Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Hainanese

Penang Lor Mee, One Of Specialty And Heritage

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 9 - 20125 COMMENTS

The Penang Lor Mee (槟城滷面) may not be as famous as its peers like Hokkien Prawn Mee, Assam Laksa or Char Koay Teow, but it is a unique hawker fare that has its roots in Mainland China but has been reinvented in Penang. In Fujian Province of Mainland China the Hokkiens do have their tradition of eating Lor Mee (滷面) but in the form of stir-fried noodles, Chinese cabbage and meats with thick starchy gravy minus five spice powder and the dark/black appearance.

Penang Lor Mee (a.k.a stewed gravy noodles) has had many interpretations but the common ones revolve around the Hainanese version which has been in existence since the early 1950’s or even earlier, which our research have led us to believe. But after decades of evolution and dilution in the hawker food sector, many other Chinese dialects have also begun to sell this once synonymous to the Hainese ethnic group noodle dish. Currently Lor Mee can be found sold standalone or a compliment to Penang’s famous Hokkien Prawn Mee.

Penang Lor Mee or the Hainanese Lor Mee is specifically prepared by preparing of a soup stock that is made from the boiling of leg bones of a pig, skin of the pig, pork, Chinese Five Spice and good soy sauce. After the flavours have been extracted through the braising process, starch is added to thicken the soup stock, and beaten eggs introduced to further enhance the taste and also the visual beauty of having strands of egg floating in the thick, savoury and sweet gravy.

There are various brands of Chinese Five Spice which each has their unique combination of spices to balance the flavours of the dishes. The most common spice combination  used for producing Chinese Five Spice powder are star anise (bajiao), cloves, ground fennel seeds,  Sichuan pepper ( huajiao) and cinnamon or “Chinese cinnamon” (rougui, the bark of the cassia tree).  Thus, it is important to find the best combination of spices or brand that suits to ones taste preference.

Accompanying toppings and condiments for an usual Penang Lor Mee includes braised firm and springy pork skin, moist and tender pork (be it lean, belly or ham meat), fragrant and savoury hardboiled then braised duck or chicken egg, sweet caramelized fried shallots, tangy sweet garlic puree, spicy chilli paste and sometimes sweet Chinese black vinegar. Then there are some businesses that also prepare and provide more exotic toppings like rich pig offal and braised tender off bone chicken feet with the bowl of blenched crisp bean sprouts, firm strands of yellow noodles and sweet earthy rice vermicelli.

Enough said about what Penang Lor Mee (Hainanese) was and is, and its heritage significance to Penangites and the hawker food evolution, we now explore what are some of the popular Penang Hainanese Lor Mee that we have encountered, those that have been operated through the decades of change and also some new underdogs that strives to deliver a good bowl of thick sweet and savoury goodness.

Hai Beng Hainanese Lor Mee, previously operated in Meng Kee Kopitiam at the junction of Malay Street and Carnavon Street, on Stewart Lane just beside the century old Goddess of Mercy temple have been operating from the current location since 1957 until the present. This Hai Beng Lor Mee is currently being operated by its 2nd and 3rd generation direct descendants. Their Lor Mee gravy has a predominantly sweet, savoury, meaty and mellow creamy taste. Their toppings include pork liver, braised chicken feet, pig skin, lean pork slices and chicken eggs. Though they are Hainanese, but they have made some changes to their original recipe which explains the murkier gravy.

Hai Beng Kopitiam
Address: Stewart Lane, 10200 Penang
Business Hours: Daily. 7am to 7pm.
GPS: 5.418358, 100.338548

Another old time favourite spot for Hainanese Lor Mee is at Lean Thye Coffee Shop on Ah Quee Street. The stall is currently being operated by a young chap who has a line of family members in the food business, Calvin Lim. He took over the stall a few years back from “Ah Keng” who in turn took over from the original proprietor of the stall that learnt his trade from one of the earliest vendors of Penang’s Lor Mee. We were told by Calvin that he tries to prepare the Lor Mee gravy to as near as possible to the standards of the original proprietor but with some improvement. The gravy has a translucent black colour with a rich savoury sweet taste. He also continues to provide hard boiled duck eggs with his Lor Mee.

