London - Chinese-Malaysian options at New Fook Lam Moon
Fook Lam Moon in Hong Kong is one of oldest & most famous Cantonese fine-dining restaurants in the former British colony, renowned for its pricey sharksfin, birds' nest & abalone dishes. New Fook Lam Moon in London Chinatown, obviously named after that famous HK icon, turned out, surpisingly, to be a Chinese-Malaysian restaurant. Granted, it had the requisite roast meats (char-siu, siu-yoke, roast ducks, etc.) window display, New FLM's Cantonese owners also churned out some pretty spicy stuff.
Unfortunately, stink-beans, or "buah petai" were out-of-stock in Chinatown this week, so I wasn't able to order New FLM's stink-beans with minced pork stir-fried with sambal belachan (drool!). Instead, I had to settle for:
- Nyonya chicken curry. Not really the best i had in London (that honor still goes to the incomparable Sedap in Old Street) but still quite good - the large potato cubes had the perfect texture - maintaining their shape but breaking apart at the merest pry of a fork. The chicken pieces were cooked just right. I didn't like the brand of Indian curry powder they used to flavor their curry, though - but that's just my personal preference - I only liked Alagappa's, a brand which is perhaps not obtainable in London but used widely in Malaysia & Singapore, especially for our piquant Nyonya curries. The spice-chilli level at New FLM really packed an oomph on the Scoville scale, testimony to its Chinese-Malaysian pedigree obviously;
- Mixed vegetables with sambal belachan. This ubiquitous Chinese-Malaysian dish usually contained long beans, aubergines, stink-beans and wing-beans, with loads of onions, chilli paste and fermented shrimp paste (belachan) thrown in. The endorphin-inducing dish at New FLM was done to perfection - the belachan's assertive scent assailed my nostrils the moment the dish was laid down on the table!The stink-bean component was missing this evening, understandably - pity, that was my favorite vegetable item actually, but the dish remained enjoyable. It came topped with ultra-crisp fried "ikan bilis" or tiny Malaysian anchovies.
- Egg fried rice. I simply LOVED New FLM's version - again, personal taste here: I liked my fried rice relatively moist, with the grains ever-so-slightly sticky, but not risotto-like. New FLM's egg-fried rice was the best I'd gotten from any Chinatown restaurant here. I really needed to come back here to try their Yangzhou fried rice and see if the chef can replicate the texture but made tastier with the addition of shrimps & BBQ pork.
Definitely a restaurant worth checking out if one's in Chinatown, especially if one is looking for spicy Chinese food but without the tongue-numbing "Sichuan peppercorn" effect which one gets from Sichuanese or Hunanese restaurants.
New Fook Lam Moon
10 Gerrard St, London W1D, GB
I remember your talking about this place - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7153... .
Interesting. The stuff you had looks good, I guess it's another option now for Chinese-Malaysian stuff there.
Personal preferences indeed. I myself like my fried rice quite a bit less stuck together than you seem to do. :-)
I have memories of sort-of parking half on the pavement on Gerrard St (when it was still open to cars) and my sister running into some restaurant or other on various occasions for siew ngap and siew yook and char siew, not sure if this was the place. That was quite a while ago.
I guess I must be in a "Malaysian food" phase at the moment, perhaps prompted by my move to KL last March :-D
I visit London annually for the past 3 decades and eating out is a major component of my trips, but I'd usually balked at going into Asian restaurants back then - simple reason being that we get better versions of such cuisines back in Singapore or HK. Besides, London's dining scene offer so much more exciting possibilities - modern-British, continental/European, Middle-Eastern, etc which we can't match back home.
But recent years had seen relatively interesting emergence of Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants in London like Sedap, and a much-improved Bugis Street, the 17-year-old Singaporean eatery in Gloucester Hotel.