Sunday, September 6, 2009

Frankincense Cafe

(Update: I was back for another plate of the mifun on 9/11, and it was very different in appearance and taste from the first plate. The mifun was too wet, the chives too old and the taste overall was not special. I think it wasn't cooked by the same person. Another thing they need to do is expand the menu for kids, period.)

Last Friday, I ate an ordinary-looking extraordinary plate of fried mifun. The simple white mifun without soy sauce or much meat was of the perfect texture, not too soft or hard, and not too oily too, and it was very tasty and fragrant with an unexpected ingredient--bunga kantan, cut so finely that I couldn't see it. The next day, 12 hours after I ate the mifun, I was at Frankincense Cafe to eat the same thing again.

It turned out that the restaurant owner, Casey, was an acquaintance from my previous church and he is from the Nyonya town of Melaka. Now Frankincense makes some sense. Some. Frankincense is a non air-con family restaurant. That means no frills, but it is very clean and pleasant. The food is very home-cooked too, and the prices are probably among the cheapest in town, with most items under RM5. I immediately knew that I've found a place I can go to whenever I don't feel like cooking. I wasn't the only person who thought like that, because a friend strolled in and said he eats there every day, and pointed to our plate of fried mifun as his favorite. Just writing this makes me hungry for the mifun again. I seriously suspect that bunga kantan is addictive. (Right after lunch, Hub and I took a drive to Lok Kawi and bought three lousy, wet, bland medium-sized durians for RM55--it's so unfair that West Malaysians can eat a ton of The King of Fruits for that amount of money--and we stopped by a nursery and bought a bunga kantan plant. I love bunga kantan.)

There aren't that many items on the menu, which is not surprising since this is a mom and pop kind of restaurant, with only one helper. As Casey's wife Katherine is a Kadazan, the restaurant serves a mixture of Nyonya and Kadazan home dishes. One of the side dishes that goes well with the mifun was tuhau, which I've read about and seen in markets but never eaten before. I loved it immediately. Tuhau is the stem of a ginger (not the bunga kantan) which the Kadazans love to serve as a pickle side dish to fried fish and rice. I am going to post the recipe as soon I get some tuhau but you can jump ahead and get it from here.

P1330248
Frankincense's fantastic bihun goreng special (special fried mifun) is simple but delicious and full of flavors, RM4.50. I was told later that it is best fried with dried shrimps. The tuhau is at the back along with a small dish of chili belacan.

P1330250
Udang chili garam, salt and chili prawns. It was not as flavorful as it looks though. Only RM5 for 5 prawns!

P1330255
Ayam pong teh, stewed chicken in soy sauce I think, RM4.50. This simple stew would be good with plain rice.

P1330256
Fried Ranau veg is a mixed plate of native garlic chives, bunga kantan, chilies and dried prawns, RM4. I found this dish too oily but eating the garlic chives (lots of fibre) reminded me of my Dad who used to cook them with beef and dried radish.

P1330246
I want to go back to Frankincense for the cincalok omelette, the nasi lemak, the ikan pari kuah lada...but most of all, for the bihun goreng special.


P1330260

Frankincense Cafe is at the Kepayan Commercial Center. You can go there through Austral Park or by way of the Penampand By-Pass going to the Kepayan Commercial Center. The restaurant is opposite to Avena Cake Shop.

25 comments:

tracieMoo said...

I like the mee hun. Looks like my favourite mee hun siam =D
And the price is very reasonable too!

Anonymous said...

Damn cheap! But looks homecooked delicious!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

rm5 for 5 prawns, is that rite???

hongyi said...

i miss u sweeha. can we talk tonight?

bring me there when i get back. sounds good : )

J2Kfm said...

pong teh i think it's fermented bean paste. a nyonya dish, if i'm not wrong.

GFAD said...

I have discovered the plainest looking food can sometimes be the best! Once I tried a pale yellow bak chang, and it was the tastiest bak chang I have ever had!

That mihun of yours looks extremely appetising. Lovely for a hot humid day!

kat

Anonymous said...

He seem curious when I told him that I came to know about his cafe through your blog when I visited it this afternoon. Thanks for the info about this cafe.

dV

Fooman said...

