Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Old Haunts - Seng Lee

Yes, the one behind Hock Lee mini market in Damanasara Heights. I have been coming here since I was a wee lil thing (a dangerously long time ago!) and it's quite amazing that most who work here still recognise me. It's the same with the staff at Hock Lee, the older staff at the Kiddies store (the magazine shop), the flower shop woman, the pisang goreng (banana fritter) man and of course, Andy (my trusty hairdresser who I can always count on to save my ruined hair). It's always nice to say hello to everyone but at the same time I get a little embarrassed when the greetings come as - 'Oh, you're all grown up. You've lost weight' or 'Oh, you haven't been back in such a long time! You have put on quite a lot of weight'. Sigh..

For food, it's straight to Seng Lee (or known as 'the place behind Hock Lee' to us - surprise surprise I only found out the name of the coffeeshop yesterday when I looked it up). There is another coffeeshop a few doors down called Shangri-La, I believe (I have no idea why I remember the name of this coffeeshop when I don't remember the one I've been eating at for years). There is certainly more variety at Shangri-La but the food isn't as good (or if I'm feeling less diplomatic - any good at all?)

Seng Lee is well known for its char kway teow, which comes with a long wait during lunch hours. But when you're on holiday, there's certainly no need to wait until lunchtime so when we got there about 10.30am on a weekday, it was nice and quiet with only 2 other tables occupied. I have to admit I was never a huge fan of char kway teow whilst I was growing up - my usual order when I used to come here with my mum, at least once a week, was pork noodles-dry. But I have learned to appreciate it. And in true Asian style (also because we hoped to sneak in a visit to Chillis later), we decided to share all the food. A few plates of famous char kway teow - a plate without chilli and cockles, another with both - I'm the cockle eater, everyone else shuddered in disgust. The noodles are good - nice charring from the big fire with the lingering taste of wok hei. A good dose of garlic and still juicy, plump cockles. But it has a paleness that is usually found is in fried kway teow from Penang. Perhaps I'm just partial to the char kway teow stall in the coffeeshop at the corner of Jalan Imbi - Weng Hing (where the pork noodles is seriously good)?

Wantan mee with char siew - good, reliable dish.

Curry laksa - bit of a revelation for me. I've always stayed away from this dish as it's quite heavy (haha coming from a person who used to gorge on bowls of pork noodles!) but I found this to be absolutely yummy. My sister and I had decided to share this but couldn't decide between mai fun (rice vermicelli) or kway teow, so we got a mixture of both. It's a good combination but I'm still convinced that mai fun is better suited to curry laksa - it soaks up the soup much better. Unlike it's thicker and heavier on the coconut milk cousin, curry mee, curry laksa is ...well, lighter but just as satisfying without over-burdening the belly. Other bits and bobs in the bowl include long beans, tofu puffs, shredded chicken and cockles (yay!)

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