Archive | May, 2012

The BLM (Bacon, Lettuce, Mango)

13 May


Apparently British Sandwich Week kicked off today, so it seemed an auspicious day for this post. I found a blog called Couture Sandwich a few weeks ago, which chronicles both sandwiches consumed and experimental sandwich recipes. The one that caught my eye was a twist on the BLT, which is the Platonic ideal of a sandwich if you have access to summer-ripened homegrown tomatoes, but a disappointment otherwise. Couture Sandwich suggests a solution by swapping out the tomato for another juicy fruit, mango. Now, in Malaysia, you can get all the mango you can handle — but a good tomato is basically impossible to find, owing to the climate. (One variety, the Momotaro, comes close, but doesn’t have the acidity to pull the BLT together.)

My BLM had a couple of deviations due to circumstance. I used thick-cut (since I was slicing the bread myself, I couldn’t go thin) multigrain bread instead of a kaiser roll, grainy mustard instead of honey (because that’s what I had), fresh red chiles as opposed to pickled, and perhaps most heretically of all, I was out of mayo. BUT: It still turned out delicious. I especially liked how the mango and the chile played off the smoky bacon. Mango is pretty easy to get in supermarkets these days, so even if you don’t live in the tropics, I urge you to give this a try. If your mango seems underripe, just leave it on the counter for a few days, and it will achieve optimal flavor. (By the way, if you’re of the British/Aussie persuasion, please be sure to use streaky bacon for this sandwich; otherwise the texture just won’t be right.)

VEGIFY IT: If you’re a non-meat eater, I think this combo would work with some sort of smoked cheese (like mozzarella), or maybe brie. No dairy? Try it with fried tempeh, which would match the crispiness of the bacon.


Chee Cheong Fun and Egg Tarts at Imbi Market

5 May

Imbi Market is one of the famous wet markets of KL, located in an impossible-to-drive-to corner of town. The market itself is on the small side, though it’s a good place to experience a traditional Asian wet market (and to convert to vegetarianism — if you buy chicken, it’s slaughtered on the spot), but what makes Imbi a hot spot is the cluster of stalls in the back, serving up breakfast and brunch to discerning KLites and bus drivers.

One of the best-known stalls is a chee cheong fun spot. Chee cheong fun is a sort of rice crepe that you may have encountered at dim sum, stuffed with char siu or shrimp; in Malaysia, it’s served unstuffed with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Left to right: Sisters Popiah; chee cheong fun from the “other” stall; chee cheong fun from the famous stall

Unfortunately, because I’d been driving around lost for so long, I was too faint with hunger to check if the first place I got my chee cheong fun was the famous stall. After I’d ordered, I turned around and saw the right place. So…I got another plate of chee cheong fun. Between this and the popiah (which really deserves its own post, but suffice to say it’s the Malaysian version of a fresh spring roll), I didn’t have room for much else, unfortunately. I couldn’t taste much of a difference between the two chee cheong funs — the sauce from #2 Chee Cheong Fun was maybe a bit sweeter? — but #2’s yong tau foo (vegetables stuffed with seasoned fish paste — really delicious, I swear) was definitely a couple notches above in quality. (Yong tau foo is another Malaysian speciality deserving of its own post. Clearly I’ve been slacking.)

Fresh from the oven

Being stuffed with rice noodles didn’t prevent me from picking up some dessert to take home. These egg tarts from Boon Choon were just going into the oven when I got to the stall; I had to wait 20 minutes, but it was worth it. Perfect, flaky (= loaded with lard) pastry, filled with more than the usual quantity of wobbly custard. I particularly liked that the custard wasn’t as dense as a lot of Chinese egg tarts tend to be. Definitely a contender for best egg tarts in KL, in my opinion.

Imbi Market (listed on Google Maps as Pasar Besar Bukit Bintang) is located between Jalan Melati and Jalan Kampung. Go early (before 10 a.m.) for the best selection; if you’re planning on doing any marketing, go even earlier.