Friday, June 13, 2008

KUEH CHAP REVISITED @ KIM YU LI CAFÉ, 3RD. MILE BAZZAR, KUCHING

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What started out as a poor man's dish, due to the use of pig's body parts which nobody wants in the old days, the Kueh Chap has since become a delicacy of acquired taste. It's a broth dish consisting of the Kueh, which is rice flour flat noodle, and the Chap, which literally means 'mixture', is a combination of pig's internal organ like intestines, bile, ear, belly, skin from the head, meat, fried tofu and and hard boiled egg. The condiment that goes with the dish is light sambal belacan (with more chilli parts) with white vinegar.

Any measure of a good Kueh Chap lies in its broth, which invariably is dictated by the offals that are put in it. And the preparation of the spare parts, as they are normally referred to, is really what makes or breaks the sanctity of the broth; it stinks if they are not washed properly, especially the intestine. They are stalls that use 5 spices powder and other herbs to mask its smell; it's like substituting one poison with another. The best is still broth cooked in its unadulterated form: soy sauce broth, with its flavor derived from the simmered parts...


... which brings us to this particular Kueh Chap stall, which is on the other end of the 3rd. Mile market (2nd. entrance coming from town). Its broth has all the characteristics of the unadulterated one, although it might have some unobtrusive herbs in it - pure wonder! Another thing of note is the family cooking the Kueh Chap; they are anybody but Teochew, the originator of this dish. In these days and age where race transcends boundaries and borders, "it matters not whether the cat is black of white as long as it catches the mouse" holds true in every sense of the words...



Heck, this particular stall even beats the de factor Kueh Chap stall at Lau-Yah-Kheng, Carpenter Street, which used to be the yardstick in the old days, before the passing of the fat guy that ran the stall. To really appreciate the goodness of its Chap, order the biggest and most expensive bowl listed on its menu... others are just alang-alang!

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

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