Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pan Mee Triology (Face To Face, Home Recipe, Sec.14 Medan Selera)

Recognize this?
The potent yet vital ingredient for a decent chilli pan mee, popularized by the much-talked-about Kin Kin in KL and made available almost everywhere by Face To Face chain of outlets that specializes in various styles of pan mee.
I don't think I would bother ordering the classic soup pan mee at Face To Face. But their version of chilli pan mee is not bad. It is actually dry pan mee in dark sauce topped with a poached egg, some minced meat and fried anchovies. 4 types of chilli are available at every table.
Pick your choice, generously sprinkle onto your pan mee, burst the yolk, give it a swirl and slurp it all up. Oishi!!!

A colleague introduced me to this stall in the Section 14 Medan Selera in PJ. She told me they sell a decent pan mee. I gave it a try one day and find their classic pan mee in soup to be mediocre. It's not that it wasn't delicious, but defintely nothing to remember by.

Another time, I decided to give Home Recipe kopitiam (which was located next to the famous Paramount Garden pan mee shop) a try after I saw their rather huge banner advertising their home-cooked style pan mee. I was thinking, if they dared to put up such a big advertisement just right outside their restaurant which is located next to a "always crowded famous pan mee shop", it must at least be something, right?
If I am not mistaken, a standard bowl costs slightly more expensive than average pan mee sold at kopitiam. However, it was a rather big serving and loaded with ingredients. I pretty much remembered that the pan mee was rather obviously outnumbered by the vegetables and other stuff. In fact, after I'd finished eating all the pan mee, the bowl was still swimming with loads of ingredients. I would say it was a pretty decent bowl of pan mee although I think it could be better if they reduce or eliminate the use of garlic (or was it shallot?) oil in their soup. Too garlicky for my liking...

Where to find:-
Face To Face (various outlets in Klang Valley, including SS15 Subang Jaya).
Medan Selera Section 14, PJ.
Home Recipe, Sea Park, PJ. (Updated 21/11/2008: Outlet closed.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quest Accomplished! Fatty Pan Mee (Mee Hoon Kueh), Klang

Fatty Pan Mee, Taman Berkeley, Klang
Being a fan of pan mee, it has been on my mind for quite a long while (a couple of years) to try the much raved "famous mee hoon kueh (pan mee)" in Taman Berkeley, Klang. So what stopped me before? It's the location. Although staying in Subang, Klang is as alien to me as Mars. Without a real-life guide, I don't trust myself in not getting lost armed with just some verbal directions. But this was then. Some kind souls had since taken the trouble to post some direction map on the net and lately, I have managed to venture in and out of Klang a couple of times successfully and that boost my confidence a fair bit.
So on one fine afternoon, with a printed map and some very precise verbal directions, I finally set on this much-awaited quest together with two other pan mee fans. Surprisingly, it wasn't hard to locate the place. In fact it was rather easy-peasy; and left me feeling kind of foolish over my previous apprehensions.
Where the action is.
The shop iteself it rather small and "old" and is a little less clean that I would have cared for. As it was slightly before 12 noon, there was a couple of small tables still available. Two of us ordered the classic pan mee in soup with additional poached egg while another asked for added vegetables. Waiting time was tolerable, about 15 minutes (which was nothing compared to what I had to endure here).

So, how did it fare?
Hand-shredded pan mee in soup with additional poached egg (that is hidden from view).
I like the hand-shredded dough very much. Although hand-shredded, the thickness level was evenly thin with just the right bite to it. But that's the best feature of this pan mee. The soup base, although light tasting (not so oily) could be better with a more enhanced aroma and taste of the all-important anchovy stock. The standard serving without additional vegetables only came with a mere 2 stalks of leafy vegetables. But my biggest disappointment has to be the accompanying chilli. The only type provided is cut chilli that you drench in soy sauce. My must-have is those pounded cili padi type which I feel, when made very well could elevate a sub-standard pan mee to "star" status. All in all, it is one of the better ones around town but to me, also belongs to the category "trying once is enough" and not something that I would travel all the way to Klang for.

Stay tuned for more adventures of pan mee...

PS on Notebook Status: Notebook is still in workshop. This post is posted via a temporary notebook and photos are courtesy of my friend, Ann.
PPS: Directions given in "Comments"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Temporary Break

Poor notebook has been sent to the workshop and left me feeling "handicapped" for the past few days. Without it, I realized how much my life actually revolves around it, particularly when I am at work. On the other hand, no other better excuse to slow things down and take life easier at the workplace (heehee). Boss asked me to get a new one but after considering his suggestions, "no siree, thanks but no thanks." I rather stick to my old and faithful notebook. Hence, I have to stop blogging for a bit until my notebook is once again up and running in one piece. Hopefully it will not be too long.

Till later....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kitchen Experiments Update: Part 1 (Cooking)

This blog was initially started to keep track of my baking/cooking experiments, a hobby that I picked up about 3 yeas ago. In those days, I was baking non-stop almost every other day if not everday, until the intervention of my mother who told me that she couldn't sleep at night because the smell of baking that permeated the air and seeped into her bedroom was distracting her from falling asleep (on weekdays, I could only bake after 9pm). Nowadays, my baking/cooking posts had become almost none-existent. But anyway, here are 2 fairly recent cooking experiments (fairly in a sense that it occurred this year, not last).

