Sunday, 28 February 2010

Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun is Fun!

Ate out for dinner again today. Headed direct to Uptown Damansara for some Chee Cheong Fun from our favourite stall - Ah Keong Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun. There always is a small crowd in line waiting for their turn to pick goodies from his spread of delectables.

It amazes me that despite us KLites' propensity to rush and queue-jump, all of Ah Keong's customers turn over a new leaf and wait patiently.

The boss man is quite adept at his craft, quickly separating his customer's pickings. Giving them a plunge in boiling soup or his pot of hot oil to reheat them. Then it is given a quick treatment with his trusty cleaver and scissors before giving them a good slop of gravy.

There is something quite magical about Ah Keong's Black Bean sauce. In other places it would be darker and a whole lot heavier on the palate with salt, but his is something of a departure from that. His version is lighter on the mouth and significantly less salty without losing the identifying flavour and aroma of fermented black beans that defines this dish. Many will take the easier road by adding a scoopful of black bean paste to amp the Umami-punch.

Then there is his delicious Chilli Sauce. This I believe is what keeps us coming back for more. His Chilli sauce has a texture of watered down ground chilli paste but there is like so many layers in the mouth. It is spicy and sweet and pungent, no doubt due to the prawn paste that he added to it. Give them all a long simmer to cook out the rough edges of each ingredients and it blossoms.

Add to that their signature Special Chee Cheong Fun. A rolled masterpiece of silken flat rice noodle stuffed with fried shallots, soy-stewed pickled radish and crushed crispy dried shrimp. The contrast of smooth and soft against crispy is amazing when coated with the two sauces. Mmmmmmm......

See you next week Ah Keong!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Supper Anyone?

At 11.30 tonite we suddenly decided to grab some supper at SS2 PJ. Only issue was that it was quite a distance away - 25 Kms away from where we live, but what the heck, a man's gotta have his supper!

The place was jam packed with people from all walks of life. Young and Old, Short and Tall, Gorgeous or Otherwise, we were all there to honour the tried and true tradition of 'Teh Tarik-ing', imbibement of choice with the standard accompaniment of Maggi Goreng (with maybe a plate or 2 of Koay Teow Goreng, or Nasi Lemak, or Chee Cheong Fun, or Ramli Burger, or Ikan Bakar, or ... you get the picture-lah kan?).

The open-air food/car park was wet and somewhat muddy, thanks to an earlier downpour, but a little mud wasn't enough to deter us hungry Malaysians. The skies had opened up and there was a gentle breeze that cooled the skin besides. Been having a few muggy nights so this was a great treat.

Rafi definitely had his hands full making drinks. And running a 2-man show on a packed night like tonight? Try his Kopi Ais, perfectly balanced concoction of sweet and bitter.

I guess everyone is still celebrating the CNY eh?

Sorry, for the grainy photos ya, I took 'em with my phone camera-lah.
Didn't wanna feel like a tourist,  with a camera in my hands.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Out & About: Saturday Well Spent

The stars aligned and all manner of miracles occured. One such was the pact GF and I made to hit KL on our off day. Plans were quickly made and we shook on it. Saturday morning came and I arrrived at her gates as early as 11 raring to go.

As soon as she hopped in the car we coasted to KLCC, as apparently there was a Photography Showcase being presented at the Petronas Gallery. However, upon arriving in KLCC our collective bellies growled their desire for sustenance. With the bountiful number of eateries here it was rather difficult to arrive to a decision, so we browsed for edibles at the food court at Level 3, not really intending to grab anything there.

We circled the place like hungry hawks and suddenly we stumbled upon a peculiar sight - Nasi Kandar! (In a Food Court like KLCC?). Both of us aren't exactly fans of Nasi Kandar but we just couldn't resist the way their food was displayed, rows upon rows of various shapes and textures and colours.

3 seconds later we were ordering our plate of sacrifice(s). GF was all aflutter, flagging this and that to pile on her plate.
Swimmer Crabs Galore

Udang Galah joe!

Sticky Spicy Chicken Varuval
Thick Chicken Curry!

