Category Archives: Eats

Breakfast @PulauTikusMarket

This market is one which is known for its slightly higher prices since it supposedly caters to the affluent community of Pulau Tikus.

The goods available never fail to thrill and amaze, ranging from the usual wet market offerings to even stalls selling organic products. Factory over run (branded) clothing items can be picked up for a song and over festive seasons, one can even find Spode and Royal Doulton (more factory overruns) tableware.

Meenaka had to come all the way from Singapore to introduce me to the soya sauce shop found in the market and I am now a regular shopper.

Here are some on-the-go breakfast options found on a weekday …

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Athene the Spice Girl

I met this purveyor of artisan spices two years ago at her “spice laboratory” in Relau on the island.

The warmth and bubbly personality matched her colourful and aromatic spices as did her passion for cooking and sharing food and recipes.

Faten Rafie (or Athene to family and close friends) is the force behind the ‘Athene Spices’ brand of artisan spice blends and rubs, which are designed and created for home cooks to make easy, yet exciting dishes.

They are all natural, free of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and MSG-free.

Just staring at the colourful contents of her bottled spices is enough to inspire the foodie in all of us and here’s why:

Her recipes are so easy to follow and end up looking like one has slaved for hours in the kitchen!

Befitting its premium tag, Athene Spices products are targeted at those with greater purchasing power and exposed to international cuisines, and also the health conscious, who do not want oil or sodium in the food they prepare and consume.

For this Ramadhan season, Faten has kindly shared some recipes below which include her famous spices which have found their way into Malaysian kitchens and restaurants at home and abroad.

Together with her businessman husband Azizi Hassan, Faten sources her spices like nutmeg pepper locally, and mix them into their distinct products with labels like Hot Chick Spicy Salt, Lemon Lime Pepper Salt, Mandy Spice Mix, Lebanese Za’atar, Moroccan Ras el Hanout and Hyderabad Biryani… to name a few, for retail and wholesale.

Check out her online spice shop at http://www.athenespices.com

If you are in Penang, her spices at stocked at both the Tropical Spice Garden’s gift shop at Teluk Bahang or The Tropical Spice Garden In the City store in George Town.

They make great gifts for Hari Raya open houses or to pop into a festive hamper.

(Images courtesy of Faten Rafie and NST)

E&O Iftar

As the holy month of Ramadan descends on us again, our Muslim friends will be preparing to fast (puasa) from dawn to dusk, while they also engage in more prayer and works of charity.

We in Malaysia are blessed to not only enjoy the public holidays for religious and cultural celebrations of our rich and diverse communities, but to also indulge in the food which are associated with each of the festivals.

One of the high points for me during Ramadan since I was a child was to look forward to the wide array of Malay `kuih` (cakes and desserts) sold at the Ramadan bazaars.

In more recent times, Ramadan has also spelt a time for me to catch up with my Muslim friends over the `Buka Puasa’ (iftar) meal.

Here in Malaysia we are spoilt for choice and because most people are working and are unable to get home in time to prepare the evening meal to break fast, they either pack food to take home or sometimes indulge in buffet spreads found in restaurants and hotels.

The heritage Eastern and Oriental Hotel (E&O Hotel) in Penang hasn’t failed to deliver yet again on a sumptuous `buka pausa’ feast this year.

The hotel’s Sarkies Restaurant is featuring the usual suspects of popular traditional Malay fare for its `Jamuan Barbuka Puasa’ buffet, in addition to its intercontinental offerings of Japanese and Italian favourites.

“The perennial Malay salad or `ulam’ to be complemented with an array of `sambal’ and sauces, is the perfect starter to the sumptuous meal for breaking fast,” says the hotel’s communication and public relations manager Eileen Chong.

“Our traditional must-haves like `biryani rice’, `rendang daging’, `ayam masak madu’ and `gulai ketam kampong’ are prepared by our seasoned chefs who have tapped into their familiar family recipes, handed down through generations.”

For the hotel’s international guests, the Ramadan buffet serves as a great introduction to Malaysia and her lip-smacking cuisines. For those who are fasting, what better way to break fast than to enjoy local staples like satay, ikan bakar (grilled fish), `roti canal` and `murtabak’ and to round up the meal with the assortment of Malay `kuih’ and the heart-warming `bubur kacang’ (mung bean porridge with coconut milk). For the rest of us, the meal is one we can share with our Muslim friends as a sign of solidarity and a good opportunity to catch up and bond.

