好友强 Hou Yao Keong @ Ampang

I know, I know… You want to know what yummy food I am eating in KL for this trip. I’m telling you, my trips home are always hardly exciting in terms of culinary experiences. I always plan dream to dine in a million new restaurants that I have never been to, but I always end up staying at home with mom and TV as company, for most parts. And spending quality time with mom means fruits and vegetables blend for breakfast, and fish/vegetables/soup/multi-grain rice for lunch and dinner. They look pretty much similar to what I’ve posted here. Or here.

Okay… Okay! We did squeeze enough time to go some place for dinner yesterday, as some sort of a combined Mother’s Day/Father’s Day celebration. But this isn’t a fancy fancy air conditioned restaurant or some atas (high end) place in the malls. This is… apa nama (what’s it called)… another place where the locals eat, so to speak.

This place has no English name, only a Cantonese name, called 好友强 Hou Yao Keong. I think the owner goes by the name of Keong, and the place’s name translates to Good Friend Keong. It is a shabby looking 大炒 dai chao place in a food court in Taman Cahaya. But they don’t share dining tables with the food court, it is a properly segregated area at one corner of the food court.

A dai chao place is basically a place that serves dishes to go with rice, much like in a Chinese restaurant, but it is hawker/street food style.

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You can try to find this place with Google Maps of Waze or even Garmin GPS, but you will fail. Well, for the KL locals who are familiar with the Ampang area, this place is within walking distance from the Cahaya LRT station. It is also very close to the area where the famous Ampang Yong Tao Foo trio are locatedI’ll show you a crude map with GPS coordinates at the end of this post.

You know I have not been living in KL for almost 7 years now. I am definitely NOT responsible for finding this hidden place. The kudos goes to the big brother…

This place only opens for dinner service, from 6.00 PM till… I don’t know, 10.00 PM I guess… According to the brother, if you come here after 7.00 PM, be prepared to wait for a bit for a table, and to wait for an hour after placing your orders for your food to arrive. You would imagine people to be pissed off, but apparently this 1-hour-waiting syndrome has always been the case for quite a long time already and the crowds always come back for more. I guess this is a better testament than any of sweeping statements that I can make…

My family, we don’t do crowds, and we don’t do late dinners anyway, so we arrived at 6.00 PM sharp to avoid all those shit.

Anyway, let’s get to the main event. Let’s show you the food we had…

The first three are highly recommended by the brother’s friend who frequents this place, like, a lot…

瓦煲蕹菜 Nga Bou Ong Choy (Claypot water spinach) – We came at a wrong day apparently. According to the auntie who took our orders, they sometimes do thick water spinach but not today. The thick ones are the more popular ones because they have better crunchy texture. The ones we got were thin water spinach. It was still very nice anyway, the sauce was spicy and very appetizing!

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瓦煲蕹菜 (Nga Bou Ong Choy) – Claypot Water Spinach

蒸咸鸡 Jing Ham Gai (Steamed Salted Chicken) – We ordered a small portion, so we got half a chicken. I love this. I think they steamed this chicken for a prolonged period of time, and then roasted it in the end to get a crispy skin. And you know most roasted chicken that we get nowadays are somewhat bland? This one is salty. Not very salty, just the right amount of salty. Goes very well with rice. I love it!

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蒸咸鸡 (Jing Ham Gai) – Steamed Salted Chicken

生根 Sang Gan – I really don’t know how to call this in English. When I heard the dish name, I didn’t know what it was. This one is basically a cousin of Yong Tau Foo. You know Yong Tau Foo is basically tofu (and also chilli/pepper/bittergourd/etc) with the inside dug out and replaced with meat fillings. This one, the tofu is replaced with those 面根 Min Gan type of material, you know, those processed flour sheets that people use to make vegetarian meat [wheat gluten (thanks Mun for providing the correct words)]. The wheat gluten sheets stuffed with meat fillings are deep fried and served over oyster sauce. It was delicious! I did not expect this, but it was more crispy than deep fried taufu pok (tofu skin) type YTF. Amazing!

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生根 (Sang Gan) – I don’t know how to translate this

The above three were the MUST ORDER, the ones highly recommended by the brother’s friend. I think they did not disappoint at all. But there were five of us, and three dishes were most certainly not enough. So we ordered three more dishes based on our own preferences.

