Monday, 25 June 2007

Food Food Glorious Food!

The Dragon Food Court

It is always a problem deciding what to eat every morning. There seems to be many choices and yet it seems that it is the first big problem in the morning: what to eat?

The drinks and payment counter

I always gravitate to Dragon Food Court simply because it is close to my office, as I can just cross the road and have my usual Senggarang coffee and some lunch occasionally.

The 'gen jie' mee lady boss

To be fair to the establishment, there are four stalls that you can choose from: chicken rice (Meeky can hear the inaudible sigh, oh no, another write-up on chicken rice), 'mee hoon kueh' soup, claypot chicken rice or claypot noodle soup, and 'gen ji' or 'gen jei' mee or noodles depending on what dialect one speaks. Apart from mee, it also has meehoon and kway tiaow. I have always been puzzled by its meaning but I found out later from a regular patron (without fail, he must have his 'gen jei' mee every morning except when the lady boss takes the day off) that it is mee meant for the poor, working people whose only concern is to fill up their stomachs before going for their back-breaking work. But, he says, it is no longer 'cheap' or 'competitive' because it can come with a selection of a fried egg, 'tao kee' or fish paste wrapped in tofu skin, fish paste roll, 'tao guah' or tofu, and fried pork luncheon meat. With these additional selections, it is no longer 'cheap' or 'competitive'! But somehow, this particular stall is so popular that it finishes selling by 10.00 or 10.30 am. The secret, says the customer, lies in her curry gravy and her 'sambal' which is spicy. In fact the family runs six or seven stalls, in various locations in Batu Pahat.

Mee hoon kueh and dry noodles

Then there is also the 'mee hoon kueh', thin, flat pieces of wheat-based dough cooked in a tasty soup. As the soup boils, the 'mee hoon kueh' is pinched and flattened by hand before being thrown into the boiling soup. Slivers of pork, a couple of meat balls, fish paste and crab roll are added. The soup is topped with fried 'ikan bilis' or anchovies. It is just nice for those who wish to have a light breakfast or lunch. The 'mee hoon kueh' and noodles also come in dry form. The owners, a husband and wife team close shop by 2.30pm.

Claypot chicken rice being cooked

Claypot chicken rice

The claypot chicken rice or noodles. Those who are familiar with the Jalan Peng Kai food stalls at the end of Jalan Jenang will have spotted or eaten the claypot chicken rice or noodles there. It opened at the food court about two months ago. The verdict? At RM 3.50, for a small claypot, it is tasty and filling. They have servings for one or more people. Salted fish used to be added to the rice while it was being cooked. However, mindful of the fact that some customers may not like salted fish for reasons of their own, they have thoughtfully provided it in a small sauce dish. Although the claypot mee soup is fragrant, at RM 2.50 a claypot, it is disappointing with a few slivers of pork, some thin slices of black mushroom and an egg swimming in it. They start selling at 10.30 a.m.

Claypot noodles

Now for the ubiquitous dish everyone dreads: chicken rice! To be fair to the owner, and his youngish wife (daughter?) and child, the chicken, which is not too fat, is cooked to the right tenderness. He has the usual roast and white chicken. Those who are fond of the skin of the white chicken would realize that it is quite thin, and the fat beneath it hardly discernible. In addition, he serves tofu (loh tau guah) and egg (loh nen) in black sauce. It is often said that the rice and chili sauce make or break a chicken rice stall. The rice is springy and fragrant to the palete and the chili sauce goes well with the chicken. And the food is hygienically handled.

Chicken rice

By the way, the Dragon Foot Court is open for business at night as well. It serves chinese food as well as seafood, and its speciality is roast piglet at RM 125.00 a piglet. It supplies roast piglets to some restaurants in Batu Pahat. But prior notice must be given. The boss makes it a point to source his fish and shrimps from Bagan, a riverine village where fresh catch is unloaded every day. For the beer guzzlers, it is coffee shop price for the beers and stout, and those intending to go on the net can have their beer and surf the net at the same time, with no hidden charges.

The boss of the food court is a man with a suave tongue and a confessed weakness for gambling, a man who treats his Indonesian and Myanmar workers well.

The food court is located at Jalan Mohd Akil, about a 100 metres from the junction of Jalan Mohd Akil and Jalan Bakau Chondong. Opposite the restaurant is a burnt out four storey block.

1 comment:

  1. She's my mum!!!

    Can I save that photo?