Note the somewhat smiling dude in the background? He is smiling because our meal check alone should be enough to cover their costs for the day! :)

Sliced Bhendi Sauteed in Spices and Dried Chillies. Only Indian cooks know how to respectfull treat this wonderful ingredient!
We even risked her mild allergy to seafood by ordering ourselves Fried Freshwater Lobster and Crab.

The crab had gone into hiding (in our bellies!)
A short moment later we were already tucking into our mini mounds of Briyani rice and assortment of spiced dishes.So we sat and we ate with our hands! (and how often does one see that in snooty ole KLCC!) and chatted. What fun! Nevermind the glares and not-so-surreptitious glances we were getting. 
Belly all filled with ballast, we marched over to Kinokuniya for some book grazing. A friend had said that this place carries an enormous range of titles and genres so it certainly is good to pay it a visit. Attractive prices too.

Then it was off to the art gallery where we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience of looking at the award winning photo pieces of various Photogs both professional and amateur. Sadly we couldn't snap any pics as it is considered bad form to do so in galleries and art houses unless it specifically says it is allowed.

About an hour or so later, we exited the gallery and proceeded to Shoe hunt. GF needed new sensible work shoes. Shuttling back and forth from Isetan and Parkson, she finally got them. Lets hope they last as long as we think it will, as she walks a whole lot in her line of work.

A highlight was that we saw this really striking piece of footwear in Parkson, straddling the grey area of S&M between Dominatrix and Leather/Metal fetish . Look and decide for yourselves.
What's my name? Thwack!

Gave both GF and me the Heebie-Jeebies as visions of, ahem, creatively utilised rope, riding crop and spank paddles comes to mind!

Bile in out throats, we agreed to get some refreshments at San Francisco Coffee. I had a Baybridge Sunrise. This coffee and milk based beverage is served iced cold, spiked with a good slosh of orange and vanilla syrup. Definitely one of my favourite waters. And hard to get where I live and normally shop at too. She had a small iced vanilla latte.

And Razee being Razee, drinks need food to go with them (or should that be the other way round?) and hence our drinks were partnered with a Chocolate Brownie to share.Rested, we gallivanted some more.

Planned to catch a movie but the queue at the ticket counter was prohibitively long (and I so hate being in queues) caused us to decide to leave KLCC for Pavillion! Posessed, we launched ourselves onwards.

Arriving in Pavillion we were caught unawares by the immensity of the complex. It is frickin huge! Being our first time here, we sought what all good shopping malls should have - a good bookstore. Lady luck was with us that day, and we found Times books a few floors from where we came in. Joy!
Rows upon rows of books. Yeahh!
We both love reading so this was a great find. Love the Black on Beige and Brown colour palette of the place, it certainly was a look that sets them apart from their ilk of MPH and Borders. Found a gem here too, we seriously laughed ourselves silly discovering it. Cute eh? (And where were you during my teenage years?)

We spent a good hour in here too before opting to lose our way in the cavernous mall. By now our poor feet has already taken a beating from all those miles of window gazing. It was getting harder and harder to maintain our bouncy gait (note to GF, wear comfy shoes next time). 

As our last stop, we dragged our feet to a place for a Teppanyaki dinner. I had the Lamb and she opted for Beef (we really couldnt think straight now, legs splayed and feet akimbo) while the flat-iron chef whipped up our meals. He was quite deft with his pair of steel scrapers and tools. We also noted that quite a lot of customers were at our teppan, I guess the food here must be good huh?

It is quite fun to watch the deft skills of the Teppan Cook doing their thing.


Alas, it wasnt to be, the Beansprouts and Mustard Greens were limp and the meat was hobbled by an over generous hand with the cheap butter and miso paste. The characteristic flavour of both Beef and Lamb ended  up drowned.

Sweet & Spicy with lashings of garlic, alas, the gloopy unctuous nature of the butter ruined it for us.
Contrastingly, the Miso Soup that accompanied our rice could use a bit more Miso. Add to this, the seriously fatigued service personnel, we actually felt pity for one as she stood propped against a wall, barely able to keep her eyes open and posture straight. They must have had a punishing number of customers throughout the day. I imagine if we had arrived here for Lunch we would have had better service. Maybe next time then.

