serving of noodles was about the size of my fist and the slices of meat were paper thin.
All that became immaterial when I took my first mouthful. A simple dish that begins and ends with the noodles and the fragrant oil that brings it together. Using K's words - light, smooth without being oily and flavors that hit all the right notes in the palates. This noodle is not springy like wanton mee, it is soft and smooth but still with a bite. So different from our kon lou mee that is drowning in gravy. Love this.

Of course when K sees laksa on the menu he just couldn't resist. Had a taste of the gravy. Preferred the one at Taman Cantik, KK anytime. 

Spotted these kompia at the entrance of the kopitiam and L ordered 1/2 dozen. These little buns are very similar to bagels in texture and taste. They are one of Fuchow's famous eats. Look at the transformation of these little humble buns in my next post. Stay tuned. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dinner in Sibu, Sarawak

RH Hotel
Hubby needed to go to Sibu for the weekend and asked if I wanted to come along. Since Bryan got his driving license and took over the chauffeuring for the two girls before his course starts I am not about to let any trips short or long slip past. I know when I resume my duty as the chauffeur again I will be grounded. So, meantime the answer is always yes (I might have hesitated a little if I had known we were to go in one of those tiny aircrafts with propellers!). 
We stayed in RH Hotel which is a new hotel next to the tallest building in Sibu,  Wisma Sanyan and Sibu Town Square.

The views from the hotel window...

The tallest building in Sibu.

The Rajang river that hugs the town.

The Sibu Town Square.

Never been to Sibu before but heard a lot about the food, especially the Fuchow's. My first taste of Sibu was years ago when my brother, P brought his girlfriend, J from Sibu to meet my parents. She introduced a dish which was new to us all and that was mee suah. I remember the silky smoothness of this noodle and how we were to slurp it up loudly but which I found difficult because of its length.
For this trip, we had a very good food guide, L. She loves food with a 'nyaman' passion. When she tastes something great she goes 'nyaman nyaman' - it means delicious, I think.

Teochew's steamed patin. One of the best I have ever tasted. Fish fresh, tofu smooth and best of all the gravy, just the prefect balance of tanginess and sweetness with hints of plum sauce and rice wine. Finished every drop and it would have been soo good with rice...

It was part of a big fish but the flesh still very smooth and the skin was the best part. 

Another Sarawakian's special, midin, a fern very much like the paku but much more tender and sweet. We tried with red wine instead of the usual sambal fried and it was delicious.

Fried mee suah. Very lightly done and good but somehow, mee suah to me is always associated with chicken rice wine.

This fried noodles taste better than it look, not oily at all and super smooth. I have problem when taking food pictures with other guests beside my family as I feel bad having them wait. So I tried to be quick and usually take one shot only.

Fuchow tofu soup. Texture very similar to hot and sour soup but the taste is totally different. Very mild taste with hints of seafood flavors from the tin oysters and stock of ikan bilis. The tofu remained the star of this dish.

A refreshing glass of cucumber and lime juice with a pinch of salt.
Kompia and mee kang puan to follow....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yung Kee Restaurant

The morning after the typhoon and Hong Kong came alive again. Really weird to see Hong Kong a ghost town but this helped me to appreciate that a city is more about its people and not just the buildings and stuff. 
Our flight which was supposed to leave at 9 am had been delayed to 6pm. Hurray! Another few hours to spend in HK. I thought I have to let this two get a taste of roast goose before leaving HK or the trip wouldn't be complete. Roast goose to me is very symbolically linked with Hong Kong because when we were young whenever my dad came back from Hong Kong, a roast goose was what he would always bring home with him and until today I can still recall the feast that followed. 

Remembered passing Yung Kee on my quest for the wanton noodle in  Central, it looks terribly grand and expensive but I didn't want to waste time looking elsewhere as I want to leave some time for shopping too. So Yung Kee it had to be.

Everything look so good from the window. But regrets set in as soon as we sat down and had a look at the menu...

A less than 1/2 (probably 1/4) a goose serving cost HK$150!

And this plate of white-cut chicken cost HK$120.

This meal with rice and chinese tea cost HK$300+  and it was the most expensive of all the meals we have had in Hong Kong. The goose and chicken were good but not spectacular and I know we could have easily gotten the same thing for a fraction of the price in many other roast shops. Will I go back there again? A definite NO even if I am to encounter another typhoon. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beringgis Seafood Restaurant, Papar

Daniel recommended this restaurant that is nestled next to the Taiwan Restaurant (which is famous for its pork trotter and fried roti canai) along the road to Papar. There are only a few restaurants we go to when craving for seafood and I have featured most of them, I think. This one is a new one so here goes:

Ambience-wise, we, especially hubby love the rustic wooden deco and airiness of this place. That's one reason why we have been here twice in the last month.
Distance-wise, it is about the same as Tuaran, about 30km from Kota Kinabalu.
Taste-wise, some dishes we had were good, some were not.

Soft shell crabs in batter RM25

Our favorite. Can you see the crab meat?? Very fresh and well done but apparently not available all the time.

Butter prawns RM40
Done so well that the shell was crispy enough to be eaten yet the prawn's flesh was done just right, moist and soft. 

This talapia was perfectly steamed in a very simple, light but tasty soy sauce. RM34

Not bad but don't think we will order this again. RM25 for a couple of clams...

I like this claypot with local tofu. RM15 

But the rest of the clan preferred this sizzling Japanese tofu hot plate. RM18

Peas sprouts sauteed with garlic, perfectly done. RM15
Look is deceiving here. Three words. Bland, bland and bland. I still can't figured out how this good looking kung po sauce can be so bland and even the squids were bland. RM18

This talapia was steamed with a spicy sauce which I think came out of a bottle of thai chilli sauce. A definite no no. Too super sweet.

Price-wise, can't beat Welcome but cheaper than Gaya Sport and others. An order of a fish, a 1/2 kg prawn dish, a tofu dish, a veg., a shell dish and an extra dish came up to about RM160