Thursday, 29 October 2015

Heart Lock Cafe @ Tanjung Malim, Perak

Many would be familiar with Hard Rock Cafe but Heart Lock Cafe? This is a unique restaurant in Tanjung Malim that goes solely by the concept of budget meals. Located in Taman Universiti, having a budget meal concept is ideal as their target segment is solely the university students. Meals range from RM 2.80 to RM 5.99 which comes with a good meal and free flow of drinks. The concept sells well with the student crowd and the restaurant is mostly full house during lunch hours. Later hours are no exception too. Even if one is to come around 4 pm, there is still an encouraging number of customers dining here. 

Hard Lock Cafe Located in Jalan U1/1 of Taman Universiti

They Occupy A Corner Unit

Beautiful Deco With HBO

It Is A Self Service Restaurant

Ashtray's.... Loved The Design
If you know where the 7 Eleven in Taman Universiti is, this restaurant is located right at the end of that row. They occupy a corner unit and the place is wonderfully designed and cosy as well. There are a number of dishes that one can order. They have rice sets, noodles, laksa, Char Kuey Teow, Fried Chicken and western sets as well. Do note that this is a self service restaurant and therefore, one has to go to the counter, order your dishes, pay for them and with that, customers would be given a plastic cup. The reason for this is simply because they go with bottomless drinks and one can choose from the few drinks that they have available on daily rotation basis. Ice cubes are provided too but of course, you would have to get these yourself. Once the dish is ready, they would ring a bell and one would have to go and collect the dish from the counter. It's a hassle free concept to keep costs low. Also, they serve these dishes in plates but with plastic sheets laid on the plate. This is also to save washing costs thereafter and customers are expected to dispose off the plastic paper in the bin provided and leave the food trays at the designated place. Sounds like a hassle but for those coming freshly out of school, it isn't anything much. Even for me, I felt that it wasn't a hassle at all. Coming to think about it, in the United Kingdom, one would have to do the same at all fast food chains including KFC and Mc Donalds. So why not here when eventually we are reaping the benefits of lower costs for a meal. 

A Lemon Drink

Blackcurrant Drink

Orange Squash
The above are some of the drinks that I tried and they were all good. Not like those commonly available diluted ones. The drinks were fixed perfectly and even the sweetness was just nice. These drinks are available on daily rotation as they try to avoid serving the same variety daily. Everyday, there would be three types of these free flow drinks along with drinking water. One can choose to have any one of them or even all of them, no limitations whatsoever. For me, these were really good and I would rate them at 9/10 .

Western Set @ RM 5.99 + Free Flow of Drinks

Western Set @ RM 5.99 + Free Flow of  Drinks

Baked Beans

The above is their Western Set which comes priced at RM 5.99 . Some call this Chicken Chop but it isn't, maybe we could call this Chicken Maryland as they use deep fried chicken and topped with some Black Pepper sauce. On the sides, some fries, baked beans and coleslaw is provided. For the price of RM 5.99 , it is surely worth it as you get a complete meal and not to forget the free flow of drinks. The portion was also decent, not stingy for sure. These were some tender chicken slices, coated in a lovely batter and deep fried to a golden brown colour. The flavours from the batter was bold, the black pepper sauce was mild, nevertheless they complemented each other perfectly. Would have been nasty if both were bold in taste. The sides were also good. It would be unfair to compare this with those 'Western' restaurants in town as they would generally price the same from RM 10.00 onwards. For a budget meal restaurant, this was good and I would rate this at 9/10 .

Kuey Teow Senyum Kerang @ RM 3.99 + Free Flow of Drinks

Kuey Teow Senyum Kerang @ RM 3.99 + Free Flow of Drinks

Comes With Chili Paste
For RM 3.99 plus drinks, this was a fantastic deal. The Char Kuey Teow was the dry style of preparation and it had the Malay style taste to it. The preparation was lovely and it came with generous portions of cockles and bean sprouts. For this price, it is simply unfair to expect shrimps to be there in the dish. Taste was good, in fact beyond good. Delicious I would say. I would also rate this at 9/10 .