Sated, in all sense of the word, we left for home, comforted by the knowledge that this was a Saturday well spent.

Malaysians & Reading

Many a time, we have seen articles, saying one way or another, of the fact that Malaysians are not reading enough. Apparently, the national average is well below the acceptable level, at a staggering low of only 7 Pages a year! Got this info off the net, and found this interesting nugget of a blog, linked here -

I am not too sure of a more recent statistic that paints a better picure of the reading rates of M'sians, but it sure does cause you to wonder right? Do Malaysians really read that little?

Go to any bookstore nowadays and chances are you will see throngs of people browsing, or leafing through some manner of reading material. Then there is also the fact that we see new bookstores cropping up at every new shopping center. Names like MPH, Kinokuniya, Popular, Times are all but etched into the heads of city folk. Smaller bookstores also exists in smaller townships in comfortable nooks and crannies, nestled between shops and restaurants (One can argue that these are not true bookstores, but at least they do offer their share of reading materials, ranging from your ubiquitous fashion/lifestyle mags, business reviews and some small selection of novels, both fiction and non-fiction).

I know that statistics are almost always open to the possiblity of being presented how one wishes to present them (skewed or as is), but what does the word Read here mean? Does it apply to only books, or to any kind of printed and bound publication or to anything that can be read? Must one actually purchase them before the reading is actually counted as Reading? I personally dont consider newspapers (way to much tragedy in these), magazines (paparazzo mags = reading? puhleze!!) or sourcebooks (for school or work, these we are stuck with so must read as compared to actually, wanting  to read) as what I would consider as reading (you may want to offer your opinions in the comments section ya).

I always see a small army of people crowding bookstores with their faces quite glued to the pages of the reading material they have in hand. Some actually end up puchasing, while some others are quite content to put the thing down and graze on the next available title.

While I personally find this free reading behaviour irksome, I do understand that Ipeople need to know whether the book they are reading is actually worth buying and so glancing through a few paragraphs or pages (or chapters even) is permissible in my opinion. So, to each their own eh? If the bookstores don't mind, I certainly shouldn't.

In fact I always make it a point to look for bookstores (invariably this would be MPH or Borders or to a lesser degree, Popular) to kill some time in (okay, okay for an hour or two of free reads!) whenever I am out shopping. This is also the case for my GF, we both do love reading. Thus the question I need answering is how much is sufficient? Two, 5, Twenty books?

I spend on average of 100 Ringgit on books and magazines every month, which isn't much, but all that I can spare, :(. But it does allow me about 3 books and a reptile magazine, which helps me remain sane and centered. Money well spent, I say.

Tun M has been rumoured to have read thousands of books (Booyah! how I wish I can be like that), and as a former premier of Malaysia, I am sure he too must have been disconcerted to note that his fellow citizens are way off the scale when it comes to reading. Many have said that the Government should do more to encourage the habit of reading, and to this I do feel that the assorted 'Mari Membaca' campaigns have met with little success (no statistics here, just from my observation of my own family and friends).

Many have cited that they have very little time left for reading, with having life and the pursuit of financial gain being the master concerns. Add in your darling idiot box (lcd or otherwise) and barrage of satellite channels, and the free availability of seriously cheap DvDs and Blu-Ray discs, the compulsion to dine and wine as well as the unavoidable problem of getting stuck in the carpark that is KL's Traffic flow.

One begins to wonder, how does one fit in reading, a hobby some see as self indulgent, in all that? I still have this one book I bought from months ago collecting dust on my tableau. Often times, I feel deflated as soon as I grab the book, too tired to bother.

Another thing that kept cropping up is the the fact that books are expensive. The paltry 100 Ringgit I spend barely gets me my 3 books. I often have to wait for the cheaper paperback versions of the books I wish to get, and it almost always upsets me that I cant just buy that particular book there and then. Hardcover fiction books cost on average upwards of 60 Ringgit, (which means I can only get that 1 book for the month) while the smaller paperback versions are in the vicinity of RM32 each.