Ah Quee Street Lor Mee
Address: Lean Thye Coffee Shop. Ah Quee Street, George Town, Penang.
Business Hour: Daily. Breakfast from 7am till 10am (or even earlier). Close on Sundays.
GPS: 5.415538,100.338886

Malay Street Lor Mee at Ping Hooi Coffee Shop has been operating for about 50 years. The current family that operates this stall took over the business from the founder of Hai Beng Lor Mee, thus the similarity of the gravy, toppings except that they continue to use duck eggs instead of chicken eggs.  They also continue the tradition of providing Chinese black vinegar.

Malay Street Lor Mee
Address: Ping Hooi Coffee Shop. Malay Street, George Town, Penang.
Business Hour: Daily. Breakfast from 7am till finish. Close on . 
GPS: 5.414726,100.334229

Seng Thor Lor Mee, was established before the 1950’s but is now being operated by a different proprietor that has no direct or family relation to the founder of this Hainanese Lor Mee stall. Although they have “inherited” the business, it seems that there is still some difference in the taste of their Lor Mee and also the braised hard boiled duck eggs. Their flavours are now bland and lacking although they still continue the tradition of mixing the fried shallots with deep fried pork lard, but adding their chilli and garlic the is enhanced though. One highlight of this stall is that their gravy does not turn watery like others do, which could be explained by the “thickener” that they use.

Seng Thor Lor Mee
Adress: 160, Lebuh Carnarvon, Penang, Malaysia.
GPS: 5.354004,100.363002
Business Hours: Daily from 7:30am till 12:00pm. 
 
 

An underdog in the Lor Mee business is Wendy. Although she sells a good bowl of Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee with rich prawny flavours and sweet meaty taste as the core item, her Lor Mee is also as good and is sold off quite fast. The gravy at Wendy’s has a sweeter in taste with a touch Chinese Black Vinegar to balance the taste, and home-made fried shallots that have a much caramel sweet taste. The stall is housed in Long Beach Food Court in Batu Ferringghi and only operates from the evening until everything all sold off.

Wendy’s Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee & Lor Mee
Address: Long Beach Food Court, Batu Ferringghi, Penang, Malaysia
Business Hour: Daily. Dinner from 6:30pm till 11pm. Closed on .
GPS: 5.475882,100.250244

Wendy’s mom, Aunty Bee, also sells the same Lor Mee in Teluk Bahang at shack just opposite the Caltex petrol station but it is sold in the morning.

Aunty Bee’s Lor Mee
Address: Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang, Malaysia. (Under a big tree, Opposite Caltex petrol station)
Business Hour: Breakfast from 7:00pm till 11am (or so).
GPS: 5.458752,100.215654

If you are ever in Penang, do take some time to try out not only those already well known hawker fares like Char Koay Teow, Hokkien Prawn Mee, Mee Goreng, etc. May be this sweet and savoury, thick silky and smooth Lor Mee that is also part of Penang’s intangible heritage could appeal to your taste buds.

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Hainanese cuisine plays a big role in Penang’s food culture and heritage. Although some of the dishes are influenced by the Hokkiens and Peranakans, it is distinctively different. The influences are all due to the demographic changes and history. Many centuries back, a Fujian a.k.a Hokkien minister was sent to the Hainan Island to assume the responsibility of the local government, and thus the beginning of the exodus of Hokkiens to the island that was and is still inhabited by the local tribes. And thus, this gave birth to the Hainanese dialect and its cuisine.

Then at the start of the previous century (19th), many Chinese migrants came to the Malay Archipelago to escape the deteriorating living conditions and the Japanese invasion. And with them they brought their heritage and culture which was later merged with Peranakan and Western cooking practices to give birth to the Nanyang Hainanese dishes that are now part and parcel of the Nanyang Flavours.

