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24 November 2006

Nasi Lemak ( Malay fragrant rice), KL

Nasi Lemak, a Malay rice meal of coconut flavoured rice, and sprayed with fried anchovies, groundnuts, cucumber slices and eggs..... & topped up ( sometimes anchored ) with that all dominating elusive spicy sweet or sour or hot or ??? SAMBAL... is perhaps the most popular and famous of Malay Cuisine. Some say it is Malaysia's national dish. ( ..........maybe )

Its pungently fragrant but irresitable mix of coconut milk-pandan leaf- ginger- salt enhanced RICE with its top-secret-recipe of fermented-shrimp-onion-chilli based 'SAMBAL' pastes and rendangs ( chilli/curry pastes ) goodies of mainly cuttlefish and meats come in all shapes and sizes across de backStreets pf Kota Baru, the beaches of Pangkor, the foothills of lovely Penang, the Chinese kopitiams of Muar, the fishing trails along Lake Kenyir, the 5 star buffet spread of Seri Melayu......and Hongky Tongky Chan Char Tengs of Shopping Malls.

Some addicts ( and I have seen too many !) insist on gobbling it whole only if splashed with multi -coloured sambals and 'semua taruhs' making the molehill-turned mountain meal look like a monstrous cross between an xpired chicken/beef slaughterhouse and Kayu's infamous multicoloured curry broth gone astray.

Also there are many pervasive & controversial Xperts /Connoisseurs on NL out there but anyway...

...listed below is BSG's Top 6 picks for de Classical Malay Nasi Lemak hotspots in Kuala Lumpur....

........ratings have been intentionally avoided because my fellow BSG kakis say it will be futile.......

SS2, PJ. Morning breakfast long-queue favourite between BHP petrol and Police Stations. Plateless wonder and most customers are nearby residents and office workers. Watch out for the spit and spills. Middle of the road kinda place. Don't score in looks dept & beware the heavy breathing guy panting behind you, coz he's so worried you r gonna sweep the last drumstick still standing .......

NL Tanjung Puteri, Sri Hartamas, da kinda place you would want to impress your bf/gf ! Just an elevated stones throw away from junction of Desa Hartamas, Mont Kiara and Sri Hartamas. Night only. Xcellent oldies ambience but marred by 21st Century automobile fumes . A bit too near traffic lights...homely decor and demure Cashier ( I can swear she's nice ok ). Incomparable ikan bilis and peanuts ! Strange fragrance of fragrant rice but otherwise good overall.

NL Chik Gu, Kelana Jaya, PJ. One time de NL, much sought after with a string of franchised stalls all over. Seems however to be fading... Fried Chickens tops. Chunky onionised sambal with standout flavour.

NL Tanglin (Foodcourt), near Bkt Aman HQ, KL. Morning till habis. Enter Lake Gardens from Jln Parliament. First turning left Jln Tanglin to reach Jln Cendarasari. Big tree ambience. Efficient all round performer. Large crowd. Quickie service. What can I say ?

de NL Antarabangsa, Kg Baru KL. Night service only. Looks tempting, right ? Best bouncy but firm sotong for miles around. Almost perfect what with International Gourmets presence and rich cultural heritage in Malay Heartland. Not to be missed for die hard NL fans ! But sambal feels strange ( like some Thai sauce...) and then got certain a i r bout the place.

NL RA, Jln Raja Abdullah, KL. Road cuts across Jln Sultan Ismail ( the one going to Concorde Hotel ) into two. Left to Kg Baru, right to NL RA. Morning till finito. Laid back ambience. Best daging rendang . X C llent in all aspects. WYSIWYG. BSG's pick.
So what r u waiting for ?

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21 November 2006

Steaming Grandmaster of Peel Road, KL

This short road ( a left turn where Jln Pudu ends and Cheras comes into view ) leads to one of the most authentic backStreet Chinaman food enclaves in KL ( the others being the Pudu area, Jln Tong Shin and Petaling Street ), and still surprisingly & admirably managing to retain its original colonial name. In those days the narrow, hot and dusty road was overcrowded with food stalls n etc selling 'everything under the sun' amidst run down car and motorbike workshops and other messy cottage industries.

