Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou: SeeFoon Gets Fresh in Tualang

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

I am one of those Foodies who hates doing two things for food: queuing (unlike my compatriots in Singapore who since the awarding of a Michelin star to two food stalls, will happily queue an hour or more to sample the food); or driving more than half an hour to eat.

Hence when anyone suggests Tanjung Tualang for to me, I always groan inwardly and most of the time politely refuse. My argument to myself has always been, “But I can get the Udang Galah (fresh water prawns-actually a crayfish) in quite a few restaurants in Ipoh so why drive to Tualang?”

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

I was soon to learn the error of my thinking when I was invited to the newly opened Prawn Village or Zui Xian Lou Restaurant in Tualang. Not only were the Udang Galah, the freshest and the most succulent that I’ve ever had, reminiscent of the times when I first arrived in Ipoh 22 years ago, but they were also some of the most humongous ones I have ever seen.

One of them which the chef brought out for us to see was the size of a plate!

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

Not wanting to taste the biggest (for fear that it may be tough), we settled for two sizes, the first, medium sized cooked in Chinese wine and the second, the big medium, steamed on an egg base.

The ones steamed in Chinese wine were delectable with the wine sauce making a soup worth slurping up, umami and fragrant; but it was the big prawns that stole the show that day. Measuring around 7 inches or more per piece, the heads were chock full of that creamy tomalley (mistakenly called prawn roe), sweet and velvety on the tongue and the most cherished part of these crustaceans for those in the know.

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

Our big prawns arrived steamed to the perfect degree of doneness. The heads which were the first part of the prawn that I wrestled with, were just oozing with tomalley, leaving me in prawn heaven. And the tails which can be tough considering the size, were juice and tender. There was no doubt that these prawns had just been fished out from their tanks, live, a few minutes before being sent to their steamy demise. Poor prawns, lucky diner. RM100/110/130 for medium/big medium and large per kilo. There will be about 12 large prawns to a kilo.

At Zui Xian Lou, everything is all about freshness as in their steamed Soon Hock fish which arrived on the table, again seasoned and steamed to perfection. This too was swimming minutes earlier, the flesh firm, luscious and umami. Market price around RM140 per kilo.

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

Their free range Kampung chicken like the rest of the foregoing dishes tasted fresh from the farm, a delicate chicken taste that is so missing from most other places and was served in a most delectable sauce. RM30 for half and RM60 for whole.

Next, two vegetable dishes worth mentioning were their Paku salad (RM18) fresh from a nearby farm, topped with dried prawns and fried shallots, a tad on the sweet side and their stir fried Tian Qi (panax notoginseng) leaves, smooth and velvety, which are supposed to be very healthy, RM12 (S); RM18 (L).

Prawn Village Zui Xian LouPrawn Village Zui Xian Lou

Pig’s tendons (RM58) which were beautifully braised in Nam Yu were yummilicious and their meaty pièce de résistance was the pig’s knuckle, a whole knuckle, deep fried, then wrapped with lotus leaf and steamed with dried shitake black mushrooms and dried oysters and red jujubes. This was completely fall-off-the-bone tender and seasoned perfectly, the different elements melding together to produce a dish that was superlative. RM38 half and RM70 whole.

Prawn Village Zui Xian LouWe finished our meal with the Put Zai Fan or literally translated, rice in a bowl, a steamed amalgamation of meats, prawns and seasonings served in its steam bowl. This was excellent, the perfect ending to a perfect meal. RM30 (small) and RM60 (large).

Prawn Village is located past the old Tualang village just off the main road. You can’t miss it with its choo-choo train and an old classic car out front. The restaurant is huge as is the car park behind. There is also a small recreational area in the back for customers to sit and enjoy a beer or two in the evening. All in all, making Prawn Village and Zui Xian Lou worth the drive to Tualang.

 
Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou
Lot 21966, Jalan Kampar, 31800 Tg. Tualang, Perak.
Tel: 05 360 8126     Ah Wai: +6011 33046684
Business hours: 11am-10pm
GPS: 4.3218833, 101.056722

Prawn Village Zui Xian Lou

Moonlight Treasure: SeeFoon Uncovers Treasure in Pasir Pinji

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant IpohIt’s amazing what my notoriety as a food reviewer can bring. Here I was sitting one day in Crab House, my favourite Chinese restaurant when Fanny, the female half of the proprietorship told me that she had a brother a Master Hoong (Feng Shui) who also owned a restaurant and would I care to taste the food there?

I acquiesced but gave my usual caveat that I don’t and won’t promise a written review if I didn’t find the food up to scratch.

So off we went one fine sunny lunchtime and sat down to dish after dish of what Chef KP Wong proudly presented.

To start with, their pickled papaya which is given gratis at every table is delicious. It is homemade and had all the right tastes (sweet without being cloying, sour without cringing), textures (crunchy) and made me crave to take a whole bottle home.

Our first dish was chef’s pork belly deep fried served on ‘Dao Pau’ a type of Tofu ‘pau’ that is quite rare these days. Topped by a sweetish sauce, the pork belly with some crispiness juxtaposed against the soft tofu was a good balance – RM20 for four.

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

One dish which appears to have gone out of style and it was good to be reminded on how good it actually tastes is the Yeen Yeong Kai Lan, kale whose leaves are slivered and crisped contrasting with the sauteed stems which were crunchy and juicy – RM16.

Their homemade tofu appears to be one of their signature specialties and served as a miniature mound, topped with a choice of anything from shrimp to fish to pork to squid, with or without sauce, is a delight. Called Kam San Tofu (Golden Mountain) this is a ‘must order’  dish in this restaurant. Begins at RM26.

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

As their menu features a lot of ‘Ka Heong’ dishes, I asked if they do some of my favourite dishes to which Chef Wong obliged by producing a plate of fried large intestines and sauteed fallopian tube. A real treat for me as I can seldom find this as most people are squeamish about offal (on order).

Their next dish was equally exotic, a Dao Si (preserved black beans) Yau Mak, Kembong fish which is pickled and served on romaine lettuce. Yummilicious if you like Dao Si – RM13.

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

Their Sambal Lo Shu Fun was unusual although lacking in ‘oomph’ factor and could afford to go stronger on both the belacan and the chillies and could be more generous with the crispy lardons – RM12 small.

Herbal Pork Knuckle (RM28) was tender and umami and their Ham Yu Yoke Pang, which can be steamed or deep fried is just like grandma used to make.

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

Baby Bak Choy with Goji Berries and Dong Guai was an interesting departure from the usual green vegetable norm with the Dong Guai permeating  the  whole dish. For those who enjoy the smell and taste of this pungent herb, wonderful. For those who don’t, please do not order – RM16.

Moonlight Treasure Restaurant Ipoh

Moonlight is indeed a hidden treasure, offering a vast choice from country style cooking to grand displays of one dish meals….all elaborately displayed and perfect for celebrations. You’ll have to go to the restaurant to see the selection and discuss with the very helpful Ah Fong who will help you to decide.  If a special dish is what you’re hankering for, like something your Grandma used to make, ask the chef if he can arrange it. Chef Wong is very helpful and amenable.

 

MOONLIGHT TREASURE
105-107 Jalan Chung Ah Ming, 31650 Ipoh.
GPS:  4°34’51.5”N 101°04’57.8”E
Tel:  05 242 2666 or 016 526 1517
Business hours:  11am-2.30pm; 5.30pm-10.30pm daily.
Closed Thursdays