Executive Lunch-Time Eats @ Tsui Hang Village, Central, Hong Kong

Date of Visit: August 27 2013

It was near impossible to find a place for lunch in Central before the restaurant boom took off with a gusto in Hong Kong a decade ago. Now, a short walk on the pedestrian overhead bridge to Sheung Wan from IFC or an escalator ride to Mid-Levels is all you need to find an array of new restaurants serving up cuisines from all over the world.

This is a significant departure from my good ‘ol days of McDonald’s take-aways and styrofoam lunch-boxes *sniff*. Then again, I was only an architectural intern engrossed with my mundane priorities of specifying steps in the stairs, gradients in the ramps, toilet accessories – amongst the most exciting tasks! My mind was far away from digging out any culinary finds then!

I degress… back to Central, I say reservations are still recommended today especially since this is a busy financial district.

Tsui Hang Village in New World Tower, Central has been around ever since I can remember. This is a family favourite. We used to have to check-in at least once every week when I was little. Gran had a ‘trader’s couch’ in Central where she reports for ‘duty’ every workday! Anyway, after many face-lifts, this is still the same expansive restaurant on the second floor of an office building with a low ceiling. Heck! Even the maitre d’ is still the same woman!

Food here are classic Cantonese, with dim sums for lunch. Some of the a la carte, I recommend are salted fish fried rice, braised e-fu noodles, 2-faced yellow noodles and back pepper beef on sizzling hot plates.

Naturally as a golden-oldie, Tsui Hang Village made into the list of recommended restaurants in Michelin Hong Kong & Macau Guides in 2012, 2013.

Great news for the ‘bananas‘ (Chinese who cannot read Chinese) out there! Bi-lingual menu with pictures – ordering made easy. All one needed to do is to tick off the boxes for the food one wants with the pencil provided and give it to the waiter.

20130827-173532.jpg

Bi-lingual tick-the-box menu with pictures

Honey Glazed BBQ Pork (HK$128): Sticky, juicy, succulent pork – half fat, half lean – exceptionally tender porky bites with sweet chewy unctuousness. I enjoyed the honeyed soy beans, so much that my chopsticks have only 1 path – to the plate for the beans into my mouth and back!

20130827-173539.jpg

Honey Glazed BBQ Pork

Steamed Braised Chicken Feet: Don’t say yuck! Also known as ‘Phoenix Claws‘, in Cantonese, this is a nutritious savoury-sweet delicacy with plenty of collagen to make you look younger and prettier! Curious at how this dish is cooked, I checked online (recipe here) and to my horror they have to be first deep-fried in order for it to puff up when steamed. Not so healthy now, is it? Still, as a once in a while delicacy, it’s OK as a treat, right?

20130827-173547.jpg

Steamed Braised Chicken Feet

Steamed BBQ Pork Bun: This is sweet BBQ pork filling in white fluffy cottony-soft buns. The filling is very hot. Personally, I am not crazy about BBQ buns because they are too sweet for me. I usually share the bun and have it as my dessert.

20130827-173553.jpg

Steamed BBQ Pork Bun

Steamed Squid: An old classic in any yumcha. I think a basket of this is becoming a rarity nowadays. I especially enjoyed the supposedly cholesterol-lowering or was it blood-pressure lowering pomelo skins under the squids dressed in salty nam jin sauce.

20130827-173559.jpg

Steamed Squid

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings: Chinese chives or ‘gau choi‘ wrapped in glutinous rice paper wrappings.

20130827-173607.jpg

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings

Vegetarian Stir-fry (Lo Hon Chai): Snap peas, carrots, celeries, bamboo shoots, black fungus, lotus roots, lotus buds and chestnuts. A flavoured packed dish with all my favourite vegetables in it. The notables in this dish are the crunchy lotus roots and water chestnuts.

20130827-173613.jpg

Vegetarian Stir-fry

Steamed Pork Ribs: I have not had this dish for quite a long time and it was not as good as I remembered. It was all bone cartilages with little meat. Basically a deep-fried pork ribs which is later steamed and given a generous garnishing of chopped garlic.