I always do look out for bargain buys, discounted prices, 2 for 1 deals and sale periods to get more bang for my buck, but these too come rather infrequently. I do look out for the odd bargain bin style bookshops like Selvan or Pay Less Books. They do have gems for sale if one is willing to really look for them among their rows of shelves. Read here for some other views-

For whatever it is worth, the Government has allowed a healthy tax exemption for reading materials, to a tune of RM1000 per year, so, they are trying help us M'sian read more, so maybe I should be thankful for this. Besides, the growth of the Book industry is certainly on the up, as evidenced by the opening of new outlets of bookstores everywhere. Surely, this can be statistically indicative of the fact that more Malaysians are cultivating a love for reading. Or am too simple minded to make this assumption?

Art: Sometimes It Is About Looking Closer.

Last Saturday, Significant Other Half and I went to a photography showcase in KLCC, of the the Sony 2009 photography competition at Petronas Galeri, KLCC Level 3. She was sure I would love it and Boy was I  amazed by what I saw.

After signing in as visitors, we slowly ambled through the gallery and looked at the award winning photos on display. Let me say this upfront, I have never really enjoyed galleries and such (mainly on account of I never really gave it the time of day). And my experience of actually going to them is very very far and few in between, I recall once during my highschool years going to the Islamic Art & Civilisation expo and maybe another time going to a gallery viewing painted artworks (I think with a cousin or quite possibly my sis).

As it were, I do enjoy the occasional art, when it does capture my eye. Not one to actually seek out art. Mistake not, I do enjoy them, but I never been really able to understand the artist's message and motivations. Some I love rather excessively, like wonderfully expressive 'The Scream of Nature' by Edvard Munch, which resonates with my heart and soul so well (I feel like that person on the bridge in the painting most of the time!)

Munch describes his feelings in his diary in 1892 while out with friends that eventually led to the art,
 I was walking along a path with two friends — the sun was setting — suddenly the sky turned blood red — I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence — there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.
Reading this, I fall even deeper in love with the artwork. And in a separate but related incident, we actually stumbled upon a jigsaw puzzle version of it. Soon, when (or is that, if?) my GF actually manages to piece it together, I will have it framed and hanged in my room for posterity (Thanks Luv!).

Anyways, back to my photography showcase, the both of us were awestruck by how even photographs can actually capture the same measure of intensity and spirit in all it's nuances. In that instance we were ripped out of our comfortable realities and thrown into the pictures ourselves. Some pictures made us laugh, some caused tears to well in our eyes, some incited anger while others turned us pensive.

There was this particular image that stuck with me of this dead mice on it's side floating in dark water. Obviously watching death makes us uncomfortable but to me, the mice in the water, dotted with pale white flowers around it, seemed somehow contented. The finality of death was framed by the ripples the flowers caused. Death, in juxtaposition with Beauty and transitory nature of Life. Brilliant! No wonder the artistic photograper won herself a 1st place award for the Natural History category.

GF, was however captivated by a series of 4 monochromal photographs of desolate dunes of sand (could be snow though, my memory fails me in this one). This too won an award.

The both of us felt almost sad to have to leave the gallery behind when we were done (we spent a good hour in there!), akin to having to say goodbye to a good old friend.

Somehow, the feeling remains to this day and is slowly collecting momentum, pushing me to start enjoying taking pictures more. I have a good feeling I will.....

Found this photo I took some years ago, while I was on a day-tour in LA, with friends on a short refreshment pit-stop at a deli frequented by locals.

As I was preparing to take the shot, the man looked up with this smile. It wasn't as if he new I was snapping a picture of him, I posit he is one of those few people who always have a happy face on, no matter what. This picture cheers me up instantly, the combined effect of radiated light, a joyous soul and awkward angles of human inventions.


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Life Is Wonderful

In a moment of melancholy, I sat in my room reminiscing about how good my life is (even though I may not sometime seem like I appreciate it much) and how so blessed I am. So I sat looking at old photographs, reading snippets of old books and largely day dreaming.

After a while, my modern mind snapped out of the funk and decided to do what some 6.2 Million people do when they are bored - Facebook!. A bit of friend grazing and bouts of Pet Society later I recalled my thoughts that I penned down in the notes section. I remember with some clarity of how fragile I felt when I wrote it.

