Claypot Chicken Rice, Lao Shu Fen, Nestum Chicken and Belachan Okra
In Singapore and Malaysia, 'kopi tiam' is a shop that sells a variety of simple food and drinks, most notably coffee from which the word 'kopi' is derived from. 'Kopi' means coffee in Malay and Hokkien (a Chinese dialect). A 'kopi tiam' usually has a main stall that sells hot beverages and soft drinks; and a few smaller stalls selling food. Kopi Tim Restaurant is located at Gouger Street and in keeping with its namesake, serves a variety of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine.
Kopi Tim Restaurant is one of the few places in Adelaide that serves Claypot Chicken Rice. This dish consists of rice cooked in a claypot, topped with chicken, Chinese sausage, mushrooms and dark soy sauce. When the dish is served, you first have to stir the ingredients into the rice to spread the flavour throughout the rice. The chicken was cooked just right and its flavour was brought out by the dark soy sauce. The Chinese sausage and mushrooms also complemented it nicely.
Lao Shu Fen is the common name of the rice noodles used in this dish. The noodles are short, about 5cm long and 5mm in diameter, and have a white semi-transparent colour. They are also known as silver needle noodles, which is an appropriate description of their appearance. As with the Claypot Chicken Rice, it is eaten by stirring it up to mix the fresh egg into the stir fried noodles. The noodles, prawn, chicken and vegetables were all cooked perfectly and the fresh egg, cooked by the heat of the dish, helped to give it a unique texture.
One of the more unusual offerings at Kopi Tim Restaurant is Nestum Chicken, in which deep fried pieces of chicken is tossed with Nestum cereal, chilli and curry leaves. Nestum is a brand of wheat cereal that gives the dish its distinct slightly sweet flavour and a texture somewhat similar to sand. The spicy chilli and curry leaves contrasted wonderfully with the Nestum cereal.
Belachan is the Malay variety of shrimp paste that is made from shrimps that are steamed then mashed into a paste before it is stored for several months. One of the ways to use belachan is to mix it with chilli, sugar and lime juice, forming the condiment known as sambal belachan, which is used alone or cooked with ingredients. We usually order sambal belachan stir fired with kangkong, better known as water spinach, but decided to order Belanchan Okra instead for a change. Okra is the seed pods of the lady's finger plant. The perfectly cooked okra gave the dish a unique texture and the sambal belachan paste helped to bring out its flavour.