Tuesday, September 18, 2018

YummY! - Legendary Nasi Lemak @ Chow Kit Market

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                  Jotaro's Food Review              
Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - September 2018
Nasi Lemak is a favourite among Malaysians; in fact it is our defacto national breakfast dish, one that's enjoyed by all irrespective of their origins. Usually this simple yet delicious dish is sold from road-side stalls or from small shops at hawkers centres. Being a Malay dish, a majority, are sold by Malays, but their are a few stalls that sells a Chinese version of the dish. The difference is that the Chinese version is non-Halal as usually there is a dish or two that contains pork. Previously, I had tried the renown Black Man Nasi Lemak which I found to be quite good. There's another good one sold from the San Peng flats, but I found that to be too pricey and did not get around to blog about it.
These days I am often on duty as an assistant cycling tour guide with Mike Bikes, which runs cycling tours around Kuala Lumpur city centre. Part of the tour itinerary would be a visit to the Chow Kit Market, and it's here that one find another good Chinese nasi lemak, so good that it's proclaimed as legendary.....

They are that good that often during weekends, people queue up just to get at it. Surprising that is, as the stall is not easy to find unless one is familiar with the Chow Kit Market, which is a rather large market located between Jalan Raja Bot and Jalan Raja Alang. The legendary nasi lemak is located at a stall within the small food court tucked to one corner of the market (near the vegetables section). This food court is housed in a unique old building with a concrete arched roof.

The stall selling the nasi lemak is called "Taste Legendary Nasi Lemak" and is operated from a narrow 10-foot wide stall by a Mr. Siew and his family. Like most traditional nasi lemak stalls, the dishes are laid out on a table, all ready for serving.

The sotong (squid) curry, an ever favourite with the customers with it's strong flavours. Siew's one is not that chili hot, but still spicy (full of spices).

Their pork rendang, with an aroma not as strong as the usual beef rendangs yet it had a good porky flavour.

A close up look shows that the pork with diced into small chunks, letting them absorb more of the curry flavour.

The "Char Yoke" (Deep fried pork stew) is an unique dish offered by this stall. It is a traditional Chinese dish but went well with the nasi lemak and curries. The pork belly is cut into thick slices, deep-fried till crispy on the outside and then cooked into a stew. Note the hard-boiled eggs that are cooked together with this stew; elaboration will come later on.

Other than the usual fresh cucumber slices and kankung (water spinach), here the offer also the traditional achar, a spicy dish cooked with cuts of cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, long bean all lightly cooked in a spicy ground nut sauce.

Deep-fried square radish cakes are often eaten as a breakfast tit-bit or as part of a dim sum course. I was surprised to find it sold here and even more surprised that it goes very well with the pork curry.

The usual nasi lemak complements are not forgotten, like this sunny-side up eggs. Their hard-boiled eggs are not just hard-boiled but also simmered in the pork stew (see photos of the "Char Yoke" pork stew three photos above this.

An of course there must always be the ikan bilis (anchovies), here they are deep-fried till super crispy and drained off of all the oil.

Nasi lemak is not nasi lemak without a good sambal (chili mix); every vendor has their on style of doing their respective sambal. Siew's one is simply cooked with cut rings of onions, not that oily and just slightly sweet.

And here's my choice, with a double-dose of rice, sunny-side egg, a couple of pieces of "Char Yoke" and a slice of radish cake. The Char Yoke has been well camouflaged with the sambal that I had poured over them - surprisingly this stew blended well with the sweet sambal chili. I would later use some of this sambal as a spread over the radish cake.... Wonderful!
On the general, taste-wise it's average with pricing slightly above average. Just go eat there for the atmosphere.

At Chow Kit Market (Pasar Raja Bot)
Located next to vegetable & fruits section.
(Note; they could be moved to a new wing of market as present location will be demolished)
Tel: +6012-3332334
Hours: 7:00am - 1:00pm (off days on Mondays, unless it's a public holiday)
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/chowkitnasilemak/
 GPS: 3.16488, 101.69949

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Sites - Vinh Trang Pagoda (Chùa Vĩnh Tràng) & Vinh Trang Park @ My Tho, Vietnam

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Cambodia & Vietnam 2018 / Sites / Vinh Trang Pagoda (Chùa Vĩnh Tràng) & Vinh Trang Park @ My Tho, Vietnam
                        Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                       

Vinh Trang Pagoda (Chùa Vĩnh Tràng) & Vinh Trang Park @ My Tho

My Tho, Vietnam - July 2018
Just on the outskirts of My Tho is a beautiful temple called the Vinh Trang Pagoda. But don't go looking for a tall pagoda, their is one here but it's not that tall to be conspicuous from a distance. What first attract visitors are the three entrance gates at the front perimeter wall of the temple.
Chùa Vĩnh Tràng is a Buddhist temple near Mỹ Tho in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. It is one of the best-known temples in the region. The temple stands on a 2 hectares (5 acres) block filled with fruit trees in the village of Mỹ Hóa in the town of Mỹ Phong, on the banks of the Bảo Định Canal.

