Friday, March 19, 2010

Sim Hap Ke and U-Soya

The night started off well with a lecture that discussed DNAs, stem cells, asexual plants, cloning and the legalities that come with it. I call it a retro night of secondary school biology. In the Q&A session, I began to drown in the pool of questions, obviously posed by those from the pharmaceutical industry and some science fiction fans. The bombastic terminologies used were suffocating, to an engineer like me at least. I reached for a float, in form of my iPhone, which has now been installed with a Flickr application. And that’s how I survived the night – by mentally salivating over photographs of food.

Using the application, I discovered some untagged photos of mine, including those taken at Sim Hap Ke(e). How could I forget? It was afterall, a rather significant meal.

Salt-baked clams

Some issues remain unresolved and are still debated during our gatherings. After all these years, some of us from the school in the village still can’t decide if we liked the CBN or BBGS girls of class 199X more. It’s like choosing between a Canon and Nikon DSLR, in my opinion. I shall leave it at that. Rich in sarcasm were our words and we enjoyed every bit of it very much. Acerbic as the words may be, they were actually comforting.

Chicken in a bucket

Although we originated from the hood way far from here, Cheras seems to be an obvious meeting point since some have moved to as far as Seri Kembangan. Given the task of choosing a place to meet and eat (for the assumingly obvious reason), I did some research and a post from Precious Pea led us to Sim Hap Ke(e). Nearing noon, only 1 table was occupied and my good o’ classmates’ doubtful expressions were somehow hilarious. But of course, 22 years of friendship and trust triumphed over a presumably bad, fly-swatting restaurant with ease. As the hour went by, the restaurant started to fill up. We must have failed to note that it was a Sunday.

So 2007 was a dish named deep-fried kailan.

Framed photos of their signature dishes were hung on the wall. Most were new to me and that's exciting. In fact, it was their unusual salt-baked clams that initially got me intrigued as I read Precious Pea's post. It didn't disappoint, as the natural sweetness of the well-cooked clams worked well with the salt. I think it fits easily into the list of favourite tapas in bars, pairing nicely with a glass of white wine. As for the chicken in a bucket, I couldn't catch the logic behind the huge receptacle except being aesthetically pleasing. I'm sure the bucket was not involved in the steaming process. The free-range chicken on the other hand, was tender and came with lots of juice that was savoury enough to go with multiple bowls of rice. Nice. Here's the thing - when steaming free-range chicken at home, include some Chinese angelica and be generous with the salt. It's a simple idea that should guarantee some nice aroma and tasty juice for the rice. The pork with 3 flavours was reminiscent of the butter crab with usage of curry leaves, chilli and a buttery sauce. However, the sauce was quite sweet and I'm suspecting that it was mayonnaise. If it was, then we've found a new, good way of using (not abusing) mayonnaise in Chinese restaurants.

Pork in 3 flavours

We were hanging around Leisure Mall after lunch and hopped into a few nearby cafes, just snacking and tokking kok. Besides catching up on each other, it was also an attempt to not return home to face the mundane. We were 13 again.

One of the more interesting places was U-Soya, where it’s all about their signature tau foo fah (or tau hui). And it was good, given the smooth and rather refined scoops of beancurd. My favourite has got to be the interesting Shanghai Salty Tau Foo Fah. Topped with crunchy dried shrimps, chillies and onion/oyster sauce, it almost felt like eating pureed congee. Good stuff. Here’s a suggestion to U-Soya - more savoury flavours, please! Salted egg perhaps? Or minced pork with shitake mushroom? Preserved vegetable with pork? Mental salivation continues.

The hours went on effortlessly and we were more than willing to spend the night with a blockbuster, karaoke, some bowling and Mamak food. But of course, the mandatory weekend family dinners await, just like the old days. Skip the boring dinner? No way. We’re good kids, you see.

Sim Hap Ke
26, Jalan Waras 1
Taman Connaught
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+60) 12 3235688 / (+60) 12 319 3381

39, Jalan Manis 3
Taman Segar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (+60) 12 408 6604


Life for Beginners said...

Oh the salt-baked la la looks good! And your iPhone as your float in times of drowning in legalese? Man, I am more seduced than ever by the notion of having myself one of those babies... But see how lar.

Technically, I'm trying to detox today but your pics of food har, aitelyu... It tempts me to break my spell, it does, it does. :P

J said...

So which did you prefer? BBGS or CBN girls? :)

CUMI & CIKI said...

wot on earth is a retro night of secondary school biology?! u crack me up hairy :Phaha

i think the savoury TFF is just foul..! LOL. wot's the point of having it like the chuk. might as well just eat chuk! Sacrilege! bring bk my sweet, oh sweet sweet TFF

PureGlutton said...

Hahaha - I sooo relate to that >> turning to our iPhones for entertainment in moments of extreme boredom! I so heart the Apple geniuses for this!
Those salt-baked clams sure look very beckoning! And they are clean - no muddy dollops anywhere - that's how i like my clams, man!

UnkaLeong said...

When my high-school friends and I meet up, we meet up at a kopitiam. Order a couple of beers and sit ala rickshaw driver and laugh the night away..recounting tales from days of yore. Heh.

