Hainanese @ Yut Sun, Taiping : A Long Weekend

A long weekend and so I sat down to blog, and nothing seem to come out. I wouldn’t say I got a writer’s block; I can only say I got a tham jiak block. Oh no! Not so tham jiak anymore? Don’t worry, not everywhere near there, ha-ha, just that J and I have less time to go out and try new food, as work had been quite exhausting for both of us. When lunch/dinner comes, all we want is just to go somewhere near or somewhere familiar to just sit down, relax and enjoy ourselves. Don’t even get me started on what about cooking. I am still very much waiting for my new apartment to become mine, legal matters that involves many parties can never be fast, I learnt this the hard way. So there, with not much of food exploration and none on cooking, what is there worthy to blog about?

Fortunately though, Chinese New Year is just around the corner and I am eagerly waiting in anticipation. Chinese New Year is the time where we are reunited with families and friends, enjoying good food together while catching up on the year that has passed. There would be non-stop feasting and munching as well as the gambling. Ah, these are typical traits of the Chinese, and we does it best and most during this time. I had been gambling with RM1 ever since high school, and it never went up even though judging from my increase spending power plus the inflation rates I should, but age has caught up with me and now gambling is more of just to pass time than to earn money. I still remember that my friends and I used to go house to house collecting ang pows and then sat right down to ‘earning money’. Some year I had huge profits, some losses but most years are neither, so I did quite enjoy this way of passing the time.

So as Chinese New Year is just next week, I will be sure to head home to my beloved home town Taiping. I can’t wait, seriously. So I thought it would be best to blog a little about my humble home town. I have mentioned about it several times, but have lacked terribly in blogging about the good food it possessed. I assure you, it is as good as you would expect from a place shield from urbanization thus still very much prepare food the way it does few generations ago.

There is this place in Taiping where it serves really good authentic Hainanese food. The restaurant still cooks and serves like how it used to way before I was born. The place still looked pretty much the same, except I remember it did some clean up once and built the cashier place bout 10 years ago.

Hainanese @ Yut Sun, Taiping
Hainanese @ Yut Sun, Taiping

One extra special thing about it is that it serves halal food. I did not notice this of my years in Taiping, until after I came here to study, where one day a friend mentioned she brought her Muslim friend to dine there, stating it is the only choice for Chinese food around Taiping which is halal. Since it is halal, we definitely would not be able to find the infamous Hainanese pork chop, but guess what, it did extremely well in subbing with chicken chop Hainanese style. Prepared the same way, just with different meat, and it is still real good. Definitely a must order at this shop.

Hainanese Chicken Chop @ Yut Sun, Taiping
Hainanese Chicken Chop @ Yut Sun, Taiping

The chicken is cooked to the right crispiness, and then doused with the thick deliciously salty sauce with peas, tomatoes and onions. The potatoes wedges are definitely worth mentioning too, for being so well fried, non greasy, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Bottles of Goodness @ Yut Sun, Taiping
Bottles of Goodness @ Yut Sun, Taiping

Then there is one special dish that I love to order when I am there, and have yet to find it anywhere else in Malaysia. It is called roti sayur (bread and vegetables). Whenever I call this in front of someone who have yet to try it, they would definitely raise an eyebrow. “You want to eat bread with vegetables???” must be going through their mind. That was how J reacted when I ordered it. Then it came, really different looking with sautéed vegetables lying over a thick toast bread with a sunny side up egg on top, bringing to whole dish to new heights, catching the eye of the raised eyebrow.

Roti Sayur @ Yut Sun, Taiping
Roti Sayur @ Yut Sun, Taiping

This dish certainly need some coaxing to people before they are wiling to try it, after all we Chinese/Asian are not that used to eating savoury vegetables with bread, but this one definitely converted many after just one try. J nodded in agreement to it when I passed it for him to try, while I devour his chicken chop. The vegetables were still pretty crunchy, yet soft enough along with the peas and onions are of great combinations. Mixed in with the slightly sweet yet savoury soft bread (from soaking the sauces), it wss certainly a good match. Not to forget smashing the egg yolks as you go, I don’t need to explain why, eh?

