Monday, August 30, 2010

Eating in Kuala Lumpur - Yut Kee

Yut Kee Coffeehouse (Kedai Makanan Yut Kee) is an institution in Kuala Lumpur. It is very popular among the locals, and so many bloggers have blogged about it. Even though I had visited KL many times, I never had the opportunity to try the place until recently. It is not really a place you want to go alone, as its usually packed to the brim.

The coffeehouse is in an old corner shophouse along Jalan Dang Wangi. It looks like it has never been renovated since it opened, and thus has acquired a veneer of old world charm. The floor is in matt green and grey mosaic that has disappeared from the market many years back. The tables are old kopitiam tables with marble top, complete with wooden French café chairs. I like it.

We ordered the famous Roti Babi, Yut Kee Pork Chop and Chicken Chop. The Fried Hailam Mee on the menu board looked interesting, so I ordered one of that as well.

Roti Babi is basically a sandwich filled with chopped pork and onions. It is then lightly battered and deep fried. The filling was nice – sweetness of the pork and onion came through really well. I didn’t quite like the bread very much – just normal white bread without much texture or flavour. As a package though it hits all the right spots and I can see why it is so popular.

The Pork Chop was much nicer – tender and flavourful, no doubt with the help of much chicken powder. As a cheap yet satisfying lunch, you can’t complain too much.

My friend’s Chicken Chop tasted similar except for the meat. I prefer the pork.

The best dish was the Fried Hailam Mee. It is similar to Hokkien Mee with a brown sauce, except that this has bits of squid, pork and chicken giblets. The best part was the bits of deep fried pork lard that was sprinkled on the noodles. Really delicious – I can finish 2 plates of this if not for the pork chop and Roti Babi !

Yut Kee also serves their special Roast Pork on Fridays and Sundays. I would try to make it back one day for that.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eating in Kuala Lumpur - Pan Mee at Restoran Kin Kin

My friend Yeh who introduced me to this obscure Pan Mee place in KL has been waiting anxiously for this post, so I better get it over and done with. Ever since I was introduced to Pan Mee many years back somewhere in the Klang Valley, I’ve always loved this dish for the texture of the freshly made noodles and the taste of the broth which is flavoured with dried anchovies – Pan Mee is usually a soup dish. I can’t remember where I had the first and till this day the best Pan Mee I’ve ever had, and have been seeking for another Pan Mee experience to top that.

Yeh told me that I had to visit this Pan Mee place as its one of his favourites. It’s at some old shophouse behind the Tune Hotel on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

We ordered the dry Pan Mee. It came with a lightly poached egg on top – interesting. You stir the runny yolk into the noodles, together with the minced pork ragu on the side. The result of the stirring is a thick meat and egg sauce which coats the noodles – kind of like a pasta carbonara.

The noodles are freshly made in the shop, and are cooked al dente. The texture was very nice – very Q. And the thick sauce flavours the noodles really well – it was meaty, slightly salty and full of Umami goodness. You can add some homemade chili sauce to perk it up a bit. A very good Pan Mee indeed.

The Sweet Leaf or "Mani Cai" in Chinese is an important ingredient in the soup version of Pan Mee. Here they serve it in a light broth on the side.

I would never have found this place if not for a local insider like Yeh. It wasn’t better then that first Pan Mee experience I had many years ago, but then not many things ever live up to the first time. What’s really interesting about the shop are the many hand-written notices on the walls. Really hilarious ! The owner must be a really fussy type.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shanghai 2010 - Shanghai Fashion

This shall be my last post on Shanghai, and I am leaving you with some eye-candy. Shanghai is the most fashionable city in China, and here you will see many of the local residents decked out in the latest fashion from around the World. I was more interested in something reflective of the local fashion sense, and these are some of the more interesting shots.

I discovered that girls in Shanghai – like many girls around China, have a penchant for hot pants.

I bumped into this group of Shanghainese at Yu Yuan. They are actually from a local heritage society and they dress like this everyday !

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shanghai 2010 - A Local Market

I always enjoy visiting local markets wherever I travel, but Shanghai is so big that it is a bit difficult to locate the places where locals go. I chanced upon this market at Zhenning Lu while waiting for my dinner appointment. Its a relatively small market - just a strip of leftover space covered with a metal roof. There are basically 2 rows of stalls along a narrow alleyway. As you get deeper into the market, the space opens up into a bigger area.

The stall-keepers are all very friendly, unlike some other Chinese cities where they can be outright rude especially to a camera-toting tourist with no intention of buying anything ! This market was quite a pleasant visit, as you can see from some of the friendly and colourful personalities.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shanghai 2010 - Lunch at Wu Di Ren Jia Restaurant Suzhou

After seeing all the red-cooked pork knuckles at the water village, we had to try it. Luckily the restaurant where we had lunch also serve this famous Suzhou specialty, so we were in luck. The food here is a little bit different from Shanghai. Whereas Shanghainese food is more elaborate in its cooking techniques, here the emphasis is more on fresh ingredients cooked very simply to retain the original flavours.

The restaurant.

Here’s what we had. An appetizer of Chinese dates in light syrup.

Stewed local fish with brown sauce and peanut. I didn't quite like the fish as there wasn't much texture or flavour in the meat.

Deep-fried duck. This was nice - crispy skin with tender meat inside.

Sweet corn, carrots and peas stirfried with small shrimps - very light and refreshing.

Black fungus stirfried with eggs. Another simple yet nice dish.

Stirfried chicken with red and green peppers, in a slightly spicy sauce.

Sweet and sour fish. The sauce is too overwhelming, and the fish not much taste. In general I would avoid the sweet and sour dishes in Shanghai as they are a bit too heavy-handed with the sauce.

Noodles with soy sauce and vinegar. This is eaten with a tangy chili paste which you add to your own taste. Nice.

The piece de resistance – Hong Shao Zhu Jiao. This was really good – the meat was meltingly tender, and the braising sauce very rich and flavourful.

Wu Di Ren Jia is a chain of restaurants in Suzhou. They have several outlets all over the city. The one where we lunch was in the city centre. Really worth checking out for the Red Cooked Pork Knuckle.