20130827-173619.jpg

Steamed Pork Ribs

Steamed Beef Balls: Finally! The favourite among my favourite dim sums. The beef balls here are rather special to me because the beef are minced to a pulp, thus having the texture of beef paste. The added parsleys and water chestnuts in the beef balls are accentuated with the soy vinegar provided.

20130827-173625.jpg

Steamed Beef Balls

The total time we spent in Tsui Hang Village from arrival to picking up the tab was only 50minutes! Now, that’s executive lunch-time in Hong Kong for you!

‘Come Dine in My Lounge’ @ Duddell’s, Central, Hong Kong

Date of Visit: August 26 2013

With a slew of of new restaurant openings in Hong Kong, each one surpassing the other in terms of interior design, style and theme. I narrowed my dining choice to Chinese – well, since I am in Hong Kong, Chinese cuisine is what the Hong Kongers do best, right? From my go-to mag for Hong Kong dining (Hong Kong Tattler’s), I found out that the latest ‘It‘ place in town is Duddell’s which opened recently in May. Wise choice it worked out to be because I really needed a place to chill-out over lunch after a solid 3-hours meeting in the morning.

20130826-151011.jpg

View from Board Room: Intermittent storm brewing

Duddell’s is a ‘art-social-eating place‘, a duplex restaurant occupying Levels 3 & 4 of Shanghai Tang Mansion on historic Duddell Street, where the famous stone steps and the only 4 surviving gas lamps in Hong Kong are (info here).

The designer is Ilse Crawford from London – whom I had the honours of googling and found out to be the ex-editor of international decorating bible, British Elle Decoration before setting up Studio Ilse a decade ago. Her previous projects include Soho House New York, Aesop, Grand Hotel Stockholm, and Ett Hem hotels. (Samples of her work can be found in this blog, here and her interview with SCMP regarding her design on Duddell’s here)

The design of Duddell’s resemble a private residence of a gentleman art-collector with a salon, library, dining room, and a 2,000 square foot outdoor garden terrace (huge in urban HK’s standard!). We were met by a ‘butler’ aka ‘maitre d’ aka ‘bouncer’ in dark suits, upon entry. After checking out our ‘cred’ aka ‘booking’, we were shown to the 2nd floor to be seated at the salon area.

I was immediately impressed by the extensive use of travertine – that solid, heavy, so ’50s material with holes and troughs (high maintenance) – now back in vogue. The heavy solid travertine staircase linked the 2 dining floors and the bar/ salon area upstairs into one cohesive design.

20130914-133415.jpg

Travertine staircase linking both the physical space and visual connection of the 2 floors

Like a page taken straight out of The Conran Shop catalogue, the decors uses high-end expensive designers chairs and furnishings – notably Eames Chairs and Arco Lights.

duddells-hong-kong-dining-room

Main restaurant (downstairs)
Sourced from Internet: (?)

20130906-143832.jpg

2nd Floor: Bar/ Salon/ Library

20130906-143847.jpg

Bar serving artisanal cocktails and champagnes

20130826-164938.jpg

Looking out to the outdoor garden for alfresco dining

20130826-165008.jpg

Designer chairs: Nice to look at, comfortable to sit, but hard to get up!

Although there are a lot of notable pictures and paintings that decorated the walls, what moved me are the photographs of King of Kowloon‘s work aka Tsang Tsou-choi, a garbage-collector turned graffiti artist now an international artist (Hong Kong’s answer to Banksy) – which jazzed up the separate alcove with red banquette seatings. When he died in 1987, he had painted over 55,000 graffitis all over Hong Kong, sadly only 4 remained. The Hong Kong community is now fighting to preserve his works (read here).

To endorse itself as an art-gallery, Duddell’s also offers private membership with a year-round art programs, talks and rotating exhibitions curated by famous names in the global art scene.

