Thursday, February 24, 2011


When the bowl of Penang Curry Noodles is served, this is how it looks like this:

Thereafter, depending on how much chilli you want to use, this is how it turns out:

Doesn't it look yummy? I like to treat friends to this place, especially if they are from Penang. So far, most of my Penang friends have raving reviews of this guy's authenticity. He also does Penang Lum Mee, Penang Prawn Mee, and supplies Curry Mee Chilli and Penang Cha Kuey Teow Soy Sauce. Let me make the location a mystery. If you are interested, please email me:

If I know you, and happen to be available, I will belanja you; for me, the owner charges RM3 per bowl, but for you, I think it's one Ringgit extra. I have been eating here since more than 10 years ago when Sheila Abdul Rahman, former Editor of Sunday Mail, told me to write about the shop.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Standing out from the rest

Sunday May 18, 2008

Standing out from the rest


Tuck Kee Restaurant’s secret to success? Constantly updating the menu with unusual dishes.

WITH the myriad food choices available to diners, restaurateurs have to constantly come up with new dishes to distinguish their offerings from that of hawker stalls.

“Young people these days do not eat a lot,” said master chef CT Wong, who operates Tuck Kee Restaurant in Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong in Kuala Lumpur. “They eat just for the sake of tasting, and eat just enough to keep from feeling hungry. Therefore, we have to make sure that we have special dishes that the hawkers cannot imitate.”

The sand shark used for Tuck Kee Restaurant’s signature dish.

Wong should know – his restaurant started out as a small hawker stall in Kepong back in 1987. Today, his restaurant is well known for its signature dish, Braised Shark Lips, that’s flavoured by dry scallops and shark fin sauce.

“We have people coming from far away just to try out our signature dish.

Tuck Kee Restaurant owner, CT Wong.

“It tastes like sea cucumber but has a slighter softer texture. The dish is seldom found elsewhere.”

Diners are encouraged to take home the jaw bones of the sand shark used for the dish. “It can be boiled for a soup that’s good for health, with benefits for the backbone,” he said.

Wong also recommends dishes such as Black Pepper Herbal Venison Ribs, Freshwater River Fish Head – which uses the giant river catfish (ikan tapah) – and the Nine-Catty chicken.

The venison ribs are imported from Australia and cooked with a special sauce formulated by Wong.

“The Venison Ribs are slightly spicy, and go well with rice. It’s a popular lunch order,” he said.

The Nine-Catty Chicken gets its name from its weight of nine catties (about 5.4kg)

“We steam the chicken to ensure its flavour is retained before it’s garnished with jelly fish. The dish is best eaten with ginger,” Wong said.

Restaurant manager Goh Kah Kwan said the outlet gets its fish supply from Behrang, Tanjong Malim. He says that fish is a lot tastier when it’s fresh and properly steamed.

Tuck Kee’s signature dish is Braised Shark Lips.

The Freshwater River Fish Head is what Wong and Goh like to recommend to their guests. “Curry fish head is very common these days, but we believe our guests will know how to discern a good freshwater fish once they have tasted the Tuck Kee fish head,” Wong said.

Retiree Yeow Chon Seng and his wife of Taman Wangsa Permai and a young couple from Puchong, Patrick Lim and Jane Tan, were invited to sample the food at Tuck Kee.

Yeow, 76, said he liked the Braised Shark Lips while Lim, 27, and Mrs Yeow, 72, picked the freshwater fish head as their favourite dish. IT consultant Tan, 28, said she enjoyed the taste of the Black Pepper Herbal Venison ribs.

Tuck Kee Restaurant is also famous for its Hong Kong-style dim sum, which is also available to guests sitting in the outlet’s open air section.

Popular order: The Black Pepper Herbal Venison Ribs are cooked in a special sauce formulated by Wong.

On most public holidays and weekends, the whole place is packed from 6am to 2pm.

“We have over 50 different types of dim sum dishes to choose from,” said dim sum chef Teng Tung Fong, while preparing the dim sum dishes for the evening session (6pm through 3am). The most popular orders are for the siu mai, har mai, har kau and yee tan.

