PETALING JAYA, Dec 31 — If you love the taste of flavourful, hot soup with a slight peppery kick in the morning, head towards this five-month-old stall in PJ’s Section 17 run by Yong Teik Keong, 46.
His signature emperor pork bone soup served with noodles hits the spot perfectly, thanks to bones cooked for hours.
That’s how one of the stall’s regulars, Uncle Sim, who runs a car workshop in Taman Tun Dr Ismail feels too. You’ll likely spot the white-haired amicable man dining at this stall located in the quieter part of the popular Section 17 square, at least three times a week.
He tells us the draw for him is the MSG-free soup with its warming touch from the crushed black peppercorns. Yong lets us in on the secret: these fragrant peppercorns are planted here in Selangor, a precious stash which he has kept for many years to make this soup.
He also painstakingly and slowly boils large pig bones for at least eight hours to get a rich, creamy white soup.
The menu is limited to a small selection of toppings with the broth and your choice of noodles. There’s sliced pork belly, pig’s stomach, emperor bone and pork ribs.
If you are undecided about what to try, go for his Sambo (Three Treasures) Pork Noodles, a mixture of pig stomach, emperor pork bone and sliced pork belly. Prices range from RM7.50 to RM11 for the various items.
The idea for this broth came when Yong was selling sam kan cheong pork noodles at Glenmarie, Shah Alam, before he relocated to Singapore for 10 years to work in a restaurant.
The unique part are the large pork bones, about 10 kilograms that he adds in the soup to boil for one hour before the stall is open for business. Eat the pork rib with your hands, as it’s incredibly pleasurable to slowly gnaw and pull at the tender meat with your teeth. Another popular item is his pig’s stomach that sells out quickly.
It’s not easy to catch Yong at the stall though as his working hours are erratic. At night, he takes over the whole coffeeshop and offers a simple no-frills dinner menu of steamed fish with ginger, steamed eggs, beancurd and vegetables.
There’s a choice of different types of fishes from tilapia to loong fu pan or dragon tiger grouper. Sometimes the diners stay late till 2.30am which means he will be too tired to open stall the next day as he needs to start from 5am to boil the pork bones for at least an hour.
He is also hampered as he cannot find a helper for his stall. As the coffeeshop has ruled that he can only hire local workers, till now he has to fly solo, from cleaning the tedious pig’s stomach for three hours to boiling the soup every day for eight hours.
As he can only prepare a small batch of his food items on a daily basis, the noodles tend to run out fast. Sometimes, it’s all gone within two hours of his opening his stall.
But we reckon his pork bone soup is worth all the effort of making a trip here. Once you taste that sweet, milky broth that embraces you like a warm hug, we reckon you’ll be hooked on it just like Uncle Sim, who doesn’t mind making a trip here, a few times a week just to see if he’s open in the early morning.
Despite all these issues, Yong continues to push forward as much as he can. He tells us, “As long as the customer is satisfied, money is secondary.”
Emperor Pork Bone Soup Stall
Kedai Kopi Yun Kei
No. 923, Jalan 17/38, Section 17, Petaling Jaya
Open: 7.30am till food finishes off
Days off not certain. Usually, closed on Mondays
* Note: As opening hours during the daytime are erratic, the stall is now open from 5.30pm to 9.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed every Monday.