JOHOR BARU: Food lovers just cannot get enough of the Arab-inspired kacang pool snack, all thanks to its secret gravy.
Makpol Kairon, who has been serving the dish here for close to three decades, said he adapted the gravy to the local palate.
Now, many Malaysians, including the country’s top leaders, have a craving for it.
“The (dish) in Middle Eastern countries is quite bland. The main ingredients are beans with herbs and spices, and I had to modify it to suit Malaysians’ taste buds,” he told The Star at his restaurant in Larkin.
Kacang pool is adapted from the Middle Eastern dish of foul medammas.
Makpol, 57, said he introduced the dish to Johoreans 28 years ago and he now has five outlets around the state and one in Putrajaya.
Another difference between kacang pool and foul medammas is minced meat, which he uses as an ingredient because many Malaysians like meat in their diet.
The main ingredients in kacang pool are broad beans, fried eggs, minced meat and red onions, with toasted bread for dipping.
A bowl of kacang pool at Makpol’s outlets costs RM6.
“You can have kacang pool for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or even dinner. It is healthy food because I do not use salt, sugar or MSG in my cooking,” he added.
“Now, there seems to be imitators in the market describing their offering as ‘kacang pool Larkin’.
“But it is different. I use my own spices and herbs to make the dish taste the same always and my customers know that.”
Makpol, a father of 10, noted that many VIPs have also tasted his kacang pool and asked for more, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, as well as former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“Each time Najib and Rosmah are in Johor Baru, they will order kacang pool from me. It is an honour for me that they like my food,” he added.