The buffet is available daily from 17 May to 14 June, 2018 from 7.30pm to 10.30pm and priced at RM166 (adults) and RM83 (children).

Early birds take note: bookings made and paid before 23 May 2018 are entitled to a five full paying adults allows one person to dine for free deal (+604-222-2000 extn 3151/3139 or email fbcentral.resv@eohotels.com)

For those wishing to try their hand in cooking at home, below are two recipes courtesy of the E&O Hotel’s chefs …

Chicken Biryani

5 to 6 Persons

Ingredients

• 1 onion, thinly sliced

150ml vegetable oil

2½ tbsp sweet Pepper

1 tbsp each black peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds

2½ tsp each ground turmeric and ground chilli

¼ tsp finely grated nutmeg

3 cardamom pods

2 cloves

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick, broken into rough pieces

2 long dried chillies, broken
into rough pieces

1 fresh bay leaf

500g thick natural yogurt

½ cup each finely chopped mint and coriander, plus extra coriander
sprigs to serve

1½ tbsp finely grated ginger

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

6 chicken leg portions, halved
through the joint into thigh and drumstick

400g basmati rice

50g butter, diced

70ml milk

¼ tsp saffron threads

To serve: Fried shallots and fresh coriander

Method

• Fry onion in 120ml oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6-8 mins.

Transfer to a bowl and cool. Dry-roast spices, chilli and bay leaf over medium heat, then pound with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder.

Add to onion along with yogurt, herbs, ginger, garlic and 2 tsp sea salt and mix well.

Add chicken, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.

Spread chicken mixture in the base of a heavy-based casserole with a tight-fitting lid.

Bring rice, 20g butter, remaining oil and enough well-salted water to cover by 2cm to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Drain and spread over chicken.

Bring milk, saffron and remaining butter to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then pour over rice, cover with foil, then the lid.

Cook over low heat until rice is fluffy and chicken is cooked through (50 minutes-1 hour).

Stand for 15 mins without removing the lid, then serve hot, scattered with fried shallots and coriander sprigs.

Rendang Daging
Preparation time: 1 hour

5 to 6 Persones

Ingredients
1 kg beef Striploin, cut into 3cm chunks

For the beef Marination

2 tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)
2 tsp cumin seeds (jintan putih)
2 tsp fennel seeds (jintan manis)
1 tsp black peppercorns (lada hitam)
1 1/2 tsp salt (garam)

For the spice paste
200gr shallots (bawang kecil), peeled
10 garlic cloves (bawang putih), peeled
5 stalks lemongrass (batang serai), cut into segments
1” galangal root (lengkuas/galangal), peeled
1” old ginger (halia),peeled
½” turmeric root ( kunyit hidup), peeled

Other ingredients
1 tbsp red chili powder (serbuk chili)
10 pcs kaffir lime leaves (daun limau purut), snipped with scissors
2 tbsp palm sugar (gula Melaka)
8 pcs cardamom (buah pelaga)
5 pcs cloves ( bunga cengkih)
10cm cinnamon stick (kulit kayu manis)

For the coconut milk

1 coconut freshly grated – to yield 250ml thick coconut milk and 250ml thin coconut milk

For the kerisik

100g fresh grated coconut Squized

Salt, to taste

Method

1. Toast the dry spices (cumin, fennel, coriander seeds) in a wok over low heat until fragrant. Using a mortar (or grinder), grind the spices and peppercorn into powder. Marinade the beef with the spices and salt for 2 hours.

2. To make the kerisik, place the freshly grated coconut into a wok over medium heat and toast until it turns to a dark brown. Stir often, this will take about 10 minutes. Once browned, place the toasted Kerisik into a mortar pound oil released from the kerisik.

3. Place the spice paste ingredients into an electric blender with 3 tbsp of water and blend until you get a paste. (Note: The paste is a bright yellow colour)

4. Place all ingredients (marinated beef, coconut milk, kerisik, spice paste + other ingredients) into a large pot. Bring to the boil over medium high heat, and once boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer for 3 hours or until the rendang is dry and meat is tender and dry (Tock )

5. Season with more salt, as necessary, Remove and serve with rice or lemang.

On the fringes of the rainforest

Mr Crazy and Creative, Joe Sidek, returns to Borneo for the second edition of the Rainforest Fringe (RFF) in Kuching from 6 to 15 July this year.

