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Tony Boey Johor Kaki on CNA 93.8 FM

I occasionally share my foodie finds on CNA 93.8 FM, so I have this post where I put the stalls, restaurants or places mentioned during the programme. It gives you the basic information in case you wish to visit the mentioned food or places.

🎙 29 Dec 2023 · Black 

My theme of this episode is dark or black colour food.

Lek Kee doesn't have a high social media profile but there is always a long queue of regulars and their ducks are always sold out in less than three hours.

Lek Kee's ducks are chopped into big chunks (instead of slices) but don't worry about chewiness. The meaty chunks are tender, moist and have a gentle natural sweetness which is complemented by slight savouriness from dark & light soy sauce with nice taste and aromas from Chinese five spice.

Bali Nasi Lemak is one of the Trinity of Chinese style nasi lemak stalls by three sisters - the other two are Mount Faber (founder late Mdm Koh Ah Kim) and Ponggol Nasi Lemak (founder Mdm Koh Ah Tan).

But, Bali Nasi Lemak has a unique signature black chicken wing. I asked founder Mdm Susan Koh about it and found there is an interesting and funny story behind it.

Mdm Susan's daughter Weimin was a SIA cabin crew and flew the Singapore - New York City route. She once took an excursion to city of Buffalo in upstate New York to see the Niagara Falls. While in Buffalo, Weimin of course, tasted the original Buffalo wings.

On returning, Weimin described Buffalo wings to her mum. Mdm Susan experimented with different recipes and flavours, finally coming with the black one with kicap manis. Her stall is Bali Nasi Lemak mah..... .

Bali Nasi Lemak's black chicken wing is crisp outside though slightly softened by the sticky kicap manis (sweetened soy sauce). The sauce tastes sweet savoury with traces of spicy heat from dried chili pepper. It tastes like an Indonesian version of Korean fried chicken but created in Singapore, inspired by USA. One chicken wing, three countries - we live in a world of borderless, globalised cuisines.

Everytime I am around the Muar - Batu Pahat area, I will look for an asam pedas place. Chun Hui Restoran along the coastal Jalan Abdul Rahman road has nice asam pedas dishes.

But, I want to tell you about their unusual black dish - black bean paste braised stingray. I mean, my expectation of stingray is red-brown with sambal, so I was a little surprised when a black dark fish landed on our table.

We tried it anyway and it turned out to be our favourite dish that afternoon.

The stingray fish was delightfully soft and smooth as silk. The fish meat was subtly sweet as it was very fresh.

The black sauce smothering the fish was savoury in layers with traces of earthiness like buah keluak (though there was none) and sweet. It was delicious and worth a diversion off the highway to try it.

There are several pork organ soup stalls / restaurants in Batu Pahat. The most famous is Ah Soon but we went instead to relatively unknown, Ah Khoon. 

We came here because it is Andy's favourite. When it comes to pork organ soup, we defer to Andy. Andy was working at his parent's pork organ soup stall until the 1990s, when they retired when business was hit by swine flu. So, Andy knows pork organ soup more than most people.

One of the unique things about Ah Khoon pork organ soup is, the boiled offal is complemented by a full range of braised meats such as pork knuckle, shank, skin, belly, etc., i.e. pork organ soup stall also sell braised items.

The pork offal and meat are all very fresh. The offal soft tender and sweet, are served in a clear pork bone soup with preserved vegetables which gave it a slightly savoury tangy taste.

The braised pork knuckle, shank though fatty does not feel cloying, and we can taste the meat, fat and skin's natural porcine sweetness complemented by the savoury flavour from the soy sauce based braising stock.

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Written by Tony Boey on 29 Dec 2023

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