Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Fried Hockkien Mee - Kajang Story

If you look at the aerial view of Kajang Town, you will notice to the right of the roundabout and also the right of the Shell Petrol Station, that is the location of Kajang Bazaar and due to development they have all moved to various places like behind Mendaling Street and Medan Selera on the right of the Kajang Market. In those days other than Satay the other talk about food is the fried Hockkien Mee (thick chinese noodles). I use to frequent this busy restaurant called CHIN KEE RESTAURANT located in store no. 57, Kajang Bazaar. It also boast of a record dishing out a huge 80kg of Hockkien Mee in one night, that is roughly equivalent to serving about 800 person at this restaurant. Chin Kee Restaurant chief cook and proprietor was the late Mr. Low Lee Chin

Today you can savour this original taste of Chin Kee Restaurant style of cooking handed down to his youngest son Robert Low who operates a fusion of asian and western restaurant call FELICIDAD RESTAURANT & CAFE (please ask him what the name means) located at No. 75A Jalan 1, Taman Sri Langat, Jalan Reko. In the 60's my family and myself included used to frequent this hockkien mee along with other dishes which is just as tasty. In those days there weren't many food stalls and sometimes even at 2.00am when we feel hungry, we would just grab a bicycle and come out here to eat this favorite tasting mee (definitely better than instant noodle).

Robert Low who also happens to be my childhood friend is also a Yo-Yo expert who had traveled to countries like Japan, Columbia, China, Hong Kong, Brazil, USA, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Jordan, Thailand & Singapore to participate in Yo-Yo competition. He achieved a world ranking No. 8 at the 2000 Proyo Challenge in Phoenix, Arizona USA. While traveling, with cooking still in his blood he would always find opportunity to learn various types of dishes and one such dish is the Hungarian Goulash taught by an Austrian, Mr. Wolfgang.

Well I found his restaurant in a very unique setting compared to his fathers' and the Hockkien mee is still as good as before mmmmm. He decorates his cafe with Yo-Yos, and collections of his hobbies, interesting. We used to play yo-yo when we were about 12 years old, I stopped but he hasn't, imagine a elderly looking guy playing with yo-yo and if you talk about yo-yo ask him to show you his collection from antique ones to very high tech ones, about 700pcs in his collection. Well if you are not a fan of Hockkien mee you can always try the Hun....Gou.... gee...! I wonder how you pronounce it. If you were to ask around the older generation, I wonder whether they can still remember Chin Kee Hockkien mee.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broga - A Cool Place to Exercise, Fresh Air and A Great Scenic View

Broga village which is about 8km from Semenyih Town is situated in a valley surrounded by a range of hills on the left and right. The population here I was told by the locals consists of about 500 families living before WWII. Broga town was recently link to a controversial site for the building of a incinerator which spark a nation wide protest from locals to foreigner. To go there just take the trunk road to Seremban from Kajang, go past the Semenyih Police Station and just after the Petronas Petrol Station there is a traffic light, turn left go through a winding stretch of road. Along the way you will pass a sanctuary for the orphan and the aged managed by the Desa Amal Jireh Group (Jireh Charity Village), Which should be operational anytime soon). After that Taman Tasik Semenyih (residential housing area) is also on the left and soon you will come to Nottingham University Campus. You will soon notice a barren hill with a beautiful hilly backdrop. Popularly known as Broga Hill (click on this link for full map and Broga Hill Post)

The primary economic activities here are mainly farming (local vegetables), rubber plantations, palm oil, fishing ponds, fish farming, durian and lately dragon fruit. There is also a famous Broga Rock Temple where people come from near and far to seek divine help and intervention to their lifes. Among other things Broga used to be famous for is restaurant cook wild meat supplied by the orang asli nearby but now banned. Occasionally they may still supplied these illegal wild meat. During the months of June to September which is the durian fruit season and people will come here to enjoy the durians from special grade to the jungle grade. The prices here are reasonable and definitely delicious. There are many trekking trails which lead you to different hill peaks with different scenery and on top of the first Broga "botak" hill you can view the KL Tower on a clear day.

