Saigon Stories – Cho Ben Thanh

Dec 2, 12 at 6:13 pm

Chợ Bến Thành, or popularly known as Ben Thanh Market to tourists, was our first stop when we got into Ho Chi Minh city. It is a mere 10 minutes walk from where we stayed (Hoang Hai Long Hotel).

The market developed from informal markets created by early 17th century street vendors gathering together near the Saigon River. The market was formally established by the French colonial powers after taking over the Gia Định citadel in 1859 (see Citadel of Saigon). This market was destroyed by fire in 1870 and rebuilt to become Saigon’s largest market. In 1912 the market was moved to a new building and called the New Bến Thành Market to distinguish over its predecessor. The building was renovated in 1985. – Wikipedia

Ben Thanh Market
View of Ben Thanh market from side

Prawns Frenzy @ Lung Seng Seafood Restaurant, Tanjung Tualang

Feb 19, 12 at 10:54 pm

Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this day to come for a very long time. When opportunity struck, there is just an answer and YES, let’s go and have some prawns~! No place is more famous with its freshwater prawns other than Tanjung Tualang, and this tiny, quaint town is located almost 30km away from Batu Gajah and a further 45km away from Ipoh. If you are coming from Ipoh, do not forget to drop by the one and only tin dredge in Perak.

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Now, coming back to the food, we were in dilemma whether to eat at Luen Fong or Lung Seng or Sun Mee Fong. The latter is recommended by Axian, a TV food expert but one of us had bad experience with Luen Fong, so we ultimately decided to go with Lung Seng. And don’t fret because all the shops are located near to each other. If you can’t decide, just follow your heart. After all, when it comes to prawn, we are all in unity right?

It was about 3:30pm when we arrived from Sitiawan, and immediately we summoned the captain and placed the order.

Restoran Hong Xing Dim Sum @ Bercham, Ipoh

Feb 12, 12 at 11:17 pm

No one can argue that Ipoh is definitely a dim sum haven. Come to our famous dim sum street on weekend and I wish good luck in finding a table. For locals, we go for lesser known ones but still good enough to satiate our tastebuds.

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Lou Sang Continues @ New Formosa Restaurant, SS2

Feb 4, 12 at 12:12 pm

Today is the thirteenth day of the CNY, also marks the start of the water dragon year. We are now in the second month of the year. Time passes real fast, hope everything will be smooth sailing too. 🙂

The festive mood continued with another dinner on a fine evening, this time at New Formosa Restaurant located at PJ SS2. Having read so many positive reviews and with the fact that the restaurant has been in operation for more than 30 years, I was rather upbeat with the decision of dining at this restaurant, but somehow ended up with slight disappointment.

Since there were only five of us, we couldn’t order the CNY set menu but some CNY dishes can be ordered as ala-carte.

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My third toss of the year, and the first dish of the night was the salmon yee sang. To be frank, I prefer Ben Tdi Wei’s version very much. It tasted quite sourish to me and the salmons were not that fresh.

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We ordered four main dishes and the first to be served was this signature deep-fried chicken with sesame seeds Taiwanese style. Crunchy because of thick batter, however it overpowered the fragrance of the sesame seeds.

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Next on the table was Formosa healthy vegetarian bean curd which consists of braised loofah (勝瓜), golden mushroom, seaweed sprouts and bean curd skin. It was too salty for my liking and we could hardly finish it.

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Our third dish was ordinary stir-fried vegetable consists of snow peas, pumpkin, lotus root and asparagus.

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We also ordered a steamed tilapia with sweet and sour sauce Taiwanese style. Accompanying the fish dish was a loaf of deep-fried mantou (bread). The fish was not fresh, however the mantou deserved a praise here. One thing I don’t understand, the sweet and sour sauce doesn’t really complement the bread at all.

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For the desserts, we had muachi Taiwanese style. This is the first time I tasted a salty version of muachi. I even had to ask the waitress to confirm that they served the right thing. Apart from it being salty, I really liked it for being soft and it kinda melts in your mouth. Awesome.