If Seremban is famous for its “Yip Chee Mei Big Dumplings”, Wong said Tuck Kee has its own version, “Maluri Big Dumplings”, which are becoming very popular.

Tuck Kee Restaurant is located at 39, Jalan Burung Jentayu, Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong (% 03-62742486 / 62753857). It is open from 11am to 3pm for lunch and from 6pm to 11pm for dinner.

Dim sum is served from 6am to 2pm, and from 6pm to 3am.

Huge on freshwater fish

Sunday November 18, 2007

Huge on freshwater fish

Story and photos by STEPHEN NG

You won’t find obese wild canines at Fatty Tiger, only pesticide-free greens and mouth-watering fish dishes.

Fish to the fore: Chef Keong holding the Ikan Kelah Merah. On the table are (clockwise from top right) Ikan Tengalan, Ikan Patin, Ikan Jelawat and Ikan Temoleh.
WHEN two fishing enthusiasts, Joe Fong and Ben Lee, came together to start their Fatty Tiger Restaurant in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, they came up with an interesting concept of restaurant food.

For a start, it seems a funny thing why they chose to name the restaurant Fatty Tiger when the canine found in the wild is hardly known for being overweight.

But Lee says the concept of their restaurant is based on their love for pesticide-free vegetables, like pucuk paku, and animals, especially the fishes, that are found in the wild.

“The freshwater fish from the rivers are a lot tastier and more nutritious by comparison.

“When we say this to fishing enthusiasts, they will know what we mean, because they know how to appreciate the natural tastes of the fish and the way we prepare the dishes.”

So, with Lee, the environment at Fatty Tiger Restaurant is not that important.

“Our idea is to make this a fisherman’s outing, where our customers can simply enjoy the best of what nature can offer,” he says.

After all, as Lee puts it aptly: “The idea of the restaurant came about when several fishing enthusiasts decided that they would share the best of nature’s gifts from the rivers with other fellow Malaysians.”

The cooking is simple but the dishes served here taste pretty good.

Tucking in: Ben Lee (left) and Joe Fong (right) with a regular client, Calvin Ng, helping themselves to the dishes at Fatty Tiger.
“It is because we want to bring out the natural taste of the freshwater fish and other dishes served here,” explains Fong.

Instead of pork, they serve wild boar meat. And, for poultry, the restaurant only uses kampung chicken, which is usually steamed with herbs. There are also the steamed kampung chicken eggs, prepared using special herbs to give it a special fragrance.

Sixty per cent of the fish served as dishes here are bought from the orang asli community, while another 15% come from other fishing enthusiasts.

Fong used to go fishing very often in the past but since the restaurant started, he goes only once every fortnight.

“Each time we go out in our sampans, it’s for a few days at a stretch,” he says.

Ikan Kerai (steamed)
Their favourite fishing spots include the Kenyir Lake, Temenggong Lake, Pahang River, Rompin River and Perak River. There is a wide selection of over 16 types of fish served here, including Ikan Tapah, Ikan Tengalan, Haruan, Jelawat, Ketutu, Gahak, Temoleh, Kerai, Bujuk, Sebarau, Baung and Patin.

For those who are afraid of fish bones, Fong recommends the Ikan Patin, which has relatively fewer bones.

“It is very suitable for children,” he says.

The famous Patin fish, steamed and served with ginger, goes for only RM45 a kilo.

“Patin fish has a natural sweet taste if served fresh,” says Lee. “It is only when it is no longer fresh that you have to garnish it.”

Ikan Haruan is served with herbs and to prepare the dish, the chef has to remove most of the bones.

Ikan Haruan (cooked with herbs)
For the other types of food, the cooking style is also based on the kampung style.

“There is a number of ways, for example, for us to prepare the dishes with the wild boar meat. We can serve it as curry wild boar ribs cooked kampung style in clay pot, or with spring onions, black pepper and a special sauce known only to the kampung people,” Lee says.

