The flavours of Taiwanese street food are a draw at Fahrenheit 88’s modern food court.
THE delights of Taiwanese night markets, among other street foods can now be savoured in comfort at the Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall in Bukit Bintang with the opening earlier this year of MFC Food World.
The modern food court offers pork-free Asian, Western fusion and local cuisines. Food is vended from 15 bowl-shaped capsule kiosks.
“These vibrant, colourful kiosks have a fun element and are imported from Taiwan,” said Johnson Chai, 54, the director and concept owner of MFC Food World.
According to Chai, such kiosks are familiar sights in night markets in Taiwan. He finds the kiosks a pleasing way to showcase food to satiate hungry diners; they are also showcases of food franchises available to interested entrepreneurs and embody the Taiwanese food culture.
Food prices here start from RM2.90 for Nasi Lemak to RM17.50 for Lamb Chops. A bestseller here is the beef noodle soup, a popular Taiwanese street food.
The Da Wang Taiwanese Beef Noodle (RM13.50) is a dish of Red Braised Beef Noodle (Hong Shao Niu Rou Mian in Mandarin).
“To prepare this dish, beef bones and beef shank are simmered for over eight hours with Chinese spices. The long cooking hours tenderise the meat and enable the flavours of the spices and ingredients to infuse the meat. Dashes of dark soy sauce give the flavourful broth a darker hue,” said Chai.
He said the recipe is from a Taiwanese chef who was here to set up the stall.
The dish uses handmade noodles selected from among the offerings of over half a dozen noodle makers. The wheat noodles resemble ramen but are slightly thicker, and have a springy texture. Dried noodles are also available.
The bowl of noodles came with chunks of beef, some together with bones, served with a dried chilli oil condiment. It was a very tasty dish, and the broth was not overpowering. I was not excited about the strands of pickled mustard (kiam chai) in a saucer but tried some anyway and found them crunchy and not salty.
The story goes that stewed beef noodle soup was first created by the Hui people, a Chinese Muslim ethnic group in China during the Tang Dynasty. The red braised beef noodle soup was a later concoction in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, by the Chinese who fled from mainland China during the civil war.
The noodle soup can be enjoyed with other side dishes. The stall offers braised tofu (interestingly riddled with holes), braised hard-boiled eggs, braised peanuts, cucumber vinegar salad and Taiwanese “kimchi” (sour cabbage).
The Sour and Spicy Noodle (RM8) serves up ramen noodles (same as the ones in Beef Noodle Soup) in a sourish, thickened gravy with the distinctive flavour of bamboo shoots reminiscent of Sichuan Hot and Sour – or Shark Fin – Soup and has strips of chicken, dried shiitake mushroom, and bamboo shoots, and bok choy.
We also tried the crispy fried chicken Taiwan-style – something which is quite familiar to Malaysians now as it has invaded our pasar malam and become almost synonymous with Taiwanese street food.
Crispy Chicken (under Feng Chia branding) comes in eight flavours. We sampled two versions of this “popcorn chicken” drizzled with salt and pepper and seaweed powder. Both were knockouts! Other flavours are plum, black pepper, wasabi, curry, spicy and, onion and pepper.
They tasted pretty much the same if not for the drizzled-on seasonings. The chicken pieces were marinated overnight, coated in special batter and then with flour before they were deep fried. The batter and flour are proprietary secrets that maketh the dish.
The bite sizes made with chicken breast meat are surprisingly juicy and tender inside and packed quite a crunch outside!
My takeaway portions were savoured with equal relish to relive my love-at-first-bite moment.
Crispy Chicken Chop (RM7.80) did not disappoint either (also available in eight flavours). The spicy version comprised of a deep-fried slab of drumstick meat which was sliced up. The meat texture was tender, but I wished for an accompanying gravy or dipping sauce. But none was offered as the chicken pieces were already flavour-loaded. This style of chicken from Tai Chung, Taiwan, has been around for over 13 years.
The chicken chop can also be ordered with rice (Happy Bento, RM8.90) and the set comes with half a braised egg and side vegetables (seasonal), and the chicken chop will be topped with gravied minced chicken.
To soothe parched lips, the Field Tea kiosk offers coffee and tea. For tea lovers, popular orders are for Assam Black Tea, Jasmine Green Tea and Milk Tea. A new batch of tea is made every four hours. Apparently, tea kept longer than four hours changes in colour and may taste a bit sappy. I tried the Assam Black Tea (RM3.90) and found the tea to be mild yet refreshing. Earlier, I indulged in Yakult Mango Smoothie (RM6.90). It was made with mango flavouring and enriched with yoghurt cultured milk. Other drinks include Fresh Milky Carrot Milkshake (RM5.90) and Fresh Milky Papaya Shake.
And of course, we made some tummy space for the famous Imbi Road offerings that have been hawked for over 50 years and now made available at this food court: Cantonese Fried Noodles and Seafood Hokkien Mee. We lapped it all up and felt gratified that we did not have to wait until nightfall for a taste of Imbi Road’s specialities.
MFC Food World
2nd Floor, Fahrenheit88,
Jalan Bukit Bintang,