The chicken for the Ginger Chicken dish was filleted, a welcoming touch as I don't prefer my chicken with lots of bones. The dark & thick gravy belied its true flavour, which was punctuated with slight nuances of ginger slices and chopped scallions. The greens for the meal came in the form of stir-fried kailan with salted fish, a homely approach at best.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Hutan Melintang in Perak remains as a mystery to most. Not exactly a forest, although not without its fair share of palm oil plantations lining the trunk roads leading to Sabak Bernam and Bagan Datoh. A small town in the Hilir Perak district in southern Perak, this town had us keeping our fingers crossed, all the while scratching our heads and wondering; "How did Hutan Melintang got its name?!"
Literally translated to 'Horizontal Forest', the moniker may sound unflattering at times, and makes an exceptionally worthy joke whenever someone's behaving like an ape; Throw him to Hutan Melintang ... and never be seen again .... Muahaha!!! (How I wish)
To get to this town, that connects Teluk Intan in Perak, and Sabak Bernam of Selangor, one must resort to trunk roads as no highways serve the route. Of course, you can't even travel on highway to Teluk Intan, although widely recognized as one of Perak's larger town (after Ipoh, Taiping and Seri Manjung).
A reader of Motormouth From Ipoh once recommended Men Lok Seafood in Hutan Melintang, a Chinese seafood restaurant that has been operating for a good 30 years, situated right before the river banks of Sungai Bernam, lining the borders between Perak and Selangor.
Since work took us to Teluk Intan and Hutan Melintang today, we grabbed this opportunity and wondered over to Men Lok Seafood (Makanan Laut Men Lok in Malay), a humble one-storey shoplot on the main road, right before the road curves to the right, leading to Bagan Datoh.
Arriving a little before lunch hour, the place looked a tad deserted, with only a few tables seated with patrons. But do take note that after awhile, the capacity swelled to its fullest, and evidently, most customers this afternoon were not locals, judging from their outlook.
Of course, I spoke for ourselves as well; all decked in shirts and suits, and having lunch in a coffee shop-like ambience, which exudes a certain nostalgic charm & tells of its legacy throughout the years.
Almost every table had a portion of either fish head, fish fillets, or even baby shark's meat served in claypot, a signature dish of Men Lok's. We chose the grouper (Sek Pan) fish fillets, which came in abundance in a claypot, cooked with some dry spicy sauce resembling 'sambal' but with a generous amount of caramelized onions, bird's eye chillies, and garlic, and probably curry paste. Though I find the dish a little dry on the whole, without sufficient gravy, the sambal went really well with the thick, succulent pieces of grouper.
But do remember to order the mantis prawns, or baby squids or a combination of both (which we had today) cooked in their Special method. Deep-fried mantis prawns and baby squids resulted in a very crunchy, almost snack-like dish, then lightly stir-fried with the sweet and spicy sauce, almost resembling 'Kung Pow' style.
The meal came to a reasonable RM58.50 for the four of us, including rice and Chinese tea. They serve various other seafood dishes as well, in the form of prawns, crabs, and such. But we held our horses this afternoon, not wanting to see someone's lips in an exaggerated, hyper-allergenic mode. ;)
Location : Men Lok Seafood Restaurant @ No 21, Main Road, Hutan Melintang, Perak.
Tel No : 605-6411484.
Opens daily from 12pm until 9pm. Closes on Fridays.
Here's a GOOGLE MAP of Men Lok Seafood.
And to burn off some calories, we went for a short, VERY short leisurely walk over to the banks of the river ....... about a stone's throw away. LOL. Wait, you can't expect us to stroll all over the place under the scorching sun now, can you?!