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Phongmun Restaurant, Sungai Siput (U)

>> Friday, March 26, 2010

Few days back, my inlaws, Mike's brother, and us went to have dinner at this Phongmun Restaurant. It's just another daily dinner thing.

My mother in law knew that Mike and I love roasted duck, so she suggested this place. See the Cantonese Roast counter in the picture? I've never been here before and here goes my honest opinion.

This was what we ordered.

1. Char Siew (RM 10)
- Mike loved it. Not the sweet variety. I can taste the hoisin sauce in it.

2. Steamed 3 Yolks Egg (RM 8)
- Generously filled with century egg and salted egg. Custard was smooth. OK.

3. Stir Fried Sweet Potato Shoots with Garlic (RM 5)
- I like to note here that the garlic was smashed, therefore the release of flavour was good, the potato shoots remain very green until the end of the meal. Not too oily.

4. Szechuan Pork (RM 10)
- I don't see how szechuan is this. It's a very very mildly spicy, with pineapples. It was just OK.

5. Roasted Duck (half bird at RM 15)
- Skin was crispy. Strong smell of herbs. I like that. Mother in law said when she came here the other day, the duck wasn't crispy like tonight. So I guess it wasn't consistent.

6. Sweet and Sour Fish (RM 15)
- They used Dory!!!! Of all the fishes, why dory????? It's soft, way to soft. The gravy was bit sourish, and the chopped vege in the gravy was fine, not overcooked.

See the whole spread that night. For 5 adults, it's quite a lot.
Portion wise for each dish, they were fine. Not stingy and enough to go around. Price is competitive for Sungai Siput rates. Cheap compared to Kuala Kangsar and Ipoh.
Rice: BOTTOMLESS!!! For RM1 per pax. My kids weren't charged. It's a real bonus point for us to drive all the way here for dinner as Kuala Kangsar restaurants are real misers with rice. I know it's common to have bottomless rice in KL. Kuala Kangsar restaurants serve the smallest portions of rice that I have ever seen. Once in another restaurant I saw the waitress scooping a 80% full bowl of rice onto the plate, she spread the rice with the bowl and scraped some back into the rice container. I complained to the Lady Boss, but was replied, it is a full bowl of rice. Darn, I hate these rice misers. Rice is so cheap. Give me a kilo of it, I'll stuff it into her face.(Sorry for being so brutal, but I'm really pissed off by it)

One thing that I'd really want to say about this restaurant is the restrooms.
They're unisex.

One has to be really careful when you walk through the main restroom door that you don't see a man half zipping up. The restroom is clean, and one can see that they really put in effort to get out of the norm of "dirty restaurant toilets". Thumbs up to them in this matter.
Malaysian restaurants are really sick in paying attention to where cleanliness is required.
Oh, and the restaurant I mentioned above that is a rice miser has toilets that can't even be locked cos the door is way too big!!!!

Service: The waiters and waitresses are deaf. Or maybe just half deaf. I requested for an empty bowl 3 times and I got fed up with it and took it myself. The lady boss asked me where am I walking to(while I was heading to the bowls and plates), and I asked her, where's the bowl I asked u for just now? She was surprised that the waiter she instructed to get me a bowl just didn't do it, 3 times!!!! Asking once is fine, twice is testing my patience, 3 times and being ignored is just too much. And it wasn't a busy night, just a few tables and the waiters were standing around, or walking leisurely. Definately I'm not being over with my demands as a customer.

What we paid that night:
RM 71.50. which included
Miscellanous: Nuts:RM1, Towel: RM1.50(30 sen each), Tea:RM3/pot.
No whatsoever tax or extra charges tho :)

Will I be back, maybe I will, maybe not. If it's just me and Mike dining, a definate No, but if the family requires of it, we will. Nothing really special to look forward to.

Rating: 7/10
Clean, price is cheap. Food was ok.
Bad waiting service

Phongmun Restaurant
Komersial Waterfront
99 & 99-1, Persiaran Komersial 1,
31100 Sungai Siput (U) Perak
Telephone : 05-5972363
012-4519480 (Peter Wong)

The restaurant's just right after TF Valuemart on your left if you're coming from Sungai Siput Town.