The border line similarities of dining heritage in Penang are very thin and sometimes confusion occurs. Many people confuse Popiah (薄饼) which is a Fujian delicacy with the Nanyang Hainanese Choon Pheah (春饼) that is one of the popular dishes that is a must when dining in any established Hainanese eateries or restaurants. The difference is not merely in its outlook, but the taste package and texture and the dipping sauce that comes with it. We are lucky through our research journey to have found people who are equally passionate about their food heritage and were willing to share the treasure that they have amassed from their forefathers. Lim Jit Chuan (林日川), who is the head of the family, is an experienced chef/cook in the infamous Beach Corner that used to operate in a MPPP food court lot behind Park Royal Hotel, and now on a piece of land just next to Tarbush in Batu Ferringghi. His son, Wilson Lim 林方义 who runs a Choon Pheah stall in Long Beach food court off Jalan Batu Ferringghi had graciously opened up their kitchen to share with us the making of their Hainanese Choon Pheah which are well accepted by locals and tourist alike.

The making of a traditional Choon Pheah  starts with its basic handmade batter, not dough as like Popiah, made from eggs, cooking oil, tapioca and glutinous rice flour and plain old H2O (water). The concoction is hand mixed to introduce air and also to bring out the starchy texture of the Choon Pheah skin. After the batter reaches the right consistency or viscosity, it is then moved to the cooking station where it is individually pan-fried with a thin coat of oil until the shape is formed or firms up. The batter when it is ready to leave the pan, it resembles a piece of crepe but with a more elastic texture. After it is deep fried, it has a crisp then springy mouth feel that is followed with a lightly sweet taste. The Popiah wrapper or skin is only crunchy to feel after being deep fried.  Apart from the distinctive difference in taste and texture of the wrapper, the fillings of both Choon Pheah and Popiah also have their own flavour profiles. The main difference lies in the ingredients, seasoning and cooking method. The Choon Pheah filling has in it prawns, meat (can be chicken or pork, mince or chunks), crab meat, julienne cabbage, shredded jicama and carrots, wedged red onions, and seasoned with salt, sugar, pepper and most importantly 5 spice powder that makes it an authentic Hainanese Choon Pheah rather than a Hokkien Popiah. The Poppiah fillers are usually julienne jicama or yam bean (sengkuang), chopped green beans, diced bean curd (taukuah), and sometimes with crab meat without the 5 spice powder. After all the ingredients for the Choon Pheah is all julienned and chopped up, they are stir fired and braised until they are tender yet maintains the crisp texture with a sweet savoury taste. The batches of fillings are then left to cool down before being assembled into a Hainanese Choon Pheah. When the stir-fried vegetables and meats have cooled down, poached crab meat is added before the Choon Pheah is finally assembled by the gentle yet efficiently fast paced hands. For each individual Choon Pheah to be cooked evenly, all the assembled pieces have to have the similar size and weight. This will fasten the frying process with fewer complications. Each order of Choon Pheah is normally fried a-la-minute and served fresh from the fryer with a dipping sauce nicknamed “ang moh tau yew” which is roughly translated to “English Soy Sauce”. The dipping sauce is actually a concoction of chopped red onions, julienne red chilli, Worcestershire sauce and sometimes HP Sauce or some plum sauce. It shouldn’t be your common chilli sauce in a bottle with strong spicy and sweet tastes that will overwhelm the natural sweetness of the Choon Pheah. At the end of the day, the Choon Pheah should have a crisp texture on the surface with a soft springy layer of skin before the sweet and savoury tender vegetable and meaty fillings. And the dipping sauce should complement the sweet Choon Pheah with a slightly spiced and tangy taste that enhances the experience rather than colliding with each other.

The followings are some of the places that we know of where you can find Hainanese Choon Pheah  on offer with their own interpretations:

  1. Long Beach Food Court @ Batu Ferringghi.
  2. Beach Corner Restaurant @ Batu Ferringghi.
  3. Hollywood Restaurant @ Tanjung Bungah.
  4. Lengkok Burma Hawker Area (Formerly at Senior Citizen Association)
  5. Hai Onn @ Burmah Road.
  6. Hainanese Delights @ 1926 Hotel on Burma Road.

