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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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I felt a little cheated.


Linguine Marinara, RM12.00
Cause it was supposed to be linguine and NOT spaghetti. Geez, didn't I know how to tell the difference between the pasta? One was flat and the other rounded, for goodness sake! Then, the menu explicitly mentioned that there would be fish in the dish. I did not find a single piece. There were only dices of those frozen suriirmi crab sticks. Basically, it was a tomato based spaghetti in surimi sticks and baby tomatoes. Thank goodness I liked the use of sweet baby tomatoes and fresh herbs. Else ......................... anyway, I felt really cheated. 

Chicken Wrap, RM7.50
The presentation was good. The taste was alright. There were chicken and some shredded vegetables in there .... but I thought the rolls were just too skinny. I really liked the fatly compact ones for ultimate indulgence. The flavoured french fries were quite alright. 

Shrimp Paste Wings, RM8.50
Well, the chicken wings were crisp, except that I thought it tasted funny. One could argue that shrimp paste wings were supposed to be pungent. Hmn ..... 

Carrot and Orange, RM8.50 each
Probably the only items I did not have issues with ..... these cold thirst quenchers were rather enjoyable and refreshing.

The bill came to RM45.00. Would I go back? Hmn .... I can't help but still feel rather cheated .... though I did like the ambience and the comfy chairs there ..... what a pity.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taps and Bites

The girls needed some finger food and dessert. They also needed wi-fi. Ironically, even though they were together, they spent more time glued to their mobile devices. It was a very anti-social behaviour in the midst of a sociable event. Lols.

So, Citrus seemed to be a suitable place to hang out.

Wasabi Calamari Frits, RM10.90
It was a generous helping of giant calamari rings. I loved the springy calamari hidden in the crust. It was sliced in reasonable thickness and was great to chew on. Some people may find it a bit too hard, though. The crust too was rather thick, but it was crunchy and tasty with the wasabi mayo dip. I liked the dip, which had the pungency of wasabi and yet was not too spicy. 

 Black Beauty, RM11.90
I had this before, and I did not really like the honey that dressed the waffle. To me, the flavours contradicted. So we had our waffle customised. Instead of honey, we asked for it to be dressed in MORE chocolate sauce. And I found this Black Beauty sans honey to be really enjoyable to eat. 

While eating .... it was tap, tap tapping away on the touch screens ............

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pastries

Bought from a random vendor at the Pasar Malam outside the Open Air Market because I could never resist pastries.


Shao Bao, RM1.80 and Curry Puff, RM1.30

The filling 

Both compactly filled with ingredients, but the taste failed to linger in my memory. These pastries were mere ordinary, but would suffice for lunch.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Guang Xiang Ju

I'd just sat down, and a rat ran over my feet. My friend let out a piercing scream. And all eyes turned to us. Blush. ;p

Well, I was at the Open Air Market. It's not really open, though. It's got a roof over it. Anyway, that's how this place is called since time immemorial. The market houses a stretch of stalls, all nondescript-looking. In fact, if you ask me .... everything here seems to look and feel grubby. The unlighted corners of the building ... some unopened stalls ... mismatched tables and stools. It does not just seem to be an ideal place to eat.

The Open Air Market is famous for a few dishes. It is, however, even more  famous for the fact that it is infested with rats. And large ones too! I've seen them with my own eyes, scurrying into one dark corner of the market. A more adventurous one I had seen scampering across a table top.

Despite this, people never fail to flock to this place ... whether day or night, whether young or old. Their aim is to sample some of the deliciousness, uniquely available at the Open Air Market.

One attraction is Guang Xiang Ju, a stall that churns out legendary bowls of chicken porridge and dry-tossed noodles. It is so popular among the locals that its menu is synonymous with the market. Just say "Open Air Porridge" or "Open Air Noodles", and everyone will invariably imagine a piping hot bowl of fragrant porridge, not too watery and not too thick; or strands of smooth noodles coated with mind-blowing flavours of lard and seasonings, and topped with slivers of char siew. Besides the porridge and noodles, people also love the Steamed Chicken that they sell.

