Sunday, December 28, 2014

Food Visit: Foong Foong Restaurant, Ampang New Village

In reference to the post titled "Christmas Eve Journey", this is a summarized visit of our late lunch of Yong Tau Foo in Ampang New Village.

You may wonder, what's the fuss about this traditional Hakka dish until diners are willing to drive far and wide for THE experience here when they are able to sample it without the travel? It lies with the authentic flavor that most Malaysians believe co-exists with the village; if you've not tasted Yong Tau Foo until you've eaten it in New Village. The dish is supposedly to have originated here from way back when.

We even spotted Kedah-registered and Singapore-registered vehicles leaving the restaurant grounds after the travelers satiated their cravings.

I've had the opportunity to sample the one in my little district and compare the experience with the one garnered here. The former lacked the explosive flavors that the cuisine is known for; it tasted like it was not made-to-order and instead commercially produced in bulk, but enough of my ramblings.

Let's move on to the topic.



Before I continue, I'll have to warn you, my readers, that the restaurant may not be impressive like the newer ones in the city with air-conditioners and television to entertain the bored diners. The owners would rather have their dishes known for its beauty and flavor than the place itself and judging from the immense crowd from our previous visits, the patrons don't seem to mind that it lacked decorations.

If you're uncomfortable with the heat and don't wish to be subjected to a long period of waiting (for seats and the food), I'd suggest to head to Foong Foong after the lunch hour crowds - at around 2pm. Don't forget to ask someone who's fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese to come along with you - to prevent any language barriers.

I'm sure most of you are aware that whenever I speak Mandarin, it has the Caucasian drawl to it. When Mama Carrie nudged me to place the order for the fried wanton, I eventually surrendered and spoke to the young chap in English (even though it's obvious he's more comfortable in the aforementioned languages).



Unlike other restaurants where someone will hover to your table and receive your food and drink orders, Foong Foong works on a different method. The only person who will come to your table is to take your drinks - or in the odd moments, the guy selling lottery tickets (give it a go; who knows if you're lucky to strike something?) You'd have to place your order at the cashier with your table number and the desired portion instead. If you're unsure, feel free to ask the young chap manning the place for his recommendations and suggestions according to the number of diners.

If you hear the occasional conversations from the microphones in the background, fret not, for it is the shop's way of communicating the orders between the cashier and the kitchen.




Mixed Yong Tau Foo - 15 pieces (RM 1 each) consists of stuffed bitter gourd, fish ball, soft tofu, fried tofu skin, stuffed ladies finger (or okra), stuffed chili, stuffed brinjal [Southeast Asian English, eggplant in American English and aubergine in British English]

The moment when the plate arrived at the table, I kept looking at it, especially the bitter gourd, instead of sharing the portion with Mama Carrie. I have no idea why, but I always found the bitter gourd overcooked and under-seasoned, almost knocking me off with the distinctive bitterness. The brinjal, however, was sitting comfortably at the other end of the spectrum. It was done to perfection and for someone who once hated this vegetable, the aromatic flavors convinced me to sample this vegetable cooked in other styles.

 The fish balls were soft and chewy; it tasted fresh from the kitchen.


Fried Wanton - 4 pieces (RM 1 each)

A mixture of pork and fish paste is stuffed into the wantons as the fillings before being dipped and fried in oil. You can hear the crunch as you sink your face into it, allowing the oil to seep into your pores. The paste does contain a piquancy that fortunately does not overwhelm the taste buds with the sodium chloride (if you're the regular foodie that Papa Carrie once was) or leave your tongue numb, but we found ourselves constantly reaching out to the hot glass of Chinese tea after every couple of bites to drench the thirst.

Hmmm, did someone slip in a tad bit more salt without the person's knowledge?

With that being said, there is no aftertaste of oil on the palate - unlike certain deep-fried dishes where you feel like you've ingested a gallon of oil.

We'll definitely return for a final round of Ampang Yong Tau Foo before my flight departure. I doubt I'll be able to find something as authentic as this over there or in my little district. If/when we do, you have my word that I'll pen a longer review of Foong Foong.


