IT IS common for Asian families to rave about prized family recipes.
While many people who ventured into the food business to showcase their family recipes were successful, there were those that did not survive in the food trade.
Hock Kee’s food stall in Lot 10 Hutong, in Kuala Lumpur, pride themselves on traditional family red wine recipes from China.
But it took four generations before the family dishes, prepared using the homemade red wine, were introduced and sold to the public.
The two young siblings behind Hock Kee’s persuaded their mother to set up the business.
Jeassy Tan, 30, and her brother Jacky, 28, with their mother Gong Mei Ying, 54, started the food business at Lot 10 Hutong three years ago.
“The red wine recipe was a goodbye gift given to my maternal grandmother by her mother when she left Fuzhou, China, to come to Malaya.
“My grandmother arrived in Sitiawan, Perak, and raised her family there.
“She taught all of us how to make the wine,” said Jeassy, adding that her grandmother is still sprightly in her 80s.
She added that their mother was the person behind all the dishes.
The family’s signature red wine mee suah dish is popular among diners, and it is called Hock Chew Claypot Red Vinasse Chicken Mee Suah.
Their grandmother would serve the family only the noodles with the wine added in the soup back then.
“People ate simple food in the old days and meat was a luxury.
“It was my mother who decided to add other ingredients such as chicken into the dish,” said Jeassy.
Jeassy said the red wine noodle dish was not exclusive to her family but the wine recipe was their own.
“Every family has their own method to make wine and ours contains ingredients such as glutinous rice, red yeast rice and wine cake.
“We only use wine that is over 40 days old,” she said adding that the wine was made at home.
The claypot noodles have a unique taste due to the addition of wine.
It may be an acquired taste but try it if you are feeling adventurous.
My favourite dish at Hock Kee is the Hock Chew Red Vinasse Pork Rice.
The thinly sliced pork meat is marinated and braised using leftover wine residue and ginger.
Gong said she created this dish because she did not want to waste the red wine residue.
She said red wine was commonly used to prepare post-partum confinement food.
“Red wine keeps the body warm and helps to eliminate wind,” said Gong.
Another must try is the Hock Chew Dried Mee Suah.
This dish comes with four medium-sized deep-fried meat balls made from prawn, chicken and pork wrapped in beancurd skin.
For dessert, a warm bowl of sweet Hock Chew Peanut Soup is simply lovely.
It has red dates, longan and peanuts as its main ingredients.
HOCK KEE, Lower Ground Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2782 3592) Business hours: 10am to 10pm.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.