三黄蛋 Sam Wong Dan (Three Yolks Egg) – As the name implies, this is an egg dish with three different types of egg yolks. It is basically steamed 鸡蛋 chicken egg infused with shredded 咸蛋黄 salted egg yolk, and topped with 皮蛋黄 century egg yolks, served over a drizzle of soy sauce. This one was passable, although the family thinks we can get better at a certain place in Imbi (KL downtown) which I have never been to before.

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三黄蛋 (Sam Wong Dan) – Three Yolks Egg

菜脯豆腐 Choi Pou Tau Foo (Salted Radish Tofu) – My dad’s order. It was not bad. There is a generous amount of salted radish used here, not just as topping but also in the gravy. Another dish that would go well with rice.

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菜脯豆腐 (Choy Pou Tau Foo) – Salted Radish Tofu

咕噜肉 Gu Lou Yuk (Sweet and Sour Pork) – Me and the sister’s order. We ordered this dish for its nostalgic properties. You know, kids love this. In fact, I think all Malaysian Chinese kids love this! And we used to be Malaysian kids ourselves, so we definitely love this! They do it properly here, the gravy was awesome, and the pork was deep fried till excellently crispy. This is one dish that I don’t think we can ever replicate properly at home. We never get that crispy pork, with the incredible amount of crunch, no matter how we deep fry the pork. Restaurant/dai chao place’s gu lou yuk is always much better!

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咕噜肉 (Gu Lou Yuk) – Sweet and Sour Pork

These dishes, plus 6 bowls of rice and 6 pax of Chinese tea came up to RM 87 (US$25). I think the price was alright. Probably not the cheapest, but also not expensive by KL standards.

This place is also famous for steamed fish, but we did not order it. Apparently their fish are all very big and 4-5 kg heavy, it would be beyond our eating capacity. But I did see one being served to a neighboring table, it was certainly quite impressive looking.

We were done with dinner and was ready to leave by 6.40 PM. A quick glance around and the tables were almost fully occupied, and maybe I was imagining things, but I noticed a few faces beginning to show slight impatience, or frustration. Apparently what the brother said about the waiting time was true…

As promised, I’ll end this post with another crude location map, complete with GPS coordinates.

houyaokeong

30 Comments

    • Some of them do, some of them don’t. Sometimes the owner would be hesitant to upgrade their dai chao into a restaurant, because when a stall turns into a restaurant, the business sometimes goes downhill for whatever reasons.

    • Hehehe, got GPS coordinate should be easy. Since you can go to Ijok, Ampang is sap sap sui lah XD

    • I think PJ people are generally richer and hence not many dai chao places operate out of that area. Come to Ampang/Cheras/Kepong these areas, you can find dai chao places in abundance! 😀

  1. Gu Lou Yuk (Sweet and Sour Pork). Yes, it seems impossible to recreate that crunch when you make it at home. Always much tastier at the hawker centre 🙁 And it’s one of the few pork dishes I ate. Loved it when I was growing up in Malaysia and in my family everyone rushed for that dish when it was placed on the table.

    My family doesn’t do early dinners too. My parents like to eat their dinner at 5pm every day 🙄

    • Everyone? With my family, it is always only the kids. My parents will stare at us with disdain when we nag for that dish. And when my brother grew up, he would sneer at me for loving that dish, and I did the same to my sister when I grew up myself. Don’t know why we did that, but we just did. Still, sometimes it is nice to give in to the little boys/girls within us. 😀

      It is good to have early rather than late dinners. The earlier you have dinner, the earlier your digestive system can finish work and your body gets more rest. Although there is a minor concern of growing hungry before you go to bed.. 😛

      • As far as I can remember, everyone from my grandparents to mum except my dad like to eat Gu Lou Yuk. Last time we went back to Malaysia, that dish was almost finished in less than ten minutes…

        Today my mum was over at my place and cooked ikin bilis fish ball soup with mai fun. Served it at 4.55pm. We all finished it by 5.15pm. Looks like I’ll be having chocolates and snacks later tonight in front of the laptop. Can’t complain 😀

          • I don’t fault you. Some chocolates are less sweet than your typical Asian dessert in my opinion, less sugar perhaps. I’m drinking Ovaltine in front of my laptop right now.

