Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Redang and Redang Kalong Chapter 2 Volume 1

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Over 500km later we s pull into our embarkation point.

"That was sudden" remarks Kathleen who was riding with us in our car.


She was right. We had been zipping through a quaint little village when the jetty just pops into view round the corner.

We stop. We unload our luggage. And after a quick snack, the boat arrived and we were on our way, thumping our way accross a green gray sea set against a steel gray sky.


If we had been standing on the bow we would have been on the receiving end of needles like spray from sky and sea. It was a heavy drizzle.

As the fibreglass boat flexed and heaved it's way accross the water, I was filled with an excitement to see Redang Kalong and it's people again. We had so much fun there the last time and we all looked forward to what we considered a well deserved break.


Ah Xiang, T aka The Dolphin Man (says he as he takes a puff and sits his arse next to me), A.B., had all entered our consciousness as people who were passionate about their lives and loved what they do. It is soul food to be in their midst.


Tagged - my favourite food.

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

More than a month ago, I was tagged. Wmw decided to "tap me on the shoulder," figuratively speaking of course, and "encourage" me to write about my favourite food. Wmw, I'm sorry it's taken this long, but I guess, better late than never.

Now, if you know me, you know I live to eat. There's something about good food that makes my blood course more easily through my veins and my thoughts to move more easily through my mind. Though, sadly, that will have to be modified somewhat. I just got my bloodwork back and my cholesterol has gone up. Sigh! Must. Be. Positive.


In any case, that's not going to stop me from enjoying my life. It's always been a particular tenet of mine that when you're handed lemons, make lemonade!

Back to the food.

Food is the most glorious thing on earth. It's one addiction I can live with. All this psychobabble about being addicted to food and how it could kill you is just that...psychobabble. I thoroughly agree that one has to watch one's health. But one also has to stop and smell the roses. And food is such a glorious red rose. As long as you're mindful of it's thorns, you could carress it, inhale it's fragrance, and enjoy it for a long time.

How do I choose my favourite food without betraying every other dish I have had an affair with? Roast Pork with crackling? Babi Guling from Bali? Gorgeous Maguro? Sweet, sweet, ama ebi? Even century egg with lashings of pickled ginger. How could I say you weren't at one point, my favourite? Laksa Lemak? Prawn Mee? Wagyu Beef in any combination? Roast Chicken with a flavoured butter rubbed UNDER the skin so that the skin is crisp? Panna Cotta? Creme Caramel? Currydevilsemurtriflesaltbeefwithasideofpicklesalttongueroastlambwith
mintsaucebuahkluakwithribs?WHITE RICE WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Where oh where do I begin?

Finally I decided that my favourite food needs to be one which I could eat EVERY DAY and not be tired. Whether or not I bloat up to the proverbial blimp (blimpier than now at any rate) or my blood cholesterol shoots through the roof is besides the point. The point was, could I eat it every day and still be clamouring for more?

And so, that brings me to my favourite food of all time; TA DAH...CHAR KWAY TEOW.


At it's best, Char Kway Teow is an analogy for the best that our country has to offer. A diverse palate, great ingredients, a coming together of all different colours (the white of bean sprouts to the blood red of "see hum" and the vibrant green of chives) in a well mixed dish. All seasoned with generous helpings of an ingredient which isn't even local; fish sauce. Some also add "larp cheong" or chinese sausages and of course the ubiquitous prawns. Large and small.

It's never the same when it's fried at home because we don't have those huge bunsen burners that they use to fry it with in coffee shops. That level of heat can only be generated if you have one of those huge fires. The flame itself should be an intense blue and not an insipid yellow. The wok needs to be flaming hot and, preferably, still coated with the oil of the last fry. The first wisps of smoke should be rising from the oil and you should see the mirage shimmer in the oil before things start to be added.

Then everything goes in post haste. Garlic first. Smell the aroma. Inhale that nutty sweetness that is released only when the garlic cosies up to heat.

Sambal Belacan next. Everything becomes more intense as the heat transforms the chilli into an almost heavenly choking, clawing it's way up your nostrils.

