Posted: 21 May 2011 10:23 PM PDT
Writers and contributors play chefs in celebrating their fun stints with Sunday Metro.
STARTING tomorrow, The Star and Sunday Star will have an exciting new look which, we hope, will further enhance our readers' reading experience. The new look entailed a review of the entire paper to streamline content, and some tough decisions.
One of these was the decision to cease publication of Sunday Metro upon the launch of the new look. However, Sunday Metro-style content will continue to be featured in the magazine pull-out, StarTwo on Sunday so "fans" will not really want for anything.
And so today is our last publication. Looking back over the years since its launch, Sunday Metro has resonated with readers mainly for its coverage of food, people and their favourite pastimes, among others.
So, to cap off an enjoyable run, we have got together some of the people who have been closely associated with Sunday Metro to share their favourite recipe(s), don their aprons and cook up a storm.Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Posted: 21 May 2011 11:44 PM PDT
Best friends Kavin Jayaram and Adrian Jalaludin are foodies who will travel the distance for their favourite satay or chicken rice balls.
COMEDIAN Kavin Jayaram and TV host, model and actor Adrian Jalaludin are the best of friends now but when they first met, insults were involved.
By day, KL-born Kavin is the serious guy doing his work as an engineer. But at night, he is a laugh-a-minute man who performs stand-up comedy on stage.
The 31-year-old funny guy, who jokingly describes himself as an "idiot", can be seen doling out his side-splitting lines at Time Out KL Comedy Thursday at Zouk Club and shows organised by Comedy Club KL.
"I'm also part of a big project involving an Asian comedy tour," he reveals during this interview with Sunday Metro.
Kavin continues to jest, saying that he has an opinion on everything, "and usually it's wrong. So, I decided to share my opinions with everyone in the hope that they will pay me. A loveable idiot whom people come to see if they need cheering up, so their life problems won't seem so bad anymore."
He says he was 17 when he first saw Harith Iskander on stage and thought stand-up comedy was something he could pursue.
"My brother used to say I should perform stand-up comedy but I procrastinated," he recalls. "Unfortunately, he never had a chance to watch me perform as he passed away five years ago."
Quickly brushing aside the melancholy, Kavin describes being a good comic as no laughing matter and that it requires a lot of hard work.
"The first time I attempted to do comedy was in 2006. I got 150 friends to watch me at a pub but my performance then was really bad," he relates, adding that it took him three years to master his act with support from other comedians.
Always game to learn something new, Kavin went to audition for the position of host for Cube, an English youth talk show on NTV7, last September. It was during this audition that he met Adrian.
"I got the gig in the end," quips Adrian, who was present at the interview.
"The producer called me to say they opted for someone who was better looking," says Kavin, who adds jokingly that he called Adrian names after that. "But Adrian took my insults quite well and we've been good friends ever since."
Adrian, 26, co-hosts Football Overload and Bola@Mamak on Astro. He was named by Female magazine as one of the finalists for 50 Gorgeous People, Malaysia in 2006, when he was 21 years old.
Also born in KL, Adrian is of Indonesian-Dutch-German-Chinese-Pakistani parentage. In 2006, he began a career in runway modelling but after eight months, realised it wasn't for him.
"My friends told me to try TV hosting, which I did. My first job was hosting the Champions Youth Cup for Astro in 2007," Adrian says.
The Champions Youth Cup is an annual football tournament endorsed by the G-14 group as a Club World Championship for the Under-19 teams of some of the world's largest clubs.
Adrian also hosts a TV show in Singapore called National School Games, a sports magazine programme. It keeps him busy commuting between the two countries.
Apart from being in the business of entertaining, Kavin and Adrian share another interest – eating out. The guys speak about their food adventures and how far they would go for their favourite food.
> What is your philosophy on food? Do you have any favourite food?
Kavin: I will try anything once. I have travelled to many places all over the world and have eaten some weird stuff. But I will not try those Balut eggs from the Philippines. My favourite food is Italian food.
Adrian: I like trying weird food too, including fried insects and bugs in Thailand. On the normal side, my favourite dishes are French escargots and chicken rice balls from Malacca.
> Is there any food you don't like?
Kavin: I have a dislike for giant beansprouts. It has a certain smell that turns me off.
Adrian: I hate brinjal and papaya.
> Do you binge or have comfort food?
Kavin: Nasi Lemak! There is a stall selling great nasi lemak near my home in Ampang. Cooking is also something I love. I like to make my favourite pasta with coconut cream and bacon.
Adrian: Snickers ice cream. But I can't binge a lot nowadays as my metabolic rate has declined.
> Do you have any peculiar eating habit?
Kavin: I like to use my fingers to eat most of the time, even with spaghetti. I also like eating food on toast, spaghetti sauce and baked beans.
Adrian: I dip everything in Nutella!
> Would you go out of your way for certain food? Would you eat at an empty restaurant?
Kavin: Definitely. My wife and I like to drive to Kajang to eat satay, sometimes to Ipoh for the Char Koay Teow and Johor for Laksa Johor. The beef noodles in Seremban are also good; another favourite place is Port Klang where we go for the seafood. Yes, I will eat at an empty restaurant just to give it a try.
Adrian: I will travel to Malacca for the chicken rice balls and Kampung Baru for Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. Yes, I will eat at an empty restaurant because I feel bad for them (laughs).
> What do you dislike most about eating out? What turns you off?
Kavin: Having to argue with my wife about where we should go for a meal.
Adrian: Getting all dressed up (laughs). I prefer to order in for food.
> How do you find out about where to eat?
Kavin: Mostly from TimeOut KL.
> Do you watch TV food shows? Which are your favourites?
