Before there were multi-screen Cineplaxes like Gold Screen Cinemas and Tanjung Village, movies were normally screened in stand-alone big screen theatres where local street foods and tidbits were abundant. Currently we only see imports like popcorn, deep fried nuggets and french fries, hot dogs, and lots more at those Cineplexes. May be those who are 30 – 35 years of age and above might still remember the good old days where street vendors who were ever ready with their trays of local delicacies like braised chicken feet, flame grilled meat slices and bishop’s nose; packets of “kacang putih”, buckets of ice cold soya bean milk, sugar cane juice and etc. Although the Roti Bak Kua vendor still exists but in small numbers, many have stopped preparing the delicacies themselves to give way to the economies of scale of buying from wholesale distributors. Our research project has led us to a 77years old Mr. Lee Fay Hoong who still insists to make these fading delicacies from scratch, fresh and personal. It may be exotic to some but these are the flavours and textures that we grew up with, like the big silver screen theatres that dotted the busy Penang road area. Uncle Fay Hoong whom we usually call had allowed us into his humble and aged kitchen to capture the essence of the Roti Bak Kua trade. This is the heart and soul of his trade where minced pork is made into the delight-able sweet and savoury sheets of charcoal flame grilled “Bak Kua”, slow braised chicken wings, feet and innards and duck web wraps. Fay Hoong’s Bak Kua does not require neither complicated ingredients nor processing it is all about fresh minced pork meat seasoned with his decades old recipe and a little bit of passion and patience. The seasoned mince pork is evenly spread over a bamboo tray and placed in a smoke box where the sheets of juicy meat are hot smoked until it is “mature” before they are put through a charcoal heat grilling process. “Bak Kua” is only the tip of the iceberg of goodies that the Roti Bak Kua street vendors carry in their arsenal of sinful delights, but many of these delights are fading with the passing of time as it is tedious to prepare. What intrigues us the most about Fay Hoong’s trade is their insistence to prepare everything themselves and the continuation of preparing their products with a personal touch, especially their duck web wraps (鸭脚包). This delicacy requires a tedious process that needs lots of discipline and effort. A duck web wrap consists of a few pieces of sliced lean meat, some strips of lard held by a whole duck foot with its web and wrapped with a strip of clean and dried pig’s intestine. The pig’s intestine is washed thoroughly before it is filled with air and hung to dry under the sun before it is cut into the required length for securing the duck web wraps. Then the duck webs are cleaned and have their nails trimmed before the all the ingredients are bundled together and braised in Fay Hoong’s rich and sweet secret gravy. Each bundle of lean meat, lard and duck web is painstakingly assembled and secured with the dried pig’s intestine. Many years ago, maybe decades, pig liver were also included in the bundle, but have since been excluded due to the change of taste preference. Each duck web wrap bundle is braised until soft and tender with a rich starchy texture; the lean meat slices are firm, pork lard will melt in your mouth and the duck webs are tender and off the bone. Uncle Fay Hoong begins selling from 3:00pm and closes at around 6:00pm, but the duck web wraps are usually sold out half way through. They normally rest on Sundays only. Their stall is located at the corner of Cintra Street and Kimberley Street.
On August - 11 - 2012 | 441 views