Today it is where nearby Hypermarket Carrefour has set up tent and the area has now acquired a newfound status. But thank de (gastronomical ) Gods it has lost none of its old world charms and continues to draw hungry & well-informed gluttons in their fanciful Cefiros and Hiluxes. Close by, the other icon, de sacred Peel Road Convent is still shining like a beacon, albeit a bit fainter now..... what with all the thunderous UMNOkerising & then ....the massive kiasu crowds of neighbourly Carrefour.
Finally you know where to find this exoticly rare & most Chinaman of Chinese delights, the superior grey matter emperor- steamed with secret Xian herbs in an ancient pot ( circa probably the Ming Dynasty )......... 4 de goodness of clear rich herbal essence, to give that refreshing and enlightened karmarish high..........

The incomparable diligently bred, selected and tenderliciously steamed fresh from the ponds red Tilapia fish ( origins Africa ) with all its brown beans sauce , ginger ,spring onions, chilli padi & pepperised multi-splendours...that even da greats LalaChong of Subang and 5 Star Tai Thong , after many years of trying and emulating..... still cannot even come close...2 de Sifu's inscrutable recipe.
All 15 mins of subtle Xquisite hissing steaming essencing ...........till RM15 perfection.
Even ChinShiHuangTi would be proud.
Indisputably no 1................ anywhere.
Hin Kee..... of PEEL ROAD...........

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19 November 2006

Battle Royale ( of the meatBalls )

Price, da winner takes all ball game of the highest order....

hakka pork meatball kway teow

......the entire 3 pieca da resistancia on the poker table
......1. slippery kway teow in minced meat & sauce de secreti +
......2. cholesterolicious brown sliced Chinese sausage & Eva de Green spring onions,
.....3. Daniel Craigga porkee flatted balls in soup & pickled green chillis

M16 technical specs ( stolen from M's Bible )
.........10 hours 35 mins to prepare
.........a total of 39 steps ( all in accordance with her Majesty's immaculate Secret Service standards )

In the right corner,

d urbane & suave sophisticate
3JC, Sunway Pyramid, PJ
aka 'Le Chiffre' , capital RM 8.28

v s

the tough & rough backStreet alleyball the other corner...
Lucky Gardens, Bangsar
aka 'call me Bond', capital RM 3.7

the casino royale

After a gut wrenching flight through the backalleys of Lorong Ara Kiri 2, Lucky Gardens , stampedes across multi -storeyed escalators & spiralling towers of Sunway Pyramid , against stunning & deafening ice skating music blasts, & hanging on only by the skin of his teeth sinking in de Xquisite titillating pleasures of d flatted crunchilicious pokerised balls of the casino,

ultimate winner backStreet Bond collapsed into the delectably loving arms of his true love the dazzling temptress Lynd...

........only to lose all in a few gorgeous sunbathing days & moonlit nights Ace118 ( who else !)

Results : ( latest GMT )

Winner : backStreet alleyball

by a Royal Flush !

....more multiple porkee flavours

....temptingly eva greeny spring onions
....ambience ( where else have Mongolian stunner ?)

....unpretentious service

....lower capital

......4 the rest of the story,

watch Casino Royale at a cinema near u !


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13 November 2006

Nasi Campur ( Malay rice buffet )

Simply underated, but still deliciously tempting...........

Indigenous Malay cuisine from Malaysia does not rank high on the International Gastronomical Charts. Nonetheless its quiet natural simplicity and pleasantly mild tastes belie a culinary charm that is both pure & refreshing. Some of its signature recipes like sambal petai, ulam and fragrantly coloured rices are to most more of an acquired taste. So the maxim that you either love it or hate it may be true.

As a whole lots of fragrant spices, coconut milk and sugar are featured in many Malay dishes, as are curries/chillis leading many to comment that Malay food is the same as Indian food ! Sure they do have a lot of similarities, but they are certainly not quite the same.

The delectable spread below show the more popular rice 'buffet' selections in everyday lunches/dinners of the office/working crowd.

Move over nasi lemak................

nasi dagang ( 'traders rice', a Trengganu & Kelantan
specialty of brownish glutinous rice with tuna fish + veges )
tastes mildly hot and distinctively deliciousnasi kerabu ( sexy bluish rice with natural herbs/veges)

with beef rendang ( decidedly Malay )
another East Coast exotica
temptingly pure & simple

nasi campur, unmistakably Malay with ikan keli ( catfish)
salted half egg and that
gorgeous sambal ( .....nobody does it better )
taste and feel ? Second to none ( not even that Kayu fella ok )

Malaysian healthdrink par xcellence

empty ice ( 30 cents miracle taste enhancer )

& da only drink U ever really need..........
anytime anywhere ( terms & conditions apply !)

