Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rocket United

I am not professing my political inclination here. We made a trip to Kafe Rocket United totally out of curiosity. We had heard so much about this apparent DAP establishment. We had passed by the place many times. We just wanted to see what the food was like.

Rocket United is located on Jalan SS 2/63, opposite the SS2 hawker centre and playground. It is on the same row of shops as the SS2 Maybank. There is a distinct DAP atmosphere in the cafe and the political undertone is unmistakable. As you walk in, you see a big DAP rocket rising from the floor up the wall. Beside it, is a rack selling English and Chinese versions of the DAP Rocket newspapers.

Further in, you are greeted by a huge picture of Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim....

... and framed photos of various opposition personalities.

Even the menus are not spared. There are several political pictures in the menu including one of Lim Guan Eng being arrested over the Malacca CM fiasco.

I was told you can even register to vote here. They also sell various DAP merchandise.

Political affiliation aside, the food in this cafe was.... terrible. It was one of the worst places we have eaten in.

The nasi lemak arrived in a gigantic plate, with the normal serving of rice, generous portion of rendang chicken and an over dose of sambal. The rendang was not so very authentic. The taste was not complete. It lacks the flavour of daun limau purut (kaffir lime leaves).

The Korean spicy seafood nissin noodle was not at all appetizing. It was bland and was more like a bowl of poorly made instant noodles. It had an egg, some shrimps and pieces of fish cake. Our home cooked spicy maggi mee would had tasted better.

The Muar otak-otak was ok. Not too bad in taste. But the portion was very meager. They came wrapped in coconut leaves. The fish paste inside was thin as paper.

I had the curry laksa. That was the worst of our orders. It took a long time to arrive. I didn't know why it took so long. I would think that the curry laksa would be quick to dish out since the curry would had been pre-prepared. When it finally arrived, it was one big bowl of disappointment. Absolutely the worst curry laksa I have ever tasted. It was like noodles in a bowl of santan (coconut milk) with hardly any flavour. One sip of the curry and a spoonful of noodles, I was ready to put it down. I had to add in some of sambal from the nasi lemak to make it slightly more palatable. Eventually the bowl was largely left uneaten.

The place was not very patronized that day and I could see the reason why. After a meal like that, I don't think we would want a second visit.

I left the cafe totally convinced that politics and food cannot mix. I really thought that the guys at Rocket United should have stuck with politics.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

rou gu cha KING

We arrived in Penang one hot afternoon at about 2.00pm feeling rather hungry and decided to drive straight to the Queensbay Mall to look for food, since it was nearest from the bridge and provided air conditioning comfort. Parking can be a problem at QBM at that time of the day, but we were lucky. A young Malay lass was just leaving and we slotted in nicely.

We were not too fussy that day and spotted this bak kut teh place on the lower ground floor and decided to settle for it. The name of the place was rou gu cha KING (王) - with some additional strokes above the English names. It is the Mandarin pronunciation for bak kut teh.

The place is rather small but comfortable, with a contemporary Chinese decor.

But we were more interested in the food. The menu offers set meals. There were 5 of us. We ordered a BKT set for 4 people and some side dishes to complement.

The set came with 2 pots of BKT - one with soup and the other was dry. Ah... dry BKT! I did not expect to find this in Penang. I still have not returned to Klang for some real nice dry BKT.

Both the wet and dry BKT were just so-so. Cannot match Klang's. Klang is the capital of BKT, so I guess it is not fair to make any comparison or expectation. They were really not too bad but lacked the oomph that we find in Klang. Perhaps it was the hunger, but I did enjoy both the pots.

The set also came with taugeh (which was rather pathetic), yew char kueh, stewed eggs.....


.... and some deep fried dim sum (点心).

The ginger duck was a side dish we ordered to complement the set. It was somewhat salty but otherwise, not too bad in taste. There were 2 duck drumsticks. I found the duck meat rather soft and soggy. I would prefer firmer meat with some texture.

