Chill out in the lovely highlands around Bentong, Pahang, and tuck into the delicious local fare when you’re in town.
Sunday November 25, 2007
Just 40 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, this popular resort, which used to be known as Bukit Tinggi, encompasses about 7,000ha of rugged hills and mountains still covered by lush tropical rainforests. Standing at about 1,000m above sea level, it is also home to various cultures put together in the form of the French Colmar Tropicale, the Japanese Village and the Chateau Spa Resort. Naturally, the resort has a golf course for enthusiasts.
Located about 10 minutes from Bentong town, the hot springs were formed from some volcanic activities millions of years ago. The mineral in the water is said to be good for health. Accessible via the old Bentong-Kuala Lumpur road, it is a great place to relax, and enjoy its lush unspoilt greenery and the lovely mountainous view.
This is one of the biggest international crowd-pullers of the nation, not only because it is known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia – being the only legal land-based casino in the country – but also because it has one of the best theme parks in the region. It is also home to a 100-million-year-old forest.
One of the resorts closest to Kuala Lumpur, Selesa Hillhomes is frequently turned into a training venue of many government agencies and corporations. It is ideal for those who want peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life.
Named after a Scottish pioneer, James Fraser, who set up a tin-ore trading post in the 1890s, Fraser’s Hill is one of the prettiest highland getaways of Malaysian hill resorts. It is located some 1,500m above sea level on the Titiwangsa mountain range of Peninsular Malaysia and consists of seven hills.
A great spot for picnics, Chamang Waterfalls, also known as Lover’s Fall, is only minutes away from Bentong’s Jalan Loke Yew. It is often crowded on weekends and during public holidays with people heading there for a refreshing change in the cool spring water.
Bunga Buah Mountain
At 1,500m above sea level, Bunga Buah mountain is a training ground for most hikers. Nonetheless, it offers a great view and it is truly beautiful during the months when the forest trees are flowering or sprouting new shoots in many hues of red and yellow. Its parking area is less than five minutes’ drive from the Genting Check Point/ Police Station, heading up to Genting Highlands.
Home to several VIPs in the country, Janda Baik is a beautiful hilly area near Bentong. There are some homes open to homestay visitors. Check out the Wildlife Fauna Breeding and Research Centre which has many species of wildlife, especially beautiful birds.
If it is not for the sights, then only food can drag KL-ites on an hour-long drive to savour delicious and satisfying fare in Bentong. Here, Jalan Chui Yin is thoroughly popular for its Wan Tan Mee. For ice kacang, head for the famous one sold at one of the stalls in Jalan Loke Yew. Names of the foodstalls are not important, as the locals will direct you to the best. Don’t forget to have a taste of the famous Bentong tau foo products as they are made with the crystal clear spring water and taste out of this world.
Raub Fish Head Curry
Originating in the nearby town of Raub, the one here is even more popular due to its proximity to Kuala Lumpur. If you arrive early enough at the shop in Jalan Loke Yew, then go for its excellent breakfast fare such as the coconut appam, puttu, and puri. For tea, there is its famous samosa, and the yoghurt vadai is a must with its top of the list Dancing Tea! For lunch, besides the fish head curry, the fried chicken and chicken varuval or dry masala chicken are highly recommended.
Take the road that leads to Kuantan and after the Lentang toll at the Karak Highway, look for the two turn-offs to Bentong. Take either one and it will lead you to the town.
Buses are available almost hourly from Kuala Lumpur at the Jalan Pekeliling bus station in front of Vistana Hotel.
I have tasted this at three restaurants in Taman Johor Jaya and it’s really great! Full with omega oil immersed in ginger spice, this will appeals to fish lovers.
read this article, which I extracted from the sunday star (25/11).
Steamed fish head seems to be the delicacy to dig in to at Fortune Maker in Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur.
AROUND Jalan Kelang Lama in Kuala Lumpur, there seems to be an emerging trend where steamed fish heads are concerned. According to some, there is popular demand for the part of a fish which was once reserved as cat food.
Fortune Maker, a coffee shop in Jalan Kuchai Lama, is one of those places that have jumped on the fish head bandwagon.
Run by Patrick Lew, 46, and his wife, Chong Siew Ling, 38, the shop serves steamed Soong fish head in two varieties – steamed with shredded ginger and glutinous rice wine and the other, in a spicy soy bean sauce.
