SeeFoon gets Crabby yet again in Ipoh Garden East

One can count on one hand the number of restaurants that serve superlative Chinese food with a consistency that only a few other restaurants in Ipoh have managed. Crab House is one of them.

Opening less than four years ago, it was the new kid on the block amongst the giants in Chinese cuisine in Ipoh like Overseas Greentown, Mun Choong both Pasir Puteh and Horley St. (Pusing Public), and East Ocean Menglembu.

Today, Crab House has established its own niche on the Foodie scene and not only has it expanded into two shop lots with a private room upstairs, but it is constantly coming up with interesting new dishes to tantalise your palates.

A group of us had the pleasure to sample some new dishes recently, prepared by Chef W.S. Wang and a new Chef, Teng Gee Seong who in addition to being a wok master, is also an artist with flour, butter and other edible ingredients and has won numerous awards for his artistic displays in various culinary competitions in China, Japan and SE Asia.

Chef Teng who has worked in Singapore, Sarawak and Brunei, has many accolades to his name amongst which is being listed in 2006, whilst working in Indonesia, in the Guinness Book of World Records for his 50 metre Butter Carving called “Eyes of the Dragon”, a record that remains unbeaten till today.

Today, Chef Teng keeps his artistic skills honed while conjuring up new dishes as the concept chef for Crab House and still comes up with amazing creations like those featured on this page.

According to him, his flour sculptures which are made with merely flour, sugar and water, can take up to five years to air dry after which they can last up to 100 years without disintegrating. Now that is what I call durability.

Crab House is of course well known for their large Indonesian Crabs which are prepared in any style you may choose. My favourites are the Salted Egg and the stuffed glutinous rice preparations, made especially yummilicious if the crabs have roe. Crabs now go for RM95 a kilo.

Naturally we couldn’t have had a meal without crabs and this time, it was even more refined than ever. Stuffed crab claws were very fresh, off the shell, coated with a thick layer of fish cum meat mousse, deep fried and served with a touch of mayonnaise. RM10 per piece.

We then had a grass carp haruan cooked in rice wine with ginger and cloud ear mushrooms, the carp because it was wild caught, had nary a whiff of muddiness, the rice wine lending a sweet touch to the soft fresh fish meat and the cloud ear providing a velvety crunch to the combination. Carp at RM45 per kg and wine additional at RM18.

The Yeen Yeong Fatt Putt or Yin Yang Buddha’s Bowl was interesting. This is a ring or bowl usually made with mashed taro and deep fried, which houses the meat or vegetables and serves to soak up juices from the filling in the centre. In our case, the Buddha’s Bowl was a delicious combination of pumpkin and Taro, combined in swirls with the pumpkin lending a sweetness to an otherwise salty taro. Ours came with small pork cutlets in a dark soya sauce – RM26.

Braised pork ribs with celery, carrots and broccoli was almost like a western stew, with the exception of soya sauce which gave it its oriental touch. It was too sweet for my taste but enjoyed by others at the table.

Braised pork ribs RM8 each.

With its established popularity in Ipoh, Crab House is set to spread its wings and open a branch In Kuala Lumpur. Proprietress Fanny Chan who is busy doing the renovations in KL sounded excited about the new venture. With the way things have been going in Ipoh, I have no doubt Crab House KL will be a roaring success in no time.

Crab House
32 Laluan Perajurit 1, Taman Ipoh Timur
Tel: Fanny Chan, 012-565 7723; W.S. Wang, 014-940 8500
GPS: N 4° 616 733, E 101° 125117
Open 7 days a week, 11am-2.30pm & 5.30pm-11pm 
Kuala Lumpur branch: Opening early November
39 Jalan Anggerik Vanilla U, Seksyen 31, 40460 Shah Alam.

SeeFoon warms to Desa Rishah

I was recently introduced to the Foodie possibilities in Desa Rishah when my friend Datin Phaik Lean gathered a bunch of us together for dinner at Hung Ting.

A relatively new restaurant (open for 6 months) but apparently a Lo Chiew Pai as they had relocated here from First Garden, the restaurant was a hive of noise and activity and if Phaik Lean hadn’t booked, we would have been left stranded.

As we settled down with our pink bubbly from Dato’ John Lim’s private cellar while waiting for our food, we had to almost shout at one another to make ourselves heard above the cacophony of voices but that only added to the fun and camaraderie of the evening.

The service was fast and the food came in rapid succession. We ordered small or medium portions so as to taste a large variety of dishes and despite the number of us at the table (12), there was enough to go around as each dish was presented.

We had a total of 13(!!) dishes altogether and I will list here the ones which caught my fancy and will go back for more.

I love soft shell crabs and the ones here were crispy and perfectly battered if a tad too salty. Do ask them to go easy on the salt when you order your food here as the chef tends to be heavy handed with the salt. This was followed by the Tofu with pork and the ‘Ham Dan’ salted egg sotong (squid), deep fried. Both these were yummy.

The Pig’s Trotter with white radish was unusual, well braised and the trotter pieces tender, followed by Har Cheong Gai pieces of chicken marinated in preserved prawn paste and deep fried.

I found the three flavour pork ribs too sweet for my taste and overwhelmed by garlic but I  am sure some of  my readers out there would enjoy it. Baby long beans with belacan was delicious and the Ka Heong Jai a vegetarian dish sauteed with preserved red bean paste lacked ‘oomph’. It called for more bean paste and umami nuances.

Kow Gay (soft, oval, dark green, slightly bitter leaves of the Chinese boxthorn which is touted to have medicinal properties) soup with seafood was ‘ching’ a term found only in the Chinese culinary lexicon to describe a taste that is clarified, pure, coming from the meaning of unsullied.

Their Fish Head Curry is definitely worth repeat visits. Cut into chunks, the fish head was very fresh, the curry gravy mild, yet tangy enough to be pleasing served with ladies fingers, brinjal and tao pok (fried bean curd puffs).

After 12 dishes which were wolfed down with alacrity, Dato’ John decided he needed another plate of the soft shell crab to finish off the meal. By this time we were on to the single malts and the suggestion of yet another plate of soft shell crab was warmly welcomed.

The most delightful part of the evening was the bill. For a total of 13 dishes most of which are described above, the total bill came to just over RM260, a sum which Dato’ John paid with a smile.

Restoran Hung Ting
# 121 LGK Desa Rishah 1, Desa Rishah
Business Hours: 11.30am – 3pm; 5.30pm – 9.45pm. Closed sporadically.
Tel: 05  281 0681
Proprietor Ah Chan: 012 417 8997