Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Marvelous Malacca - Part 3

I had managed to catch an episode of Taste With Jason on the AEC Channel on Astro (thank goodness there were subtitles!) a few months ago. In that episode Jason (the show host, not our Ipoh Mali!) was in Malacca and the highlight was on this man and his wife who runs a stall in the lane at the side of Jalan Bunga Raya (next to Madam King's departmental stall).

I was mesmerised by the story of how he started the business over 30 years ago. Initially business was not that good and he kept trying to improve the taste of the sauces which he prepares himself. Different sauces were made for different dishes; cockles, sotong kangkung, beancurd skin, century egg, tofu, fish balls and other shellfish. Fast forward to present day, his stall is still in the lane but with endless patrons from one generation to another!

Since I was in Malacca, I told myself that I would definitely have to try the food here. Roping in enthusiastic YSF and reluctant TML, we made our way there after packing the popiah. Knowing well beforehand that the stall is in a dark narrow back lane and that we would have to be sitting on little wooden stools close to the ground, we bravely stepped into the lane. There was another stall offering the same fare further into the lane and ample lighting along the lane. I had expected it to be a lot worse and on seeing this, told myself "Hey, this is doable!". Looking at the area around me, I felt that I had taken a step back into time.
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Open from 7pm till 11pm, closed on Sundays

We were surprised to see people sitting on plastic stools and eating on plastic tables at first. Then we realised that business was just too good and that they had to add these on top of their usual seating arrangement. As we wanted to get into the thick of the action, we wanted to sit on the wooden stools and were lucky that there were seats available right in front of the man himself, Mr Khoo.
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Each plate gets Mr Khoo's personal attention, putting the right amount of sauces to ensure that each plate served would be relished by his customers (checkout that kerosene lamp and the Taste With Jason poster on the top left corner! There are also framed articles about his stall adorning the wall).
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See that empty red wooden stool? That is where I sat. There will be the occasional motorbikes traveling through this lane and it would almost grazed our backs!

As I sat and ate in front of Mr Khoo, I chatted with him. He let me try each sauce separately on its own and even the top grade sesame seed oil. He uses the freshest ingredients for the preparation of the sauces and all food stuff are top grade too.
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His family and relatives help out at the stall too. Note the little plate of sauces with crushed nuts, those are for the cockles and other fare like siput sawah (snails), kepah and kijing (mussels).
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There are plastic buckets along the table where customers can throw the shell (and other stuff?) into after eating. YSF had the cockles and she said it was very fresh and when eaten with the sauce, it was THE BEST!
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A mixture of some plum sauce with calamansi juice, chili and a range of other stuff made this the best plate of sotong kangkung (cuttlefish & morning glory vegetable) I've ever eaten!
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The beancurd skin (foo pei) order came with a mixture of prawn paste and other sauces that made me a fan of Mr Khoo! Ha ha ha....Truly wonderful stuff!
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Let's just say, to eat here, one would have to discard all hygiene rules and just simply enjoy the food. For the faint hearted who find it hard to walk into this lane, you will miss out on the great food. For the brave ones like us, we were rewarded with one of the best tasting food (thanks to the exquisite sauces and fresh ingredients) ever! As we left, Mr Khoo said goodbye and I told him that I will be surely visiting him again the next time I'm in Malacca!


To be continued .... Last day in Malacca



44 comments:

WokandSpoon said...

I just popped over and I really enjoyed your post! The photos were great - really made me reminise about when I was growing up in Malaysia! I'm just drooling over your sotong kangkung photo!

Kok said...

wmw,
That's ROJAK in Miri! Oh gosh, you made me droooollll! If I have the chance to try this stall out, I'll make a comparison between the rojak there and the rojak back in Miri. Cause there's one stall in Miri serves the best rojak (although the quality has dropped since last few years...)

tigerfish said...

I like the 人情味 poster...and that row of diners reminds me of Japanese teppanyaki :) ....you know...my stomach is growling....:(

catsndogs said...

walau ... the pic u took really cool n professional , asl i mentioned thousand times. will drop by melaka next week... mayb wil try to lookfor that place :)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

aiyoh i feel so miserable eating my healthy breakfast starring on all these good food!..

Precious Pea said...