20130906-143823.jpg

Photographs of ‘King of Kowloon’s graffiti

20130826-165023.jpg

Red alcove

Trying hard to enjoy the environment, my ears picked up faint babbles of noise travelling all the way from the main restaurant downstairs. This together with the weak sound-proofing meant that I can hear word-for-word the complaints of a woman about her ‘friend’ and thus pretty annoying – what a relief when she left! It is not my intention to eavesdrop but my advise to her would be: “Get rid of your friend if she is so annoying or tolerate her if you still want to continue the friendship. Otherwise – Shut up”!

Alright, enough talk about decor, art and what-nots, I hear you – you are hungry and want to know what I ate from the kitchen of a former T’ang Court (1 Michelin star) chef Siu Hin Chi… so let’s rock on!

20130826-164508.jpg

Loving the illustration
(L) Mr Duddell’s Wine Menu
(R) Ms Duddell’s Food Menu

The Barbecued Pork with Honey ($240) was well executed with soft BBQ pork glazed in honey. Having said that, this is a ubiquitous dish in all Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong. A BBQ platter is a must in every menu and the offerings are just as comparable but at lesser price.

20130826-165327.jpg

Barbecued Pork with Honey

Next up, Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling with Morel Mushroom ($60). I could smell the black truffles, but once in my mouth, I could only taste the mushrooms and none of the truffles. The dumpling skin was well-made, thick enough to be still translucent yet not stick to my teeth.

20130826-165336.jpg

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling with Morel Mushroom

20130826-165343.jpg

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling with Morel Mushroom

The Fried Rice Roll with XO Chili Sauce ($80) followed. I loved how my teeth cut through the crispy and slightly burnt bits on the surface into the soft doughy inside. The XO chili sauce gave a flavoursome spicy kick. Nice!

20130826-165351.jpg

Fried Rice Roll with XO Chili Sauce

Baked Pork Puff with Scallion ($54) was delightful. I enjoyed the buttery pastry wrapping sweet BBQ pork pieces.

20130826-165357.jpg

Baked Pork Puff with Scallion

Deep fried Glutinous Balls with Pork Pieces ($54). Another pork pieces creation, but this time, wrapped in sweet crispy outer layer with a chewy skin and delectable pork filling.

20130826-165405.jpg

Deep fried Glutinous Balls with Pork Pieces

Lobster Soup Dumpling ($110) was ordered individually for each of us. A very pricey choice but so delicious. The soup was light and flavoursome. Although I have shell-fish allergy, I did not get a reaction, so I can vouch for the freshness of the lobster.

20130826-165417.jpg

Lobster Soup Dumpling

Last but not least, the restaurant’s unique creation of a refreshingly mild Chilled Avocado Sago Cream with Chocolate ($50). This dessert soup gave me an idea for my Vitamix. A blitz of avocado, add in some sago then top with coco powder. This is an easy recipe to make at home and would be a nice dessert.

20130826-165425.jpg

Chilled Avocado Sago Cream with Chocolate

20130826-165432.jpg

Chilled Avocado Sago Cream with Chocolate

Duddell’s is best described as an art gallery within a restaurant. It is very pricey but in Hong Kong, one has to be acquainted with the idea for paying for the decoration. I like to say that service was very attentive and professional – looking smart in their beige waist jackets! In my next blog, I will show you my favourite lunch time place in Central where office-workers eat.

While at IFC, for my next appointment, I picked up a box of Pierre Herme’s macaroons for Gran. I much prefer PH over L’s. PH actually has ‘flavour’ as opposed to L’s sweetness. My Centurion Gran loves the soft chewy macaroon! 😄

20130826-165543.jpg

Pierre Herme’s macaroons

Pierre Herme’s 2013 range: Les Jardines

Window Display: Model Kits @ Harvey Nichols Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Date:  August 2013

In the midst of the Hong Kong summer, straddling between the glaring sunlight and buckets of typhoon rainfalls,  where else can the Chica go to avoid melting make-ups and ruined shoes?  Why, to the shopping malls of course!  She is after all in The Kong aka shopping paradise.

Never mind that the end of summer is nigh.   Summer Sale is over and the Fall/Winter 2013 is just debuting.  In a word – nothing wearable to buy just yet, so let’s go window shopping!   

