Monday, March 23, 2009

Zhen Liew Siang

If there is one word to describe the local dai chow scene, it’s drama. Outsiders will find us absurd to have our tables stretched out to the empty parking spaces. If the food is good, we care not if it’s neon, freon or streetlights that guide the goodies into our ever hungry mouths. And we have our ways of managing the tropical weather. From the al fresco setting (parking spaces), the most alert of diners will then quickly help themselves to the nearest shed (mostly walkways, blocking the entrance to the closed shops/banks/staircases) once the first drops of rain are felt. Helping themselves here applies to the adults carrying their own tables, chairs, utensils and dishes while the children cheer them on. The rest of the diners join in the action. It must have looked like the changing of a scene in the Olympics opening (or closing) ceremony, if viewed from the sky.

And there are those rivalry names of the restaurants. Each claiming to be the best, the most authentic or the founder of a local signature dish. There are many theories to this interesting phenomenon. Most of them circle around family feuds. And of course, there are cases of gambling debts and adulteries. So, if this is not drama, I don’t know what is.

Deep-fried pork knuckle with a mustard/tomato sauce dressing. Sweet, slightly sour and potent. The dressing suited the flaky meat well. Fear not for the layer of saturated fat beneath the crispy layer of skin. Simply scrap it off using a spoon (yes, it’s that surprisingly easy!) and have yourself a bite of aromatic crunch.

Hairy, have you started working out yet??

The potato leaves came fresh and sweet. I do know of people who need extra fat due to their high level of metabolism. I envy them all the time, even in my sleep. This oily version suits them fine. For the unlucky me, perhaps a blanched version would be better.

Apparently, one of the signature dishes here is the hotplate squid but since the cholesterol level already spiked to a new high with the knuckle, we had the nam yue (red pickled tofu) fried chicken wings instead. Oh come on, I’m sure chicken wings are far healthier than squid. Their meat is afterall, well exercised. Love the significantly mild taste of the nam yue and the crispiness of the batter.

This is the legendary dish that had Sentulians coming back for more. Their claypot fish curry (head or meat, whichever you prefer). Dig into the pot and you will find tender pieces of red snapper and a good mix of vegetables like okra, eggplant and cabbage. Served piping hot, it will have you calling for extra bowls of rice. I don’t remember the gravy being this dilute though. But it was still flavourful nevertheless, thanks to the curry leaves and turmeric.

Here’s how the same dish looked like on a Sunday afternoon, about two weeks earlier. Now is this more acceptable. Rich in coconut cream.

You can tell that this prominent dai chow restaurant will enjoy many more prosperous years to come because the food is good and there’s something for everyone; young or old, (dyed) blondes or brunettes.

And that is good to know for we certainly do not want our dai chow dramas to end with the emerging of the more appropriate and systematic fine (and semi-fine) dines.

Restoran Makanan Laut Zhen Liew Siang
No. 30, Jalan 14/48A
Sentul Raya
Off Jalan Sentul
51000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: (+603) 40413781
Business hours: 11.00 am – 3.00 pm / 5.30 pm – 11.00 pm

Click here for the map.

33 comments:

Selba said...

I'm so lapaaaarrrrr....! :D

Snow White said...

Wow, the other dishes look as yummy as the curry fish meat we had...and yes, it has to be lemak-lah.

I've had their banana leaf squid before, it's one of those things u enjoy and then suffer later :P

Precious Pea said...

The Pork Knuckle looks so good!!! Must be sooo crispy!!

550ml jar of faith said...

Long live the dai chow! Although... is it just me or are prices at dai chows creeping up slowly but surely? I certainly do not remember having to fork out more than RM15 per pax for a regular dai chow meal but these days, that's quite an anomaly.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the sauce on the knuckle looks new indeed...

mimid3vils said...

Oh...pork knuckle~~ The sauce look like curry

Life for Beginners said...

What's dai chow without a little drama? Somehow I never quite saw it this way before but now it makes a lot of sense... Add in some Astro Wah Lai Toi, and you really got drama there, man! :P

jasmine said...

hmm, sounds like the lau heong my friend has been asking me to go try! want to go now!

ck lam said...