Friday, July 17, 2009. The news of my uncle Wak Dol’s passing tonight was hardly a shock. I mean he has been ill for quite some time, and dare I say it, long time coming. If anything, it would be a reprieve to his family, a release for them, from his prison of his ageing mind and body. No disrespect intended, my mind just rationalized it off as inevitable.

That very evening we made the decision to see him for the last time, as he was to be buried on Saturday morning at 11 latest, and sorted who from my immediate family would be joining.

Saturday, July 18, 2009. At approximately 7am, we set out for Muar, with the intention of seeing my late uncle off. By now, sense of duty had kicked in; he was after all my uncle. If for nothing else, I owe him this last respect.

Along the way, my sister and brother in law joined our journey, driving their car and playing ‘catch me if you can’ with me in mine. Our trip was for the most part uneventful with 2 breaks in Ayer Keroh and Tangkak.

As we were about to reach Muar, on the familiar main bridge over the river, I noticed our cousin and her kids in the car in front of ours. A quick breakfast plan via mobile phones was made and we stopped for refreshments at a shop smack dab in the township. Parking was easy enough to find, strange for Muar. A short revelry session ensued over bowls of steaming hot mee jawa, fresh off the grill satays (Yes, Muarians eat satay for breakfast!) and cups of assorted drinks (among them an Iced Kopi Kampung Cap 434!).

A short bit after, we proceeded to the Muslim Cemetery at Batu 6, and noted the crowd. Alas, he was already interred (or ‘Simpan’ as some Johoreans would say, a variant of the word Kebumi). It was there I found out that he was buried next to his late wife. Apparently, they both had booked their burial plots years ago in their health. Quite sweet really, a love so strong, they wanted to be next to each other even in death.

We offered some prayers and then offered what comfort we would to his family members. Only then I noticed there weren’t that many teary eyes abound. Most were talking of arwah Wak Dol in happy notes, laughing even, of the fact that he was always the happy joyful man, with a HARHARHAR laugh and a smile so wide his cheeks would push his eyes shut. And when he would open them, what kind eyes he had…

There is little that I remember of him, we weren’t particularly close, maybe the distance was a contributing factor, with him being in Muar and us in KL, but his soft eyes, smile and laughter shone like a beacon in my mind’s eyes.

I  hear quiet stories of how his children were happy to have him as a father, of being able to take good care of him, in their individual ways, in his final days. I felt sadness, incredible strength and most importantly, rather unexpectedly their pride on being his children.

Sunday, July 19, 2009. Life goes on, consumed by the comforting necessities and realities that some will say define us. Sleep, Wake Up, Eat, Read…..

Monday, July 20, 2009. I am off to work and I got to thinking about arwah Wak Dol again. I still can’t remember any other bits about him other than what I already am aware of. I do know that he was an instrumental part of shaping a young boy who would finally become my father. Cultivating through words, action and kindness all the bits and pieces.

Being an Imam in life he has led final prayers for countless passings, yet I recall clearly years ago, he asked of us to wait for him to arrive from Muar, so that he could perform the same rites and prayers for my dead father, knowing full well any Imam would have been just as Afdhal. I recall with clarity he had to pause often then, to choke back sobs, as he read the Tahlil. My father must have meant the world to him.

My heart feels so full right now I could just burst into tears, something which I cant identify the why of. Tears seem so strangely worthless to me sometimes, nothing more than drops of salty water as a direct by-product of chemical reactions within me. But how can a man I wasn’t particularly close to make me think so much of my father? Could it be the link that he helped shaped my dad? Or the fact that he loved him too? Or his passing reminds me of my dad? Of how I would offer any payment to just see a glance of his toothy grin, or hear his maddening way of waking me up from sleep with his measured knocking and repetition of my full name at my door? Or to see him sliding the cat aside from the spot where he was reading his newspaper?

There is this crushing hollow in me right now, and I distinctly find this state distasteful, mainly because I can’t seem to pin the cause down. Vacillating between the impulse to cry and maintain composure….

Then I realized, how despite the seemingly pointless existence we lead, Life is about pouring your soul out, as hard and as much as one can, to other souls that pass our time. What it means to be man is to experience the incredible pain of loss, so one realizes that we all should strive to be somebody whom someone else will also miss with equal fervour.