Try them and let us know what do you think of them here. How authentic are they?

 

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Century Old Hainanese Satay

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 28 - 20126 COMMENTS

In the hope of making a better living and finding a means to support their family, many Chinese migrants left their home and found their way to Nanyang (南洋) or other words Malaya. Some left their loved ones behind and some came with their family.

The Hainanese was the last Chinese dialect to have found their way to Malaya back in the 1920’s. Being late comers to the Peninsular, they found themselves having to adorn the aprons of kitchen helpers, cooks, chefs, domestic helpers for the British and Peranakans (Baba and Nyonya). Thus, the Nanyang Hainanese has inherited the skills and knowledge of their employers in dining etiquette and cooking methods, and therefore gave birth to the Hainanese cuisine in Malaya.

While growing up we found ourselves having the opportunity to savour and experience what Nanyang Hainanese food were and used to be, flavourful, passionate and filled with respect. I still remember having celebration in Hollywood Restaurant at Tanjung Bungah, snacking on Western delights in Tip-Top cafe in Pulau Tikus and eating simple meals at Loke Thye Kee on the junction of Burmah Road and Penang Road. Sad to say good times doesn’t last long, many of these establishments have faded into the sunset and those who are left still standing might not last any longer due to the unforgiving-ness of time and the lack of understanding by the later generations.

Treasure that is splendid and flavourful, once lost it is forever gone. Having said that, the traditional Hainanese Pork Satay or “Satay Babi” served with the sweet potato sauce and toasted bread is one aged old favourite that is slowly loosing its battle with time. Being exceptionally different from the usual Malay or pork-free satays that are in abundance in Malaysia, it is definitely unique to the Malaysian and Singaporean Hainanese community.

Satay itself is myth-ed to have originated from Indonesia, Malaya Peninsular, Middle East and even China, be it where it is from it is one of the much celebrated meat on skewer in the Malay Archipelago. The traditional Hainanese Satay consist of two (2) pieces of evenly sliced lean pork loin and a piece of pork fat skewered in between on a “lili” (in Hokkien) or the midribs of the coconut leaflets, at present it has been replaced by the mass manufactured bamboo sticks/skewers. The lean meat and fat is marinated in a dry rub that consist of turmeric powder, garlic and other secret ingredients that we cannot reveal due to a promise made.

The ready prepared skewers of sinful porkiness are grilled over a charcoal fuelled open heat a-la-minute. Each skewer while being grilled is basted with a glaze mix that contains freshly squeezed coconut milk, water, turmeric and some seasonings.

The other important part of the Hiananese Satay is the dipping sauce which is distinctively different from the usual spicy and nutty peanut sauce that is widely available. Traditionally it is served with a sweet potato base dipping sauce made from mashed sweet potatoes, water, sugar, tamarind, chilli and seasoned to taste.
Back then, the Hainanese Satay is served with only charcoal heat toasted bread baste with the basting concoction that gives it that yellowish tinge and that sweet and savoury taste. The toasted is still being served on the side as an additional condiment to the new addition cucumber and onion wedges.
In Penang, there are two (2) Hainanese Satay vendors that still practice the recipes and methods that their grandfather and father have handed down to them. They are the third (3rd) generation of Hainanese Pork Satay vendors that have witness the change that time has on their traits. During the day there is Uncle Tong or “Ah Aun” who is already 67 and still burning strong and caters to the upper market that drives by his tricycle stall in their big cars for their weekly fix of satay. He now only opens on Tuesdays and Saturdays from as early as 7:30am until everything is sold off, which may be by 12:00pm or so. The best is to be early!     