The tofu with braised meat sauce (also a side dish) was OK. Not fantastic. Good enough.
Dessert was gui ling guo (龟苓膏) or Chinese tortoise jelly. They came in 4 little plastic containers. Part of the set meal. It was rather bitter which they try to mask with some sugar syrup. I am no fan at all of this queer Chinese dessert. And that day was no exception.

Lunching at the rou gu cha KING was quite a pleasant experience. It was not so much the quality of the food which was just OK, not fantastic. It was more the variety that they offered with the set meal. I would not had expected stewed eggs with BKT, let alone the deep fried dim sum. The variety did add some colours to the meal.


rou gu cha KING is a small chain of BKT outlets based in Penang. They have a website here. They currently have 3 outlets on Penang island and plan to have outlets in Seberang Prai and Shanghai.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sisters curry mee

The place in PJ to get a nice bowl of curry mee is in SEA Park. There is a stall in the Sun Fatt Kee coffee shop that serves real nice curry laksa and beef soup noodles.

Sun Fatt Kee is located at the junction of Jalan 21/11B and Jalan 21/17. It is opposite the SEA Park wet market and is directly behind the SEA Park Maybank.

The place is somewhat run-down and dilapidated. But hey, if you just want some really good curry mee, never mind the environment. The coffee shop is normally quite packed during the weekends. My last visit was on a Monday morning. It was quiet.

The noodle stall is operated by 2 sisters. From here in SEA Park, their business has apparently expanded. There is now a restaurant in Bandar Puteri Puchong known as Sisters Curry Laksa (SEA Park). This restaurant is operated by the son of one of the sisters, using the curry recipe of this stall. I have not visited the Puchong outlet. If I do, I will blog it. In spite of the new business, the sisters still run their stall in SEA Park.

I am quite avid about curry mee. I enjoy this uniquely Malaysian flavour. I have tasted curry noodles in many other places around KL, PJ and Subang Jaya. I did not come across one that I really liked until the sisters. Good curry noodles are mainly in Ipoh and Penang. Sisters is one stall that I have returned, again and again. The noodles come with the normal chicken shreds, see hum (cockles), tau fu pok and some long beans. The curry is aromatic and rich. They do not use too much santan (coconut milk) which is good. I do not like curry noodles that is saturated in santan.


There is however one exception that I find with the sisters. They are not very consistent. The flavour of their curry vary with the crowd. On weekends when they are busy, the flavour deteriorates. On my last Monday morning visit, it was superb.


The sisters also serve a good beef soup. You can have the beef soup with noodles. You can have the beef with the curry noodles. Or you can just have a bowl of beef soup without noodles. It is quite expensive. I ordered a bowl of beef soup for the purpose of this blog - just to take some pictures. It was RM10 for a small bowl. But it was nice. There was meat and tripe and tendons. Very delicious. However it was somewhat out of place with the curry noodles.

We used to bring our own mint leaves (which they sadly do not provide) and roast pork (for added flavour) when we go for our weekend bowls of sisters curry mee. And whenever I am there, it is always the big bowl for me. One of the small pleasures in life.

Next destination - Bandar Puteri Puchong.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Annie 1

Annie 1 is one of those hybrid kopitiams that have evolved from the good old traditional coffee shops. It boasts of "Famous Menglembu Wanton Mee". I did not even know that Menglembu is famous for wanton noodle.

It is located in Jalan SS21/58 in Uptown, Damansara Utama, PJ. I have passed the shop numerous times and it did not strike me as a worthwhile place to eat until a family member recommended it. The shop facade and the name Annie seemed to me like one of those shops that serve pseudo western food which does not appeal to me one bit. But I was pleasantly proven wrongly. It is not pseudo western. On the contrary, they serve mainly local fare and they are quite good. Annie 1 is more a breakfast or lunch place. Although they are opened till 9.30pm, the menu offering does not look like one that I would want to go there for dinner.

If you are there, you might as well try the Menglembu wanton mee. It is quite good. The noodle has the springy texture which is pleasantly different from the soft flaccid noodles that we find in most wanton stalls. You can have it with a assortments of accompaniments - chicken (plain or curried), char siew, chicken feet, braised pork trotter, pork ribs and of course wanton.