My vote being a PJ boy goes for the chica's from Sri Aman ;)

Precious Pea said... could I forget to include Sim Hap Ke in my list???? Not enuff time to make a visit now, well, next trip home then. going back to Melb next Tues oledi, already missing my boys so much.

world of sekimachihato said...

nice blog :)
i love tau foo fah, and i would so order you combination of minced pork with shitake mushrooms!

ai wei said...

i love sim hap kee's food. esp the har mai shang cheong!!! miss it soooo muchie

ai wei said...

btw, U soya no longer there d ><

Chaokar said...

the chicken looks great !
jom jom we should meet up for makan trips already

ck lam said...

Came across many version of clams but have yet to try the salt-baked clams. I will try to look out for this version.

Anonymous said...

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don't quit and keep posting in all honesty , because it just simply good worth to read it,
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mimid3vils said...

While u drooling over ur good imagination I just feel weird to have savoury TFF =.="

sc said...

ooo, the U-Soya sounds good..especially the savoury ones.. i tried the tau foo fa with mince meat, spring onions and dried shrimps in harbin and am officially hooked to savoury ones :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

kenny, take your time to decide, bro. and it depends on the service provider too, i feel. detox? yikez, sorry bro. i guess to detox is to de-tox, eh? detox another day lah..hehehe.

j, haha, i still can't decide! lol!

pureglutton, yeah, it's a good companion when i take the train or bus too. and the fact that it's interactive makes it even more fun! ;D and i like clams too, especially the clean ones, i agree with you! check out this place! ;D

cumi & ciki, hehehe, wouldn't it be fun to have a biology retro night? i'll come as a...errm...can't think now..haha! aiyer, it's nice lah, the salty tau fu fah! trust the salty guy! :D

unkaleong, ooooh, that we do too! one of those activities that my ex-classmates and i really enjoy doing. when we are together, we're always 17 again! haha. woahhhh, sri aman. i havent met any but sure sounds good. :D

precious pea, ya lor, too bad i couldnt make it back to kl in time to catch up with you! hmmm, i see you in melbourne la! ;D have a safe flight back, precious pea. ;D

world of sekimachihato, hi! thanks for dropping by! ;D yeah, i think it's time for the explosion of savoury tau fu fah! for all you know, we might have the curry version next time! lol!

Nic (KHKL) said...

ai wei, ooooo, i forgot to order the har mai shang cheong last time! :( hmmm, more reasons to return, i guess....hehehehe....and omg, thank you so much on the U-Soya update! :D i've not been there for a few months and boom, it's closed down. i wonder where it's now relocated. the tff quite good, right? ;D thanks again for the info! ;D

chaokar, jomz!!!!!!!!! i havent had the honour yet to meet with you, the chef-photographer extraordinaire yet! ;D hmmmm, maybe perhaps i did meet you before, when i went to see snow white perform. jomzzzz in may! ;D

ck lam, yes, do give it a try! it think this style is also healthier and brings out the natural flavour of the clams. salt has this wonderful effect.

anonymous, wow, thank you so much for the compliment! ;D and thanks for dropping by. glad you enjoy reading my posts. food is indeed inspiring and i hope to be continously inspired. you have a great day too! and some good meals ahead. :D

mimi, haha, i know what you mean. but i felt adventurous that day and decided to give it a go. i think i liked it at first bite. ;D

sc, hi5! the taste of savoury tau fu fah is so comforting, right? gosh, i can imagine how wonderful it is to eat a bowl of savoury, piping hot tau fu fah in the sub-zero condition of harbin. glad to have found another savoury tff fan! ;D

qwazymonkey said...

Funny. I swear I left a comment.

Anyway, I never had a bunch of close friends from school. I think I just walked out of my school days with 1 close friend - who we seldom get to me nowadays. So it's cool ur still in touch with them and sharing such good food with them.

Wonderful story and the shots are making me jealous as usual. Still contemplating if I love or hate you now. :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

qwazymonkey, hmmm, maybe technical error la. i checked my mailbox but din find anything. no worries, bro! ;D

yeah, we are quite close, my ex-classmates and I. maybe cos our school is small, so we kinda know each other well. ;D

and thanks for the compliment! woah, liddat i must hate you for all the extraordinary comics you created d! hehe. see ya in may!!! ;D

Simon Seow said...

Always wanted to try the salty tao foo fa after watching it in Ho Chak but alas always no opportunity to visit Taman Segar.

Nic (KHKL) said...

simon, i was amazed by the loads of makans there as well! maybe we should do a food crawl there again! ;D

ai wei said...

no prob, keke...

aaaahhh, i miss sim hap ke's har mai shang cheong now ><

sherleen said...

U-Soya have closed down since last year :( so sad. I heard is due to the parking problem. Anyway i just found out their main branch in Penang and already established since 1993. Wow.... Their Tah fu fah simply the best. The smoothest TFF i ever tried. They few more new products like Pearl Soya Milk and Multi Grains TFF. Their Penang cafe is at 2-G-9, Perkaka Square, Lebuh Perkaka Satu, 11700 Gelugor, Penang (Opposite Tesco Extra). Check it out.