The deep fried pork knuckle with that special gravy...definitely a new and interesting combination...I am really hungry now.

ling239 said...

all the deep fried and spicy stuff are good!! cant have tat too often leh...:p

J2Kfm said...

LOL at that Olympic statement. i'm sure the staff will help lah ... takkan watch and record then post in Youtube meh ... uh-oh.

wmw said...

I wanna bite into that crunchy skin!

thenomadGourmand said...

ehh..where is ur order of hokkien mee?? or the dai chow here no serve?

GFAD said...

Used to be a time where knuckles were only available at german rests. Nowadays even dai chows serve them eh? Looks and sounds yum!

I've always wondered why dai chows used orange/flourescent green/red plates - why not other more pleasing colours?? But it adds to the 'uniqueness' of a dai chow, no? :D

sc said...

for a moment i thot it was a typo error.. i thot you were writing on chu liew siang..hehehe. i wonder if this is the place that's famous for the pork knuckle..i have a friend who said will 'bring me there' since 5 years back and i'm still waiting :D

worldwindows said...

Really good Sentul stuff. The Claypot Curry Fish is enticing.

CUMI & CIKI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CUMI & CIKI said...

alamak.. ignore other comment..

you beat me to it! how can u ask the question b4 me?! haha

anyway, the thing that ranks way up there for me, with good pork knuckle is good fried chicken! fried chicken wings, body, ass whatever. haha the secret marinade being.. milk! sit overnight the fry up! yummie man!

fatboybakes said...

yeah, of course chickens are healthier than squid...they can fly ma...
pork knuckles (i am not a fan) looks great!

Simon Seow said...

Need to go to Sentul and eat my childhood hokkien char.

Nic (KHKL) said...

selba, ya saya jugak sangat lapar sekarang!!! sebab hujan! haha! ;D

snow white, yesssss! luckily we had the lemak version so that i can compare. perhaps demand was high on a saturday night, so got a bit diluted..hehehe..as for the squid, aiyah, suffer later nevermind la. as long as it's yummy. ;D

precious pea, the skin was indeed crispy! woah, if they have a dish with just pork skin, i think i'll go for that instead. ;D

550ml jar of faith, yay, long live dai chow! oh yes, prices are not cheap these days. this meal cost us about RM20 per person. then again, things are very expensive these days. some bread cost more than a bowl of noodles! scary, right?

joe, yeah, that's what i thought too! it tasted like a cross between mustard and tomato sauce. perhaps to replace sauerkraut? haha!

mimi, the yellowish colour does remind us of a curry! but not pedas at all, suprisingly. ;D

kenny, i believe some eastern asia dramas are inspired but restaurants. that really opens up a whole new perspective on dai chow hor? on WLT, haha, it's true! some dai chows do come with WLT channels!

jasmine, yes, this is lau heong. well, i heard there is another one at bandar baru sentul. i've tried both! good stuff! ;D

ck lam, haha, i think the rain is taking effect on everyone. my stomach's growling since 9 am! yupe, the sauce is kinda special. a little heat would be great! ;D

ling239, true! true! while we chomp down the fried stuff, we told ourselves not to do this often. it's so difficult to burn them all off! haha!

Nic (KHKL) said...

j2kfm, yeah, the staff did help. but there were like 10 tables but only 3 helpers. so, have to DIY lor, cos we certainly dun want our curry to have extra ingredients..hehe...

wmw, me too, me too!!! that plus the curry fish, woah, good stuff! ;D

thenomadGourmand, hahaha, good question!!! i think we were definitely oil infested lar that day. i might just get an instant stroke if i have a plate of hokkien noodle that day. then again, the words are making me salivate again now!

