Brought a friend from the UK to lunch today. Where to go in Ipoh? Ipoh is rather famous for some local food. Maybe my friend will enjoy some local food. So we decided to bring him to Ipoh old town Tian Chun (天津) for the famous soup based flat noodles with chicken strips and shrimps.
Parked the car, and we walked on the Concubine Lane towards the shop. The Concubine Lane was full of tourists. Has to be, as they were seen snapping photos. We then realised today is school holiday. And Tian Chun was packed. Found ourselves a table that just cleared. Considered ourselves lucky as we didn’t have to wait for a table at all. Ordered our drinks, and then three bowls of the famous noodles.
Initially we felt content. We had much to catch up. And we were not hungry. But half and hour went by, then 45 mins, and there was still no sign of our noodles. Chased the lady, who looks like foreign labour, and she said they have not forgotten about our orders. Another 15 minutes went by, even the table that came later than us had their noodles. Think they bloody messed up our orders. It was hot, and it was very humid inside the shop, as there was a heavy down pour not long ago whilst we were waiting for our food. I felt like I was about to explode if I were required to wait any longer!
So the noodles finally arrived, after just over an hour. It costed us RM17.50 for three bowls of noodles (normal size RM5.50, big bowl RM6.50). When asked what my friend thought of the noodles, “it was ALMOST worth the wait”, not wanting to sound rude! What do you think?
We have Malaysian food back in Reading once again, yay! There used to be a Malaysia Cafe located at the exact same place, but has closed shop some months ago. I guess the demand for Malaysian food is not great in Reading, taking into account its less than prime location too. In terms of orders from events/functions or lunch time catering, I have a feeling that the Brits would probably rather stick to sandwiches. So tough business if I’m being honest. But I sincerely hope this ex hotel chef, who is from my home state Perak in Malaysia, can thrive in the business, as that means that we can continue to enjoy his beautiful Malaysian food. Have a look at the photo, that is fresh roti canai, the real deal 😉
If you have not tried cooking popcorn before, you definitely should try it. Interestingly, we got this idea from watching a home cooking show called Nigella Express, which we were attracted to by the criticisms the programme was subjected to. And we wanted to see if Nigella Lawson is really that flirtatious, after watching a lousy but hilarious impression performed by a guy in Graham Norton’s show (yes she does look rather flirtatious, but she certainly has not been squeezing her breasts every now and then :)) Anyway we just cooked our popcorn using her recipe, and it was quite fun. We used a big pan with a transparent glass lid, so we actually could see the popcorn pop! And W was amazed, to my amusement :)Interesting observation: it’s actually the crystallised or solidified sugar on the popcorn that makes them crunchier!
There seems to be a rush of TV programmes on food, diet, healthy living and animal welfare recently. It seems that the reason people are getting obese is they are eating too much. Painfully obvious, but what is interesting is people have little idea about the calories they take in. A lot of them think their diet is okay, without realising that they actually eat more than their body can burn off everyday. Yet wonder why they are getting bigger in size! One woman was convinced that her metabolic rate is lower than an average person’s and turns out she actually has a normal one after consultation with a doctor. Now I start to wonder if I have not been eating enough, as I’m definitely underweight, and have always blamed this on my high metabolic rate! Perhaps I should start paying a bit more attention on the calories I take in as well. How ironic :)BTW, as food is getting more expensive nowadays, there is definitely a strong case for people to start eating less (not more than they need), not just for obesity issue, and consume less meat, for various reasons.
Despite Jamie Oliver’s effort in promoting better quality school lunch in Britain, I still don’t think I like his TV programmes, or perhaps more precisely his image or his personality. It’s a strange one, as I seldom dislike someone. “Jamie’s Fowl Dinners” seems to be yet another of his “stunt”, this time to raise consumers awareness on the eggs or chickens they buy from supermarkets. To be fair, the programme is quite informational. It shows the poor conditions the chickens have to endure throughout their life, particularly those that are caged. You can almost see the chickens are happier if they are free-range. But what strikes me is his effort to try and tell the audience of the poor fate of the chickens, where they are ultimately slaughtered, chopped into separate parts for selling, with their carcasses compressed for sausages etc, yet he’s not willing to stop eating these poor chickens. I find his action rather contradictory, don’t you think? What a poor message to send out to the audience. W pointed out that he’s done something similar before as well, telling people, in the capacity as a Sainsbury spokesperson, that farmed salmon is healthy yet not serving them in his own restaurant. Hypocrite?
Finally there’s a place in Reading that serves Malaysian food 🙂 And it’s truly authentic! I’m so pleased that my English friend took the time to inform us about this new cafe (see map), knowing that we’ll definitely be interested in our fellow Malaysian’s food 🙂 Feeling a bit hungry after a session of tennis yesterday, we paid the cafe a visit to see what have they got. To our pleasant surprise, the cafe is indeed run by Malays. Although Taste of Malaysia Cafe is more like a take-away shop, you can choose to eat-in if you want to. The menu is very vegetarian friendly, and should give the residents around some very interesting alternatives to the usual kebab, fish & chips, chinese and indian take-away. We ordered nasi lemak, and man, I’m still feeling the heat in my stomach today! If you haven’t tasted authentic Malaysian food before, then this is the place. Cheap and cheerful.
