Laksa mee. Ayang goreng penyet. Roti prata.
These are just a few of the dishes that span Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean cuisine—and what owner Chef Phin F. Then draws inspiration from to create the food from the part island he hails from, Borneo (also known as Kalimantan, which covers nearly three-fourths Indonesia’s part of the island, the other part of Borneo split between Malayasia and Brunei).
This is Uncle Fung Borneo Eatery, and it is already drawing large crowds at the Bixby Village Center along 7th at PCH.
Back in Alhambra, Then had a tiny-but-mighty fish’n’chips joint lovingly called The Little London Cafe. With his healthy portions of Britain’s most known form of grub, Then would offer bits of Borneo here and there until customers were asking for his full Kalimantan menu, forcing him to alter the cafe and dub it Boreno Kalimantan.
With Uncle Fung, Then takes his previous cuisine and simultaneously ups the quality while dropping the formality; it’s casual, fast, and incredibly well-crafted food.
Then’s pride in his food shows in his succinct but well-explained menu. You’ll find wonderfully elaborate descriptions for foods you’ve most likely never had. For instance:
Gado Gado is a vegetarian combination of raw and cooked vegetables of greens, lettuce, bean sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, and fried tofu along with an aromatic peanut sauce for dressing. Gado Gado can be found on the streets of Jakarta [the capital of Indonesia] and elsewhere in Indonesia.
Then’s pride in his food shines with rich, if not outright powerful flavors—his laksa mee, a curry soup based out of Singapore, being a prime example of this. A fairly-but-not-too spicy coconut broth is packed with shrimp paste, giving a wonderfully sweet’n’salty aroma that, well, fits the description of an island. Swimming in the broth are are the housemade egg noodles, what Then describes as “curly and elastic” and “most famous in West Kalimatan on Borneo and Jakarta” and makes the dish simultaneously Singaporean and Indonesian. Mixed with that are fried tofu chunks, a handful of (not overcooked) prawns, eggs boiled in the broth, some fishcakes, and a side of fried shallots and fresh green onion.
Top it off with a squeeze of the unlabeled plastic red bottle on your table—no, it’s not ketchup but sambal terasi matang, a cooked chile sauce with a shrimp paste base—and you have yourself a wonderful, warming dish.
In other words, go explore the islands without leaving Long Beach.
Uncle Fung Borneo Eatery is located at 5716 E 7th St in Suite 5.
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