Monday, December 27, 2010

Pan Mee @ JoJo's Little Kitchen, Subang Jaya

The hunt for good and cheap food is a never ending quest for us Malaysians and sometimes our hunt can proof to be a daunting process due to the numerous restaurants we have. We Malaysians are definitely spoiled for choices when it comes to food. Luckily you have us to inform you on what's good and what's toxic sludge . Today's blog entry is thanks to our first follower of our blog! Thanks Joyce for your support and contribution for this week's entry. If you also like to have your favorite restaurant or food featured on our blog, drop us a line at foodhuntz[at]gmx[dot]com. Now, onwards with the review!

We were introduced to another player in the Pan Mee business and who would have thought that it is also located in Subang Jaya. No, I am not referring to Face to Face but to JoJo's Little Kitchen (lets call them JoJo's for short) located a few shops down from Face to Face. Now, since their main noodle dish is Pan Mee, I will be comparing JoJo's with Super Kitchen in terms of environment, service, food and price.

Like Super Kitchen, JoJo's Little Kitchen has 6 branches in the Klang Valley located in:
  1. Kuchai Lama (HQ)
  2. Serdang
  3. Puchong Jaya
  4. Subang Jaya
  5. Cheras Mahkota
  6. Uptown (Damansara Utama)
They have recently just opened their Uptown outlet on 15th August 2010. I have only visited their Subang Jaya branch so this review will be base on my experience from this particular branch.

As you can see below, the layout is similar to Super Kitchen and the tables are arranged into 3 rows which allow their waiters / waitresses to maneuver without disturbing their customers. Their premise is divided into non-smoking section and smoking section with a glass divider and the smoking section is located nearest to the building's main entrance. Don't worry too much about the heat as JoJo's is air conditioned just right so that its cooling and not freezing. Unfortunately, the smoking section is not air conditioned so you'll have to bear with the heat on a hot day.

Each table has their own box of tissue, eating utensils and a container of their chili mix for convenience and the premise is pretty clean. Don't worry, the tables are big enough to have enough arm room when you eat. Lighting plays an important role in mood and ambiance but you need not worry about poor lighting in JoJo's as the place is well lit which puts people in a good mood when eating. The only "bad" points I noticed is that it can get pretty crowded during lunch time on weekdays and parking can be an issue as Subang Jaya is a busy commercial area but these factors are out of JoJo's control.

So we can safely conclude that JoJo's is a well planned establishment with the customer's comfort in mind.

Service was also pretty prompt despite the many hungry customers who came in for their lunch and my order came within a reasonable time frame so I have no complaints about their service. When compared with Super Kitchen, I don't see JoJo's loosing out in terms of service.

During my visits to JoJo's, I had the opportunity to try their Lat Jiu Pan Mee / Chili Pan Mee (辣椒板面) and their Fish Head Pan Mee (鱼头板面) so lets get into the meat of the review! First, lets see how JoJo's Lat Jiu Pan Mee fare against Super Kitchen's.

As you can see, JoJo's Lat Jiu Pan Mee basically consist of the same ingredients as Super Kitchen's but served slightly differently. The potato leaves are added into the noodles together with the handmade noodles, minced meat, fried anchovies (a.k.a. fried ikan bilis), poached egg and fried shallots which gives an interesting texture to the overall dish. The other differences I noticed is that they do not add any spring onions and the chili has been added into the noodles together with a secret ingredient.What's the secret ingredient you ask? You see the greenish brown paste in between the red chili and minced meat?

Yep, you got it! That's the secret ingredient. It's actually just blended green chili with belacan but when mixed together with the other ingredients, it gives JoJo's Lat Jiu Pan Mee a unique taste of it's own.

Enough talking and lets get to the eating and tasting. So break that poach egg and start mixing!

As you can see, the noodles didn't have the bold fiery red color. Why? That because the red lump in my bowl which I thought was chili turns out to be an UFO (Unidentifiable Food Object)!

