This is my last post in this KL Series.
Well, I have been in Malaysia for almost two weeks now. Dad’s funeral was exactly a week ago and I will be saying goodbye to everyone the next day. I wanted to visit his grave before I leave for home, to say goodbye for one more time.
After the visit, the entire family drove to Kajang for Satay (or Sate in Malay). The Kajang town is famous for its Satay. During that week I was there, there was a local food show called Hojiak which showcased Haji Samuri Satay — purportedly the original Satay in Kajang.
It was quite a drive from Cheras to Kajang. I was quite surprised how easy it is to locate this place. I was told that it is by the stadium. So, I just looked out for the stadium’s floodlight towers. I remember having Kajang Satay in somewhat dilapidated stalls. Am glad to see that they now operate in a proper building.
The best thing is that they now have air-conditioned dining halls. The place, although not plush, is really a fantastic change. It certainly is a more comfortable environment. They have even decorated the place with antique pieces.
Satay had been known to have originated from Indonesia but for many Malaysians, they are adamant that it is a very Malaysian meal. Satay are normally eaten for dinner. They consists of simply chunks of meat on skewers and grilled over coal fire.
The most common Satay meat is chicken although there are beef, lamb and even rabbit meat. Chicken is still many people’s favourite though because it’s juicier and moist.
You know, there are ten of us and we ordered a total of 140 sticks in all. This is simply the best dinner we had since I was in KL — not just because of the food.
Satay can only be great with a perfect peanut sauce — and lots of it too. Haji Samuri does not skimp on the sauce and gives you all that you want. They come round to fill up the big bowl of sauce when they are empty. I like it spicy and put in a generous blob of chilli on it.
Mmmmm … yummy. I like my satay fat and juicy — especially if they have a bit of chicken skin on it and slightly charred at the edges.
The sides includes cucumber and onions. Another favourite is the ketupat. Ketupat is basically boiled rice which is contained in a handmade pouch made from coconut leaves. The ketupat is very much a symbol of Malay cuisine.
Satay goes great with freshly pressed sugar cane juice.
If you want to look for the original Kajang Satay, you must check out Haji Samuri. Their simple SK logo is unique and easy to spot.
The entire family was there and we had such great time. Everyone was finally cracking jokes. I had so much fun that I did not want to leave that night. It had been an eventful two weeks since the passing of my dad. I know things will be alright for everyone. We still miss him but over time it will get better for everyone. We had great memories with dad that we can treasure forever.
I met up with my close friends from the Boys Brigade days for dinner. I bet a lot of people have never heard of the Boys Brigade, or better known as the BB. The BB is the first uniformed boys organization in the world and is the precursor to the Boys Scouts. Baden Powell was a BB officer before he started the Scouts movement.
I met up with Sing Yuen, Kwai Nam, Lawrence, Peter and Wendy at the Kayu Restaurant in SS2. They asked what I wanted to eat and I suggest Curry Fish Head (or Fish Head Curry if you like). The Kayu Restaurant is famous for their Nasi Kandar which is a specialty dish from the city of Penang in Malaysia. They even had an outlet in Melbourne, Australia.
It was great meeting up with them again. We grew up together in the BB which were the centre of our lives during our teens and early adult days.
Back to food. The centre piece of today’s meal is the curry fish head. I had always loved curry fish head which I distinctly remember was introduced to me by my dad when he brought me to the place at the Stadium Merdeka. I am not sure if that place is still opened.
I think the fish is a Red Snapper. No body, just the head. You might think what is there to eat on the head. You know that this is the part where the best flesh is. Half the fun is taking the fish apart and finding that delicious piece of meat hidden underneath the head.
The ultimate part of the curry fish head is the eyeball! It looked gross. No one on our table took it but trust me, some people actually like this.
Here is where I am totally lost. I can’t recognize what the rest of stuff are. This one below looked like some meat like lamb or something. I could be wrong.
And what is this? Dunno. I just sprinkle this on the rice. Looked spicy, don’t you think?
