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Thứ Năm, 1 tháng 9, 2011

Kuching 2011 - Lunch at Chubby Babba

Another week, another new restaurant in town. Kuching is going through a restaurant boom, and I can't help feeling there is a bubble building up. A small town with a population of only around 500,000 people, Kuching seems to be a bit over-served at the moment. The biggest problem is I think there is a lack of imagination and deep food knowledge, and most of the new food outlets tend to compete in the same space.

When we heard there was a new Nonya restaurant in town, we - especially the missus - were really excited ! We love Nonya food for the strong robust flavours and there are not many Nonya joints in town.

Chubby Babba is located at one of the more remote areas called Samajaya, which is home to some of the few high-tech and electronic factories in town. It is more of a coffee shop then a restaurant - being completely open concept and non-air-conditioned.

The menu was rather limited, and reading through it we couldn't help feeling a little bit disappointed. Some of our favourites like Chicken Kapitan, Assam Laksa and Nonya Chap Chai are not on the menu.

They have a counter serving some Nonya cakes. We had the Kueh Salat (rice cake with pandan-flavour custard), Kueh Dadar (crepes with coconut filling sweetened with palm sugar), and Ham Chee Peng (deepfried local donut). When I was younger I used to blush when mentioning this name - if you know Hokkien you will know what I mean ! These were not bad but not the best either.

Nonya Ngo Hiang - a meat roll wrapped in bean curd skin and deepfried. This was quite good and a hit with the kids.

Kah Chang Ma - chicken cooked in wine, ginger and a local herb called Kah Chang Ma - this is a local favourite and they have done it quite well.

Cinchalok Chicken - fried chicken marinated with fermented baby shrimp paste (cinchalok). There wasn't enough of the shrimp paste taste.

Stirfried Kangkong with Belachan - this was way too oily. You can see the vegies are swimming in oil.

Nonya food needs to be cooked with lots of love and soul. At the moment the food at Chubby Babba is a bit lacking in soul. In time I hope they will be able to improve, and hopefully we can get great Nonya food in Kuching.

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