Monday, October 9, 2017

From A Long Time Ago In Kuching ...

Every time I eat this shao bao from Chong Chon Biscuit Maker at Kai Joo Lane, I am lifted to the pastry heaven. If there is such a thing. Heh. For Chong Chon's shao bao is such a delight to eat. I think it's all about the balance of texture and flavour.

The pastry itself is crisp. It doesn't taste buttery at all, not salty but with a tinge of sweetness. The pork filling is moist and is savoury, and when you take a bite of the pastry together with the filling, the flavour and texture that combine are simply divine.

Simply delightful! Simply legendary and deserving of a Michelin Star or two ... 

For one thing, each pastry is handmade. Production is limited, and demand is high ... and hence, this shao bao can be quite difficult to buy. They simply have more customers than they have pastries! You just need to be there at the right time. Otherwise, you can call them and place an order. 

Chong Chon Biscuit Maker have been in establishment for a long time now, perhaps over 40 years. The shao bao tasted as good today as it did before, and I do hope that it will still be going strong for the years to come. Easily the best shao bao in Kuching in my book. 

Another old bakery in town is All Joy at Khoo Hun Yeang Street. When All Joy started, it sold only fast food. I remembered eating its Braised Duck Rice which was fantastic. I remembered there being  white rice, with slivers of succulent duck meat, doused in a thick, sweet braising sauce, and with some cucumber pickles on the side. I don't think it's on the menu now, and even if it is, I don't think it's the same Braised Duck Rice that I had when I was a primary-school-going kid. The last time I went to All Joy Cafe at Wisma Saberkas, I wasn't impressed at all with the food.

The bakery at All Joy only came about later on, and these were family favourites .... 

Butter buns 
These remained as they were a long time ago .... elongated buns with butter topping on top, and butter filling inside; tasted also like they used to be a long time ago

Peanut buns
I have loved the texture of these buns for so long - which were slightly crisp on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside; loved the nutty and sweet peanuts rolled in between the doughs too ... 

Loved these old flavours - my childhood flavours - from the old Kuching; it's not easy to retain these flavours as the old recipe gets modernised to suit the tastebuds of today, or maybe modified to cut costs. In fact, too many of the old childhood favourites have evolved. Just one example - Fook Hai big bao no longer tasted as yum as they used to be, when they sold at the shop where Plaza Merdeka now stands.

And so, it is important that these bakeries leave a legacy of its authentic flavours so that these ever so yummy delicacies can be enjoyed for years to come. :))

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