Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bayswater roast duck comes to Malaysia

I remember eating at the Four-Seasons restaurant in London Bayswater many years ago. The reason it remained in my memory was because of what the waiter told us when we wanted to order a dish - "Don't bother ordering this. You won't like it - they are for kwai lor (鬼佬 - mat sallehs)." We settled for a simple meal of roast duck, char siew (叉烧) and siu yuk (燒肉). I particularly enjoyed the roast duck. It was duck roasted by bona fide Hongkong chefs and was a class above what we had in Malaysia. This same roast duck is now available here.

To get a taste of this famous roast meat without going all the way to London, get yourself to the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya. On the ground floor, walk into the Jaya Grocers and immediately turn left.

The Four-Seasons London BBQ place is tucked in a corner of the Jaya Grocers.

The place is simple and small. Not at all like the parent restaurant in London. It has a small counter where you order your food. The people who attend to you hardly speaks Chinese.

The menu is on the wall.

You make your selection and they give you a number. You then find a table in a very modest dining area where you sit on stools and benches. The food is delivered to your table.

Their signature is of course the roast duck. You will probably agree with me - it is roast duck extraordinaire. The texture is great. The meat is soft, smooth, succulent and aromatic. It is one roast duck you probably won't find elsewhere in KL, PJ and Subang Jaya. And you will most definitely enjoy it.

You probably will want to try their char siew (叉烧) and siu yuk (燒肉) too. These BBQ pork are not exceptional. Still you will probably relish them as I did.

They also offer other dishes. Like this claypot pork with brinjal which is very nice and delicious.

Or this steamed minced pork with salted fish (猪肉). A delightful dish that is so aromatic. It goes very well with steamed rice.

If you do not want rice, you could opt for their noodles.

And you must of course get a plate of vegetable to mellow down the heavy meat stuffs.

And a nice hot bowl of soup to soothe them down. 

While you are there, try their teh tarik. Only they don't call it teh tarik. It is known as milk tea (奶茶). It is very creamy and good.

My visits to the Subang Jaya Four-Seasons had been very pleasant and satisfying. They were simple unpretentious dining. The food was good and London came to me.  If you make your way there, I think you will agree with me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thyme salmon and sauce recipes

We were again at the Amcorp Mall flea market one weekend looking for herbs and other plants, and ended up buying 2 beautiful pots of thyme. One was a common thyme and the other was a lemon thyme. The have such a pleasant aroma. And they grow very well too.

I was wondering what to cook with it. It happened that we had some salmon in the freezer. I searched the net for thyme and salmon recipes. But I could not find anything I fancied. So I decided to improvise. I have 2 recipes here - one for the salmon and the other for the sauce.

For the salmon, prepare the marinade. You need one whole garlic minced.

2 tablespoons of shredded lemon peel, also minced.

And several sprigs of fresh lemon thyme. If you do not have a plant, it is going to be a little problem because like rosemary, we cannot readily buy fresh thyme from our markets. In which case, I guess dried processed thyme would suffice.

The fresh lemon thyme is likewise minced.

Mix all above in about half a cup of olive oil.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Have the fresh salmon in a baking tray.

And rub the mixture on the salmon, and allow it to marinate in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

30 minutes before baking, remove the salmon from the fridge and pre-heat the oven to 190 deg C.

Bake the salmon for about 25 minutes at 190 deg C. Do not over bake the fish. The outcome is like this.

Now the recipe for the sauce. The ingredients are...

Half cup of olive oil.

3 tablespoons of soy sauce.

1 tablespoon of vinegar.

The juice of 1 lemon.

About 4 cloves of garlic, minced.

1 mid-size onion, also minced.

1 teaspoon each of dried basil, black pepper, oregano and parsley.

All above ingredients are mixed into a sauce. Do not serve immediately. Allow the sauce to marinate itself for at least 3 hours - the longer the better. The freshly mixed sauce does not taste good - it is rather acrid. But after standing for a few hours, it becomes mellow and is good not only for salmon but for other baked, fried or grilled fish. My family loves it.