I am not a fan of noodles in general, but I do like cold noodle dishes quite a lot, the Japanese cold soba or cha soba included. This noodle dish always seems to me as being pretty simple so I thought to myself why not recreate it at home. So here is my first try (pictured above and recipe below) and I am proud to say that it was a success. Don't worry about cooking too much. Noodles and broth can be kept in the fridge for a few days and can be conveniently consumed straight from the fridge. I usually pack them for lunch at work.

Easy Japanese Cold Soba Recipe (based on recipe found here)
200g soba
Optional: sesame oil and toasted black sesame seeds
Cook soba in boiling water for about 4 mins or until al-dente. Drain and immediately put the noodles under cold running water (or plunge them into ice cold water). Drain (give it a slight toss in the colander) and chill them in the fridge.
Optional: For a smoother taste, you can toss with a few drops of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
Dipping Sauce/Broth
° Some dried kelps (look like large dried tea leaves in dry form and green algae-like/gelatinous sheets when soaked in water)
° 2 pcs dried Chinese mushroom (rinsed with water to remove dirt)
° 2 small pcs of ginger (sliced thinly to about about 1 inch in length)
° 375ml water
° 1T sugar or more (
according to taste)
° 2T (30ml) light Japanese soy sauce
° 1T (15ml) Chinese rice wine or use 2T mirin if this is available

Boil water with the dried kelps, mushroom and ginger. Lower fire and add in sugar, soy sauce and rice wine. Let it simmer for a minute. If not sweet enough at this stage, add a little bit more sugar. Strain the liquid into a bowl and let it chill in the fridge. You can slice the leftover mushroom and dried kelps into thin slices to be used as condiments later.

Garnishing (to serve): Spring onion (chopped thinly), toasted sesame seeds, mushroom and dried kelp slices (leftovers from cooking the broth), shredded roasted seaweed (nori) and wasabi paste. You can also add some cubed soft tofu for added protein.

Another time, I was in possession of a bottle of home-made Chinese rice wine, courtesy of a colleague. She even gave me a simple and easy recipe to cook Rice Wine Ginger Chicken. I tried the recipe and sure enough, it was easy and most importantly, the dish tasted great. The best part is obviously the broth. *slurps* Here's her recipe.
Home-cooked Chinese Rice Wine Ginger Chicken Recipe
1 chicken chopped into pieces (preferably free-range with head, feet and skin removed)
1 palm size "Bentong" old ginger (peeled and julienned)
Some dried chinese wood (black) fungus, pre-soaked
1/2 to 1 bottle of Chinese rice wine
1+1/2 bowl of water (not rice bowl but those slightly larger than rice bowl, think size of normal serving of asam laksa at kopitiam)
Seasoning: salt, sugar and sesame oil
1. Dry fry the chopped chicken to remove moisture. Careful not to cook it. Remove and set aside.
2. In a clean wok, stir fry ginger in a little corn oil until fragrant (slightly golden brown) or until crispy (this is even more fragrant but maybe more heaty).
3. Add in wood fungus and stir fry a little.
4. Add chicken and stir fry until chicken is just cooked.
5. Add water and bring to boil. Lower fire and add in rice wine.
6. Simmer for about 5 mins. Lastly add a little sugar, salt and sesame oil (optional) to achieve preferred taste.

- For better taste, it is important to use good quality "Bentong" ginger. If you do not want the dish to be "too fiery" in taste, reduce or halved the ginger portion but you should be aware that ginger is what will make or break this dish.
- Frozen chicken can also be used. Thaw thoroughly. Also note that they cook faster than free-range chicken so be careful not to overcook.
- You can adjust the qty of rice wine used. Don't worry, the alcohol effect will evaporate during the cooking process so do not worry about getting drunk from this dish. If you do prefer a milder wine taste, you can reduce the portion by half.

Look out for Part 2 of Kitchen Experiments Update (baking & desserts)

Set Lunch @ Korea House, SS2

One of the better lunch deals around this area. Starting from RM9.90 only per person (there are other pricier options), the varieties available are surprisingly quite a few.

I opted for a grilled fish set. Served in a bento box, it came together with a few side dishes such as the essential kimchi, slices of egg pancake, and other assorted vegetables-based appetizers.

I like the sauce that came with the grilled fish. Sweet-ish and slightly spicy, it was really appetizing. The fish itself was ok, no apparent fishy taste to it but boy, there was like a thousand small bones in the fish. It was annoying to keep having to pick the bones out from my mouth although I already tried to pick them out from the flesh before eating it. Really, really annoying....

My lunch partner chose the fried chicken option (or was it fried pork?). Anyhow, it was delicious. The batter was quite similar to "tempura" batter, being fluffy and crispy at the same time yet surprisingly, greaseless.
Edited: I think this dish is called Sweet Marinated Pork on the menu.

We were also served complimentary soup as starter as well as a dessert at the end of the meal. The complimentary soup was a simple and nourishing seaweed soup. I like! I can' really say the same for the dessert though. It was some kind of chilled ginger-based tongshui (sweet broth) but was too sweet for my tastebud.

Overall, I would still recommend this place for lunch. Their set lunches are a bargain, rice tea is complimentary and service was not bad too. Oh, I should also mention that all sets come with a bowl of rice.

Korea House
SS2, Petaling Jaya.
(Same row as Teapot Cafe, near the police station)