A Malaysian Blog about Food, Family and Friends – by Lyrical Lemongrass
Smokin’ SOB asked me a couple of days ago why there were only 2 or 3 different vegetable dishes in an indian mixed rice stall. Was it because indians don’t enjoy their vegetables? Or was it just our minds telling us that vegetables are vegetables only when they are green and leafy and recognisable?Having grown up in a home where eating was an art form, I never noticed the lack of vegetables. I remember mum forcing me to finish up the sawi, or else! (rotan hanging nearby).
So coming back to the question of vegetables, what do indians eat?? Popular indian vegetarian dishes include fried sliced eggplant, crispy bittergourd chips, dhall curry, vegetarian kurma, lentils and vegetable curry and tomato chutney. And this is in addition to the usual no-brainer stirfries (my only specialty in this fast-forward world ). What makes indian vegetarian dishes special is the addition of a multitude of spices to tempt the palate. I remember the fragrant smell of popping mustard seeds in the kuali mixed with garnishes of sliced onions, ginger and curry leaves as mum whipped up a seemingly simple looking vegetarian dish.
Which makes living in Malaysia really wonderful. The variety of styles of preparation, be it chinese or indian or malay or japanese, ensures that one never really gets bored of the selection of foods we have here.
The traumatic experience of my childhood has guaranteed my eternal hatred for sawi, but I will always appreciate the effort mum put into making her dishes more-than-edible. The secret ingredient? Love. Can’t beat that.
What’s with Malaysian establishments and their unimaginative names? La Cucur, De View, and now De Foodland.Well, I’m certainly glad I don’t judge a restaurant by its name. We decided to go there on a Friday night (3 November) on the recommendation of our worthy leader, Ecstatic Eeyore. Now, if you’re the kind of KL-ite who only knows how to get to KLCC, Starhill Gallery, Lot 10, 1 Utama, Berjaya Times Square and Sunway Pyramid, I can guarantee that you will have some trouble locating the place. But then again, perhaps it was due to the fact that Eeyore, who was also the driver, decided to take us there using the scenic route, via Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara and a huge indonesian settlement past the shiny roofs of Mont Kiara. To save you the hassle, here’s the map:-
De Foodland doesn’t look half bad. Corner shop occupying 2 lots, big green signboard, huge picture of crab above the big green signboard, white walls, white floors, lots of white lighting, relatively clean. Splashed on the walls is the restaurant’s entire menu. Imagine crabs cooked in 31 different styles. Marmite crab, cantonese style steamed crab, light soya sauce crab, special taste (??) crab, black pepper crab, hot & spicy crab, sweet & sour crab, kam heong crab, black stout crab, kong pao crab, curry crab, pepper salt crab, stir fried crab, cheese crab, fragrant flower crab, pan fried crab, creamy mushroom crab, fermented black bean crab, creamy butter crab, mee hoon fried crab, nyonya crab, crispy butter crab, ginger & spring onion crab, steam crab with chinesewine, vietnamese style crab, claypot creamy crab with vermicelli, claypot drunken crab, steamed crab with yellow wine, claypot yellow wine crab, salted egg yolk crab and claypot tomyam crab. Whew! Try saying that in one breath. If you’re successful, you can either audition for the opera – I hear they’re looking for an aria singer who can hold her breath, or volunteer at the local swimming pool as a lifeguard. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, crab aficionados, Pretty Pui and Bouncing Barbie, were delirious. The four of us finally settled for 3 dishes of crabs – Creamy Butter Crabs, Crabs cooked in salted eggyolk and steamed crabs cooked in chinese wine – and Seafood Noodles.
(A word of caution: Despite having a professional photographer in our midst, these photographs were taken using the writer’s cameraphone. Food may not look appetising due to the fact that these are pictures of the remnants, taken up close, to make them look like the entire dish. The Makan Club apologises for the photographs and looks forward to an invitation from the owners of De Foodland Seafood Restaurant for a free tasting session and we assure you that our photographs will look 300X more pleasing.)
The creamy butter crabs dish was a little different from those we had tasted in other restaurants, mostly due to the addition of ginger in the recipe. I would have enjoyed it more had I not formed certain expectations of the dish. But Eeyore, Pretty and Barbie will all attest to the fact that I was literally slurping up the sauce. Well….then again, I was slurping up all the sauces and soups…yummy!If you like salted eggyolk, you will certainly enjoy the crabs cooked in salted eggyolk. This is a rather dry dish, but the chef was liberal with the salted eggyolk.
Pretty, Eeyore and Barbie all thought the steamed crabs cooked in chinese wine was the best of the lot. Consume it while it’s still hot. The steamed crab flesh was fresh and sweet and the chinese wine was the perfect complement to the dish.
The 3 dishes of crabs cost us RM152, while the seafood noodles was RM20. The entire bill came to RM195.30. For four people, with an allocation of 1.5 crabs each, the bill was quite reasonable.
Would we go back there again? Certainly. I most definitely want to try the remaining 28 styles of preparation. But I’m not driving.
De Foodland Seafood Restaurant
No. 25 & 27, Jalan 3/62B, Bandar Sri Menjalara, 52200 Kuala Lumpur.
Tue – Fri 10.30am – 2.30pm, 4.30pm – 11.45pm
Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 10.30am – 11.45pm
There is a saying that goes “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink”. That has certainly not been too much of a chore for me as my “eating companions” literally appeared before my eyes at a time when I was wondering who my new friends would be during a time of change that took place some time in the middle of 2006. In addition to the faithful loyals, Pretty Pui and Bouncing Barbie, we met several chaps who shared the same passion for food as we did, people who carried out enigmatic discussions on the virtues of char siew with or without honey; people who believe that food is an important part of a balanced diet.
Having established a Makan Club and having identified 80-odd eating places (I don’t call them restaurants as some of them are merely wooden structures designed to prevent the bird-droppings from falling into that bowl of pan-mee), it seemed only appropriate to document our adventures and relive them every couple of months. Yes, I do have a memory of a goldfish (to quote Finding Nemo…a classic!), so this is for me and for everyone who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
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.