Some red meat below. I would think this is beef but then perhaps not. I am not sure if they serve beef in Nasi Kandar. It does look like beef though.
This one looks like some fried chicken innards with caramelized onions.
Ditto … don’t know what this is. Can’t recall it!
Actually, I had a great time catching up with my best friends. The food tastes great although to many people they looked very unhealthy. Anyone can help me name the dishes above?
I brought Nanzaro to visit the Petronas Twin Towers. He wanted to go up the middle span which I had blogged on about two months ago. Unfortunately we did not get the chance to get up to the towers because the tickets for the day had all been issued. Too bad.
Nanzaro said that he wanted sushi. We went around looking for one and found a Sushi King outlet in the KLCC Suria food court. There are dozen of Sushi Kings all over Malaysia and is perhaps the most popular chain of sushi restaurant in the country.
Sushi King features what they call “revolving sushi” where customers sit around a revolving conveyor belt and pick the sushi of their choice from a revolving conveyor belt.
I did not want any sushi and so I just waited while Nanzaro eat. He picked the salmon nigiri sushi. He took two plates. I noticed that there are orangey stains in the plates from the salmon. I thought it was weird because salmon don’t leave stains. I think the restaurants colour them to make it look more vibrant. Yew …
Moreover, the salmon slices are so thin.
He also chose a maki … not sure what it is though.
Well, Nanzaro enjoyed it. That three plates costs about RM16 (CAD $5) which I thought was pretty expensive by Malaysian and Canadian standards.
I brought Nanzaro and his two cousins, Zhen Yiong and Shen Ern, to the mountain resort of Genting Highlands. I am surprised that Nanzaro had got on so well with his two cousins because the last he saw them was when he was only four.
Genting Highlands is about an hour drive away from KL. Since I do not have a car to get around, we decided we take a bus and cable car to the resort. Genting Highlands is famous for its casino. As a matter of fact Genting Highlands existed purely from the casino. However, it is also here that the biggest theme park is located.
The cable car ride (called the Genting SkyWay) was spectacular with breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain and thick rainforest. On a clear day, one can even see KL from the gondolas.
Genting Highlands had the largest hotel in the world with over 6000 rooms (bigger than the MGM in Las Vegas). The two colourful hotel blocks is known as the First World Hotel. We were there primarily for the theme park and, of course, the food.
There are basically two theme parks — simply called the Outdoor Theme Park and the Indoor Theme Park. We bought passes to both theme parks. Nanzaro enjoyed himself and was the leader for the day, dictating to his older cousins what they are going to ride next.
The Indoor Theme Park was impressive and much bigger than I thought. There is even an indoor roller coaster there — it was the boys favourite as they went on the same roller coaster a few times. The lines were not too bad with waits of about 10 minutes (I remember some of Disneyland’s wait times were 60 minutes!).
There were also a lot of very nice food outlets throughout the resort. Why, there were five buffet outlets too. I decided to go for the grandest of the five buffet at the Coffee Terrace. Adults costs about RM42 (less than CAD$15) each with kids under 12 at 50% discount.
The ambiance in the restaurant was nice and the place spacious and clean. It was certainly worth the price they charged. The buffet is not one of those places with a table spread. Rather, they had sections specializing in certain types of food with cooks/chefs preparing them on order.
I did not know where to start and just went to the closest counter and took some from the Western counter.
I also had some satay. Satay is always good — no such thing as a bad satay. So, this one is pretty good. I am saying this because in the next few days I will be blogging about the ultimate in satay.
The Hainanese Chicken was great. They were cut to order … i.e. you tell the chef at the counter the cut you want and they do that on the spot.
I can’t figure out what this is … looks like some from the Malay section.
I also had a small bowl of laksa. Spicy … nice.
There is also ice kacang which also is prepared to order. You let them know what you want in them.
I also had a small bowl of Hakka porridge.
And closed off with some local deserts.
Nanzaro loves sashimi and was delighted that they had all you can eat shashimi. Salmon is not native to Malaysia and is an imported delicacy. Nanzaro had several rounds. However, he remarked that they sliced it so thin, unlike in Vancouver where it is chunkier.