At this point, prawns are tossed in, which, in a second or two metamorphose into a shade of coral akin to the most beautiful gemstones. Bean sprouts, flat noodles or kway teow (or as the hongkies would say "hor fun" - never say kway teow in Hong Kong) and chives are then thrown in. The mixture is pushed to the cooler part of the wok and another ladlefull of oil is whipped over into the wok and allowed to shimmer. An egg is cracked in complete with sizzle and it is dry fried for a bit before everything is combined and with a final flourish, seasonings are applied. Sometimes soy sauce, sometimes fish sauce. Lots of pepper.

And just before everything get's plated the blood red mussels are mixed into the melange where residual heat cooks them...barely.

All this is pushed onto a plate. At the "best" coffee shops it is almost frisbeed accross to you. You can already savour it on your tongue. That almost unctuous, rich, flavour redolent of every seafood combination that you've ever experienced, tempered by the crunch of the bean sprouts and the warm herb garlic bite of scallions. If the "see hum" is not cooked through (like some people like it) you can taste the meaty rust of the undercooked blood rising to the back of your palate. A tinge of bitterness that contrasts beautifully with the glorious richness of the rest of the flavours.

Which is why I feel it's the perfect analogy for our young country. All of us were pushed together onto a plate with hardly a choice. Coming from North, South, East and West. Each ingredient adding to our richness and at our best, we are exactly like a plate of Char Kway Teow. A rich, hearty, melange of flavours. Equally at home in the best restaurants and best tables in any part of the world. With nothing in our hearts but to be a filling lunch or to brighten someones day through their tastebuds.

No one flavour jostling anyone out of the mix and each contributing to the larger whole. Without one, the flavours wouldn't be quite so complete nor would they be as interesting.

All this begs the question. Why oh why, can't we just be more like a plate of Char Kway Teow?

The Following text is copied

Proposition: What is your favorite food in your state or country? Requirements: Find some info about the food and show delicious pictures of it. Quantity: FIVE PEOPLE. Tag Mode: You leave their blog and post link and add to the list below.

Mybabybay loves Asam Laksa from Penang, Malaysia

JustMyThoughts loves Penang Char Koay Teow

My Lil Venture loves Laksa Sarawak

Monterssorimum loves Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun

Chinnee loves Melaka Wan Tan Mee

PeimunLeah loves Hakka Lei Cha

Hui Sia


Karen loves Pan Mee

Something about Lai loves Crispy duck skin from China

Simple American loves Cheese Enchiladas

Nicole Tan loves Char Tau Kueh

Velverse loves Otak-otak

Kenny Ng loves Jawa Mee

Fatty Poh loves Nasi Dagang Kelantan

wmw loves Kuih Tutu.

Nigel loves Char Kway Teow

I tag the following 5;


jaded poetry
book of John

Fogal's Meat Market

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

In KL, the best places to get the meat you need is a wet market. I firmly believe in this.

Whenever I need pork for my roast pork, I go to the Bangsar Wet Market and find my friend the "chuee yoke loh." Heaven knows what his name is. I've asked him a couple of times. But he says "kiu ngor "chuee yoke kor" tuk ke le."

In any case, the pork I get from him for my char siu, roast pork, or what have you is usually divine. Just enough fat and marbling.

With that in mind, I was truly awed when I saw what Fogal's Meat Market in Plaza Damas had to offer. My friend, P, had recommended this place before but it wasn't till we were to help a friend, J, move his antique cabinet that we actually had the chance to dine there.

Not only does Fogal's sell meat but they also serve good, hearty, very Australian inspired food.

The meat they sell is brought in to Malaysia from Australia and raised in Kluang. On their own farm and with their own processing facilities. They feed their livestock whole grain for a few months before they slaughter and process them. This from Dave. One of the chaps I was talking to at Fogal's. Friendly fellow.

Since then, I've been itching to go back to try their meats and sausages ( which are all made in the store.)

For Brunch on Sunday though, J, Allan and I had some really good food. If you're a carnivore, this is the place for you. Even if you're not, there are offerings aplenty in a menu that is surprisingly extensive.

With wines even!


Iced Coffee
Allan's Kebabs - tender, meaty, and juicy - great seasoned fries, slightly crunchy on the outside but warm and fluffy in the middle
J's pies. Didn't try them but from where I was sitting it looked moist and filled. Not half empty.
My Lamb burger. A bargain at RM13.00. Thick, juicy, meaty patty redolent of lamb but not overpoweringly so. The Cole slaw was home made and fabulous. Not gunky and gooey but lightly coated with the mayonaisse dressing. And they substituted my chips with a green salad. So I was feeling extra virtuous.