Laksa Telur Sarang Hae @ RM 3.99 + Free Flow of Drinks

Laksa Telur Sarang Hae @ RM 3.99 + Free Flow of Drinks

Closer Look At The Laksa Broth
Another set meal that was priced at RM 3.99 with drinks. This is a unique dish. The standard Laksa is beneath the egg but the way the egg is fried is what gives an exceptionally good boost to the dish. The egg goes very well with the broth. Portions were good. But my only complaint would be that it would have been better if there were more fish flakes in the broth. It seemed slightly on the watery side, nevertheless for the price, I surely can't complaint. After all, the place is all about budget meals and as a dish, this was indeed nice. That complain was solely about being better, that's it. Taste wise, I would rate this at 7.5/10 .

Ayam Goreng Abang Janggut @ RM 2.80 per piece

Ayam Goreng Abang Janggut @ RM 2.80 per piece
This was the only exception where drinks were not included. Firstly, this is not a set and you can choose any number of fried chicken pieces that you would like to have. It's their proprietary recipe, one belonging to a Mr. Beardie (Abang Janggut) and each was priced at RM 2. 80 . Not limited to drumsticks, it's just that I prefer drumsticks over the other cuts. Even at this price, I felt that they were quite cheap compared to other fast food outlets and the cuts were reasonable and satisfying. The batter was just lovely and I just enjoyed the chicken without any Chili or Tomato sauces. The meat was tender, juicy and fulfilling. Two of those were good for a meal. One thing that I noticed after my meal was that I did not feel thirsty. That's a healthy indication that none or perhaps very minimal MSG had been used. Taste wise, I would rate this at 9/10. Would definitely prefer this over KFC. 

Overall, a fabulous place with a fantastic concept. Come to think about it, they are doing a service for the students here by serving value for money meals. Cheap, tasty and I just loved the ambiance. I guess I would be becoming a loyal customer here for sure. Definitely a recommended place!

Address: No. 31, Jalan U1/1, Taman Universiti, 35900 Tanjung Malim,
                Perak, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 1000 - 2200 Monday - Saturday
                             Closed on Sunday's

Telephone: +6018 570 7808

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Restoran Leong Kee & Ming @ Hulu Bernam, Selangor

Leong Kee, as it is known to the locals is a famous restaurant that is located in Hulu Bernam, Selangor just after the boundary from Tanjung Malim, Perak. Though it is across the Bernam River, to the locals, this is still considered part of Tanjung Malim though they differ administratively. Previously, they were based right beside the old market in Tanjung Malim and that is where I used to go as a little boy, come to think of it I've been their loyal customers for more than 30 years. Sometime in the early 1990's, they had to move to cater for KTM's double track project and were relocated in a different location just about a 100 meters from the present place. It is only now where they have a physical restaurant and yet the cooking is still done outside like the yesteryears as you could see from the photograph below.

Now They Have A Proper Restaurant

But Many Still Prefer Sitting Outdoors

Ah Leong Busy Cooking

They Use Charcoal Stoves For Cooking As Well As Boiling Water
In recent years, he had changed the name to Leong Kee & Ming to allow his son to become a partner in the business. The reason food is so good here (besides his cooking) is because they are all cooked using charcoal stoves. He only prepares a handful of dishes but these are highly sought after. There have been numerous write ups about this place in a number of Chinese newspapers including online media and his customers go as far as Singapore. His prices have also just been raised minimally over the 30 plus years that I have been eating here but the food quality has been ever consistent. All his dishes are RM 10.00 flat. There are no various portion sizes and this applies to all his dishes, just one standard size. Since I was here with the family today, I would be able to show you most of his key dishes, just a few to number but all extremely good. Do note that on weekends, he gets a lot of outstation crowd and hence I can take a while before getting your meals. So it is best to come here when time isn't a constraint. On weekdays, it doesn't take that long.

