Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Cheras Yong Tau Fu

Although Ampang New Village is well-known among Kuala Lumpur and PJ residents for its Hakka yong tau fu, another place has also staked its claim as the maker of the best Hakka yong tau fu: Cheras. Many KLites and PJ residents have claimed that it rivals that of Ampang New village. My eldest daughter and her boyfriend dragged me to Wah Kiow one morning to try it.

Wah Kiow is located on one of the side streets off Jalan Peel. What struck me was that there are still a few roads in Cheras that are still named after colonial luminaries: Jalan Peel, Jalan Shelley and Jalan Cochrane. There may be a few others, but these are the three names that I came across on the way to Wah Kiow. It seems unusual that the authorities have not attempted to remove the vestiges of colonization as they were wont to do in the past.

Wah Kiow operates its business in a dilapidated building with rusted zinc roof. Adjoining the shop is a small grocery shop that has benefited from the spill-over of customers that throng Wah Kiow.

Besides yong tau fu, it offers other dishes like pork leg, Hakka fried pork, curry chicken and assam fish.

Wah Kiow

The neighbourhood grocery store

Interior of the shop

A customer writing down his selection of food

We ordered a selection of yong tau fu, meat balls, and dumplings. The food was good but it wasn’t exceptional. My daughters raved about it, but as I have suspected all along, my taste buds are so poorly developed that I couldn’t distinguish the subtle differences in food. According to them, what separates Hakka yong tau fu from others is the addition of salted fish in the fish paste. What kind of salted fish is a trade secret. Unlike other yong tau fu stalls that proliferate in KL and PJ, the yong tau fu here is freshly prepared and fried. The owner employs a number of Indonesian women who prepare the yong tau fu for deep-frying or steaming.

Apart from yong tau fu, there are also other dishes

Business is fast and furious

Fishballs, chilli, lady’s fingers and brinjal. Note the near empty tray of brinjal

Bitter gourd slices filled with fish paste ready for frying

Fresh lady’s fingers with fish paste

Sliced brinjal to be filled with fish paste

Tau fu stuffed with fish paste

Making fu chok with fish paste. Some red chilli to be filled with fish paste

Close-up shot of fu chok spread with fish paste

Dried black mushrooms. They are first soaked and their stems removed before being topped with generous amount of fish paste

Tau fu pok with fish paste

Filling made from sliced black mushrooms, pork, shrimps,carrot and finely chopped water chestnuts for dumplings

Frying bitter gourd

Frying brinjal

Frying fu chok

A savoury variety of yong tau fu

Red chilli, lady’s finger, brinjal, tau pok, fish ball and bitter gourd

Fried fu chok

Fried bitter gourd and dumpling

Oyster balls

Tau pok and meat balls

Sweet 'chee cheong fun' sauce with chilli sauce that goes with yong tau fu

Food selection slip

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