Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Choon Prawn Mee House

Peter Kang used to have a prawn mee stall at the O&S coffee shop in PJ Paramount Garden. Not too long ago, he moved out to open his own makan place specialising in, what else but Hokkein prawn mee. 

He calls his shop Choon Prawn Mee House. Choon apparently is his nickname. Or perhaps even his actual Chinese name. I know him only as Peter. Anyway, his shop is only several doors away from the O&S coffee shop, along Jalan 20/14.

I asked him how his business was. "OK lah," he said in his modest genial manner, "can cari makan (can make a living)."

Judging by the crowd in his place that weekend morning, I think he did better than just "cari makan". He had several foreign workers and all of them were working hard to cope with an constant flow of customers.

His shop was basic but comfortable. It was even air conditioned. He brought along his old stall from from O&S coffee shop. Ever wondered why all prawn mee stalls have this unique design - with a glass window?

He had a proper menu. His main offer was of course prawn mee, with various extras - pork ribs, pork tail, pork intestines and so on. Beside that, he also offered other coffee-shop food like chee cheong fun, koay teow soup, nasi lemak, to name a few.

And the whole range of hot and cold beverages. We opted for the normal tea with milk. They came in mugs, which was nice and sufficient.

I ordered a bowl of prawn mee with pork tail and intestine. Peter Kang certainly had not lost his touch. As far as I could remember, it tasted exactly the same as it was in O&S. There were nice pieces of pork tails. The intestine tasted particularly good. The soup was rich and tasty but rather oily. The generous sprinkling of fried shallot and the small dish of chilli added extra oomph to the total flavour. This bowl reinforced my verdict that Peter serves the best prawn mee in Petaling Jaya.

My wife had this bowl of koay teow soup. In it were fish balls, fish cake, pork slices and ample chu yaw char (猪油渣). I had a taste of the soup. Not bad at all. There was definitely adequate flavour in the clear soup.

My wife likes Penang chee cheong fun (猪肠粉). So we ordered a plate. Again, it was good. The prawn paste sauce was thick and flavourful. A dash of chilli paste added to the flavour. The ample fried shallots and sesame seeds made the dish very appetising.

We only managed to taste 3 dishes in Peter Kang's new makan shop. And we liked them all. I wish him luck in his new business venture. I hope he will be around for a long long time; so that whenever I have an itch for Penang prawn mee with some juicy pork tail and intestine, he would be there to serve me.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kumar in Oasis Square

The Oasis Square in Ara Damansara has matured into a wonderful food haven. The central area is very well done with water fountains and simmering pools. It is especially nice in the evening when lights combined with the water provide a carnival atmosphere to dine, drink or simply walk around. Beside this central area are side roads where there are a lot more restaurants and eateries to indulge in.

I have written on several food outlets in the Oasis Square in the past. This is yet another and will not be the last. There are still more restaurants that I have not patronised.

This time it is Indian food. There are three large mamak places in the Oasis Square, but they are not my focus. My subject is an elegant Indian restaurant simply named Kumar's. It is located in the central water area and adds to the electric atmosphere of the whole place.

Kumar's is gracefully furnished with a very conducive contemporary ambiance. My wife and I had eaten here several times and we had liked the atmosphere and the food each time.

It was a large dining party this time around. We were allocated a long table on the upper floor. We went up the stairs...

Into another large dining hall. We were the only group upstairs. It was like having the whole restaurant to ourselves.

Our table was by the side of large frontal glass windows. We had the whole view of the revelry below. It was a most pleasant dining experience indeed.

The restaurants takes it business seriously. They apparently attempted to project a fine dining image. We dined on appointed Kumar's cutleries. But they neglected on proper fabric napkins and provided paper serviettes instead.

Drinks all round were by choice, non-alcoholic. Kumar's does have a wine selection. The popular choice that evening was the mango lassi.