Cham / Coffee-Tea @ Yut Sun, Taiping
Cham / Coffee-Tea @ Yut Sun, Taiping

Lastly I finish off with my ever good ol’ cham(mixture of coffee and tea). The cham here is just as good as I can get as it is kau (thick) enough.

Alright, so now you know we have good Hainanese food in Taiping, so do drop by if you are ever in north Malaysia, maybe drive up a little from Ipoh, or make a pit-stop on the way to Penang. It is definitely not a bad place for good food.

Yut Sun Restoran
Jalan Pasar
Perak, Malaysia

Gula Melaka Biscuits : Comfort Food from Home

Alright, what is this naughty girl doing here when she is supposed to be studying? Well, she just misses her blogging life and intended to at least post something. I have just tackled the first paper this morning, and hopefully I’ve done well, I wrote till my hand got sore. That should be good news right?

Anyway, mum had just bought a yummy biscuit made in my home town, Taiping, which she had dad brought up to KL for me. My dad works here and he travels back fortnightly. I’ve tried biscuit before, and had an almost addictive liking to it, which I “naturally” mentioned to mum, and so, she bought 2 boxes for me this time! Thank you mum!

It is just what I needed, a non-homemade-as-I-do-not-have-the-time comfort food to fight the exam blues.

Gula Melaka Biscuits

Gula Melaka Biscuits
Gula Melaka Biscuits

It’s a sort of biscuit, with thick floury and buttery skin, wrapped around gula melaka, which is already all chewy and sweet. It has good combination of texture and taste which just have your hands keep crawling back into the box for more! By the way, the box is really cool, it has the picture of the Taiping lake garden at the top.

Gula Melaka Biscuits Box
Gula Melaka Biscuits Box

Now, I have to stop ranting or I’ll start to sound like a girl gone mad from studying, back to where I belong now, the books!

Egg Tarts Recipe : Exploring My Origins

Egg Tarts Recipe
Egg Tarts

I am a Chinese, inside out. My mother and father, and both their father’s mother and so forth are all Chinese. In other words, I am a typical Chinese. My mother’s father, came directly from China, during the time many immigrants flocked here to seek a better life. Coincidently, my mother’s mother came to Malaysia in the same way, save maybe in a much later date. As for my father’s side, it was my great grandfather who also came from China to do business.

I am also, a Taiping ‘kia’ (the word is in Hokkien for child), inside out. I said this because both my parents were born and bred in Taiping, including my father’s mother. Same goes for me.

Taiping is a town located up north in Perak, Malaysia. The word itself Taiping meant “Eternal Peace”. As I remember from my studying of history, the name was given to signified the end of the feud between Ghee Hin and Hai San, two prominent gangster (like those in Hong Kong “ku wak chai” movies) at that time. Taiping was also known as “rain town” as it is the wettest town in Malaysia. I for one can testify to that when various times, my basketball practices and plays were canceled due to rainfall. Especially when it is the rainy season, the downpour is so huge; you cannot drive safely on the road. Anyway, I tried it and I swear, I felt like a blind man driving. Well, due to the wetness, we had a beautiful lake in town, with rain trees arching over the road, as they reached over for the water. Check it out over at Taiping Talk or Worldisround for wonderful pictures of my beloved home’s lake. This lake was a produce of the abandon tin ore mines. Quoted from NST:

“Often overlooked is the lake gardens’ history. It is said to be the oldest lake gardens in Malaysia, opened to the public in 1880”

There is so much to talk about this hometown of mind, and I will bit by bit introduce it you readers. I had numerous pictures from Taiping, food especially, go figures, to share with you guys. I’ll be going back to Taiping this weekend, for my Grandmother’s birthday (I am also thinking of baking a cake for her, look out for it as it would be butterlees and milkless, my Grandma cannot stand dairy) and I promise to get more food pictures from town.

