Help the Small Businesses: EatUp Dining

Eatup Dining

Pictures by Gisele Soo

SeeFoon discovers Halal Chinese hawker fare in Meru Raya

A few of my Muslim friends have often asked me where to go for Halal Chinese hawker food. 

Yes we are seeing a proliferation of Halal Dim Sum all over, thanks to our dynamic Ipohite duo, Ceylyn Teh and her husband YC Nang who have a huge manufacturing facility in Ipoh and opened up Halal Dim Sum places all over Malaysia.

But to find authentic Halal Chinese hawker food under one roof? “Well, not all dishes but a good representation of the usual favourites would be welcome,” said a good friend who was born and raised in a Chinese family but converted when she married her Muslim husband. 

As luck would have it, I found one in Meru Raya

Christine Liew is the savvy and amiable proprietor of EatUp Dining, a bright, cheerful and sparklingly clean eatery sitting in an easy parking location on Jalan Meru Bestari A9, just behind Mydin and next to McDonalds.

Already open for two years, the restaurant has BeSS stickers readily visible at the entrance and counter which stands for Bersih, Selamat dan Sihat” or “Clean, Safe and Healthy”, a recognition awarded by the Health Department and is the only one given in the entire Jelapang area. Muslim team members run the kitchen as well as service, and not only is the restaurant Halal certified, but they also cater to vegetarians. 

Speaking to Christine, I can sense her passion, which is palpable, for introducing her childhood food to the Muslim community and making them accessible whether as dine-ins or takeaways. 

Christine’s specialty is her homemade Lamen, more commonly known as Ramen but she has chosen to use the Chinese phonetic-isation rather than the Japanese. These are made fresh daily and are a “must-have” from here. Springy and al dente, these noodles have the requisite mouthfeel that would win approval from even the most critical Chinese gourmet, and when combined with the variety of sauces, soups and toppings—all of which are homemade—have garnered for the restaurant quite a local following.

During the lunch hour I was there, I could see a continuous stream of GrabFood and Foodpanda  delivery people doing pickups, as well as private ones. A brisk business indeed and I hope it will continue during this CMCO period. SOPs are well adhered to here as all service staff were masked and the tables were marked for social distancing.

The staff appeared cheerful and happy, giving credence to the company name of  Ria Serata – meaning “happy under the same roof”. This is all thanks to Christine’s efforts, as a boss who cares for her staff’s welfare, personally conducting service training and teaching staff in the kitchen as well. 

As for the food, plating and service was impeccable and the taste notable.

We first had the EatUp Signature Crunchy Spiced Squid which was a good starter to nibble on while waiting for the rest of the food. The spicing was more than the usual salt and pepper squid and had a piquancy that was intriguing. RM13.90.

EatUp Signature Crunchy Spiced Squid

This was followed by their Signature Pie Tee, crispy flour cups with their own unusual filling of chicken slivers cooked with sengkuang or sweet turnip. Plated with tufts of lettuce peeping from each cup and dressed in a special sauce, these cups were a delightful crunchy appetizer for the goodies to come. RM9.90 for 6 pieces.

Signature Pie Tee

The EatUp Signature Chicken Rice Combo served with two cups of Pie Tee and saucy chicken (as in soya sauce) was a well rounded meal in itself, complete with salad garnitures and crispy fried shallots and crispy fried garlic. The rice was very tasty on its own (as chicken rice should be) and the homemade chilli sauce, together with the cup of chicken soup, completed the combo. RM17.90. 

Never had Chinese Chee Cheong Fun (CCF) for fear it may contain lard? Now you can eat the Halal version with impunity and understand why this has been a favourite breakfast dish for centuries in China. The key is in the smoothness and velvety mouthfeel of the rolled rice sheet. Just rice flour steamed and rolled up, topped with sauces. Here, the CCF is embellished with Christine’s special secret recipe Dried Shrimp Sauce, tangy, quite spicy and redolent with dried shrimps. Drizzled with sweet black soya sauce and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots and sesame seeds, this is a must have at RM5.90.

Chee Cheong Fun with Supreme Dried Shrimp Sauce

Next to arrive was the Wok Fried Radish Cake with Superior Spicy Sauce. This was a  homemade radish cake, soft and tender and pan-fried with beansprouts, spring onion, chilli sauce and topped with crisp fried shallots. Yummilicious at RM8.00.

Wok Fried Radish Cake with Superior Spicy Sauce

The Teochew Porridge with Condiments was a surprise on the menu. Plain rice congee boiled to the right consistency, velvety and smooth; served with ikan bilis, salted egg and salted fish. A clean, wholesome farmer’s meal. They also serve a chicken version. RM7.90.

Eatup Signature Teochew Porridge with Condiments

Then we came to the Lamen, the EatUp’s homemade specialty. Used for all dishes calling for noodles, these noodles with its al dente springiness is paired in different ways. 

Nyonya Chicken Curry Lamen Soup had whole chunks of chicken, potato, onions, cucumber slivers, lettuce, egg and taufu pok in a spicy, well nuanced curry sauce that was totally satisfying. RM14.90.

