About my Blog

"I am not a chef. I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater. I cook what I want to eat – within limits" from Nigella Lawson's "How to Eat"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Life, New Beginning

Howdy mate!

There are so much going on in my life right now and I felt that I was drowning in all the changes, excitements and uncertainties. I could not update this blog much the last many months. I have heaps of materials, pictures and photos but none get published on this blog. Well, like I said earlier ... so much had happened and I was drowning in it.  Life actually has brought a new turn ... I am now a student in Brisbane City Down Under.

Nonetheless, prior to the move my foodie adventure has brought me to 3 important Europe cities ... Amsterdam, Paris and London. Each with its own character, history and social strata that shapes its food and cuisines. How much I would love to write and share it but ... I was not in my best of health that time and I don't want to risk another high blood pressure and breakdown. I was hospitalised in March and treated for extremely high blood pressure.

Even the first few weeks of my stay in Brisbane ... I was not rushing into adjusting. I was relaxing, recuperating from the Europe trip and last minute packing up. There were times that I was quite irritated with my housemate and uni mates for rushing me around but yea ... looking back, I was a total mess. 

7 weeks now ... I think I have recovered my passion for cooking and eating. All due to Masterchef Australia! Well I have to be honest ... that was among the few shows that I really looked forward to watching everyday here in Brisbane! It surprised me that Internet service providers here sucks! Took us almost a month to get connected. I had to depend on my roaming internet service (RM 38 per day via Celcom) to access the Internet at home. Plus on a student budget, I couldn't afford cabled TV station.

MasterChef Australia introduced me to lots of things ... cooking techniques, brands, products, and best of all great recipes. I couldn't quite define what can be termed as Australian cuisines. But what I can say for sure is that Australians sure love to eat and they love various types of cuisines, just like Asians. I love the fact that they have breakfast culture here! I had miserable time in Amsterdam and Paris looking for breakfast eateries. But having said that ... come lunch or dinner ... it was heaven for me. 

As was penning this entry ... I was not quite sure the direction of my food adventure. Somehow, after a chat with my housemate, I think I will try do something that I know best ... cooking my favourite food. I have an exam this Friday but I was just not in the mood. Especially now that I got my Internet access from the comfort of my home.

Okay readers ... please bear with me ... I will try my very very best to bring to you what Australia can offer ... and of course my culinary adventure here.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Feast of Sarawak Cuisine @Carpenter Street Cafe, Sunshine Square, Bayan Baru

March seems to be a very busy month for me. Many happenings in Penang as well as Kuala Lumpur that I am literally running between KL-Penang almost every week, sometimes between days from one trip to another. So couldn't update my food blog quite often.

Anyway, since I will be travelling to Hong Kong and Macau the whole of next week, so I better get myself busy by updating some first. Else, it became old news hehehe. Anyway, I was supposed to fly to Kuching on the 25th March for our quarter annually account meeting and was planning to extend my stay until the 28th for my my mum's birthday. Suddenly I got the bad news that the meeting was cancelled due to some technical problem. Huhuhu .... Only God knows how heart-broken I was really, really missing some of my favourite Sarawak food. Then suddenly remembered that Chef Peter (Chairman of Chef Association Malaysia, Penang Chapter) posted about this cafe on Facebook.

Words can't describe my excitement when I saw the signage with the hornbill logo :)
So when I arrived from KL last Monday, my driver Zaki and I went to search for this place at the Sunshine Square, Bayan Baru area. It didn't take us that long to locate this place though Chef Peter road instruction was "behind Sunshine Square". It is actually located at the shop row behind Sunshine Square, and along the same row as Old Town White Coffee Kopitiam and CIMB Bank.

Proud that they have about 80% of the Sarawak food in the menu like including Foo Chow Mee Sua and Kacang Ma.
So the following day I made appointment with Sue Anne, Vincent and May for lunch here and lunch was on me. Hehehe suddenly felt so proud of myself eventhough just "belanja makan kolo mee". I think I owe them this lunch as they were always the one who treat me and I really really want to have the honour. Plus I really want to show them that I am their friend not another of their acquintance.

Anyway, except for Vincent who had been to Sarawak before and love the Foo Chow Kampua Mee, Sue Anne and May never tried Sarawak food before. So of course I prided myself to be the hostess and ordered Kolo Mee (original), Kole Mee (with Char Siew Oil), Tomato Sauce Mee, Kiaw Soup (also known as wanton soup), and Sarawak Laksa washed down with Sarawak 3 layer Teh C Peng Special ( 3 layer milk tea).

