Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ulat sagu rangup, enak berkrim

Sago worm is the larvae of a bug species called rhynchophorus ferrugineus (read the complete wikipedia article).

According to wikipedia, the larvae can excavate holes in the trunk of palm trees up to a metre long, thereby weakening and eventually killing the host plant. As a result, the larvae is considered a major pest in palm plantations, including the coconut palmdate palm and oil palm. (and Sago palm in Sarawak)

Yesterday I saw a friend post pictures of the much sought after delicacy in Sarawak and that got me salivating for my dose of ulat sagu (sago worm) dish.

The only place which serve this commercially in KL is Restoran Pucuk Ubi.  So today I went there and ordered a pack of sago worms (10 pieces per pack, priced at RM10).  They cooked it with generous amount of Sarawak black pepper.  I also ordered a plate of mashed tapioca leaves as vege, a Bidayuh signature dish, because the midin belacan was not available today.

As you can see, the worm is almost thumb size. Thumbworm?

Click the photo to enlarge.

The texture is almost like deep fried soy tofu soaked in olive oil, the outer layer skin is quite chewy.    The head is dark brown in color, surprisingly crispy.  This blackhead I don't mind eating!  The taste of this particular dish was heavy with Sarawak black pepper.  The amount of coarsely ground black pepper somewhat overwhelmed the flavor of the worm.  Nevertheless, it is a different flavor and taste experience but I can't really describe the taste and aroma of the grub in this dish.  I would prefer my grubs to be cooked in garlic and oyster sauce.  I'll call for that on my next 'grubby 'visit.

Click the photo to enlarge. Yummy...!

The pounded tapioca leaves, stir fried with anchovies and lemongrass.  Pulp fiction...

Err... get me the manager! There's a fucking huge maggot in my rice!  But I'm loving it!

Head down to Pucuk Ubi for your grubs... They don't serve this at Bubba Gump.  This is Bubba Grubs!

Here is the location up Pucuk Ubi on Google map. 
 Address:  No. 2, Jalan Dana 2, Off Jalan Teratai, Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, PJU 6, 47400 Petaling Jaya..

View Larger Map

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tepu, tepus, tuhau

A picture post of stir fried pounded tapioca leaves on facebook made me crave for mum's version.

Mom would either twist and bruise or pound the leaves and stir fry it with wild ginger shoot called tepu in Bidayuh language. The Ibans call it 'tepus', Kelabits call it 'tubu nanung' and the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut of Sabah call it 'tuhau'.

Tepu (Etlingera Coccinea)

It is widely sold in the wet markets or pasar tamu in Sarawak and Sabah.  The outer layer of the skin /sheath protects the fragrant white shoot.  It smells like coriander or bunga kantan and breaks like asparagus.  Every broken shoot results in strands of fiber, much like spider web or mozzarella pulled from oven fresh pizza slices.

Bruised tapioca leaves stir fried with tepu, served with fresh chili.

My mom use tepu in her tapioca leaves dishes apart from wild eggplant or terung pipit.  I could eat rice with just stir fried tapioca leaves. Oh, never forget the hot chili, pounded or fresh.  Tepu is also used in other dishes, soups or stir fries.

This herb is also a prized condiment for Sabahans away from home.  It makes up the most famous vinegar cured 'tuhau', simply called 'tuhau'.  The shoot is chopped, mixed with chili and left to cure in vinegar or lime juice.  It makes for a perfect condiment and goes great with almost anything.  Say 'tuhau' to any Kadazan Dusun / Murut Sabahan and they'll salivate instantly.  I love it too.  Fragrant, hot and sour.  What's not to love!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cornflakes are addictive!

These crispy flat buggers are addictive!

I have a bowl (always dry, without milk, flake by flake) in the morning only to find myself having another one as soon as I realize my mouth stopped munching!

During tea break I would make a bee line to the pantry and pour a bowl of crispy crunchy regular cornflakes. I always end up having another soon after I had nothing to munch.  

What is in these crunchy flakes that gets me popping one flake at a time in my mouth?