“Then, there is the baby ribs stewed with herbs and ginger. Its taste is natural, and you simply cannot resist it.”

Fatty Tiger Restaurant is located at Lot 12G, Ground Floor (South Walk), CMC Centre, Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught, Cheras. (Tel: 016-202 8572).

It is open daily, except Wednesdays, for lunch (noon-3pm) and dinner (6.30pm-10.30pm).

Seremban's best beef noodles

Sunday December 28, 2008

Seremban’s best beef noodles

Story and photos by STEPHEN NG

Beef noodles are almost synonymous with Seremban. Read on to find out where you can enjoy the best beef noodles in Seremban.

FEW food stalls have survived more than a generation, but after more than 60 years, the Seremban Beef Noodle stall in Seremban is still in operation.

It is a legacy that its founder, Goh Hian Hai hopes to leave behind for his family.

Goh is well known in Seremban for his famous “Ngau Lam Meen” (Beef Noodle). However, he politely declined to be interviewed, citing that he was too busy with stall customers.

Tasty: Beef Soup with radish.

The stall, which the 95-year-old patriarch had begun in the early 40s, has a rich history. It was popular back then, and still is today.

He started operating the beef noodle stall at the old Seremban market before moving it to its current location in the Seremban Central Market.

Today, it is the second and third generation of Gohs who run the stall. However, the elder Goh is often at the stall, greeting his regular clients. He personally checks the food himself to ensure the beef noodles served are up to mark.

Goh’s son-in-law, Chong Nyuk Ling, 60, and his sons, have been running the stall in the Seremban Central Market for almost 30 years. The family bought a shop in Jalan Dr Krishna in 1979, and operated under the name, King’s Restaurant. Like the saying goes, a king cannot be without his queen, so in 2003, the family opened another restaurant in Kemayan Square and named it Queen’s Restaurant.

Chong’s wife, Goh Chee Eng said that ever since her father started the stall, the noodles have been made by the family. “We do not use any preservatives. That’s why our beef noodles taste very different from the rest,” she said.

The man who started the business is 95- year-old patriarch Goh Hian Hai.

“Making the best beef noodle isn’t just about how one cooks the noodles, but my father has a way to make the noodles taste better. It starts right from the noodles, which is why we emphasise so much about making the noodles ourselves.”

The noodles are mixed with a special gravy made from the elder Goh’s recipe, which gives it an inimitable flavour. Just as he made it back then, gravy is today still preservative free.

“The beef comes from selected cuts to ensure that the meat is not too tough or soft,” Chee Eng explained.

“We are also very careful with what we serve. This is the reason why for almost two generations, people continue to enjoy our original recipe. We want to keep it that way.”

Apart from the beef noodles, Chee Eng said that they also serve rice noodles (“lai fun”) and beef soup with radish. “These two dishes are also very popular,” she added.

Finger-licking good

Sunday December 28, 2008

Finger-licking good

Story and photos by STEPHEN NG

The grilled chicken sold by Awang Putra Tamam draws quite a crowd at lunch time.

GRILLED chicken can be found almost anywhere, but what differentiates the 37-year-old Awang Putra Tamam’s stall in Jalan Pantai, Seremban, from the others is his specially concocted sauce.

The recipe is a secret, but the taste of Awang’s secret sauce is known to many who have eaten at his outlet, located just some 500m from the junction between Jalan Ampangan and Jalan Pantai.

Since he moved to this new stall last March, many of his loyal customers have followed him from his old outlet in Rembau – a testimony of how much they love his grilled chicken.

According to Awang, he has been operating his business stall named Ayam Panggang Kenyalang for about six years. The word “Kenyalang” comes from “Bumi Kenyalang”, the colloquial name for Sarawak.

Crowd puller: Awang’s honey chicken is accompanied by a soup and a secret-recipe sauce.

Instead of using the oven, or roasting the chicken over a gas stove, Awang first marinates the chicken whole with honey before slowly grilling over a charcoal fire for 45 minutes.

