A Bittersweet Symphony (Fu Kua Restaurant @ Taman SEA, PJ)March 30, 2011 | 7,297 views
Stir fried ‘kampung’ chicken in black bean sauce with bitter gourd (RM21/USD7) – A mess of a presentation, but you’ll love this to bits. We did.
Let’s talk about the finer things in life. Or rather, the bitter things in life. When weeks flew by without you even noticing, when the heart pumps adrenaline-fuelled blood into the stream ever so continuous; so perpetual to sustain the intense stress, and in a flash, March was all but gone.
Still remember how I started this month vowing to finish up all the older posts stashed to oblivion, for I knew I can’t just go on like this. This blog will die a slow, painful death.
But when things started going the downward spiral route, hence the ‘bitter’ side of life ….. sunshine comes in the most unexpected shade. A ‘sweeter’ nudge from knowing that there ARE still people passionate about eating, reading about good food and searching high and low for potentially boundaries-shattering stuff. The people I met over dinner a few hours ago were all that. And more.
Craziest menu ever. Someone please help them do a proper menu already.
This time one year ago, the four of us were all strangers. Barely knowing how each other looked, let alone what language one speaks (only 1/4 of us is not anonymous), we were avid readers of one another’s blog. To some extent.
Fast forward a year later, now here we are seated on the same table, sharing stories (tragic/jovial/manic) like friends since the Jurassic age.
Okay, maybe not. But still ….. good to boost the already-sagging spirit, especially when my weekends were all but gone and work’s starting to engulf me in a sea of endless horizons.
Bitter Gourd Juice; with an additional health booster (more like to tamper down the bitterness?) of your choice. About RM2.50-RM3.50 per glass, this was well worth the money paid. And your courage’s well put. Go for the one with pineapple, a refreshing balance of slight bitterness with a zesty tang from the tropical fruit.
And thus, after a week of delay, this dinner at Fu Kua Restaurant (what a name, eh?) commenced. Half-expected this restaurant to be filled to the brim (judging from that Rumah Peranakan dinner way back in December), was pleasantly surprised that we could easily find a vacant table in the air-conditioned portion of the restaurant.
From several reviews I have read, seemingly this place is a maestro when it comes to … you guessed it; Fu Kua or bitter gourd dishes. A horror to those who shy away from this bitter yet nutritious fruit. Yes, this is a fruit, apparently. More than a vegetable or a tuber. But then again, I don’t recognize my food from its genus or species or whatever, so don’t hold me ransom.
Famous BItter Gourd Soup (RM12/USD4) – I did not insert that FAMOUS moniker. It’s there in their menu. Very the confident eh?
If you’re thinking repulsive thoughts and doubting this review already, DON’T! Stay for a while longer (promise this will be short, like always …. hehe), and you might just fall in lurve with this place, and ultimately, with this largely unpopular fruit.
Me? I have been converted from a serious hater of this since I was small, to someone whom actually anticipates a bitter gourd omelette, or the Indian version of deep fried bitter gourd usually served with banana leaf rice (in Ipoh, you can find good ones in Ananda Bahwan, and the Indian curry rice stall in Metro Cafe in old town). Guess you can make assumption that my palate has matured over time, and now I appreciate even more exquisite flavours than before.
Salted Egg Bitter Gourd (RM12/USD4) – You can also have this deep-fried with a salted egg batter coating. This dish was fabulous and deserve a standing ovation, seriously.
For a restaurant that prides itself as the master in cooking bitter gourd dishes, yet managed to attract a strong legion of fans; young and old alike, that HAS to be mean something.
Not exactly the most famous or generic of food, bitter gourd has excellent health benefits, and generally perceived (and proven) to be good for diabetics.
I have yet to discover a place (in Ipoh, so far) that serves such excellently executed dishes with bitter gourd in them. Even the soup, or rather, especially the soup. The one at Fu Kua includes various pork cuts; from pork balls to stomach and coagulated pig’s blood, but the slices of fresh, green bitter gourd were such a delight to bite into.
Marmite Spare Ribs (RM20/USD7) – In case your child (or the child in you) ran away in fear or faint in overly dramatic fashion
Sambal Prawns (RM30/USD10) – Succulent large prawns, de-shelled and cooked in a pleasantly piquant sambal belacan (spicy chili and shrimp paste) sauce
We walloped the 5 dishes clean. Actually, marc_ky wanted to order his favourite steamed pork in a bamboo casing. Sadly, to no avail. They probably ran out of bamboo, or pork. But highly suspecting it’s the former rather than the latter.
Ended up with the Marmite pork ribs, which was a good recommendation from the waitress, who could barely speak to us since we were all not the best Mandarin speakers anyway.
The Sambal Prawns came highly recommended by j_chocoholic, and deservedly so. Imagine large prawns de-shelled, then stir-fried in a delicious sambal sauce with slivers of onions and capsicum. Succulent, fresh sea prawns with an exceptional bounce. Slightly pricey coming to think of it, but worth every cent, I’d reckon.
But seriously, they have maybe 1001 items on the menu (un)sorted into several pages without categories nor any pictures at all. Either you can spend precious time browsing through the menu by yourself, or shave the pride and ask for assistance. You know you need them …..
“So was this really a healthy affair? You be the judge …”
Fu Kua Restaurant
No. 19, Jalan SS 23/15,
47400 Petaling Jaya,
GPS Location : N3 06.971 E101 36.736
Business Hour : 11am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 11pm
(Address and contact shamelessly nicked from Nikel Khor’s post)
Just turn in at the Taman Megah exit 1008 on LDP, and you’ll find your way here soon enough.