(Update: This cafe is permanently closed).
Hey guys! I hope you’re all keeping safe. After a lull of sorts, coronavirus cases have spiked again in Malaysia to over 400 cases at the time of this writing. Most of them are from the election which was held in Sabah recently. For some unfortunate reason, our government did not impose a mandatory quarantine for returnees to West Malaysia, and since people can’t be trusted to home quarantine themselves, it resulted in several clusters. It doesn’t help that we have reckless and irresponsible politicians abusing their privileges and power, getting slaps on the wrist for breaking the rules. If you can’t lead by example, how can you expect the rakyat to follow?
I think another quarantine is unlikely. The country’s economy is simply unable to bear the cost of such a move. That being said, I’m going to be staying at home more and eating out less: so that’s a plus for my pocket, I guess?
But I digress.
A couple of weeks ago, the fam and I went to Chinatown (cases were still in the double digits then so we felt it was okay to go out), and on the way back home we stopped for a tea break at Lou Gai Fong in Bandar Puchong Jaya. The Cantonese name literally translates to ‘old timer’ or ‘those who have lived in a neighbourhood /community for a long time. The shop specialises in Hong Kong-style char chaan teng (kinda like HK version of kopitiams) items as well as traditional Chinese desserts (tong shui).
The exterior has an open kitchen, designed to look like street stalls. Air- conditioned seating is available on the inside.
The interior is inspired by Hong Kong-themed deco, and features a scene of the island’s famous Cheung Po Chai (a traditional Chinese junk), amidst a backdrop of the Victoria Harbour and its towering skyscrapers. The other wall boasts an almost floor-to-ceiling scene of HK’s night scene and iconic neon signages. Bird cages hang from the ceiling – a tribute to HK’s bird gardens, where elderly folk often bring their songbirds out to the park for display / contests (although sadly, this culture is slowly disappearing).
In HK, Char chaan tengs are the common man’s go-to, offering reasonably priced food in a casual setting. As such, they dish out fast, tasty and affordable meals for office workers, labourers and everyday salarymen, where they can pop in quickly for a filling lunch. At Lou Gai Fong, they serve typical char chaan teng dishes like tomato egg fried rice, luncheon meat and egg rice, stewed pork rice, noodles, waxed meat with rice, and more
Since it was tea time, we decided to order some traditional desserts instead. Moo had the white fungus dessert with longan. It came with three boiled quail eggs.
Pop’s had the curry fishballs. Curry fishballs are a staple of food culture in Hong Kong, originally sold from wooden pushcarts as an inexpensive street snack. They are first boiled, then deep fried, giving them a golden brown coating and extra crispness. Although the portion at Lou Gai Fong is small, the flavour is great, especially the curry which has been tweaked to suit local tastebuds (more spice).
It’s rare for us to see places selling tong yuen outside of the Winters Solstice Festival, so the Bro and I both had tong yuen. They came in a spicy ginger soup that warmed the belly immediately. I enjoyed the chewy texture of the glutinous rice balls too.
Verdict: The tong shui is decent. Prices are average for a resto of this setting. Service is quite slow. It took awhile for our orders to come to the table, despite the shop being empty.
LOU GAI FONG
25, Jalan Kenari 4, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
Opening hours: 7AM – 1AM (daily)