328 Katong Laksa, Singapore

The first time I heard of Katong Laksa, it was from KL People KL Food. At that time, I was kinda amazed at the fact that it has to be eaten without chopsticks (no kidding!). Stories had it that this variant of curry laksa, originated from the Katong area of Singapore but there are a lot of proprietors dishing out the same dish all over Singapore (talking about competition) – it is almost impossible for many people out there to really determine which one is authentic. The coconut milk content in Katong laksa is higher than the usual curry laksa, hence the slightly pale orangey-red curry broth.

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Talking about laksa, there are two main types; the curry laksa and assam laksa. Curry laksa, as you might already know, is a coconut-based curry soup with noodles, while the latter is a sour fish soup with noodles. Commonly used noodles is the lai fun or laksa noodle – a white, rounded thick rice noodle (similar to loh shee fun but longer and less thick in shape), but different types of noodles are used in different places, such as Johor, where spaghetti is used instead of lai fun, where else, rice vermicelli (meehoon) is commonly used for Sarawak laksa.

Ops, I think I digress.

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I finally got the chance to try out Katong laksa with Danny’s help. He was courteous enough to wakes up early on a weekend morning to bring us to have laksa for breakfast. But since Danny is not a typical foodie himself, he don’t really know which one is the authentic. Therefore, he brought us to this place, which is the nearest one to where we were staying – 216 East Coast Road. This is supposingly the newer outlet on the same street.

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Coconut milk definitely is higher in this variant of curry laksa. The noodles (SGD 4 for small, SGD 5 for medium and SGD 6 for large) they used is slightly smaller than the usual lai fun and cut up into shorter strands so that the entire dish can be eaten with a spoon alone (yep, no chopsticks, no fork). Normally served with chopped daun kesum, prawns, cockles, sliced fish cake and bean sprouts, we asked them to omit the seafood (me not a selfish shellfish person).

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As the coconut milk ratio is higher than curry paste, the spiciness has been toned down. People who can’t take spicy stuff will be thrilled with this laksa, but not for those who can’t take food heavily laced with fatty acids. The curry broth was flavourful with spices like lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, chillies and belacan but I would suggest to thread with care as you might get nauseous or bloated if you’re sipping too much of the santan-laden broth. If you want it to be more fiery hot, add in the sambal provided.

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328 Katong Laksa,
No. 216, East Coast Road,
Singapore.

For map, click here.
For more stories, hop over to Pureglutton and VKeong.

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New Zealand On A Plate: Patagonia Chocolate, Queenstown

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Queenstown in the morning

When New Zealand is mentioned, immediately breathtaking landscapes, kiwi fruit, extreme sports like bungy jumping (wheeee!!), sheep, kiwi bird, Les Mills :p and Lord of The Rings will come to mind. Comprised of two main landmasses; the North Island and South Island, New Zealand is a must-visit for all nature-lovers.

After the Christchurch February 2011 quake, we were skeptical to stay and travel around Christchurch. We then decided to rent a car and tour the South Island, from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo (along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin), then further south to Queenstown (and the surrounding area such as Cromwell and Milford Sound), to Franz Josef at the West Coast region (glacier!), up to Picton at the north of South Island, back to the East Coast region to Kaikoura and finally, Christchurch for our flight back. Of all the places we went, Queenstown is one of the places we felt in love with. From food to shopping, scenery to weather, extreme sports to the hospitality of the people there – this charming resort town has so much to offer and yet, so little time to indulge ourselves.

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Queenstown lakefront with The Remarkables mountain range at the background

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Travelling to NZ during autumn proved to be a chilly experience, something that can never be experienced back in Malaysia. But it would turn out to be really cold, with the lowest temperature reached 4 degrees Celcius while we were there, so a cup of hot chocolate would be perfect. Talking about chocolate, how about chocolate for breakfast?

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Opens from 10am – 10pm daily (business hour varies during autumn and winter season, best to check ahead), Patagonia Chocolate appears as one of the top pick for quick eats in the Lonely Planet’s New Zealand guide book. Patagonia offers more than what a foodie could find; home-made chocolates and ice creams, lakefront location and free wi-fi too.

