A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
This morning, I was late for work by more than an hour due to a number of accidents on the highway. Several things frustrate me daily, but in this instance, the lack of consideration and the egotistical nature of certain drivers irked me. If you hit a car in front of you, for Pete’s sake, move to the side of the road and negotiate lah. Don’t stop in the middle of the highway, centre lane, no less, and assume that the world stops for you just because you have a tiny dent on your rear bumper. I. Don’t. Care.
When we bought our place in Bukit Jelutong many many years ago, traffic was a lot more bearable. Now, the sheer number of cars on the road coupled with an increase in the number of inconsiderate drivers makes it a nightmare for me to drive to work every morning. I normally say a prayer before I start my journey. In addition to the usual request for world peace and an end to global hunger, I pray for the roads to be clear so that I may make it to work within half an hour. Based on my recent experience on the roads, I can only postulate that God has a queer sense of humour.
I seem to be lacking constants in my life. Change is good, but not when it’s about a worsening traffic condition. Another constant I am missing is my hair colourist, Randall. It was an affair that brought out the glow in my skin and made rainbows out of my grey days. Now, Taiwan owns him.
If Taiwan has my Randall, then we, Malaysians, have Jeanie, a Taiwanese who made Malaysia her home thirty years ago after falling in love with and marrying a Malaysian chef. Together, they started New Formosa, and to this day, business has been brisk. I was first introduced to this place several years back by my blogging idol, Boo. I remember enjoying the dishes, one of my favourites being the Butter Eel, which was fried in a crispy, sweet batter. Another dish which caught my fancy a couple of years back was the steamed crabs in unpolished rice. The rice was so fragrant and tasty that I wrote on my blog that this dish would be forever etched in my memory.
Thanks to Jeanie, we were introduced to the Chinese New Year menu, a delightful mix of decadent ingredients that made up the Chinese New Year requisites. How can one say no to the Fu Lu Shou soup (a Taiwanese traditional Fo tiao Qiang Monk Jumping Over The Wall) which contained a variety of expensive ingredients in a herbal soup – dried baby scallops, shark’s fin, sea cucumber, fish maw, chinese mushroom, yam white cabbage, spare ribs, diced chicken, wolfberry, dried longan, bamboo membrane and shao xin wine. We agreed that it was a steal at only RM36 a bowl.
My favourite Butter Eel formed part of a two-combination dish together with Dried Oysters in a special sauce. (RM48) The dried oysters were particularly intense in flavour, but because of this, one could either love it or hate it. I loved the Gingko Ham (Hunan’s special traditional ham dish) (RM45) which was served with bread. This reminded me of the dried meat sandwich that one could buy off the road in the old days, although the ham was of a far superior quality. The preparation of the ham is tedious, as it is steamed for a prolonged period to remove the salt.
Feng Sha Ji (roast chicken) reminded me of a turkey at Thanksgiving, all dressed up and stuffed, although this chicken was roasted with red scallions and stuffed with “eight treasures” (including chestnuts, dried shrimps and rice). The chicken was very flavourful and moist. We were also served a yam and duck tart, which was already sliced into individual portions. The duck was steamed for two hours, after which the bones were removed, the meat extracted and then mixed with flour to make this dish. The Steamed Giant Grouper (Nian Nian You Yu – every year has extra fortune) was served with black fermented soy beans and minced ginger and garlic. Very tasty. I’m still waiting for extra fortune to come my way, but why be greedy? I shall be satisfied with just good traffic daily.
For desserts, we were served an assortment of puddings (mango, green tea aloe vera, honey and custard) and Or Nee (sans pork lard, hence the skinny version) which is a yam and gingko creamy confection. There was also a live performance treat where fried pieces of yam coated with sesame seeds, honey and maltose were plunged into iced water resulting in a hardened and crunchy/brittle surface. In the process, long threads of hardened sugar formed over the skin, like ice sculpture pieces. They were not just things of beauty; they were also extremely delicious.
A picture speaks a thousand words, they say, so I shall leave you with several thousand….
Note: The featured menu is available until February 28 2010. The restaurant is open throughout the CNY period. For other delectable goodies, check out their website.
New Formosa Restaurant
46, Jalan SS2/24,
47300 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7875 1894, 7875 7478, 019-335 3274.
Business hours: 12 noon to 3pm, 6pm to 10.30pm.
Closed from the 16th to the 19th day of the first Lunar month.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.