            That’s another awesome smiley. How do you make that?

            • That might be true in Australia, but the only chocolates that we can get here that are less sweet compared to Asian dessert are those expensive, imported ones. Another reason why I think I need to move to another country!

              : o o p s : = 😳 , there’s quite a few others, you can do a Google search on “WordPress emoji shortcuts” for them.

  2. Yah, that’s the thing, to avoid the crowds has to out for dinner about 6pm, later then 630pm….then better prepare the mood for waiting…

  3. You should be happy that you still can manja with your parents while your mum pampers you with healthy juices. I am sure she wants to marry you off! Muahahahaha
    Of all your dishes I love the Tau Foo and Sweet Sour Pork. I have not eaten such yummy Dai Chou for ages. No one invites me anymore.

    • No, she’s given up I think. She doesn’t even hint about grandkids this time around LOL!

      Eh you don’t need to be invited to a dai chao lah, just go with your wife lah if you want! 😐

  4. The place where I ate these…the boss calls it “sang gan yuen”. I also didn’t know what the wrapping was until now. It’s very thin and crispy and wrapped with pure fish paste (like a fish ball)…I love it! And I agree with you, gu lou yuk can never be replicated to the same degree of success at home…and from your pic, I can see this is a very good one. Yes, from Mun’s comment, this place is near where I stay…and I may have eaten here before (I can’t remember but the gu lou yuk looks freakishly familiar).

    • I wonder if we are in fact, neighbors living in the same taman. Have you ever told me which taman you living in? 😀

      • I don’t think we are neighbours…but we probably live in neighbouring tamans! If you follow my blog, I think you would have guessed which taman I stay in by now (unless you weren’t really reading)…kekeke! 😀

        • Unless you have specifically mentioned before, I cannot guess lah.. The places you went to, would be places that I would go too if not for me being too lazy and prefer to be cooped up at home.. In fact, would be places that anyone who live in this area would go to.. 😐

  5. That Sang Gan looks good – I wonder what that is. Hmmm…your sweet and sour pork reminds me of my meatballs. Hehehehehe!!!! RM87 for 6 is very very cheap!!! Will cost more than that in most places here these days, prices of everything are going up and up and up. 🙁

    • I do have some descriptions on what those Sang Gan is, hope it is easy to understand. And nooo! Nothing like meatballs, the pork pieces here are all small, crispy and crunchy!

    • When you come back? I don’t know Sacramento, such a big city should have some Asian/Malaysian/Chinese restaurants kot. If you be in SF then I know there’s a couple of Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown…

  6. RM87 only for all of the above! Fuiyoh! At some places, RM87 is only for ONE dish >_<

    Can ask your big brother if there are any similar eateries in PJ? I don't go to KL often leh.

    • RM87 for only one dish, must be those atas atas restaurants lah >.< PJ don't know lah.. we not familiar with PJ area. Maybe you can ask the Kucing family, they seems to have many lubangs on where to makan..

  7. Eh, I don’t agree that Dai Chao serves hawker/street food. The 6 dishes you shown in this post is not hawker/street food lah. I would say better than chinese restaurant dishes and the steamed 3 types eggs (sam wong dan) dish is home cooked food. 生根 (Sang Gan) is a new dish for me. I love to eat mean gan but never those fried and stuffed with inti before. For those who do not know what 面根 (Mean Gan) is, it is wheat gluten. My mother in law told me that she used to make mean gan by making a dough from wheat flour and kneading it for a long time and then wash it under water until all that is left is the gluten. Very troublesome to make, she said. I just eat only, dunno how to make.

    Good place to eat this dai chao keong, price ok too but don’t think I will get a chance to eat there as I don’t quite eat dinner nowadays apart from gathering with in-laws but they won’t venture so far away. But it is close for contact.ewew so she may try it out or maybe she already knows about this place. Great sharing!

    • Haha, aiya, I can’t find a more suitable term to describe it lah. Lower end, less fancy? This one operates out of a food court ma, so technically it is a hawker lah! 😀

      Oh yes, wheat gluten, that’s it! Let me edit my blog post…

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