"Difficult to wait," people tell me.

Yes it's true. The stall only operates at night. 7.30 p.m. to be exact. I was there at about 7.20 p.m. and there were already many tables occupied. There was no food on the tables, though. Only drinks. For people were waiting for Guang Xiang Ju to open. At 7.25 p.m., the operators arrived. While they got ready to start their business, a queue started to form. They had not even turned on the lights yet!

After placing the order, another round of waiting began as they served table by table. That aside, they had to attend to those taking away their orders. There were people taking away packs and packs of noodles! We sat and observed while the operators went about their business. Each had a different task to do in the food assembly line ... and they did them with quiet deliberation.

"They all look alike," said my friend. Well, yeah .... it is a known fact that they are siblings.

About 15 minutes later, our food arrived.

Chicken Porridge, RM2.50
It looks plain. It feels light. It smells fragrant of sesame oil. It tastes very savoury. And this is comfort food. Yum.

 Dry noodles, RM2.50
It looks great. It smells great. The noodles are very springy and fragrant. It only takes one slurp to experience that burst of savouriness in your mouth. Absolutely delicious. If I could only eat ONE bowl, and if I were to choose between the porridge and the noodles, I think I much prefer the noodles. Highly recommended.

Steamed Chicken, RM10.00 portion
The chicken is a great accompaniment to the porridge and the noodles. They were fresh and tender, juicy and succulent, and flavoured with fragrant sesame oil. My friends and I enjoyed it. Diners can have their platter customised with innards as well. 

It was hot and cramped. The large tattoed man from the next table brushed against us when he shifted on his seat. The floor was uneven. The tables rocked. But everyone was tucking into bowls and bowls of noodles, porridge and steamed chicken, delight painted all over their faces.

What makes a good meal? Familiar flavours at this place which is so full of character.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sinful Breakfast

I had this at about 8.00 a.m. It was for breakfast .... and it seemed to be a little too heavy.


My breakfast plate

Now .... let's see. On my plate was a serving of yellow turmeric rice. By itself, there wasn't much taste. Then next to the rice was a serving of mixed vegetables. The vegetables were made up of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, red chilli peppers and stir-fried with egg. The highlight was the fish curry. It was really yum. Mackerel was used and cut into large steaks, and cooked in a very rich and fagrant curry sauce. There were some brinjal wedges in the curry, and I thought they were perfect complement to curry.

Beautiful and delicious fish curry ...

I enjoyed the fish, as much as the curry gravy. Yums.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

粉干蛋 @ QQ

I had this dish at QQ at Pelita Commercial Centre the other day, and found it to be really delicious!

Slurps and yummy ...

What is 粉干蛋? It's a thick rice vermicelli cooked with eggs in a red rice wine soup base. And red wine made the soup VERY satisfying. The combination of ingredients were just wonderful! There was the soft and slightly starchy thick rice vermicelli, the crunchy carrot strips and black fungus, the fragrant egg, meatballs, and minced pork. Yummm .... salivating as I am typing now .... I can't wait to go back there for a second bowl! Highly recommended indeed. 

Of course, when at QQ, how to resist roasted pork? 

Salty ............. savoury ............ crunchy and fatty .... but oh so yummy .....   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Steamed Tapioca Cake

They were freshly made, still warm.  They looked so tempting, in a pretty shade of yellow, and covered with fine white shavings of coconut. I could not resist them.

Steamed Tapioca Cake

These traditional steamed tapioca cakes were made by R***, my canteen operator. They were soft and chewy, and tasted very prominently of tapioca. It was very simple, and yet very delicious. I had my fill of those cakes with a cup of black coffee, and I was sated. Sigh ...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cheap & Delicious Pandan Chiffon Cake

Come and eat the cake, my friend invited. She had bought from Giant Hypermarket, a whole Pandan Chiffon Cake and it only cost RM3.99.