3 layer Teh C Peng Special - Tea (top), Evaporated milk (middle) and palm sugar (bottom)
Before (R) and after (L) stirring hehehe - never miss this drink in Kuching.
Tomato Sauce Mee - I had a friend who love this so much.
Sarawak Kolo Mee (original)
Sarawak Kolo Mee(original) is quite similar to the Peninsular Malaysia Hakka Mee except that Sarawak Kolo Mee is springier and saltier. Hakka Mee sellers here tends to add in soya sauce to add some taste and to make it not too dry. Sarawak Kolo Mee on the other hand counter the dryness issue by adding some lard or fried onion oil so as to create some fragrance. Having said that, the similarity was due to the fact that many of the Kolo Mee sellers in Kuching are Hakkas. I met one Sarawakian lady here and she told me, the food in Penang is "over-rated" in terms of tastiness ... Ouch... but having said that, yes, Sarawakians in general don't actually like to flavour their food too much with soy sauce.

Sarawak Kolo Mee (with Char Siew Oil) - in Kuching if we want this version, we just say "Kolo Mee merah"
Sarawak Lor Bak - I find Sarawak one to be a bit drier.
Sarawak Laksa - I am very selective about laksa but Carpenter Street Cafe got my thumbs up!
Glorious Sarawak food ... in Penang. Syiokkssss wo!
Initially I was afraid that the food may turned out not like the one in Sarawak. I had been to few cafes reported to be owned by Sarawak people. Unfortunately, they had changed the menu so much to cater to the local taste that made me dissatisfied. By the way, I wish the waitress or waiter here were friendlier like the Sarawakians. They looked so unwelcoming.

May captured me in "savouring the food to my heart's content" pose... yummm hahaha
My guests for the day ... Vincent, May and Sue Anne posing with all the empty bowls and glasses hahaha
If in Kuching, no way I would pay RM 7.90 for a bowl of Kolo Mee. In fact the maximum price you should pay for a decent bowl of Kolo Mee is between RM 2.50-RM 3.50. Having said that, the most expensive Kolo Mee I had ever eaten was the RM 12.00 Kolo Mee Special in Ten Mile Bazaar last Chinese New Year trip.

Happy to see that Sue Anne and May finished all the Kolo Mee plus Lor Bak, Vincent clear the kiaw soup and I was left to handle the laksa hahahaha. I wish they also sell beef noodle soup. Next time I come here, I will definitely try their kacang ma dishes.

Proof of that the RM 7.90 for a bowl of Kolo Mee was worth it hahaha
Money can't buy friendship.

May asked me if Carpenter Street have any significant to Kolo Mee. Hmm to be honest, I don't remember of any famous Kolo Mee shop at Carpenter Street but asked anyone from Kuching, they would definitely know that place. I passed this place to go for my tuition school near Crowne Plaza and took a bus at the Kuching General Post Office. In Kuching, my favourite spot for a Kolo Mee session is at the open air market opposite Electra House. My dad who is a Penangite love the 7th Mile Huat Huat Cafe Kolo Mee and sometimes when he missed Penang Sar Hor Fun, we will go to Jun Jun Cafe (no longer open I think).

So for those who would like try Sarawak food (especially Sarawakians who missed home food)... just head to Bayan Baru and give this cafe a try.

Carpenter Street Cafe – Your 1-stop Authentic Sarawak Food
Add : 54, Jalan Mahsuri (Grd Floor), Bandar Bayan Baru, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
Tel : 04-6436588, 012-4194178
Business Hours : 11.30-3.00pm, 5.30 to 9pm

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Give Me More Fridays @TGI Fridays, Gurney Paragon, Penang

Suddenly, I had this craving for TGIF's Eton Mesh ... the image of light and crunchy pavlova (again) decadently covered in cream and strawberries had been driving me crazy the whole day. The last I had them was last year's June in Putrajaya's TGI Fridays. So on my way back to the office from Rasa Sayang Batu Feringghi, I decided to stop at the newly opened Gurney Paragon's TGI Fridays

Eton Mesh that I had in Alamanda Putrajaya TGIF.
At the moment, there are not much to see at Gurney Paragon. There are few eateries and cafes ... most of it are the usual brands we can find in major shopping malls. However personally, I think the main attraction there would be the St. Joseph's Novitiate, a 90 year old heritage building which is located at the centre of the property piazza.

St Joseph's Novitiate
The entrance of the TGIF Gurney Paragon.
For those who love to have casual dining outdoor.
Well, I guess there's not much different between TGIF@Gurney Paragon and anywhere else in terms of deco. Plenty of seats, plenty of space, big place though.

After flipping through the menu a few times, I realised that they didn't have Eton Mesh on the menu. So I decided to ask the waiter and was informed that was the new menu for this year (.... sinking feelings). Ok lah since I was a bit hungry and really want to eat something "beefy", I made these orders, some at the waiter recommendations.

