Monday, 4 November 2013
Johor Famous Bao 包 at Wee Hoi 惠海 Kopitiam in Gelang Patah
Left to right. David, Leslie, Megan, Lisa (holding the loot of bao), Miki, and James
After Leslie got his bagful of fresh wild caught prawns and we all got our gigabytes of photos at the Pontian fish market, our friend David brought us to Gelang Patah for Wee Hoi's famous old school bao 包. This is the same kopitiam serving Miki's favourite "3 for 1" kopi.
When we arrived at about 12:30pm, some people were milling around while others were sitting, sipping coffee. They were killing time, waiting patiently for something.
When the minivan arrived with blue plastic trays loaded with snowy white buns, the boss and lady boss sprang into action. The first task was to bag the buns for pre-order takeaway customers.
The buns are made by a granny who is an elder relative of the boss Mr Ho. On weekdays. granny makes only 500 buns; a little bit more on weekends. This cardboard box of takeaway order of 100 buns by just one customer got us nervous. We were relieved when a quick check with David confirmed that he had submitted our orders :D
The boss Mr Ho, arranges the pearly stash into the small steam display cabinet.
Actually, I thought this was hardly necessary as the whole stock was taken away or eaten within 30 minutes of arriving at the kopitiam :D
Looking like a pile of pin cushions, our heap of assorted buns for tasting :D
The 梅菜包 filling of moist, not overly salty preserved greens wrapped in a pillowy, airy, snowy-hued slightly sweet bun. The bun had excellent bite and mouth feel with a lively bounce (no joke).
James patiently peeled the skin off the 扣肉包 braised belly pork bun revealing the soft airy lattice below. I wanted to call this creation the "fur bao" but James preferred to name it the "snow bao".
I actually did not taste the 扣肉包 but Lisa loved it because the tender flavourful stuffing was a nice balance of meat and fat.
The peanut bun has generous stuffing of nicely ground fried peanuts with a little bit of sugar.
Crunchy, juicy turnip fillings.
As quickly as it started, after the frenzy that swept away all the bao, Wee Hoi returned to it's idyllic slumber just like any back row kopitiam in small town Johor.
Leslie was so impressed by the exceptional bun that he felt that it is worth making the trip from Singapore to Johor just for this alone.
->> You know... fancy food fads come and go like mist in the morning. Queues appear and are gone in 6 months. But, people have been queuing for grandma's bao for years now. Wee Hoi 惠海 bao is one more good reason to visit rustic Gelang Patah for food.
I will surely be back often.
Date visited: 3 Nov 2013
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