Heritage on a plate

Diners enjoying the dishes cooked by Wong at the Wong Wok stall in Lot 10 Hutong, Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: ONG SOON HIN/The Star

STREETFOOD cooked using a wok, or better known as dai chao, is a Malaysian cultural heritage that is slowly dying.

Malaysian streetfood might seem like simple fare, but its quality and authenticity deserve a higher ranking in the world of gourmet cuisines.

“The thought that I might not be able to enjoy these authentic dishes anymore worried me and I wanted to do something about it,” said YTL Corporation Bhd managing director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh.

As a result, he established Lot 10 Hutong, a hawker centre with a unique concept, offering hundreds of selections of the best local food.

Among the hand-picked stalls at Lot 10 Hutong, is Wong Wok, a stall run by Chef Wong that serves a range of dai chao dishes.

Wong, who used to be Francis’ personal chef, has been involved in the food-making industry since he was six.

(From left) Francis, Wong and Joseph at Wong Wok, Lot 10 Hutong.
(From left) Francis, Wong and Joseph at Wong Wok, Lot 10 Hutong.

He used to accompany his mother as she cooked for the festivities and feasts that took place in the village.

After being apprenticed to various chefs, he successfully introduced his own signature dishes, namely the Dancing Prawn and Sang Har Sang Mee.

Wong is well-known for his ability to make out the ingredients and cooking style of a dish just by tasting it, which is also a reason why he is one of Francis’ favourite chefs.

“He is very gifted with an incredible taste bud,” Francis said.

Realising his natural talent and passion, Francis initiated a luncheon to celebrate the existence and authenticity of streetfood.

Fried Crab Noodle (left) and Pai Ku (below) prepared in the ‘dai chao‘ style by Wong.
Fried Crab Noodle (above) and Pai Ku (below) prepared in the ‘dai chao‘ style by Wong.

Present at the luncheon was also YTL land and development and YTL hotels and properties vice-president Joseph Yeoh, who enjoyed the local delights like his father, Francis.

Among Wong’s famous dishes served were Fried Crab Noodle, Chilli Crab, Sang Har Sang Mee, Pai Ku At Wong, Sweet Sour Pork, Foo Yong Egg, Braised Yam and Pork Belly, Steamed Salted Fish and Minced Pork, Beef Hor Fun as well as Yong Chow Fried Rice.

“These dishes represent not just the credibility of local streetfood but also brings to mind the years of heritage created and passed on from generation to generation,” said Francis.

Francis encouraged people, especially the younger generation, to embrace and pass on their cultural heritage to maintain its place in the world.

Pai Ku at Wong prepared by Chef Wong at Wong Wok, Lot 10 Hutong using the dai chao style.

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