Teo Chew Restaurant @ Damansara Jaya, PJ : My Third Place

There is three place that I spent the most time in when I am in KL. First would obviously be my home in KL. Second, being in the rat race itself, would be my workplace. The first two places are typical for normal rat racers. The third place though, which I believe would differ from people to people, and as for me is actually the communal house. What?? In my own definition:

Communal house – “a place where like-minded people hang out and mostly bum around doing nothing much other than enjoying each other’s company and presence”

For me, my communal house is strategically located near to me and at the same time conveniently sheltering few of my bestest of friends – Y, L and E, which is actually why the place is the communal place anyway. So if you don’t find me at home sleeping/doing the usual things at home or at work earning my dough, you would most likely find me at the communal house bumming around. The thing with bumming around is, there is nothing you wanna do other than nothing. Not even when your stomach starts making sounds. Sometimes we would be bad enough to just order food in and continue bumming, but sometimes when the lure of food is strong enough and the delivered food are no longer satisfying, we would drag ourselves out of the house to the nearest comfort food place – Teochew Noodles.

My good friend L once say her comfort food is just a bowl of Chinese noodle soup, I must say it has its good reasons. Imagine a big bowl of soupy goodness, with fresh juicy meats (fish/chicken/pork) and rice noodles so soft it slides down your throat. That is what I call simple food at its best.

Fishball Noodle @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

This hidden place, with the shop in a inner road of Damansara Jaya, facing the Atria supermarket, which may not seem so hidden after all as every time as we go there, it seems to be almost pack with people. Most of them are families, having their meal together, so us a bunch of boisterous girls are a bit of a stand out, but still it did not deter us or anyone there in enjoying their meal.

Here you first pick your choice of noodle, flat rice noodles, vermicelli, yellow noodles or mee sua, to go with your soup and fishballs. Then if you are feeling ravenous you can actually add on with extra ‘liu’ (ingredients) such as fish maw (one of my favourite), seaweed, various yong tau fu usual suspects like fish paste stuff in tofu, brinjal, chili, bittergourd and the lots, to up the goodness in taste and nutrition for your bowl of noodles.

Yong Tau Fu @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

Y and L like to order the noodle kon-lou (dry tossed in light and dark soy sauce) and have the soup with the fishballs and whatever else in another bowl. As for me I always go for the soupy goodness for somehow nothing beats the comfort in a bowl of piping hot noodle soup. Also another must order here is the freshly made fish cake that is fried to almost perfection – for me which is void of excess oil.

Fried Fish Cake @ Teo Chew Restaurant, Damansara Jaya, PJ

No matter which way you enjoy your bowl of noodles and your soup of simple luxuries, you will be guarantee to have a full good meal with a satisfied smile at the end of it. On top of that, the young Shaolin-look-alike owner, who is ever so friendly, chatting us up most of the time with his good English, does make the overall experience much better. As for us the girls, we will then rub our tummies and then slowly move back to the communal house for further bumming around.

Teo Chew Restaurant
10, Jalan SS22/21,
Damansara Jaya
03 7725 9139

Cyber Series 2: Hot, Hot Dengkil Chilli Fish

Me, becoming a spicy eater

Once upon a time (was it that long ago?) when I was still a little kid and growing up in Taiping, I used to be one of those Malaysians that people would say to “What! You cannot eat spicy ahHow to be Malaysian like that?” So sheepishly I would smile and then continue with whatever I am eating. But now, after intensive trainings due to my tham jiak-ness where I would brace myself to eat spicy food just because I want to try it or I like to eat it so I have to feast with tears welling in my eyes, nose sniffing all the way while mouth keep opening and closing like a fish out of the water, and then further more I add in gung-ho when eating out with A and M during our Bangkok working days, I want to show I can devour all things spicy in Thai and boy do the Thais know their chillies, I became one of those who can eat nearly all levels of spiciness without subjecting to tears and rushing for a gulp water.

Spicing up work-life in Cyberjaya

As I mentioned about A and M, they were actually my ex-colleagues from the heydays of Bangkok traveling, the time I learn up the skills that had so far determined my path in my career, and also apparently the time I sharpen my skills of ‘spicy eating’, and then after that we three have parted in our own ways while still keeping in touch and somehow after that as fate has it, we three united once again in, of all places, Cyberjaya, where A became my colleague once more while M became a ‘neighbour’. So naturally we three goes out for feasting again, like how we did in Bangkok, and my tham jiak-ness is definitely nothing foreign to them at all after witnessing my eagerness and passion in surfing, noting down and going all around for food. Before I join the Cyberions, A and M have been quite a while at that location, therefore sparing me of all the hard work of hunting for good food and solving the ultimate question of what to eat in Cyberjaya!

A name in context

There is one story though that I think worth mentioning in this post due to its appropriateness of the context and story wise. During our time in Bangkok, there was once we were out eating with a client, a Thai guy and he called my name as such “lah cheeelll”, which amused them immensely as A thinks that it sounds like him calling me la jiao (chilli in Mandarin) and thus the name was coined to me. After numerous times of calling me la jiao, soon it morphed into once a while calling me by the name lat jiew (chilli in Cantonese) because we normally converse in Cantonese.