Needless to say, I overate. Frankly I had so much food that I had trouble keeping up with the boys in the theme park after dinner.
The boys went for more rides in the outdoor theme park. They could have gone on for much longer outdoors if not for the pouring rain that fell suddenly.
The boys had a great time. I am glad to see them laughing, especially Nanzaro’s cousins — they were very close to their grandfather.
My sister brought the entire family for a crab dinner. She told us that the Tak Fok restaurant in Manjalara is so popular that there is always a long wait for tables. We decided to go very early so that we do not have to deal with the crowd.
That place was packed alright. The tables and chairs are placed so close to one another that there are hardly any room to move. We believe that what makes this place popular is that it’s cheap (RM 18 or CAD$6 per kilogram). They specialize in crabs and have quite a few varieties of preparation which I had never heard of.
My sister did the ordering. I had no idea what the crab dish below is called. If I hazard a guess I would say this is kam heong style crab. The claws is my favourite part. It is the fleshiest. The kam heong, you know the whatmachacallit dark pieces below, is best with plain steamed rice.
I have never seen this type of crab dish before. My sister translated this to be butter-cheese crab. The yellowish thick gravy looks really good and smells really nice.
My sister also ordered some “fried bread”. This is so unique and new to me. I had sliced bread with chilli crab before but never bread made specifically for crab dishes.
The way to eat this is to break the bread and dip it on the butter-cheese sauce. It tastes really good. This is so unique. I know Suanne will hate it but I am just thinking that I should get a Malaysian crab recipe book for her. Hmmm … maybe not.
If there is such thing as a “commonly unique” dish, the one below is it. It is basically a potato nest filled with assortment of ingredients such as cauliflower, peanuts, mushrooms, onions, and what nots. Unique but it’s too dry a dish for me.
We also had a hot plate tofu dish. It came sizzling hot. The sizzle gave out a very nice smell.
Sweet and sour pork. Pretty good on it’s own but really the star of this meal was the crabs.
I liked this meal a lot despite the messy-ness and the cramped seating. This restaurant had a few other crab dishes — something like ten (!) if I am not mistaken. I wish I could try them all — I guess I will have to leave it to the next trip.
The day after dad’s funeral, my in-laws treated Nanzaro and I to a Yong Tau Foo dinner in a restaurant nearby Sri Damansara in Manjalara. The last time I was in Malaysia, I did not get the chance to go for this. So, I was glad when my brother-in-law suggested this.
Yong Tau Foo is a very Chinese Malaysian dish. I don’t think this is served in anywhere outside of Malaysia. Malaysia has a big Hakka community and this is one of their invention. Yong Tau Foo refers to the original stuff bean curd. The stuffing used are mostly fish paste but there are some which used pork as stuffing.
The most common Yong Tau Foo is the one you see below. In this bowl, there are stuffed bean curd, okra and chilli pepper and is served with clear broth. I enjoyed the hot chilli pepper especially. One thing about the okra (known as lady’s fingers in Malaysia) is that the seeds does not digest, if you know what I mean.
Then there is the plain fish paste. The green ones below is stuffed bitter gourd. I don’t like the bitter gourd at all — never did and never will. I can’t understand why anyone likes anything this bitter.
There is also fried ones. You can’t figure this out clearly but the ones with the dark outline is another of my fav. It’s the fried eggplant sandwiched with fish paste. The others are plain fried fish paste and fried wonton.
I am making up the names here. I never knew what of the dishes I had in Malaysia. I know what it looks like and I know what I like. Never took the trouble to learn their names.
This one below is bean curd skin with, again, fish paste. Suanne can correct me here …
We ordered other non-yong tau foo dishes too. Anyone can describe this for me? It’s pork … fatty pork and wood ears. This is great with rice … the gravy is rich and salty-sweet. The pork is sinfully fat.
