Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Fujian (Hokkien) Food @ Restoran Hua Xing

Today being another public holiday (it's the birthday of Prophet Muhammad), we woke up at a fashionably late hour -- 11am -- and set off to hunt for lunch at two in the afternoon. Today, our aimless driving route took us to Sungai Way, the poor neighbourhood in PJ (Petaling Jaya). If you've been to Sungai Way, you would know what I mean. The neighbourhood, the extremely narrow lanes, the shops, they've not been the beneficiary of PJ's town planning. 

Plaza Seri Setia is nothing more than an old market-type of building, but on the first floor is a restaurant specialising in Fujian (Hokkien) food. Plastered on the walls are newspaper articles of the restaurant. The menu, though not very extensive, is rather interesting.

We ordered one of their signature dishes, Braised Pork in Soy Sauce with Alkaline Cake.
The pork was tender, and the alkaline cake went very well with the soy sauce. It is more common to eat this dish with steamed or fried buns (man tau) or rice, so the cool and soft texture of the alkaline cake was a refreshing change. 

The other signature dish we ordered was the Crispy Deep-Fried Brinjal with Dried Shrimp.
I'd say this was the most interesting dish of all. Even hubby who don't normally eat brinjals, loved it. The brinjals were crispy on the outside, and just a mite chrunchy on the inside. They weren't mushy like how most brinjals are, which was why hubby disliked brinjals. It was addictive, and I couldn't stop eating the strips after I sank my teeth into the first one. My favourite!

Since the braised pork came with alkaline cake, we decided against ordering rice, and opted for a noodle dish instead. We chose Fried Tapioca Flour Noodles.
The tapioca flour noodles was done the Hokkien Noodle style, fried in dark soy sauce. On its own, it was not bad, and certainly worth another order on the next visit, but a little over-shadowed by the crispy brinjal, I think. But then, this is a biased opinion from someone who fell over heels for the crispy brinjal.

The total bill came to RM37.50, including a pot of tea for two. The menu did not list the prices of the food, neither did they give a breakdown of the meal, so for those who always asked me to include the prices, I'm sorry I'm unable to oblige this time.

No. 1-12, 1st Floor, Plaza Seri Setia
Jalan SS9/2, Sungai Way, PJ.
Tel: (03) 7876 - 3288
Business hours: 11:30am - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm. 
Closed on alternate Wednesdays

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Penang Food

It has been said that the best food is found in Penang. As a person who was born in Penang, and who has tasted all types of food in almost all the different states in Malaysia, I feel qualified to say that the claim is a bit exaggerated. It would be more accurate to say that the best Penang hawker food is found in Penang, followed closely behind by Taiping.

That said, Penang remains one of my favourite local holiday destinations. (Will return to the subject of food later.) It is the ideal place to go to for a relaxing holiday. We always choose to stay at Tanjung Bungah hotels that have a beach-front and the route is serviced by Rapid Penang buses. 

Bus no. 101 is very frequent, once every 5 to 10 minutes while bus no. 103 is rather erratic. We took bus no. 101 to Batu Feringhi and Pulau Tikus, and bus no 103 to Kelawei Road, where we then walked to Gurney Drive. Depending on where we boarded the bus and our destination, the bus fare ranges from RM1.40 to RM2.00 per person, one way. 

Now, back to the subject of the post --- FOOD, what else?! 

Like anyone, I have my favourite haunts, and below are places that I like to go to again and again whenever I'm in Penang. And one of them is "Long Beach", the food court at Batu Ferringhi. Many Mat Sallehs eat here.

The lamb Calzone at the Northern Indian stall at Batu Ferringhi Food Court. It is really good, and is a must-try if you like lamb and mint sauce. Price: RM15. 

The  Ee Fu Mee at Batu Ferringhi Food Court used to be good, but on this trip, the quality has deteriorated. Price: RM5

This home-made fried spring roll is worth the long wait. It comes with a Worcestershire sauce mix. Price: RM3

We had our brunch at Kedai Kopi Swee Kong, opposite Pulau Tikus Balai Polis.
Hubby likes the fried koay teow whereas I prefer the Indian Mee Goreng.

Oyster Omelette at Sin Yin Nam Cafe, New Lane. The oysters are big and juicy, while the omelette is done just right, neither overcooked nor dry. It's not starchy, either. This shop has one of the better prawn mee and curry mee, but unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures. 

My favourite!! Real otak-otak, juicy, squishy, this type of fish mousse is available only in Penang. The Taman Tun Dr Ismail market in KL has an almost similar type of otak-otak, but it ranks a bit low compared to the ones in Penang. We always get one each from Song River Cafe, Gurney Drive.

Top Hat and Spring Roll from Gurney Drive. It looks better than it tastes. Not recommended.

We also discovered a new English cafe, Yorkshire Cafe, at Tanjung Bungah, near the Tanjung Bungah market, and along the same row of shoplots as Maxim and CIMB Bank. The cafe, owned by a Brit from Yorkshire (where else?!) just recently opened its doors for business two weeks before. 
It serves traditional English pub grub although the waitress didn't know that. She was telling us that some customers asked why they don't have soup, and she told them that soup is a Western dish and the English does not take soup. I had to tell her that her boss is dishing out pub food, though I don't know if she believed me.

The menu has all the traditional dishes like Ploughman's Lunch, Banger and Mash, Steak & Kidney Pie, Shepherd's Pie, Baked Beans on Toast, Apple Crumble and Trifle. It only serves Steak with Yorkshire Pudding on special festivals. They also didn't have Toad in the Hole, either, another traditional pub grub.

The Shepherd's Pie was a little burnt and dry, but the gravy more than made up for it.

Banger and Mash. The banger is a pork sausage. The onion gravy was authentically English. Yummy! However, according to hubby, the mashed potato is not as smooth as the ones I made at home. Well, I guess that's probably because I boiled the potatoes longer, or perhaps it's due to the butter and fresh milk I dumped in while mashing the potatoes up.

Another place that I always go to for breakfast is a corner coffee shop along the same row of shoplots as Yorkshire Cafe. It used to serve amazing dry wantan mee, but this trip, the quality has deteriorated. The man is no longer helped by his wife, and the sauce tasted different. The curry mee was still as good as ever, though.

There are more food that we ate than photos taken (it was quite hard to remember to fish the camera out before we stuffed the food into our big gap), and the result is.....we've put on weight, err, I mean, there's more of us to love. My resolution was to return to the gym every day to make it worth the monthly management fee we pay.....I've been back four days now, and have yet to go downstairs to the gym.....