In this post I show you the photos I took from the Harvey Nichols windows at Pacific Place. The theme changes each season – pictures from earlier this year here.  This season’s theme is  based on toy model kits, and I am especially familiar with Tamiya Military Model Kits that my Bro was so fanatic about, spending hours in his boyhood days glueing pieces of plastics together.

Now, each window has a different theme and I had a fantastic time checking out the little accessories that made these windows very interesting – collection wise, the clothes did not attract me .  Nevertheless, let’s enjoy the creativity of visual merchandising team shall we?

To kick off… and of course,  the central window is that of the Knightsbridge Underground Station, where the Harvey Nichols London is.

20130924-125527.jpg

Knightsbridge Underground Station near where the original Harvey Nichols started in London

20130924-125535.jpg

Knightsbridge Underground Station

20130924-125548.jpg

Knightsbridge Underground Station

20130924-125556.jpg

Knightsbridge Underground Station

20130924-125607.jpg

Knightsbridge Underground Station

20130924-142917.jpg

Automobiles

20130924-142930.jpg

Automobiles

20130924-142939.jpg

Automobiles

20130924-143045.jpg

Airplanes

20130924-143529.jpg

Navy

20130924-150822.jpg

Military

20130924-150837.jpg

Military

20130924-150850.jpg

Ladies’ Fashion

20130924-150909.jpg

Ladies’ Fashion

20130924-150930.jpg

Ladies’ Fashion

20130924-150959.jpg

Home Furnishings

20130924-151013.jpg

Home Furnishings

20130924-151023.jpg

2 windows side-by-side

20130924-151031.jpg

Music

20130924-151039.jpg

Luggages

My favourite among the windows is the boudoir.  I can just imagine myself in the pink floating chiffon number surrounded by bubbles and bottles of sweet smelling scents,  getting ready for a relaxing soak in in the huge marble bathtub with gold tapwares.  A perfect way to end a summer’s day, agree?

20130924-151458.jpg

Boudoir

20130924-151513.jpg

Boudoir

20130924-151522.jpg

Boudoir

Ending A Fine Chinese Dinner With Canned Longans Anyone? @ Toh Yuen, Hilton Kuching, Malaysia

Date of Visit:  September 18 2013

Toh Yuen is the in-house Chinese restaurant in Hilton Kuching.  I am guessing this restaurant is very popular with the business set (expensive) and had won quite a few tourism awards judging from the certificate it displayed very prominently on table at the entrance foyer.

20130918-161004.jpg

Toh Yuen’s Signage

20130918-160737.jpg

Entrance: Wall paper in Chinese calligaphy and little Chinese figurines flanking an tourism award certificate

Not a fan of dark dimly-lit restaurants, I worried that I might trip over uneven carpeting (again) – as I am still nursing my cut knee and ‘bruised wound’ of my ripped 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals that I’ve only worn for under 5 minutes  from the fall I suffered the other day (wounding more for sandals though).  Squinting my eyes to evaluate the interior design of the restaurant, I see red fabrics busily draped from the ceiling to the walls.    Some may call it ‘Chinoiserie-chic‘, but for the more imaginative – imagine a fabric-dye factory straight out a scene in a Chinese kung-fu movie where a swordsman come flying out from nowhere.   To further enhance the Chinoiserie-chic experience, lanterns with tassles and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering are used.

20130918-160813.jpg

Interior of main restaurant

Thank goodness we had a private room for dinner.   A brightly-lit festive room with a huge table with lazy-suzy, underneath a huge red lantern and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering for uniformity with the rest of the restaurant.  Even the red napkins and place setting evokes festivity in the room.  I instantly perked up.

On the table are the usual condiments of freshly chopped garlic and assorted chopped chili- red chili,  vinegared green chili, chili-padis.  We are also given sweet cooked soy sauce peanuts to snack on while waiting for the others to arrive.