Rather than having to buy a large pot that can fit the bamboo steam rack in it, this is how I make do with what I’ve got 🙂 The bamboo steamer is great for steaming dim sum, definitely a much better fit than using those metail steamers. The bamboo lid doesn’t collect condensations and so condensations won’t drip back to the dim sum or food. Should I want to steam more stuff I can just stack more racks on top. Wonderful.
I had a real satisfaction having my dinner today. It’s been a while since my hubby and I last did something different for dinner. For starter, we had a cheese plate with mild cheddar, double gloucester and wensleydale with cranberry. I cut some red apple slices and grapes to go with the cheese. Of course this could not be complete without a glass of red wine and it was absolutely delicious! It’s very simple and yet elegant.Then, to stick to our healthy diet, we had a mediterranean style salad, with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and olives sprinkle with olive oil and black pepper. Again, very simple dish and rejuvenating. For our main course, we had wholewheat spaghetti with carbonara sauce. Yummy.. yummy, I am still lingering over my dinner in my brain after two hours.I think I should quite enjoy owning my restaurant 10 years down the line and share good and healthy food with others.
I have a colleague who becomes vegetarian because he believes that a meat based diet is not as efficient as a veggie based diet. That was the first time I heard of such perspective. It is certainly very interesting, but I didn’t look any further into it, perhaps mainly because I am already a vegetarian, although from a different perspective. What I hadn’t realise, until recently, was it is possible to feed the whole world, with the current produce, if everyone goes on a veggie based diet. Here are some good information fromViva!.Talk to different people, you get different views about becoming vegetarian. Some coming from nations where cooking and eating good food are joy of their life, taking up veggie based diet is just unattractive, with so much less options. Some believe that their teeth formation do not suggest that they should turn vegetarian. Some think it is more efficient for the animals to digest the “plants” for them, so they can get a “condensed” version of protein easily from meat.Rupert Everett, who starred in “The Importance of Being Earnest“, recently appeared on a cooking show and explained why he turns vegetarian when asked by the host. According to him, he once brought his dog, which he loves, for a walk in the mountain when he was in Switzerland some time ago. While taking a rest, sitting down in a field, he suddenly found himself surrounded by curious cows. It then became a routine for him taking up such walk to the field, as he found himself in love with the experience. The realisation that he loves the cows, as much as his dog, became the reason for him turning vegetarian. Perhaps it requires one or a series of special experience before people will consider taking up a more veggie based diet…
I recently read an article in Marie Claire about a woman following a Japanese diet after reading the book ‘Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat’ and managed to lose 1/2 stone in 2 months. To me, Japanese food is not about dieting, it’s about enjoying authentic taste in food and feeling absolutely great even after stuffing yourself with rolls of sushi and ‘pints’ of green tea!Yes, I love it all, whether it’s due to its close resemblance to chinese food or the fact that I love fish which features commonly in Japanese food. I even make sushi at home every now and then to quench my thirst for Japanese cuisine. Some of my English friends have never ventured Japanese food further than the pre-packed sushi from supermarket. Some thought it tastes bland, not surprisingly, because he’s indian. I think they are missing out one of the finest cuisine in the world.Japanese restaurants are a lot more common in England now than they were a few years ago, not least because people are turning a little more health conscious and increasing obesities. I am no french and am probably not as particular about food than they are. But I can’t help to share my sympathy when it comes to critics on how unpalatable and boring British food is. It’s always fish and chips, burger or chicken tikka and countless of pizza and pasta chains. To me, it’s a good sign that international cuisines are more and more common here and hopefully with a little bit more competition, they can be more affordable. But before that happens, I think I have to work on my cooking skills a little more to enjoy fine and healthy meals.Just one year ago, I had to go to Japanese specialties shops to buy simple ingredients like silk tofu, miso paste and wasabe for my sushi. But it’s no longer necessary these days thanks to giant supermarket like Tesco. They are all on the shelf just like baked beans and potato crisps. Better still, we managed to buy some pickled ginger that taste as good as those in Japanese restaurants and we absolutely go crazy about it.It’s just so easy to make a simple non-fatty meal these days. Mix miso paste in hot water, boil some soba noodles, pour soup into noodles and cut several cubes of tofu into the soup and sprinkle with spring onion and voil�. You can even find space to finish your meal with a few pieces of fruits like melon and some strawberries to complete a wholesome meal! Ideally I would recommend fruits in between meals for maximum health benefits. It’s a change from pasta and pasta sauce from the can!