Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chen Chen Hong Kong BBQ Goose & Duck, Jalan Seladang, Kuala Lumpur

I read about Chen Chen BBQ in The Sunday Star recently, and knew instantly that we had to go try it out. With a current obsession for roast duck and goose, this just fell into the plan perfectly. So last Saturday, after a sojourn to the Jalan Pasar wet market to shop for fresh supplies, we walked across the road toward the nearby RHB Bank and found Chen Chen BBQ just about 5 metres down the road (perpendicular) from the RHB Bank.

It's a stall at the corner of a shoplot, but don't let the humble facade fool you. The food was excellent!
A row of poultry and a big slab of siew yoke (roast pork) hung at the front counter.

Even more game hung behind the counter.
The proprietors (a husband and wife pair, Chong Foo Chuan and Connie Sia) were curious as to why I was so trigger-happy snapping away. I filled them in on the food blog. The really affable boss rather gamely posed for a quick photo.
The menu board, with pricing stated. Really helpful, this.

I love the rice, fragrant with a hint of turmeric that gave it a sunny hue.

We also had a bowl of old cucumber soup with pork meatballs and duck/goose feet and wings. Excellent stuff! Salty and tasty, the smokiness of roast poultry subtly permeated the soup.

The excellent roast goose quarter (foreground) and roast duck (background). The roast goose had the rich taste of waxed meat, it's hard to describe such a unique flavour, other than to say that we totally relished it. Between the duck and the goose, the goose took centre stage, though the duck was pretty darn good too! There was no thick layer of fat under the shiny brown skin, yet the meat was succulent and tender. This combo truly was the best roast poultry I have ever eaten.

The many condiments that were provided to us. The ubiquitous red chilli sauce.

Spring onions in a thick sweet-sour sauce.

Another type of chilli sauce, but this was more fiery due to the green birds' eye chillies used.

Plum sauce. And a thirst-quenching glass of leong cha for each of us.

This meal for 2 came up to RM36.00. Roast goose is costlier than roast duck, so the price was pretty reasonable for the portions we got. We even had enough leftover goose to tapau for dinner, we made our own mushroom wantan mee and ate it with the yummy roast goose (pic below).

Addendum (posted on 2nd December 2008):
The Saturday that just past, we went to Chen Chen BBQ yet again, this time with mom- and bro-in-law in tow. With 4 tummies to fill this time around, we ordered some extra dishes...
Bro-in-law loves siew yoke (roast pork belly), hence we had to give it a try. Leaner than most, this siew yoke had lovely crispy skin with just a thin layer of fats underneath.

Sweet, dark char siew with deliciously burnt edges; this came with extra char siew sauce served on the side. Yummmmmmm!

Kiam chai boey, the sourish tinge of this dish complemented all the meat that we were eating very nicely.

Chen Chen Hong Kong BBQ Goose & Duck
Jalan Seladang,
Off Lorong Yap Hin, Kuala Lumpur
Mobile: 012-2333083 (Chong Foo Chuan)

It has got to be 4-bams ++, no less!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TS Fish Village Restaurant, Bukit Tambun, Penang (mainland)

While in Tambun recently, we took hubby's mom and bro to our favourite restaurant in that vicinity.
It was late, nearly 3.00pm, they open even after lunch hours though we were one of only 2 groups of customers there.

We ordered the Fried Fish Village Beancurd which has a seafood taste to it. Very soft inside, though crispy outside. I personally prefer tofu with a firmer texture.

We had to have the requisite greens, this time it was stirfried garlic kailan.

This is the reason why we keep coming back to this restaurant. Seafood laksa, the best I've ever had. It has a lovely piquant taste of kaffir lime leaves and bunga kantan in a spicy sour soup teeming with fresh seafood (squid, fish, prawns, lala)! Exquisite, this!

We also ordered kungpao mantis prawns. Also very good, the mantis prawns were deep fried prior to being stirfried with dried chillies and ginger slices. It retained its nice crispness despite the coating of sauce.

Yummy, tiny, deepfried baby squid in a honey sauce. I can finish a whole plate on my own!

The total bill was RM55.60 for the 4 of us. For 5 dishes, mostly consisting of seafood, I think it was pretty reasonable.

TS Fish Village Restaurant
#1, Jalan Besar, Bukit Tambun,
14110 Simpang Ampat, Peberang Perai Selatan,
Mobile: 012-4986506, 012-5556688

Definitely a 4-bam, by virtue of its very yummy seafood laksa!

Bam Bam!

Obama’s legacy at Harvard

Obama’s win has made having “brains” sexy again, shares another Harvard graduate. Americans have picked someone who is a clear intellectual, rejecting the perception that politicians who were too intellectual were out of touch with ordinary Americans.

IN one of the large classrooms in Austin Hall, the oldest building at Harvard Law School, a professor was giving an introductory lecture on American legal education to the 150-odd students who made up the incoming Master of Laws (LL.M.) Class of 2008.

It was late August 2007, and already there was a buzz of excitement in the air generated by the race for the United States presidential elections in 2008 as candidates from both parties started to gear up for the upcoming primaries.

