Category Archives: Food

Unforgettable Seafood

Seafood is nice but really fresh seafood is something heavenly. There are food that one always crave for or think of. Sometimes, merely thinking of them will make the stomach growl and the saliva glands active. Man is not unlike other animals, and eating is a pleasure to behold. The “Live to eat or eat to live” argument for me us pure bullshit. You eat to live and also live to eat. It is not either/or.

Mankind always fall into this foolish idea of having to choose either one and cannot live with two or more choices. This is also the reason why the world is in the mess it is now because mankind cannot seem to be able to live together in plurality and must choose only one single way, and if there are opposing ways, the tolerance level is zero.

Imposing one’s worldview or way of life on others is the biggest crime in the history of mankind. For instance, because one eats only minimally, one condemns others for spending more money to eat something that do not conform to their view. Or if one is very thrifty condemning others who spends on food. And we are not even talking about religion or politics. Don’t even start. This “holier than thou” kind of mindset is really primitive.

Anyways, the purpose of this post is not to talk about these depressing stuffs but to celebrate some really good seafood that is unforgettable for me.

The first that comes to my mind is the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. Wonderful and superbly fresh! Of course there are others like Jiro’s but the combination of the freshness and deliciousness vs price cannot be matched. It is too sad that they intend to move the market next year for the Olympics. So before they do that, fly there now.

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The standard set costs about 3,500 yen and you get about 8 types of sushi. And then you can add a-la-carte. I have never tasted sushi this good and this fresh, at this price.

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The wonderful chef who keeps on asking “oishi? oishi?” in the cramped shop and then the huge line waiting outside. If you want to go here, you really need to be there really early. I reached there at 4 something in the morning and ended up only waiting about one hour. If you reach later, say at 8am, the queue can get to about 3 hours. So wake up early or don’t sleep at all.

The second one that pops into my mind is the King Crabs at Kirkenes, Norway. These are crabs at the top of the world, the arctic and they are not only huge but extremely delicious. The meat is of course fresh, and all you need is to boil it in water and then eat it with white wine and enjoying the aurora borealis dancing overhead. It is hard to imagine anything more amazing.

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We just eat the legs and they are huge with lots of meat. The freshness and natural sweetness is unbelievable.

Closer to home, of course there are some great seafood places, such as the prawns at Tg. Tualang or the various seafood places. But when I think of seafood, Tsukiji market and Kirkenes pops up invariably.

This post is actually a call to action. The call is that if you have not experienced the Tsukiji market, do so before it’s too late. The new place will never have the charms of the current place, at least not in the near future. It may be new and beautiful and organized and all but as in most things in life, real charms are not acquired through newness, nor logical organizations of things.

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2012 Travels – Taiwanese Street Food

The funny thing about traveling is that the idea of it is very nice and romantic and exciting but the actual experience of it can be a completely different thing. Most of the time, the experience is tiring and exhausting. That said, despite the exhaustion of not only the physical and mental self but also the bank account, the memory of it again is one of romance and nostalgia.

Taiwanese politics aside, I have never thought much about Taiwan but for some movie directors which I adore, Hou Hsiao Hsien being the primary one and also Edward Yang and Tsai Ming Liang, although Tsai is technically a Malaysian. I am also aware that Taiwanese street food is quite popular but have no idea of its extent.

When faced with a choice of destination for a short holiday, several places popped up but somehow or rather, we decided on Taiwan and the experience was a good one. We did not have enough time to really explore Taiwan but just a sampling of what it offers. Mostly food.

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Street food like depicted above that sells a variety of internal organs, blood cubes, necks and other exotic animal parts litters the streets of Taiwan. The most popular street food spot is the Shilin Market where a huge variety of street food is available, from stinky tofu to barbecued squids and many novelty food.

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The dish above is the famous Prince Noodle. It is very tasty and is decorated with an assortment of internal organs and such. It seems like the Taiwanese really likes to eat internal organs and necks and such weird parts. Any part except the meat. Haha.

