Saturday, November 24, 2007

F-odd: Bland Chips

Spotted this can of Pringles in Sogo.

I think perhaps their Marketing people need to do some work rather than depend on the Japanese-English dictionary.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

F-odd:Sweet and Sour

One of my favorite things to take on planes and rides are preserved sour plums. I get travel sickness quite easily and these help with the nausea.

While I realize these are not exactly the kind of 'treat' Western peeps usually eat, nor the younger generation (ahem, myself included, of course), I do believe that people are trying to make them less mouth puckering and more pleasant for the youths of today.

One of the incarnations that is popular is using the plums embedded in hardened (maltose). While I enjoy these separately, I find that together they just seem a bit wrong.

Which is why I was reluctant to try the black sugar and plum one that my Mom bought from Sogo's Taiwan specialty food exhibition.

Black sugar is very popular at the moment and treasured for its health properties (hehe, any excuse to eat sugar).

So, how did it taste? Surprisingly delicious! The dark, slightly burnt taste of the earth sugar went very well with the sour, tart and slightly medicinal quality of the preserved plum.

I went back the very next day and picked up the last pack. I'm afraid you lot in HK will have to get yours on your next trip to Taiwan!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

F-odd: Crashed juice

My Mom pulled a carton out of the fridge the other day and poured herself a drink.

I didn't think much of it until I heard a somewhat disgusting squelching noise coming out of the carton.

I turned around to find her squeezing what looked like congealed juice out of the carton. In alarm, I told her not to drink what I thought was rotten, conjealed juice.

Laughing, my Mom handed me the carton. It was:


A half jelly, half juice type drink which my Mom had grown very fond of.

I tried a glass.

It was flavored with that distinctive musky Japanese Kyoho grape juice. Not as sweet as jello and soft yet not too mushy so with enough interest to hold a child's attention to keep them quiet for a few minutes. Or in this case, my Mom's.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Malay Pit Stop - Part 2

The next day, we were jet lagged and didn't set forth from our hotel until the afternoon. As we didn't have too much time before we had to prepare to go to the wedding banquet, the boy and I went to to check out a recommended chain restaurant, Madam Kwan's, in the nearby Suria KLCC shopping centre.

Madam Kwan's was introduced to me as being a kind of upscale hawker stall food which was done very well. We ordered one of their signature dishes, Nasi Lemak, and then the Assam Laksa, which I remembered liking as a child.

The Nasi Lemak was good, with crispy skinned chicken and decent rice. To me, it tasted just a touch too plain. Especially when compared to the Assam Laksa...

All I can say is that my mouth is literally WATERING while typing this. I LOVE Assam Laksa. I can even place it as one my favorite things to eat in Asia. It is sooooo umami, so delicious that I ended up eating 4 bowls of it in 2 days. I even insisted on downing a bowl even though we were late for the airport. It is so freaking good. Pungent, spicy, sour and slightly sweet, it is the kind of food that makes one reel their head back and go, "woah...." before putting one's head down and slurping the entire bowl, unashamedly tilting the bowl back to get the last drops of soup.

I don't know if anyone knows how to make this but if you ever do, and invite me over, I will love you forever. FOREVER.

I don't recall if the boy ate any of it but I think that if he tried, he may have lifelong teeth marks on his fingers.

To finish off, we had to have the cendol, shaved ice with lots of beans and jellied bits with gorgeous dark, almost burnt sugar to sweeten the deal.

Then it was off to the wedding that evening to see the lovely bride and groom seal the deal.

The next day, I was determined to down more than my fair share of Assam Laksa. Being a little worried that I wouldn't find a comparably delicious bowl, I had a bowl at Madam Kwan's to start me off.... just in case!!

Luckily I found a mini-bowl elsewhere, which had a lighter colored gravy but was just as delicious, redolent of fresh herbs and bolstered by the meatiness of the fish.

My first introduction to Rojak was a bit... well, let's just say I didn't like it. Which for me, is a shock as I like almost EVERYTHING (except Turkish delight. Ick) . Not being one to shy away from foods, I was determined to try it at least twice more to ensure that I don't like it. My parents' rule was try to try it at least 3 times before making a decision of whether or not you like the food. I have adhered to it ever since.