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Sweet yam in honey sauce Taiwanese style is also quite an interesting dessert. Yams coated with caramel, honey and sesame seeds are dipped into icy cold water to harden the caramel and thus making them look like candy. The yam was still warm and has the right sweetness.

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The same cannot be said for pumpkin yam ginkgo pudding. Served warm, the mashed yam did not really click well the pumpkin paste and I can’t even describe the taste after mixing both.

For an establishment that has been in operation for 30 years, it is kind of unfair for me to judge because it is also my first visit to the restaurant. It could be the taste of Taiwanese food that I found rather unsuitable for my liking. I might still pay a visit again to sample their signature hot stone steamboat which received raved reviews but then of course, with lower expectations. 🙂

Reservation is a-must as the restaurant is quite small and usually jam-packed even on weekdays. Some signature dishes need to be ordered in advance too.

New Formosa Restaurant (新寶島餐廳)
46, Jalan SS2/24,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 7875 1894
Mobile: +6019 335 3274 (Jeanie Lee)

Life’s Simple Pleasure @ Kedai Kopi Keng Nam

Jan 27, 12 at 11:03 am

Unpretentious and still going strong after more than 20 years in operation, Keng Nam Coffee Shop is the perennial favourite of local people of Ipoh. It used to be our favourite place for breakfast on weekend but given that we had to jostle for a table among the notorious crowd, we just had to let go our hope.

Why life’s simple pleasure you may ask? Well, the answer is the goody good kaya glutinous rice. A definite order every single visit unless sold out. There is a curry version which is also good unless you are not a fan of glutinous rice.

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Another old school favourite of mine is the dry curry noodles. It doesn’t taste as good as it used to be, but I just can’t help eating simply because I’m their regular patron for the past 20 years.

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Kedai Kopi Keng Nam
127, Jalan Raja Ekram,
30300 Ipoh.
Opens for breakfast til late morning.

A Healthy Affair @ Soup Restaurant

Jan 3, 12 at 12:15 am

Singapore food chain is fast making its name here in Malaysia. As the newly renovated old wing of 1 Utama Shopping Centre is coming to completion, more new shops are opening, such as this restaurant. As the name suggests, Soup Restaurant (三盅两件) looks like your typical Chinese restaurant that serves nutritious and overly-priced soups just like Tangshifu. I beg to differ though, and I think it’s worth a mention here.

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Classy yet serene, the interior is adorned with nature elements. It gives you a feeling that you are dining in the bamboo forest. What about the food?

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Soup Restaurant prides itself with Samsui Ginger Chicken (三水姜茸鸡). The chicken was smooth and bone-free, and served with ginger sauce. Adding extra oomph to the meal was the crunchy lettuce which you used to wrap the chicken dipped with ginger. Great stuff.

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We also ordered Steamed “San Yu” Fish Slices (清蒸生鱼片). It tasted normal and a bit bland, but it could be due to the strong ginger taste from the chicken. Nevertheless, still a healthy choice considering the restaurant emphasizes on MSG-free food. Great for health freaks.

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Hometown Tofu was sold out that time, hence we settled for another choice of tofu, which was Beggar’s Bowl Tofu. (Note: I couldn’t recall the exact name of the dish. Will correct it the next time I pass by) The gravy was sweet and lovely, definitely a perfect companion for white rice. 🙂

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Not to be missed from menu was Ah Kon Fan Shu Leaves (呵公番薯叶), sweet potato leaves stir-fried with sambal chili. There’s a mild version which is called Ah Por Fan Shu Leaves. Talk about yin and yang.

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A complete meal should end with a hearty, hot-piping soup. We ordered soup of the day, which was Wintermelon with Pork Ribs Soup (冬瓜排骨汤). It was very sweet and full of flavour.

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There are many other dishes which we have yet to try, perhaps a second visit soon?

Soup Restaurant (三盅两件)
G210A, Ground Floor,
One Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing)
Tel: 03-77272788