God wasn’t kidding when he said to his angels that Humans are his greatest creation..

Quite clearly, how conflicted I was then, but upon reading it this time, I strangely dont feel the same way. Whatever that feeling was, is gone now. Make no mistake, I still miss Encik (what we fondly called him) rather dearly, but the pain of loss is greatly reduced, replaced by some manner of acceptance, no, let me call it agreement. Agreeing to the promise that life is beatiful in all it's glories and tragedies.

It makes me feel good that when God asked us souls in Heaven who would take up the challenge of going down to earth, choosing to experience mortality over eternal bliss in His comfort, we were among those who said yes. Yes, life can be frightfully short yet so encompassing, or overlong but yet hollow. So here we are stumbling about in this great road we call Life hoping against hope, we will find our way back to Him.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


I dont know what else to say today. Apparently the office has been struck by a new malady. Somehow or rather they have all been infected with 'blogiosis', the acute illness causing sufferers an intense need to start their own blogs. Now my colleagues are all behaving weirdly.

Help Me!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Out & About: Jom Pegi KFC!

Suddenly decided that I wanted to have some KFC for lunch. Quickly rounded up the boys and off we went.

Woohoo! Colonel Chicken Rice Combos all around for the boys

While I had their new Shrimp Hearties and Spicy Chicken Combo.

Honestly, their Shrimp Hearties are just plain rubbish, one of those neither here nor there kind of thing. But, as my dad would say, rezeki jangan di buang. Hentam sajalah labu!

As dumb luck would have it, tak cukup lah pulak. Kenapa tak kenyang lagi ekk, aku tak baca Bismillah ke tadi? Adusss... Hmmm, what to eat for dinner ya?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Late Lunch at Madam Lim's

The start of the long weekend was a really slow one for me. Slept late on Friday (actually slept on Saturday morning, 6.15 actually) and therefore woke up even later!

As soon as I exited my room, my mum sprung on me her need (yes, need, not desire, not wish) to go to Tesco to get some stuff (among others, rice, as there a promotion price thingy going on). Revved up the car and we zoomed to Mutiara Damansara.

Being the eve of CNY, there wasnt a lot of places that was still open for us to Lunch in, being 5.10 and all that, and I just couldn't stomach anymore McD's (sebab the  night before, just had McD Double Prosperity with my other half). We were pleasantly surprised to note that Madam Lim's Kitchen eatery at Tesco was actually open! Didn't expect it to be open today. There sure is something good about having a multinational and multicultural staff to run the place. This place is often packed as it offers good value for money eats, but today it was noticeably slower (although some 11 tables were with diners).

We sat down and quickly ordered our meals.

A few minutes later our meal started arriving. Nasi Goreng Thai was what Mak ordered, and it was a welcome plate of spicy mini-hill of fried goodness with breaded strips of sliced chicken tenders. Never-mind I was the hungry one here, she started attacking her rice with gusto.

Spicy sweet, reminiscent of Tom Yam without the lemongrass hit.
We also ordered our favourite soup dish called, rather unimaginatively, Seaweed Soup. This humble dish I must say is the star of the place. Honest to goodness broth of chicken stock flavoured with garlic, ginger and white pepper. Fat soft jumbo fishballs, slices of spring onion, chicken, vegetables and seaweed and cracked whole eggs add weight to the soup. 

My first bowl. Then came the second, third and then there was no more!
The good thing with this soup is the fact that it is incredibly light and clean tasting. Each ingredient adding it's own character to the dish, resulting in a layered effect on the tongue, with the seaweed carefully reining all the individual flavours with it's own salty and faintly mucilaginous mouth-feel. The soup doesn't look like much, but try it once and you will be hooked. Asked a buddy to try this dish out once and apparently he and his wife has taken a liking to it that they have become regulars to this place.

Next, the vegetable dishes arrived, Brinjals in Fermented Soyabean Paste (Tauchu), this dish too is another that we will definitely order when we dine here, and a Fried Yard Beans in Spicy Sambal (Kacang Panjang Sambal). The brinjals are first sliced then fried in hot oil until cooked through before being tossed in tauchu paste spiked with chopped garlic and beef resulting in a sweet, salty and satisfyingly deep tasting sauce that complemented the smooth creamy flesh of the brinjals, I swear to God I can eat this all day long. It is that good.