Yoke Fook Moon Hong Kong Dimsum

>> Monday, January 25, 2010

Ipoh, is a town with lots and lots of Cantonese people. Therefore there are lots of Cantonese food around too. Dimsum is a true cantonese fare. And Ipoh hails to have the best in Malaysia*

YokeFook Moon is situated at a walking distance from Ipoh Parade and Excelsior Hotel. Along this road are the 3 big dimsum players in Ipoh, Foh San, Ming Court and Yoke Fook Moon. The first 2 only operates in the morning til afternoon, and the latter is open for business twice, morning and night. We always come here, because both Mike and me are late birds, we can only afford night dimsum.

Dimsum can be a glutton affair.. U feel like eating everything. Don't think these tiny morsels are pretty easy to ingest, they are quite filling actually. Made mostly of out meat, very little vege and with somestarch to bind plus seasonings. Desserts are also part of dimsum, tarts and stuffed tofu. It's actually pretty pricey to eat dimsum outside compared to making ur own, but how much variety can u make???? It's not about the amount u can eat, but it's the variety that u want to eat.

This time, we picked out these. It doesn't seem to be a lot..but it's just enough. One porridge and 1 lor mai kai is not in the picture.

First I want to talk about the Jumbo Harkow. It consist of 3 large prawns. U can see how thick the flesh is by comparison to my index finger. They cost RM6 each tray.  Good thing is, not a bit of black vein is in the prawn. All cleaned up. But I won't say it's very very good. The skin's fine, not thick, but the workmanship, is not so good. The harkow came looking not in very good shape, and the skin tears easily. Prawn not very very very fresh, just acceptable(if for stir fries or fried prawns then it's good, but harkow demands ultra fresh prawns), still with a crunch.

Siew Mai is... I dunno, I never eat Siew Mai, not that it's not good, but I just don't eat Siew Mai. But it's a must for Mike for each dimsum session. Lor Mai Kai, is the soft type. If u like the firm rice grain type, then I don't think u'll like this one. But I like it soft and slightly mushy especially around the meats. The flavour is fine to me, but nothing to shout about.

Now... both have charsiew fillings. The Char Siu Pau is fine. The typical smiling bun loaded with Double Action Baking Powder that doesn't give a chew, but sticks between teeth type. Not this restaurant's fault, this is dimsum shop style. The pau skin looks clean (Some paus can be really dirty, that's why we peel the bun's skin before eating). The filling today is nice, taste wise, but as usual, the CSP here is loaded with fatty pork.
The picture on the right is Wu Kok (Taro dumpling). Today it's really really nice. The filling's very fragrant, skin fluffy and soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside.

Ok, this is sweet dimsum. The brown one is MuaChi with black sesame filling. The brown thing is ground roasted peanuts of which are not nicely done. I can't smell the peanut. Filling is not too sweet and the skin is nice, not too thick, not too chewy. The one on the right is their version of ondeh-ondeh. Green is filled with pandan lotus paste and the purple one is taro. Generously served with coarsely grated fresh coconut. The coconut is not salted, just the way I like it. And it is still juicy. It's hard to find coarsely grated coconut, it's always the oh-so fine type. I quite like this one.

In the main pics, there's porridge. This is something that I'd say is good. Everytime I come, I'll take one bowl of this, this time one for Lyanne one for me. It's made with peanuts, mussels, Fatt Choy , salted egg and minced pork. Another dimsum that we order each time we come is the Yue Mai, fish dumpling of which is actually steamed fish paste. It's good, not fishy, and it's springy, but I'd say, Foh San's better. Lydia's fav.

The dimsum ladies will always recommend u egg tart. I'd say... take at ur own risk. I don't like it.