Why did you buy so much? I asked her.

She said it was freshly baked and she could not resist buying. Plus, it was on discount. The usual price would be about RM4.99.

Lol.

The whole cake ... 

Cut up a slice .... 

Well, I would say that the cake was soft and light and fluffy and thankfully not too sweet. That very necessary fragrance of coconut milk was also evident. I ended up eating a slice and a half .... though it was already 10.00 p.m. at night and I was going to turn in soon. Jeez, I went to bed feeling a bit guilty. ;p

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick Rice Vermicelli Stir-Fry

Last minute dinner, made up of all that belonged to me in the fridge. It was rather miserable .... as I had only some carrots, and a bag of Mom's homemade meatballs and fishballs and eggs.

So I blanched some instant rice vermicelli, cut up some shallots and garlic, and stir-fried them up with the stuff from the fridge. It was some fish sauce and lots of pepper for seasoning.

My own concoction .... 

Well .... it was edible ... but nothing great, of course.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fattening Myself Up ....

I have a love hate relationship with snacks. I love them so much. Yet, I hate their ability to make me fat. Lols. Lately, however, I am quite fond of these .....

Pringles Multigrain potato chips 

These crisps were slightly thicker than the normal ones. The surface looked nutty and grainy, and so these crisps had more bite to them. 

And then, there were these Loacker mini wafer squares .... 

Napolitaner

Chocolate 

These wafers in convenient little packs made them easy eats .... And of the two, I preferred Napolitaner which had yummy and sweet hazel nut cream in between the thin biscuits ... Yum .... much like eating Nutella.

These indulgences induced guilt ..... and I should really, really cut back on them ....

Saturday, April 20, 2013

RM12 Takeaway Lunch

I think I was overcharged.


I bought this from the Nasi Padang stall at Food Stop Merdeka Mall .... No doubt the the sambal and veges were tasty ... and the chicken too ... but for RM12.00? Hmn ...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Kolo Mee @ Thian Ho

I'm always looking for delicious kolo mee or dry-tossed noodles here in Miri. So far, those that have made an impression are Guang Xiang Ju and Stall 13 at New Yakin.

Lots of people seem to order the kolo mee at Thian Ho, Pujut 1. So I decided to try it today ....

Kolo Mee, RM2.50 

The verdict?

Well, firstly, it smelled good. There was lard in there, I know.

Looks wise, all the right ingredients were there. The ever so necessary char siew bbq pork, the minced pork, the chopped spring onions and also the deep-fried shallots.

Before one tucked in, the noodles had to be tossed so that the oils and seasonings that sank to the bottom of the bowl would moisten the noodle strands. Here, the noodles were moist enough.

One slurp, and I found that the noodles were a tad overcooked that evening. It affected the texture of the noodles. Instead of being springy, the noodles were soggy. Unfortunately.

Taste wise, hmn ..... so-so, cause the noodles were not salty enough for me. Perhaps another dash of light soy sauce or half a teaspoon of salt to enhance the flavour.

I ate the noodles with lots of pickled red cut chillies and vinegar.

To conclude, not really that great, but edible enough.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tutti Frutti @ Bintang Plaza Mega Mall

It's "cool" to have this outlet right at my own backyard. :p

 Tutti Frutti @ Bintang Plaza Mega Mall

Cause I'll be able to have frozen yogurt anytime I like! Previously, I'd have to wait till trips to KL and Kuching to enjoy this dessert.

The other night when I was there with my friends, there were 5 flavours available ... Pineapple, kiwi, strawberry, chocolate and TF Tart. I choose to mix kiwi with strawberry .... and then sprinkled some chocolate rice on top.

Pretty in green and pink 

Well, I enjoyed both the flavours tremendously ... light, yet milky, subtly flavoured and tart. Delicious. The yogurt is sold at RM0.56 per 100g. Mine weighed 204g and I paid RM11.42 for my cup of yogurt. Expensive, huh? But indulge once in a while only k. ;:p

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Deep-fried Yam Cake

Rose, my canteen operator, makes these yam cakes herself.