Model student: File picture of Obama holding a copy of the Harvard Law Review while at the Harvard Law School. – AP

The terms of the contest for the Democratic Party’s nomination were already clearly being framed by its two frontrunners: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (with John Edwards a struggling third).

Wryly, the Harvard Law School professor remarked to the LL.M. candidates from over 66 countries how, unlike some other countries with dynastic successions, it would be unthinkable in the United States to have power concentrated in the hands of two families for 20 years: a tongue-in-cheek observation of the Bush-Clinton-Bush administration. However, he declared, there would be no more Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton (again) succession.

“The next President of the United States is going to come from this very classroom!” he declared. “The future President sat right here. Right on the very seats that you are sitting on now.”

I was sitting in one of those seats. Harvard Law School is an exciting place to be under any circumstance, but the charged political climate leading up to the 2008 elections made it particularly absorbing. It is, after all, Obama’s alma mater: the site where he had left such an impression and which, in turn, had left a lasting impact on him.

As the New York Times put it, Harvard Law School was where Obama “found political voice.” It would be at this institution that Obama would begin to make news as the first black to create a historical precedent by becoming president of the Harvard Law Review, the most prestigious student position at the law school.

Legal institutions in America, particularly those in the East, tend to lean heavily towards the liberal side. The sentiments in Massachusetts’s premier law school were bound to be predominantly Democratic in any event. But Obama’s legacy at Harvard gave the presidential race an almost personal element.

Professors who had taught Obama while he was at Harvard (from 1988 to 1991) were still at the law school and could speak from experience of their encounter with the 27-year-old black community organiser from Chicago. Professor Lawrence Tribe, a Supreme Court advocate and one of Harvard’s best-known Constitutional Law professors, in an interview with the Harvard Crimson, called him “the most impressive and talented of the thousands of students I have been privileged to teach in nearly 40 years on the Harvard faculty.”

The law school’s active fora meant that throughout the year activities were being organised by various student groups (HLS for Obama, HLS for Clinton, HLS Democrats, the Federalist Society): talks, lectures, campaign activities, organised trips to political rallies, and big screen viewings of the Clinton-Obama debates (with food provided).

For me, however, the vibrancy in the atmosphere largely came from less formal sources: debates with a classmate about the future of the American Presidency during a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park; Clinton supporters arguing about gender discrimination at a sex equality course taught by Prof Catherine MacKinnon (one of the most prominent feminist scholars in the States); Facebook postings by friends whenever a political event intrigued them; classmates signing up to knock on doors in order to canvass support in surrounding areas; and passionate discussions in seminars.

The stimulating atmosphere was not confined only to the law school. In the “Press, Politics and Public Policy” class, for which I cross-registered at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, debates were frequent and often heated.

In one discussion, a classmate, who had a huge John Edwards ’08 emblazoned across his laptop, voiced his grievances at Edwards being unfairly neglected by the press, which was obsessed with the Clinton-Obama saga.

The Obama phenomenon Living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the election year also meant that I had opportunities to experience the phenomenon first hand. And so, I found myself standing in the snow during a Boston winter waiting in line to be let into an Obama rally in order to hear him speak. Snowflakes were falling heavily, but the volunteers and supporters were undaunted; while waiting, one the volunteers started the famous chant used at so many Obama rallies..

“Fired up?” he hollered. “Ready to go!” Came back the enthusiastic shout from the crowd bundled up in thick coats and scarves, kicking the snow from their boots.

As we walked into the large hall, Stevie Wonders’ Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours blasted from speakers on the wall, giving the place an exuberant, even festive feel. I was given a place to stand at the very front of a balcony directly overlooking the stage.

As Obama walked onto the stage just a few feet below me to more loud music and even louder cheers, I had an unfettered viewpoint of the senator as well as the sea of people in front of him. The rally was a motivational-style speech: if you had come wanting to hear specifics about his stand on certain matters, you would have been disappointed. (“We need change!” Roars of approval from the crowd. “We need better healthcare! We need tax reform!” More roars.)

One thing was clear, however: the crowd loved it. A friend who had come with me shared none of my desire to have more details. “That was awesome. So inspiring,” he declared. Such infectious enthusiasm was the hallmark of Obama supporters. Obama’s themes of hope and change had created a general sense of optimism and buoyancy among those who believed in his message.

It manifested itself in various ways: volunteers willing to give up their weekend to knock on the doors of strangers, trying to rally supporters for Obama over dinner, or through the way faces simply lit up whenever Obama appeared on television.

I was having lunch with a close friend of mine at the law school cafeteria when Obama flashed across the high definition screen on the cafeteria wall.

Her response was instantaneous. “O-Bam-Ma! O-Bam-Ma! Bam Bam! Bam Bam!” She squealed excitedly. “Who calls him Bam Bam?” I asked, half-amused.

“I call him Bam Bam!” she said. In a tribute to Obama’s likeability factor, she continued, “I just feel like hugging him every time I see him. I look at him and go ‘Aww, let’s go help him fight for change’.”