Is it the non-stop action that I get to do with my mouth? Is it the corn taste, albeit dry? Is it the vibe I get at every crunchy munch? 

It does shake my brain a little... from feeling sleepy...

What happens when I end up feeling full after trying to stay awake by munching them crunchies? 

Would I feel sleepy and get the urge to munch some more?

Urgh.... I hate how I suddenly love cornflakes! Gotta shake it off quick!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Aubrey's Kolo Mee, Hock Thai Restaurant SS2/103

View Aubrey's Kolo Mee @ Hock Thai Restaurant SS2 in a larger map

If you're ever at SS2 PJ or even in the vicinity like damansara utama, where I work, do drop by Aubrey's stall at Hock Thai Restaurant.

He serves authentic Kolo Mi for die hard fans as well as localized version for the non adventurous palate of Klang Valley residents.

I've been here several times and I must say Aubrey keeps his consistency.  I might not experience the same have I visited a few months back because he's gone through many trials and errors to be where he is now.

He now serves two variations of Kolo Mee, Kuching Authentic and Localized Kolo Mee. It is a result of mixed feedback from his Sarawakian customers and his Local peninsular customers. When you order a kolo mee at Aubrey's, make sure you tell him your preference.  If you're a Sarawakian, open up to a possibility of a localized kolo mee from Aubrey.  Don't keep your hopes high on the localized version staying in the menu though because he plans to slowly convert the locals to authentic kolo mee lovers.

I must admit, the locals don't really like authentic kolo mee because they think it looks too dull, contains too much lard (we say 'Oh Lardy!' to this) and there's no creativity. Ok, that last part, I just made it up.

But my point is this, there's a certain nostalgia and a sense of longing and belonging when it comes to Sarawakians and their kolo mee obsession.  You gotta have the whole package to really appreciate this springy, tasty and lardy noodle.  And don't forget the char siew!

Ok, back to my review, Aubrey's kolo mee uses the original springy and curly noodle, like a true kolo mee would.  It is manufactured locally and delivered daily. A day's supply lasts from 7am till 2pm.  You'll be lucky to catch it at 3pm though.  Now that's a thought for expansion eh Aubrey!  Also, the stalls at Hock Thai restaurant operates for breakfast through lunch.  At night, the restaurant's own kitchen takes over for dinner and supper.

I am impressed with the char siew he serves with the kolo mee.  While some places dish out dry and sometimes flaky char siew slices, Aubrey's char siew stays moist and juicy, in addition to real red char siew sauce.  Apart from the fried shallots and minced meat, there is another crunchy element in the package. But then again, it might just be the shallots.

While enjoying my kolo mee, I noticed that every bite that contains a piece of spring onion adds to the complexity of the savory flavor; yeah it's a mouthful. But it's a new experience in enjoying kolo mee for me.

While you wait for your opportunity to get there, here are pictures of Aubrey's Kolo Mee.


Moist and juicy char siew slices with fried shallots, spring onions and minced meat resting on a bowl of springy kolo mee noodles. Oodles of flavor to savor!

Aubrey mixing a localized kolo mee.  Drop by his facebook profile and check out more pictures of the menu here  http://www.facebook.com/aubrey.wee

Localized kolo mee, with a little bit of gravy and soy sauce.

Big portion in blue, small portion in off-white.

An unmistakable Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011 Promotional Banner, put up by Aubrey in support of Warisan Sarawak. Thanks Aubrey!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Absolut Thai Birthday Treat by Boss

The boss treated me and two other colleagues for my birthday lunch today.  We had Thai food at Absolute Thai in Ikano Power Center. The food was nice albeit a slightly upscale price.
The Spicy Seafood Tom Yum came first.  I ordered the 2pax portion.  It was really spicy.  They added condensed milk to it, which, I think helped tone down the heat a little bit. I quite liked it, though I would prefer the clear broth version.  They also have chicken and beef variation.

What is thai food without the signature green curry chicken.  The taste of this one almost resembled the 'kurma' gravy. The chicken strips could be fresher and juicier; these were a tad dry.  I guess it's all in the way they cut the meat and how long they cook it.

