Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ever Green View

I have known Green View since it was a single shop-lot restaurant many years ago. It was then a humble non air conditioned Chinese restaurant that served good and reasonably priced seafood. It grew with its popularity, and today it has joined the big-timers. It now has 3 shop lots, double-storied up and down, most of it air conditioned, and a modern make-over.

However, the original humble non air conditioned part of the restaurant is retained with almost the same decor and furniture. A considerable number of their customers still use this old section of the restaurant. Some even prefer the tables on the shop front walkway in spite of the spanking interior. The reason is perhaps that the restaurant is very noisy. The place lacks some curtains or drapes or some soft furnishing to absorb the noise. When the place is full, you can hardly hear your own voice. I personally like to dine open air on a small plot of land across the road that they used to set up some tables. But the open air dining is gone. It could be the local authorities did not approve.

The signature of this restaurant is their fresh prawn noodles or san har mein (蝦麺). It was excellent. Almost every table ordered it. It had big tiger prawns split in halves, cooked in a delightful gravy of egg and I-don't-know-what and poured over freshly fried crispy noodles. The quantity of prawns in the plate depends on the number of diners. They make sure every person has at least half a prawn. In the past they used fresh water udang galah, which was more head than meat. Now, the tiger prawns were much more worthwhile.

The fried rice was also good. It was fried with bits of char siew, shrimps, long beans and lots of deep fried small ikan bilis. You feel the crisp as you munch on the tasty rice.

The deep fried pork knuckle was a major disappointment. To start with, the skin was not crispy. It was immersed in a light gravy which made it even more soggy. The meat was rather bland and after a couple of mouthfuls, I had enough.

The la-la fried "kam heong" () style was quite ordinary. The flavour was a bit too heavy for my liking.

We had an unique vege combination - pumpkin and asparagus fried with prawns. My first time. Not a fantastic dish. The pumpkin did not taste like it at all. And asparagus is not one of my favourites.

The crispy kai lan (芥蘭) was another of my first time experience. It was good. They cut the leaves of the kai lan into tiny strips and deep fried till crispy. They then stir fried normal kai lan and mixed in the crispy leaves. Ingeniously tasty. I almost forgot to take a picture of this crispy kai lan. By the time I got to it, the plate was half gone...

The deep fried squid was crunchy and rather sweet. It was not bad. More of a side dish to go with beers.

The steamed crab was the last dish. By the time it arrived, I was pretty full. I still had some of it. The crab was steamed in egg white that form a thin layer of chawan mushi at the base. There was a generous sprinkling of ginger - perhaps not quite necessary. I found the meat rather soft. It was fresh but it did not have the firmness of good crab meat. I noticed from the bill that the crab was from Indonesia. Perhaps the local crab would had been better.

It was a heavy meal. But I still found room for some dessert. It was a cheese cake with blue berry topping, baked by my 17 year old nephew. It was good considering that it was made by a guy of that young age.

(Ever) Green View is located in PJ Section 19 on Jalan 19/3. It is off the Rothmans round-about on Jalan Universiti and is opposite the Lisa de Inn. I like the place and go back every now and again, mainly for the san har mein.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ma... I am still hungry!

It was my first time at Restoran Ma Ma's and would probably be my last. The restaurant boasts of home style Penang nyonya cooking - presumably like Mum's as its name suggests. But...

The restaurant is located on Jalan SS22/25 in Damansara Jaya, near the Atria Shopping Centre in PJ.

Seven of us were there for dinner a few days before CNY. I was quite open minded and had no expectation at all on what they had to offer. I was quite impressed with the decor and ambiance of the place. It was typically Chinese with some nyonya paintings and artifacts, and a good feel of the coming festivities.

There was a small crowd. The table next to us was a big group. From the chatter and laughter, I could gather that they were familiar with the proprietor. A lady came and took our order. We ordered 6 dishes and the lady told us that we had enough and suggested small servings for all the dishes. After taking our order, she got herself immersed in the group beside us.

The first dish was the nyonya yee sang (娘惹鱼生). It was quite good. The ingredients were unlike those of the ordinary yee sang. It had the fragrant of lemon grass, bunga kantan and plenty of mint leaves. The sauce was also quite different. I quite enjoyed it. But the serving was rather small.

The inchi kabin was next. The serving was totally insufficient for the 7 of us. There was hardly a piece of the chicken for each of us. The chicken looked over-fried and except for the crispy exterior, there was nothing good about the dish. The chicken meat was rather tasteless. I think it had not been adequately marinated.

