Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Nyonya Weekend at Fun Bee Park

Next weekend on the 5th to 7th July is an exciting moment for food lovers in Brunei as Fun Bee Park organises Nyonya Weekend! Nyonya cuisine is a traditional culinary art, comprising of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cultures – an art which they say is dying as few know or passed down the best kept secrets of Nyonya cooking. I have to agree – Nyonya cuisine has been one of the difficult ones due to lack of publishing on this particular genre of cooking. How many of you had actually tasted good authentic Nyonya cuisine and tried to replicate it at home – only to realize there’s not much information on it?

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As a foodie I am very excited to announce that Fun Bee Park has invited a famous author and Nyonya cuisine expert, Pearly Kee from Penang to give a hands on cooking workshop to those who wanted to learn the secrets of Nyonya cuisine! She is the author of the cookbook – A Nyonya Inheritance – and the popular host of the highly rated Penang Homecooking Class in Tropical Spice Garden. She has taught people from around the world about Nyonya Cuisine and invited to host cooking classes in many countries.

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Pearly Kee’s cooking classes in Penang includes selecting fresh ingredients from the local markets – and is widely recognized and rated by many across the globe. She is well liked for her attention to detail on the little details that makes or breaks the dish – teaching one the flavours and essences of ingredients. The most important knowledge when it comes to cooking!

nyonya schedule

There are various workshops organised by Fun Bee Park to learn authentic Nyonya dishes for small groups. These workshops are hands on cooking classes and are limited to only a maximum of 8  per workshop! Better register before the slots are taken! Click on the image above for a better view.

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For those who are not into cooking but wish to sample authentic Nyonya cuisine can sign up for the Nyonya Night on 6th July Saturday Night for a 5 course Nyonya cuisine which includes mouth watering Kari Ayam Kapitan, the delicious Sambal Goreng - Prawns cooked in white sauce, cashews, lemon grass, tamarind and coconut cream served with spicy chili sauce – while enjoying cultural showcase of Nyonya costumes and accessories. Nyonya Night is limited to only 50 people – first come first served!

You can also join a morning culinary session on 7th July Sunday morning for a demo and tasting of the iconic Assam Laksa and Nasi Ulam, limited to only 50 people as well.

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Interested in learning how to make authentic Assam Laksa? Yes please! Sign me up! Below is an extract from one of Pearly’s cooking workshops in Australia.

“Everybody loves a bowl of Laksa and Pearly’s is a Nyonya Assam Laksa based on a very clean, spicey broth without the addition of coconut milk. The spice mix we prepared for this consisted of all the usual suspects like fresh turmeric, lemongrass, chillies and shallots. For some the introduction to prawn paste or belachan came with the initial shock of that nasty odour that comes with it, which one soon grows to accept as it is a key ingredient in not only this style of cuisine, but other Asian styles as well and the dishes cannot shine without it, as stinky as it is. For the stock we learned how to make our own tamarind paste, easily done by dropping the pods into some water to soak for a little while then gently squeezing the pods creating a lovely fresh paste, fresher and cleaner in taste to anything you buy off the shelves ready made. The stock also includes the use of ginger flower or torch ginger.  Most of us in the class had not even seen or used this very pretty herbaceous plant before and were excited to learn how to use and prepare the bud.  We all added it to our list of ingredients we could now identify and name next time we were wandering around the Asian food market. We used fresh tuna in this soup which keeps it very light and together with all of the various spices and herbs, makes for an extremely healthy dish. Coconut milk was optional apparently but I don’t think anyone missed it.”

See more about Pearly’s cooking class in A Tavola Cooking School at the winery in the King Valley - http://foodontap.com/article/pearly-kee-cooking-classes/#sthash.ybqV58iD.dpuf

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I would say this is a good opportunity to learn from a well respected expert in the art of Nyonya cuisine, which requires a lot of understanding and attention to detail. For those who love food, you get to try an authentic Nyonya home cooked meal specially prepared by the master herself. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Tickets for workshops and Nyonya Night are available for purchase from Fun Bee Park, Unit 6&7, Ground Floor, Sempurna Complex, Jalan Batu Bersurat and IA Salon, Mall, Gadong. Call 245 7729 or email mail@funbeepark.com for more details!

Pearly teaches in 2 places, one in Tropical Spice Garden and the other in her own home. Pearly homecooking school is rated in Tripadvisor as the number activity to do when visiting Penang. She also teaches in Tropical Spice Garden.
http://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Attraction_Review-g298303-d2414160-Reviews-Penang_Homecooking_School-Georgetown_Penang_Island_Penang.html


Pearly is on a quest to complete cooking 300 dishes within 30 month.
Her monthly dinners have limited to only 20 pax. Once a month, she cooks, serves and tell you story with nyonya tales of the past. Some makes the guest laugh loudly, some makes them shake their head in disbelief. So come and dine with Pearly if you are in Penang.
http://www.my-island-penang.com/Dine-with-Pearly.html


You also can read from many bloggers writing on her classes here, both TSG and her Penang homecooking class at home.
http://www.my-island-penang.com/Penang-Media.html

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Brunei Restaurant Review: Best Laksa (Curry Mee) In Brunei

After a good food trip from the town that gave you the iconic assam laksa and curry mee (which to me is curry laksa), I wondered where one can find good curry mee in Brunei. There are various types of laksa – the Assam Laksa of Penang, The Curry Mee (Curry Laksa) of Penang, The Kuching Curry Laksa and The Singapore style Curry Laksa.