Appointment of judges Obama’s historic victory to become the first black President of the United States is particularly interesting for those in legal institutions. One of the most significant implications will be the effect of Obama’s presidency on the appointment of United States Supreme Court justices. The ability of the Supreme Court to declare acts as constitutional or unconstitutional with a five-four majority gives it immense power to shape the legal landscape of the entire country on issues as controversial as abortion rights, gay marriage, the death penalty, and gun control.

The current slant of the court is generally conservative, with the appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito in 2006 by Bush’s Republican administration making up a majority of five conservative justices. Obama is likely to have the opportunity to appoint two new justices; Justice John Paul Stevens, 88, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, are expected to retire soon.

In rebalancing the liberal-conservative tilt of the court, Obama will draw on his legal background and experience as a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago. Democrats and liberals across America doubtless drew a breath of relief that the composition of the court will no longer be in the hands of another Republican government, a situation that would doubtless have sealed the conservative stamp of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Another significance of Obama’s win, particularly after the McCain-Palin campaign, is that brains are sexy again.

Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times wrote that the “remarkable” thing about Obama’s election is that Americans have picked someone who is a clear intellectual, rejecting the perception that politicians who were seen as too intellectual were portrayed as out of touch with ordinary Americans (Bush’s government was an illustration of an “anti-intellectualism administration”).

Harvard Law School’s intellectual elites loved Obama (magna cum laude, Harvard Law Review president): he was intelligent and had the appeal of being different. The question was whether Obama possessed the ability to appeal to the rest of America – the Joe Six Packs and Joe the Plumbers that McCain’s campaign had targeted – who wanted a candidate who was likeable as well as simply intellectual.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, after a feverish wait for the electoral votes to be called, Obama’s name flashed as the President-elect of the United States. History was made. His appeal transcended intellectual and racial barriers: battlegrounds states like Ohio, Indiana, Florida, even North Carolina, all called for Obama. The message from the people was clear: “Let’s go help him fight for change.”

In the intense excitement of the moment, I sent a message to my friends: “Bam Bam won!”

Yvonne Tew ( graduated from Harvard Law School in 2008 with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree and read Law as an undergraduate in the University of Cambridge from 2004-2007. She enjoys passionately arguing about a wide range of issues.

Article approved and endorsed by the original Bam Bam.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Satay Celup @ Restoran Ban Lee Siang, Melaka

This place was really crowded to the brim when we went. Satay celup is apparently a Melaka specialty, and very popular too.

We could see many people waiting for a seat.

What I liked about this experience was selecting my "satay" from the row of refrigerators.

Here's what we picked for round 1. Lots of quail eggs to satisfy my quail egg madness.

It's a lot like lok lok, but instead of cooking in boiling water, the lot gets dipped into this thick, bubbling cauldron of peanutty curry gravy instead. The pot is embedded within a hole right in the middle of the table.

A unique experience, but only if you like peanutty gravy.

Restoran Ban Lee Siang
45E, Jalan Ong Kim Wee,
Tel: 606-284 1935
For a map, do refer to: KY's entry on this restaurant.

Peanuts and me........result in 2-bams.

Melaka in pictures

Walking to Jonker Street from the car park, we passed by many old pre-war shophouses which were pretty well-preserved.

Outside one quaint shophouse, someone was selling banana fritters.

On Jonker Street, there was a crowded restaurant selling chicken rice ball.

We did not try this, having just had lunch, but I've eaten this about 5 years back. Nothing memorable.

The Jonker 88 Dessert Shop was milling with people as well. The cendol here is famous.

Jonker Street.

A mini temple on Jonker Street with really ornate pillars and carvings.

A trishaw inundated with plastic flowers.
We went to Melaka Mall and Marina the Orang Utan from Melaka Zoo was the visiting celebrity. I got to shake hands with her, and she even kissed me. She's so cute!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hubby's New Hobby

Living in a small apartment, we do not have the luxury of a garden in which to bbq. And hubby's passion happens to be bbq-ing.
He's been itching to start up a mini bbq operation, and so we finally got this mini charcoal stove and 2 flower pots, and voila, our makeshift bbq pit was ready to go! There goes the laundry area too! Hubby has been bbq-ing for the past 2 weekends, it brings a certain gleam to hubby's eyes.

An overturned flower pot and wires from a flower pot hanger served as a kiln in which hubby hung and smoked the Tandoori chicken drumsticks.

After a very slow smoking (it took a couple of hours), hubby bbq-ed the Tandoori chicken drumsticks to get them deliciously burnt around the edges.

Next, we bbq-ed chicken wings. We had marinated the wings overnight, melding Precious Pea's recipe and Zak Pelaccio's recipe to start with, and improvising along the way.

Hubby made a honey-based thick sticky gravy and slathered the wings in it after bbq-ing. Excellent, smoky, heavenly!

We went collecting wild and some homegrown produce.....banana leaves, pandan leaves, sweet basil.

Hubby stuffed 2 large marinated squids with the pandan and sweet basil leaves and grilled them on top of the banana leaf.

Bbq-ed squid rings.....delish!
We ate the squid with salad, for a healthy twist to our erstwhile carnivorous diet.