Chili Fish @ Sin Ki, Dengkil
Chili Fish @ Sin Ki, Dengkil

Finally, the hot, hot chilli fish!

Therefore, A happily said one day when we were heading out to lunch “lat jiew, I am taking you to eat lat jiew yu (chilli fish)”, while snickering away. Yes I may be rolling my eyes at the lameness of the joke but secretly my heart skip a bit at the exciting thought of eating both of my favourite things together – chilli and fish. This particular dish, when mention with chilli, it truly meant chilli whereby you will be presented with kon chin ma yau (fried threadfin fish till dry) swimming (pun not intended) in a thick slightly sweetish sauce that is laden with loads of chilli padi (bird eye’s chilli) and red chilli sliced thinly. Just looking at it may make a non spicy eater seized up, but don’t let the mini chillies deter you, this dish is in fact not really spicy, just with hint of it and it goes really well with the dark sweetish sauce and superbly crispy fish. Although I must admit that I have long since surpass even my own expectation of my ability to eat spicy stuff, where nowadays I can eat hot dishes without breaking a sweat while people around me had started imitating the ‘fish out of the water’. Nevertheless, trust me on this fish, it was so worth the spiciness if you’re afraid and I have seen even M, the one we used to laughed at for not being able to take spicy food, enjoys this dish happily.

Other Dishes @ Sin Ki, Dengkil
Other Dishes @ Sin Ki, Dengkil

And the lesser accompaniments

Also for this place you may ordered the usual Chinese eatery dishes of stir fry vegetables, my favourite would usually be the cheng chao fan shu yip (clear stir fry sweet potato leaves), but once we were recommended to try their steamed beancurd embedded with fishballs on a bed of lettuce leaves, something special but not what I really like, especially that I have a high standard when it comes to fish balls, they have to be rich in taste of fresh fish. The rest of the dishes I tried were mostly home cooked style, the ku lou yok (sweet sour pork) does not make the cut for being too floury and sweet, but thankfully the stir fry pork with ginger was good with real home made feel.

Burp, Dengkil rocks!

So it seems Dengkil boasts many good foods, like the nasi lemak that I talked about, if you know where to look. Lucky me to have A and M showing me around, so now I passed on yet another humble and assuming yet amazingly delicious food to you who may scratched your head on what to have for lunch or dinner if you are a Cyberion or just happen to be around the neighbourhood of Cyberjaya or Putrajaya.

Restaurant Sin Ki
Jalan Besar,
43800 Dengkil,
Selangor

Chef Tam & Jin Chwan Seafood @ Selayang, KL : The Taste of Happiness and Freedom

Every animal has its place in this world. Every animal has its right to live. So does a chicken. If needed to be bred for food, then at least they should be bred humanely. Free range is the way to go, where the chickens are free to roam the plains and live the way they would want to live, well yes in certain confined parameters, but who doesn’t live in such parameters, even us do. Anyway back to the chicken, so have you ever thought about those chickens cooped up in a tiny cage barely enough for them to stand straight all their live and then slaughtered for food? How can one eat an unhappy chicken? In fact does the chicken even know it is living? In light of current movements where we start to understand where our food comes from, and we start to care where and how it comes to right in our plates, then definitely we need to know that even if those we consume are in the food chain and in course with nature, we should at least have done that in most humane way as possible. Even animals killed another animal with grace (mostly), and so we should likewise have done the same, be it we hunt them or more ubiquitously now in modern times where we rear them.

So here I introduce to you about a company called Sunshine Chicken (how apt!) with a heart that owns a 15 acre farm up in the highlands of the outskirts of Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Although a fairly new company, they had definitely started on the right foot in my own humble opinion, where they retain a sort of kampung (village) environment of lush green fields and fresh clean air as their setting for free range chicken farming. Here is sort of like chicken utopia, where they are allowed to live almost freely as animal. According to Sunshine Chicken, “Happy Chickens makes tasty chickens! Stress free means toxins free, makes our chickens taste more like chickens and less like something manufactured. “ . Also one key point to note was that they fed their chickens the natural ma cho, which literary translates as horse grass, it is well known in our Chinese community for its good natural properties. Even at home, J’s mum plant ma cho for own consumption, where she would boil the stalk parts for a refreshing drink! It tasted like light sugar cane water minus the whole load of sweetness. If you think this has already been special enough, wait till you hear about the castrated chickens. That’s right, castrated, and which they are also known as a Capon. According to my favourite information site online, the Wikipedia, the castration produces a unique type of poultry meat where the male would accumulate more body fat and in overall often to have more tender, juice and flavourful meat in comparison to a normal chicken.