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Taiwan is also getting very big in patisserie and is up neck to neck against the Japanese in making really interesting cakes and such. The more traditional cake houses is now getting an antiquated feeling, overwhelmed by these much more interesting offerings.

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The place above serves what is supposedly the best soya milk in the whole world. The queue can be very very long. It is hidden in a market above a supermarket. This place is called Fu Hang Dou Jiang. Besides the soya milk, it offers a variety of other food such as shown in the picture above. The food is pretty good and it is a good place for breakfast, if not for the long queue!

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The picture above shows perhaps the most expensive bowl of beef noodles that I have ever eaten. It costs slightly more than USD30 per bowl but the beef is really very tender and melts in the mouth and the soup really tasty. It is worth a try. However, the bowl that I had was not the most expensive one. The most expensive one cost upwards of USD300 per bowl. This place is called 688 Beef Noodles.

Some more food pictures:

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So as you can see above, there are lots of food and for anyone who loves food, especially street food, Taiwan is a wonderful place to travel.

But Taiwan is also a great place with interesting history and also natural surroundings. It was the place where Chiang Kai Shek retreated from a losing civil war with Mao Tse Dong, not to mention the Japanese occupation of the island for more than 40 years and thus imprinted in its history influences of Japanese culture and customs.

Its rich history is manifested in many movies, such as Hou Hsiao Hsien’s A CITY OF SADNESS and Edward Yang’s A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY. Watching these two movies before traveling to Taiwan will perhaps give one a perspective of Taiwan besides the street food and the extremely tall Taipei 101 building.

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Wicked Food

For a long time, Chili’s has stopped serving the “deadly” Chili’s Cheese Fries. So “deadly” but extremely delicious. But eating them once in a while is okay, I guess. So yesterday after checking out Harvey Norman’s exhibition in KLCC, we went to the Chili’s there, which is perpetually packed, and to my surprise, the Cheese Fries is back! Ordered it without a blink. Wow…. slurrrrp…. heavenly.

It will be a nice dish to serve in parties I guess and when my new home is ready and if there is a party, I will try to make this deadly but delicious dish for my guests. It’s not too hard to make. Just deep fry some fries in palm oil so that it is crispy and golden. Then put a, ahem, thick layer of cheddar cheese in between the crispy golden fries. Then put them in the oven so that the cheese will melt into the fries.

Next, get a small portion of minced beef and stir fry them in a normal way. Take the cheese fries from the oven and lay some minced beef and jalapenos on top of it.

You will need some sour cream sauce to dip the fries too. That is easily made with some sour cream, some buttermilk, mayonnaise, minced onion and garlic, some herbs and whatever else you want to put in it to suit your taste.

Now the whole thing is ready. Get a fork, dive into the fries, make sure you get some cheese sticking to it, some minced beef sticking to it, and dip the whole thing into the sour cream sauce and put the whole thing in your mouth.

It is perhaps one of the most heavenly (or hellish, depends on how you look at it) thing mankind can ever put into his/her mouth. Woohoo!

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Tu A Lang and Hot Hot Days

Without fail, every year during the Chinese New Year, the weather is extremely hot. I was back in Ipoh for the Chinese New Year celebrations for a week and had eaten so much, I can hardly walk now. Besides the superb home cooked food by all the aunties and my mom, we had gotten away from Ipoh itself to savour delicious super duper food in Tanjung Tualang (famous for it’s absolutely tasty fresh water prawns), Taiping (super duper mee soup) and Penang (super duper for everything).

“Tanjung Tualang, Perak is a town well known for its fresh water prawns and its seafood offerings. Order sweet and sour crab, teochew steamed cat fish, oyster omelettes, some fried rice and the most irresistible steamed fresh water prawns this side of town! The best of course, is the steamed fresh water prawns that are locally bred in the Tanjung Tualang area. The prawn is steamed and egg white added to the sauce to give it a creamy taste. The flesh tastes very sweet and the prawn has ‘kou’ (Cantonese) at the head of the prawn. ‘Kou’ is that yellowish and greenish stuff on the head of the prawn. Taste a little bitter but good.” source .