Oh but let me tell you about the Thai style steamed sea bass or siakap. They removed the middle section bone, leaving only the meat, tail and head.  The gravy is loaded with chopped garlic and chili, dressed with coriander leaves and cooked in lime and fish sauce with some sugar to taste. There were four of us but we almost couldn't finish it.  The head was left untouched coz we were too full.

The fire died down just in time without overcooking the fish. That's nice ain't it?

This is the papaya salad.  Very similar to the mango salad in texture and dressing but it lacks the sourness. Some, like me, would prefer mango salad. Oh but the peanuts I always love.

Last came the butter cheese prawn.  We all thought it was an encounter of a different kind.  To me, it taste like one of the kuih raya; biskut nestum karamel.  The accounts exec thought it taste like pop corn, butter-scotchy sweet and salty.  It could use less salt and sugar, a lot less.

My boss went out of his way to get these, Tiramisu and a mini Blueberry Cheese Cake, either one from Dome and Starbucks; I cant remember which box they came out from. The cheese cake was nice, all three layers of it. The Tiramisu was rather dry...

"Happy birthday Agus" he said.

"Thank you" I told the boss. 

We were so full it hurts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kung Fu Bakuteh Taman Connaught Cheras

I had a chance to try a new Bakuteh outlet in Taman Connaught for dinner today.  My Bakuteh meetup schedule with a friend who stays in the vicinity brought us to Kungfu Bakuteh, as shown in the map below. You're probably familiar with Kueh Teow Kung Fu; well, this is not cooked in the same style.

View 28-74 Jalan Cerdas in a larger map

The shop has a simple setting of bare concrete and classic style tables and chairs, echoing a typical Klang bakuteh outlet. It sports bright pendant lights with several kung fu themed ornaments and posters.  

Good, clear menu selection.

Conveniently packaged combos for the hungry diners.

Simple clean setting.  It helps keep the customer turnover at a rapid pace.

A meal for two.  Each bowl of meat costs RM11.  Good for one person.  The huge and hungry might beg to differ.  The vege costs RM8, good for up to 4 person.  Or just good for me.  Every table comes with a bowl of bakuteh broth, all fired up!  The broth is really rich in herbs and spices.  You'll appreciate the slight 'bitterness' aroma.  It lacks the emulsified lard which is a good thing. Some Klang bakuteh broths are a concoction of mainly lard emulsions thus giving the thick and starchy texture.  A loaded bowl of dissolved pork fat should be eaten with cardiovascular caution; coz it's delicious and deadly at the same time. Dead'licious!

Re-light my fire.

He's one happy diner.

The remaining broth accompanying our meat shows little oil spots. The oil drips came from the cuts of meat.

The other meat bowl.

This is the accompanying soup bowl.  Notice the small quantity of oil? Oh, and they refill our bowls with bakuteh broth without being told. Probably because there were only three tables of diners at that seventh hour. People started to come in by 8pm. Whatever it was, I liked the service, and the broth as well !

Even our vegetable plate has more oil.

Before I left, I took a picture of the shop facade.  The Halal logo is not part of the signboard.

It's for the Hailam Kopitiam next door.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Laksa & Kolo Mee in Pandan Indah

There's a stall selling Sarawak Laksa and Kolo Mee at Restaurant 2020, Jalan Pandan Indah 4/1, as indicated in the map below. They open daily from morning till late afternoon.  Not sure about night though.

View 3.130403, 101.752925 in a larger map

The kolo mee is very close to authentic.

The Sarawak Laksa doesn't get justified in this picture, but it does taste as good as the ones in Kuching. The serving size could be larger but I guess that's what you'll get for RM4.50 to RM5.00 in KL.

This is the kolo mee with soy sauce.

This picture was taken in June 2010.  Owner's appearance may vary.

There's not much description for this post except for "This place is worth trying" because the best way to find out is to get there and have a serving or two. I always order one small serving of both laksa and kolo mee at once, and between RM4.50 and RM5.00 a bowl, you'd be forgiven to have seconds.