Nyonya Chicken Curry Lamen Soup

The Chicken Chilli Lamen was a dry variety, with a soft boiled egg, ikan bilis, chicken cubes, and given oomph with the home-made chilli sauce. RM10.90.

Chicken Chilli Lamen

The Dry Wonton Noodle with Crispy Shrimp Wonton at RM12.90 was the icing on the cake – the noodles springy and the shrimp wonton crackling in the mouth.

There are drinks galore on the menu here with notable ones unanimously voted tops by my cronies at the table being the Lychee Lime Mojito (RM9.90) and the Mojito Tiga Rasa, an interesting concoction of an ice cream popsicle melting into soda producing three flavours.

Mojito Tiga Rasa

My favourite was the Pearl Teh, a homemade blend of tea mixed with condensed and evaporated milk that was not overly sweet combined with yummilicious chewy pearls. RM6.90.

EatUp Dining will be opening another branch at PTTC (Perak Techno Trade Center). From my taste of the lovely menu, the new venture will doubtless be successful.

Christine has succeeded in interpreting Chinese hawker food to the Halal audience with a blend of fidelity and freedom that is rare. Her homemade chilli sauce is worth taking home in bottles for adding to one’s own dishes. I wish her much success in the upcoming new restaurant.  

 

Address:
60-G & 60-1, Jalan Meru Bestari A9, Medan Meru Bestari, 30020 Ipoh, Perak

Business hours:
9am-10pm; closed on Tuesdays
Takeaways available
Deliveries available via Foodpanda and GrabFood

For inquiries:
05-210 7287

Help the Small Businesses: Rish’s Kitchen

Rish’s Kitchen

Pictures by Gisele Soo

SeeFoon delights in “Melangerie” at Rish’s

As the word “fusion” has been done to death by the culinary world (the description, not the art), I have decided to call the combination of eastern and western styles of cooking “melange-rie” to describe the cuisine at Rish’s Kitchen, a recently opened restaurant on Kuala Kangsar road. 

Melange got mixed into the melting pot of English back in the 1600s. It derives from the Middle French verb mesler, which means “to mix.” And this is what Harrish and his brother Shyaam have done for the menu at Rish’s. 

Harrish Kumar, who has garnered for himself a large following at Tamara’s, the Sri Lanka/Indian restaurant in Greentown where the vegetarian dishes are unusual (fresh, bold and packs a punch) and the meat dishes are equally fiery, has now joined forces with his brother Shyaam Prashanth Kumar to open Rish’s Kitchen. 

Don’t worry fellow foodies, Tamara’s is still operating as usual. 

Mixing east and west on a menu can often end in disaster but at Rish’s, the team have succeeded in creating a ‘melange’ of unusual dishes combining some of the best elements from both traditions.

As in their Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Lemongrass Chicken, mildly spiced morsels of chicken topped with melted mozzarella and cheddar on homemade tortilla chips and capped with alfalfa sprouts. The tortilla chips, whose roots are Mexican and originally made from ground corn, have been transformed into flour chips, a crispy and crunchy accompaniment to the tender chicken pieces and the fresh green taste of the alfalfa sprouts. RM18.

Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Lemongrass Chicken

Rish’s Special Pizza is Mutton Masala on a mini pizza, showered with cheese. The crust could have been crispier, but nevertheless the mutton masala topping more than made up for the lack of crunch, a big bodacious South Indian flavour married to an Italian base. The mutton was tender and juicy, mildly spiced to suit the tamer palates, while the cheese ameliorated the more fiery elements. RM35.

Rish’s Special Pizza

We then had the NZ Lamb Rack Infused in Rish’s Special Aroma Oil with a traditional Peranakan sauce handmade by Harrish. The lamb was very tender and redolent with the flavours of Nyonya spices. RM39.

NZ Lamb Rack Infused in Rish’s Special Aroma Oil

The Dry Curry Noodle, unlike our renowned Ipoh hawker variety, was made with Fettuccine, a broad Italian noodle served with fish cake slices, squid rounds, bean sprouts, egg and topped with a very spicy Sri Lankan rich and creamy curry sauce. Personally, I could have had the noodles more al dente but it’s definitely worth trying as a departure from the norm. RM20.

Dry Curry Noodle

The Signature Crispy Chicken Cutlet served with their homemade black pepper sauce which was chock-full of crushed black peppercorns certainly packed a punch, harking back to the days of the traditional Hainanese chicken chop, crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. The pepper sauce certainly had the requisite bite, spicy from the pepper. RM14.90.

Signature Crispy Chicken Cutlet

For the steak lovers, you can also order the Australian Sirloin Steak served with the same peppercorn sauce for RM38.

The Macha’s Signature Claypot Mutton was bold and robust, served with lemongrass rice. If mutton is not your thing, order it with chicken. It has an equally robust taste but be forewarned, do tell them to go easy on the salt. Tangy and a ‘melange’ between a Chinese braise and an Indian spiced stew, it went well with the rice. RM14.

