A trip out to the country ... almost
SEPT 12 – I went on a food trip recently to Serdang in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. A contractor friend who lives there was going to show us around.
It’s a popular belief that contractors know the best places to eat, so I was in good company. Imagine spending half a day in Serdang, first having breakfast, then going to the morning market and having lunch after that.
We were led to Restoran Chow Panmee in Taman Serdang Utama, a corner shophouse in a residential estate. It’s a family-run coffeeshop devoted entirely to pan mee, the Chinese version of hand-made pasta.
But, first, a couple of packets of roast pork our contractor friend had bought from the market earlier. Everyone dug in and in no time the roast pork was gone. I liked it very much for its crispy skin, lean enough meat balanced with thin layers of fat, with a mere hint of five spices.
We also had a bowl of fried fu pei with fish paste. These were a bit cold and chewy.
But we were served some really good coffee to perk us up while waiting for the pan mee. You could have these noodles in any style, including fried with cockles like char kwayteow.
Some of us asked for the usual; others the pan mee special which comes with char siu, char yoke (deepfried pork) and prawn wantan. You could also have the torn pieces of flat dough in soup as well. Just name the shape and thickness of noodle you want.
The soup was light, not oily and was excellent with the dip of fried dried chilli paste. The plain pan mee is RM3.30, the special RM5 to RM5.50.
The early morning tummy rumbles gone, we headed for the market. We walked down a long line of stalls selling everything from clothes, shoes, toys, costume jewellery and watches to cooked food, fruits and vegetables. I picked up some cheap watches for children, and a bag of sweet dokong at half the price I would have to pay at my Taman Tun market.
This Serdang market is a labyrinth of criss-crossing lanes. We came to a part where they sold fresh, dressed chickens and ducks, and pork. Everything seemed to be cheaper than where we came from, and they were of good quality too. We even located the obviously popular roast pork stall.
After cooling off with drinks at yet another coffeeshop near the market, we headed for lunch at Restoran Fook Hin Bak Kut Teh. It’s a large restaurant where the locals come whether for a casual meal or a celebratory one, as for birthdays and weddings. Seafood seems to be a main feature here, with tanks containing live fish, prawns, shellfish and crabs.
Serdang is known for a hot sour soup that is cooked with lots of shredded ginger, garlic and cili padi. To this is added frog’s legs, or chicken. We were told this soup would flush the toxins out of your system and get rid of pimples (if you are still at that troublesome age). We had this lightly tart soup with frog’s legs, which drew sweet flavours from this smooth, succulent meat.
I liked the warming effect of the soup which had hardly any oil in it. I think the sourness came from some vinegar added to it.
The Yuen Tai or Braised Pork Trotter with Chicken Feet was scrumptious. The meat with the skin was creamy in its tenderness, soaking in the dark sauce scented with star anise. It was unusual to find chicken feet braised with the trotter, and these melted at the bite.
Braised Tofu with Broccoli had large cubes of deepfried, soft and eggy beancurd coated with a sauce flavoured with dried scallops and a little chili. This was exceptional in its taste and texture.
The vegetable dish was the Sei Tai Teen Wong, of four-angled beans, eggplant and long beans fried with sambal belacan.
The whole lunch cost just RM200 for the 10 of us.
Practically the whole menu of the restaurant is written in Chinese, on white panels on the wall. I had some of these translated for me: Salted Chicken, Deepfried Red Tilapia with Ginger Sauce, Butter Prawns, Salt Baked Prawns, Sweet and Sour Crabs, Crabs with Butter Sauce, and so on. They were mainly about the many different ways of cooking prawns, fish, crabs and chicken.
Restoran Chow Panmee is at No. 5, 14/2 Taman Serdang Utama, Seri Kembangan, Tel: 013-232 3230. Restoran Fook Hin Bak Kut Teh is at 15 Jalan Aman, Seri Kembangan, 43300 Selangor. Call Yap 019-211 7718, 019-649 7070, 012-382 3338.
GPS: N03 01.530 E101 41.953
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