“After a successful inaugural festival in 2017, this year’s RFF will showcase a wide range of cultural, contemporary, and traditional events representative of Sarawak’s exciting, complex and many-layered identity,” said Sidek, who has been synonymous with the George Town Festival for close to a decade.

The 10-day festival is set feature both local and international artists,performers, designers, photographers, and speakers.

“Sarawak has so much to offer. Apart from ecotourism, it is also renowned for its diverse cultural identities and traditions. The Rainforest Fringe Festival is all about Sarawak and is for everyone.

“It will be an exciting time for all to come together and be immersed in art, nature, history, tradition, culture and fun,” promises Sidek.

“This year’s RFF will be an all-inclusive and a complete sensorial experience,” he adds, saying that the programme includes:

• SARAWAK: The Indigenous Showcase – Opening the festival, Sarawak’s own creation presents a tapestry of Sarawak’s indigenous groups through dance, songs,

sounds and chants. The performance layers the traditional with the contemporary, featuring New York-based dancer and choreographer Raziman Sarbini.

Also performing will be the celebrated Kuching-born soprano Dewi Liana Seriestha, the first Malaysian to win the Miss World Talent title in 2014, and recently selected as icon and keynote speaker for International Dayak Culture Day in Indonesia.

• A performance of the Paiwan Tribe from Taiwan will add an international element to the evening. The Paiwan Tribe performance, one of Taiwan’s most interesting indigenous showcases, stars Hao-Hsiang Hsu, internationally famous actor (Life of Pi) and theatre director, and Paiwan ancient singer Seredaw Tariyaljan, who performed at the Pre-Grammy Party at the 55thGrammy Awards.

This performance combines cocoon, percussion instruments and aboriginal folk songs to present a pure aboriginal musical performance celebrating the beauty of the aboriginal culture of Taiwan.

• FIRST PEOPLE Party – Introducing the term orang asal, the “first people”; RFF celebrates indigenous Sarawakians with a party hosted at the Black Box, Borneo744. The night is a performance from the electrifying soul band Electric Fields, fresh from WOMADelaide and the Australian Performing Arts Market, alongside Sarawak’s own At Adau and Pete Kallang.

• BAMBOO THAT BINDS & WOOD – This interactive series of programmes, curated by Sarawakian Wendy Teo, aims to encourage innovative use of bamboo and wood:

• The “INSTRUMENT” – A Bamboo Musical Installation. A public interactive installation of bamboo in the shape of the angklung, with musical performances.

Wendy Teo will be working with Indonesian musicians Karinding Attack to create this site-specific music sphere.

• The CREATIVE FORUM welcomes international speakers: Filipino designer to the stars, Kenneth Cobonpue; Malaysian furniture designer Shahril Faisal, whose designs “evoke emotions, provoke thoughts and stimulate the senses”; Taiwanese artist Cheng-Tsung Feng, a designer who explores the contemporary potential in traditional utensils and materials; Indian bamboo textile designer Madhu Jain, a craft revivalist recently honoured by the President of India for her services in design; and Australian architect Jed Long, co-founder of Cave Urban, a collective formed to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design.

* The WORKSHOP – Redesigning Bornean Crafts. 20 days, six designers/craftsmen, three countries. Bringing together three designers from Thailand, three designers from Taiwan and local craftsmen to showcase what happens when international design embraces local craftsmanship. The design teams will combine their skills to create innovative new items over a three-week workshop in June and July, after which they will display their pieces at the festival.

• The MARKET – Borneo 744 plays host to the best of Sarawakian artisanal products: wood and bamboo designs and crafts, antiques, exotic plants, books, fashion, food, and more. For the first time, Big Bad Wolf comes to East Malaysia with their enormously popular book fair at the Market.

• The RAINFOREST STORIES – A set of screenings of films and documentaries that pay homage to Sarawakian culture. A highlight is the intriguing Lost Films series, films that have been lost into the archives, featuring Cinta Gadis Rhimba (director Datuk L. Krishnan), and introducing the Search for the Long House – a project to locate and screen The Long House (directed by Phani Majumdar).

“Making RFF a true sensorial experience, food will feature in our programme, and we look forward to announcing partnerships with local food establishments and putting indigenous and contemporary Sarawakian cuisine on an international stage,” said Sidek.

