Freshly baked Seremban style siew pau at Asia Siew Pau.
"If you have eaten siew pau in Seremban, you won't want to eat siew pau anywhere else", my friend Nicole told me.
Seremban style siew pau is a crispy buttery pastry bun filled with juicy savoury and sweet roast pork (or char siew in Cantonese) 脆皮燒包.
So when we were in Seremban for 3 days, we made it one of our missions to try as much of the legendary Seremban style siew pau as possible.
We stopped at kopitiams and kedai runcits (old style mom and pop sundry shops) to chat with friendly locals about Seremban style siew pau.
The general view is that there are three big names in Seremban style siew pau, all from the same family.
Empayar 芙蓉烧包, the original that started it all is now in the second generation run by the matriarch's son. One daughter runs Kee Mei Siew Pau 奇美 and another Asia Siew Pau Master 亚洲.
Other than the Big Three, there are numerous other siew pau makers in Seremban.
One common polite comment from locals was "They are all about the same. It all depends on personal preference". Not very useful for our quest for the best siew pau, but perhaps there was an element of truth in that. Have Seremban siew paus become generic?
To find out, we searched the whole little town for the Big Three.
The first siew pau shop we found was Asia Siew Pau Master 芙蓉亚洲烧包 which is not far from Pasar Besar Seremban and right across the road from the famous Yi Poh loh shu fun.
Asia Siew Pau Master is popular because it's 10 ovens are running hot all the time, so customers can always get their hot siew pau straight from the oven.
The warm Asia siew pau - flaky buttery crust, tender char siew enveloped by moist savoury juices.
All the signatures of good Seremban style siew pau are there.
The boss has been in the business for 26 years and Asia Siew Pau Master doesn't have any branches yet. So, all the energies and attention are focused here to make a good siew pau.
Empayar Seremban Siew Pow, the one that started it all and the biggest is simply called 芙蓉烧包 (in Chinese) since it is THE Seremban siew pau. The well established brand has several branches and
We tracked the Big Brother of Seremban siew pau down at it's Headquarters, Empayar Seremban Siew Pow (芙蓉烧包城) which is a huge imposing building off the North-South Highway at the Seremban exit.
It looked like a castle complete with watch towers at it's four corners.
At Empayar Seremban Siew Pau's home base, the pau makers have diversified into cafe and restaurant operations catering to highway stopovers and tourists. They also operate a local products gift shop which includes selling their signature siew pau, of course. Seremban siew pau is a popular gift for KLites and Singaporeans.
At the counter, we requested for freshly baked siew pau and the friendly staff kindly got us a couple.
Somehow, this siew pau got that mass produced look to me....
The flaky pastry crust was buttery and the char siew filling was juicy and savoury. Despite it's mass produced look, Empayar's siew pau was actually very tasty and likable.
Kee Mei 奇美 is another one of the Seremban Big Three, which itself has three outlets in Seremban as well as branches in Singapore and China. Like Empayar, Kee Mei has numerous distributors.
This is the Kee Mei 奇美 outlet near to Pasar Besar Seremban (at Jalan Temiang).
The hardest one to track down was Kee Mei's headquarters as it is in the outskirts of Seremban town.
The golden brown Kee Mei siew pow.
We bought a couple to taste test but kept it till we reached Johor Bahru before eating it, about about 24 hours later.
The siew pow didn't keep very well, losing much of it's flakiness, moisture and flavour. So, I guess it is best to eat it fresh as soon as possible hot out of the oven.
I shall be back at Kee Mei 奇美.
Empayar Seremban Siew Pow 芙蓉烧包城
Address: LG1-57, Tingkat Bawah Tanah, Taman Bukit Kepayang, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Kee Mei Siew Pau 奇美芙蓉烧包
Address: 1849, Jalan Tok Ungku, Taman Ujong, Seremban
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/zvCJc (rough)
Hours: Monday to Saturday 7:00am – 6:30pm | Sunday 7:00am – 5:00pm.
Asia Siew Pau Master 芙蓉亚洲烧包
Address: 368, Jalan Seng Meng Lee, Seremban
Hours: 6:00am to 7:00pm
Dates visited: 26 Jun 2014, 27 Jun 2014, 28 Jun 2014
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