In the evening 59 years old Uncle Wang or “Ah Chye” as we like to call him can be seen at the junction of Carnavon Street and Chulia Street manning his tricycle stall that caters to the dinner and supper crowd, and promote our Penang food heritage to visiting foreign tourists that walk along Chulia Street sampling some of the hawker street foods available. Ah Chye operates daily from 7:30pm onwards and only rests on Sundays. He too need to be early, sometimes his satays finishes by 10:00pm or even earlier.
Other than the traditional sweet potato sauce, Ah Chye also prepares and provide the usual peanut sauce that he makes with his secret recipe that he has yet to share with us. He also sells the chicken version of the Hainanese Satay if you are not a pork-person. Both Ah Aun and Ah Chye are good friends who we have met and befriended for our food research project. They used to sell satay made from pig’s small intestine or “hoon cheang” which requires more preparation effort and time, plus the decline of demand from the younger generations. Ah Chye once said, going further back in time roughly before 1971, his father and grandfather also sold satay skewers that were made of a piece of pig’s liver, small intestine and lean meat.

Time is unforgiving, savour what we have at present before it is lost to history.
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83 Years Old Hainanese Kopitiam, Nam Kie 南佳

Posted by Jason Wong On March - 21 - 20126 COMMENTS

Amidst the row of pre-war houses along Kimberley Street in George Town, Penang, there lay many hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered by the young and restless. House in these old buildings is people and businesses who have seen Penang’s development through their century old windows. In this busy street, many famous delicacies that are significant to Penang’s food heritage and culture that are key to it’s food tourism were born, koay teow th’ng stall that once used abalone as a condiment, a dessert stall that have grind through three (3) generations, Hainanese kopitiams who have brewed and fed generations of patrons, Char Koay Teow’s that have filled the tummies of movie goers who frequent the once bustling independent cinemas around town, etc.

One of the many businesses who have set a foothold on Kimberley Street is Nam Kie 南佳, an 83 years old Hainanese Kopitiam that was once a bustling meeting point for many Hainanese migrants that came to Penang in search of a better life. Then, Nam Kie 南佳would normally operate in the daytime with a non-pretentious menu of good old Hainanese Kopi, homemade Kaya, charcoal flame toasted bread and soft boil eggs. Now they have added Hianan Char to their staple. Apart from Nam Kie 南佳, Khee Cheang Leong 喜昌隆, which is still operating, was available to provide for the night dwellers with a similar offerings and may be more.Though coffee was brought into the then Malaya, it has gained much popularity and demand by the migrants be it Chinese, Indian and even the Malays who have made the once colonial trading hub their centre of business, life and home. What sets the Hainanese kopi or coffee apart from the Western world coffees is the method of processing and the technique of brewing the bitter coffee beans. The beans are roasted in a wok with sugar, butter and wheat, thus the malty rich and buttery creamy taste that is produced after brewing with the optimum water temperature, right size of cloth filter and most importantly the experience and skill of the master brewer. We were told that if all the combinations are right, the brewed kopi ‘O” or black coffee would induce a drunk or “high” sensation that many patrons seek and look forward for.It depends what is the preference of the drinker, the generic Hainanese kopi or coffee can be served Kopi “O” (black coffee with sugar), Kopi (coffee with sweeten condensed milk), Kopi-C (coffee with sugar and evaporated milk) or anything that fancies you. Nam Kie 南佳 has given me the opportunity to taste a Kopi “O” that delivers sweetness with a slight bitter after taste without the acidic end, and a Kopi that was creamy, sweet that ends with a bitter sensation to the tongue.Kaya is the Peranakan version of the Western jam, made from eggs, freshly pressed coconut cream, pandan (screw pine leaves), sugar and lots of patience.  Nam Kie 南佳 double boils their Kaya concoction for at least half a day until it naturally turns brownish in colour and develops a distinctive rich creamy coconut flavour. If the kaya is cooked thoroughly, then the longer it will last in room temperature. Quality ingredients also determine the life span of the kaya, we were told that they used to make Kaya that can stay fresh for at least 2 weeks without refrigerating. As time changes, the quality of sugar and coconut has declined and thus reducing the kaya’s life span to just around a week without cold storage.With the rising competition from organized food courts and fast food franchises, Nam Kie 南佳 has begun to dish out the family style Hainan Char or Hainanese Stir-Fried Noodles to recapture their dwindling customer base who have either moved out of this aged bustling city. Their Hainan Char is similar to the Penang style Hokkien Char minus the prawn base stock and the dark soya sauce used to give colour and taste to the carefully choreographed stir-fried yellow noodles and vermicelli. In its original form, their Hainan Char consist of lean pork slices and fresh prawns stir-fried with fragrant garlic and lard, which then serves as the base for a handful of yellow noodles and rice vermicelli and mustard leaves that are braised in a sweet soup stock for extra flavour.For added colour and taste, you may request for the dark version of the Hainan Char that infuses dark soya sauce for a nutty and savoury caramel flavour.If you are lucky enough, then you might get to try their Oyster Noodles or Oh Mee that is filled the flavours from the sea, little bit earthiness and a little bit of creaminess.If you are not rushing from place to place and fighting with the clock, try stepping back in time and savour the atmosphere it reflects and taste the flavours and feel the passion that have aged and polished with time. Give thoughts to the hard-work and discipline to those who still strive to give you the best on the table, like the Hainanese Satay vendors that hand-make the pieces of meat into works of “art”.