There's another sweet dimsum that I like here is the Sesame Balls, which they all Jee Ma Joe. It's filled with pandan lotus paste, coated with sesame seeds, deep fried to a crisp. The skin's texture is nice. But I didn't order it this time. The Yong Tofu or Stuffed Eggplants/Chili here is nice too, served with bean sauce. Hmmm.. what else.. Fried stuff.. Ok, there's this Dragon Beard Prawn Roll, which is very good, not available that day. Actually there are so many varieties here, how can I talk about them all.

Come and judge for urself. It's the only night dimsum restaurant in Ipoh. There are other smaller dimsum stalls around at coffeeshops, but not restaurants.

Tonight's cost: RM52. (for all that u saw on the table, 3.60 went to Chrysanthemum tea for 2pax) Not cheap huh!!!

Rating: 7/10

Yoke Fook Moon Hong Kong Dimsum
No. 67-69, Jalan Leong Sin Nam,
33000 Ipoh
Tel: 05-2416589

*According to me


Unique Seafood Ipoh

>> Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today we celebrated my Mom’s birthday at Unique Seafood, Ipoh. My mom’s birthday is actually coming Wednesday. But she’ll be away to attend her nephew’s wedding in Singapore, so we did it today.

I made her a WhiteChocolate Macadamia Cake which we blew candles and cut in the afternoon. After that we proceeded to the restaurant for dinner. Maybe u’d ask, why cut cake at home and eat before the dinner??? Well, mom doesn’t like strangers looking at her blowing candles :) Plus the restaurant is 1 hour away from Kampar, so, we ate cake at 4.30, and slowly prepared ourselves ready to drive 1 hour there.

From Kampar, we used the North South Expressway(PLUS), and exited at Ipoh Toll. Now, Ipoh has 3 exits, but only one toll. So, u have to pay toll first, then proceed to the road beside the main highway until u reach ur preferred exit. From South, it’s the first exit. From North, it’s the 3rd n the last. After u’ve gone thru the bends and reach the trunk road, turn left and follow whatever road sign that leads u to Lost World. Go along the road and u will see Giant Hypermart. Turn right at the 2nd traffic light after Giant. U’ll see a huge signboard with a huge crab at that traffic light junction. After turning, keep left, about 300m later turn left into a carpark. Go straight, u’d see Lost World on ur right. Go all the way into the car park and u’ll see Unique Seafood on ur left. Actually it’s pretty easy as long as u follow road signs of Lost World of Tambun. They are just walking distance from each other.

Set amisdt Perak's limestone hills

The long walkway into the restaurant

There's indoor and outdoor settings. The bluish colour of the plants might mislead u to think that there's a large aquarium behind it. Nope, it's just the colour of twilight.

All the aquariums, all alive and kicking. Dead ones will be given special discount. See the white thing ontop of the lowest aquariums? I saw a dead Soon Hock in it going for 60% discount.

California Geoduck and Spider Crabs

Live Soon Hock / Lam Kor Yue or local Malay name, ikan hantu                                        Jumbo oysters

Boston Lobster and Mexico Geoduck

A variety of live fishes. I don't see any napoleon wrasse here. The upper aquarium is tilapia. So far away, so that u won't think much of ordering.

What's below the fishes are the clams or snails. Less than RM2 per 100gm. .

We ordered the “Valuable Geoduck & Oyster Set” at RM398+ and it consists of the following

Mexico Geoduck Sashimi served with Superior Soup
-Fresh and crunchy, not tough at all, Wasabi and Japanese soy sauce provided. The soup is provided just incase some people prefer the geoduck lightly blanched. And a plate of blanched wantan noodles are provided to go with the soup. Hmmm.. I quite like it, but I don’t think I’ll think of it again the moment I send it down my throat.

Fresh Canada Oyster Served with Crushed Ice
-Large!!!! My mom who is very scared of fishy smells, squeezed some lemon juice on it and ate it with a slurp.

Natural Five Combination (Vegetables)
-A platter of silken beancurd, enoki, baby romaine and Japanese glass noodles. I don’t see 5 types, maybe the double portion tofu counted double. Or the plate counted as another one. This platter came at the same as the Geoduck, cos the platter is supposed to be put into the Superior soup, just like steamboat.

