We’re in MCO! No more restaurant dine-in meals, no more trawling Facebook to check out new openings, no more gathering the Echo troops for food tasting forays.
Hopefully not for long.
So I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting into the kitchen to cook some of the recipes on our Echo website from my amazing home chef good friend Margarita Lee.
Or when the lazy MCO bug hits me, going out to pick up some of my favourite small bites with big delights and enjoying them in the comfort of home.
One of my favourite restaurants, Hao Xian Wei, had to close when the first MCO in March last year left proprietor William no option but to cut his over-heads and find new avenues to deliver his yummilicious food. Ever resourceful and creative, William now mans two food stalls, one in Woolley Food City in the day and one in Tong Sui Kai (Jalan Carey, Taman Jubilee) in the evening.
Here William sells his stuffed Yeong Tau Fu Pok (fried tofu puffs) and other goodies. When I say stuffed, I do mean stuffed because his tofu puffs are filled to overbrimming, with a brawny minced pork, prawn and fish paste. All it requires at home is a quick steam and voila, it’s ready to feed the family. I don’t even require a sauce to dip it in (your choice) and two of these hearty, homemade Yeong Tau Fu Pok at RM3 each is enough for me.
But then I cheat! I’ll often take away a box or two of his Chai Kuei, dumplings in a translucent casing filled with a choice of sengkuang (sweet turnip) with dried shrimp or Chinese Chives; or one with a mixture of both. RM1.60 each.
Then there is the Tsam Tau Tsung or pillow dumplings, the ultimate comfort food, in either fried or plain glutinous rice, speckled with black eyed peas and filled generously with pork, salted egg yolk and shiitake mushrooms. What gives it its unctuous velvety touch are chunks of pure pork fat dotted throughout the “pillow”. Forget your cholesterol woes, throw caution to the winds and tuck in!! RM10 each.
A more recent addition to his repertoire at the stall is a very interesting food item that is not only testimony to Williams ingenuity and creativity, but also touted to be great for health.
This is Fish Scales Jelly, sold in boxes for RM7 each.
Fish scales? You, my dear reader, may wrinkle your nose in disdain and I have to confess that the first and only time I had this was in a fish restaurant up in Gerik and I did not like it. Fishy and not appetising.
I was quite sceptical when William got me to take a portion home. By the time I got home, the jelly had partially melted but reassured by William, I immediately put it into the fridge where it promptly gelled again.
William explained the process, which is a painstaking boiling of fish scales (from large fish only) for more than 6 hours, then cooled and refrigerated.
As for the taste: I was pleasantly surprised. There was no fishiness whatsoever, only a faint aroma of Pandan (Screwpine) and Serai (Lemongrass) and most delightful of all, not too sweet as the sweetening is from Stevia leaves. All in all, a portion of healthful goodness.
Wikipedia says that fish scales are a surprisingly nutritious food source, containing layers of keratin and enamel, as well as a dermal portion and a layer of protein-rich mucus. They are a rich source of calcium phosphate. Think collagen, dear reader. Instead of buying expensive collagen powders, think fish scales!
William’s stall at Woolley Food City is the second stall on the right as you enter the main entrance.
Woolley Food City
48-50, Lengkok Canning, Taman Canning
Tong Sui Kai
Jalan Carey, Taman Jubilee
Tel: 017-4216523 (William)