The manager told me that it's actually one of the ingredients use to make their chili which wasn't mixed very well. It looks like a piece of dried up onion skin or prawn shell so, ok-lah...I'll let the matter slide. Anyways, we can add as much chili as we want from either one of their chili containers to suite our taste.

You can choose to add either the red chili mix, green chili mix, sambal or all three. I chose to add the red and green mix to my bowl and was not disappointed with the results. The moment you put your pan mee into your mouth, you can taste the slight savoriness of the belacan and "eggy" taste of the poached egg which harmonized with the spicy and sourish taste of the green chili mix. The red chili mix further enhanced the flavor as it gave the Pan Mee an umami taste as the red chili mix is made with Chinese dried shrimps while the fried shallots and potato leaves gave the noodle dish a very mild sweet taste. Unfortunately, I could not remember the taste of mince meat and anchovies very well as the taste from other ingredients might have overpowered the taste.

The other dish I tried was their Fish Head Pan Mee which was served with a special blend of chili sos. The soup of this dish is made with milk boiled together with fried fish head, tomatoes and pickled vegetables. This combination of ingredients suppose gives the soup a unique milky and savory taste.

However, I am afraid that JoJo's Fish Head Pan Mee was very disappointing as there was no poetry in this dish. What do I mean? The moment I had a taste of this dish, I could only taste the saltiness of the soup. Actually, the soup was so salty that the noodles became salty! I think I'll have receding hair line issues after eating this noodles. So needless to say, I don't recommend this dish unless you like salty dishes and have lots of hair on your head to spare.

They also have a variety of drinks and desserts in their menu if you need a temporary reprieve from the spiciness of their chili mix. I tried their sugar cane with water chestnuts and chrysanthemum with honey dew drink.

These drinks have a unique texture to them as they have thin slices of water chestnut and honeydew in them.

They even have Tau Fu Fa in the menu but I would not recommend this dessert to people with high blood sugar levels as it is drench in tons Gula Melaka and the Tau Fu has a weak taste of soy beans.

Now, I'm sure most of you are waiting to know the answer of this question. How much does it cost to eat at JoJo's? Unfortunately, I must say that their prices are a little on the expensive side as it cost RM 5.80 for a bowl of Lat Jiu Pan Mee and RM 8.50 for a bowl of Fish Head Pan Mee. Generally their items are about RM 0.30 to RM 0.80 more expensive compared to Super Kitchen.

All in all, JoJo's Little Kitchen is still a good place to have your bowl of Pan Mee if you don't mind their slightly more expensive prices and saltier cooking. JoJo's have more variety of Pan Mee dishes and sweet treats as well in their menu. You can find JoJo's at these locations should you decide to try them:

Kuchai Lama (HQ)
Address: No. 30, Jalan Kuchai Maju 9, Off Jalan Kuchai Lama, 58200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-79871090

Address:1-1, Jalan SP2/7 Taman Serdang Perdana, 43300 Seri Kembangan

Puchong Jaya
Address:51, Jalan Kenari 21, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong

Subang Jaya
Address:30, Jalan SS15/4D, Subang Jaya, 47500 Selangor

Cheras Mahkota
Address:No. 2A-G, Jalan Temenggung 17/9, Section 9 Bandar Mahkota Cheras, 43200 Kajang

Damansara Jaya
Address:No. 92G, Jalan SS 21/62, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We at Food Huntz would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas! Thank You for your continued support and please look out for future posts on places of good eating. Have a great Christmas from all of us at Food Huntz.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kueh Chap @ Sun Hin Loong, SS2

It is a rare treat when residents of the Klang Valley get to feast on Sarawakian delicacies. Among the dishes that we people of the valley miss out are Sarawak Laksa, Sarawak Kolo Mee, Tomato Kuey Teow and Sarawak Kueh Chap just to name a few. However, fortune smiled on me when I happened to chance upon a stall in a food court located in SS2 selling one of the mentioned Sarawakian delicacies. Yes folks, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to feast on the famous Sarawak Kueh Chap! It was my first time ever tasting this dish and I was not disappointed at all.

