PETALING JAYA, July 1 — Whenever I visit an unfamiliar coffee shop to buy something, I'll also look at the other stalls to see what's interesting. Hence when I dropped by Restoran Megah Good Luck, I spotted the popiah stall.
As I waited for my takeaway, I saw people surrounding the stall while they waited for their popiah to be made.
The stall owner, who is known as Chin, works in batches. It's a fascinating process that starts with him laying the popiah skin over a wooden board. He wipes down that board for every batch, keeping it clean from any stray ingredients.
Keen eyes can spy the thin popiah skin, which is a mark of a good popiah. The skins are moist with a fine, soft texture as he keeps them covered with a wet towel to prevent them from drying out.
Even though the skin is super thin, it's resilient and hugs the fillings well. In fact, my takeaway popiah didn't even tear or break apart even after I took them out to snap a picture.
You get a slight chewy texture with the skin that adds a nice contrast to the crunchy and soft fillings.
It's mesmerizing to watch the process, as layer by layer of ingredients are systematically added to the popiah skins.
You have the sauce on the skin. It's just a thin layer. Either a choice of brown sauce for a savoury hit or chilli sauce for a spicy buzz, depending on your preference.
There's diced beancurd and crispy dough bits for crunch. The cucumber is grated à la minute to ensure it remains crunchy and it doesn't add any unwanted moisture to the roll.
If you observe, there's a bowl of stewed yam bean on the side. It's kept on the side to allow any excess liquid to drain out. This is generously added on top of the cucumber as this will give you a juicy texture.
The final flourish is another sprinkle of crispy dough bits before it is deftly rolled up. With a sharp knife, the popiah is cut into three pieces. You buy them in a set of two pieces for RM6. He then wraps them up in a clear plastic sheet.
The popiah is definitely a big winner. Even after some time, the popiah was intact but slightly bent from being in a plastic bag.
The contrast of textures was a delight to eat from the slightly chewy yet soft skin to the crunchy cucumber and juicy yam bean filling.
There's just a slight crunch from the dough bits, which is rather restrained. I guess if too much is added, the balance will be disrupted as it will be drier.
It was only later I found out that this stall is famous in Petaling Jaya and has been around for many years.
Hence one understands how old experienced hands can turn out probably one of the best popiahs I have tasted.
Chow Yang Popiah Stall, Restoran Megah Good Luck, 1, Jalan SS24/11, Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya. Open: 9am to 2pm. Closed every second Monday of the month.