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Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

The Malabar paratha (Keralan-style) is the closest cousin to the Singapore roti prata/Malaysian roti canai. It's flakier, lighter and crispier than those from Tamil Nadu or Karnataka.

Pic of the roti canai from my fave spot in Kuala Lumpur, which ironically named itself after my fave spot back home in Singapore - Jalan Kayu Roti Prata (they're not related).

It's worth noting that despite the two countries being close neighbours, sharing a common history and similar cultures, only Malaysians call it "roti canai" whereas Singaporeans will only use "roti prata".

Malaysian roti canai vendors normally cannot understand you if you order "prata" - happened to me a few times in KL. Whilst in Singapore, if you say "roti canai", they immediately identify you as a Malaysian visitor/tourist.

about 2 hours ago
klyeoh in San Francisco Bay Area

Roti canai / roti prata SFBA Dish of the Month January 2015

Melanie, the first dish which you had, and which the restaurant chose to call "Masala Parotta" is actually called "Kothu Parotta" in Southern India and Sri Lanka: basically chopped up prata pieces fried with onions, vegetables, meats (your choice, really), and with generous ladlefuls of curry sauce added during the frying process. The objective is to get a delicious mush, spiked with sharp flavours. To me, it's more like a cure for hangovers :-D

about 2 hours ago
klyeoh in San Francisco Bay Area

Singapore - Trad-Hakka Delicacies at Plum Village (梅村酒家)

Proper Hakka cooking is a labour of love.

May 24, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Titi, Malaysia] Hakka Cakes from Soong Seng

Lau - there's a Hakka song which is currently the craze in Malaysia. The link is in here:
http://m.themalaymailonline.com/malay...

May 22, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur - Superb KL-style Fried Hokkien Noodles @ Kim Lian Kee (金莲记)

yippy - try and catch Chef Lee himself (pic below) when he's cooking (and not one of his Burmese assistants). Usually, he comes around 5pm, and does the cooking till 4-5am in the morning.

Chef Lee inherited the business from his maternal granduncle who, in turn, was Kim Lian Kee founder, Wang JinLian's brother-in-law.

May 22, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Titi, Malaysia] Hakka Cakes from Soong Seng

Yes, pineapples - that's what all my friends tell me Titi Kong is famous for. Even the murals around the village centre are pineapple-themed.

It's a very nice little village, indeed.

May 21, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Agree about Jakarta - the OP can also go to Jogjakarta for its "ayam goreng" or Bandung for a taste of Yu Nap's "Nasi Gudeg" (pic below).
http://www.gudegyunap.com/

May 21, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Titi, Malaysia] Hakka Cakes from Soong Seng

Kiedis - yes, it's true about the young folks who'd left Titi to work in the 'big city'. I'd not even heard about Titi until two fellow members (very active ones) of a Singapore-based foodie website - both are Singapore-born, but with strong familial ties to Titi - highlighted the village and its amazing Hakka cakes to our attention.

I'm amazed to hear that you also have a Titi 'connection' - it's a small village, and yet, its denizens & their descendants seem to be everywhere! :-)

BTW, I've also heard "pu zhai ko" being used in HK for these types of cakes.

May 21, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur - Superb KL-style Fried Hokkien Noodles @ Kim Lian Kee (金莲记)

Lau, another place worth checking out in KL's Chinatown is Koon Kee, a rather grimy-looking wanton mee spot which serves out one of the best noodles in town. It was started in 1947 by Mdm Lee Kim Kee who, together with her husband, made a long, painful trek from her village in Kwangtung all the way to the port of Canton in the aftermath of WWII. They sailed to Port Klang in British Malaya, then walked all the way to Kuala Lumpur (it takes more than 1 hour to drive the distance today on the freeway, so you can imagine what it must have been like walking through dirt treks and small roads back then), set up a small wanton noodles stall in the middle of KL's Chinatown and created their own bit of culinary history.

Koon Kee is legendary among KL-lites who know their wanton noodles.

May 20, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur - Superb KL-style Fried Hokkien Noodles @ Kim Lian Kee (金莲记)

Kim Lian Kee was featured by Malaysia's No. 1 food show host, Jason Yeoh aka Axian, in "Taste with Jason" on the Food Channel in Singapore this evening.

The stall was first founded by Wang Jinlian from Anxi, Fujian, in 1927. The 88-year-old stall is now in the hands of the 3rd-generation of the family who owns it. It opens from 5pm till 5am daily, perfect if you feel hungry at 3am in the morning ;-)

May 20, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Titi, Malaysia] Hakka Lunch at Boon Swee

swannee, have you seen "The Hakka Cookbook" by Linda Lau Anusasananan? Maybe you can reproduce some of this dishes at home.
http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=...

Some of the common Hakka dishes we get in Singapore:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829680

May 19, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Best South Indian Restaurant in KL - Green Banana Leaf @ Cyberjaya

Lau - I'll be in Chennai, India, this Sunday onwards for the next two weeks. Hoping to do an idli breakfast at Murugan's again:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844957

May 19, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

LorenzoGA: Yes, fellow Hound, Paprikaboy (from the UK board), felt the same during his recent trip to Penang - he'd said "Local knowledge is always good, especially for Penang. There is always the nagging worry that there might be something better close by."