And it was while my family and I were waiting to sample the steamed fish heads, that Patrick and Siew Ling would educate me on the all things concerning eating and cooking the dish.
Of all the varieties of fish, why settle only on the Soong species?
“The Soong fish head is popular for its smooth flesh and many have commented that it does not have the sandy taste which is common in other types of freshwater fish.
“Besides, we want to specialise, not have a variety of other types of fish head which may be confusing for the customer,” offers Patrick.
And, ironically, the one thing that would spell disaster for a dish of steamed fish head is the presence of a fishy whiff.
Because of this, great pain is taken to get rid of it as Siew Ling, who is in charge of the cooking, demonstrates.
First, the fish head is immersed in a bucket of rice water with wedges of lemon to wash off the fishy smell before it goes into a steamer.
A timer monitors the steaming duration. Five minutes on the dot, the fish head is removed and the juices drained out.
This, says Siew Ling, is where the strongest of the fishy smell is eliminated. It is only after the fish head has been drained of this liquid that the ingredients, like rice wine or sauces are added in before it is topped with shredded ginger or chillies.
This ensures that the absorption of flavours will not be hindered by a fishy taste which is a big turn-off for diners. It is then steamed for precisely another five minutes.
According to Siew Ling, timing is crucial at this stage. Take a fish head out too early and it will be undercooked.
Wait too long and it will be overdone, rendering the smooth flesh rough and as unpalatable as cardboard.
Overcooking also dries up the jelly-like contents of the fish head. According to Patrick, this is the most delicious part of the fish head which is also rich in Omega 3 oils.
“Sometimes, I see customers leaving this part uneaten and it is such a great pity to see the best part of the fish going to waste,” he says.
One should first pick off the skin from the lip area where it is plumpest.
While the flesh, which should be dipped into the accompanying sauces before it is popped into the mouth, is something to look forward to, one mustn’t miss the eye.
The soft tissue surrounding it holds a rather flavourful liquid within, which is a delight to the palate.
And once all the flesh has been stripped and the fish head devoid of its skin, it is time to reach for the most rewarding part, the fish brain.
This requires a bit of work and strong teeth, deft fingers and dogged determination is required for the task.
While making small talk with Patrick, I found out that behind the fish head business also lies an interesting love story.
According to Patrick, he was a regular customer at Siew Ling’s pork noodle stall at a hawker centre in Cheras.
Not only was Patrick wowed by her delicious noodles, he also fell for Siew Ling at the same time.
Married for 13 years with two children, the couple opened Fortune Maker (which translates to God of Prosperity in Chinese) two years ago. The shop also serves pork noodles.
Fortune Maker is closed on Mondays. It is located at 8G, Jalan 2/114, Kuchai Business Centre, Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur (016-666 5886 / 016-233 8386).
Perhaps one of the best places to dine in Jb is Yew’s cafe. Affordable, pleasant and relaxing, it has three outlets in JB like Taman Molek, Taman Perling and around JB town centre. They offered a mixed of western and oriental food which includes japanese sushis. The best things I like about this place are their freshly brewed coffee (below), good services and relaxing jazz music.
I usually patronised the Taman Molek outlet for their breakfast which served until 11.30am. There’s a few breakfasts set to choose from, and I usually go for their Yew’s Breakfast set which consists of sausages, scrambled eggs, vegetables salad, beans, toasts, ham and not forgetting their coffee, which is one of the best that I’ve ever tried.
It’s really a heavy breakfast set and you may opt to go for a light lunch after this. And, what a good sat or sun to begin with, by having a great breakfast!
I was in City Square, JB, last saturday and was feeling hungry around 2pm. :p Seeing that there’s not many varieties of makan places there except Seasons, MCDonalds, Kenny Rogers….etc, I decided to go to the far edge of 2nd floor where there’s a food corner. I checked out Olive and Fig, which I believe it should be newly opened as I never seen this place before.
As the place sounds italian, I had chicken mushroom pasta cooked in healthy olive oil while my wife went for the vegetarian brocolli pasta, also cooked in olive oil. hmm…..the presentation looks good and yummy…
However, though it looks good, the food is so-so only. Anyway, nice quiet corner on a saturday afternoon.
Sunday November 18, 2007
You won’t find obese wild canines at Fatty Tiger, only pesticide-free greens and mouth-watering fish dishes.
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.
“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.
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.
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).