Poached Live Tiger Prawns
-Fresh and crunchy. Not overdone. The chili dip was just nice, but not spicy enough for me.

Deep Fried SoonHock in Light Soy Sauce or Steamed Pak So Kong Teow Chew Style
-We selected the Pak So Kong, cos Soon Hock is frozen, but Pak So Kong is swimming. And we requested it changed to light soy sauce instead of Teow Chew style. Fish nicely done, not overcooked, but I can tell it’s not wild river fish, it’s reared.

Roasted Crispy Chicken
-Crispy, yes. Even the prawn crackers that came with it are still crispy. Downside of it is the 5 spice salt. I can see grains of MSG shouting, pick me up!!!! And the 5 spice powder used is inferior type, the reddish cheapo version. And salt doesn’t taste or smell of being toasted. It’s just mixed together. To me that’s blekkk!!

Fried Rice Yong Chow Style
-It’s just ok. Rice granules a bit too hard, and if u take the rice from the bottom of the plate, u can see the oil seeping out.

Sweetened Cold Sea Coconut with Longan.
-Regular canned stuff. If the canned stuff is nice to u, then it’s nice.

All of this for RM446 (10 pax set), which included 10% tax, peanuts and towels.

Service: Good, changes plates every round. Even new clean bowls for fried rice. My glass of tea is never empty.
Washroom: Nice open air mini garden at the back, 8 cubicles with 2 for squats. Toilet paper provided.Cleanliness….Not that good with a restaurant is isn’t busy. If it’s busy I’ll forgive them.

Will I come here again??? Yes if I’m not paying. Or maybe I should give them another chance to convert me. Maybe…
Rating: 6/10.

It’s 5 hours past dinner, and I’m feeling thirsty. Maybe it’s due to the MSG laden 5 Spice salt dip.

Unique Seafood Ipoh
No.5, Persiaran Lagoon Sunway 1,
31150 Ipoh Perak
Tel: 05-5486010 / 016-261 5622


My favourite Apam Balik

>> Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Favourite Apam Balik. Fillings almost squishing out.

Apam balik, is not a Malay snack, but I believe it has Chinese origins. I saw in some travels shows, this pancake is found in China too, and wheat does not grow in South East Asia. From where I came from it is called "Tai Gau Meen" literally translated as big face. Poor girls who have broad faces are mercilessly given this nickname. I learnt the hokkien word for it "Ban Cheng Ker" , dunno what it means, hahaha.It's Jementah's pronunciation, don't scold me if u find it wrong, as I know that northern southern and Klang hokkien sounds differently. My ex collegue, Pauline Tee, who laughed at me calling this snack big face argued with me it's called Ban Cheng Ker.. that's how I learnt the word.

I used to work in Shah Alam seksyen 25, which explains why I'd come to this area to eat. Both Pauline and I often irrisistably buy this back for tea. The aroma of the pancake cooking on the brass plate is so so tempting. The generous amount of fragrantly roasted ground peanuts, sugar, margarine and creamed corn spread over the cooked pancake...One bite into it, and I'm in Heaven.......
The road where the shop is located

The shop where the pakcik gets a spot to make his Apam Balik. He sells cut fruits too. I don't know why but his guavas are pretty good. He can reallys select good fruits, and his Asam powder is pure good stuff.

The pancake batter does not smell of lye, and the texture is just nice, not chewy not thick. No other apam baliks is as generously filled as this Pakcik does it. No other roasts the peanuts as fragrant as his wife does it.  It's simply the best!!! No other word to describe it.

And it's only for RM1.80 per whole piece. (2008 price)
He operates here daily from lunch time to almost 6pm. During Friday prayers time, u won't see him, but his wife. Sometimes he doesn't look like this, cos he's wearing his white skull cap.
These pics were taken in 2008. I might be outdated by the time of this post. Took me so so long to post this :)


It's been so so long..........

