San sui tofu and Sungai Lembing noodles 林明面.山水豆腐 - the two iconic dishes of rustic Sungai Lembing town in Pahang, Malaysia. (Yeah... I took this picture with the food on a kitchen sink because I couldn't find a table at the overcrowded hawker centre :-D )
During it's heydays, booming Sungai Lembing had the world's largest underground tin mines. With the collapse of the tin industry and closure of the mines in 1986, Sungai Lembing was forced to re-invent itself.
Naturally endowed with beautiful scenery, the town has successfully re-branded itself as an eco-tourism destination with many tourists visiting it's Rainbow Waterfall and Panorama Hill for it's sunrise.
Of course, there is also Sungai Lembing food, of which the most famous are it's san sui tofu, Sungai Lembing noodles and roast pork.
There are at least three stalls selling san sui tofu and Sungai Lembing noodles at the little hawker centre at Pasar Sungai Lembing.
The most famous is Ah Fong's stall 阿鳳麵檔 which was featured in Axian's popular TV show. Just look at that hungry queue.
"Brothers" 兄弟 stall also has quite a long queue on this Sunday morning.
I had some yong lew 酿料 (yong tau foo pieces) on Saturday morning at "Brothers" and decided to skip it on Sunday morning. "Brothers" yong lew were ordinary tasting and Ah Fong's yong lew looked equally generic, at first glance. So, I focused on the noodles and san sui tofu which I had on two days - Saturday at "Brothers" and Sunday at "Ah Fong". (Shall be back next time to try the yong lew.)
My main target is the famed san sui tofu. They are made with "mountain water" from the hills of Sungai Lembing. The final steps of cutting the tofu bricks and adding minced pork are done right there at the stall as they are being sold. You can't get any fresher than that 😁
See how fresh the ingredients, the snowy white soft tofu and minced pork are.....
The jiggly bricks of san sui tofu are simmered and cooked in a cloudy sauce made by blending san sui tofu water and oil just before serving.
The freshly cooked san sui tofu goes straight to the long line of waiting customers - both locals and lots of tourists who come to Sungai Lembing for the Rainbow Waterfall and Panorama Hill sunrise.
Finally got my san sui tofu and Sungai Lembing noodles, and a place to sit down in the overcrowded hawker centre - I feel so blissfully contented.
These san sui tofu from Ah Fong are nice! They are smooth and soft, but not watery - it has just the right texture. There's supposed to be slight seared browning at the bottom of the brick but it was hardly noticeable this morning. The naturally sweet and tender minced pork gave the tofu's soya bean sweetness an added layer of fresh porcine flavour. Seemingly simple, this tasty tofu is unique to Sungai Lembing.
I feel both Ah Fong and "Brothers" san sui tofu are quite similar and will be quite difficult to tell apart in a blind taste test.
But, if you have been eating tofu in Malaysia where many restaurants make their own tofu in house, these simple san sui tofu may not knock your socks off. Still, these are among the best tofu that I've tasted.
The Sungai Lembing noodles were done till limp and soft. It has a weak wheat taste. The dark sauce with oil was mild tasting - savoury and quite flat. The chopped scallion gave the noodles a little fresh green taste. Not quite wowing but still a simple, nice, filling, comforting back-to-basics meal before or after back-to-nature activities at Sungai Lembing.
I felt that eating the san sui tofu and Sungai Lembing noodles together like this (from "Brothers") tastes the best as the two complements each other with their different flavours and textures.
👍If you visit Sungai Lembing - highly recommended for nature lovers to visit Rainbow Waterfall and Panorama Hill - do try the hometown specialties, Sungai Lembing noodles and san sui tofu. It will make your memorable visit to Sungai Lembing complete ☺
Restaurant name: 阿鳳麵檔 . 兄弟 stalls at Medan Selera Sungai Lembing (adjacent to Pasar Sungai Lembing)
Address: Jalan Sungai Lembing, Pahang, Malaysia
GPS: 3.917006, 103.035154 / 3°55'01.2"N 103°02'06.5"E
Hours: 6:00am to 1:00pm
Date visited: 30 and 31 Jul 2016
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