I served my thyme salmon with some french fries, fruit salad and the wonderful sauce. It was a delightful meal.

Try it. Yummy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explosive Thai Yee Wen

This was one of the best Thai meal I ever had. And a very explosive one too. It was at my sister LL's invitation that we went to Yee Wen Thai restaurant. Twelve family members were there soon after the CNY and it was a good respite from the mundane Chinese food that we had during the festivities.

The restaurant is located at Jalan Helang Merah in Kepong Baru. I had no idea how to get there. I got the coordinates from my nephew and decided to use my GPS. The silly Garmin took us half way round the world before finally landing us in front of the restaurant, which really was not that far in the Manjalera area. The restaurant is large building by itself, beside a Chinese eatery. You may difficulties locating Yee Wen because the only signboard they have is obscured by some trees on both sides. They really should trim the trees down.

The restaurant is definitely not a fine dining place. It is a wooden structure which is quite squatter in nature but exudes a rustic charm. The place is operated a Thai national who spoke good Cantonese. On that day, it was quite empty and I wondered why.

Because of my silly Garmin, we arrived rather late. By then the food had already started to arrive at the table and I was just in time to take my pictures of the first serving - the seafood tomyam. The first sip of the tomyam was explosive. It was super hot and spicy, and very delicious. It was served in a piping hot claypot and in it were fish, shrimps, squids and the usual stuff.

The green curry chicken was served in a small wok. It was creamy with lots of basil. It went very well with the rice.

The mango kerabu (Thai salad) was delightful. It was a fusion of various tastes - the sweetness of the mango, the fragrance of peanuts, the spiciness and sourness of the sauce all mixed together and made a great salad.

The la-la (clams) was rather ordinary. It was fried with a spicy sauce and some basil.

These were deep fried Thai fish cakes with a lot of spices and some green garnishes. They were delicious dipped in the red chili sauce.

The sayor paku was also ordinary but tasty. I liked it.

The pandan chicken was quite generous in portion. It was very well done. It was deep fried in the pandan leaves, yet the meat was soft and succulent. And very aromatic too.

When the steamed siakap arrived, I took a spoonful of the gravy and I was nearly knocked off my chair. It was so sour and spicy. It was steamed ala Thai. I think the spices, chili, lime, lemon, vinegar or whatever they put in were way over-done. The fish was fresh and nice, but I couldn't eat very much of it. It was too portent and explosive. I couldn't handle it.

The above 8 dishes were our initial order. We hungered for more. We summoned the Cantonese-speaking Thai owner and asked for recommendations. His first suggestion was very unique. It was tempura kangkong (so-called water spinach). The vege was deep fried in a batter. But we couldn't taste the kangkong inside. What we savored was only the crispy batter. Still, it was a novelty. I had never tried tempura kangkong until then.

This was followed by a rather boring fried chicken. I think I heard him mentioned "inchi chicken". It did looked and tasted like one. But it was quite over fried. I did not fancy it very much.

The chef also suggested a deep fried fished topped with peanuts, garlic, chopped basil and small pieces of lime. The sauce was the same as the others - spicy and sour. Like the inchi, I did not have very much of it. Perhaps by then I was already very full and the fish did not interest me very much.

The final recommendation was a master-piece of sort. It was most unique and innovative and tasted great too. It was raw prawn in a salad. The prawns were mixed a very spicy and sour sauce, with lots of garlic and chili on them. I had no reservation biting into the pieces of raw prawns. And they tasted heavenly. There was no trace of the rawness. The prawns were smooth and succulent. Another first timer for me and absolutely great.

We had 12 dishes for 12 people. And as if that were not enough, SP ordered a claypot tong fun (冬粉 - glass noodle) before we hit the road. By then I was totally stuffed but I managed a few strands of it. It was not good. Very mushy and rather bland. That, to me, was a waste of time.

It was a fantastic meal. I enjoyed the taste and the innovation. But it overly explosive - way too spicy and sour. You will probably need a strong stomach. And be prepared for the next morning.