Thursday, October 18, 2018

YummY! - Laksa Johor @ Imano's Cafe Johor Bharu

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Laksa Johor @ Imano's Cafe Johor Bharu
Nong Chik, Johor Bharu, Johor, Malaysia - September 2018
We were on a trip down to attend the Brompton Malaysia Day Cycling Event in Johor Bharu and had drove down a day earlier. It's been a while since I was last at the city, it had changed very much and so I was eager to see the many new suburbs that have cropped up and to try out the new food outlets too! Some of these new outlets are rather creative, such as Imano's Cafe which is located at a new stretch of slightly up-market looking street in the Nongchik affluent neighbourhood.
We were there for a light bite during afternoon tea and the little we ate gave us a hint of how good the rest of their menu should be.

We started of with a simple appetizer, on their menu it's just described as "Beancurd" and that description belies this modest dish. It came looking very dark, swimming in a pool of deep brown sauce, and crowned with an embellishment of bean sprouts, onion rings, and a sprinkling of finely cut spring onion. A sprig of green parsley and a red cut of chilli added some colour. Without this topping, the dish would have looked like the Tau Kuah Rendang from the neighbourhood stall.

The beancurd (tau kuah) by itself was nothing to shout about; it was just soft and plain tasting - unlike the Hakka tau kuah which has an interesting underling musky flavour. It is their kuah (sauce) that makes this dish wonderful. Cooked with an assortment of spices and herbs (don't ask me what) which all lent their hint of distinctiveness of taste and aroma to the overall flavour. Yes, it's the sauce that makes this a killer and I would agree to the five star rating that was indicated in the menu!
At RM6-90 for just one piece of beancurd, the price may look steep but don't forget that the sauce took a fair bit of preparation that makes it all worth it.

From the Asian Delights section we ordered the "Udang Lemak Cili Padi"; this prawn curry had a five-chilli rating which gave a strong indication that it will be very, very, very, very, very chilli hot. But it wasn't so hot, our trained palates could easily accept the hotness.
It was served with a scoop of rice, ulam (Malay fresh salad leaves). There was also a small separate bowl of sambal belacan (as if the dish was not chilli hot enough). Ok, I am just jiving here, the sambal belacan was to go with the ulam and white rice 😋😋.

The prawn curry may look like Malacca's Assam Pedas, but it was definitely much better. It was cooked with santan without being overly creamy or thick. A well-balanced curry that wasn't cooked with too much spices, which would have otherwise masked the prawn flavour.

Now comes the dish that attracted us to this place in the first place - Laksa Johor. Again it's the curry soup that won us over. It had lots of fish bits well cooked into their full-bodied spice full curry. Our only complaint was that it came with too little of the tasty curry, and before we ate half of the noodles the delicious curry had been lapped dry by us. They made up for it by bringing more.... Yipeee! !Yummy!
Another wonderful five-star dish.

Here's Imano's Cafe Food Menu. I am already eyeing some of the other five-star and five-chilli rated dish 😊.

Imano's Cafe Drinks Menu.

31 Nongchik Riverside Commercial, Jalan Kolam Ayer 2, Kampung Mohd Amin, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 19-726 4393
GPS & Direction Map : 1.46575, 103.73659
(Note: Google map location is wrong, I have given the right coordinates but direction map is to Potpourri Botique Hotel next door) 
(Click here for Google Street View)

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

YummY! - Gulai Termenung Tok Piah Claypot (Dreamy Curry) @ Kuala Kedah

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               Jotaro's Food Review                    
Gulai Temenung Tok Piah Claypot (Dreamy Curry) @ Kuala Kedah
Seberang Kota, Kuala Kedah, Kedah, Malaysia - August 2018
On a short cycling tour from Perlis to Penang we visited the Kota Kuala Kedah Museum and the Kuala Kedah Fort . Both of these places are must visit destinations as they display and trace the history of the Kedah Sultanate. While there at Kuala Kedah, another must is to try the Gulai Termenung, a very good curry originating from this locality, it's so named as after trying it one will always dream about it. See, Gulai Termenung translates to "Dreamy Curry". We tried the one at Gulai Termenung Tok Piah.

This place also sells pretty good Nasi Melayu, with a wide range of Malay dishes. Apologies as I did not take close up photos of the dishes. Suffice to say, they served beef, chicken, lamb curries of different types; fried chicken/fish, and several stir-fried vegetables.

What drew us were also the ulam dishes (Malay green salad); being in a small town one will be able to find many Malay salad leaves that would normally not be found at the cities. These goes very well with their sambal belachan.

This dish may look like a wet mess, but it's one very good dish. This is the Kerabu Taugeh (Pickled mung bean sprouts), the boiled bean sprouts ins slightly pickled in a santan (coconut milk)-chili sauce. The pickling is just with a dash of lime so there's there's only a tinge of sourness. Added to the sauce is kerisik (dried fried coconut shavings) which gave a good creaminess flavour to the sauce, which together with the crunchy bean sprouts made this a very tasty dish. I appreciated this dish all the more as it is not often sold publicly.

And.... here comes the mainstay dish! What makes their curry different from other Gulai Termenung restuarants is that here its served in a clay-pot. And it came steaming hot with vapours wafting from the pot. In fact I had to wait a while for the steam wafting out from the pot before taking this photo. We had ordered the curry with Kembong fishes (Indian Mackerel).

The curry is thicker than Malacca's Assam Pedas, contains more spice and also a bit of santan (coconut milk). It's so good that we drank the curry like a soup.

Here we are enjoying our meal, eating with our hands the local kampong style.

The Kembong were super-fresh with firm and very sweet meat. For 8-10" medium size fishes they were also very cheap at RM1-00 each. Guess what? We loved the curry so much that all of us went for a second round!
Note: There are other fishes available on the menu, just ask for them.

Here I am with the lady herself, Tok Piah. Add a chef's hat and she looked just like her icon in their posters. Another favourite on their menu is freshly fried fishes.

For those who are keen to cook this gulai themselves, Tok Piah also sells her curry paste. The pre-packed "Pes Segars" (instant paste) can be bought at her shop or on-line through WhatsApp to this number: +6017-4247167 (Amirul).

K143, Taman Baru Kuala Kedah, 06600 Kuala Kedah, Kedah, Malaysia.
Phone: +6017-4247167 (Amirul)
GPS & Direction Map : 6.11092, 100.29208

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If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog

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