Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sago Worms

Article contributed by Kong Kay in conjunction of Merdeka Open House 2007: Muhibbah.

Sago Worms

Sago worms, a delicacy among the indigenous people of Sarawak. The worms thrives on the fell trunks of the Sago palm, The cultivation of Sago palm is found along the coastal plains of Mukah, Sarawak, whose inhabitants are mostly Melanaus.

The worms are eaten live, or just fried. And I'm sure there other treatments that can be done to the worms by other cultures. To eat live ones, hold (cleaned) one by its head, pop its wriggling body, tail first, into ones mouth, then bit at the tip of its head, jerk off its head, and throw away. Chew away! Its innards is creamy and tastes like rich creamy toffee; no eerie taste or smell as one would have imagined. If I'm not mistaken, this thing is full of protein.

The worms we had came with some sago dust from the trunk. To clean the worms, pick up each individual worm and shake off its dust; then rinse them in running water to remove any further particles of the sago dust. Let them dry of moisture.

Heat up a dry wok on medium heat. When the wok is hot, throw in the worms and toss and turn them using a spatula. When the worm are not wiggling - dead - they are done. Don't over fry them, because its inside will start to boil and will bust at its tummy. It tastes best when certain potions are slightly seared, making it crisp and crunchy.

One can eat it straight; it tastes good on its own. Or it can be dipped into salt before consuming. Processed Sago corns (like white peppercorn in the photo) are used as accompaniment; pop one worm into the mouth, chew a few times to release its cream, then pop a handful of Sago corns into the mouth. The mixture of the sweet powder of sago corn and the cream of the worm enhances the whole munching experience.

There's an urban legend that a native kid popped one live worm and swallowed the whole thing; imagine what the worm can do if it can bite into the hard trunk of the Sago palm. The kid never lived to tell the tale. The moral of the story, kid, is chew your food well!

The Sago worms were fried at stall no. 12, Pulau Babi Hawker Stall, Sibu. It's fried by the sixteen year old daughter of the proprietress, Justine.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Garden Seafood Restaurant (Halal)

Tanjung Malim, a town about 70km away from Klang Valley, is the very first town in Perak after the Perak-Selangor border. The town used to be a stop-over town for city folks when they travel up north via the trunk road. Today, with the North-South Highway, nobody seems to stop-over here anymore and it has turned into a sleepy town.

Speaking about food in Tanjung Malim, most people will know about the famous halal Hainanese Yik Mun pau which is located conveniently at the Tanjung Malim interchange.

However, Tanjung Malim is not just about pau :D Today, Loctor will be introducing a good restaurant, the Garden Seafood restaurant.

I have been introduced to this restaurant by my parents in-law and they claim that the food here is somewhat the best in Tanjung Malim due to its nice atmosphere, friendly service, cleanliness and of course, good food.

We took our seats and decided to order their fried dao gan (a vegetarian food made from beans) with mushrooms, lemon chicken and the butter fried fish fillets.

While waiting for the food to arrive, I checked out the decorations..

The walls are full of cuckoo and grandfather clocks all showing ten minutes past ten O’clock. Ha ha… lots of ’smiley faces’.

The place is really clean, and is divided into smoking and non-smoking area. The non-smoking area is air conditioned. Not bad at all. In the background soft music is played so that.. erm.. you get to swallow better? Woa ha ha ha ha…

Soon, our food arrived. The first would be the fried dao gan with mushrooms:

Stir fried with carrots and peas, the dish is absolutely delicious. The gravy is not too thick and very aromatic. The bite sizes dao gan is just nice to be eaten with white rice and a little bit of cili padi on the sides.

Next up the Lemon Chicken arrived.

Just by looking at it, you can’t help yourself but to quickly grab a piece and put it in your mouth. The lemon sauce mixes well with the deep fried chicken cutlets gives it a very nice tangy taste. The chicken meat is not too hard and the skin is deliciously crunchy!

Finally, our last dish the butter fried fish fillets.

Oh my, how can you not go hungry looking at this?

I’m not sure what fish was used but the smell of sweet butter mixed together with the crunchy fried soya protein is absolutely heavenly! Bits of lemon grass (i think) also helps to give the dish a very nice balanced taste.

Together with one pot of tea and 2 plates of rice, the bill came up to slightly below RM35 for two persons. Not bad at all for such a hearty meal!

I highly recommend this restaurant to you guys who think that Tanjung Malim is all about Pau only :D Woahahaha..

The restaurant’s other famous dish includes the Nyonya steamed fish, char koay teow and deep fried taufu amongst others.

To reach Garden Seafood restaurant, from the highway exit at the Tanjung Malim interchange, take the 2nd left turn into Tanjung Malim and go straight on till you see it on your right. You will have to make a U-turn to reach it so don’t worry when you passed the restaurant.

The address is: 7-8, Jln Wangsa Utama, Taman Wangsa, 35900 Tanjung Malim.

In case you would like to make reservations, please call 05-458 3398.

Oh… for gearheads.. the GPS coordinates are:

N 03° 41.895′

E 101° 30.807′