Nam Kie 南佳
Address: 116 Lebuh Kimberley, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
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It was the first day of 2009, and we have to leave KL for home in Penang after a week there. But before we started our journey back, we decided to try out this place, Coliseum Cafe which was established in 1921. The cafe serves Hainanese cuisines minus the Pork, that is why many of our Muslim friends like to patronize this place too.
Colesium Cafe was established since 1921

Colesium Cafe was established since 1921

The moment we enter into the reception area, we were like entering into another time in space. The furniture and fittings seem to be as old as my beloved parents, well aged! The place don’t only look and feel antique, it also smell old. Not only the furniture looked like collectibles, even some of the ‘kaptens’ (waiters) seem to be antiques themselves. 😀

Reception or lounge area.

Reception or lounge area.

An aged bar counter top.

An aged bar counter top.

Dining area with realy old tables and chairs, even some of the waiters are walking antiques.

Dining area with realy old tables and chairs, even some of the waiters are walking antiques.

As we were quite starved, we ordered quite a line of dishes to sample. The first thing that was served was the Ox Tail soup which had quite a lot of meat in it, but no tail! In the menu it was labelled as freshly brewed. The taste was very rich and heavy, and quite salty too for me and Gill.

The Ox Tail Soup was too thick and salty.

The Ox Tail Soup was too thick and salty.

Then came their butter and cheese toast. The toast was crisp but not dry, just nice. The butter and cheese spread was  sufficient to entice our taste buds. It was actually nicer than the toast we had at Edelwise for our 2nd Penang Food Blogger gathering.

In House Special Toast with Cheese and Garlic.

In House Special Toast with Butter & Cheese.

The next order to come was the Hainanese Chicken chop. It looks and taste like the type that my parents used to served at their cafeteria and at home. It brought back many memories of them. The deboned whole leg of chicken was tenderised and lightly seasoned. The batter used was not too thick or heavy, just coated to the right thickness  and deep fried to crispy golden brown. The sauce was not the usual Hainanese potato and mix vege sauce that we found at Yut Kee, it was in fact made of tomato sauce with peas, onion and mushroom. The tomato sauce was not too sour nor sweet, it went well with the chicken.

The Chicken Chop reminds me how my mom used to make them. It brings back  memories!

The Chicken Chop reminds me how my mom used to make them. It brings back memories!

The sauce is different from the usual Hainanese clear sauce found at Yuk Kee

The sauce is different from the usual Hainanese clear sauce found at Yut Kee in KL.

The rib-eye steak I ordered was medium-well, and came just as what I wanted although it was served on sizzling hot plate. The steak was plated and served like they used to during the 70’s to 80’s, simple and old school. The steak surface was caramelised and yet maintained the tender texture inside. But the browns sauce was a bit overwhelming. If I am not wrong the sauce was something straight from the can or a instant premix. Anyway, this steak was at least better that the one I had days ealier in Memphis Bistro at Subang Jaya.

