Pengkalan Hulu Food – Gong An Hainan Restaurant, Huang Chau, & Masakan Ala ThaiNovember 10, 2009 | 3,943 views
Continuation from the previous post of Chalet Air Panas @ Pengkalan Hulu ….
In case you’re wondering, what else to do in Pengkalan Hulu, en route to your most sinful destination of Betong in Thailand (over the border, about 7km away from the custom checkpoint – for more information hop over to our 3 days/2 nights Betong experience last year), you can consider appeasing that hungry beast deep within you, with some simple Chinese food or Hainanese fare. Yup, read that right. Hainanese food in Pengkalan Hulu, courtesy of Gong An Restaurant. With a solid 30+ years of history, and opens from 11.30am until 9.30pm everyday, this restaurant is but a mere handful of Chinese restaurants in the small town, and possibly the only one that’s pork free. (Do correct me if I’m wrong)
Hainanese Style Fish & Chips (RM10.00)
A little underwhelmed by the spread served in Chalet Air Panas, we took a most delightful detour to town in search for some food. REAL food. Our eyes spied on a few Chinese restaurants believed to serve ‘Dai Chow’ type of cuisine (Rice with Dishes, and Noodles), one being 126 Seafood Restaurant, another named Huang Chau which I’ll get to later in this post, and of course, Gong An Hainan Restaurant which also acts as a guesthouse, All three restaurants are situated on the main road of Pengkalan Hulu named Jalan Iskandar, hence locating them requires no complicated directions whatsoever.
Succulent, fresh and sweet fillet of fish coated with their own crispy batter, and served with the sweet and tangy gravy with caramelized onions, and fries as well as mixed vegetables on the side.
Gong An serves not only Hainanese fare such as the perennial favourite Hainanese Chicken Chop, but also Fish & Chips, Beef Steak (it was on the signboard, but my order of beef steak miraculously changed to Fish & Chips in the end. Hmm …), and various Chinese dishes.
The Fish & Chips came freshly prepared, coated with a thin and crispy batter that did not stick to the flesh. Haphazardly coated? Nah … But very home-cooked style, with everything whipped up on the go, even the glistening sweet and sour gravy with lots of onions, and the stubby shoe-string fries. The fish was pleasantly devoid of fishy, or muddy taste, and the flaky and succulent flesh was a most relished experience. A little steep, at RM10 per serving, but well-worth the price paid.
Mook Yee Kai (Braised Chicken with Wood Ear Fungus) served with rice @ RM5
The special of the day (so to speak) was Soy Sauce Chicken with Wood Ear Fungus, one of the most heartwarming dish one can whip up, almost resembling my grandma’s style of cooking. The place may not have air-conditioning, nor exemplary level of customer service, but to be dining here was a most nostalgic experience in itself, almost akin to a family dinner in a long-forgotten yet familiar place. The floor was tiled with mosaics from the yesteryears, the furnitures retained their charm since more than half a century ago, and even the kitchen was built to be in full view of the customers.
Address & Location :
Gong An Hainanese Restaurant & Air-Cond Hotel (as printed on their business card)
No 30, Jalan Iskandar,
Pengkalan Hulu, 33100
Kroh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : +604-477 8217 or +6019-560 3106
Opens daily from 11.30 am until 9.30pm. Close days not fixed.
Indonesian Prawns (RM32)
A few doors away from Gong An sits Huang Chau, a Chinese diner with a fair amount of customers and loyal patrons. Even on the evening we had our dinner there, some tables were booked, and even covered with red clothes, indicating joyous and momentous occasions being celebrated in the restaurant. And no, the eatery is not your typical idea of a fine dining outlet, nor even equipped with air-conditioners to start with.
The Dishes @ Huang Chau Restaurant in Pengkalan Hulu, Perak
A meal for 8 came to about RM94, including rice and drinks. The Indonesian Prawns (RM32) came piping hot in a claypot, covered ever so decadently with those thick, creamy and delicious sauce. The gravy resembled yellow curry, minus the heat. The other dishes paled in comparison, with the “Pai Kuat Wong”, or literally translated to Spare Ribs King (RM10) leading the pack. The hint of turmeric in the marinade was not exactly a smart move, at least in my opinion. And far from fork tender, the lean pieces of ribs were a little tougher than desired. But still, the plateful of meat was polished off in mere minutes, ravaged by the hungry souls tormented by the lack of edible foods in the Chalet.
The Kung Pao Chicken (Stir-fried Chicken with Dried Chillies) (RM16) was a forgettable affair, being nothing outstanding in comparison to the average ones in most Chinese diners. Still thinks the one at Lan Je in Rawang was possibly the BEST version I’ve had. The Seng Kong Tofu (Beancurd cooked in an egg-y gravy, with an assortment of vegetables and meats thrown in for good measure) was a little over-priced at RM15 per portion, though the gravy complemented the white rice well. The crunchy Choy Tam was lightly stirtfried with some chopped garlic, retaining their natural sweetness and crunch. By the way, what do we call them in English? Brussel Sprouts?
Huang Chau Restaurant is a corner shop situated a few doors away from Gong An Restaurant, on Jalan Iskandar, Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.
And last but not least, something to tempt that fidgety tastebuds of yours, or seeking for some Halal food? Then this shack of an eatery situated on the main road of Jalan Iskandar, Pengkalan Hulu may just do the trick.
Kharijah bt Mahmud – Masakan Ala Thai, Jalan Iskandar is a most unassuming spot for a leisurely lunch, to be seated under the freaking hot zinc roofs with nothing but stand fans to cool you off. But you see the crowd, from all walks of life patronizing the place for some Thai-influenced Malay dishes come lunch and dinner hours.
Though we found that the Tom Yum was anything but memorable, being a little diluted than what I would have preferred. And there were even fishballs floating on the surface. Hmm ……. The Daging Masak Merah (Beef slices in a Sweet & Spicy Gravy), Kailan Masak Ikan Masin (Salted Fish with Kale), and Telur Dadar (Egg Omelette stuffed with a sweetish combination of ingredients) were all staples of the routine Malay spread of dishes. The meal for four came close to RM40, a princely sum for a simple meal in Pengkalan Hulu. And this was more than ONE year ago, before we embarked on our journey to Betong, Thailand.
Masakan Ala Thai Kharijah bt Mahmud is situated on Jalan Iskandar of Pengkalan Hulu, a few shops away from the only Maybank in town. You’ll see this shack before reaching Shell petrol station on your right.
And there you have it. A simple roundup of all the food we have tried, tested, and came back alive after our meals, in Pengkalan Hulu. Any recommendations, suggestions, feedback, brickbats etc?