As for now, my subject is about my Chinese origins. I had intend to further explore food from my origins, due to inspiration from Barbara from Tigers & Strawberries, where she wrote a lot of thought provoking articles of how to appreciate Chinese cuisines and its various forms and arts.

So I had decided to make something created in Chinese cuisine, and came up with baking egg tarts. It was an absolute hit in my house. I referred to a recipe at KC yet again, and had modified the fillings. According to Wiki, egg tart is a type of pastry from Chinese cuisine. It was created during the time British colonized Hong Kong. SeaDragon from Café of the East had a nice write up bout how the word came about. You can also see the picture of how an egg tart looks like in Wiki, although the crust I made was not those flaky ones. I ran over the recipe to do the flaky crust and was at first afraid of the procedure of combining water and short dough together, something like how you would do puff pastry. Then dignified, I wanted to try it but then was once again put off, this time for the amount of butter involve! It doubles the amount I would have use for a normal crust, like those you would have in tarts. Therefore, I resort to making the pie crust instead.

Last time when I was young, I did not know how to enjoy egg tarts, maybe because my family seldom buys it anyway. Then came Portuguese egg tarts to town, these tarts are from Macao origin, neighbour to Hong Kong, and the crust was superbly puffy and the filling is extremely rich and thick. Alas, I have yet brave enough to make this favourite of mine, I might when one of these weekends I’m geared enough. Anyway, now that Portuguese egg tarts had ignited my interest in egg tarts, I decided to make one at home. Although, it would be completely different from my favourite type, normal crust with simple filling, I found this recipe a keeper as the crust was just at the right crunch and the filling was smooth and tasty, much unlike the watered down ones outside. Do give it a try, even with any pie crust you have. After all, it is just egg custard in pie crust. Ah, the beauty of simplicity.

Egg Tarts Recipe
Egg Tarts Ready to be bake

Egg Tarts

I had discovered a really genius way to make the tart crust! Alright maybe not really genius or maybe everybody does it but it just came to me (the light bulb effect again) to use the rolling pin to flatten it first and then cut it out with a mug. Yes, you heard me right, a mug which you use to drink your hot cocoa from, as it would create a size just slightly smaller than the tart cases.

Remember to roll it just thin enough, press mug to the flatten dough, softly lift the cut out piece and place onto the tart case. Push up the sides to meet the ends. I also found that once baked, the crust will shrink slightly, therefore for my second batch, I had pinch the crust slightly higher than the sides and it will shrink to perfect size. Another reminder is to watch it while it baked so not to over done it resulting in cracks (it was told by a forum member). When done, the custard might be slightly jiggly in the middle, and not to worry as it will harden once cool.

Ingredients crust:
125g butter at room temperature
225g flour
1 egg white (leftover from the egg filling)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Sift the flour and then rub in the butter with your fingers till crumb-like.
Add egg and vanilla essence.
Then knead it to form dough.
Take a portion out of the dough, flatten it with a rolling pin.
Cut out in round shape, and press it into the tart moulds, using your fingers to push up the sides and evenly into the zig-zag shapes.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Bake the tart crust for 10mins.

Meanwhile get ready the egg filling:
80ml (1/3 C) water
80ml (1/3 C)ml fresh/UHT milk
4 tbsp sugar or to taste (depending on your milk sweetness)
juice from 1 lemon slice (1 tbsp lemon juice)
4 egg yolks and 3 egg whites

Put water and milk into saucepan and heat it till nearly boiled.
Then add in sugar and whisk it till dissolved.
Add the lemon juice and remove from stove, set aside to cool.
Beat the eats lightly and filter it through a sieve.
Combine the eggs with the prepare sugar and milk water, set aside.
Pour egg mixture into crust and bake at 180C for about 10 – 15mins.
Once cool enough, remove it from the cases with thongs (I just used my hands), it will dislodge easily
Place on the cooling rack.
Devour it while still slightly warm and be surprised how wonderful it is.

Makes 12 egg tarts