Local foodies know that Taman Tun Dr Ismail’s lively Sunday pasar malam, with its huge array of fresh foods and prepared delicacies, is one of suburban KL’s best. Fewer are aware that, tucked amongst TTDI’s blocks of slimming spas, boutiques, pet shops, and second-hand furniture stores are a few neighbourhood joints dishing up darned good grub.
Take Restoran Yau Tak Teng, for example. By day this unprepossessing corner coffee shop houses hawkers serving everything from char koay teow to Hainan chicken; come night it’s a busy Chinese restaurant offering competently prepared standards. Daytime standouts include lum mee sold by a hawker couple. Noodles share space on the plate with a generous number of small prawns, half a hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, and a mound of tender shredded chicken; the lot is doused with a viscous, egg shredpacked light brown gravy that tastes so assertively of the sea it can only have been made from fresh prawn shells and heads. The same couple also offers a prawn mee that, while lacking the characteristic Penang-style slick of chilli oil on its surface, boasts lots of shellfish flavour, as well as a filling, meaty pork ribs mee.
Other vendors worth visiting are the porridge seller (pork or fish), the pan meen maker (thick wheat noodles hand torn in soup or hand-cut and served dry, mixed with soy sauce, sliced pork, and two types of mushrooms), and the wonton mee master. In addition to his centrepiece dish the latter offers a popular curry laksa (light on coconut milk, heavy on chilli), dry chicken curry mee, and a luxuriously rich mushroom and chicken feet stew to spoon over noodles. The perfectly charinfused char koay teow cooked up nearby may be a bit heavy on the oil for first thing in the morning, but come lunchtime you’ll have trouble choosing between it and another vendor’s carefully poached Hainan chicken.
Around 3pm the stalls close shop and the restaurant takes over, prepping for what is an almost daily evening rush of regulars. Yau Tak Teng’s steamed fish with ginger and garlic (try the siakap) is a match for any of the versions served at KL’s high-end Cantonese establishments, and the restaurant’s crispy outside, custardy within deep-fried bean curd cake topped with nubs of stir-fried pork is a textural triumph. Sweet-and-sour pork served in a halved pineapple is pure culinary kitsch but so tasty few dine here without ordering it. YTT’s menu is long enough to keep you titillated through an extended series of visits; your only dilemma may be snagging a table on a weekend evening. Robyn Eckhart
|Venue name:||Restoran Sun Yau Tak Teng||Contact:|
1 Jalan SS20/11 (Damansara Utama / Kim),
|Opening hours:||Daily, 10am - 11pm|