Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Saturday, 12 February 2011

I Miss The Cries Of Kueh! Kueh!

This article in the Sunday Metro section reminded me of the old Kueh man who used to cry out kueh!kueh! in my neighbourhood in Ipoh. Mind you the cries can be heard miles away and once you hear it, you would be on standby as he may just jets by on his old heavy bicycle if you did not notice his approach. This despite the large metal container at the back of the bicycle resembling a large tiffin container. Fortunately his route enables him to make a second approach so if you miss him the first time, you really needed to wait him in front of the gates to make sure you catch him as even though you can hear him miles away, due to some weird science perhaps you do not really hear him when he is nearly on top of you.

If you do manage to stop him however, you would still brace yourself for dissapointment once he opens up the top layer of the containers as your favourite kueh may just be sold out. Mine would be the fried popiah and pulut udang and even though he would sell many varieties of kueh that includes even laksa assam, these two kuehs seems to run out very fast even though one whole tray is dedicated to them. Unfortunately as the article paragraph mentions below, they are now an extinct lot and even though my neighbourhood kueh man was a wiry and fit medium aged man that old time ago, I do not think the age he is now would allow him to continue even if the kueh source he gets his kueh from still exist. Adieu Sir and bye-bye to a tasty era.
“We used to wake up at 4am to start making the kuih (a term derived from the Hokkien dialect referring to bite-sized snacks),” relates Mook Hian Beng, 56, whose father started the business at the site almost 70 years ago.

“At that time, a lot of people got their
kuih from Indian sellers who rode on motorcycles or moved about on foot carrying baskets or trays of the snacks.”........

“(Coming into the new millennium), there were no more Indian traders out and about,” explains Mook who took over the business when he turned 18.

“The ones who used to go around passed away or were very old and no one stepped into their places. At around 2004, things in the shop became very quiet.”

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Serenpiditious Detour

Yesterday evening after an unsuccessful search for ghee "timbang" at the local Little Indias and cancelled sojourn to the National Monument due to rain and I could not make the right turn to the location, we found ourselves at Bangsar Village. This is an upmarket mall that usually I will have no intention of visiting due to horrendous traffic conditions but I heard good things about their supermarket the Village Grocer so I thought what the heck let's make a quick stop.

The Village Grocer lived up to its reputation of stocking hard to find foreign foodstuff that seems to have vanished from the other supermarkets, the caveat being that the prices reflects the strong foreign currency of the country of origins. For example Kraft Thousand Island sauce from Australia costs 16 Ringgit when it used to cost around 9 ringgit before. Nonetheless we loaded up on some of stuff as a one off treat as I don't think I would be making a return trip and some like the 0ne litre Italian extra virgin olive oil came with a premium of a litre of sunflower oil. (You know the cooking oil situation nowadays right ha!ha!ha!) But the most pleasant surprise I have is that Tucker Box has an outlet within the premises, and as I promised I want to highlight that it is alive and kicking still. Too bad I still have a box of their meat pies in the freezer still, otherwise I would have loaded up myself yesterday.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Generous Servings And Pretentious Up Scales

It has been awhile since I have blogged about my food experiences but what occurred over the past few days has compelled me to come out of hibernation. Firstly I just wanted to note down that despite their usually well deserved reputation nowadays of being price gougers, there are still some who adhere to what their forefathers exercised in times of yore. I was reminded of this when my family had breakfast at this mamak stall located at the end of a row of shop houses near my home, who serves a decent piece of roti chanai but with a killer dhall gravy or curry to accompany it. The fact that despite making their own delicious nasi lemak bungkus, they still offer ones made by outsiders to supplement that household’s income is already a plus in my book, the fact that when tallying up my bill that came to 10 ringgit and a bit he rounded up the bill was a pleasant experience. That only happens in rural shops that I have visited, and to find such practices still exist in big old Kuala Lumpur not only here but certain other mamak establishments reaffirms that not all businesses are profiteers.

That day was followed by lunch at KLCC where since rain cancelled our plans to have it at Ozeki , this gave us a chance to try the newly opened Yuzu within Suria KLCC itself. Walking in we saw some familiar faces that I finally blurted out was this part of the Nippon Tei chain, and to our delight it was an upgraded version of the restaurant that had closed down to our disappointment before. But here upgraded means just that, even though the menu is now offering some upscale food they have maintained reasonable pricing for some of the old favourites. The best thing they have introduced the grilled salmon belly they used to have at their Times square outlet, and my daughters was in Ikura heaven as they were generous with this salmon roe delicacy that seems to be disappearing from other Japanese joints. Another plus was that they are able to offer wagyu beef at very reasonable prices where you can get a grilled wagyu bento at only sixty three ringgit, but I stuck with Wagyu beef don as I knew I had to help my daughters’ finish their large unagi bento since they had ikura temaki on the side. And all this for a meal of three bento sets, 1 grilled salmon belly, two temakis and my wagyu don with drinks only came to around 220 ringgit.

So now let’s come to the pretentious bit where after noticing banner advertisements of the opening of a Sekinchan Ikan Bakar outlet near my place and checking the place out which surprisingly was located in the industrial part of the area and quite inaccessible the day before, we had dinner there last night as Sekinchan had a good reputation amongst food bloggers. Nonetheless warning bells started ringing when I saw the same price per 100 grams for all the types of fishes they had and they were charging the crustaceans at per unit basis. This made my scrooge mode kick in and I picked the most expensive fish available though my wife picked Tilapia to be brought back for her parents who stayed back. I can safely say the food is nice enough but when a meal cost me 78 ringgit because you charged me 32 ringgit for the small garoupa and 25 ringgit for the tilapia and 10 ringgit for a crab, I expect a grand meal but it is not to be. Especially when at that price I can get a kilo of the same at the nearby Sungei Besi market as my wife mentioned. Well I must say good luck to the restaurant for trying to charge upscale prices at the boondocks as I for one will not make a return trip and I do not expect others to make the trip too as Bellamy and other Ikan bakar outlets are as easily accessible, because if they think they can do the same as per their other upscale branches I am afraid this time their market research is definitely off the mark.