I went against the norm and opted for a salty lassi instead. I instructed the waiter to put in less salt. My "lassi masin" (salty lassi) during my previous visit was far too salty. As it turned out, the waiter followed my instructions a little too far. It was not sufficiently salty and tasted a little bland.

Generous portions of papadam were brought to the table to tease our taste buds.

Then the dishes began to arrive. Heading the pack was the curry fish head. Two big portions were served. The fish was very fresh. The curry was rich and creamy. In it were some nice tender okras (ladies fingers) and brinjal.

This was a chicken curry. The aroma was authentically Indian. 

Same with the mutton masala. The use of spices was perfect.

Squid rings cooked in spices and curry leaves. The squid was over-done and rubbery in texture. But the flavour was very good.

This dish of spinach was wonderfully done. It was cooked with cubed cheese. It was delicious.

Bitter gourd with lentil. A great combination.

I honestly am not sure what this dish was. There were multiple plates of the various dishes - spread on our long table. I went around busily taking shots of the dishes. When I finally settled down to eat, the meal was well under way. I don't think I got to taste all the dishes. This might had been one I missed. Whatever this was, it certainly looked good.

I think I know what this was - a dish of potato. Like all their dishes the combination of spices was superb.

All these were eaten with fabulous pieces of naan. The bread were thick and soft, and the texture was great. Really good quality bread.

The nasi briyani was likewise marvellous. The basmati was long and fluffy. The saffron and spices in the rice were absolutely right. But the servings were rather small. I didn't think I had enough of it.

This was their rasam. Unfortunately they did not provide us individual bowls. How were we supposed to share the soup? I had a sip of it. It was not great. I had tasted better rasam. So, individual bowls or not, I didn't think I missed much.

The Kumar's is a great Indian restaurant. The locale and ambiance was fantastic. The food was very respectable. Somewhat pricey, but certainly a place worth the while.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf

Sounds like a fairy tale. The name is just too long. I have to use the acronym - TLPATBBW. How does that relate to food? Restaurants give themselves fanciful names nowadays to attract attention. What will they think of next?

TLPATBBW is located on the ground floor of the Tropicana City Mall in SS2, Petaling Jaya. They apparently have another branch in Bangsar - exactly where, I have no idea. Crystal brought us here one weekend morning. She said this place was known for its awesome brekkies.

It was pretty quiet when we got there. It wasn't too early, but there was no breakfast crowd.

Service was prompt. A bottle of water was on our table before our seats were warm.

The menu was somewhat limited. I think this place specialises in breakfasts. Their choices of brekkies were many and varied. Beside them, they offer a variety of pastas, some sandwiches and a very limited Asian selection. Looking at the morning crowd, I wondered how they survive serving mainly breakfasts.

We started with our morning beverages. Crystal has been very health conscious these days. She had a pot of sugarless plain earl grey.

I asked for my usual long black. I think I got a small cup of strong expresso instead.

My wife's choice was her favourite latte.

Soon our brekkies began to arrive. This was the pork bacon and scrambled egg croissant. It was served with some salad. The bacon was crispy and and well done. The egg looked moist and appetising. The combination was basic but delightfully delicious.

Healthy Crystal had this salmon scrambled egg with toast. Again, the egg looked very nicely done. I actually have never tried salmon in egg of any kind. Looked delicious. Gave me an idea. Perhaps I should try preparing salmon omelet one day.

My option was this "I'm so hungry I could eat a wolf". In places with no such fanciful name, it would probably be known as the big breakfast. On my plate was a pork sausage, pork bacon, 2 eggs (I opted for scrambled), a nice crispy hashbrown, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato, baked beans and a couple of toasts with butter. It was a wholesome large breakfast. Everything on the plate was nicely done. I could not find any reason to complain.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This certainly lasted me the whole day until dinner. It was breakfasts in the superlatives. We definitely cannot afford to eat like this too often. We would risk the hazard of turning into, not little, but three big pigs.