Every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays a group of friends will gather (Rock Temple car park) here just before 6.00pm to trek up the hills. The trekking time will usually take about 1 hour for try the reasonably fit and the normal around 1 1/2 hour. The starting point is at the Rock Temple car park (see top photo). They will walk about 1 km down hill and turn left at the rubber plantation. Another 1 km through the rubber trees and you will start ascending uphill for about 5 - 7 minutes, this will take you past some banana trees, durian, lime and other type of fruit trees. At the top of this first hill you can view part of the valley, you will be enjoying a good workout. Taking a short half minute breather continue the trek down a gentle slope along the rubber tappers trail before turning left steeply through large rocks and boulders. Here on wards for another 15 - 20 minutes it is a steep trek upwards, about 4 short hills before stopping on a flat terrain with various types of fruit trees. The altitude here is around 500 ft above sea level.

Here you can a good view of the valley with the sun setting on the west, sometimes the whole valley is lighted up with some areas cast in shadow. It is a wonderful view and sometimes breezy. From here another 15 minutes a slight uphill slope before a descending all the way to the view point behind the Rock Temple (see 2ND photo). Here you can view the whole of Broga in a panoramic 3D view. For those who still need additional work out can do it here before descending all the way to the car park. You can take a bath and change at the many bathrooms (male/female) located beside the temple. And the Rock Temple is also surrounded by many statues and a beautiful garden at the top. By nightfall the village becomes alive with many bicycles and motor bikes moving here and there. Usually we will have our dinner here before going home. Highly recommended is a little restaurant just beside the Rukun Tetanga Broga office which serves delicious Claypot Fish Porridge and others. Other restaurants nearby (air-con) are also recommended. A great place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of a little town Broga.

To join Friends of Broga for a good exercise or just to meet new friends and definitely for the young and old every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you can call
Mr. Wong +6012-2897223 or
Miss KC +6019-3339825.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Nasi Lemak - 10 cents p pack THE REAL THING - Pasar Malam Evolution

Back in 70's I could remember every Saturday night there will be this Saturday Night Market that was held in Old Kajang Town Hall at the very site where the new one is sitting. We would walk from home (about 10 mins) and with whatever shillings we saved would spent buying those delicious home make "kuih-kuih" for about 5 to 10 cents per piece. Rural and town folks would gather and set up their stores to sell these items ranging from kuih-kuih, tahu sumbat etc. to nasi lemak (click on the nasi lemak recipe link) (10 cents per pack YES!) and occasionally there would be all kinds of performers like snake charmers and kung fu display that will end up with selling herbs and herbal remedies.

Well today this Saturday Night Market has evolved into Pasar Malam and it is held every night. It has become a full time income for many of these so called night traders, some may be supplementing their income and for others it is a full time job and it can be very lucrative but it is hard earned money. Many types of items can be found in these pasar malam such as food, house hold items, decorative items, fruits, vegetables, tit bits, potted plants, toys (latest designs), latest movies (VCD/DVD) and songs (CD's) yes! and etc.
Prices are displayed (as required by law) and most of the time you can bargain for a price reduction. Depending on your bargaining skill you sometimes get good discounts.

Usually these traders would begin their day at around 5.00pm till 10.00pm and normally at any one time they would occupy the whole street sometimes even two or three street depending on the popularity of the area. They would come in all sizes of vehicles and occupy their favorite spot. Towards the evening when it gets cooler, people would start swarming over the whole area, loud shouts, music and generators would give the place an attractive feel. Customers, some come from near by residential houses in very very casual wear (the opposite when you walk in Mid Valley), some drive from far, some would leave very satisfied and some not so. By 11.00pm the whole area would be deserted and looking like one large dump yard with garbages strewn all over the place and stinks too. Contract cleaners would start cleaning up and usually by morning the place is clean up. Looks like they are here to stay for a long time to come and maybe further Evolution. From Mondays to Sundays they are over the place. Take your pick....

Monday - Bandar Teknologi Kajang, Broga, Serdang
Sg. Chua - comment by Jesmond thx!
Tuesday - Bandar Baru Bangi, Sungai Long

Taman Sri Langat Jln Reko - comment by Carson K.U. thx!

Wednesday - Semenyih (Garden), Asa Jaya
Thursday - Bandar Teknologi Kajang, Jasmin, Sungai Chua
Friday - Sungai Jelok, Balakong
Saturday - Semenyih Town, Bandar Baru Bangi, Bandar Teknologi Kajang
Sunday - Bukit Mewah, Kajang Utama, Sungai Ramal