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1009537

His sentiments were certainly correct as, from his posts, I can see that he could have found some terrific eats by just turning left instead of right from where he was, or that there are a couple of famous 80-year-old eateries just a street away from where he was dining. Penang's like that - a labyrinthian goldmine of good eats.

During my last trip to Penang, I was at Kek Seng on Penang Road - my great-great-grandfather also ate there, over a century ago.

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Not to forget Tainan, Delucacheesemonger - it's the street food capital of Taiwan, much like Penang is to Malaysia.

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

One "advantage" we Singaporeans may have over other Asians here - we're Chinks who speak relatively good English, hence our ability to communicate better with foreign visitors :-D

Frankly, I think our hawker/street food sucks. Anyone who's born after 1970 in Singapore did not have a chance to know how good Singapore food was, prior to the Singapore Government's decision to round up and confine our street hawkers to cramped hawker centres in the early-80s. It killed a whole generation of great street cooks.

May 19, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Singapore? It's better than other SE-Asian (ASEAN) cities for Chinese and European fine dining, but below HK for Cantonese & European fine dining.

I want to like Shanghai but, despite numerous visits, I'd never really developed a liking for its cuisine, nor those of neighbouring Hangzhou, Suzhou, etc. - too sweet and greasy.

Singapore is also rated (by its own citizens, yours truly included) below Penang, HCM City, Bangkok and Taipei for street food. That's why Singaporeans make a beeline for Penang and Bangkok for food-focused mini-breaks. Singaporean-Chinese are largely Hokkiens and Teochews (as opposed to the Cantonese who dominate HK and KL) - and Penang (with its largely Hokkien populace) and Bangkok (where the Thai-Chinese are largely Teochew) maintain their traditional cooking methods much better than us.

May 19, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

My first choice: Taipei for its street food - the burgeoning night markets are worth exploring.

HK and Shanghai are always exciting, but do some research before you go for the best "local" spots. Fellow Hounds will be happy to point you to the right places.

Not Kuala Lumpur, which is hardly a food destination even for Malaysians, who'd rather go to Penang, Ipoh and Malacca/Melaka.

I'd put Seoul in the same category as KL, unless you're a big Korean food fan, of course.

Aren't you considering Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City? I'd put them up there with Taipei and Penang for the best street food in Asia.

May 18, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Tasting Menu at Lung King Heen

I agree, Charles. Not sure why it's been able to maintain that 3-Michelin-star rating. I understand why it got it the first time round - the Michelin inspectors were staying at the Four Seasons at the time, so it's an open secret who they were, no less to the Lung King Heen staff.

May 17, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Wei Lu 圍爐酸菜白肉火鍋 – Amazing Hot Pot in Taipei

I'd say it's more akin to a fondue - you get lots of different food items and dip them into the hot pot to heat through or cook them.

In Singapore, we had the "lok lok", which is a variation on the hot pot whereby the raw or semi-cooked food items were skewered. You sit around a table with this pot of bubbling broth in the centre where you dip your skewers. A selection of sauces (hoi sin, chilli sauce, satay peanut sauce, etc.) are provided on the side.

May 13, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

2015 questions re: beef noodle soup in Taipei, inc. b'fast? Diagnose me!

My 1st choice to dine if I'm visiting Taipei now would be RAW by Andre Chiang, which opened last Dec. If Andre replicates his achievement at his namesake restaurant in Singapore, RAW is poised to be *the* place to go to in Taipei:
http://www.raw.com.tw/

The restaurant serves up a 7-course menu degustation featuring 21 seasonal Taiwanese homegrown ingredients which changes each month. It'll also incorporate native Taiwanese aboriginal cuisine into its offerings.

May 13, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Wei Lu 圍爐酸菜白肉火鍋 – Amazing Hot Pot in Taipei

For me, hot pot meals (we call them "steamboats" here in Singapore & Malaysia) are usually rambunctious affairs involving either one's extended family, or else the whole office or a large group of friends.

The Chinese in Singapore/Malaysia are basically grouped into two main categories: (1) The Chinese-educated, Mandarin-speaking populace who are more traditionalists - they constitute 90% of the Chinese, and (2) The English-educated, bilingual urbanites - they are only 10% of the Chinese populace here.

Both groups have rather different approaches to dining - Group 1 likes big dinner groups, and hot pots are one of their dining preferences.

May 13, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Ipoh, Malaysia] "Kai See Hor Fun" (鸡丝河粉) Face-off - Loke Wooi Kee vs Thean Chun

Ipoh is perhaps Malaysia's No. 2 gourmet city after Penang, and Ipoh-ites are sticklers for very well-prepared food using the freshest ingredients, meticulously cooked to preserve the traditional flavours. Its mostly century-old eateries are usually packed to the brim at any time they're open, with eager customers joining long queues, or willing to wait for hours just to have their favourite food.

