Archive for September, 2012
Midi 57 is a relatively new restaurant at the Bangkung Row that is set to satiate the residents of Bangsar and all others who love pizza, pasta and porky Italian dishes. Aptly named after its address, Midi 57 is also the sister restaurant of the more stylish and upscale Le Midi at BSC. The simple two-paged menu features an interesting mix of predominantly Italian and French cuisine with a small Tex-Mex section that is wallet-friendly, suitable for a casual meal in a relaxed atmosphere.
As soon as we were seated, some complimentary bruschetta was served. Then followed by a basket of homemade sesame bread and Focaccia after we placed our order.
We started off with the Piglet Salad @ RM27, a colorful assembly of Romaine lettuce, rocket and cherry tomatoes on thin slices of Roasted Herb Piglet with a dressing of mashed sun-dried tomatoes olive oil. The tangy sun-dried tomatoes provided most of the flavor while the fresh greens give a crisp bite on the palate, a delectable combo that turns out to be equally appetizing. This is a nice change from the usual vinaigrette-dressed salads that usually have a strong and acidic taste.
Midi 57 makes all their pasta in house using five different imported flours and the dough created is used as a base for the pizza and ravioli as well. The Squid Ink Tagliolini with Salmon and Zucchini @ Rm37 proved to be our favorite dish of the day quickly, winning us over with its fine, delicate yet springy texture akin to the Chinese Mee Pok. Some might find the cream sauce to be too thick but I feel the consistency is just nice to hold the pasta together.
I am not sure what happened to Heng Kee Bak Kut Teh (Taman Kepong) because they appeared to be closed every time I visited them recently. It is one of my favorite makan places in Kepong so hopefully it is not a sign that they are gone for good.
So today we detoured to Hing Kee at Jalan Kepong instead which is another popular spot for Bak Kut Teh. Looking at the three shop lots they own, you could probably guess the huge volume of business they are doing daily. Quite a number of customers could already be seen eating there around 5.30pm even though they actually start at 6pm. And that includes us as well.
Anyway, if you read my post about Heng Kee earlier you would know that there are a couple of Heng Kee/Hing Kee in Klang Valley. Not only they share the exact Chinese name, even their menu and cooking styles are very similar. However, they do not share the same spelling in BM/English so they are obviously competitors. In short, Heng Kee is a standalone while Hing Kee is more like a chain restaurant with branches in KL and PJ.
Before we had Lucky’s ‘Yin Yong’ Bun at the restaurant, we actually went to their factory that morning to see how the buns are produced. I am sure many would assume that the buns are not difficult to make. After all what you need to do is just wrap the dough around the aluminium foil containing the filling and bake it until it is done, right?
Well, you might have guessed the overall process correctly but there are many fine details involved and patience is very important too, as each bun takes about 4 hours to make from scratch.
Firstly, the curries had to be cooked first from as early as 6am because the buns are made fresh daily. The base curry paste used to prepare the curries has more than 20 different ingredients and spices that are slowly simmered and stirred to extract their flavors.
The fillings for the ‘Yin Yong’ bun: Dongpo meat and pork ribs curry.
After transferring the curries into the bowls, they are wrapped carefully so as not to break the fragile grease proof paper.
The most memorable food I had in Muar was the Hainan Chicken Curry Rice at Lu San Coffee Shop. Hainan cuisine is definitely not alien to us. There’s Hainan chicken rice, Hainan coffee, Hainan bread, Hainan chicken chop and the list goes on. But Hainan curry is quite rare if you ask me.
To the casual eye, this would appear like a normal plate of ‘zhap fan’ but in fact this is already a serving of Hainan curry rice – it cost only RM3.50. So what makes up the traditional Hainan curry rice? Well for starters, it must have three main ingredients: curry (咖哩, typically chicken curry), braised sauce (滷汁) and braised meat and eggs (滷味).
Whether you mix them all up or serve the dishes separately, it’s totally up to individual preference and may vary from stall to stall. So who would have guessed that a simple mix of curry gravy and braised sauce could be so addictively delicious? The Hainanese sure did. But of course, this does not mean that by mixing any curry and soy-based sauce could produce the same flavor, there must be a proven recipe to begin with.
The main reason Lu San’s Hainan curry rice tastes better than the rest is frankly, quite simple – because the dishes are warm. When you are here, look around the humble stall and you will notice the pots of chicken curry and braised meats constantly being heated to preserve their warmth and taste. Cold food = bad food, simple as that. It is also worth mentioning that Lu San’s chicken curry is cooked using old hen (老母鸡) Since old hen has a longer life (obviously) than the average chicken, its flesh tastes sweeter naturally.