Kavin: Yes. I like to watch License to Grill and Nigella's show.
Adrian: My favourite is Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares.
> If you had to cook a fast meal, what would it be?
Kavin: Lamb and yoghurt curry.
Adrian: Fried rice.
> Is there a street food recommended by friends that you have been hoping to try out?
Kavin: The Thai Fish Cakes in Bangkok! I can never get the perfect recipe to do it on my own.
Adrian: I like to tuck into lok-lok after a night out on weekends.
> What's your favourite shopping mall/pasar malam/flea market?
Kavin: Kepong wet market. You will smell like a fish market for a few days but it is worth it.
Adrian: Taman Tun Dr Ismail market during Ramadan.
> How do you spend your Sundays?
Kavin: Sundays are mostly spent with my wife. We will either be at my parents' house in Puchong or my in-laws' place in Perak.
Adrian: Under the blanket watching DVDs. But I'm usually busy commuting to Singapore to host my show.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Posted: 21 May 2011 11:46 PM PDT
It's back-to-basics for those who want to savour a bowl of piping hot porridge in old George Town.
PATRONS of fine dining will be horrified at the idea of squatting to eat but for more adventurous foodies visiting Penang island, it is definitely an experience to boast about to friends.
While this island food paradise may have eateries on every street corner, the Teochew porridge stall along Magazine Road is one that definitely stands out for its unique seating arrangement.
A relic of days gone by when neither grace nor etiquette was a prime concern while dining, squatting to eat has always been the norm at this open-air eatery in inner George Town.
Long benches line the stall, with wooden stools placed on top of them. To eat, one simply mounts the "throne", adjusts the stools accordingly and makes oneself comfortable. It is a delicate balancing act in itself, one that regular customers have seemingly turned into a graceful art.
Popular now with those from the working class, the place in the old days was often frequented by trishawmen. Back then, customers simply wanted to enjoy cheap and good food comfortably (though the uninitiated might beg to differ on the comfort aspect), and the practice has persisted to this day, becoming somewhat of a curiosity.
The back-to-basics simplicity is a winning formula that has seen the family-run establishment thrive for the better part of seven decades. Neither signboard nor advertising is needed here. It has never failed to catch the attention of tourists while most locals of a certain age know about it. Come lunch time, they'll find their way here and pack the place to the brim.
They all come for one thing – a piping hot bowl of plain porridge, which is dished out from one earthenware pot after another. According to Tan Joo Hong, who now helps his elderly father, Jin Hock, run the place, they normally sell in excess of a hundred bowls of the moy (Hokkien for congee) each day.
For accompaniments, there are around two dozen side dishes, ranging from vegetables to fish and meat, all freshly prepared in the simple and basic kitchen mere footsteps away by a team of helpers.
Once these are cooked, they're scooped into trays and placed on the counter. With so many side dishes coming out and so little space, some are stacked on top of the other. Thus, ordering a meal can be akin to a treasure hunt to see what morsels lay beneath.
"We try to prepare as many dishes as possible until there's nowhere to put them," Joo Hong says.
The side dishes come in small servings, allowing one to try a little bit of everything. With the plain porridge providing a neutral base, items like the tau yew bak (braised pork in soya sauce) or stir-fried clams with garlic and chilli can be added for flavour.
Another, the humble fried fish, has a crispy texture that is in stark contrast to the mushy porridge. And then there are the many types of stir-fried vegetable items and eponymous salted duck egg and salted fish, which are also popular with the crowd.
With such an array of accompaniments on offer, the combinations are almost endless. Patrons are literally spoilt for choice, and when they come in, they simply point to their desired item and these are scooped and ready in no time at all.
That, combined with very affordable prices, is what keeps the customers coming back, enabling the business to withstand both the test of time and competition from the many eateries at Komtar, Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue shopping complexes.
A security guard who shares the surname Tan, has been a regular for almost a decade. A resident nearby, he goes to the stall several times a week but never gets tired of it.
"It's delicious, cheap and good. What more can one ask for?" he asks as he clambers off his stool, makes his way to his motorcycle and rides off, back to work.
Delivery man Chen Ah Huat is another who never fails to stop by for a meal whenever he's making rounds in the area. It's a routine that he has followed for as long as he can remember.
"With Penang's hot weather, a soothing bowl of porridge is the best option," he says.
Those interested to try the squat-and-eat porridge should take note that the stall (located opposite Traders Hotel) is only open from Thursday to Sunday, from about 11am until the final morsels of food are sold out between 4pm and 5pm.
When quizzed on why they're not open on the first three days of the week, Joo Hong nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders before replying, "It's always been like this since my grandfather's time."
Another popular Teochew porridge haunt can be found at the heart of George Town's heritage area, Muntri Street, directly opposite Cititel Penang.
Known as Tai Buan Porridge, it is located in a prewar shop lot close to the intersection with Leith Street.
Locals wax lyrical about it, and similar to the above mentioned one on Magazine Road, the porridge comes with a variety of condiments, though not as many. Also, fret not as you don't have to squat here - there are proper chairs and tables.
Within a steaming cauldron, pieces of duck meat, pork innards, pork belly and tofu gently braise away in soy sauce, while others are neatly displayed, a definite eye-catcher for anyone passing by.
Those with adventurous palates might find the duck liver, gizzards, pig's ear and intestines to their liking, but it is an acquired taste. No part of the animals goes to waste, that's for sure. Regardless of which you choose, it seems that the savoury items are tailor-made for the mild porridge.
This place is open from around 1.30pm to 8pm daily except Sunday. For takeaways, be sure to bring your own containers as the owners have long practised a go-green, no plastic bag policy.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
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