The main entrance arch (the right side arch has a statue of Buddha at the centre. At the two sides are statues of local deities.
The main triple gate was built in 1933 through the labour of craftsmen recruited from the imperial capital in Huế, central Vietnam.

A close up look at the main entrance arch, showing the ornate style of the panel carvings and the multi-tiered roof.

The centre archway entrance.

Close up of the centre archway.

The temple stands on grounds with an area of 2,000 metres square, planted with many beautiful trees. It was built in 1849 in the shape of the Chinese characters denoting “Nation”. 

The beautiful structure features a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer-Angkor Period architectural styles. Vinh Trang Pagoda has a number of impressive features like the ornate gate, built by craftsmen from Huế, and detailed woodwork within.

A view of the central structure above the main prayer hall. Formerly, it was a small hermitage set up in the early 19th century by District Chief Bui Cong Dat. In 1849, the Most Venerable Abbot Thich Hue Dang put up a bigger temple and named it Vinh Trang Pagoda

From afar, the pagoda resembles the five-tower Angkor Wat TempleAccording to locals, a monk named Minh Dan and an architect named Huynh Tri Phu traveled to Khmer Empire prior to building the pagoda for inspiration and eventually combined Khmer architecture with European styles for the pagoda.

Within the compound are several shrines, this one with a golden statue is dedicated to the Dhyana Mudra Buddha.

And this one is dedicated to Guan Yin, with her standing on a lotus bloom.

Unfortunately, we were early and could only admire the temple from outside. This photo shows the intricate craftsmanship that has been put into the central stairway and the columns and arches behind.

The temple also includes elements from the Renaissance period, Romanesque style, French decorative flowers and Japanese enameled tiles.

A close up look at an arch window with elaborately carved columns and window grilles.

A close up look at a corner of the building showing the multiple layers of artwork, each of a different style and all beautifully combined together.

At the wall panels of the archway gates are panel artwork done in very Vietnamese styles with broken shards of colourful pottery.
This one is of a dragon rising into the sky.

One of a peacock in the garden.

And this one is of the peacock with its colourful tail beautifully opened .

A peacock roosting on a tree.

A wall panel of a tortoise - tortoises represents longevity.

Okay, let's rewind a bit to when we were just riding into the road leading to the Vinh Trang Pagoda. As we entered we noticed a giant standing statue of Buddha (Abhaya Mudra Buddha) on our left. The pagoda is straight ahead and the statue is actually located on a small park called Vinh Trang Park.

It's a nice little park planted with tropical palms, trees and flowery bushes.

A close look of the standing Abhaya Mudra Buddha on a blue-petaled lotus bloom.

Front side view of the Standing Buddha statue in a Abhayamudra posture. This gesture was shown by Buddha immediately after attaining enlightenment. It symbolizes strength and inner security. It is a gesture which instills a sense of fearlessness to others as well. 

One long corridor leads to a Laughing Buddha (Budai, VietnameseBố Đại). Behind this statue, on the right, is a large statue of a Sleeping Buddha (Reclining Buddha).

BudaiHotei or Pu-Tai (Chinese布袋pinyinBùdàiJapanese布袋, HoteiVietnameseBố Đại) is a semi-historical monk as well as deity who was introduced into the Zen Buddhist Pantheon. He purportedly lived around the 10th century in the Wuyue kingdom. His name literally means "Cloth Sack", and refers to the bag that he is conventionally depicted as carrying as he wanders around. His jolly nature, humorous personality, and eccentric lifestyle distinguishes him from most Buddhist masters or figures. He is almost always shown smiling or laughing, hence his nickname in Chinese, the "Laughing Buddha" (Chinese笑佛pinyinXiào Fó).

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Cambodia & Vietnam 2018 / Sites / Vinh Trang Pagoda (Chùa Vĩnh Tràng) & Vinh Trang Park @ My Tho, Vietnam
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)