Signature Macha’s Claypot Mutton

For drinks, we had the Masala Coffee from Sri Lanka, RM6; their Serai Pandan Soda – very nice and not too sweet, RM8; their Passion Fruit Tea brimming with fresh passion fruit kernels, RM8 and their Assam Boi Mint Soda, RM8. The cold drinks were most refreshing while the Masala coffee was redolent with herbs. Sugar levels can be adjusted as they can make them fresh to taste.

As Harrish tells it, there is a 30-room homestay attached to the restaurant where bookings can be made through Agoda. While not fully operational, it is ready to accept guests once the CMCO has eased. 

There is also a Function and Banquet facility with a capacity to seat 70 people with meeting equipment like a projector, mic system, tables and chairs provided.

For hall reservations, contact: 018-579 1312 (Ruvanesh).

Rish’s Kitchen has a spacious, light and comfortable ambiance with seating nooks and well spaced-out tables all complying to SOPs. A private room is also available. And they have ample space for parking outside!

Afternoon tea is offered all afternoon with little petit fours and other rotating cakes on their menu and can be served in a private nook or in the main room. All in all a delightful interlude to look forward to.

*Rish’s Kitchen is pork and alcohol free 

 

Address:
62, Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Taman Malaysia, 30100 Ipoh, Perak 

Business hours :
12-10pm; closed on Mondays
Takeaways available
Deliveries available through Foodpanda, GrabFood, and they are planning to do their own delivery

For inquiries:
010-395 8821

Help the Small Businesses: Uncle Long

Uncle Long

Pictures by Gisele Soo

SeeFoon treats herself to charred and sticky sweet perfection.

Char Siew literally means “fork roasted” (siu being burn/roast and cha being fork), named after the traditional cooking method for the dish where long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire.

Cantonese in origin, the pork meat is marinated and then roasted in the oven to a charred and sticky sweet perfection. 

It’s ubiquitous in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, where Cantonese cuisine predominates and here in Ipoh, where our cuisine is more eclectic, it’s quite rare to find a restaurant dedicated to roast meats. 

Uncle Long is one of them. 

Opened barely a year ago, this restaurant in Ipoh Garden South already has quite a following, judging from the queue at lunchtime waiting to “tapau” (takeaway). 

Uncle Long also sells roast duck and chicken, as well as their own Siew Cheong (sausage) and roast pork, all home roasted by the proprietor Ray Lim Tze Kee who has a long history as a chef, doing just this: Chinese roasting.

The signature here is the Char Siew, so popular that he sells up to 30kg a day! 

I am fussy about my Char Siew. Not for me the lean and dry slices you often get in noodle soups or curry mee. Those are for people obsessed with their cholesterol or weight. 

Give me a Char Siew with a proportion of 40:60 of fat to meat, oozing oil from its glistening sides, the honey or maltose glaze charred in sections, and the marinade flavors shimmering on my tongue. 

This is the Char Siew at Uncle Long.

Char siew, Roast Pork & Siew Cheong (sausage)

The rest of the roast meats pale in comparison but nevertheless make for good companions to the star dish.

The Roast Pork had the requisite crispy skin and went well with their homemade chilli sauce that was tart, not too sweet (perfect for my non-sweet tooth) and spicy, ameliorating the high fat mouthfeel of the pork. A perfect match. RM7.50 for 100g, RM37.50 for 0.5kg, RM75 for 1kg.

The Roast Duck (RM13-50 depending on portion size) and Roast Chicken (RM10-36 depending on portion size) were moist and the soya sauce eggs (RM3 for 2 pieces) as a side order were great with both the duck sauce and the sauce on the plate.

Roast Chicken & Roast Duck

To go with all the roasted goodies, we had a choice of rice or noodles and we ordered one of each. The rice was fluffy and flavoured exactly the way a chicken rice should be: umami and fragrant. RM0.70 for small; RM1.30 for large. My noodles came as a surprise. It was the broad wonton noodle which I miss and often look for but alas seldom available. Here it was in front of me, al dente, coated in sauce and paired perfectly with the delectable Char Siew. RM1.50 as an add-on.

Char siew with rice
Add-on Noodles

They also sell a bottled chilli sauce (RM13) manufactured from a personal recipe with no sugar, no preservatives and no MSG, but alas they were out of stock on the day we were there.

While waiting for our food to arrive, we snacked on their “Suin Choy” (braised mustard greens), tart and tangy with quite a kick to it. RM5(S); RM8(L). 

We also had their Acar which was a special of the day.

Suin Choy (braised mustard greens), Soya Sauce Eggs & Acar

 

Address:
15, Lebuh Taman Ipoh, Taman Ipoh Selatan, 31400 Ipoh, Perak

Business hours:
10am-6pm daily, but will close if meat is sold out earlier
Closed on the first to third days of the Chinese New Year (Chor 1-3)

Takeaways available
Delivery available through Foodpanda and GrabFood 

For inquiries:
05-216 8836