Friday, December 17, 2010

Kueh Chap @ Sun Hin Loong, SS2

It is a rare treat when residents of the Klang Valley get to feast on Sarawakian delicacies. Among the dishes that we people of the valley miss out are Sarawak Laksa, Sarawak Kolo Mee, Tomato Kuey Teow and Sarawak Kueh Chap just to name a few. However, fortune smiled on me when I happened to chance upon a stall in a food court located in SS2 selling one of the mentioned Sarawakian delicacies. Yes folks, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to feast on the famous Sarawak Kueh Chap! It was my first time ever tasting this dish and I was not disappointed at all.

I was so excited about this dish that I did a little bit of research with good old Google and was surprised with what I have learned as this dish has a history with China’s Imperial Army during the Ming dynasty. So before we jump into how heavenly Sarawak Kueh Chap taste, how cheap it is and where exactly to find this stall, I would like to spend some time explaining the roots of this dish. Ok some of you are going, “Noooo! Not another boring history lesson!” or “Just get to the juicy parts!” at this point. I hear ya loud and clear but hey, your browser has a scroll bar right? Just scroll down to the 6th paragraph to get to the juicy bits.

Right, for those of you who are interested in a little bit of culture and history; let me bring you back in time all the way back to the Ming dynasty. There lived a general named Qi JiGuang (戚繼光) and he was given the Imperial task to defend Southern China from Japanese Sea Pirates and Commoner Armies (日本倭寇).

Now, Qi JiGuang was worried about his armies food supply for this Imperial task as it would be difficult to transport food due to the high-mountainous area. His second worry was that his armies would not be able to accept the local food in Southern China. His worries stole sleep from him and decided to take a walk to think of a solution. He happened to come across a kitchen where an elderly lady was preparing food for her family. He observed the elderly lady pounding uncooked rice into fine powder and later adding water into the fine rice powder to turn it into sticky rice paste (米漿). Once the sticky rice paste is ready, the elderly lady poured some of the rice paste on to the side of a hot wok. The paste immediately starts to solidify upon contact and the solidified rice paste is peeled from the wok. The elderly lady repeated this process until she ran out of sticky rice paste. Thus, Kueh Chap was originally named Ding Bian Cuo (鼎邊挫) or Ding Bian Hu (鼎邊糊) (English translation would be Wok Side Cooking or Wok Side Frying) due to this process.

Coming back to the story, the elderly lady proceeds to make a soup with some vegetables and fermented meat. Once the soup came to a boil, she started tearing the solidified sticky rice paste into smaller bits and threw them into the boiling soup. A few moments later, the dish was ready to be served. Qi JiGuang has finally found the answer to his problems and learned how to prepare this dish for his armies from the elderly lady. With the food supply problem sorted out, the expedition to Southern China went smoothly and Qi JiGuang’s forces manage to protect Southern China from its enemies. From then on, this dish spread around Southern China and the solidified sticky rich paste dish received its more commonly known name, Kueh Chap, when it spread to the Teochew City (潮州市). Due to the vast culture in different areas of China, Kueh Chap is prepared differently depending on where you go. For instance, the soup base for Kueh Chap in Fu Zhou will be white or milky in color whereas the soup base will be dark brown if you are in Teochew. The Sarawak Kueh Chap definitely has its roots from Teochew, China as the soup is dark brown in color.

A typical Sarawakian Kueh Chap is usually prepared by boiling the rectangular cut “Kueh” (i.e. the solidified sticky rice paste in the story of Qi JiGuang cut into rectangular shape) in herbal soup together with taupok (i.e. fried puffy bean curd), a hardboiled egg and various parts of the pig which includes the stomach, intestines, ear, tongue, skin and some lean pork (some like to refer to the mixture of pork as “Spare Parts”). I guess this is where the “Chap” in the name came from (“Chap” means mixed in Hokkien).

I guess some of you are generally disgusted and on your nice clean floor at this point but trust me; the taste is not as disgusting as the dish sounds. I apologize if I really made you puke or feel disgusted but I don't invent the dishes. I just find them, put them in my mouth, eat them and review them.

Anyways, if you still have the fortitude to read on, the taste of Sarawakian Kueh Chap soup is similar to Bak Kut Teh but Kueh Chap’s soup is a more savory to the point that it's a little salty in my humble opinion. Eating the “Kueh” and “Spare Parts” is also an interesting experience as the various textures from the mixture of pork and the smoothness of the “Kueh” gives you an extraordinary chewing sensation. Imagine chewing on the smooth texture of the “Kueh” either together with the tender, crunchy or chewy texture of the pork (i.e. depending on what kind of pork you put into your mouth) and each chew releases the flavor of the secret mixture of herbs which have seeped into the pork. This dish is usually served with a special blend of chili sauce which will further enhance the taste of your Kueh Chap with a spicy, sweet and sourish taste.

You can also find a different variation of Kueh Chap in Penang, Johor Bharu and Singapore as duck parts are added into the concoction from what I heard.

Kueh Chap isn't really a rich man's dish so it is pretty cheap. I had this dish in a food court in SS2 called Sun Hin Loong and the owner of the stall charges RM5.00 for a small bowl

and RM6.00 for a big bowl.

Now Sun Hin Loong is your typical Chinese food court, so don't expect to be walking into a five star hotel environment. The place is not very well ventilated and it can get very warm if you sit too close to the stalls so dress comfortably. T-shirts and jeans or any cotton clothing would be the safest choice. Cleanliness is not a major issue as the stalls and their operators looks clean and tables are constantly wiped clean of plates, cups and other food debris from the previous table occupants. Just don't eat anything that has dropped on the floor or table and you should be fine.

Also, keep in mind that SS2 is a very busy area and parking can be a hassle at times...actually it's almost all of the time but there is always a place in the open air car park located opposite Sun Hin Loong but it'll cost ya RM3.00 at the very least to park there.

You can find Sun Hin Loong at 65 Jalan SS 2/64, 47300 Petaling Jaya. I am not too sure of their operating hours but I have seen them operating during breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. I have even once stayed till 10:00 pm chatting with a friend in their premises.

Unfortunately, I can't confidently conclude that this Kueh Chap is the best in the Klang Valley as I have never tasted this dish before until I came to this stall. However, if you are craving for a bowl of Sarawakian porky goodness, Sun Hin Loong would be a good place to get some as this dish is well prepared by the stall owner and would not disappoint your taste buds.

Please drop us a line at foodhuntz[at]gmx[dot]com if you know of other places selling Kueh Chap in the Klang Valley as we would like to make a comparison. Thank You.


  1. for those of you all that want to know in chinese word for Kuey Chap, I think is this 粿杂

  2. ohh...thanks for the info buddy :)

  3. I haven't got time go there yet. Soon soon.

  4. Haha...don't think the uncle is going anywhere soon. He sells Hakka mee as well. His style is a litle different from usual.

  5. hmmm... i don't eat spare parts ler... maybe i'll try eating the kueh and pass the chap to Jason :p will try it one of these day... thanks for the review!


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