This, enthused Awang, gives it a beautiful golden texture. “We only use young chickens that are below 3kg,” he said. “The meat of younger birds is usually sweeter.”

Hailing from Miri, Sarawak, the father of three children manages to sell between 40 to 50 birds a day. Prior to the petrol price hike, he used to sell 80 to 100 birds every day.

“Like many other businesses, we have also experienced a slowdown,” he said, but this does not discourage him from pursuing his dream of setting up at least two outlets in Kuala Lumpur by the end of next year.

In the past, his grilled chicken were a big seller in several night markets in Rembau, Seremban Jaya and Seremban Two. “Currently, we also supply our sauce to an outlet in Batu 4, Port Dickson, which sells chicken rice,” added Awang.

“I believe there will be a lot of interest in our grilled chicken in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

Awang’s chicken soup is prepared using black pepper, ginger, onions and some shredded chicken. “We serve the soup together with chicken rice. Many people like the soup because of the way it is prepared,” he said.

His wife, Nurul Shakinah Abdullah, has been the backbone behind the success of his business.

Since he decided to start his own business, after having worked in Peninsular Malaysia since the early 90s, Nurul Shakinah has been helping out in the stall. “My wife is an inspiration to me,” admitted Awang.

Awang sells whole chicken at RM16, while half a chicken is RM8 and a quarter is RM4. If served with chicken rice, it is RM4, but for a quarter of chicken and the rice, it is RM5.50. The bulk of the crowd turns up during lunch time.

Some of his customers even bring back food to office for lunch. Awang said he also caters the chicken for functions.

The stall is open from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.

To get to the stall from Seremban, drive past Ocean shopping centre along Jalan Ampangan. Turn into Jalan Pantai. Contact Awang at 017-2135549 or 012-2848086 for directions.

Famed Siew Pow

Unfortunately, these days, we have stopped buying the siew pow because we find the quality has dropped.

Sunday November 2, 2008

Famed siew pow


Popular and tasty, the Seremban Siew Pow has very humble roots.

The fame of the Seremban Siew Pow can be traced to one humble woman, the late Loke Mei Ying, who made a living from making and selling baked Chinese dumplings (or “siew pows”) at the old Singapore Street in Seremban back in the early 70s.

Fresh from the oven: Seremban Siew Pau that are ready to be served.

What she has left behind is a whole empire for her son, Teh Siew Kee and the famed Siew Pows which have become the pride of Seremban folk, who buy them to give away to relatives and friends whenever they travel interstate.

When a fire broke out in 1999, Loke thought she had lost everything but if she had lived to this day, Loke would have been amazed to see that her little business has grown to be so popular. Her siew pow has not only become a household name for people in Seremban, but it is well-known all over the country.

In fact, since taking over the business, Teh has added more items to the Siew Pow “empire”.

They now have within their range of food and souvenir items things that are only unique to Seremban, with the hope of boosting the local tourism.

The landmark building beside the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Highway near the Seremban/ Labu Toll plaza is named “Empayar Seremban Siew Pow.” Teh’s vision is to attract tourists to Seremban.

“Every day, we see thousands of people driving past us, and if Malacca alone had attracted some seven million tourists last year, we should be doing just as well,” he said, hoping that more could be done to attract tourists to the state of Negeri Sembilan.

Like a conqueror, Teh is now looking into expanding the Seremban Siew Pow Empire beyond the borders of Malaysia. “It is already very famous in Singapore,” he said.

“Every month, we have over a hundred tourist buses visiting our complex, including those from across the causeway. If Macau can be famous for its green bean biscuits, we have made a name with our Seremban Siew Pow.”

Bringing his entrepreneurial spirit into the business, Teh said it wasn’t enough just selling the siew pow in the Seremban market.

“We started distributing our siew pows to hawker stalls,” he said. “The business picked up and by then, we had appointed an agent to distribute our siew pows.”

When they first thought of expanding the siew pow business to the Klang Valley, it was initially not well-received.

