Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hakka Food @ Restoran Yap Chong, Pudu Ulu, Kuala Lumpur

melt in the mouth kaw yoke - pork belly slices with yam

Time for some old fashioned goodies and a little sprinkling of Hakka heartiness. My late father was an ultimate foodie in my eyes. Whether it was his love for down-to-earth Hakka dishes that he grew up with in his large family of 13 siblings or high flaunting French food in Lafite, he wouldn't mind spending on the family to make sure we all ate well. Every new country he visited, the first thing he'll do would be visit their wet market as that's where he'll discover the soul of their food, touching the ingredients and just absorbing the smells.

char yoke done old style but damn delish

Yap Chong would have been a place my dad would have approved since they serve traditional Hakka dishes like char yoke and kaw yoke that he loved. While my mother always frowned on these dishes (too much fat and so unhealthy!), no matter how much she controlled my dad's diet he always managed to get his fair share of these dishes some how some where.

steamed fish

Started in 1966 by Yap Chong (hence the name of the restaurant), the establishment is now run by his grandsons who continue their grandfather's legacy. Old school items like the char yoke or braised pork is actually based on a recipe passed down through time. Here pork belly slices are lightly battered with a good balance of nam yue (fermented bean curd) used in the gravy. Simply very comforting food that I could have just eaten for a few days, especially with a bowl of white rice. One can also imagine my aunties and uncles tucking in these kind of simple meals during their childhood.

claypot mutton dish

The kaw yoke - belly pork slices with yam had that decadent feel in the mouth (a combination of melt-in-the-mouth fats and meats) but was missing a much needed addition of five spice powder in the sauce. Instead, they seemed to have added that much needed sprinkling of five spice powder in the claypot mutton dish, since the spices were just way too overpowering. Steamed fish is also a specialty here and the restaurant keeps their fishes in containers for a few days to get rid of the muddy taste. While no mud smell was evident in the perfectly steamed fish, I did feel the cheong cheng sauce was also a little imbalanced - more soy bean paste and not enough kick from the chillies added. Definitely can't beat the ultimate steamed fish cheong cheng that we discovered in Fock Kee, which is nearby this place. There the sauce is just perfect with the right blend and a sinful twist of fried lard pieces.

Restoran Yap Chong
No 1618, Old Pudu Ulu
3 1/2 miles, Jalan Cheras
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-9284 9649

(Non Halal. To get here, drive from Jalan Peel and go straight towards Jusco and Cheras. You will come to a traffic light that turns into Shamelin Perkasa and Menara PGRM. At the traffic light go straight and you will see a row of single storey zinc roof buildings. Yap Chong is on the left hand side. Parking can be a little tricky here but do be aware, they also give out parking fines.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

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Babe_KL said...

my only problem here is parking, well unless park inside PGRM :p

boo_licious said...

babe - yes, I actually got a ticket when I visited here so be very careful visiting this place.

Bangsar-bAbE said...

The kaw yoke looks really good. A pity it was missing 5-spice powder! Very old school food...I think such places are rare these days. =(

J said...

It's the simple old school food that somehow really hits the spot. :)
(Perfect comforting soul food...)

Sean said...

wow, now this place SHOULD get a spot in hutong, rite. the most convenient place for me to get my hakka food fix is at the hakka restaurant on jln kia peng, but sadly, the outlet doesn't seem all that good these days...

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

omg, drooling at all the pork..

cheong ching fish only requirement is lots of pork lard..hehe

thule a.k.a leo said...

being a hakka myself, I always get to eat these traditional dishes once in a while... not many people in the food trade know how to make simple yet delicious hakka food anymore...

J2Kfm said...

I know where this is. There are several Chinese restaurants along this road. Some even featured in the papers before.
I dig Hakka food, those traditional dishes. Not the most imaginative of selections, but safe choices and homely.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Oooo...the steam fish looks very tempting! *stomach growls*

minchow said...

The kaw yoke looks magnificent!! Regardless of my misgivings towards the locale, I think I NEED to VISIT this place!

foodbin said...

Chuan Kee next door is better-park in an open space (opp the condo)a few doors away-RM2/entry.

qwazymonkey said...

Judging from your picture, I can see that the fish shared the same sentiment about the sauce being too imbalanced in taste too. It seems to be gasping for air from the "stickiness" of the bean paste. Err think I lost you there now eh?

I love a good char yoke too. As far as Kow Yoke goes, nothing beats Mui Choy Kow Yoke in my books. But I wouldn't mind trying the good looking starchy yam version above too.

Rebecca Saw said...

Oh, to think i stay so-nearby!
I jogged past this plc be4..a whole row of otr makan shops too..
never had a chance to go since dining at this tai chow plcs requires numbers..

Ciki said...

i love kaw yoke! yam and pork fat - yarmie! said...

Is mui choi kaw yoke in the menu?

boo_licious said...

bsar babe - yup, 3 generations of chefs hence the old school mixed with new stuff like steamed tilapia.

J - yup, reminds one of how grandmothers will cook for their grandkids.

Sean - looks like hutong is going to be yr new hangout joint soon.

Joe - u're so rite, something abt that crisp crackling when u bite into it and it oozes out the sin.

Lucky you Leo! Getting to eat these old fashioned stuff is getting rare.

j2kfm - there's another fella up the street from this place also serving the same stuff. Guess this is a Hakka area.

thxs on the blog4ft reminder.

William - hee hee, quick get some steamed fish!

550ml - yes, definitely worth a visit.

foodbin - chuan kee is better? I tried visiting it a few times, just got the opening hours wrong or else it'll be great to compare both places.

qwazymonkey - mui choy kaw yoke is also a fav of my late dad. Used to relish leftovers when my mum relented and made it at home. Yums!

nomad gourmand - u stayed at those condos nearby? Wow, so near yet so far.

c&c - yup and the yam absorbs all those meaty juices.

hungry - didn't see it but I'm sure it is since it's a trad Hakka must-have.

worldwindows said...

These Pudu joints infuriate me. Takes a lot of effort to get. Need to get my fix in one of these soon.

cheezy said...

Pudu ulu... I used to eat there almost every month back when I was in KL, now that I'm studying overseas, I'm really really starting to miss them. Almost all the shops in Pudu Ulu area's great, though I've got to agree, parking was such a big problem...

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