Never been to Spain…

No, I’ve never been to Spain. Neither have I tried anything from their cuisine either. The closest I ever got to that were the chicken croquettas that used to be available here when this guy that used to be a tapas chef in Singapore and on some cruise liner was around. That was why when we were here for breakfast not too long ago and I saw that they had paella on their dinner menu, I told my girl that we would be back to give that a try.

The girl who came to take our orders could not speak any English and I was not in the mood to struggle with my limited Mandarin so I asked for one who could. After all, this is a classy WESTERN restaurant, isn’t it? Another one came and she was no better but thankfully, a third one followed suit and yes, she was conversant in the language and well-versed with the items on the menu so we were able to tell her what we wanted and promptly placed our orders. I guess the likes of those would go down well with the general public and most of the customers here – they probably would prefer that being more comfortable with it but I, for one, would not know what things like paella or tapas, for instance, are called in that lingo. As far as I know, spaghetti is “Italy mien” (Italian noodles) and from the adverts on radio during those days when our own local Sarawak fast food franchise first made the scene, I learnt that hamburger is “ham pa pao” but adding one and one equals two, I can get along quite well now with the little that I know just that it will take a little bit of effort on my part.

We had their cream of pumpkin soup (RM6.25, inclusive of GST)…

N2 Casual Dining pumpkin soup

…which was very nice. We could be wrong but we thought we tasted something a bit like santan (coconut milk) in it. However, it was a little watery so in comparison, my girl prefers the ones her mum makes – thick, rich and creamy.

The tod mum pla (RM7.31, inclusive of GST)…

N2 Casual Dining tod mum pla

– their Thai-style fish/seafood cakes, categorised in their menu under the tapas section, were very good and went absolutely well with the light fish sauce and cili padi dip that came with it.

We enjoyed their flower clam aglio olio pasta (RM14.73)…

N2 flower clam aglio olio pasta

…very much too but there was hardly anything in those clams, very very small and in some, there was nothing at all plus we had to be careful with some broken bits of the shell in the pasta. I think we would like their pasta of curry seafood (RM11.90) that they had on their previous menu more…or the seafood pasta here but of course, the latter is a lot more expensive.

The crispy pork belly with sweet potato wedges (RM20.03, inclusive of GST)…

N2 Casual Dining crispy pork belly 1

…was superb. It tasted so nice that it literally swept us off our feet and we certainly loved that very much but we had one bone to pick with the dish – there was nothing crispy about it. In fact, when I saw the item on the menu, I imagined something like our siew yoke (roast pork) with the crispy skin or what they call crackle or crackling. But other than the kind-of-misleading name, I would say it has a slight edge over the ribs that we like a lot here and is cheaper too, though comparatively, this one is a little smaller…

N2 Casual Dining crispy pork belly

Still, it was big enough to be shared by two, or even the three of us.

Iced water was FOC and the total for that delightful dinner that we had came up to only RM48.30.

Now, wait a minute! Whatever happened to the paella that we had gone all the way to try? Sadly, we were duly informed that they had run out of the special rice that they would use to cook the dish so it was currently unavailable. Well, it did not really matter all that much, considering that we did enjoy what we had…so I just told the guy (who said that he had worked for two months under a Spanish chef) to post on Facebook once the new stock of the rice had arrived and we would make our way there again…just for the paella!

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

24 thoughts on “Never been to Spain…”

  1. Eh Spanish food with Thai fish/seafoodcake as tapas! Somehow I don’t think we can find this tapas in a pub in Barcelona. The pork belly is sure affordable at only 20ish. The whole bill is so affordable as well. Hope to read your review of the paella soon when it is available.

    It is not a Spanish restaurant, just that it has paella on the menu…and a section for tapas – I guess those are kind of finger foods, light appetizers, just that they use the Spanish reference here. Ada gaya sikit bah!

    I would say it is kind of fusion…but no, can’t get nasi lemak or curry rice here like at some of those. As far as I can remember, for the Asian selections, they have only that Thai seafood cake…and I did see zhajiang noodles, that is all. Not surprised they have the latter on their menu – seeing how two out of three of the waitresses are only conversant in Mandarin (they’re locals though, not migrants – this is the current trend here these days, the Chinese dialects have died out, other languages have taken a back seat) so probably there is a demand for that from the customers, probably for the kids especially…and they are always right!

  2. Oh, i never tasted a soup like that! and honestly, i don’t wanna try it really. That pasta got my eye and i really wanna try it hard! πŸ™‚

    Never? It’s a western-style soup, very common and very nice. I do like it too especially when it is thick and rich. I guess the more common ones would be mushroom or cream of chicken and the rest that you can buy in cans, Campbell’s but I would prefer freshly-made ones – pumpkin and I like broccoli or spinach or celery and even peas too! Pasta was good, too bad about the bits of shell in it. 😦

  3. I wouldnt know all the food name myself so a good menu with description and picture would help a lot. But not much language problem in Kuching as mostly work in such establishment would able to speak English.

    The crispy pork belly attracted me the most in this post. ^^

    Yes, the dialects are very much alive in Kuching, not like here. Lots of people speaking Hokkien, Hakka…even Foochow and also English there. My mother-tongue is Hokkien even though I am Foochow, mostly – I think my Mandarin is better than my Foochow, so ashamed to say. But these days, very few can still speak Hokkien, mostly the older ones – even my brother-in-law’s sons can’t speak dialects.

    Yes, I like menus where they tell you in fine print what the dishes are especially at those places with unfamiliar names. Pictures would help too.

