Teresa is an exchange student from Miami, USA. Teresa and her Malaysian host family have been exploring Johor food with my Johor Kaki food guide. As Teresa will be returning to the USA next month, Teresa and her host family wondered if we could meet up for a meal, which I gladly accepted.
I asked Teresa if she had tried yong tou foo during her stay in Johor so far. Since she hasn't, I decided to show her the famous yong tou foo shop at Taman Ungku Tun Aminah.
Choy Kee in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah are actually cousins with the famous yong tou foo shop in Ampang near Kuala Lumpur. I am a regular at the yong tou foo shop in Ampang, having lived in KL for a few years and returning regularly to my favourite food places there ever since. Over the years, the two shops have developed their own styles and are today rather different in the food offered and the work processes.
At Choy Kee, the yong tou foo are all laid out on the counter table and we just pick whatever catches our fancy at RM1.10 per item.
The lady boss, Mdm Sak, explaining to Teresa and Baptiste (a French exchange student) how the ordering system works at Choy Kee yong tou foo.
These were some of our random picks.
The yong tou foo pieces were floating in a savoury soup made with soy beans and stock bones. The soup was delicious, though it tasted a little salty towards the end, when it was cold. It would also have been perfect for me, if the soup had a little anchovy flavour.
All three of us enjoyed the pieces of yong tou foo. I especially like the traditional Hakka filling at Choy Kee which uses fresh minced mackerel fish, pork and salted fish. The fillings have a more substantial feel, softer, sweeter and more savoury than the "fish only" paste fillings found in many other yong tou foo shops nowadays.
I like to eat my yong tou foo "dry" with yellow noodles. The noodles were tossed in a soy and lard based sauce which I liked very much.
I like it that everything in Choy Kee is made fresh at the shop. How fresh? The yong tou foo were all made right there as we ate.
I applaud Choy Kee for keeping to the Hakka traditional by making the filling with fresh mackerel fish, pork and salted fish. More and more shops are just using "fish" paste filling for cost and labour reasons.
Good sambal is crucial for good yong tou foo and at Choy Kee, the sambal was great. The not overly spicy, savoury sambal is cooked at the shop everyday.
Even this thick savoury bean sauce is made at the shop. In the sauce department, Choy Kee pips their cousin in Ampang (near Kuala Lumpur).
Choy Kee is located deep at the far end of the row of shophouses in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah. Mdm Sak said the shop lot was initially quite isolated when they first started business here 11 years ago. Fortunately, their customers tracked and followed Choy Kee to this new location. Today, the large shop is busting at the seams with customers, especially on weekends.
The huge mango trees ringing the shop were planted by Mdm Sak 11 years ago.
Mdm Sak kept reminding me to come back for their pork trotter braised in vinegar and ginger, and their Hakka fried pork. I shall definitely come back for these.
->> Freshly made old style Hakka yong tou foo with good meaty stuffing. Lots of choices. The closest you can get in JB to the Ampang YTF experience of KL.
Restaurant name: Choy Kee Yong Tou Foo
Address: 1, Jalan Temenggong 9, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, Skudai, Johor
GPS: 1.510820,103.652969 / 1°30'39.0"N 103°39'10.7"E
Hours: 8:30am to 6:00pm (Closed last Weds and Thurs of the month)
Date visited: 22 Mar 2013
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