The price is very reasonable as well. For 10 of us, it only cost us merely RM290 (about USD77), for a plate of extra large steamed fresh water prawns, a plate of medium sized prawns fried in soysauce, a generous plate of soft shell crab and a few other dishes. Perhaps the good deal was due to the fact that my brother-in-law’s girlfriend’s uncle owned that place.

Most people know Ipoh for it’s white coffee, it’s “Sar Hor Fun” noodle, it’s Beansprout Chicken but I would also like to strongly recommend the fresh prawn dishes in Tanjung Tualang. It is only about 45 minutes away from Ipoh City. Map.


Some of the dishes that have arrived. Steamed big prawns, soft shell crabs and frog legs (we call them “field chicken” in Chinese).

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Trip back to Ipoh

It was sort of a last minute decision to go back to Ipoh to visit my parents and also Kit’s aunties. The reasons are mainly because my dad’s birthday is near, plus Father’s day too, and because Kit has to work in the next few weekends, we decided to go back and wish my dad happy birthday. We also had to deliver some Ogawa massagers to Kit’s aunties, so we are actually killing several birds with one stone.

Ipoh is really a pleasant “city”. The fact that I put the word city in quotation is because I do not really believe Ipoh is a city. It’s really like a big town to me. And what a big town this is! Although it is a rather quiet town and can become quite boring after about one week there, it is really a great place to live once you get past that boredom and found your routine.

For one, the food there is quite good. Next, the traffic is smooth and everything is so near each other. Third, the scenery can be quite nice, and the air quite fresh. And of course, for me, it’s where I grew up and naturally, I had lots of great memories everywhere I go.

Food: I can roughly prepare an itenerary of where to eat when you are in Ipoh. Map to follow once I have them scanned.

Breakfast: you can have dim sum at a few places that is really quite nice. I usually have dim sum at Yoke Fook Mun in Greentown. A lot of people also visit Foh Sun in the town centre but that place can be quite packed.

Lunch: the usual place to go is to old town to have the famous chicken hor fun (kuay teow). The hor fun is very smooth and the broth is simply superb. Besides the chicken hor fun, the kangkung sotong, chee cheong fun, custard and fresh orange juice is also superb.

Tea time: surely the Ipoh white coffee located at old town! This place is not very far away from the hor fun place just now (I will get a map up). The name of the place is Sun Lin Long, a corner shop just at the junction where the 15 storey flat is. You must try the white coffee and the toast. The toasts is so good, so crispy, it almosts melts when you put them in your mouth.

Dinner: surely the Ipoh taugeh chicken. The famous one is Uncle Wong, a corner shop. This place is near the town centre, very nearby the Ipoh police station. The chicken is smooth, the taugeh just superb. You usually eat with hor fun, which again is also very smooth and tasty.

Supper: choice of Woolley located in Ipoh Garden (you can also have dinner there. The curry mee and crab is very good) or if you like “luk-luk” you can eat in the stall in Ipoh Garden as well. The gravy for the luk-luk is superb. I remember going there all the time with friends after giving tuition classes.

That’s about it for a one day eating trip. Oh ya, opposite of Woolley, you will see this one shop selling ice-cream. The name of the shop is Sidewalk. It has been there since my secondary school times and I remember having so much fun there. Meeting girls and dating there. I remember those time, when we were not very rich, the order for a whole watermelon complete with an assortment of ice-cream inside, is a luxury!

As Hemmingway wrote about Paris, in A Moveable Feast, where he spent some time, “But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy”. Whenever I go back to Ipoh and think of all these olden days memories, I will think of this Hemmingway phrase and my heart will feel warmer, and the world is a better place.

Before I leave for today and attend the quarterly Management Committee meeting which can be a really gruelsome event for me, let me quote you this beautiful passage from A Moveable Feast:

“With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the tress and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.”

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