I will try to pop by this place this weekend and give it a try. Oooo...i love cockles!!

babe_kl said...

i lurrvvee cockles and wished i could make it here on day

wmw said...

wokandspoon : Hi there! Thanks for dropping by and the compliments.

kok : Rojak? This one uses a different sauce and ingredients. Not the same as the rojak in Klang Valley. You mean rojak in Miri has cuttlefish and morning glory? You don't call it sotong kangkung???

tigerfish : Ha ha ha...your stomach growling...that's the bit of the tiger in you showing. LOL!

catsndogs : Thanks for the compliment. When are you going Malacca? I want to go! Can follow?? hahaha...

joe : Remember to plan when to start walking to Malacca...ROFL

precious pea & babe_kl : Be prepared and be brave!Good food awaits...

Lee Ping said...

Dear WMW,

I just had dinner but water still formed in my mouth. Seeing the huge sotong hanging in the Uncle's store reminded me of deep-fried sotong my Dad bought for me, right before I boarded the plane to US.

If I go back now, I am not sure if my stomach can take hawker's food anymore.

mama bok said...

Wow..! everything looked so yummy..!! i think i rather tau pau.. ?? can..??

jason said...

Precious Pea, remember it's close on Sunday! The sotong kangkung with such addictive sauces poured all over.... wahhlalala.... I don't mind if it's back lane, I'll be sure to drop by if I'm in Malacca!

Tummythoz said...

Ok set. Wmw & Jason, when's your next trip? Planning to super glue myself to either one (since getting stuck to both at d same time would look too ridiculous, no?)

Big Boys Oven said...

It is so weird, when i gazed into your pictures on this write up, I felt I am back in time of my childhood, where something I had always treasured and remembered.
By the way thanks for dropping by my new blog www.havefoodwilltravel.blogspot.com I also initiated one where I write recipes on www.bigboyskitchen.blogspot.com do drop by.
Sidxxx

sc said...

i went pass this place with a full belly years back so i didnt try the food. yeah, it was freaking pack! man, now i'm so regretting it!

MeltingWok said...

hymphh..:P How many days did you spend in Melaka harr ?:P Its a never ending story, my salivating glands are getting extremely d-r-y hahaha..anyway, I truely enjoy the beancurd deep-fry and sotong pix., thx ! :))

wmw said...

lee ping : Good food for sure. Just like my sis, she can't take such food too after being in the States for more than 20 years!

mama bok : I don't recall seeing anybody tah pau wor....Eat there real syok leh!

jason : I don't mind going back time and time again too (when I'm in Malacca lah).

tummythoz : Jason would be a better choice....the two of you will still be one of me! ROFL!

bigboysoven : That's how most parts of Malacca are, like traveling back in time.

sc : Well, now you know....

ah nel said...

i love foo pei...can say every tofu lar... :)

btw all those backlane or roadside stall owes taste good even the place smelly...hehe

teckiee said...

I'm going for a day trip only.. and my friends insist we go for satay celup. Have to bring them here also la.. one night..one stomach... so much food...aiyah how how?

wonda said...

Too bad I spent too little time three years ago in Malacca to enjoy these food.

Dr ve Thru said...

Alamak, I knew I shouldn't come when I am hungry. But I think even if I just had dinner, I would still be drooling over the plate of sotong and wah....the bean curd looks so crispy and tasty.
People like me would never know to find that place. Got mossie bites or not?

Jackson said...

yooo.. i was looking for this place i couldn't find..

wmw said...

ah nel : There weren't any other "funny" smell in that lane. :)

teckiee : Hope your friends are adventurous enough to go!

wonda : There can be another trip here if you want to! ;0)

dr ve thru : No mossies bite and no flies....too much activities. Well, at least not where the 3 of us were sitting.

jackson : So you know what to do next time???? Just in case you're still blur...BRING ME ALONG AND BELANJA ME MAKAN! I'll take you there! Hee hee

Lee Ping said...

Your sis is in the states? Is she in Portland?

SteamyKitchen said...

Is morning glory vegetable same as "Ong Choy"? They look similar. I wish I could try the cockles!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Aaah...the pics are enough to fill one with nostalgia! I hope ppl like these, and their children, will continue their trade. Having said that, I'd love to go to this stall some day.

jason said...

WMW: It's hard not to go back if the food there is good! How about you bring us there and we belanja you? :P

Tummythoz: Stuck with us both means 3 floggers' heads. 3 heads are better than one! LOL (Ah, what the heck I'm saying?)

wmw said...

Melting Wok : We just had an overnight trip! I miss Mr Khoo and his food!