Cranberry Fizz - sweet sour and fizzy.
Clam chowder - right creamy texture, lots of potato (unpeeled)
Tennesse New York Strip and Shrimp - medium well, the sauce is  a bit sweet, mash potato a bit salty.
Medium well.
Buffalo wings - a bit sweet to my liking, prefer a bit sourish.
The Dessert Trio
Chocolate Oreo and Mint Crunch - Yummy!
Snicker Treats - my favourite!
Strawberry parfait.
How much it cost me! Inflation ... Inflation
Location :

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rose Rose I Love You @Winter Warmers Coffee and Tea House, Sunway Carnival, Penang

Last Friday, Zaki and myself were doing some rough survey and observation on some potential attractions in the Mainland Penang, particularly between Nibong Tebal, Autocity Juru and Kepala Batas. We stopped at Sunway Carnival in Seberang Jaya for a short break as well as looking for a proper place for us to write down our findings.

I chose Winter Warmers for this sojourn as this place had been in mind for quite some time. Been passing by and seen many of this outlet in Penang - in Autocity Juru and Queensbay Mall. Not sure if there is one in Gurney Plaza. As I entered their outlet in Sunway Carnival, I felt that I was in an English countryside living room ... what with all those rose theme deco on the wallpaper, teapots, tea cups and tablecloth, ..

They had quite a wide selection of tea and coffee as well as some set meals. As I was not that hungry and was very much inspired by the coffee and tea house deco, I to try out some of their rose infused selections (though I had too much caffeine already)

Iced Rose Latte
Can u see they put dried rose buds as topping?
Rose Cheese Cake - Cheese cake with rose syrup and whipped cream
The rose scent filled the air when the waitress served my orders. I also ordered rose coffee but they ran out of rose syrup so I had to cancel the order. Anyway, the ice rose latte in term of taste, is just like a normal latte except for some wisps of rose. Same goes with the rose cheese cake. It was a wonderful twist though.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Malay Prawn Fritters & Kuey Teow Sup @Astaka Tanjung Selera, Penang

I stumbled upon this place by accident while looking for Sri Weld Food Court Nasi Lemak Bungkus (in the process). Dunno why I thought this was Sri Weld Food Court - maybe because of its location which is nearer to Weld Quay. Sri Weld Food Court is at Beach Street by the way. 

Usually I called this place "that eating place opposite the cruise harbour". Found out the name as Astaka Tanjung Selera during my last visit, on my way back to KOMTAR from a meeting. It is opposite Fort Corwallis and Swettenham Pier (after the Beach Street roundabout, heading towards Weld Quay, at the cornering). If you see the all the cruise billboard after the Beach Street roundabout, the food court is just right opposite. Parking is scary here and not many ... so pandai-pandai lah yer. 

The landmark. The food court is directly opposite.
The place at first glance was quite rundown, and not many patrons, mostly the staffs from nearby government office. Not sure about afternoon during lunch though. Never tried having lunch there before. Not many shops also here. Cleanliness ... acceptable lah. 

I usually come here for 2 things - the prawn fritters (cucur udang) and kuey teow soup (Malay style). Both from the same stall run by 2 ladies (not sure whether they are siblings - possibly one helper one owner) .... Take it from me, each of it is a must try! The prawn fritters were fried just right and served with special chili and peanut sauce. Not too spicy for those with a delicate stomach, the sauce blends sweetness and savoury just right. So if you have had enough of roti canai, vadai or capati for breakfast ... try prawn fritters for a change.

Prawn fritters (cucur udang) with sweet chili and peanut sauce.
Sometimes, especially down with fever or flu ... I tend to crave for something "warming", spicy as in a lot of spice, soupy. One day while having breakfast here, my nose caught something so aromatic ... you know the smell of fried onions blend with ginger, cinnamon, star anise and maybe some coriander leaves. Initially, I thought the stall was cooking beef bone or oxtail soup. Then I saw the small sign saying "meehoon/kueyteow sup).

The stall is just next to the mee jawa ... no signboard.
Usually my driver was the one doing all the ordering ... I just "makan" so I didn't know that the stall also sell meehoon and kuey teow soup. I ordered kuey teow soup and seriously ... it was just the way i like it ... for Malay style of course. Malay style kueyteow soup is usually oily from the fried onion garnishing and they use fried chicken shreds plus more pepperish. Best taken after fever hehehe ... the soup itself is a bit spicy and they even give special chili paste mix with pepper if your want to make it spicier!

The kueyteow soup.
Seen here with the special chilli paste and air bandung.
Meehoon soup. I still prefer kueyteow over meehoon.
The nasi campur, nasi lemak and mi kari here were quite nice.
There are other stalls selling curry mee, Malay mix rice and nasi lemak here. Quite nice too and worth trying if you are thinking of savouring local Malay hawker food.