Homemade yam cakes

I loved them very much ... cause she used very good quality yam, which was powdery and melted in the mouth. The cake was really fragrant, and delicious! And best of all, she sells 3 pieces for only RM1.00.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Le Pliage Pewter Zipper

I had wondered whether my bilberry Longchamp Le Pliage Type M  short handle tote was a fake ... cause the zip puller was not gold in colour.

Other than the zip puller, the rest of the bag looked ok : flap and strap felt and smelt like leather .... perfectly imprinted jockey logo ... good quality vinyl in a rich purple colour ... gold snap buttons with correct wordings and reinforced with round plastic discs. I was only troubled by the zip puller. The details were there but the colour was all wrong.

So I hesitated about using it. It sat in the plastic packaging for a long time. Till the other day .... I was at a coffee shop when I saw a lady using the same model, but in fushcia. I paid close attention to her bag, squinted my eyes till I caught sight of the zipper pull.

And guess what? It wasn't gold in colour as well. Only then did I conduct a search online. Well, I found out that authentic Le Pliage could have hardware in gold, pewter, and silver. It depended on the size and model of the bag. And apparently, type M short handle totes came with the pewter zip pullers .....

Pewter zip puller

Okie ... I was glad to know that my bag was authentic after all .... So I took it out from the packaging and started using it ....

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Worst

I was in no mood to cook. As I was in no mood to eat. But since I had thawed the minced meat and the fish balls .... heck ... I had to cook them anyway.

So I roughly shaped the minced and dumped them into a pot together with the fish balls ... and boiled ... and when they were ready, I opened up a packet of instant vermicelli noodles. I dumped that into the pot as well
... I waited till the noodles softened and added in the flavouring.

Dinner ... 

That has got to be the worst self-cooked dinner ever! Lol.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Homemade Curry Puffs

I have often seen my colleagues enjoying curry puffs. They were packed in 3's and always in a clear plastic bag. But I have no idea where they get the curry puffs from. Till yesterday, when a colleague placed her reservation with another colleague. The transaction occurred right in my face. So of course I had to order too! I would not forgive myself otherwise!

Beautifully made curry puffs,
3 pieces for only RM1.00


Crispy skin, perfectly deep-fried

 The curried potato filling was very tasty ... 

These curry puffs were homemade, by my colleague's husband. I thought they were beautifully made, each piece the same size and the edges nicely folded. These curry puffs sold very well among my colleagues, usually running out by 9.00 a.m. every morning. They were delicious, so no wonder! I would buy them whenever they were available! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Breakfast @ Maxim's

I enjoyed breakfast here at Maxim's. I had ...

 Mixed Fish Vermicelli
It had fish slices, fish balls, fish cakes, and fish maw. The fish products were rather fresh, and the clear soup was rather sweet. 

Fried Vermicelli
I did not eat this but I thought it looked pretty good. 

In fact, I had enjoyed breakfast so much that I recommended this eatery to my friend. She, however, reacted negatively to the food. Hmn .... I don't know. I guess everyone has different taste, and we just can't please everyone. ;p 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bamboo Peanuts In Taiwan.

Fourth Aunt gave me a packet of peanuts. What a name. It's actually peanuts coated in bamboo charcoal. And obviously, it is made in Taiwan. 

Black like charcoal 

Well, I quite like the peanuts. Except that they were only 9 rounded pieces in the whole packet. That's really pathetic. Peanuts in black shell is quite a novelty, though. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dumplings and Fritters

It was raining rather heavily. I felt cold and a bit hungry.I was at the bank, and at the vicinity, I know of a couple selling yummy traditional cakes for tea. Though it was pouring, I made my way to the stall, which was made up of 2 foldable tables.