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

Sorry folks, been lazy to do this for a long long time...
Will try to post soon :)


Bean Sprout Chicken - Lou Wong

>> Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ipoh, a town famous for pretty ladies (eg: Michelle Yeoh), and White Coffee is also famous for it's food. If you came to Ipoh but never tasted Bean Sprout Chicken, you've never been to Ipoh.

To some, cheh, it's just steamed chicken with blanched bean sprout, served with a hot bowl of flat rice noodles in chicken soup.. What's so special about it!!!

I tell you... it's in the texture of the chicken. It's boiled to perfection, just cooked, not overcooked and not undercooked, There's no sight of blood and even the chicken breast is tender. The gravy poured over the chicken is so fragrant! And the bean sprout.... Well, there is an explaination of why there's so many pretty ladies here in Ipoh.. the water. Yes, water. Bean sprouts here are crunchier, sweeter and definately tastier and they way Lou Wong does it is just perfecto!!

Actually... Lou Wong was not my favourite shop... It used to be the one in Cowan Street. Few years back, they were on and off... making it such a hassle, it's like gambling to see whether they're open or not. the chances are..... Out of 20 trips, u may get one win. When they reopened for serious again..... the quality has gone.. gone .... gone.... The queue also gone.... gone..... gone. In those days, people queue outside of the shop to wait for a place... now, just get in. They used to have such great broth with the noodles, now.... it's.....*sigh*
Nowadays, Lou Wong takes the reign again. Some claim that the shop opposite the road is better, "Ong Kee", but their service is like shit. They'll scold customers and u'll burn ur tummy with acid while waiting even to order!!! At Lou Wong, just sit down, and u'll be served with a smile, with everything ordered placed on your table in less than 10 minutes, at peak hour!!! And they even brought a small empty bowl for my baby, without me even requesting for one.

Don't worry if u missed dinner with them, u can pop by for midnight supper, but closed for lunch and breakfast.

2 noodles, 1 small portion braised chicken feet, 1 medium portion of beansprouts, and Chicken for 2. All for RM19.80 (including tax)

The tasty boiled chicken... smooth and fragrant. Even the skin is nice, doesn't taste oily.

Flat Rice Noodles in Chicken Broth... Not that u can find this anywhere else

the crowd at 9pm
Busy workers..... they chop up hundreds of chicken everynight...
Ratings : 8 1/2/10..
much of it to their service, but food's good too!!
Location: New Ipoh Town, somewhere near the Town's night market or Wet Market. I didn't get the exact address... hehehehe.. I just go there. But ask around for Lou Wong.. Everybody knows


Crystal Fruit in Cameron Highlands

>> Saturday, April 19, 2008

I went to Cameron Highlands today. Just came back and I cut up this "Crystal Fruit" that I bought earlier today. Cameron's fruits have all sort of weird names that is put to add some glamour to it, like Cameron apple(nothing like an apple), Love fruit(Tamarillo), and Mushroom beans(Cranberry beans), even the Cordyceps (dong chong chou) in Camerons is no real cordyceps, they just plainly look like white worms.

These "Crystal Fruits" were sold in Brinchang Night Market. Going for RM10 per pack. A lady gave me a small cut up piece to try... Hmmm.. very sweet and crunchy. Hubby felt the same too. So, I bought 2 packs. Not suspecting anything............... yet. When I looked at the base of the fruit, I saw some bright green colours, so I asked the lady whether this is a preserved fruit, as in additives added. She answered me "No, this is natural, this is the way it is."

When I arrived home, I cut one up, and to my suprise, it's a guava in disguise!!!
It's just a peeled guava tinted green!!!
Just look at the base of the fruit.... that part looks trimmed before and it is bright green.

It tastes so sweet that somehow it tastes so fake, as if they are soaked with saccharine. If they can be coloured, they can also be saccharine laden.
I'm not going to eat saccharine laden fruits. So, I'm going to throw the 2 packs that I bought into the dustbin.

The lady was such a liar! Or maybe I was just too naive to believe that there is this type of fruit.