Ma Cho Kai (Horse Grass Fed Chicken) @ Chef Tam, Selayang
Ma Cho Kai (Horse Grass Fed Chicken) @ Chef Tam, Selayang

Being a tham jiak, and having a huge good bunch of foodie friends, allowed me to explore this wonderful happy and fatty too in some, chickens, where indeed it was seriously tastier, I kid you not. Thanks to Babe in City – KL and Gerald, who organized this great outing and for inviting me to it. As we can read at babe’s blog, we all have gathered at Kedai Makanan Chef Tam in Selayang, I got there easily thanks to my GPS. Here we were served with both the aforementioned special chickens. We had the ma cho kai roasted deep fried and then hung to dry. Indeed such a unique preparation that had most of us thought roasted, no wonder it had such crispy skin yet do not taste oily at all! Thumbs up to the chef! As for the capon, we had it at its natural best, where it was just simply steamed with some salt – steamed yim kai. And for this, I may so attest to what had been explained by dear Wikipedia, it has a superb texture which is toothy yet juicy! With accompaniment of the minced ginger that pack a punch and a flavourful soft rice that was cooked with the steamed chicken broth, I swear I could eat just these as a meal itself!

Steamed Yim Kai (Capon Chicken) @ Chef Tam
Steamed Yim Kai (Capon Chicken) @ Chef Tam

But apart from the chicken being the main thing of the entire affair, somehow the seafood does take a piece of their own 15 minutes of fame. With fresh seafood sourcing directly from their famous neighbour Jin Chwan Seafood Garden, we get to eat the fresh, plump and creamy oyster which was one of those rare ones that does not have the sang mei (the sort of metallic taste that you get when eating seafood that are not fresh). We also had the steamed Garoupa from Sabah which was in another of Chinese simplicity to present the best out of the fresh fish.

Fresh Oysters @ Jin Chwan Seafood Garden, Selayang
Fresh Oysters @ Jin Chwan Seafood Garden, Selayang

Also to accompany our meal, and also to probably clean our palate from all those indulging food, we have the tofu and the stir fried green vegetable. I really liked the tofu where it was fried to create a ‘casing’ that gave a light crunch before you get to the smooth silky part. I truly enjoy this humble dish, which may actually be not so humble anymore judging the skill needed to prepare it.

Tofu & Vegetable @ Chef Tam, Selayang
Tofu & Vegetable @ Chef Tam, Selayang

This meal has truly been eye opening, I learnt a lot that when one cares where does the food comes from, be it free ranged animals to live fresh seafood, it does wonders to the end product of the dish. Like the philosophy I hold to when it comes to cooking, get the best and freshest ingredient, half the job has already been done to make the dish good even before you cook it. Therefore, try free range chicken if you want to cook up a feast, you may get them from Sunshine Chicken through these places or contact Gerald if needed. As for those who would like to savour them with skills of a chef, I would certainly recommend you to try out Chef Tam’s.

Kedai Makanan Chef Tam
6A Jalan Bidara 2/4,
Taman Bidara, Selayang.
603 6138 8751
12pm-3pm, 6pm11pm

Jin Chwan Seafood Garden
9 Jalan 2/4,
Taman Bidara, Selayang
603 6138 2633
Business Hours:
8am-10pm

Sunshine Chicken
45-2, 2nd Floor, Jalan Menara Gading 1,
Medan Connaught
56000 Kuala Lumpur
6039102 3950

Here are some of the lucky tham jiaks at that time:
Babe in City – KL
Cumi dan Ciki
Fat Boy Bakes
Eu Hooi Khaw
Pure Glutton

Best Duck in PJ @ Sunrise Restaurant, Seapark : And the Duck Goes

Best duck in Klang Valley? Possibly. Best duck in PJ? Most likely. Best duck in Seapark? Definitely! One day I had a chance to be around my favourite PJ area and so caught up with fellow housemate to eat duck at the famous Sunrise restaurant.

For this place it is better to be early than be sorry. Once long ago, (did I say long?), when I was still in university, my friends and I had eagerly went there bout ‘normal’ lunch time, before 1pm and was told that all has been sold off. I was like ‘What!” and stared at the rows of duck hanging still at the stall and then I sweep the entire restaurant in seconds to be greeted by tables empty of ducks and patrons anticipating hungrily. So we shrug and left in disappointment. But after that I did have a chance to try it once or twice when I am ever early enough to catch the bird, literary.

So this time imagine my delight when we were seated promptly and then ordered half a duck for both of us, my eyes bulging at the thought of it but who cares, I am ready to take on the challenge. Just when the duck came and is laid in front of us, crispy sin glistening atop tender juicy looking duck meats, all doubts went out the window. I am ready to devour it clean!

Best Duck in PJ @ Sunrise Restaurant
Best Duck in PJ @ Sunrise Restaurant

What makes this one of the best duck in town? One, as I heard from friends that are generally more sensitive to eating duck due to its ‘gamey’ texture and taste, they said that the ones over here are overall less rubbery and lighter in taste yet manage to retain the unique taste of duck. How does one began to describe the taste of duck? As for me, the tham jiak, I am all for either end of duck spectrum, but for this one, I absolutely love the juicy meat, rare in ducks, and crispy skin. Just look at the skin again! The sauce that comes with it also complements the crispy duck very well, definitely a dish that helps one finish up the entire plate of rice. Burp!

Now what are you waiting for? Go out there and get the possibly best duck in town!

Sunrise Restaurant
31, Jalan 21/1
Sea Park
46300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
03-7876 9689
Daily except Mondays, 11.30am till sold out