GFAD, yeah, u have a good point! many dai chows have now infused western ingredients and dishes into their cooking. red wine lah, guiness lah, deep-fried trotter la. yummy!

yeah, i've never really thought about the super sharp colours of the plates. maybe to make separations easier. you wont wanna get involved in an argument of between hawkers on the ownership of the plate! haha! i guess as long as they are clean, it's fine. some have this oily finishing which is a total turn-off...ewwww...

sc, chu liew siang? omg! the song's playing in my mind now! hahaha! yupe, yupe! this is the place for the infamous pork knuckle. and the fish curry. wait no more, we can gather a few and go makan! ;D

worldwindows, hey, thanks for stopping by! ;D yeah, sentul does offer a few hidden gems! this is definitely one of them. oh, the indian food here is good too! ;D

cumi & ciki, hahaha, i thought it could motivate me to workout! well, u can always ask me again! hehehehe...

u like fried chicken? cool! cus i lurve em too much too! ok, i hafta admit my fave is still kfc's hot 'n spicy. ;D u eat chicken ass and u can maintain such a perfect figure? omg, i am so jeles! haha!

fatboybakes, hi5! that's what i thought too! ;D i still dun understand how come squid is high in cholestrol. no fat oso..hmmm....u not a fan of pork knuckles? omg! but u gotta love em crispy skin right? ;D

simon, which one ar? the one at the corner shop with satay, ikan bakar and mee soup ar? it has been franchised, right? i heard there are branches already! @_@

Faye fly said...

aik..these thing really make ppl hungry lah ! ! ! ! 2 plates rice also boleh lah !!!

UnkaLeong said...

I've just had lunch and now I am hungry again. Thanks Nic! =P

teckiee said...

The deep fried action and curries are dramas by itself. Looks damn good man. esp the pork knuckle.

ToyBoy & ToyGirl said...

I am vouching for the pork knuckles too. Hey dude, bring me along la for the makan makan trip, hahaha. U catch my drift? =)

Tummythoz said...

Only 1 question. Sentul where? Any unmistakable landmarks? Ok. 2 questions.

Jun said...

if i'm not mistaken, this place is one of the many "liew siang" branches under diff names (but all containing the words "liew siang") rite?

backStreetGluttons said...

Amazingly this makanan laut serves such excellently beautiful tempting crispy tender delicate but firm looking land pork and mouth bursting tummy splitting dry ground running chickens ! Let the magnificent high dramas continue till the next rain drops fall till tomorrow never comes

Snow White said...

i went back there last nite :D

the curry fish meat was excellent - yay! so was the sweet potato leaves plus the chicken wings...i hardly ever eat chicken wings but this time i had half on the plate :P

thanks hairy for reminding me of this dai chow!

Nic (KHKL) said...

faye fly, yesssss! ;D more rice until we finish the curry! ;D

unkaleong, awwww, you are welcome, dude! hehehe...jom pergi! ;D

teckiee, hmmm, actually, it's true la. they are dramas by themselves. the pork knuckle's yummy! check it out!

toyboy & toygirl, what drift ar? tokyo drift ar? hehehehhe...sure, sure. let's go there! u just let me know da time, dude!

tummythoz, sorry for the late reply on the directions. i've included it in da post d! check out the last line. ;D

jun, yes, you are right. them lao heongs. i heard they were all from the original stall somewhere in sentul. i guess this is one of em cos i saw some newspaper clippings at the counter.

backstreetgluttons, exactly my thoughts! it was during the dinner of the fried, the curried and the fats that we discussed the carpe diem spirit that we should possess for who knows when the next raindrop falls. we almost ordered beers too.

snow white, OMG!!!! half the plate! you da bomb, babe! ;D glad u have found this place again. looks like the kedai will be seeing you more often, eh? hehehehe....

babe_kl said...

too bad the spin-off at menjalara had closed so was the branch at metro prima!!! if wanna eat now hv to go all the way to sentul :(

Snow White said...

And so I went back again. This time to try out the pork knuckles. Amazingly awesome stuff, esp for a non-pork lover like me. Also had the tofu with peanuts :) nice combination. Never had anything like it before so it's a nice change from the usual claypot tofu.

And then a week later, I was back there again :P this time I tried the steamed ikan pari. Interesting, but not something I'd try again. I'll post up pix on FB, not quite sure when though... ;)