Hmm, looks like dinner there tonight.

ganache-ganache said...

I'm terrible with Kepayan/Penampang area, how do I go frm my place ?

EADotCom said...

Totally agree with your review =)

Anonymous said...

Hey people....don't just type in your comments. Go and eat them at Frankincense Cafe....

Anonymous said...

I went there last evening after reading your blog. I had read an article abou the cafe in the Sabah Malaysian Borneo magazine published by Sabah Tourism Board/Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn. Bhd. but never stop to eat although I live in the area. Yes, the beehoon was good.Will definitely eat at the cafe again.

The owner printed your blog article. He has been getting more people coming in to order the beehoon!:D

Fooman said...

Couldn't find it yesterday. :(

Can locate it on Google maps?

terri@adailyobsession said...

tracie: mee hun siam is another yummy plate of noodles :0

anon: it is, try it!

joe: rite Joe

yi: i called but ur phone as usual is always on recorded mode.

j2k: ah i see..yes, it's nyonya

gfad: i am longing for a purple nyonya chang...

dv: do u like the mifun?

eatdot: thnx:))

anons: :00 casy
ll appreciate it. he's such a gentle person isn't he? oozing with goodness :)

fooman, ganache: turn into austral, continue going until u come to the end of the long road where the detached houses are. turn right and go until the junction, then turn left. go along tt road until u see austal 10 sign on the left, turn into austal 10, then when u get to the junction, turn left and in a few seconds u will see some shops on the right. u'll see the cafe immediately. ai ya, fooman, i don't do google maps. seems like a lot of work..will figure it out one day tho...
if you come from taman golden hill direction, turn in at the kepayan commercial center. tt's the project with the ugliest shophouses i've ever seen. they have tacky bright orange borders, very cheap looking.

btw, fooman, don't u think the new shop houses next to karamunsing komplex are so very classy? if only they can get some nice tenants there. i hear they are built by times sq ppl. now tt's class.

Katie said...

That food looks so fresh and tasty and the prawns look nice. I love when "hot" food isn't too hot - I can't handle too much chili but those prawns looked like they'd be really delicious.

Fooman said...

Ah! Thats where it is. Will find it and mark on your map for you.

Yes, Karamunsing Capital looks pretty cool. Traffic will be murder though.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I like the Mifun but I discourage my friend to ask for it cos he's the type who does not like the smell of 'kantan or tuhau' and Mr Cassey was humble enough about his customer taste. I have to tell him that I crave for his tuhau, only then he give me one .. lol

dV

Agnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Agnes said...

I love tuhau after my first try of it.... :)~

Have you ever tried bambangan? it was good but I am still trying to get used of the strong smell

Anonymous said...

Terri, thank you, I ate the bifun and it was very good. You are right, the place is very clean and pleasant. Thanks for your info.

Fooman said...

Found it
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=118277759858517114955.000469e96cf06518bf64d&ll=5.943035,116.070524&spn=0.00572,0.006899&z=17

Anonymous said...

I too have tried the mihun and it's yummy. Didn't like tuhau before but gave it another try as it was recommended. Must say Mr Casey's tuhau is good. The only downside was having lunch and had to endure secondary smoking. Tried to sit as far as possible but the smokers were puffing away without a care for other patrons. I wish smokers can be more considerate especially in eateries. It's a real put off trying to enjoy a meal whilst inhaling secondary cigaratte smoke. What say you Terri?

Anonymous said...

i went few weeks ago. it taste different now because the previous chef has left. :( the boss (i presumed) said this new chef can replicate the same dish.....

Anonymous said...

Previous chef is back again & bihun special + tuhau is yummy!! Chicken rice ball (Melaka stlye) every saturday...intresting!!

Anonymous said...

Found it by accident, as wife, daughter Sara and I were driving pass after sunset mass. Intrigued by the cafe's name. The guy (Casey?) was friendly. Wife went for the Frankincense bihun special; Sara selected the butter chicken; I decided to try the Kari ikan and bambangan. Value for money, i reckon. Perhaps the first of many visits.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...