KL Series: Crabs in Restoran Tak Fok

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.

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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.

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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.

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KL Series: Yong Tau Foo

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 chili 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.

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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.

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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.

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KL Series: Kiew Brothers

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.

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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.

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KL Series: Nam Heong Hainanese Chicken Rice

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.

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In the old days this place was a complete chaos. There were no air conditioning 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.

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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.

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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.

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KL Series: Poh Ting’s Homecooked Meal

My sister-in-law is a prolific cook. When I was in Malaysia two months ago, she cooked up a storm. This time it was not any different. I love this kind of cooking — it is exactly the same type of food that mum cooks.

I really don’t know what these dishes are called and so I will just describe them. This one below is chicken and mushroom. What I like best about this is the sweet soya gravy. There is only one way to eat this … to drown the rice with the gravy. This is so good that sometimes I just had the gravy with rice only.

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Mum also makes this simple dish very often. It is long beans omelette. The long beans is diced into small pieces and then fried with eggs and soya sauce. The soya sauce give this dish a thinge of saltiness.

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KL Series: Breakfast in Jalan Imbi

First morning in Kuala Lumpur. After the funeral service the night before, it was really quiet around the house. We don’t expect any visitors until around afternoon. So, brought Nanzaro to downtown Kuala Lumpur to look for this place Suanne and I used to go for breakfast in Jalan Imbi. We enjoyed this coffee shop (I can’t recall the name but I do know how to get there) where we normally had nasi lemak.

Unfortunately, the nasi lemak stall is no longer there. So, Nanzaro and I walked across the street to another coffee shop which is much more busier. I reckon that busier means better food.

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Nanzaro ordered the Chow Koay Teow (stir fried rice noodles) — the real deal Chow Koat Teow with See Harm (Cockles). We get Chow Koay Teow in Vancouver — quite nice ones too but we don’t have fresh cockles. This was nice but the cockles were too small.

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For me, I had the Pork Soup Noodle. I had always yearned for this and is one of the top on my list of must eat in Malaysia. I like this with extra soya sauce and freshly cut chilli peppers. Yummy!

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KL Series: Airline Meals on EVA Air

Nanzaro and I flew Economy on EVA Air from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur to attend my father’s funeral. It was the cheapest flight we could get at such short notice. Man, I know that airline meals are bland but we did not expect it to be this bad. I tried eating anyway but Nanzaro hardly took a bite of the meals.

The flight took almost 20 hours with a 3 hr stopover in Taipei. During the flight, there were a total of three meals.

The first meal (served at about 2am in the morning!) was fish and rice. The rice was soggy and mushy. It was terrible. I took two bites and just gave up.

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The fruits and salad looked colourful and that’s about it. I only took the fruits and did not touch the salad at all.

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They also served Russian Ice-cream — Macadamia Nut and Vanilla. The outer side of the ice-cream was very soft and almost melted. This looks nice but melted ice-cream is just urgh!

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I was not particularly hungry anyway. So I tried to sleep but simply can’t. So, I just watched the inflight movie and did some reading.

Breakfast is even worse. They asked me if I wanted rice soup. Rice Soup? Sounds OK to me but what I saw was far from what I had pictured it to be. It is a horribly looking glob of overcooked porridge with some slices of beef. I took two bites and decided I had enough.

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Kamloops Trip: Denny’s – Breakfast

While in Kamloops, we had breakfast at Denny’s. It was the only restaurant we could find nearby which is opened that early. Anyway, Arkensen loves any breakfasts which has hash browns. When we were there, the restaurant were practically empty.

Did you know that Denny’s is largest full service family restaurant in North America? In Canada British Columbia, you can find Denny’s in almost every city and town.

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We sat down and ordered 2 coffees ($3.98 each) and 2 frothy hot chocolates ($2.80 each). There are free refills for the coffee.

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Since 1977, when the Grand Slam Breakfast is introduced, it has been a very popular breakfast at Denny’s. I ordered the ultimate Grand Slam — the Extreme Grand Slam Breakfast. This consist of bacon, hash browns, sausages and a choice of eggs. The price, $8.59.

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Kamloops Trip: Adams River Salmon Run

This year is what is known as a dominant-year of the salmon spawning run in the Adams River. During the dominant-year, there are substantial returns of Salmon to their spawning grounds which runs into millions. The dominant-year happens every four years (2002, 2006, 2010 …) occurring in October. Every year, the Salute to the Salmon Festival runs for about 3 weeks.

We stayed in Kamloops overnight. Kamloops is the largest town near Adams River. The first stop when we got there was the Visitor Centre, where we picked up the brochures and information about Adams River and Kamloops. Outside the Visitor Centre was a sculpture of the Sockeye Salmon.

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The Adams River salmon consists primarily of the Sockeye species. When we got there, we see a lot of birds feasting on the dead salmon. You see, Salmon are born in fresh water, migrates to the sea and after four years, they return to the very same stream to spawn and die.

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The Adams River Salmon Run is best viewed from the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. This park is created to preserve this world famous salmon run. There were a lot of trails running along the streams, ideal for viewing the salmon from a near distance.

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