Sunday, March 24, 2019

YummY! - Best Tengalan River Fish @ Restoran Chat Sook Lenggong (七叔饭店)

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                  Jotaro's Food Review              

Lenggong, Perak, Malaysia - March 2019
The towns in Hulu Perak are renown for their fresh river fish, and the best thing is these town are not over-exposed to outside tourist influences; so their pricing are still reasonable and their cooking style still to local taste and flavours. Names of several towns come into mind, places like Lenggong, Ayer Kala, Gerik comes into mind. These towns are so small that many of them may have not more than five good restaurants. We were at Lenggong and did get a chance to try one of the nice shops called Restoran Chat Sook; literally translated mean "7th Uncle's Restaurant"

Okay, let's leave the best part of the meal, the fish - their pièce de résistance, to the last.
We start our meal with the Saituo (西刀) fish balls. This firm texture and tasty flesh of fish (in English is known as the Wolf Herring, and in local Malay called the Ikan Parang) makes one of the best fish balls. Here at Chat Sook, they make their own by hand and it is one of their favourite dish. When ours came, I could see why it's such a draw - of adequate size, it's deeper colour and slight sheen glaze hints on fresh and adequate fish being used to make them. No short-changing here!

The Saituo fish balls were served just adequately poached and not as a soup so that they tasty fishiness is retained and not drawn into the soup. Perhaps they do serve them as a soup, but why waste the pure flavours? One bite in and we were hooked, just of enough bounciness so that a firm bite will send the succulent flavours filling up one palate.

Next on the list was their fried noodles with fish paste. The noodles came looking rather average; but looks were misleading - it was one of the tastiest noodles that I have tried! Strong dark soy sauce have been use to give it a solid taste!

The frying with good and adequate lard have enhanced the overall flavours. To top it all, the fish paste were made with Saituo fish too! Need I say more?

As we were eating, I noticed one of their guys delivering bags of these funny looking sausages. I asked the Captain what they were? These are our signature "Choon Kin", I recommended to you all when ordering but you all didn't want!"..... Oops!
So we ordered a two lengths.
Choon Kin are a sort of Chinese sausage, freshly made with minced pork and had bits of pork liver, small cuts of carrots, onions and spring onions added. The minced pork is of coarser style and are marinated (not seasoned over days as compared to the preserved "Lap Cheong (臘腸)" Chinese sausages). The ones here looked a bit odd uncooked as they had been coated with a thick layer of fresh flour.

And here they are after being deep-fried, looking much more appetizing than the raw ones. As can be seen, the additional flour coating had given the finished product a thicker, pimplish and crunchier skin.

A close up look at the coarser, more bitey minced meat; as we bit in... "was that a bit of prawn?" Perhaps they did add minced prawns too..... !YummY!

To balance of the strong flavours, we had this "Yau Mak" (Romaine Lettuce). It was stir-fried with just slices of garlic. Again, the rural freshness comes through as each bite was crunchy and brought out the country freshness. A simple dish, light of taste to prepare us for their pièce de résistance.

The small towns here are renown for good fishes like TapahTengalanSebarauJelawat or even the very rare Empurau. Many of these fishes can hardly be found in the cities or large towns. In fact, many city residents may not have even heard of these fishes - their names were mostly in Malay, alluding to their rustic background,
One of our team tried to order a Patin..... and was give a cheeky brush off... "that's not a fish, we don't serve them here!" In the cities, the patin is a priced fish well known for it's fatty sweetness. Such is the attitude of the locals... even the best of the city fishes is looked down on! We sheepishly ordered a Tengalan.

Anyway I digress..... let's get back to or master-piece, the Tengalan, before it's ugly head bites my tongue off.
The fish was... SUPERB! It's meat firm yet very sweet. But like most river fishes, eat with care as they have many bones.

The best part is of course the tummy, less bones and the fish fat adding their creaminess to the sweet meat.
They named this sytle as Siao Loong Cheng (Bruce Lee Style). But I wonder why it is called this? Because it can sure give a big kick..... until one land on the next table? 😋

201, Back Lane West, Off Main Street,33400 Kampong Lenggong, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: +6012-5981733
Hours: 11:30am to 12:00 midnight
(Do call first as every three weeks they are closed for five days)
GPS & Direction Map : 5.10973, 100.96822

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Monday, March 4, 2019

YummY! - Good Homely Coffee @ Platform Coffee, Pekan Nanas

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                        Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                       

Good Homely Coffee @ Platform Coffee, Pekan Nanas

Pekan Nanas, Johor, Malaysia - September 2018
There's this nice coffee place in Pekan Nanas, it's not an "Atas" (that's local speak for "up-market") place. In fact, it's a down right down to earth place! A no frills place that serves pretty good coffee in a simple but warm setting.