The plating and method was something that I experience many many yeras ago during my hildhood and Teenage years at The Ship and Eden.

The plating and cooking method was something that I experience many many years ago during my childhood and Teenage years at The Ship and Eden.

Then came the Inchi Kabin or deep fried chicken Nyonya style. Initially we thought, OMG it is overcooked. But one bite into the piece I took, it was crispy at the outer layer and amazingly still juicy and tender. It may not look appertising but the texture and taste was enough to change our minds.

The Inchi Kabin looks can be deceiving.

The Inchi Kabin looks can be deceiving.

After all that food we still have some space to spare, thus we made two extra orders as my sis wanted to try them. We asked for their Hokkien Char and Cream Caramel. The Hokkien Char had lots of ingredients as will see in the photo below. The prawns were fresh and fragrant, but the noodles did not have that distinct taste of seafood or prawns. Usually Hokkien Char is fried and then stewed in a special broth made from prwans shells and bones, and that is why it has that distinct prawny sweetness in each every strand of noodle.

The prawns were firm and fresh, but the noodles did not have the rich prawn aroma.

The prawns were firm and fresh, but the noodles did not have the prawn aroma.

Lastly, we had our dessrt which is cream caramel, which is also one of my moms specialty which my sister’s all time favourite. It looks good enough, but the custard was too stiff and firm. And the carmel sauce did not have that rich and smokey taste to it, just plain old sweet. It was bit of dissappointment there.

The Cream Caremel was a bit too firm and it did not have the smokey taste of caremel.

The Cream Caremel was a bit too firm and it did not have the smokey taste of caremel.

The business hours are from 10am to 10pm dailly except for Weekends and Public Holidays, where it open from 9am.

The address: 98-100, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Phone No. : 03 2692 6270.

GPS Cordinates: N03*09’208″ E101*41’795″

On average, I would give this place:

  • 3/5 for value (slightly expensive to Gill’s point of view)
  • 3.8/5 for taste & texture (not all dishes hit the note)
  • 3/5 for service (because of one specky guy I reduced the rating due to his unresponsiveness, the rest was polite and freindly)
  • 2.5/5 for cleanliness (Gill complain about the table cloth which was also a piece antique – pretty dusty)
  • 3.5/5 for atmosphere (brought back some old memories)

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It was our first time meeting people who share the same passion on food. In the past we have met many who are makan kings & queens, who only know where to look for food but doesn’t really know how to enjoy food. But then beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, ones gourmet dish may be another ones poison.

It was an enjoyable night to remember with Penang Tua Pui (but compare to me they are still short of a few kilos), Lingzie, CK Lam, Buzzingbe, Cariso and Criz Lai. There will be more gatherings in plan and we hope that more will join in to make the occasion merrier.
Lets get back to the food at Hainan Town at the Queens St. Pier. It was our first visit there and we did not know what to expect, but as food adventurers we went on to see what was cooking there. Basically we had 5 dishes that would be signature dishes of any Nyonya restaurant, except for the mix vegetable, spring rolls(nyonya style), inchi kabin, Jiu Hu Char, Asam Fish. Imagine with the 5 dishes, white rice and drinks(no liqueur), it was a whopping RM190+. And honestly, I had to go for second round with Gill as the portions were insufficient. Damn! The blades were sharpen on both sides, si peh tai tao.
The photo we’ve took were not up to standard…pai seh, please dont put high expectation on the DSLR…coz we are still new 😛

The first dish to be serve was the Spring Rolls, it was a bit over fried and oily. The complementary sauce that is norm for this kind spring rolls were also not up to par, it was dead sour and lacks the earthy and smoky taste. If one could remember when Hollywood Restaurant at Tg. Bungah, during their hey days, their Spring Rolls were fried to perfection and serve with the special sauce, which brings out the sweetness of the fillings and also eliminates the oiliness feeling that comes with deep fried food.