20130918-160827.jpg

Place setting

First up, a Combination Platter of jellyfish, ham, rolled squid in beancurd skin, a salad of seafood mixed with melon topped with mayonnaise.  I am allergic to shell-fish so did not try the salad, not a big deal for me since I don’t like mayonnaise.  The things that I enjoyed most in the platter are the crunchy jellyfish and fresh cucumbers.

20130918-160840.jpg

Combination Platter

20130918-160852.jpg

Close-up of a few pickings from the assorted Combination Platter

We also had Chicken Soup with a few tough chicken pieces, red dates, fungus and ginseng.  It came piping hot and very tasty.   Something is telling me that this dinner is going to be very healthy… so let’s wait out!

20130918-160907.jpg

Chicken Soup

Steamed Cod in light soy sauce came next.  Our host asked whether we want rice to accompany our dinner.  None of us wanted any, and it seems that everyone is on a low-carb diet nowadays!  (Even older gentlemen! 😈 )

20130918-160917.jpg

Steamed Cod in light soy sauce

We also had Asparagus with whole garlics and fish jerky, which continued the health-vibe of our dinner.

20130918-160929.jpg

Asparagus with whole garlics and fish jerky.

Unfortunately for me, I could not try the Signature Buttermilk Prawns.  These are prawn balls deep-fried in buttermilk and very delicious I was told.  I did take a bite of the deep-fried basket the prawn balls came in to taste, let’s just say it’s for decoration.

20130918-160943.jpg

Buttermilk Prawns

Since dinner started late, at 8pm, we were very relieved when the dessert arrived.  Wait for it – Canned Longans in syrup added with coconut strips and fungus!  I find it very puzzling for a fine dining restaurant to be serving canned fruits.  Then again, I presume canned longans and canned lychees are made very popular  in Malaysia where the climate here is not inclined to producing these exotic fruits.

20130918-160955.jpg

Canned Longan

We also picked up a Hilton Kuching Red Bean Mooncake (RM24++).   A pretty pair of gold-fish embossed on salty baked skin infilled with sweet red bean paste and melon seeds.  It was ‘moreish’ – well, we were at Kuching airport, the Starbucks there didn’t cut it and we were hungry…

20130919-134534.jpg

Hilton Kuching Moon cake

20130919-134542.jpg

X-section: Hilton Kuching Moon cake

Meeting (or Rather ‘Staking Out’) The King and Queen of Malaysia @ Hilton Kuching, Malaysia

Date: September 17 2013

I spy, I spy with my little beady eyes (actually my eyes ain’t too small, only saying for dramatics), from the corners of my eyes I saw police outriders in their monstrous vintage motorcycles with sirens blaring, followed by a Silver Maybach coming to a halt in front of my hotel… and who’d pop out, but Their Majesties, The King of Malaysia and his Queen!

So thus began my 2 hours of stake-out on Their Majesties the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia, at Caffe Cino on the ground floor of Hilton Kuching (err, yes… I’m on a work meeting, but the next one doesn’t start until late so…) To while the time away, I had Iced Blended Coffee (Viennese, I believe with the generous serve of whipped cream on top), without sugar, which costed me an arm-and-a-leg at RM15++. Considering I just had lunch here for only RM17 . Nice Illy coffee by the way, a bit weak but no complaints.

20130921-195356.jpg

Iced Blended Coffee

I saw the famous white-haired guy with white whiskers and his young chesty wife (who gave me a little wave – thrilled 😄 ). They don’t need any introduction, so me no takey pictures.

And also this couple, Yang di-Pertua Negari Sarawak (TYT) and his wife. TYT is the Governor of Sarawak, appointed by The King.

20130924-123459.jpg

TYT and Wife

But I really wanted to snap a picture of Their Majesties. I checked with securities if I can take pictures of Their Majesties. The securities gave me some ‘do and don’ts’, then told me to stand at the bend of the red carpet, for the perfect ‘direct line view’ of Their Majesties as they emerge from the lift! After hanging around for 2 hours, I finally captured my Lumix moment!