I was so excited about this dish that I did a little bit of research with good old Google and was surprised with what I have learned as this dish has a history with China’s Imperial Army during the Ming dynasty. So before we jump into how heavenly Sarawak Kueh Chap taste, how cheap it is and where exactly to find this stall, I would like to spend some time explaining the roots of this dish. Ok some of you are going, “Noooo! Not another boring history lesson!” or “Just get to the juicy parts!” at this point. I hear ya loud and clear but hey, your browser has a scroll bar right? Just scroll down to the 6th paragraph to get to the juicy bits.

Right, for those of you who are interested in a little bit of culture and history; let me bring you back in time all the way back to the Ming dynasty. There lived a general named Qi JiGuang (戚繼光) and he was given the Imperial task to defend Southern China from Japanese Sea Pirates and Commoner Armies (日本倭寇).

Now, Qi JiGuang was worried about his armies food supply for this Imperial task as it would be difficult to transport food due to the high-mountainous area. His second worry was that his armies would not be able to accept the local food in Southern China. His worries stole sleep from him and decided to take a walk to think of a solution. He happened to come across a kitchen where an elderly lady was preparing food for her family. He observed the elderly lady pounding uncooked rice into fine powder and later adding water into the fine rice powder to turn it into sticky rice paste (米漿). Once the sticky rice paste is ready, the elderly lady poured some of the rice paste on to the side of a hot wok. The paste immediately starts to solidify upon contact and the solidified rice paste is peeled from the wok. The elderly lady repeated this process until she ran out of sticky rice paste. Thus, Kueh Chap was originally named Ding Bian Cuo (鼎邊挫) or Ding Bian Hu (鼎邊糊) (English translation would be Wok Side Cooking or Wok Side Frying) due to this process.

Coming back to the story, the elderly lady proceeds to make a soup with some vegetables and fermented meat. Once the soup came to a boil, she started tearing the solidified sticky rice paste into smaller bits and threw them into the boiling soup. A few moments later, the dish was ready to be served. Qi JiGuang has finally found the answer to his problems and learned how to prepare this dish for his armies from the elderly lady. With the food supply problem sorted out, the expedition to Southern China went smoothly and Qi JiGuang’s forces manage to protect Southern China from its enemies. From then on, this dish spread around Southern China and the solidified sticky rich paste dish received its more commonly known name, Kueh Chap, when it spread to the Teochew City (潮州市). Due to the vast culture in different areas of China, Kueh Chap is prepared differently depending on where you go. For instance, the soup base for Kueh Chap in Fu Zhou will be white or milky in color whereas the soup base will be dark brown if you are in Teochew. The Sarawak Kueh Chap definitely has its roots from Teochew, China as the soup is dark brown in color.

A typical Sarawakian Kueh Chap is usually prepared by boiling the rectangular cut “Kueh” (i.e. the solidified sticky rice paste in the story of Qi JiGuang cut into rectangular shape) in herbal soup together with taupok (i.e. fried puffy bean curd), a hardboiled egg and various parts of the pig which includes the stomach, intestines, ear, tongue, skin and some lean pork (some like to refer to the mixture of pork as “Spare Parts”). I guess this is where the “Chap” in the name came from (“Chap” means mixed in Hokkien).

I guess some of you are generally disgusted and on your nice clean floor at this point but trust me; the taste is not as disgusting as the dish sounds. I apologize if I really made you puke or feel disgusted but I don't invent the dishes. I just find them, put them in my mouth, eat them and review them.

