[Klang, Malaysia] Hakka Food Fair at Eng Ann Gardens

The Royal Town of Klang, which also functions as the seaport for Kuala Lumpur, a mere 20 miles away, has always been known throughout the country for its Hokkien-style herbal bak kut teh pork-rib soup.

But on our last trip to Klang before the COVID lockdown in March this year, we discovered another dining gem there: the Hakka Food Fair, a casual eatery which specializes in the food of the “guest people”, the Hakkas, a departure from the cuisines of the mainly Hokkien populace.

What attracted our attention initially were the Hakka-style chung displayed outside the eatery - pyramid-shaped parcels of glutinous rice, flavored with 5-spice and soy sauce, with stewed pork-belly and mushroom filling - wrapped in bamboo leaves and boiled. These turned out to be pretty tasty - well-marinated meat filling and well-seasoned sticky rice.

We decided to order its pork meatballs, braised with dried oysters and mustard leaves. It turned out to be the tastiest thing we’d had in quite a while!

The proprietress-chef cutting up the meatball table-side. Traditionally, the Chinese will cut cooked meats and vegetables up into bite-sized pieces, so they can be easily picked up using chopsticks.

We ordered the house specialty beverage, as we saw almost everyone else in the eatery having it: mugs of chilled juice, made from barley, gingko nuts and foo choke (tofu skin).

We really wanted to try the Hakka abacus beads - little discs of taro pasta, braised with minced pork, salted black beans, garlic and pork-lard, but were too full from an earlier breakfast, plus the substantial rice and meat dumplings. Have to make a return visit another time!

Hakka Food Fair opens from 7.30am to cater to the Eng Ann Gardens’ morning market right outside its front door.

Address
Hakka Food Fair Restaurant
No. 34, Jalan Kasawari 8
Taman Eng Ann, 41150 Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +6013-311 1798
Opening hours: 7.30am to 4pm Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays.

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Straight forward restaurant name. I like that.

Meatball is good. Looks rich, too. Always best with some fatty pork in any kind of balls.

Abacus taro beads are probably a home-style dish and something right up my alley. Is it as simple as you describe? I wanna make it but not sure if I can find the taro in this specific shape here. Maybe in tin?

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You need to get a fresh Asian taro or purple yam - steamed, mashed and mixed with tapioca flour before being shaped into “beads”. These beads would then be steamed again, before being stir-fried/braised with pork and other ingredients/condiments.

This recipe also uses dried cuttlefish, which imparts a nice flavor and aroma to the dish:
Recipe - Hakka Abacus Seeds (Suan Pan Zi) (misstamchiak.com)

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Good instructions. Thanks. I shall look into the recipe and giving it a go.

A bit like a type of Austrian/Hungarian dumplings which I make often.

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Yes! I thought the Hakka abacus beads seemed similar to a Central Asian dumpling.

A Singaporean food blogger on a trip to Poland last year did notice that the Silesian potato dumplings were similar to our Hakka abacus beads.

Tony Johor Kaki on Instagram: “During my recent Poland trip, I was surprised by the similarity between Silesian dumplings and Hakka abacus seeds. Just the ingredients are…”

The method is similar, different cultures come up with different shapes and even textures on the dumplings. I like most of them, save for the Asian ones in syrup due to texture aversion.

from this one potato and some flour dough you can make different shapes for different dishes:

Austrian


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Maybe I could use pumpkin if I can’t find purple taro.


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I make Austrian-inspired food all the time. They have many dumpling and potato dishes.

Salzburg-style dumplings


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Round dumplings are probably most common as they can be filled with meat or other ingredients.

Fried with eggs


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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2