Lee Ping : She's in San Francisco, settled down there....no time to blog though....you'll see her comments once in awhile under the name "Mrs Pitt"

steamy kitchen : Oh yes, they are the same...Kangkung in Malaysia, but the Chinese calls in Ong Choy...Morning glory is such a glorious name! haha

lyrical lemongrass : If you are not particular about the eating conditions...make sure you don't miss this place!

jason : I bring you, you belanja ah? Let me think it over! haha...Yalah, what are you saying????

MeiyeN said...

i showed my dad your page and asked him why oh why he has never brought us here ! he was O_o and said he never tried this place before :| how can? he's a malaccan what?!!!!! :(

Lee Ping said...

Mrs. Pitt is your sis? Next time, you are in S.F., perhaps we can meet up. I am 12 hours away from S.F. by car.

team BSG said...

this is a dark and mysterious place alright and da food even darker ( must be really sinful )

surely got many kala ok nearby one.

( V r back 2 tickle u for 69 secs !)

Kok said...

wmw,
Oh, no no. We also have this sotong and kangkung. Not in Rojak. hehe. Yea, in Miri, we also have different sauce for rojak and sotong kangkung. Hmm...I'm drooling after looking at the photo again...

wmw said...

Meiyen : Maybe this kind of dining isn't to your Dad's liking?

lee ping : Yes, she is...not "D" real Mrs Pitt though. Ha ha ha...12 hours, that's a pretty long drive!

team bsg : Mmm...this stall is really right up your alley!

kok : Yup, that's what I thought. But the sauce here is really nice and different.

Lee Ping said...

Your sis must like Brad Pitt to name herself as Mrs.Pitt.

Distance from Portland and San Francisco is shorter than from Portland to Los Angeles. It is 18 hours to Los Angeles from where I live. I was 7 months pregnant with my 3rd child during our last trip to LA. It is no wonder our Little Chicken's head turned downside up and I ended up having C-section!

Kenny Mah said...

Will be taking my friends down to Malacca tomorrow evening for the San Pedro Festival... won't be able to do this stall though, Gosia is terribly allergic to seafood!

But my Mom's bought a really fresh fish, she says, and we'll take it to the restaurant near my house to cook it for them along with other dishes... yums! :D

MeiyeN said...

sounds impossible cause he used to love places like this in his younger days! now of course.... he's not allowed to eat outside food too much. his diet is fully controlled by me that sometimes mom think am too cruel... this cannot eat, that cannot eat.. :p

Kok said...

wmw,
Then next time when I have the chance to visit you, you bring me there lah, deal?:P

wmw said...

Lee Ping : Yes, she wished! Ha ha ha...So funny, the way you describe your labour ordeal! ha ha ha...

kenny mah : Have fun! Jonker Street's pasar malam should be interesting to your guests.

meiyen : Well, looks like your Dad really had no idea about this place, eh? Wow...yes, almost impossible!

kok : Given ample notice and planning, why not??? :o)

mrs. pitt said...

this is absolutely not for the faint hearted ... your courage is truly admirable or rather your stomach of steel is!

sugar&spice said...

The sotong kangkung looks really nice.. Wouldnt miss it if I were to drop by Melaka any time

jasmine said...

i have always made it a point to go to this place whenever I'm in Malacca. Remember bringing my friend who baulked at eating next to the rubbish piles. lol. but great dipping sauces for sure.

thanks for reminding me it's almost time to make a trip to malacca again.

msiagirl said...

Ooh have not been to Malacca since school trip to Hang Li Po's well...your pics are fantastic! I just had a huge brunch of pancakes, bacon, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries - but the sight of the sotong and the foo pei made me hungry again!

wmw said...

Mrs Pitt : I'm quite sure you will be traumatised if you step into this lane...knowing you. LOL!

sugar&spice:Good food awaits in this backlane!

jasmine : Rubbish pile? You mean that plastic bucket in the middle of the table? I didn't see any rubbish pile around, or maybe it was too dark? Ha ha ha...But nevertheless, too good to pass on such tasty stuff.

msiagirl : Hey there...Thanks for the compliment. What you just had sure sounds good to me too...very much the opposite of sotong kangkung and foo pei though! :o)

jo said...

actually if you really didn't mind, you would not even bring up the issue of hygiene. So common liao...

wmw said...

Jo: I really didn't mind. I was prepared, but I have to bring up the issue of hygiene for my friends who are reading this post who would mind and would like to be informed. What's common?