Anyways, if you still have the fortitude to read on, the taste of Sarawakian Kueh Chap soup is similar to Bak Kut Teh but Kueh Chap’s soup is a more savory to the point that it's a little salty in my humble opinion. Eating the “Kueh” and “Spare Parts” is also an interesting experience as the various textures from the mixture of pork and the smoothness of the “Kueh” gives you an extraordinary chewing sensation. Imagine chewing on the smooth texture of the “Kueh” either together with the tender, crunchy or chewy texture of the pork (i.e. depending on what kind of pork you put into your mouth) and each chew releases the flavor of the secret mixture of herbs which have seeped into the pork. This dish is usually served with a special blend of chili sauce which will further enhance the taste of your Kueh Chap with a spicy, sweet and sourish taste.

You can also find a different variation of Kueh Chap in Penang, Johor Bharu and Singapore as duck parts are added into the concoction from what I heard.

Kueh Chap isn't really a rich man's dish so it is pretty cheap. I had this dish in a food court in SS2 called Sun Hin Loong and the owner of the stall charges RM5.00 for a small bowl

and RM6.00 for a big bowl.

Now Sun Hin Loong is your typical Chinese food court, so don't expect to be walking into a five star hotel environment. The place is not very well ventilated and it can get very warm if you sit too close to the stalls so dress comfortably. T-shirts and jeans or any cotton clothing would be the safest choice. Cleanliness is not a major issue as the stalls and their operators looks clean and tables are constantly wiped clean of plates, cups and other food debris from the previous table occupants. Just don't eat anything that has dropped on the floor or table and you should be fine.

Also, keep in mind that SS2 is a very busy area and parking can be a hassle at times...actually it's almost all of the time but there is always a place in the open air car park located opposite Sun Hin Loong but it'll cost ya RM3.00 at the very least to park there.

You can find Sun Hin Loong at 65 Jalan SS 2/64, 47300 Petaling Jaya. I am not too sure of their operating hours but I have seen them operating during breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. I have even once stayed till 10:00 pm chatting with a friend in their premises.

Unfortunately, I can't confidently conclude that this Kueh Chap is the best in the Klang Valley as I have never tasted this dish before until I came to this stall. However, if you are craving for a bowl of Sarawakian porky goodness, Sun Hin Loong would be a good place to get some as this dish is well prepared by the stall owner and would not disappoint your taste buds.

Please drop us a line at foodhuntz[at]gmx[dot]com if you know of other places selling Kueh Chap in the Klang Valley as we would like to make a comparison. Thank You.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Super Kitchen Chili Pan Mee

I’m a big fan of noodles and if I can have things my way, I’d have noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but for some reason, I’ve never really been too crazy about pan mee prepared in any kind of style. That is until a colleague introduced me to this wonderful restaurant specializing in this noodle dish. Yes, I am talking about a shop named Super Kitchen Chili Pan Mee. Some may have heard of this shop but for those of you who haven’t, let me give ya’ll a little bit of background.

Super Kitchen is a family owned business with several branches in the Klang Valley. To date, they own 6 branches in the following locations:
  1. Kuala Lumpur
  2. Taman Usahawan Kepong
  3. Kota Damansara
  4. Petaling Jaya
  5. Subang Jaya
  6. Bandar Puteri
Not too shabby for a family business. I have visited their Kota Damansara, Subang Jaya and Bandar Puteri branch and I am rather impressed with the environment, cleanliness, service, food and price offered in their restaurants. I frequent their Subang Jaya branch a lot and so my review today will be base on my experience from this branch.

Every Super Kitchen restaurant is air conditioned and the temperature is maintained just right so that it's cooling and not freezing. Tables are also arranged in a way which allows their waiters to maneuver without disturbing the customers. A typical Super Kitchen restaurant will have 3 to 4 rows of table as shown in the Picture below:
If you look closely, tables closest to the walls have tissue dispensers mounted in between tables. I think this is a very creative idea as it gives customers more room on the table. Besides that, the tissue dispensers are mounted just an arm reach for easy access. As you can see, the layout is very well planned out to ensure customer’s comfort.