20130921-195422.jpg

Their Majesties (in the middle) flanked by TY and his Wife

They were a lovely down-to-earth couples who shook hands with everyone! All you do is line on the the right if you want to shake hands with them or line up to the left if you want to take pictures of them! I chose to take pictures as momentos for my blog.

Since I am staying at Hilton Kuching, I might give a little run-down about the hotel. I got a room with river view

wpid-20130918_073702_1.jpg

Sarawak River

The rooms were a bit tired: Nice hard bed, not lumpy, I slept well. Air conditioning worked. Desk was spacious to scatter all my docs. Mini bar was empty. Tea, coffee and 2 bottles of waters provided. No slippers in room. No turndown service. Bathrooms old and needed refurb. No free wifi, broadband internet access costs RM35++ per day, very expensive (Digi Global Roaming is only RM33++!!) House-keeping have to keep up with vacuuming, I spotted a used candy wrapper on the floor.

20130924-123426.jpg

Twin Beds, brown colour scheme – macho-honcho

20130924-123439.jpg

Concentrate on your work, mama says ‘No TV watching while working!”

Nothing for the commoner to harp home about, still if The Majesties dropped by, that’s a implied royal seal of approval, right? 😈

Dining Kelabit, But Mind The Carbon Footprints @ Tribal Stove, Kuching, Malaysia

Date of Visit: September 17 2013

The Kelabit tribe is the smallest ethnic group in Borneo Sarawak with a population of only 6,600. They live in the remote highlands, only reachable Indiana Jones-style through a few hardy days of gruelling jungle treks or via a jolly ride on a Twin-engine Otter plane. Remote and inaccessible as they are, this tribe is the cultivator of the world famous Barrio Ricedon’t embarrass yourself by calling yourself a foodie, if you have never heard of Bario Rice – this special rice has been registered as a product of Geographical Indication (GI) with the Malaysian Intellectual Property Organization (MyIPO).

This is my second trip to Kuching in less than a week and I was put up at Hilton Hotel which is conveniently located opposite Tribal Stove. Thrilled to see a sign saying ‘Serving Kelabit Highland Cuisine‘, I headed straight into the restaurant for a quick lunch. My initial thought was: “What? Another indigenous restaurant capitalising on the name ‘tribal’?”. If you have been reading my posts, I have eaten at 2 indigenous/ tribal restaurants (here and here) in my last trip and whilst I’ve enjoyed the cuisines, I couldn’t help but think that these has been modified to suit the city folks.

The restaurant is bright and cheerful, but more importantly air-conditioned and equipped with wifi. Adorned with black and white photocopied photographs depicting the traditional Kelabits’ way of life and decorated with handicrafts, I am finding myself to be quickly immersed in their culture. The recycled salvaged metal chairs, galvanised tables, old overhead lights , give a rusticated eclectic edge to the scene, practically hitting all the right chords for the Inner City set (that is, if you are from the Sydney’s Surry Hills set or somewhere where SOHO, NOHO are fashionable areas etc).

20130918-153952.jpg

Interior of Restaurant

20130918-154022.jpg

Interior of Restaurant

While listening to the soothing enchanting ethnic music, I checked out the interesting wall decorations – a tinge of tropical jungle vibe, perhaps?

20130918-154034.jpg

Carved woodwork

20130918-154044.jpg

Beaded Farm Hat

20130918-154109.jpg

Painting depicting Kelabit traditions which are for sale

20130918-154140.jpg

Wooden sculpture

Since the 3 of us are Kelabit cuisine virgins, rather than navigating the menu and interrogating the waitress with questions, we decided to order a set lunch each, setting ourselves up for surprises. Each set lunch comes with a choice of main, soup of the day, barrio white rice or nubaq layaq, 2 types of organic wild vegetables and a drink.

20130923-133730.jpg

Tribal set Lunch Menu

Apparently all the vegetables are flown in from the Bario-Bakelan Highlands. If you are a Greenie, you’d be dismayed at the carbon footprint each catty of vegs produced but then again, this is only collateral damage for the ‘environmental destruction’ that pave way for development, meaning trees have to be cut down to build roads, thus ‘illegal’ loggings, etc. There are 2 sides to a coin, so just let’s stick with the idea of isolating the Kelabits as martyrs for the good of the environment. Do not pull me into the debate, I am only a gluttonous foodie.