Ordering Done And Waiting For The Dishes

Cutlery In Hot Water
We prefer to sit outdoors usually. The service is generally good as he has his family to assist him. They attend to you swiftly but from around 9 pm onwards, the waiting time can be long for the dishes and so it is advisable to come here around 7+ or for supper at around 10+. He used to be open till 3 am those days but now, he keeps it till midnight. He too has aged and needs his time for rest.

Hokkien Char Mee @ RM 10.00

Comes With Lard, Pork, Pork Liver and Cabbage

Extremely Tasty!
This Hokkien Char Mee is the third most famous dish here, also the best Hokkien Char Mee in town! Before I speak more about the dish, I would like to mention that he makes his own noodles and not one that is purchased from those factories. This is a tradition that he had learned from his late mother and now, even his son does it so well. The noodles itself are so soft, creamy and delicious. The preparation comes with generous amount of lard, pork slices, pork liver and some cabbage and together, they are just amazing. I have tried 8 of the top 10 Hokkien Char Mee places in Kuala Lumpur and for me, this tops them all! I would rate this at 10/10 again! Ask any TM person, even those who have left town for decades.... Where is the best Hokkien Mee and they would all unanimously mention Leong Kee. A taste that would forever linger in our mind.

Chili Paste with Belacan
This is another amazing preparation that is found here. He makes them on his own and this is a must have with the Hokkien Char Mee. I could personally finish three servings of this for my portion of Hokkien Char Mee as it is so good. Another item that must not be missed here. I would rate this preparation at 10/10 .

Pepper Mee Hoon Soup @ RM 10.00

Pepper Mee Hoon Soup @ RM 10.00

The Colour Of The Broth Should Easily Indicate The Amount Of Pepper Used

This Pepper Mee Hoon Soup is the second most sought after dish here. This Pepper Soup comes in two choices, with or without noodles. The noodles used is the usual Rice Vermicelli. This soup is filled with cabbage and pork slices and with a whole load of pepper that gets you sweating to all glory the moment you take the first sip. The Pepper he uses is not the common pepper but one that is purchased at those Chinese Medical Halls, and a very pricey one too. An excellent dish! Good also for a cold night and especially when one is having flu. One has got to try this at least once and you'd love it. Guaranteed satisfaction! I would again rate this dish at 10/10 . Even the ones available in Damansara Hokkien Mee or Sentul Ah Yap does not come anywhere close to this. Those are like child's play when compared to this one at Leong Kee.

Moonlight Char Kuey Teow @ RM 10.00

Absolutely Delicious

Creamy And Tasty!

This is by far the most sought after dish here. Usually by around 10 pm, the Kuey Teow is sold out. It comes with a raw egg on the top and has to be mixed thoroughly. Something that you would not be able to find elsewhere except for Kim Lian Kee in Petaling Street. Both of them invented this Moonlight Char Kuey Teow dish at around the same time. An absolutely delicious dish. The dish itself comes with lots of cabbage and pork and once mixed with the egg, gives such a creamy taste. I have seen many people, including those that I have brought, been put off by the sight of the raw egg but once they tasted the dish, they were hooked on to it. Even today, I still have cousins of mine who tried this in their chidhood, keep mentioning about this dish to me and how good it was. And that's like after 20 plus years. This itself should be an indicator as to how good this dish is. Though Kim Lian Kee has the same, I have tasted both and for me, Leong Kee is the winner. That previous does not come anywhere close to this latter preparation. Again I would rate this 10/10 .

Loh Mee @ RM 10.00
Another one of the signature dishes here is the above Loh Mee. It is made to perfection and the vinegar is served separately for you to add to taste. An excellent preparation. The broth itself is so rich and tasty and his noodles..... soft and heavenly. I would rate this dish at 10/10 . 