The perut ikan was pathetic. It came in a small bowl. Serving for 7! In it was a mess of unrecognizable mushy vegetable and pieces of soggy, what appeared to be fish bladder. The taste was odd. I do not think any of us liked it. In spite of the small bowl, there was plenty left over. I do not know how they could even consider serving that in a restaurant.

Next was the fish head curry in a claypot. It was OK. Not exceptional. It had the usual tau fu pok (豆腐薄), brinjal, long beans, okra, etc.

The spring row was good but in such small portion. There was only 2 rows for the seven of us. How meager can it get. Each of us had just a mouthful.

The four angled bean or kacang botol was stir fried in sambal and small pieces of shrimps. It was not bad. But the serving is again small.

Then we waited... and waited... for the last dish. That almost did not come. And when it appeared, it was not what we ordered. We asked for sambal petai minus prawns. We had specifically told the lady that we did not want prawn in our petai. Up to the end of the meal, there was no sign the sambal petai. We asked a waiter and he had no clue what we wanted. He was probably a foreigner who did not understand us. The lady who took our order was too engrossed in the next table to be distracted. The shortfall was finally made known to another waitress. And when the sambal petai finally arrived, it had prawns in it. The dish was sent back to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the same dish reappeared, with the prawns removed. I did not enjoy the petai because by then my rice plate was empty. How can one enjoy sambal petai without rice?

Dessert was bubur gandum and pulut hitam. They were so very ordinary, there is nothing to write about.

The meal was so wanting. The taste of some of the dishes was really not that bad. But they come in so very small portions. There was not enough to get to enjoy the dishes. I do not understand why they cannot ensure there is sufficient for every diner in the table.

I came out of the restaurant still feeling somewhat hungry.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A traditional CNY vegetarian dish

This is my late mother's recipe for a wonderful vegetarian dish. She used to cook it only once a year - on the first day of CNY. Since her passing, we have continued with this family tradition and have unfailingly cooked this on the first day, year after year.

The ingredients are many. Here is the list..

1. Gingko nuts (銀杏)

2. Kam chum (金针) or lily buds, soaked and knotted.

3. Water chestnuts - cut in small pieces

4. Fatt choy (发菜) or dried black moss, soaked and pressed in balls so as not to mess up the dish when cooked.

5. Lotus root, cut into thin slices.

6. Canned button mushroom - quartered.

7. Vegetarian oyster (optional)

8. Black fungus or wan yee (云耳), soaked and cut into bite pieces.

9. Mien kan (面筋)....

.....soaked in hot water till soft.

10. Chinese cabbage - leaves and stems separated.

11. Bean curd skin or fu-pei (腐皮).... 

... deep fried to a nice crisp like so.

12. Chinese mushroom, soaked and halved....

... and sauteed with garlic till cooked.

13. A mixture of fermented beancurds - fu yee (乳) and lam yee (南乳)

The fermented beancurds are mixed to a paste and fried in a wok with oil and garlic till aromatic.

The veges are then progressively put into the wok and stir fried with the fermented beancurds mixture; in the following order: 
- Chinese cabbage (stems only)
- lotus roots
- water chestnut
- gingko nuts
- vegetarian oyster
- kam chum
- mein kan
- button mushroom
- black moss fungus 
- the sauteed Chinese mushroom.  


At this stage vegetarian oyster sauce and thick soy sauce are added in to taste. Add some water and continue to stir and simmer.

The deep fried fu-pei are next into the wok...

.... followed by the leaves of the Chinese cabbage.
Last in the wok is the fatt choy balls.

Add in more water. Cover the wok and simmer for a few minutes.

Continue to stir and cook until the gravy is dried up and the vegetables are soft. The final outcome is a delightful array of colours in the wok. A wonderful delicious vegetarian dish.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


This was our reunion dinner...

Jelly fish yee sang (鱼生) was the starter. Lou sang, lou sang...

The traditional pak cham kai (白切雞)...

Abalone, mushroom, fatt choy (髮菜), broccoli...

Crab rolls...
Big prawns in garlic..

 A mix vege dish of celery, french bean, carrot, green pepper, water chestnut, baby corn, gingko and cashew nuts..

Fried egg with conpoy (乾瑤柱) or dried scallops, wrapped with green salad... 

Stir fried sengkuang (jicama), also wrapped in green salad...

Lotus root soup..

Dessert was layered sweet potato jelly..