Shaved Ice And Light

Iced dessert from Kak Jah’s Cendol stall in front of the post office in Kuala Kubu Bahru. I poured Nescafe Ice into a take-away pack and it tasted pretty cool.

Photography Tip: It is possible to do nice food photography at a roadside hawker stall. It can be done without any additional equipment but it requires a systematic approach.

Survey the ambient light before finding a seat. Note the direction of light, plus the shadows and highlights it will cast. Then, choose a table and seating position in relation to that.

Travel food photography is not about climbing on a chair (blogger-style), taking a overhead shot and tagging it as #foodphotography.

It entails an understanding of light that you cannot control. Harness the existing ambient light and use it to shape the food or to highlight its textures.

What if the light is really bad? Don’t bother, then. Just enjoy the food. There are no laws compelling you to post every meal you had.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/320 sec.

Yellow Noodles On A Red Brick Road

I’m still in Kuala Kubu Bharu town and at a shop famous for Ulu Yam ‘Lor Mee’. It is a Hokkien dish of yellow noodles cooked with a thick gravy of corn starch, spices, meat and eggs. It also tastes sour as vinegar is added for the distinctive flavour. What is special about authentic Ulu Yam Lor Mee?

The yellow noodles are hand made or hand-pulled. According to chef and owner Lim Kwee Hock there is no artificial colouring, flavouring, preservatives nor is brine added. Brine creates the familiar love or hate pungent smell.

Now that you know, you may want to check out Restoran Xin Yuen Kee (non-halal) when you are in Kuala Kubu Bharu town. Lim’s grandfather opened the first restaurant in Ulu Yam Lama. A 2nd generation successor opened another shop in Batang Kali. Their grandson is operating this outlet in KKB.

It is not that common to see a third generation descendent interested in a family business enough to inherit the recipes and to cook. Young Lim and his wife Elaine operates this simple eatery by themselves. The Lor Mee and other dishes taste very good and prices are reasonable.

Photography Tip: Sometimes, the best food shots aren’t just on the table. Ask for permission and go for some unconventional or less seen angles in the kitchen. Traditional Chinese kopitiam kitchens are usually dark, moody and full of character.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 320, f4, 1/60 sec.