Name: Ming Cafe
Food type: Malay, Western, Chinese, non-halal, vegetarian
Operating time: 7am - 12 midnight, Monday to Sunday
What's special?: Great varieties of food from around the world
Price range: Dependent on food ordered
If you are from Miri, you should know this place well. If you are not, well, this is one of the hottest place in town especially at night. With its great location, great variety on food and drinks, and of course, its great environment where you can gather with your friends over there with a glass of beer or two, or just simply enjoy any non alcohol hot or cold drinks. This is the place where you can go for either breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time, dinner. You named it. With their great services from their friendly waiters and waitresses, and in addition with the food from around the globe (Philippines, Thailand, India, Japan and more), i can't see why you have a bad time over there. Since my special coverage for them (thanks to the owners of Ming Cafe for having us over there to do the review) is for dinner, i will show you what do they have over there. Get ready a bucket to collect all your salivas!
Let's start off with the Indian food section as i find their servings are definitely eyes opening for me (maybe only for me) with its great selections of food for you to order from small stall section. For your information, every Friday and Saturday, they are serving PURELY vegetarian. From Sunday to Thursday, they are serving Indian food with meat. I was there for the vegetarian so i will show you what they have for vegetarian meal :) First off, you can go for their vegetarian set meal with your own choice of vegetables. Served with i think it is called Chapatti, so you can dip or wrap the vegetable of your choice in between and eat them like a fold-over.
If you prefer something that is lighter in portion, here you go. Have a try on Roti Tisu (in English it is named something like Tissue Bread). It is actually a very thin layer of flour which is fold into either half or the inverted corn shape with the flavour of your choice (varies from the chef on what they have to offer). Once it is cooled down, it is in thin and crispy, just like tissue but it is crispy. Great for anyone who wants to have something to eat but light.
You can also try their Puri. It is made of flour and then cooked in a way it is oval in shape when it is served. Best to eat while it is hot. It comes with their special prepared dipping sauce to go with it. I tried it and i quite like it actually. Give it a try and tell me what you think.
Another specialty they have over here is Dosai, another kind of thin layer flour which is folded into something similar to cylinder shape and serve with a dipping sauce. The flour mixture is slightly different, giving a little hint of soury flavour in it which opens up your appetite. Something i have never tried before.
Ok. enough of Indian food. Let's look at other food they have to offer. One of the dishes originated from Philippines is called Chicken Macaroni Salad. It is mixed with cooked macaroni with chicken cubes and the salad sauce prepared by the chef and ended with sprinkles of dried raisins and carrots. With the sweetness of raisins combining to the smoothness of salad cream around the food, it is quite a good combination and i will like to try again next time.
Another dish they have is named as Embutido (Meat loaf in Philippines style). It is made with grounded meat mixed with raisins, egg, carrots and hot dog. With all the mixture, i think it is wrapped into big round loaf and steamed to cook and served in slices. Taste wise is just nice, not too salty. I believe it comes with a sauce to go with it by dipping. I lost track on which are the sauce. So, pardon me :) Go and try it out yourself and find out this beautiful delicacy from Philippines.
Like fish and hints of spicy? Try their Tom Yam fish. It is served slightly different from many places where it is normally served in a bowl with the fish in it. This place however had them done using the aluminum foil. Fish is nicely steamed with all the spices around it such as tomatoes, egg plants, button mushrooms, lady fingers, that produce the taste of sour, spicy and great aroma from the dish.
If you like lamb and cook in curry style, i personally like to introduce this great dish i have tried. The mouth-watering curry lamb shank. Each portion of lamb shank ( massive size for each piece) is nicely cook and done, not raw at all. Not sure how they cook it but it might require long hour in slow-cooking the lamb shank to have those curry aroma goes well into each shank. The meat is soft and tender, easy to chew and juicy. Many might think that they curry might overpower the original taste of lamb. If that's what you think, you better try this. The flavour balance between its meat and the curry paste are evenly spread while having them. Somehow it just makes me feel hungry again just to describe how tasty it is when i had them.
Another international dish i want to introduce to all my readers as well. It is no other than.......... Crispy Pata! Pata actually means pork leg for most of us. It is actually the whole pork leg section which is marinated with some special ingredients. I don't think i shall reveal how it is done as myself not ever done it myself although roughly i know how it is done. It is deep fried in high heat to make the outer of the leg crispy while maintaining the tenderness from the inside. It serves with some special dipping sauce. The taste is just nice. While you had then, you wouldn't feel the overpowered greasiness feeling in your mouth which made us not feeling like having the second piece. If you don't mind on the calories counting, please have a try on this great dish :)
Any beef lovers here? Well, you can try their beef noodles. I was told that the beef meatballs are directly from KK. I personally do not eat beef but what i can see is the quality within it. If you look carefully on its stock, you hardly see and sense the oiliness of this dish and therefore it should be a great of bowl of noodles to fulfill your meal of the moment.
If you like Japanese food, you can try their Sushi and Shashimi over here as well. I was told by the owner of the cafe where they had the chef for Japanese section from a Japanese restaurant which operated somewhere in Miri before and now they are moving to this cafe and serve all of us the greatness of Japanese food they have to offer. One of the dish we had is the special maki. Give it a try on other sushi they have and you never know that you may actually like them.
Now, i have mainly introduced food from outside Malaysia. Is there anything special we have over in Sarawak in particular. My answer for you: YES! Try the Umai series, in other words, it is Sarawak version of salad. You can have either the jerry fish or the raw fish which are hand picked by the chef over this place. It is actually mixed with lime juice together with ingredients like chillis, big onions, red onions, cucumbers (all finely shredded). Mixed well and ready to serve. With its combination of flavour in sour, hot and salty, once you eat, you feel like you are asking for more as, yes i have said before and i am going to say again, it opens up your feeling to eat more. I personally think it goes well with beers but i might be wrong :) Another one is called Ulam which i think the difference is instead of using meat, it uses local vegetables from Sarawak called Midin.
You might wonder if they have anything special on their drinks. Well i do have a few to show you now. Try their drink called Ming's Special. It is similar to our Teh C Special (also called as three layer tea for some) which is popular in Miri at least but not quite heard of this drink in the West. It is actually made by sugar syrup called Gula Melaka or Pandan Syrup, evaporated milk and the tea itself. For Ming Special, it is added with Cincao which is jelly grass as we called it here.
Want something warm or hot instead? Try their Teh Tarik (A kind of drink which require technique of "pulling" the tea from one pot to another to enhance its flavour). I had it and it is rich and silky smooth. Give it a try and let me know how you feel about it.
It's alcohol time! They served quite a number of types of beer and i was told the beer that they dealt with the most is the one and only.......... Guinness Scout and not to forget............ Tiger! With such a great environment over there, a beer or two with friend is sure a great joy to spend your night! But please drink considerably :)
So, how do you feel by having to read all the comment i had for the food above? Go and try them out with a group of friends. Tell me about the taste. What is good? What is bad? What need to be improved and more and more.................. email me or just drop a comment or 2 in the comment box provided. You will remain anonymous. If you are not sure of the location, do refer to the map below and get the idea the whereabout of the place :)