Some Newspaper Write Ups on Display
Overall, this is an excellent place to visit for dinner or supper. I have introduced this place to many of my friends from Kuala Lumpur and they did make day trips just to try this place out and the feedback have all been very positive. I am yet to meet someone who would say that the food here is bad or only average. One of the fantastic food places in Tanjung Malim that should be a 'Must Visit' for Chinese food fans. Besides the above, his other notable dishes are also his Stir Fried Cabbage and Cantonese Style Fried Noodles (Hor Fun or Yin Yong as some may call, depending on the region). For directions, assuming you are coming using the North South Highway, after the Tanjung Malim exit, keep left and turn in to the very first exit on your left. Keep going straight and you would pass a Tamil School on your left. Shortly ahead, there would be some tractors/ old Range Rover's that are parked on your left (in a large open land). Do slow down here as this restaurant would be visible shortly on your right. Parking is usually taken up near the restaurant and most people would just park by the side of the road, which is quite safe. Alternatively, they are okay with customer's calling them and asking for directions. I have provided the mobile phone number below. Please do call them and they would gladly assist.

Address: Beside Jalan Kilang Papan off Jalan Besar Hulu Bernam,
                35900 Hulu Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 1700 - 0000 Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

Telephone: +6012 518 0165

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

SS15 Famous Cendol Stall @ Subang Jaya, Selangor

This is a place I am sure that many would be aware of. It is perhaps the most famous Cendol stall in the entire Subang Jaya. I have been here many years back and sincerely can't remember how it had tasted, perhaps it wasn't one that was mind blowing. Nevertheless, since we were in the vicinity this evening, I felt like giving the place a try again as it is one that is so famous. 

Claimed To Be The Best Cendol

Non Stop Orders

Prices Are Very Reasonable
This stall is located just by the side of the road along Jalan SS 15/3B. They start at around 11 am and this goes on till about 7 pm daily. When I reached, it was almost 6.30 pm and even then, there was a decent amount of crowd but fortunately, this wasn't the usual crowd that is seen here. The last time I was here, it was around noon and I remember having had to queue for almost 50 minutes. That is the kind of crowd that I am talking about which is commonly seen during noon and post lunch breaks. Fortunately today, it was almost dinner time and the number of people there were quite minimal and we were able to get our orders withing 10 minutes. Prices are kept minimal and that's another factor why you get such a crowd. 

Cendol @ RM 1.80


It's close to 6.50 pm and they are finally getting some rest
The flow here is quite simple. Either you do takeaways or dine in. Well, when I say dine in, there's no proper place to sit and have your Cendol. You either sit by the side of the road or have your Cendol standing. But yes, people are willing to do that as the majority simply love this Cendol. For RM 1.80 , you get quite a decent Cendol. It was surely one that was nice but it would not be the best that I have tried. The one in Tanjung Malim and even Ah Keong's stall in Brickfields is anytime better than this. I would perhaps rate this at 9/10 . 

The Stall Along Jalan SS 15/3B

Right Opposite Hassan's Cafe
This place is located along Jalan SS 15/3B, right opposite Hassan's Cafe. Parking can be a challenge at times but not impossible to find. In summary, a good Cendol that you should try in this part of town. 

Address:  Along Jalan SS 15/3B (Opposite Hassan's Cafe and the Tyre Shop)
                 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 1100 - 1900 Daily

Telephone: +6016 283 1321

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sate Padang @ Tanjung Malim, Perak

I am one who uses the FourSquare application aggressively, mainly to post food tips in places that I have checked in and tried. As such, as I was in Jalan Ketoyong and was trying to check in to a place, I noticed a location that mentioned Sate Padang Stall in Kampung Ketoyong and was taken by surprise. Firstly, I am an Indonesian food fan and being one that had traveled to all nook and corner of Indonesia, I always look out for good Indonesian diners in Malaysia and was truly surprised to find this spot in my very own hometown, Tanjung Malim which I never knew about. Kampung Ketoyong is located at the very end of Jalan Ketoyong, just before it connects to the old trunk road heading to Ipoh and was a mere 3 minutes drive from where I was. Having arrived there, I was shocked to see an Indonesian style push cart situated under a large tree.