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In this blog post, we’re not going to talk about Assam Laksa. Instead we’re going to check out my favourite version of Laksa, which is loaded with spicy laksa paste and santan: the iconic Curry Laksa or Curry Me. I had quite a few curry mees in Penang – the famous Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee and the Hot Bowl White Curry Mee

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The Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry mee has fresh cockles, prawns, squid, tofu pok and a generous serving of coagulated pigs blood, a love it or hate it – tofu like texture blood.

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The famous Hot Bowl White Curry Mee in my opinion has better tasting pigs blood (better texture) and you can adjust how much curry paste you wish to add. It’s pretty good. In my opinion, is the better tasting of the two Curry Mees – or Curry Laksa. One then ponders – do we get good quality Curry Laksa in Brunei – the answer is yes – and you’ll be surprised to hear that I actually preferred the one in Brunei ~~ where is this delicious place you ask? Read on to find out!

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Step forward Restaurant Soon Lai (Aliran Maju) – home of the delicious Curry Mee. This restaurant is located in Menglait, just opposite the recently burned down spare parts shop in Gadong (near the shell station). Another landmark is that it’s below restaurant Kimball restaurant (formerly known as Big Thumb restaurant).

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One look at the cockles and you can see it’s pretty raw! The laksa is pretty much piping hot, so if you don’t like your cockles raw, just mix it all in to slightly cook it. This in my opinion is better than the two famous curry mees in Penang. Don’t believe me? Give this a try!

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They also serve Hokkien Mee (Prawn noodles) which are pretty good but not up to Penang’s standards yet. A great dish with good prawn soupy flavours nevertheless if you are looking for a lower calorie version while dining with friends in this restaurant.

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Jun and Ying enjoyed their Curry Laksas ~~ do check out this place! Please take note that this restaurant is a non halal restaurant.

In my next post, I will reveal another place for good Claypot Singapore Laksa!

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Kota Kinabalu Food Guide For Tourists – walking distance from Centrepoint–Fatt Kee Kopi Tiam

For this post – I introduce another great place to eat specially for tourists staying around Imperial Boutech Hotel, Warisan Square, Centrepoint, Suria Sabah or Gaya Street areas. Want to know where’s THE BEST CHICKEN WINGS IN MALAYSIA? I had sampled famous wings from Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and none of them can compare to this place’s chicken wings. Friends from around the world had tried and commented on how much they crave for the chicken wings ~~ I present to you – Fatt Kee Kopi Tiam (the restaurant below Ang’s Hotel)

 

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People usually recognise this restaurant as the Ang’s Hotel restaurant – but the real name is actually Fatt Kee Restaurant. As you can see – this place can be pretty packed and you usually have to queue or wait. They are open for lunch and for dinner.

 

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The actual signboard of this delicious place ~~

 

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During the busy Lunch service, they don’t do ala carte orders. Instead most of the food are already prepared and laid out for you to select and choose. You can pick three dishes and they will be served with rice and soup. Their famous wings are of course on the menu and I must mention they serve very delicious eggplant dish as well! I can understand this because people usually do takeaways or just have quick meals during lunch. I usually come a bit earlier – like just right before they’re about to open so I could get a seat for lunch.

 

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At dinner time is where you can order your dishes. The MUST order dish is their oyster sesame sauce chicken. It looks very simple but it’s very delicious. Be prepared to eat with your hands as you munch through a mountain of these. I personally can eat 8 to 10 cuts of these wings on my own! I regard them as one of the BEST Chicken Wings in Kota Kinabalu and Malaysia. Even the famous Jalan Alor Chicken Wings pales in comparison – don’t believe me? Order and be amazed!

 

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They also have various soups such as this chicken herbal soup. Very refreshing and tasty.

 

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Japanese Tofu with egg sauce

 

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Oh yummy braised pork trotters! Soft gelatinous fatty skin for the win!

 

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Fermented Tofu (Foo Yee) Romaine Lettuce (Yau Mak) is a good choice too!

 

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A meal in Kota Kinabalu is never complete without ordering their SABAH CHAI – crunchy and delicious – ranks number 1 in my vegetables list!

 

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Last but not least is their Assam Curry Fish which goes super well with steamed rice! A MUST order dish along with the chicken wings! Super delicious!

 

Fatt Khee Restaurant

Below Ang’s Hotel

Jalan Pantai (Opposite Wisma Merdeka)

Opens for Lunch 11:30 till 2 then dinner from 5:30 till late

Map Below shows directions from Warisan Square Imperial Boutech hotel to Ang’s Hotel Fatt Kee Restaurant. About 11-12 minutes walk. The best part is that it’s just next to Sin Khee Bah Kut Teh ! Click on the link to check out this delicious Bah Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Herbal Soup)


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