JOM MAKAN! Life's A Feast

Saturday, July 04, 2015

AT LIMAPULO...BABA CAN COOK



Only 70 servings of Nyonya laksa are produced daily by Limapulo executive chef Tan Kim Chye, fondly known as Uncle John. Voted as the Best Curry Laksa in the Klang Valley in The Star People’s Food Awards, the 73-year old veteran cook reveals the laksa recipe was his mother’s legacy.
 

The bright orange-yellow gravy redolent with complex spice flavours sets the tastebuds alight; the rich rempah paste made from scratch – a meticulous blend of dried chillies, shallots, galangal, turmeric, candlenuts and lemongrass – forms the vital basis of the creamy coconut milk-enriched laksa broth. That is why the Nyonya laksa is served on Monday, Wednesday and Friday in limited servings.

At RM9.90 a bowl, the noodles come laden with finely shredded cucumber and chicken, tofu puffs, beansprouts, hard-boiled egg, fish ball, fish cake and a dollop of sambal. Squeeze some kalamansi lime juice over the ensemble and you’re good to go. The broth is so tasty, you’d be induced to lap up every drop.
Limapulo is the atmospheric domain where Baba Uncle John can cook - dishing up his much lauded Melakan Baba-Nyonya specialities. The interior is a nostalgic haven of repurposed furniture, old-school knick-knacks and vintage stuff which would have old fogeys like us and our parents reminiscing about our childhood days.
Since men and women can't live on memories alone, Limapulo takes everyone down the culinary lane of yesteryear with a simple selection of timeless fare. The evergreen fave of Nasi Lemak (RM9.90) comes with pandan-scented rice, stained pastel green from the inclusion of pandan juice alongside the usual condiments of sambal, peanuts & fried anchovies, cucumber slices, hard-boiled egg and a bowl of Nyonya curry chicken.
For groups of three or more, it's better to order some dishes for sharing accompanied by white rice. Piquant curries such as Gerang Asam Fish (RM25 onwards), Pineapple Prawn Curry (market price) and Chicken Berempah (RM17) are some of the tempting options served. Of the three, our vote goes to the appetite-whetting fish.
Jaded palates can easily be revived with Limopulo's rare but heavenly treat of Mango Patcheeri (RM2 per piece). The tantalisingly tangy-sweet-spicy curried young mango don't look very fancy but the symphony of robust, zesty flavours serenading the tastebuds will leave you asking for more.
Other precursors you may wish to savour range from Pie Tee (RM10 for 4 pcs) and Cucur Udang (RM9.90, served for lunch only). While the little crispy 'top hats' passed muster, it was my first encounter with fried prawn fritters served coarsely chopped up amidst chunks of cucumber, fried tempeh, fish cake and hard-boiled egg. Laced with chilli sauce, it reminds of an inventive 'rojak' of sorts. (Note: The portions depicted here are larger, to cater to our dining party.)
Also recommended is Sambal Terung (RM15) - tender finger-thick cut brinjal stir-fried with piquant, zingy sambal. The alternative is Bendi Kukus (RM15) - steamed ladyfingers/okra complemented by a side dish of fried sambal dip. 
Scorching hot weather these days call for sweet solutions and Limopulo has some perennial faves to cool you down. Take your pick from Cendol (RM3.50), ABC (ais batu campur RM4.50) or Sago Gula Melaka (RM3.50).
 For reservations, call LIMAPULO tel: 03-2698 3268. Address: 26, Jalan Doraisamy, KL. (easiest landmark: beside Sheraton Imperial KL, along the Asian Heritage Row)




Wednesday, July 01, 2015

INTERACTIVE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE WITH NYONYA MEMOIRS




Ah, the course of true love never did run smooth according to William Shakespeare. This timeless basis forms the crux of Nyonya Memoirs – a revolutionary interactive theatre performance being staged in Melaka until 19 July 2015.

Presented by The Hatten Group, this RM8million production is conceptualised to highlight and promote a deeper appreciation of Melaka’s Peranakan culture and heritage. Premiered in May this year, the star-studded show tells the fateful story of Bao Zhu (played by Dorothy Foo), a young Nyonya maiden whose relationship with Zhang Min (reprised by Evan Siau), a poor Baba was opposed by her prominent, well-heeled family.
An extravaganza of music, songs and satirical dialogue, this is one performance that literally keeps you on your toes. Right from the get-go as the audience trooped beyond the heavy curtains after the entrance, our attention was drawn to the life-like nostalgic setting. 

Of course, cameras were whipped out for instant snapshots (NO flash photography was allowed) as everyone ‘ooh-ed’ and ‘aah-ed’ over the artfully created ornate props: from a local tea stall and shop front to old-fashioned kitchen and family dining table found in a Nyonya home. 

When the member of the cast resplendent in her Nyonya get-up jumped up to exhort her lines, everyone was caught off-guard but it was part and parcel of the performance’s uniqueness. 
Instead of a restricted raised stage, we found ourselves walking right into the theatre set. Everyone just wandered around the replica of a town square, complete with old-school shops, a few street carts and mobile hawkers. It was slightly unnerving at first as we didn’t know what to expect, which direction to head for or where the play will be performed. Suffice to say, most of us were like a flock of lost sheep looking for the shepherd. 
Once the initial song and dance began around the ‘lawn’ area, we somehow managed to assemble in a semi-circle around the performers. Luckier members of the audience had stools to sit on but for the majority, it was standing room only.
As the love story between the two protagonists unfold, we had to segue towards the different stage sets. Some confusion ensued during intermission as we were barred from the more elaborate set-ups (understandable since those are costly to create) for photography. It would have been more effective for all parties concerned to have clear and proper signages put up, to inform members of the audience the permissible and forbidden areas.

 
Anyway, love ultimately conquers all and the touching tale wraps up with an elaborate wedding procession which takes place outside the event hall. The dialogue is a mixture of Mandarin, Malay and Chinese Hokkien dialect with English subtitles shown on various TV screen mounted around the theatre setting area.
Catch NYONYA MEMOIRS every Friday to Sunday at 4pm and 8pm at Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. Tickets are priced at RM52 per adult for MyKad holders and RM26 - per child 7-15 years old (MyKad holder) and senior citizen (60 years old above). Non MyKad holders pay RM66 and RM33 respectively. For ticketing enquiries, call tel: +6 018 663 9696 or visit www.nyonyamemoirs.com