Smooth creamy texture coupled with the Umami Tauchu flavour. Yums!
Our Yard-bean dish was a total letdown though, what should have been crunchy long beans in sambal turned out limp, watery and the sambal was so spicy it literally squeezed the life out of the vegetable. I imagine if the the beans were fresher (public holiday lah, mana ada fresh vege delivery!) and only very lightly cooked it would have stood up to the punchy flavour the sambal packed. Maybe next time it will come out right.

Yard beans a-la meh.
Finally my dish arrived, Ginger Beef Koay Teow Noodle. This is a simple dish of flat rice noodles tossed in a wok with dark soy sauce then slathered with a thick gravy of sliced beef sauteed with lots of ginger. Perfect for those who desire a dish that is light on the tummy but still pack a nice heft to it to keep one sated for an hour or two (which is exactly why I chose this thing as I would still have room for the Brinjal and Yardbean dishes). The ginger slices privided a lot of 'heat' to it, a welcome change from my usual chili padi hit.

Only Chinese can do this dish right!
All in, my lunch for 2 (actually enough to feed 3 adults), with 2 regular mugs of fresh watermelon juice, cost a bit over RM40, which is still a fair price for the quick service (speedy enough service, very fast cooking time!), large man-sized portions and clean flavours.

Now lets go do our grocery shopping. Tally-ho!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Mee Kari Level 4

Came to work feeling ravenous today. Pondered throughout the day what it was going to be to stuff my tummy with. Working in KLIA does have its limitations on the dining scene. There are plenty of options yes, but after almost 7 years being in the same airport, nothing feels new and exciting anymore. Ended up sulking most of the day. Then after Friday prayers, I heard the inner me (the one living in my bottomless gullet), scream for Mee Kari!

So mee kari it was. Bought it at a Cafe from Level 4 of the Main Terminal Building. Yellow noodles, roasted chicken, beansprouts with fried fu-chuk and fishballs and the yummy gravy!

Here's a close-up. Ooops, where's me manners. Jemput makan!

And the inevitable end. 

And to think at one point I actually complained kenapa banyak sangat the noodles, hehehe. Urrrp. Excuse me! c",)

Love Thou Some Animals!

I enjoy my mamak/tomyam stall jaunts, I would be lying if I said otherwise. I mean, what beats the odd roti chanai (or two) or nasi goreng usa with a cool tall glass of nescafe ais kaw right? There are moments when only these and nothing else hits the spot.

You go about the business of demolishing your plate of poison (seriously, roti chanai is bad for you, cardiologists often will tell their patients to lay off the roti to prevent return adventures to coronary land!), then you feel a gentle nudge at your pants leg. You look down and you see these pitiful eyes looking back at you, pleading for food. It does me in all the time, I often end up sharing a substantial portion of my food with the cats under tha table. Sometimes, I actually get some fried chicken or fish to feed them (if what I am eating isn't particularly cat friendly).

You see, I am an animal person (cats and dogs, and throw in some choice reptile) and I cant bear seeing these strays hungry.

I often wonder how is it that animals can be rail thin and starved despite living in the compounds of an eatery. How expensive can it be to feed these animals, I mean, what is the cost of 2 or 3 pieces of chicken or fish mixed in white rice (heck, they can even use the leftover bits, as long it is still good to eat) and offered to them. If nothing else, you would develop a symbiotic (not in the true sense of the word) relationship with the cat, take care of it, it will make sure you dont have rats/mice, or if you feed the stray dogs, it will watch your place for you.

I decided to stop by a mamak restaurant near my place and sure enough there were stray cats indeed. We frequent this place at least twice a week and thus my family has this easygoing relations with the Mapleyrs (did I spell that right? hmm.). Ordered my usual poison (no, not roti chanai, but chappati) and a Teh Ais. While eating this, a really mangy, flea-bitten, scar-ridden tomcat caught my eye. God, the cat looked nasty.