Yes, I'm aware that my verbal directions may be much clearer than the drawn one. I was drawing the map off-memory as we almost lost our way there as well.

Brief instructions:
  • If you are coming from Jalan Ampang, keep driving straight all the way and up the flyover.
  • Ampang Point will be on your left as you continue on.
  • Keep straight and don't make any turns until you see the police quarters in the far distance.
  • The shortcut leading to Foong Foong is a sharp turn after the police quarters; keep an eye out for cars signaling their intentions to turn into a small alley - if you are lucky, you will see them.
  • Drive through that little alley and take the second left lane and immediately turn right. The restaurant will be on your left.

Or, you could easily ask any shop with Chinese employees for directions.

You can find available parking spots anywhere around the restaurant, but DO NOT PARK on Foong Foong grounds. The parking attendants will demand that you pay the stipulated parking fee, even though it is not required and the bays away from Foong Foong are free.


Foong Foong Restaurant,
621A, Jalan Besar Ampang
Kampung Baru Ampang,
68000 Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Phone: +6012 209 5529

Business Hours: Wednesday to Monday: 9pm to 4pm

12 comments:

  1. It's a treat to read your detailed and beautifully descriptive food reviews! :)

    I think I've been here before although I can't quite be certain. It was in the hazy days of yore, when I had a problem with alcohol (which I don't have anymore). I'm one of the few who don't like yong tau foo (heresy, you say). Haha!

    I know, maybe it's coz I haven't tried the proper ones. I shall pay this one at New Village a visit!

    I think RM 1 is quite reasonable too, some places are charging RM 1.20 - RM 1.50 and those are the food trucks!

    BTW, I'm very unfamiliar with Ampang so if I should park on the grounds, how much would they charge?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks for the compliment, HB! =)

      What, you don't like Yong Tau Foo?! Oh dear, but I hope that your impending visit to Foong Foong will sway and impress you, man. *winks*

      I'm actually heading there for seconds and to freeze the flavors in my psyche before the flight departure, lol.

      As for the parking, if you wish to park on the grounds, it is RM 2 on weekdays and RM 3 on weekends - unless the attendants suddenly decided to increase the rates.

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    2. I'll make it a point to visit this weekend! :)

      Yeah, I don't like yong tau foo but I don't hate it either. It's something I'm neutral about and thus would not normally seek out.

      Thanks for the information about the parking rates!

      Have a safe flight!

      Delete
    3. No worries. Ahhh, it's just like me with aubergines. I don't love that vegetable but I don't hate it either, lol.

      Aye, no problem... and thanks for the wishes in advance. =)

      Delete
  2. Not too far from my house and looks like a very good deal.
    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is indeed a good deal, YL. ^^ I mean, if folks are willing to travel for this, it should be pretty tasty. =) Do give it a shot if you happen to be in the vicinity. =D

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  3. Make your own YTF when you fly away! LOL!
    Unfortunately most Ampang locals (like me) are not too impressed with them anymore. In fact we are no longer impressed with all 3 of the YTF outlets in that area anymore. 20 years ago, they used to make heavenly delicious stuff, now they are just going strong on MSG like every other places. Still delicious, but nothing compared to before.

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    Replies
    1. I wish I could, but I'll have to see if they have that kind of fish over there, CL. Yikes, I didn't know that at all... my acquaintance who's a regular at Ampang kept saying that it's delectable before we decided to take a drive there.

      One thing's for sure... I won't fly back just to satiate the cravings, hehe.

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  4. We've very few ampang YTF stalls in S'pore, not easy to find. The food looks good. Happy 2015 to you & may you have a wonderful new year, dear! Well, I'm back in action & resuming my blog hopping now. So glad to be back blogging ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was some argument over the Chicken Rice a while ago as well, Shirley... but yeah, that's true. If what I heard is accurate, the ones in Singapore are a franchise of the ones here. *shrugs*

      Welcome aboard, Shirley! Hope to see you around more often now... I, on the contrary, am taking time out... =)

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