Or if you prefer the ordinary mee and meehoon, you can have it kon loh (dry) with a chilli sambal sauce which when mixed with the noodles, is quite agreeable with my palate.

The "home-made" yam cake or woo tau ko (芋头糕) is very good. It is soft and has the right texture, with a good flavor of yam. It is served with a chilli and a sweet sauce and generous dose of fried shallots. Very authentic.

So is the chee cheong fun (猪肠粉) which is also served with similar sauces. But you don't really need the sauce. It taste equally splendid (if not better) with the soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds and fried shallots and the green pickled chillis. 

The Ipoh white coffee (available hot or cold) is so-so. OK enough for a satisfying breakfast or lunch.

Finally, the egg custard is very very good. It is very sweet - perhaps too sweet for some of us. But it is soft, smooth and very flavourful. You may ask why in the world sweet custard for breakfast. Never mind. Just try it. You won't regret.


Annie 1's menu is a lot more than the pictures I have. I found the braised pork trotter particularly delectable. Unfortunately my picture turned out horrible. They also serve nasi lemak and rice with the various different dishes. Annie 1 is definitely worth a visit.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ipoh Lou Wong

We arrived at Ipoh, on the way back from Sungai Petani, at about 5.30 pm on the 6th day of CNY. Our first stop was Funny Mountain for our favorite tau fu fah. That sated, we decided to take an early dinner and walked one street away to the famous Lou Wong ngah choy kai (芽菜雞). Lou Wong is located on Jalan Yau Tet Shin, off Jalan Ekran (formerly known as Jalan Yang Kalsom). It is in the Ipoh Gerbang Malam area, where a pasar malam is staged on Jalan Dato Tahwil Azhar every night of the week.

This area in Ipoh is popular for ngah choy kai (芽菜雞). Besides Lou Wong, there is Onn Kee next door and another Onn Kee (I don't know if they are of the same management) across the road. There are also several shops selling salted chicken, which I will come back next time to try and to blog.

Lou Wong was a massive hive of activity - almost to the point of chaos. The place was packed to the brim. Many were standing around waiting for tables. The restaurant spilled to the street - 2 rows deep of tables. It is hard to imagine a restaurant doing such roaring business at 5.30pm. It was definitely to late for lunch and too early for dinner. What were the people there for?

I did not know if the large crowd was because of the CNY holiday season. Or is it like this everyday? I asked one of the waiters. He said it was the CNY crowd. He claimed on a normal day it is so quiet, you could hear a fly. I have no idea if he was serious.

We ordered the usual chicken, innards, ngah choy (taugeh), some fish and meat balls, rice and soup hor fun (河粉). The food arrived soon enough and spoke well for the efficiency of the place in spite of the crowd and the seemingly chaotic situation.

The chicken was rather ordinary. I did not find it that fantastically good. The meat was rather soft and did not have the firm texture of good chicken meat. It was OK for a hungry stomach but if you want good pak cham kai (白切雞), I don't think this is the place to come to.

The innards were likewise ordinary. But then, how extraordinary can innards ever be?

The ngah choy (芽菜) or taugeh were good. They were short and stubby. And very fresh too. 

The fish and meat balls came in a soup. We did not order very many. Again, they were just ordinary.


Some of us had rice for the meal. They only served ordinary white rice. No chicken rice. A chicken rice place not selling chicken rice. What a disappointment. I had soup hor fun. And I was glad I did. It was good. The hor fun was so soft and smooth. It certainly lived up to Ipoh's reputation for good sar hor fun (沙河粉).


I have heard so much about Lou Wong. There were a couple of ngah choy kai (芽菜雞) places in PJ that took on similar names. I do not know if they are related or just trying to ride on the name. One of them may still be around in SS2. 


The experience at Lou Wong was not great. I felt Ipoh Lou Wong was over-rated. Perhaps the quality was diluted because of the large CNY patronage. I had tasted similar ngah choy kai in other shops in Ipoh, KL and PJ. Ipoh Lou Wong was certainly not the best.