The famous Tai Bu mee stall in Pudu obtained its name from Dabu, a centre of Hakka culture in the Guangdong province in China. Having lived in Pudu all their lives, the Yong family members have been operating this noodle stall since 1936.
Yong Jiun Liang, 52 years old, is the third generation manning this family business on Pudu’s Wai Sek Kai. His nephew runs the afternoon session.
Their signature Tai Bu mee has a comforting heft of homemade noodles because they’re freshly made every morning in the empty shop next door. The tradition of making their own egg noodles as well as pork dumplings marches on with the fourth generation of the family.
Their regular customers are made up of friends and neighbours living in the vicinity. Some of them have been patronising the stall at certain times of the day – like clockwork – without fail for decades. Over the years, the stall has become an unofficial community centre where Pudu residents convene and share stories.
A dish of adaptation, nostalgia and comfort, the springy noodles appeal especially to people who know the history behind the stall. Jiun Liang recalls, ‘When I was younger, my father’s friends used to eat at our stall every week. Now, even their grandchildren are coming to eat our noodles.’ Except for the addition of a few plastic tables and a bit more publicity, this longstanding Tai Bu mee stall hasn’t changed much.
The friendly brother-sister team that took over their father’s tong sui stall has perfected the delicate art of egg steaming. Rock sugar and evaporated milk are added to egg and steamed until silky and smooth like tofu. While the egg notes are soft, the sugar imbues a syrupy twang similar to mirin – in typical Japanese fashion, it’s a seemingly simple dessert that’s incredibly tricky to master.
The huge wok of boiling pork innards taking up half the stall is truly a welcome sight. Tender intestines, liver, stomach, kidney and meat slices swim in a cloudy broth that has a herbal hint to it aside from the salty tang of preserved vegetables. Pair it with a bowl of fragrant white rice.
Fried to a golden brown, this savoury delicacy is a perfect mix of crunchy (from the small, white prawns and crusty sides) and chewy – the thick, pillowy texture is due to the rice flour the auntie adds to the usual batter. Whether you choose to chomp through the disc-shaped fritter as a whole or have it chopped up, we recommend that you drizzle chilli sauce over the snack for better enjoyment.
Staking out the corner lot to operate a family business that spans more than five decades, the trio of Choy siblings churn out plates of velvety flat rice noodle rolls soaked in spicy homemade curry sauce – you might experience a slight burn on your tongue, but it’s nothing we Malaysians can’t handle. Mandatory sprinkle of sesame and crunchy shrimp bits aside, you can opt for the additional topping of chewy pig skin slices.
The familiar aroma of wok hei wafts well into the market, and the man responsible is the cook behind this 60-odd-years-old char kuay kak stall. Watch him toss and scrape radish-rice cakes in an oily wok with only a metal spatula, and a Good Morning towel slung around his neck. A handful of bean sprouts and a few cracked eggs round off a deliciously smoky cracker of a dinner.
In this bowl, the innards of a pig are there for all to see – stomach strips and sliced liver add a subtle, porky aroma to the otherwise plain porridge that’s cooked down to a perfect, gooey consistency. But the star of this humble dish is the sprinkle of fried pork intestines. These heavily seasoned, crackly intestines are all tangled up so you’ll find tiny pockets of salt hidden in the creases, which flavour the porridge even further. The dish is capped off with chopped spring onions, ginger, crispy fried vermicelli and a dash of soy sauce – just the way we like it.
The lines at this stall are superior to any other and the reason is clear: fried chicken. Breast, thighs, wings, feet, butt and carcass are tossed in spiced flour and fried in sizzling oil till they’re golden brown. As the sweating proprietor plonks crinkle cut fries next to your chicken and squirts ketchup on a plastic orange plate, you’re quickly reminded of the school lunch you always wished for.