Classic Hakka-style yong tau foo
I don’t know if parents nowadays have new tricks to get their kids to eat veggies, but back when I was a kid, the only way my parents could get me to eat my greens was by bringing me to their all-time favourite restaurant – Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo.
Lady’s fingers and brinjals didn’t seem as unappetising when they were stuffed with a delicious fish filling, but I still steered clear of the bitter gourd.
It’s been years since my family has paid a visit to Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo, but I was stoked to see that nothing has changed in the past decade when I stopped by recently for lunch. The aunties were still gathered at the corner of the shop, stuffing filling into beancurd skins; orders were still yelled through a microphone. It was the same old, same old.
Even the food tasted as good as I remembered, which is probably why Foong Foong remains the gold standard in yong tau foo for many families.
Mixed platter of yong tau foo
During our visit, we got the mixed platter of yong tau foo, which comes with stuffed brinjal, bitter gourd, lady’s fingers, chillies, tofu, and fishballs (RM1.50/piece). Regulars love the fried fu zhuk and sui kow (RM1.50/piece), so we made sure to order those too.
Foong Foong whips up your standard plate of yong tau foo, but what sets them apart is how they’ve perfected their recipe and cooking process. Each order comes with a plate of fresh veggies that have been generously stuffed with fish paste that’s just as flavourful as a meat filling.
The yong tau foo pieces are first seared on a hot wok to brown the sides. Then the cook splashes them with ikan bilis stock and leaves the pieces in to simmer, to impart a wok hei flavour to the ingredients. This turns the stock a dark brown making it look like ‘gravy’ on the yong tau foo platter. This ‘gravy’ is also more full-bodied and savoury compared to the original ikan bilis stock that they also serve on the side as a clear soup.
The eatery also serves a mean dumpling (RM1.50). The dumpling skin is thin and smooth, and never doughy. It encases a meat filling that’s made from fish paste, minced pork, and small bits of carrots and jicama, to give it a fresh bite.
Fried yong tau foo
Whenever we ate here in the past, my dad would always order at least 5 more pieces of sui kow on top of our yong tau foo dishes because I would wolf them down the moment they are served – it’s the best way to enjoy them because the freshly fried skin is as crispy as pork crackling.
The fried fu zhuk deserves a special mention as well. Its thin beancurd skin is crispy, with a hint of soy, and the fish paste stuffing is Q and doesn’t have a fishy smell at all.
Dip the fried fishballs in the sweet sauce that comes with the dish. This balances out the fishballs’ blander flavour well.
If you do decide on indulging in a big plate of these fried goods, it’s best to listen to every mother’s wise words, “drink more water” or you’ll get a sore throat because of the yit hei
Regulars come back for the nostalgic taste
Foong Foong started back in 1974, and it slowly became reputed as Ampang’s best yong tau foo. The family business has lasted for 3 generations, from the founding grandmother to her grandson, who is preparing to take over the family business.
When asked what it was that kept customers coming back to their shop, the boss answered modestly, “There’s nothing special about our yong tau foo and the dish tastes more or less the same everywhere. I think it’s just that many of our customers have been eating here for years, so they’ve grown fond of the taste of our food. The children who used to come with their parents eventually come back with their own kids. They come back because they miss the taste.”
Foong Foong Yong Tau Foo
Address: 621, Jalan Merdeka, Kampung Baru Ampang, 68000 Ampang, Selangor
Opening hours: Wed – Mon 9.15AM-4.15PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Telephone: 012-209 5529
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