The place is very clean as well. Tables are cleaned almost immediately when a customer leaves and if you notice from the picture the floor is really clean. You can even see the reflection of the trees outside on the floor! Hmm…Wonder if they will rent their employees to scrub my house floor?

Super Kitchen can get very pack at peak hours (i.e. lunch and dinner time) but despite the many customers who come in for a bowl of their delicious Pan Mee, their service is still prompt.
I think we have talked enough about the place. Onwards to the food!

Pan Mee was born in Kuala Lumpur and it is one of the simplest noodle dishes one could find. Super Kitchen is famous for their Chili Pan Mee which consists of handmade noodles, minced meat, fried anchovies (a.k.a. fried ikan bilis), poached egg, fried shallots and spring onions.

The crux of this noodle dish is of course its chili mix which is contained in a separate container on each table. The chili mix is usually cooked fortnightly in Super Kitchen’s HQ kitchen in Kuala Lumpur and is distributed to the other branches to ensure the taste is consistant no matter which branch you go to. Put as much chili as you dare into your bowl and mix all the ingredients together and you will see that the noodles will start turning fiery red. Be warned, their chili mix is seriously spicy so don’t put too much chili into your bowl so much so that your tongue turns numb after the first bite!
A bowl of potato leave soup is usually served together with your Chili Pan Mee to provide a temporary reprieve from the spiciness.
I was impressed after I took my first bite of my Pan Mee. Imagine the savory taste of the minced meat and fried anchovies coupled with the sweetness of the fried shallots and spring onions and not to forget the “eggy” taste of the poach egg and the spiciness of the special chili mix all in your mouth! *Droolz* The poached egg with runny yolk gives a unique texture to the noodles as well.

The potato leaves soup taste just as good. I was kind of expecting the soup to be savory but was pleasantly surprised after my first sip as the soup was not savory to the point it was salty but I was able to taste the natural sweetness of the potato leaves as well.

Super Kitchen also has the Traditional Pan Mee and Curry Pan Mee on their menu which is basically Pan Mee in clear soup and Pan Mee in curry soup respectively. Besides that, fish head noodle is also available on the menu.

Yeah, as you can see the fish head is not very visible despite the dish’s name. This is because they have removed all the bones, taken all the fish meat and fried it into the little fish nuggets you see accompanying this bowl of noodles. There was no “fishy” smell coming from the fish so it’s a good indication that the fish used was fresh. However, I wasn’t too impressed with this dish as it was rather bland. There are other side dishes and drinks in which you can order to accompany your noodles as well.

You must be thinking, “With such good service and good food, it must cost an arm and a leg to eat at Super Kitchen”. Don’t worry you can put that big cleaver away. Each dish or side dish in their menu cost about RM5.00 to RM7.00. Drinks cost around RM1.00 to RM3.00.

All in all, Super Kitchen is a good place to eat in if you want a cheap, delicious and healthy meal. Hope you will enjoy the food there as much as I did. Bon Appetit!

Oh, I almost forgot. You can find Super Kitchen at these locations:

Kuala Lumpur (HQ) branch

Address :

33, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1, off Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 50300, Kuala Lumpur

Tel. No. :

03-2697 0998

Taman Usahawan Kepong branch

Address :

18, Jalan Metro Perdana 8, Taman Usahawan Kepong, 52100, Kuala Lumpur

Tel. No. :

03-6258 0998

Kota Damansara branch

Address :

3-1, Jalan PJU 5/4, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, 47810, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Tel. No. :

03-6141 7398

Petaling Jaya branch

Address :

42, Jalan SS2/10, Taman Bahagia, 47000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Tel. No. :

03-7877 2281

Subang Jaya branch

Address :

47-1, Jalan USJ 9/5S, Taipan, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Tel. No. :

03-8023 0530

Bandar Puteri branch

Address :

No.5 Ground Floor, Jalan Puteri 2/3, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor.

Tel. No. :

03-8063 7728
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