Food Taste: 5

Next was the Inchi Kabin. My first impression was charcoal chicken because it was so black and doesn’t resemble any Inchi Kabin i have tried before. I can’t really remember how Ichi Kabin should taste like but definitely this is not Inchi Kabin. Although the chicken looks well done but yet Penang Tua Pui complaint that theirs were not cooked, my drum stick was over cooked and hard. I wonder did the cook stir the chicken when it was being fried!
Food Taste: 4
The Jiu Hu Char taste common, but the texture was coarse may be due to that the turnips(sengkuang) were shredded using a shredder rather that being hand cut.

Food Taste: 5


The Asam Fish, tasted blend, no heat and no fragrant from the Curry Flower. The significant taste was sour and sweet with a tiny hint pineapple. It will suit those who can’t take spicy food, like MAT SALLEHs.
Food Taste: 4
No comments on mixed vegetable as it was common and taste so so only.
Food Taste: 5

After the main course, we had dessert made by Buzzingbee, tarts bought by Criz and a birthday cake prepared by Lingzie for Cariso. Those were the only high lights for the night. The main courses were a bit disappointing.

i love the black papper tarlets among 3 of them…(top right, dark in color). If you would like to know where to get those tarlets, please visit crizfood.blogspot.com for more info.
Here comes the tiny “Virgin” fruit tarts prepared by BuzzingBee from her homy kitcken 🙂 This is her first experiment and yet the quality can fight with those who make for living :P~
The Tart overall is ok, but just the fruit cant stand too long on the pastry and color start to changed, luckily she put choclate as base to avoid the water comes out from the fruits…or else, will become a fruit cake…hehehe…Clever! Way to go BuzzingBee!
Cake cutting time. Lingzie bought this Greentea Cake from Ritz for Cariso’s Birthday. The cake has mill greentea taste + redbean paste for several layers…
This defenately is a healthy cake…you can only taste the orignal sweetness from the ingrediant. pretty good.
Ladies were busy to snapped the best shot!
from Left to the Right – BuzzingBee, Lingzie, CK Lam, Cariso

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARISO!

Hey, seems sweet looking at the Greentea Cake? Or think about something else? lol
A point to remember, next gathering remember to ask for a plate warmer! All were busy taking photos for their bloggs by the time we all set down, the dishes were already unsaveble, 991 also can’t help. haaaa…
Rating 0-10
Average Of The Food Taste: 5
Environment: 7
Service: 6
Price: 8 (pricey abit)
Recommend: mmm….
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This is my second visits to Yut Kee, and i believe Yut Kee is a Famous old school hainanese food paradise for KL people. Its located in the heart of the city. You will hardly get a table and the people who comes here already used to shares table with stranger.

Their Popular dishes are Hainanese Pork Chop, Roti Bakar with Homemade Kaya and many more…

Hainanese Pork Chop

At first my sister in-law asked me don’t order the pork chop, afraid the meat will be tough, coz she took that before and was hard to chewed. Anyway, i still asked for 1…hee.

The pork chop deep fried with egg batter, served with deep fried potatoes, mixed vege and stew sauce. That is call Hainanese Style.

Surprisingly the pork chop was tender, the sauce is average only. Well, for me, it isn’t the old school & homey method that i expected. I guess they force to prepared the food in short cuts to supplies the huge crowds. The mama stew sauce is to caramelise the onion, pan fried the potatoes and put in some tomatoes to make the delicious stew sauce.

Roti bakar become Toast….no more charcoal version now, but the kaya still using old school “double boiled” method to cook. Nice.

Another recommend item is Seafood Dai Lok Mee, freshly fry. Remember don’t ask for normal version, coz they pre-cook the noodle and just hit up when the order comes. Crappy…

Rating 0-10
Food: 5
Environment: 4 (warm and crowded)
Service: 5
Price: 4
Recommend Dish: Dai Lok Mee, Double Boiled Kaya

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