The place is Platform Coffee located somewhere in a quiet residential area near the town centre. AND one will be forgiven if one miss finding the place.
It's located in a single-storey house which, with it's thin bamboo fencing and corrugated roof, totally does not look like a coffee joint.

As one steps in a large bust lies in a corner of a small rock-garden foyer, it's that of an bald old man with a cheeky hands-in-the-mouth look, inviting patrons in.

The simple look belies what's inside. Within the front compound is the cafe. Even then, this interior does look like a cafe; it consists of a simple concrete bar counter which, except for a red coffee making machine, looks very much like a local kopi-tiam.
It's here at this counter that we meet owner-operator Ah Ping (Hui Phing). Dressed in just a simple dress, she looks more like a house-wife instead of the good barista that she is. But she is in her element, with a tweak here and a push there, she makes good coffee for her patrons!

The place looks quite chaotic, a hodge-podge mix of things that seems to be strewn all over. In one corner sits an antique old radio, with it's dials on a squarish face. On another counter an old Chinese rattan suitcase lies opened ....

At another corner sits a large shelf with odd looking clay mugs. There are even some small busts of a Japanese samurai, a roman gladiator and even one of a satyr. This are the handicraft made during the pottery workshops held by Platform Coffee.
But amidst this chaos is some order, the mugs are used to serve coffee and other drinks, their odd design adding to the uniqueness of the place.

Our coffee came; served in self-made cute cups. Together with the coffee came a liquor bottle, but it contained water and not any alcohol. So don't be fooled and get tipsy!

 Mine came in a cute dark brown clay cup with a long-nosed face on one side and short stumpy legs at the bottom (kind of reminds me of myself, those stumpy legs not the long nose 😆). This was local coffee with condensed milk (on account of my lactose intolerance, no fresh milk for me 😰). Even though it was not one of those "atas" western coffee, my local one tasted very good - thick, robust with a hint of acidity.

Next to the coffee counter were these interesting looking antique Chinese rattan baskets. Perhaps they were part of the old stuff that this place displays.

A close up look at the rattan baskets; the paintings on them are exquisite, and reminds me of those antiquarian Nyonya bamboo tiffin carriers.

But these rattan baskets were not just for display; inside them were pastry, kept there to keep them moist and away from the drying air. This one held tempting looking chocolate brownies and Red Wine Walnut cake!

We selected the brownies and it came served on one of those cute self-made pottery dish - this time a blue one with a "We are the world" opened arms figurine. The brownies were beautiful to look at and even more beautiful to sink our teeth into; they were really delicious, full of chocolaty flavours, moist and soft to bite into!

From another basket we selected this Black Bean Loaf ; it was filled with black beans and also pumpkin seeds, and finally topped off with black and white sesame seeds. This was another wonderful pastry made by Platform themselves; very breadish with a good balance of beans and seed flavours and aromas.

And to go with the breadish bun, the olive oil dip was served in a saucer with a cow naughtily sticking out it's pink tongue.

A tempting fluffy croissant served with pats of good La Belle d' Andiane French butter.

This innocent looking cheesy Tomato Focacia conceals what lies within.

..... a layer of creamy cheese floating above slices of tomatoes. Although it looked a tad dry, it was in fact very creamy.

Opposite the coffee counter is a nice area with sofas and chairs for relaxing, all of these sits on a low platform.... Hey a sitting Platform! Was this how Platform got its name?

At one side of the platform is a plywood where patrons can leave memorable messages.... I stuck one of my AhPek Biker stickers at the top left corner!

Platform is more than a coffee bar, they regularly hole event workshops for people to pick up some artistic trade like basket weaving, pottery, etc. It's also a home-stay and within it's living room is a self-drawn cartoon-style map of Pekan Nanas.

Platform's coffee menu are two large plywood boards hanging behind the counter. Above is the Hot Coffee menu.

Platform's Iced Beverage menu.

Platform Pastry & Cake Menu

Other menu were chalk written onto small blackboard slates lying against some bicycles:

Here, they also sell the La Belle d' Andiane French butter which is used for baking.

Platform Coffee, Kulai
DH17A, Lorong A-4, Pekan Nenas, 81500 Pekan Nanas, Johor, Malaysia.
Tel: +6011-15136749
GPS & Directional Map: 1.50642, 103.50917
(Click here for Google Street View)

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps YummY! Western Food / Good Homely Coffee @ Platform Coffee, Pekan Nanas
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