  4. I’m interested to see what you think of paella. Will be waiting for that post. πŸ™‚

    The chef is in Europe now, left town a few days after we had this dinner – working holiday, he says. I did comment on one of his posts on Facebook asking him to bring back a bag of paella rice and he said, “Yes, sir!” Brings to mind, “Yes, sir…yes, sir…three bags full!” I wonder how many of the young ones here are familiar with that now. I did ask around when I was still teaching – nobody knew about Jack & Jill, Old Mother Hubbard, This old man…all those.

  5. I tried the pumpkin soup from Secret Recipe, and I didn’t like it, they put curry powder (and kunyit ??) inside leh, not nice 😦
    But your pumpkin soup looks ok to me, got santan, as long as no curry powder.

    Not sure if I had that but I think I had it once somewhere with curry powder, maybe one of the hotels in KL, buffet dinner. Was ok with it, and I did have some nice soups then, different kinds. This one’s ok too, no curry powder. My missus adds one/some of those bottled western spices, dunno which…and potato to make it thicker and richer. Very easy to make actually.

  6. That tod mum pla looks like Begedil daging. I never tried Spanish cuisine. Thank you for sharing the pictures. 😊

    A rose by any other name – begedil, croquettes or corquettas, Japanese korokke…one and the same thing.

  7. Too bad they have run out of the rice to make paella. Nevermind like you said once you read their FB notification quickly go and try it. Seafood paella perhaps?

    No idea, did not really look at what was in the menu – I just wanted to try since I have never had it anywhere before. Looking forward to it, dunno when the guy will be home from Europe.

  8. I usually make my pumpkin soup with curry powder, but have never added santan to it. Could be very nice once you get the amount sorted. Will try that next time.

    Personally, I also add seafood especially mussels or scallops to my pumpkin soup, to make it a more hearty meal.

    I would say curry powder is an alternative to other spices that people use for pumpkin soup like cumin, thyme, paprika and the rest. After all, it is also a spice and I do have it in the very nice rack that I got from my young friend in Perth:
    https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/just-one/
    Probably it does not go down so well with some locals here as curry is so very common…and it would come across to them like…curry.

    Added seafood would be great, like clam chowder…my girl’s favourite. Maybe I can do that too – who knows she will like it as well.

  9. Am zero in this kind of food but that pumpkin soup looks great to me. I would think this type of food would usually cost a bomb but surprisingly yours was affordable.

    Yes, quite unexpected. Never anything below 50 or 60 at such places…for three persons!

  10. Wow… Spanish food indeed!! The pork knuckle looks good, I would choose that one for sure… sweet potatoes also is my favourite… price still reasonable too!

    Not sure if what we had was Spanish since we did not get to eat the paella but yes, whatever it was, it was very nice and can consider this to be very cheap, actually. Not a knuckle, that one but a slab of meat/pork and no bones so probably not a rib either.

  11. I was waiting to see some Spanish dishes until I reached the end and realised there weren’t any! 😦 I think what you had were more Thai-inspired dishes….that’s probably why you detected santan in their pumpkin soup. They don’t usually make pasta with these type of clams (which we call la la) and with bits of broken shells in them….definitely a no-no if a westerner was to eat this!

    Indeed!!! They would have complained, I’m sure. Hopefully, they would take note and be more careful in future – luckily, the pieces were quite big, easily spotted and removed, not tiny bits that were hardly visible to the naked eye…and luckily for them, we would be hard-pressed to find one here, a westerner! πŸ˜€

    I did not mind the clams used, if only they had a lot more meat inside – so minute, could hardly taste anything when eating one…and often, there wasn’t anything inside the shells when we opened them.

    They never state specifically what restaurant it is so if something is nice and goes down well with their customers, why not? The name N2, if I am not wrong, has something to do with the geographical location of Sibu, N2 Casual Dining – not like the one behind – supposedly Italian but you can get fried kway teow with beef there.

  12. ahhh bummer.. so more like a braised pork than a crispy pork is it?? Interesting mix of dishes.. I’m sure i’d like most of it though;)

    I would say it was braised, nothing crispy about it. Thankfully, it was very nice so it did not matter whichever way they would want to call it.

  13. Oh you should try authentic Spanish dishes, you are missing a lot. Such a wonderful cuisine! A lot of Filipino dishes are inspired by the Spanish

    Would love to try anything, just that we do not have any Spanish restaurants here and no Filipino ones either but I have been to those in the other towns in the state like this one, for instance:
    https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/fiesta/
    Wouldn’t say I was all that thrilled by what I had, was good but not great. I guess there are good chefs and not so good ones – probably the not-so-good ones came here, I wouldn’t know.

  14. I’ve never been to Spain neither but thank goodness I’ve eaten paella. I think only once. Haha. So weird that they serve the pumpkin soup with the bread in it. I prefer if the bread is served separately.

    Yalor!!! Would prefer to dip in the soup and eat, nice and crusty. There was only one though – no prize for guessing who had it, not me. Sobsssss!!!!!! She did not complain though – maybe she’s used to having her croutons soaking in her soup…or maybe it was still crusty when she had it.

  15. omigosh, the pork belly … i also want! i guess we’ll see it featured again when you return here for the paella? πŸ˜€

    No meat with the rice in the paella? If that is the case, there’s a very good chance that we will have this again or maybe we would like to try something else on their menu. We’ll see. πŸ˜‰

  16. Pumpkin Soup! Nice! It’s pumpkin season here and I should try and make some vegan versions πŸ™‚

    I think the one my missus makes is vegan all right – pumpkin, potato, olive oil, spices…oh no! There is chicken stock. Would have to find a substitute for that then.

  17. Not really my kinda of food but think J will like it

    Pork? Pork belly? I am very sure the papa would love it! πŸ˜€ And they have the zhajiangmian for kids like J who loves noodles so much – all the same, I guess, so maybe that is why they have it in the menu.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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