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They have four types of hot chocolate, CK chose the Lavender Chocolate (NZD 5 for small). A faint smell and taste of lavender infused into the hot chocolate soothes the senses at first sip… we kept on sniffing on the aroma! EQ chose the original dark (NZD 6 for big).

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Something more refreshing, Berries Smoothie (NZD 7.50 for small).

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For breakfast, they have 7 choices, ranged from croissant to bread, muesli, salad, yoghurt or combination of them. Chocolate Croissant (NZD 12) came in a set of 3, drizzled with their home-made thick chocolate sauce and serve warm. The croissants were one of the best I’ve tasted so far; buttery, soft and moist and the chocolate sauce complement it very well. EQ and EY shared the Croissant Breakfast (NZD 10), also came in set of 3 with 4 types of spread (butter, peanut butter, cream cheese and blueberry jam).

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We did not try this as we were stuffed but just for your info (if you haven’t know this already) that Hokey Pokey ice cream (vanilla ice cream with crushed sponge toffee) is second best-seller in New Zealand after vanilla.

Patagonia Chocolates
50, Beach Street,
Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.

Tel: +64 3-442 9066
Business Hour: 10am – 10pm daily
(Business hour varies during autumn and winter seasons)
Web: http://www.patagoniachocolates.co.nz/index.php

Yut Kee – 83 Years of Legacy & Going Strong

Yut Kee – a name that most KL folks aware of. In fact, when you Google about Yut Kee, you’ll see tons of food blog links on this icon of Kuala Lumpur, raving about their famous Roti Babi (pork sandwich), Hainanese chicken chop and so on.

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The heart of KL is one place I would stay away especially during peak hour, but on a bright Sunday morning, the usual horrendous traffic jam is no where to be found – much to my delight. Therefore, we finally found our way here to check out one of KL’s remaining Hainanese coffee shops in town. If possible, I would really love to order everything they have on the menu, but alas, the two of us only managed to have 3 items, plus two iced milk coffee. The steamed version of the toast with home-made kaya (coconut jam) was a pretty standard fare but we like the kaya for its thick consistency, egg-y aroma and not too sweet to the palate.

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While waiting for our other orders to arrive, I sweeped my camera around for pictures and then it struck me. This place has an air around it, most possibly similar to those back in Ipoh. The atmosphere filled with noisy chatters of the patrons from all walks of life (multi-generational families!), the old-fashioned tiles, aroma of freshly brewed coffee permeates the air, the round marble-topped dining tables etc. How long was it since my last visit to such nostalgic eatery like this that I used to grew up with?

Although I only been here once, but I was saddened by the news that the 83 years old Yut Kee would only have approximately one year more to continue its business at the current location. The owner of the premise apparently have plans to redevelop the area. It seems like “change” is inevitable in these modern days, where history would have to make way for progress and developments. For those regulars who have been a loyal customers to Yut Kee all these years, it is definitely something hard to accept, especially the ambiance that they have accustomed to for so long. But heck, that doesn’t mean Yut Kee will stop their business. They will relocated to a new premise, possibly to Bodhi Tree restaurant which is also managed by the same Lee family.

Anyway, I digress.

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The Roti Babi (RM 7.50) arrives and my dining companion was not impressed. Egg-coated and fried, the bread was stuffed with shredded pork, crabmeat and onions (some praise lyrical on the additional waxed Chinese sausage but we found none) but taste-wise, I think my dining companion was right. It was a bit bland. We realized it too late that we should have added a few dash of Lea Perrins Worchestershire sauce… by that time, we’ve wallopped everything down. That thought alone warrants another trip, don’t you agree?

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Yut Kee is also famous for their other Hainanese fare, such as the Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM 7.00), which is served drenched in Lea Perrins Worcestershire sauce-infused brown gravy, plenty of onions, mix vegetables, tomato and potato wedges. The chicken fillet was succulent, juicy and the best part, it was the lightly-battered. Very much reminds me of mom’s cooking (especially her fried chicken), where simple marinade would be sufficient to do the trick.

Let’s hope that miracle would happen and Yut Kee would still be seen standing strong on its current location when the time comes.

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Kedai Makanan Yut Kee
35, Jalan Dang Wangi (Campbell Road),
50100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2698 8108
Business hours: 8am to 5pm
Closed on Mondays and the last Sunday of the month.

Need more info? Click HERE for dozens of links!