Ipoh street food is mainly Cantonese and Hakka-influenced, in contrast to Penang street food, with its Hokkien and Teochew roots.

There are many great food rivalries in Ipoh: Nam Heong versus Sin Yoon Loong for the best "Pak Ka Fei" (怡保白咖啡) - the rich, insanely aromatic Ipoh "white coffee"; Lou Wong versus Onn Kee for the best "Ngah Choi Kai" (芽菜雞) - Hainanese-style chicken rice, served with a side of Ipoh's famous, ultra-juicy/crunchy beansprouts; and Xin Quan Fang (the 'Floyd Mayweather' of Ipoh-style curried noodles Ipoh-style curry noodles with chicken and BBQ pork) against a whole line of slick competitors: Nam Chau, Yee Fatt, Sun Seng Fatt and Keng Nam.

But Ipoh is renowned by Malaysian gourmands near and far for its "Kai See Hor Fun" (鸡丝河粉) - a unique Ipoh dish of thin rice noodles ("hor fun") served in a hearty chicken-shrimp broth, with slivered chicken ("kai see") and poached de-shelled shrimps, and topped with chives. The broth usually has an orange-ish hue as a result of its method of long, slow-boiling of prawn-heads and prawn shells to extract the deep, mellow flavours.

Strangely, in a mainly Cantonese city like Ipoh, the top two "Kai See Hor Fun" spots in town - the stalls in Loke Wooi Kee coffeeshop and Thean Chun coffeeshop respectively, are both started by Hokkien immigrants from Nan'an City in Fujian Province, China. This rather revealing nugget of information explains why the "Kai See Hor Fun" broth is made of chicken and shrimp - because *only* the Hokkiens/Fujianese, among all the different Chinese dialect groups, obtain their soup broth by combining meat with seafood. In this respect, the "Kai See Hor Fun" broth's Hokkien origin is rather similar to the broth for the Penang Hokkien noodles, or even the pork-shrimp stock added during the frying process to Singapore fried Hokkien noodles.

The only difference is the use of "hor fun" (flat, white rice noodles) favoured by the Cantonese over the traditional yellow egg-wheat Hokkien noodles - and the reason for this is very likely because the clientele in Ipoh is almost wholly Cantonese.

The two rivals:

May 13, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Ipoh, Malaysia - Local Ipoh Culinary Delights at Thean Chun aka "The Hall of Mirrors"

Don't think I'd ever seen a crowd of *this* size waiting to buy soybean curd (Singapore: "tau hway", Ipoh: "tau fu fah") like this one in front of Funny Mountain last weekend.

May 12, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

Fera at Claridge's (LONDON)

Sounds wonderful, June. I'd definitely like to check this place out the next time I'm in London.

May 12, 2015
klyeoh in U.K./Ireland

2015 questions re: beef noodle soup in Taipei, inc. b'fast? Diagnose me!

I actually had my beef noodles fix at Taipei 101's foodcourt itself - a fab stall in there.

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Kuala Lumpur] Night Market Food Street at Wai Sek Kai, Pudu

Lau - this particular stall was getting quite a bit of attention from a HK film crew filming a travel-food program at Wai Sek Kai that evening. The show host later interviewed the stall-owner.

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Kuala Lumpur] Night Market Food Street at Wai Sek Kai, Pudu

This stall is the *only* one I found in KL in the past 4 years I was here, which serves the same kind of Chinese rojak which one finds all over Singapore (like the famous Hoover Rojak at Whampoa Food Centre, Balestier Road, Singapore) - toasted tofu puffs ("tau pok"), grilled ribbons of flattened, dried cuttle-fish, and julienned jicama and cucumbers, all slathered in a thick, unctuous, black sauce of molasses and shrimp paste.

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Kuala Lumpur] Night Market Food Street at Wai Sek Kai, Pudu

I found this rather "unique" dish pretty irresistible - curried pig-skin slathered over steamed flat rice rolls ("chee cheong fun"), then given a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and golden crisp-fried shallots before serving. Just amazed at the amount of curried pig-skin this stall-owner had - 2 large pots! And she'll probably sell out before the evening is over.

The stall also offers steamed yam cake.

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Kuala Lumpur] Night Market Food Street at Wai Sek Kai, Pudu

Another must-have at Wai Sek Kai - the fried radish cake: cubes of velvety-soft steamed radish cake stir-fried with beansprouts, eggs and chives in lard, and flavoured with preserved radish, dark soysauce, and garlic.

The flavours here were incredible!

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia

[Kuala Lumpur] Night Market Food Street at Wai Sek Kai, Pudu

One of the most popular stall at Wai Sek Kai is the fried chicken stall - crisp, batter-fried chicken parts: thigh, neck, wings, feet, breast.

The most popular item, it seems, is the chicken back-bone! The customers seem to go for this because of the crispy bits.

May 11, 2015
klyeoh in China & Southeast Asia