The Rainforest Fringe Festival (RFF) began in 2017 and is an annual 10-day celebration of the spirit and energy of Sarawak. Hosted in the heart of Kuching, the festival honours Sarawak’s eclectic culture and vibrancy of the land and the people through music, art, craft, film, photography, and design.

#rff #rainforestfringe #kuching #2018

(all but one image courtesy of RFF)

It’s baaaaaaaack!!!

The annual George Town Festival (GTF) returns for its 9th consecutive round with an international and local slew of events from 4 Aug till until 2 Sept this year.

“George Town will be a hub of entertainment and excitement with both free and ticketed shows available to audiences,” a press statement issued today said.

As in previous editions of the annual fest, the Penang Government has appointed Joe Sidek Productions Sdn. Bhd. to oversee the curation and management of GTF.

The appointed contractor today also expressed its thanks to the state authorities, Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang, the Penang Development Corporation, Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, Penang Global Tourism, and George Town World Heritage Incorporated for their continued support.

A ‘Call for Proposals’ for the fest which was initiated last October, has seen some 200 proposals both from Malaysia and abroad come in.

“We expect more will be forthcoming during this last week,” said festival director, Joe Sidek.

“In addition to online submissions, we have also been conducting ‘Proposal Clinics’ to encourage local creative individuals or groups to meet with us to help fine-tune their artistic ideas and to help them submit a proposal for the festival,” he added.

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium pops up in George Town

Penang’s first sawmill – The Saw Emporium – is set to morph into a clever multi-concept dining destination from next weekend till the first quarter of 2018, and tagged Swallow @ The Saw Emporium.

The 1950 art-deco heritage building and godowns along Jalan Macallum, are being transformed by lifestyle brand developers The Steamship Merchants into a pop-up multi-concept culinary and lifestyle locale.

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium is located within George Town’s UNESCO heritage core zone, within the 7 Streets Precinct (also known as ‘chit tau lor’) and will open its doors from November 10 at 6pm.

This new destination offering in Malaysia’s foodie haven (read:Penang) is being touted as a space where guest chef takeovers, pop up kitchens with interesting and creative food concepts, musicians, designers, craftsmen and community activities will feature.

The line-up of stars announced include Chef Teppei Yamashita, owner-chef of the 2017 MICHELIN Guide Singapore Bib Gourmand Man Man, who is bringing Teppei Syokudo to Georgetown, while TAPS Beer Bar, The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur 2017 Best Beer Bar, pops their craft beer bottles and taps. These heavyweights are being joined by SOi 55 Modern Thai Food, Embers Asian Grill, Qwenchers Juice Bar and more, within an industrial-themed heritage sawmill.

(All photo credits: Swallow @ The Saw Emporium @TheSawEmporium

The Eurasian Story

What better way to hear stories, discover or rediscover one’s roots and look to ways of preserving a once-glorious past, than through a celebration of culture, music and food?

The rich history of the Penang Eurasians and their significant contributions to the nation will be showcased this weekend through dialogues, the unveiling of a photo gallery, mouth-watering Eurasian cuisine and music.

The Eurasian Heritage Fiesta 2017 will begin on Saturday with a talk at 2pm on “Discover your roots to preserve Eurasian heritage” followed by the unveiling of a photo gallery at 4.30pm at the Penang Eurasian Association (PEA) House, 107-A, Solok Serani (off Jalan Kelawai), Penang.

Although the Eurasians and original residents of Kampung Serani no longer reside as a close-knit and vibrantly-rich Catholic community next door to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus today, the spirit of their music and parties continue to live on in the PEA House.

The fiesta this year is a collaboration between the PEA and organisers of the Eurasian Fiesta and is part of the 8th edition of the George Town Festival.

The Eurasian community is inviting the public to experience its unique ‘Serani’ cuisine and rich musical talents.

“The new photo gallery,” says the event’s organising chairman and former PEA president Datuk Aloysius Gasper, “will be a proud display of our Eurasian presence nationally and not just remain brief references in the history of Penang and the country.”

On Saturday, food lovingly prepared from recipe books of Penang’s Eurasian families and live music will be available from 7pm to midnight, while on Sunday the event is open from 5pm till midnight.

See you for a bite of sugee cake and pineapple tarts or a spread of devil curries and more this weekend at Kampung Serani in Pulau Tikus!

Here’s a take-away of recipes shared by the generous hearts of several Penang Eurasians …

(Images courtesy of Datuk Aloysius Gasper)