Monday, March 30, 2009

Bai Ling @ Restoran Prima Taiping

As the Chinese saying goes : Sui Ye Bu Liu Ren (Time never leaves anybody behind). Change is truly the only constance. As much as I would love to maintain some form of tradition, time never allows permanence. We visited Taiping at least once a year during Chinese Cheng Beng Festival (Visit the Departed) and our itinerary has always been dinner at Chai Chi (Vegetable Market), supper at pasar (wet market), breakfast at Chai Chi again, and ends it with lunch at Rex before we leave. This year, when we went back to Chai Chi for dinner, there was nothing much to offer. Most stalls have closed or moved. We were recommended to go to Bai Ling, a relatively new hawker centre in Taiping town centre.
It was actually a combination of 3 shops and Bai Ling is just one of them. 1 shop offer mostly rice dishes, while Bai Ling and its opposite store offered most of the Taiping hawker stuff that we wanted (except popiah or spring rolls).

Location : Along Jalan Kota after Panorama Hotel at your right, Taiping
Rating : Good

My dad spotted this stall straight away, as it advertised "O Bak Pui" (literally Black Meat Rice in Hokkien). No surprise when the rice came with really dark coloured meat. It was actually soy sauce marinated pork with spices. The meat is fragrant and sweet, but nothing special about the rice and egg.
The otak-otak (savoury spiced fish pudding) here is a bit unusual. I have seen most otak-otak use banana leaf (for steamed ones) and pine leaf (for smoked/bbq ones). This one uses a type of big leaf. I am not exactly sure what to call it. Lemme check and post it in the comments later.But in actual fact, taste wise is "ok" only. Maybe because they uses this type of leaf, so the moist is not well retained like a banana leaf would. Moreover, I did not detect any fragrance from the leaf. But then again, my sense of smell has deteriorated since baby delivery. Sigh...
Lobak (braised meat in Hokkien) is of course a must. This spice marinated meat rolls are fresh, compared to most I found in KL (blerk). Usually we love to include lo ning (braised egg in Hokkien) and pei tan (century egg). Oh, by the way, I really really hope to inform those Western readers to educate some their peers that might perceive century egg as hundred years old egg (as shown in Fear Factor few years back). I could still remember how funny it was to see those participants making those faces when they ate those eggs, thinking it was really 100 years old. Century egg is just eggs marinated in ammonia type of chemical. Not heard of anyone died of eating century eggs so far, so don't worry.But what's important to note is that, lobak is only complete when they come with lo jiu (braised sauce) and chili sauce. Otherwise, what is lobak? It is as if eating hamburger without the bread. The sauce has to be sticky, so that when you dip the meat into the sauce, the meat is not soaked but covered with savoury sauce. Experience the richness of the sauce and crunchiness of the meat followed by a waft of the aroma of spices. Ow... (Feel like shouting - MJ style).
There is a small stall setting up right in the middle of all 3 shops. They sell all source of pies and quiches. Love the abundance of filling and fresh-crispy pie crust. A real worth for the $.I think best thing about these 3 shops are their understanding of convenience for customers. How? They do not mind where the food is ordered from. You can sit anywhere you wish and order from any shop. They can deliver to you. Not like many of the shops I encountered, where you are not allowed to order from other shops or stalls, thereby limiting their own business opportunities. Hail the Taiping co-operative spirit!

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