Atop one table were containers, filled with delectable traditional cakes or kueh ... such as the steamed yam cakes, serimuka and so on. But I wanted the the Cai Kueh. Cai Kueh translates to English as Vegetable Dumpling. It is basically a steamed pastry with stir-fried vegetables filling. The most common vegetable used in the filling is shredded jicama.

Here, there are 3 types of Vegetable Dumpling sold. But when I was there the other day, only two types were left.

 Cai Kueh
The rounded dumpling contained shredded jicama and minced pork filling, while the elongated one had jicama and dried shrimp. 

The filling inside the dumplings
Both tasted similar, yet distinctly different. Of the two, I think the pungent dried shrimp was more effective in bringing out the sweetness of the jicama. So I prefer the the dried shrimp flavoured one. Anyway, the soft and chewy skin, combined with savoury and crunchy shredded jicama was just great! 

The Vegetable Dumplings were sold in packs of three. 3 pieces for RM2.00.

At the other table, the Vendor Auntie was deep-frying fritters on the spot. I could not resist buying those freshly deep-fried fritters which were cooked to golden perfection.  

 Left to right : Yam, sweet potato, banana
The batter for all the fritters was the same, and was slighty salty. I loved all three - the powdery yam .... the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and banana .... Yums.  3 pieces for RM1.00 only. 

This stall is located at Tham's Cafe at Centrepoint, Miri. They only start selling at 3.00 p.m., but be sure to be prompt, cause the stuff here sells like hot cakes! ;p 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stall 34 Wei Xiang

Each noodle stall at the Kenyalang Wet Market has its own faithful followers. Essentially, each stall sells the same thing, i.e. kolo mee or dry-tossed noodles. However, the noodles taste invariably different at each stall.

I haven't eaten kolo mee at Stall 34 for a long time, so I thought I would give it a go. After Mom and I finished shopping for fresh produce, we went upstairs where the food stalls were. We placed for our order, and had to wait for a while. They was a long line of customers ahead of us ... some dining in and some taking away.

I chose to take away my noodles to eat at the comfort of my home.

Kolo Mee, RM2.50

Well, I must say that the noodles tasted quite good.
1) It had all the necessary ingredients. My only complaint was the colour of the char siew, which looked very artificial.
2) The noodles smelled fragrant and tasted great. They were still springy even though I ate them a long while later.
3) The portion was generous too.

I was quite happy with the kolo mee, and hence I patronised this stall twice within a week. ;p

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sambal Kedondong

We have a kedondong tree at the backyard. According to Wikipedia, the kedondong fruit is called "hog plum" in English. Well, that's enlightening. I surely did not know that before. We normally call it by its local name, bakolong.

It's a small oval fruit, usually in green. The skin has to be peeled to reveal smooth yellow-green flesh inside. It's a crunchy but sour fruit, with a distinctively refreshing flavour. The fruit can be eaten fresh, pickled or blended into a juice.

The fruits are abundant all year round ... so we try to consume them sometimes. The other day, Dad prepared a Sambal Kedondong. It is somewhat a spicy and pungent relish made from the fruit.

Dad peeled the tiny fruits, and then cut out the flesh of eacg fruit. Then he pounded the flesh finely in a stone mortar bowl. Then he pounded some belacan or fermented prawn paste and birds' eye chillies before mixing everything together. The sambal was later chilled in the fridge.

Sambal Kedondong

I had lots of it for dinner. It was spicy, sour, pungent, and extremely appetising. Indeed, I did not need to eat any other dishes that night. Sambal kedondong and rice would suffice. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Oops

There's a single ATM at my neighbourhood. And I was queueing up to withdraw some money. I was third in the line ... and in front of me was a young man in uniform. While he was waiting for his turn, his colleague was speaking on the phone. His colleague was standing at a distant.

When he finished his call, he joined his friend in front of me. He took out his ATM card, so it looked like he was going to cut the queue.

I was annoyed.

His friend carried out 2 transactions on the ATM, and he was done. Then, this fellow was about to insert his ATM card into the card slot ....

