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.
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
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+60) 12 3235688 / (+60) 12 319 3381
39, Jalan Manis 3
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (+60) 12 408 6604