They are all here, Taman Subang Perdana ( road into Subang New Village, the one after terminal 3 old Subang Airport ), but 4 the real thing you still have to go Trengganu/Kelantan............

C U there !

Hey how about price? worries, only one half of Kayu

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Nasi Kandar ( Indian Muslim rice buffet )

Di KAYU, di Rolls Royce of Malaysian Indian ( Mamak ) cuisine 1/2 rice,a small squid, a slice of tenggiri fish, cabbages & pappadum crackers.
per plate ( above ) RM 11, ( comparable Malay version below RM5 ).

& who can blame them ?

Favoured choice of the Rich & Famous, & rich hunting ground 4 di other kind of yuppy.

Sinfully scrumptious, & a culinary masterpiece ( ...some say ...)

Di Kayu, Tesco Damansara Perdana, PJ

From a humble hawker on foot balancing 2 big containers on a pole in those days to a multimillion ringgit 24 -hr chain of maverick truly well-connected restaurants, the one time stall in Chow Yang SS2 PJ is now a future global player.

Have you revisited them yet ?
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09 November 2006

Penang Prawn Noodles, shootout@highnoon in the Valley

Hare mee, Penang mee,Prawn mee, Hokkian mee, Mee yoke ?
no matter, its the same thing.....

Finally, after incessant nagging and (pleasure) from the delectable Ms L, the ever accomodating BSC team was summoned to put to rest the answer to the unavoidable question :

.... who in the Klang Valley can lay claim as the undisputed one worthy to stand beside the praying mantis Prawn Mee King of Jln Macalister, Penang?

Braving through horrendous traffic jams, rude drivers, the rain and lack of clear directions, the roving gluttons after much deliberation, tension and suspense ( + enjoyment ) filed the result of this clash of the titanic prawns :

Contender 1 : Taman Tun,KL ( Yong Len , Mohd Fuad area )
husband & wife team from Penang (where else )
typically Penang minus the mantis prawns
mee/beehoon, beansprouts,pork slices, kangkong & sliced small prawns

ambience like in Beach Street Pg, noisy, crowded and hot

visuals beh pai ( like real not bad )

aroma oo hare bee ( prawny & porky )

first taste eh sai lah, ( can be eaten , very fresh )

sound effects wonderfully crunchy ( like the Sarawak Laksa, Bangsar )

accuracy chun and ho chiak ( delicious !)

Contender 2 : the original franchised 'Lim mee yoke' in Chow Yang, SS2 PJ
eccentric friendly man ( dunno from where ) & Burmese assistants

ambience typically PJ kopitiam

visuals swee ( nice )

aroma chau choe tang pok ( prawny, means pungently fragrant )

first taste beh pai lah ( ok lah )

sound effects chin chia ping siong ( very normal only )

accuracy chou pu toeerr ( so so )

Contender 3 : the much talked about Jln Pudu,KL between Pos M'sia & Jln Yew roundabout
man & woman team, always busy with big pot of prawn shells

ambience authentic and truly backStreet

visuals dark and mysterious

aroma lightly pungent

first taste mild, need more chilli

sound effects need another amplifier

accuracy couldn't shoot straight

last but not least, the 4th contender,
.....from da annals of the

Definitive Guide to Malaysian Cuisine

  • O&S,Paramount Gardens prawn mee

  • The Shootout Verdict ?

    O&S is still standing.....but precariously supported by only a tiny prawn whisker............&

    Contender 1 has been slightly wounded

    Contender 2 needs outpatient treatment for mild concussion &

    Contender 3 needs to be hospitalised temporarily 4 further observation ,


    Along the sidelines near the Saloon where the Honourable Judges ( Ace 118 & Co ) are seated;

    Champs of Centrepoint, Bandar Utama,PJ &

    Kepong Jo, of Kepong Baru KL are waiting...& smiling

    ......4 Round 2....!!!

    . this space...

