ICC Pudu’s market and food centre is a huge, ugly building, but which happens to host a mind-boggling array of mainly KL-Chinese eats, a veritable one-stop spot where you can find almost every street food imaginable. Ever since it opened in May 2016, I’d been making almost monthly pilgrimages to this place for Ah Weng Koh’s legendary Hainanese coffee, soft-boiled eggs and kaya-butter toast, a reminder of my all-time fave breakfast back in Singapore, before I came to Kuala Lumpur in 2011.
Last weekend, I came here to seek out its most talked-about new stall - 62-year-old Wong Siew Ming aka Chef Ming’s Pao Ching Tim dim sum stall.
Chef Ming’s busy stall has a variety of steamed Cantonese-Hakka dumplings and dim sum items, but I’m here for the very tasty Shanghainese-style pan-fried, then steamed, buns filled with chicken, wood-ear fungus, ginger shreds and Hakka yellow rice wine. These were impossibly delicious and I actually wolfed down 6 buns at one go.
The look and texture of the buns are pretty akin to the famous Goubuli (狗不理) stuffed baozi (包子) buns from Tianjin. According to Chinese folklore, baoji was invented by the Chinese military strategist, Zhuge Liang, who lived during the Three Kingdoms period in the 3rd century AD.
But it took a stroke of genius on Chef Ming’s part to fill these buns with a very traditional Hakka-style filling of chicken-ginger-rice wine, with black wood-ear fungus for an additonal textural crunch.
In a way, I’m pretty glad these marvellous morsels of pure deliciousness have yet to spawn social media-driven, energy-sapping queues so common these days. I’m gettting my fill of these buns before that happens!
Pao Ching Tim Stall
Lot G-29, ICC Pudu
Jalan Kijang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 7am-2pm, Tue-Sun. Closed on Mondays