Buddy Claire suggested I visit Char Siew Yoong at Jalan Pudu Ulu in Cheras near K.L. Then, I spotted something sentimental here and it has nothing to do with good food.
Please pardon me for indulging in a little bit of reminiscing.
When I turned into Jalan Pudu Ulu in Cheras this morning, the street and this shop looked extremely familiar.
Then, I recalled that I used to come into this Cheras Aquarium shop quite often to buy fish tanks, equipment and feed for my pet fish. Not much have changed inside Cheras Aquarium for nearly 2 decades.
You see, I was in KL when the Malaysian capital was in the grips of the "Great Flower Horn 花羅漢" craze (in 2001). I was caught up in the raging craziness and went all over KL to look for "Flower Horn" fish.
To some, it's a rather grotesque looking cichlid fish mutation (beauty is in the eyes of the beholder). Cheras Aquarium still sells "Flower Horns" to this day but these fish now fetch less than 10% of what they used to. The fish in the picture is priced at RM1228 now - it used to be astronomical.
So.... back then, I wanted to buy one or two baby Flower Horns for my toddlers. I was at this aquarium shop along Jalan Klang Lama and saw some just hatched Flower Horns. I told the lady boss that I wanted two (2). She scooped twenty in one go and packed them in a large bag and handed them to me. "Nevermind lah... take lah, I guarantee they are good fish". So, I ended up with 20 cute baby Flowers Horns at RM20 each.
And, thus, my nightmare began.
I put all the 20 baby fishes in a 2-foot tank. All too soon, the baby Flower Horns outgrew the tank, and they were snapping at each other. We had to "upgrade" to a 4-foot tank. Soon, even that wasn't enough - these were unsociable, fierce little buggers. Before we knew it, we ended up with 5 (five) 4-foot tanks. The good thing was the fish indeed grew up equally as beautiful as the one in the pictures above.
Soon, it was obvious that buying more 4-foot tanks was not a solution. So, we put the remaining 15 up for adoption and they all very quickly found loving homes 😍
Tell me, what did you do during the "Great Flower Horn" craze 😃
OK.. back to Char Siew Yoong, this is a food blog 😂
Char Siew Yoong used to be along Peel Road and moved here about 3 years ago. For many KLites, Char Siew Yoong is the best char siew shop in this city blessed with too many top notch char siew places.
When we stepped inside Char Siew Yoong at 10:30am, there were already people sitting inside the air conditioned room. But, their tables were all empty except for the condiment and cutlery tray. What is going on?
Everyone was waiting for these thick ropes of legendary char siew which came out at around 11:15am this morning.
We got a two person serving of poon fei sow char siew 半肥瘦.
Yoong's char siew has a slight sugary glaze outside and some dark char at the edges. Inside, the lean meat interlaced with fat was tender and juicy. The flavour was well balanced between savoury and sweet. The savoury sweet flavour was robust but still leave some for the natural porky sweetness to show.
While eating our char siew (our table was near the counter), I could hear the crackling and snapping sounds as the boss' chopper worked it's way swiftly through the slab of siew yok (or sio bak or roast pork belly).
We couldn't resist adding an order of siew yok.
Woo.... woo... weee..... the golden brown skin crackles like a stiff cream cracker as it crumbles between our teeth and it wasn't greasy. The lean meat and fat had a nice tender chew (not mushy) to the bite and it was juicy with savoury sweet juice. The marination had layers of savoury flavour but it did not prevent the natural porky taste from showing through.
Oh... while waiting for the char siew, we had a serving of this braised chicken feet. They were very good - soft and smooth, and the braising stock thickened with gelatine from melted collagen had layers of savouriness and also black mushroom taste. This braised chicken feet is a great side dish.
Everything we tried today, from char siew to siew yok, braised chicken feet, rice and even the house made chili dip was very good. All our food with drinks today came to a grand total of RM37.70.
4-Star (out of 5). We love Char Siew Yoong's char siew and siew yok. They got great texture and nice well balanced savoury and natural porky sweet flavours. The braised chicken feet is great too. We shall be back for these and also the enticing poached kampung chicken and braised pork trotter which we didn't have the tummy space for today.
Restaurant name: Char Siew Yoong 叉烧杨家家来
Address: 23, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3°07'14.2"N 101°43'47.4"E | 3.120624, 101.729837
Tel: 012 213 7163
Hours: 9:30am to 5:00pm (alternate Thurs off) (Roasts ready from 11:00am onwards)
Date visited: 28 Dec 2016
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