Fogal Meat Market
N-1-4 Plaza Damas
Above Hartamas Shopping Center
Jalan Sri Hartamas
Tel: 03 6201 3206
6201 3306

The Happiest "Happy" Couple ;-)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Check it out for a laugh! Think Lego meets Avenue Q.

The Golden Compass

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Went to sooyin's site and read about The Golden Compass movie website. I've read the books and absolutely loved them. And can't wait for the movie.

In any case, on the website you can also find out what your "daemon" is. Go to the following link and you'll find out what a "daemon" is. This is Allan's daemon.

And this is mine.


By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

The minute we walked in I knew we were in for a treat. The ambience is cool, contemporary, but all about the food. Not about entertainment. Actually the restaurants that rely on a "concept" annoy me at times. They're fine for a bit of fun but the glitz sometimes is a mask for food which is ordinary at best.

But not with Sassorosso
Carol, the owner/manager with a bottle of Brunello
The entrance to Sassorosso
A comprehensive selection of Grappas
I'm reviewing the food in the order the pictures presented themselves. Cheesy Cinnamon Creme Brulee. Not my favourite. Creme Brulee conjures up images of smooth buttery custard baked to untuous dolloping consistency when you spoon it out. It's usually not quite as firm as Creme Caramel. But it is richer. This wasn't. It had the texture and taste of ricotta and while that is something I like very much (I could eat ricotta with honey all day) it's not something I enjoy in a Creme Brulee. I guess expectation is everything.
Sassorosso's Tiramisu. Gorgeous. The Mascarpone was whipped to a feather light confection and sandiwiched with a sponge finger and a wafer dusted with good cocoa, it was heaven. Flavour was balanced but the alcoholic in me would have loved an extra dash of tia maria.
The grill station in the glassed off kitchen
The Cignale paired up with the 1st course. Lovely pairing.
Brunello was another gorgeous hearty Italian red.
Andrea's 3way duck. Duck Breast, Duck Ravioli, and Duck Confit. Loved it!
Dad's Ossubucco.
Cuz's Prawn Pasta.
IMG_2103.jpgSassorrosso's white pizza...puglie..something ;-)

This was amazing. A smoked Lamb Ham. *conspiratorial whisper* Tastes EXACTLY like prosciutto/parma ham BUT it's PORK FREE! ;-)
Dad's Mushroom soup with a white truffle infusion
Cuz in law's Mussel stew...yum
Cuz's parmigiano - very inventive - used zuchinni, eggplant, and one other

Yummy Sardinian Flatbread

Ninja Jones

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Time flies when you're working or having fun. This post has been in my drafts for almost a month now. In any case, it was still a fun night and worthy of a post. So here it is.

The RSVP Klue dinner was held in Ninja Jones. The food was decent (I'm not going into a huge dissection of how it went) but it was barely enough. It was fun hanging out with Lianne, Boo, Lyrical Lemongrass, Splashie Boy, and Bald Eagle.

Now, I'm usually suspicious of restaurants with "entertainment" settings like gimicky costumes because I've always felt that it distracts you from what should be the true star. Sure, a proper environment and setting for the food sets up the appropriate expectations but beyond that, ninja costumes and masks were, well, IMHO a bit excessive.

Having said that, we also had the opportunity to meet up with msiagirl who turned out to be a real gem.

I only really had one complaint; the salmon was overcooked. It was another laugh a minute night.

Splashie Boy
Bald Eagle

Blink of an eye

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

It's been 3 weeks of weddings, training, events, and negotiations. Needless to say, by the end of the day, I'm usually just too glad to fall face first onto my pillow and take the bus to dreamland.

It's been a lot of fun, but it also meant that updating my blog was something I had to put on the back burner. Having said that, there are a couple of blogs in drafts which I need to finalise and put up as soon as possible. Hopefully by tonight. As I finally have a moment to myself.

Poor Allan has been working so hard that his body finally told him enough is enough and decided to develop the flu. He's at home resting as I type this. So bear with me/us and we'll get round to relating some events that has been of some significance to us.

And wmw, I haven't forgotten that you've tagged me. Heart and hugs for being so patient.