Friday, June 22, 2012

Chuan Heang

About 10km north of Sungai Petani in the small town of Bedong in Kedah, is a small makan place that serves a decent meal. I got to know the place from my in-laws. I have been there for lunches a number of times and enjoyed the meals each time. 

The name of the place is Chuan Heang (全香 - Entirely Fragrant). I really do not know how to direct you there. I believe it is on Jalan Bakar Arang - the road between Sungei Petani and Bedong. Anyway the co-ordinates are N05 43.990, E100 30.683. 

In terms of ambiance and establishment, it is not much of a restaurant. It is just a humble place to have a good meal. But it is immensely popular. Each time I was there, the front was filled with cars spilling to an adjacent empty land. Needless to say, the place was always packed.

Perhaps the most popular dish in the makan place, also one which we never fail to order, is this fried pork "sandwich". It is pieces of greasy deep fried pork inside these white steamed buns. The pork was delicious and crispy and the bun fresh and soft. It was a pleasure biting on to it. A real good appetizer. 

We were wondering whether these deep fried birds were quails or chicks. They were too big to be one and too small to be the other. The birds were superbly marinated and completely deep fried beyond recognition. They were delicious. The taste and aroma was great and the meat tender.

These were frogs - deep fried and then cook kung pao (宫保) style. It had been a long time since I last had frogs. I had always been put off by the manner the people slaughter them (they just chop off their heads alive) and we do not order frogs for this reason. On this occasion, my brother-in-law did the ordering, and since it was on the table, I did not hesitate to dig into it. Call me a hypocrite, but I am also a foodie. The dish was good. The meat was tender. The sauce wasn't exceptional. I just enjoyed the freshness of the meat. Incidentally, I did not see any heads....

This was a plate of tofu, deep fried and cooked in soy and chili sauce. It was most ordinary.

And a most boring dish of vegetable. 

This green dish was a little bit more interesting - asparagus stir fried with prawns in a samba sauce. The asparagus was fresh, tender and crunchy. Very nice.

This pot of vinegar pork knuckles (猪脚醋) was very absolutely sinful and delicious. It is a popular Cantonese dish. The pork knuckles were fantastic. Just look at the fat. Collagen, my foot  - no, the pig's foot. After a pot like this, we ought to have our cholesterol re-checked and go on the treadmill and stress our hearts one more time.

Then the seafood dishes arrived. It started with this steamed grouper. It was marvelously fresh. The steaming was simple but delightful - soy sauce, ginger, garlic, a sprinkling of chu yaw char (猪油渣) and some chili padi to spice it up. 

The final dish was this steamed prawn. By then, I was full to the throat. Still, I had a couple of these. They were done just nice, not at all overcooked - in egg white with lots of ginger and a generous portion of deep fried garlic. 

What a lunch it was. Immediately after the meal, we began our 4 hours journey home. Guess who had to drive. I envied the passengers. It was perfect timing for a siesta. Poor me had to concentrate on the road.

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