CMCO food takeaway: Hit up PJ's Gerai Seong Kee for satisfying Hakka fare like abacus seeds, 'yong tau foo'

Gerai Seong Kee's abacus seeds are a lovely plate of contrasts with crunchy wood ear fungus mingling with the slightly chewy abacus seeds – Pictures by Lee Khang Yi
Gerai Seong Kee's abacus seeds are a lovely plate of contrasts with crunchy wood ear fungus mingling with the slightly chewy abacus seeds – Pictures by Lee Khang Yi

PETALING JAYA, Nov 13 — When it comes to yong tau foo, I find it hard to get a good one that can satisfy my fussy tastebuds. The nearest to home would be Gerai Seong Kee at the PJ Old Town Taman Selera. While they don't make it the traditional Hakka way with minced pork and salted fish, I enjoy how everything is prepared only upon your order.

Sometimes, the stall owners tend to close for business when it's not their stated day off. Hence, it is best to call ahead to double check if they're open before going over. Luckily when that happens, there are other stalls nearby like Kie Kie chicken rice that is also a favourite for their crunchy siew yoke and smooth soy sauce chicken.

They are experts in frying hence you get stuffed brinjal with a creamy centre and crunchy fried ‘foo chuk’
They are experts in frying hence you get stuffed brinjal with a creamy centre and crunchy fried ‘foo chuk’

I tend to pile up my choices as there are so many favourites to choose from. What they excel in is their fried items. The pieces are crispy and not oily since the right oil temperature is used. For yong tau foo, their brinjal is a must-eat. They fry the brinjal so well that it has a nice, creamy texture inside. The fried foo chuk or beancurd skin is incredibly satisfying with the distinct crunch when you bite into it.

Balance out the fried items with ones served with soup like beancurd and lady’s fingers
Balance out the fried items with ones served with soup like beancurd and lady’s fingers

I tend to balance out my sinful fried choices with vegetables so I'll pick their lady’s fingers, bitter gourd and the beancurd. These are served with a clear, sweet soup. Each piece of yong tau foo is RM1.80,

You won't find any chee cheong fun here though as you're supposed to pair it with a plate of rice. I usually just ditch the rice and eat the yong tau foo on its own.

Fried chicken wings with turmeric is a fingerlicking treat here
Fried chicken wings with turmeric is a fingerlicking treat here

Since they are such fry experts, don't miss out on their fried chicken wings. These are marinated with turmeric for a hint of flavour. You get juicy pieces that require you to use your fingers to relish every bit of their deliciousness.

As the family is Hakka, they serve my favourites such as vinegar pork trotters, char yoke and abacus seeds. Since the dishes are cooked to their family recipes, the flavours have been tuned perfectly.

A bowl of vinegar pork trotters with a sweetish taste is perfect with a bowl of rice
A bowl of vinegar pork trotters with a sweetish taste is perfect with a bowl of rice

I prefer a sweeter tasting vinegar pork trotters (RM18 for one portion) so this one fits the bill for me. You get a mixture of gelatinous skin and meat to enjoy with pieces of ginger. This one needs a bowl of rice (or more) to enjoy that slightly sticky black sauce.

You can also score Hakka classics such as ‘char yoke’ with pork belly cuts cooked with crunchy wood ear fungus
You can also score Hakka classics such as ‘char yoke’ with pork belly cuts cooked with crunchy wood ear fungus

The char yoke (RM18) is served with thick cut fried pork belly pieces — giving a nice contrast of textures — with crunchy wood ear fungus and a sauce flavoured with five spice powder and fermented beancurd. Again, this is best paired with rice. The good thing about these two items is they keep well, I bought them to eat over the next few days.

The abacus seeds are packed in a box making it easy to scoop up to eat
The abacus seeds are packed in a box making it easy to scoop up to eat

For the abacus seeds (RM18), you get slightly chewy buttons made with taro that are stir fried with sliced shiitake mushrooms, minced pork and sliced tau kua or pressed tofu. There is also crunchy sliced wood ear fungus. If you find the buttons a little hard when it turns cold, just steam them in a bowl and they will be soft with a slightly chewy centre.

Gerai Seong Kee, 35, Taman Selera, Jalan Othman, Section 1, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 016-2549454. Open: 12pm to 8pm. Days off are not certain so please call ahead to double check.