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    08 November 2006

    everyman's rice buffet ( Chinese style,PJ)

    Fine dining for 3

    rice + 3 or more selections, its up 2 u ( economy rice lah )

    braised (yummy)yam with pork slices
    steamed fish slice
    green peas, carrots

    lemon roast chicken slices
    sweet sour pork bits
    brinjal in sauce

    steamed egg
    pork chop sliced
    french beans

    Sunway Mentari, Sunway,PJ
    ..... chap fun corner......
    choice of 50 tempting gastroeconomical delights

    When you are hungry and cannot decide what to eat....
    try this one. Satisfaction guaranteed !

    All of the above for RM11 + zero taxes.....

    ( from the file of BSG's believe it or not !)
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    04 November 2006

    High Tea in Maxwell Hill, Taiping

    Blue skies, green ferns, & Cool Crisp Breeze of Maxwell Hill, Malaysia's oldest hill & least developed Scottish ambienced resort, @ 3800 h i g h up among the white clouds

    tea for 2 , Cendana backGardens, with xquisite flowers for company
    only regret, left my Chivas at home...sigh...

    cool.... and refreshing, its still possible here

    ..............a welcome-d break from de h a z e ( & Zakaria too, that fall guy)

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    02 November 2006

    Bangsar's ( Lucky Gardens ) Sarawak Laksa

    Sarawak across the seas is not normally associated with great dishes on this side of the world and we only remember some takeaways of birds' nest and dried sea cucumbers now and then. Our eastern brotherly State is more illustrious for its timber tycoons and homely visiting Taiwanese singers, orang utans and also for the nice demure Bidayu ladies found abundantly in some noisy Sunway PJ backstreet shoplots.

    No doubt we do come across some forgettable noodle shops propagating home-made Sarawak noodles of the konomee kind in certain food courts. Boring stuff you might say.

    Until now that is.

    From the never-say-die determined efforts of a great food enthusiast and fellow Glutton
    pablopabla has fired-up BSG to reacquaint with this common beehun dish first introduced to him in Sibu ( Sarawak ) together with some great Fuzhou dishes those days.

    Plain Jane Sarawak home -made kono mee .

    Almost the same name but NO, not this one !

    This backstreet is going to be more famous, there are tons of A1 hawker fares right across

    de Sarawak Laksa found inside ( aka de Mulu Caves of Lucky Gardens, watch the bats ! )

    No, this shop is not in Jinjang or Jln Telawi,

    ( of de intoxicating Matsalleh/wannabe joint of the young & furious fame), but behind the Grandfather of hypermarket Giant, TMC,

    .............. on the other side of midnight.

    the real Sarawak Laksa

    Fresh, little bit hot, limey, tonguey, noisy...& impressive.

    but make sure you are being served by the young sweet Sarawakian lady.

    ....and remember to crunch the beansprouts, they are loud.

    BSG verdict........ excellent for overall taste, a good laksa should be !

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    01 November 2006


    Tai Wah Kopitiam,
    opposite Morning Wet Market
    The Backlane, 4 added aroma + original flavour
    The Product, fat and mean

    The Man and his wok
    The CKT man ( usually in collarless round white t-shirt 'Pagoda Brand ' ? ) is the quintessential hardworking sweaty Chinaman under the aluminium exhaust funnel and the big windy fan in any food court/hawker square, the one you love but wouldn't want to get too near with so your new dress don't get aromatised and then all your office colleagues know where you have been & what you have been eating .
    Also the noisy showman with his high flying torpedo eggshells.
    CKT rules ( follow strictly otherwise satisfaction level will not be guaranteed , & your food review conclusions will be distorted ) ;
    *food must only be served in a plate ( no bowls no matter how xpensive allowed )
    *use only bamboo chopsticks ( cannot use fork/spoons or right hand )
    *must drink Chinese tea ( no cokes/beers allowed becoz then no taste at all )
    *must eat straight from frying pan ( so oil will not become fats , be very warned.....)
    *& finally, don't go too early and don't go too late, get the CKT man in right mood
    . ...................he gets upset easily
    4 this Old Town kopitiam, after following all the above rules;
    BSG's verdict A - - for overall satisfaction
    due to fresh prawns & cockles , crunchy beansprouts+ the green thing
    & then not 2 oily
    but you must hear from de sentimental xpert's mouth himself ok...
    Malaysian Food Review's
  • furious tongue

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