Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Kuala Lumpur Best Food: Ampang Yong Tau Foo at Foong Foong Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur 鸿鸿安邦酿豆腐
I have been eating regularly at Foong Foong Ampang yong tau foo when I was living in Kuala Lumpur more than 10 years ago. Till now, Foong Foong 鸿鸿 is one of my "must do" food stops whenever I am in KL.
It's the same scene at Foong Foong every time, all these years. The 30+ year old restaurant (since 1974) is always full and there are people still making their way in or waiting.
We too have become well trained customers. Always the same drill. Once we get out of the car, fan out in different directions to quickly hunt a soon-to-be available table. Waiting is normal, sharing table is common. We ain't shy, it is an accepted custom here.
One of us will make the orders at the counter. Tell the boss or his son what we want and they will broadcast it to the kitchen.
To keep things simple, we usually just tell the boss that we want a mixed plate. The food has always been delivered within 10 minutes of ordering. This time we got this colourful jumble of chili, bitter gourd, lady fingers, egg plant, fish balls, tofu and fried tofu rolls for three of us to share.
RM1 per piece. Meaty pork and fish fillings. Mildly savoury braising sauce gravy. Most of the enjoyment came from the natural flavours of the vegetables and fillings, and the mix of textures. I like it this way :D
My favourite fried sui kow. Crispy skin free of grease, wrapping a meaty ball of slightly sweet mince pork and fish. Easy to lose count of how many I ate. Thankfully, they are worth the calories.
When we finished the first round, our stomachs were full but our craving for more Ampang yong tau foo was far from satisfied.
So, we ordered another round of our favourites - crispy fried sui kow and more stuffed chilis, bitter gourd and egg plants.
The Foong Foong brand of Ampang Yong Tau Foo has been imitated in many places, including in Singapore (as you cannot trademark a location name). But, they are never quite the same.
I hung around with my camera to find out what sets Foong Foong apart from and above the rest. I realised that it is a hard act to follow.
The yong tau foo are made right here at the shop (not at some faraway invisible factory). There is a well oiled assembly line of very focussed aunties efficiently stuffing fresh vegetables and tofu with fish and meat paste fillings. I recognised some as the same aunties from 10+ years ago.
At Foong Foong, yong tau foo is not just a matter of boil and serve. The cooking process is much more involved.
The yong tau foo pieces are first seared using a wok and high heat.
After the yong tau foo pieces are slightly charred outside, broth (not hot water) is poured over them and into the wok.
A quick stir to lift the yong tau foo pieces off the wok and toss them into the hot broth.
Cover the yong tau foo pieces and letting them simmer in boiling broth.
A few minutes in the bubbling boiling broth and the yong tau foo is ready.
Scooping out the freshly cooked yong tau foo.
The freshly cooked Ampang style yong tau foo with the characteristic charred marks. If there are no charred marks, it ain't Ampang yong tau foo :D
The plate with a heap of yong tau foo is given a scoop of braising sauce gravy before it is sent to the customers.
This is the man responsible for the perfectly fried sui kow at Foong Foong.
After tasting Foong Foong's Ampang yong tau foo, their namesakes everywhere, just don't cut it. If it ain't made this way, it ain't Ampang yong tau foo :D
Restaurant name: Restoran Foong Foong 鸿鸿安邦酿豆腐
Address: Jalan Besar Ampang/ Jalan Merdeka, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/kPAJx (rough)
GPS: 3.144576,101.763288 (rough)
Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00pm (Closed on Tuesday)
Date visited: 8 Dec 2013
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