“After many attempts to look for a suitable outlet, we finally found one hawker stall in SS2, Petaling Jaya, who was willing to give us some space to sell our siew pow. That was back in 1990,” he said. “We were only able to sell about one hundred siew pows in a month. It wasn’t even enough to cover our overheads. But over time, with some perseverance, we were able to see the results.”

Soon, orders were coming in. “We continued to increase the number of outlets in the Klang Valley, and today, our Seremban Siew Pows are available in all states, except Kelantan, Terengganu and Sarawak,” he said.

Apart from the original chicken and pork siew pows, Teh has introduced curry chicken siew pow and vegetarian siew pow.

“We realised that there is a market for vegetarian siew pow,” he said.

> Seremban Siew Pow is located at LG1-57, Tingkat Bawah Tanah, Pasar Besar TBK 4, Taman Bukit Kepayang, 70200 Seremban. Tel: 06-601 6308/9. Website:

Home made ice cream

Sunday November 30, 2008

Home made ice cream


The best ice cream and ice kacang in Bentong can be found at the Kow Po Coffee Shop.

TAN Kow Po is a legend in Bentong. Mention his name and people in Bentong would immediately point you to Kow Po Coffee Shop. The 74-year-old man, fondly known as “Bentong Uncle Ice-Cream”, has one of the best ice-creams and ice kacang in town.

Ice legend: Tan Kow Po

The locals are so proud of their ice-cream shop, that visitors to Bentong – whether they are from Singapore, Japan, the United States or Australia – would be invited to try out Tan’s home-made ice-cream.

The simple coffee shop, located just opposite the Bentong Bus Station and beside Hong Leong Bank is usually packed with adults, who still enjoy the ice cream and ice kacang served there.

Chong Li Lian, 28, from Kuala Lumpur, is a regular customer. “Every time I come here to visit my relatives, I cannot resist the ice-cream and the ice kacang,” she said. “Nowhere else can I find ice cream that tastes as good.”

It is no wonder that people like Chong will not return home until she has had her regular bowl of Special Kow Po Ice Kacang.

“Just this morning, some 80 cyclists from Kuala Lumpur were here at our coffee shop,” said Tan.

“Many people like our ice-cream and ice kacang, and have asked us to sell it elsewhere, but we do not have any plans to do so at the moment.”

Jumbo X-tra: Kow Po’s signature dessert with ice-cream of five different flavours.

Tan, a true blue Teow Chew man, who inherited the ice cream business from his father, is now passing it on to his two sons, Jeff Tan, 48 and Michael Tan, 40. Tan’s daughter-in-law, Helen Ng also helps out with the business, whenever there are too many customers to cope with.

Tan’s father, the late Tan Soon Chuan, moved to Bentong from Alor Setar, where he started selling his special home-made ice cream in 1956. “Business was good. Later, I joined the business. I have been in this business for 34 years,” he said.

With his ice-cream being truly concentrated and rich in flavours, it is no wonder that his business is so good and the name “Kow Po” has become almost a household name for ice cream that is only available in his shop.

Cool comfort: Ice cream served by one of Kow Po’s employees

“Nowhere else can you find ‘Kow Po’ ice cream or ice kacang, or anything similar,” he said. “We want to keep it that way.”

Their signature dessert is the ABC Ice Kacang Kow Po Special, priced at RM3 a bowl. In fact, with the exception of the Jumbo X-tra, which sells at RM10, most of the deserts sold here are priced at RM3 a bowl.

“Our customers know what to order,” he said. “Sometimes, before we even show them the menu, they have already given us their orders.”

Putting it together: The younger Michael Tan Chee Onn preparing the ice kacang for guests.

For the Jumbo X-tra, customer can choose from a variety of flavours, such as durian, pandan, chocolate, banana and peanut, to name a few.

Their Cendul Kow Po Special, also priced RM3, has red beans, ice cream, cendul and attap seeds.

Kow Po Coffee Shop (09-222 1258 / 016-931 0391) is located at No.2 Bentong Heights, 28700 Bentong, Pahang. The shop is open from 10am to 7pm every day, except Mondays.