The first time I tried it was at a little Indian Kopi Tan, or Coffee Stand. They had Rojak noodles, so the boy and I ordered a bowl to try. While it wasn't the best thing I ate, it was quite decent and the eggs went especially well with the slightly fishy and nutty sauce. A kind of bent twist on peanut noodles served in mall food courts that the West seem to the like and the East seem to gag at.

Then we tried a plate of traditional Rojak with fruits at quick drink stop at a mall restaurant. This one was more fishy than nutty although crushed peanuts were sprinkled on top. I can't say that I liked it but I didn't dislike it. It seem a little bit "wrong" and that's even to me, who enjoy sweet mixed with savory and especially fruits in savory dishes.

All in all, the boy and I agreed, we wished we had more stomach space to fit in all the delicious looking food we wanted to eat. At the end we were defeated. But Malaysian food seem to be very big and bold in flavor, the absolute opposite of that of English food. Rather than a friendly tap on the shoulder, it was more of a get up and smack you in the face food. While I enjoy subtleties of some of the more quiet food flavors, I also love food that yells. And Malay food definitely yells.

Sorry, no addresses for most but here's Madam Kwan's.

Madam Kwan's

- 65 & 65-1, Jin Telawi Tiga,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2284 2297

- Lot. 420/421, Level 4, Suria KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 5088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2026 2297

- Lot. F-052, First Floor, Mid Valley Megamall,
Mid Valley City, 59200, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2287 2297/98

Malay Pit Stop - Day 1

The boy and I made a quick pit stop to Kuala Lumpur to attend the wedding of two wonderful people.

Armed with a map and a list from the boy's colleague, we were hungry and ready to eat.

First thing the boy ate? The first thing he saw, which made his heart sing and his stomach growl... Durian milkshake. Absolutely sure that he'd get a stomach ache after having traveled 3 countries in as many days and drinking the incredibly pungent fruit mixed with milk and ice drink on an empty stomach, I scanned the road for a bathroom. Amazingly, the boy just smiled after having downed the drink in what seemed like a split second and asked what we were eating next.

Lucky for us, there was a sidewalk vendor doing brisk business just down the road with a mouthwatering array of foodstuffs to be sold in a cone of rice. Of course we couldn't resist and over loaded our cone of nasi lemak (coconut rice) with lovely tangles of vegetables, smattering of spicy, perfectly cooked beans, beef rendang, crunchy ikan bilis (the little fried fishes), topped with a fried egg (the boy's oddly Cantonese inclination). This was surprisingly filling and we wandered around the city, slightly confused and suffering from a bit of food coma combined with the humid heat. In a moment of weakness, I am ashamed that we succumbed to the lure of an evil American coffee chain's lure of cold drinks and air conditioning for a bit of a rest.

Of course, we couldn't stay put for long. We had things to eat, after all! We went in pursuit of what the boy's colleague termed "a legend". Soong Kee, apparently famed for their beef balls, which we found deliciously springy yet tender with a good bite, accompanied with lovely slightly meaty and mushroomy lard slicked noodles.

We slurped them down happily, accompanied by a bowl of their beef stomach in soup. AHHHH....

Then, after pursuing some of the tat at the market in Chinatown, we went to the "food court" on one of the side streets where we were able to consume delicious char kway teow with lots of wok's breath, slightly charred, chewy and deliciously moreish. Sadly we were both too full to eat anything else and shamefully only ordered one plate to share between us. We just could not seem to consume anything else.

Of course that was before we came across the little stand selling all manners of cakes. We picked three to take home with us to accompany our tea. After all, couldn't very well not have dessert now could we?

The top piece looked a little like a thick hotcake with a browned top. Only slightly sweet and not too soft, it was perfect with tea. The lower 'brick' on the lower left made of dark brown sugar, was all texture, with what looked like a dense sponge and was wonderfully chewy and flavorful with a warm sugar taste. The coconut with tapioca on the right was warm when be bought it and soft and melting but a little too sweet and gooey for me. I tend to like my desserts to be either liquid or solids but not mushy goo. However, lucky for me, the boy will eat anything with coconut.
Shockingly all this food was just on day 1!!