20130918-154204.jpg

Iced Lemon + Lemongrass Water

And for once, as a foodie, I am experiencing what is meant by ‘food truly offers an interesting insight to the various culture’.

I had Labo Senutuq (Shredded Beef or Serunding Style Beef) RM17 as my set lunch. I looked on with awe at the warm package wrapped in Daun Isip (a large green leaf) arrived. Oh, it was Nubaq Layaq, red mashed bario rice. It had an interesting mushy texture of what a mashed up rice should be, except it is not starchy. Traditionally, the Kelabits wrap their rice in isip leaves so that they can bring their rice to the farm, to keep it warm and to also use the leaf as a plate – ode to waste not, want not. The accompanying soup of the day is Soup Tengayan (jungle leaves) from the Bario-Bakelan Highlands.

20130918-154216.jpg

Red Bario Mashed Rice Wrapped in Daun Isip with Soup Tengayan

20130918-154232.jpg

My Labo Senutuq Lunch Set

My salad is Bunga Kantan, which is wild ginger flower. A subtle blend of crunchy deliciousness dressed in lime juice.

20130918-155051.jpg

Kerid Lamud Busaq Keluduh (Wild Jungle Salad)

I did not know that banana leaves can be eaten, and this is an interesting. The soft shredded banana leaves cooked in coconut milk was my vegetarian curry that went very well with my mashed red bario rice.

20130918-155104.jpg

Shredded Banana Leaves with Coconut Milk

Labo Senutuq is akin to beef floss jerky. The pounded and shredded beef was cooked in dried chilli and spices. Some bits were tough, but overall very tasty. Surprisingly, a very filling dish since I could only finish half of it.

20130918-155120.jpg

Labo Senutuq (Beef Floss Jerky)

My other 2 companion had:
A’beng/ Luan Tunee (Fish cooked tribal style) $16 and Kari Buaq Kabar (Pineapple curry) $16

20130918-154245.jpg

Top: Kari Buaq Kabar
Bottom: A’beng/ Luan Tunee

A quick run-down:
A’beng is deboned fish which has been shredded. Cooked in a traditional style, presumably smoked in bamboo with some spices. It had a mild taste and an interesting soft texture. One would not had known that this is fish if not pointed out!

20130918-154909.jpg

A’beng (deboned fish cooked traditional style),

The Minced Bamboo Shoots Salad was a very fresh and simple salad. I think only salt was added to it. In this point, I should mention that the Kelabits also produce their own mineral-rich Bario Highland organic salt, wrapped in dried leaf. This is available for sale at Tribal Stove.

20130918-154919.jpg

Minced Bamboo Shoots Salad

The wild Jungle Asparagus was very tender and cooked in sambal.

20130918-154931.jpg

Jungle asparagus

The Jungle Ferns with Baby Corns was delicious, simply cooked with salt.

20130919-194846.jpg

Jungle Ferns (midin) with Baby Corns

The famous Bario Rice – smaller, less starchy, totally organic (think about it, pesticides costs money! Duh!)

20130922-190613.jpg

Bario Rice

For dessert, we had Banana and Breadfruit Chips, which we had ordered as starters but the kitchen forgot. Nevertheless, it was coated in sugar so made for good crispy dessert (sans chili sauce, of course)

20130918-154940.jpg

Banana and Breadfruit Chips

I have never met a Kelabit. From the photos I saw on the wall, they looked very fashion-forward making even the edgiest punkster look tame with their huge ear-rings collection and long elongated ear lobes.

20130918-155613.jpg

A Kelabit woman, picture from Tribal Stove

Tribal Stove is truly unique. The real appeal of this establishment is its wholesome, healthy back-to-roots approach of letting the organic ingredients shine through without a need for a twist. If I live in Kuching, I will certainly make this my mess! By the way, anyone be keen enough to trek up the Bario Highlands with me in 2014? 🙂