"You should queue up," a voice said in English.

I was shocked. Did I really say that?

He stopped his hand in mid-air .... turned back to look at me ... and then gave way to me. He was going to leave ... but he said ...

"I came with him," he said in Hokkien ... his hand pointing to his friend and left.

Well, you were not standing in the queue in the first place, I said.

Anyway, I think I should thank my lucky stars that he did not beat me up or argue with me. Phew!

Did I do it right? Should I have told him off? Or should I have just let him go ahead with the transaction? Sigh .... why do I feel bad about the whole thing?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Prawn Omelette

I love eating this ...

Prawn Omelette

Whenever Mom buys fresh small prawns, she will be inclined to make this Prawn Omelette. It's her favourite since she grew up eating it.

There is just something about prawn and egg and spring onion. The flavours complement each other so well. The fragrance of the beaten egg, the sweetness of the prawns and the pungence of the spring onions,  combined with the browned and slightly burnt edges of the starch, and dipped in peppered fish sauce is very addictive.

Repost. Read more here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mom's Shao Bao

The other day, the old Auntie was making her curry puffs right at the front of the shop at Chong Chon .... and while waiting, people observed her skills. Mom too .... looked with interest.

And there and then, the urge to make her own pastries budded.

I woke up this morning and she told me, "Let's make some shao bao .... "

But we just ate pastries yesterday.

"Help me," she said. Okie. Mom's bent with making those baked buns. Nothing I said was going to change her mind. I know her.

So I did help out. Mind you, I'm a good kitchen helper. ;p

I cut all the vegetables and meat for the filling into small dices. I cut the onions, carrots, spring onions, mushrooms, bbq meat ..... And then Mom stir-fried all the ingredients and added some seasoning.

The filling ... 

Mom then made the the pastry dough ... while I helped her divide into portions. There were 2 layers for the skin. The outer layer was a "water pastry", while the one inside was an "oil pastry". I divided both into portions.

"26," Mom said, indicating the number of portions the dough had to yield.

The pastry

So Mom rolled the "water pastry" into a flat round and wrapped with with a dollop of "oil pastry". This ball of combined pastry is then flattened and rolled to create a flat round again. 

Then Mom filled it up the flat and rounded pastry case with the filling .... then I glazed it with egg. Mom wrapped it rather quickly. 

Then Mom heated up the oven and baked the pastries .....

 Homemade Shao Bao 

The inside .... 

Yummy .... Today, Mom's shao bao was really yum. The pastry was slightly sweet, and it complemented the savoury filling very well. The pastry case was also a bit crunchy, so it was very pleasant to eat. I ate one as soon as the first tray came out of the oven.

Even though I have gone through the process of making shao bao, I do not think that I will be able to make them on my own. For one, there are too many steps involved, too much hard work. For another, I was really awkward in handling the pastries. I tried to wrap one shao bao ..... and it was real ugly. ;p I've A LOT to learn!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Second Aunt's Homemade Goodies

Second Aunt keeps making things for me to eat. She is my mom's elder sister. And she was my nanny when I was a baby. And she invariably makes me lots of things to eat every time I come back to Kuching ....

Homemade and Handmade Char Siu Bao  

The filling ... 
Soft and chewy bao skin filled with dices of char siu. It is sweet and savoury with a faint hint of shao xing wine used to flavour the meat. 

My perennial favourite is  Second Aunt's Steamed Yam Cake .... it's really very delicious. The cake itself is soft and packed with lots of yam and pork, while the topping is savoury with lots of preserved radish, dried shrimps, chillies, spring onions and of course deep-fried shallots. A perfect combination that has won over a lot of people.

Hae Bee Hiam or Dried Shrimp Sambal
Second Aunt's Hae Bee Hiam really packs a punch ... it's got not only dried shrimps and spices, but also pork rind crackling. Sinful, but so yummy.

I am forever indebted to Second Aunt for feeding me with so much goodies ..... 

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