He was just lying there, minding his own sh*t, and faking cool, but he looked so hungry. I got up immediately and went to get a piece of fried chicken. Chose a nice big piece and got the man to chop it up into smaller manageable pieces. At my table I proceeded to feed the Tom and sure enough, he chowed down with gusto. I continued feeding him the pieces, removing the bony bits (bad for small throats and tummies) and suddenly realised I have created a small scene, some diners and the restaurant mapleyrs were like staring at me. I smiled them off (yes, nothing works better than a big smile to jar starers!) and continued with the task at hand. Just as the last piece was gone, another cat ambled by, a smallish kitten, yearling at most, and so went another piece of fried chicken being put to good use.

The mapleyrs had this amused look on their face when I went to get more chicken, but for me, I had to check the rising bile in my throat to bark at them for not feeding the kitties. Give it chicken, give them fish, give some meat. Come on, a mamak stall being a mamak stall, they had pieces of protein  that has warped and dried and no sane Malaysian would actually take it, so why cant they toss that bit to the cats? I must agree that feeding cats human food, what with it being seasoned with salt (cats dont really need sodium) and spices,  may not be ideal but those kitties are starving dammit! Feed them please.

It is often my rule to never come back to a stall/shop/eatery  that doesn't feed their stray kitties, to me it speaks volumes about the owner/operator-way too skinflint to even bother to feed a hungry animal. I was pleased to note that when I was leaving, the same fried chicken-chopper-man was feeding a different set of cats. Made me feel good to think that I may have, not inspired, but maybe just somehow, nudged him to do to the same.

The world isn't always a happy place, but I hope in my small insignificant way, in that moment I have made someone happier.
Love thou some animals!

P/S The photos are all not mine, and are used to illustrate my feelings.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Curry Day!

Woke up late yesterday, at about 11, then lazed in bed for a further 2 hours, while I thumbmashed my PSP.

At about 2pm my mum suggested we go get some Banana Leaf Rice at our usual place in TTDI. My body didn't want to go (Sundays are for lazing in lah!)  but my hungry tummy growled a resounding YES! Off we went, my mum and I to Jaipur Curry House in Taman Tun, near the old Jaya Jusco building.

There is another similarly themed restaurant literally 2 shops away but I am in love with this one, the service is noticeably faster (albeit not necessarily is it any easier to communicate with their non-Malaysian staff). I like the way that their vegetables are not always overdone, and the fact that 2 of their veges are often whatever the cooks feel like whipping up, so I get this suprise everytime I visit.

Anyways they also have a secret weapon that keeps me coming back for more - their salted fish curry! I am a huge fan of Indian or Mamak styled fish curry through and through, the malay variant is invariably too tame or too lemak  for my tastebuds (melayu kalau masak, suka sangat guna santan seperiuk!). This magic fish curry is redolent with chunks of salted fish (mackerel, I think), cubed potatoes, black-eyed peas, slivers of carrot, some dhal and triangles of eggplant, all delightfully cooked to a thick gravy. This curry does it for me everytime, it is so so good. Carefully balanced heat from the chilli powder and spices with the sweetness of the added pulses and vegetables taming the overt saltiness of the preserved mackerel. And this time, I found another secret ingredient, I found some crab in the pot of gravy. Booyah!!

According to the Curryman, this is their famous Kari Keetam!
A large helping of rice was scooped onto my prepared banana leaf and lashings of this yummy curry was poured over, to be accompanied by small mouds of crunchy beansprouts, cool chunky cucumber raita, mustard ajwain yard-bean and turmeric cabbage. Add to this some crispy fried ubi kayu (cassava) chips and poppadums. Bring it on!

Black-eyed beans in curry!
We ate in almost total silence, neither wanting to chat, for fears it will somehow negatively affect the enjoyment, savouring each mouthful. And as much as I hate eating with my bare hands, this is the only way with banana leaf rice.

Hours later, my mum was bitching about her headache, no doubt brought about by the one-two punch of spicy food and all that salt (she has high BP you see). Hehehe, and to think she was the one who suggested lunch here.
innie or outie?
Does one fold the the leaf inwards (towards the body) or outwards (away from the body)when dah habis makan ek? I wouldn't want to insult the jovial Currymen. Help, anyone?