This one is called jee geok chou — vinegar pork feet. I don’t like the gravy, it is sour. But the fatty pork skin, they are heavenly! This dish will definitely clog up your arteries.
Well, we need to have a balanced meal, huh? So, we also had a lettuce — blanched and flavoured with soya sauce and fried shallot.
Nice meal … I enjoyed this.
After the Hainese Chicken Rice, Nanzaro and I went for a walk in Chinatown. Chinatown is better know as Petaling Street or Chee Cheong Gai in Cantonese. This place a must-go place for tourists. This is where you could get a Rolex for only $10.
The whole street is not closed to traffic and is lined with stalls. Every other stall sells counterfeit products — clothings, watches, DVD movies, perfume. It is also where some of the best chinese food are found.
We went to the Kiew Brothers shop to get some dried meat. Many swear that Kiew Brothers has the best dried meat in the country. In Cantonese, they are known as “woh lai yeh” which simply translates to “here I come”. I can’t figure why that name but if you say those words, everyone will know what you mean.
They BBQ the meats in front of the shop and has a big fan that blows the smoke out to the street. You can smell the aroma around the vicinity of the area.
In the shop, they have mounds of the dried meat all stacked up nicely. Things had changed so much in Malaysia. They do take the trouble to display them nicely. I remember in the old days, this place looked so dark and greasy. The meat were just strewn all over the tray.
We bought one kilogram of the pork dried meat. We had the choice of two types — sliced or minced. We opted for the minced ones because they are not as tough.
One of the better upgrades to Petaling Street is that the City Hall had installed a canopy. It is a good upgrade. The canopy is installed high enough that is not stuffy.
I remembered that before I left Malaysia for Canada, I went on an eating binge, if you may, at my favourite restaurant … one of them was Nam Heong. They had been a fixture in KL’s Chinatown for over 60 years — since 1938. They are known for their Hainanese Chicken Rice. To me they had the best Hainanese Chicken Rice in the world, no kidding!
Nam Heong is located in KL’s Chinatown, specifically on Jalan Sultan. This was also dad’s favourite restaurant too. When I was in my primary school, my Saturday routine was to take a bus to the public library (I was a prolific reader then) in the morning and then join my dad for lunch. That was our only private time. I enjoyed it a lot.
On my visit this time with Nanzaro, I was somewhat shocked that it is entirely different. This restaurant had changed so much.
In the old days this place was a complete chaos. There were no airconditioning with nary a service. But today, it is all modern and upgraded now. It is certainly much more comfortable. What I noticed glaringly is the absence of a crowd.
It was later that learnt that privately owned Nam Heong restaurant had been sold to the Esquire Kitchen group for RM 5 million. Esquire Kitchen used that Nam Heong brand and opened up more restaurants across the city.
The familiar homemade sauces are still there on each table. They make great chilli and ginger sauces and it is great with the chicken rice. in the old days, they were filled on old glass jars. Oh I love their chilli.
I knew Nanzaro would like the Hainanese Chicken. You are able to specify the part that you want. When I was young, I could gobble up two servings. The chicken looked the same with that perfect amount of sweet soya sauce that gives this dish the distinct flavour.
To me what sets Nam Heong apart from all other chicken rice is their rice. They are what is called “oily rice” (yau farn). They make the rice to perfection. The yellowishness of the rice is because the chicken stock that is used to make them.
Although Chicken Rice is what Nam Heong is famous for but they have other less famous dishes too. My other favourite is their “ngau lam tong” — beef soup. There are not many places in KL that serves beef (the most popular meat is pork and chicken) and this is about the few places I know that serves chinese style beef.
I also ordered a couple of meatballs.
It is fish paste on the outside and beef (I think) on the insides. The meat is smooth.
The total tab came up to only RM 17.75 which is about US $5 for the two of us. That is what I like about eating out in Malaysia. Everything is so cheap compared to Canada.
Although the dishes are similar to the old Nam Heong I used to know, the quality is different. I like the comfort of the new setting but what was exciting back then was the atmosphere. BTW, they have a few outlets all across the city now.