Burger Stall and the Sate Padang Stall

A Common Push Cart Found In Indonesia

Located Right In Front Of These Shops
The place was quiet with just a Burger Stall and this Sate Padang push cart located right in front of those shops shown above. Having parked my car, I walked up to this gentleman and struck a conversation with him in Indonesian and yes, he is from Medan and so this means that his preparation style does not use beef to make the rice floor broth but uses chicken instead. He works as a contract worker during the day and come nights, he runs this stall. An elderly gentleman and is truly a hardworking lad. Apparently he has been running this stall for over a year now. I wonder how I had missed this favourite of mine. He lives in Kampung Ketoyong and usually arrives here around 8 pm. Per day, he makes about 500 sticks and they would mostly be sold out by 10.30 pm. And that statement was evident by the crowd that were waiting for their orders this evening. I arrived at 8 pm sharp and there were easily 12 people ahead of me and since he is all by himself, it can take a while for him to prepare. Prices were cheap and they follow the typical Indonesian style; it's always the Sate with some Ketupat added and a combination of three different gravies. Not like the Malaysian Satay. And yes, he uses the real Ketupat and not those Nasi Impit. 

He Also Sells Bakso

Busy Preparing Order By Order

Customer's Patiently Waiting
The minimum order starts at RM 2.00 and this goes to unlimited. I am not sure the number of Sate's one would get for that price but came my turn, I had informed him that I would like to have 10 Chicken Sate's along with the Ketupat set and after having packed them for me, he mentioned that the price was RM 5.00 . That's really cheap! 10 sticks of Chicken Sate plus a full Ketupat. Of course the skewers were smaller than what you get here but once again, let me reiterate that this is Sate Padang and this is exactly how you would get it there. You could also mention how spicy you want the gravy to be. Please note that since this is a push cart, there's no place to sit and have your meal here and they are all solely meant for takeaways.

Packed and Brought Home

Lovely Sate Padang.... Messy As They Should Just Be

Comes With A Mix Of Three Different Gravies


True Minangkabau Cuisine
The Sate's had been wonderfully packed in a banana leaf wrapping and secured with rubber bands to avoid spillage. Unpacked, it was such a lovely sight to look at. Messy, aromatic and the gravies mixed thoroughly.... just the way they should be. Assuming they had not been messy, then it's not authentic for sure. I had asked for extra chilies and he had done just that. For those who do not know, there are three varieties to Sate Padang and they are Sate Padang, Sate Pariamman and Sate Padang Panjang and all three differ in taste and looks. This was the Sate Padang variety. Some people use beef broth as one of the main gravies but as mentioned earlier, this gentleman assured me that he does not and so, it is suitable to even those non beef eaters. And being one who is very familiar with Indonesian cuisine myself, I can easily differentiate if the usual beef plus offal broth had been added. As mentioned earlier, those from Medan would usually use Chicken or Lamb instead of Beef as there are quite a number of Hindus in this North Sumatran Province. The overall dish is spicy by nature. The marination of those chicken cubes as well as the gravies are spicy and that chili paste that I had mentioned is an extra boost for spicy food lovers. The gravy's main characteristic is the thick yellow sauce made from rice flour mixed with chicken, turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander, galangal root, cumin, curry powder and salt. And these ingredients give the gravy a very unique taste. If you love your Satay's to be sweet like the Malaysian one (or the one's found in some other Indonesian provinces), then this would not be suitable for you but if your're in for some super spicy Sate, then this is it. Coming back to this preparation, it was just perfect. The Chicken was perfect, the Ketupat was perfect and so were the gravies. As a package, it was just explosive and reminded me of the many months spent in West Sumatra. I would rate this preparation at 9.5/10 .Highly recommended!

If you love Sate Padang, then this would be a place that I would highly recommend. Good food, very reasonable prices and that gentleman was so soft spoken and nice to all his customers. Loved his attitude!

Address: Kampung Ketoyong, Off Jalan Ketoyong, 35900 Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 2000 - 2230 Daily (Off Days Are Not Certain)