THERE’S an old adage that goes “You can’t separate the Hakka and their pork.”
And this is apparent at a makan place in Old Klang Road’s 4 1/2 mile called Wai Kei.
I was introduced to this food outlet a few years ago by my ex-colleague Lee Hon Yew and had made some follow-up trips to have my lunch there.
This Hakka restaurant specialises in traditional dishes like Mui Choy Chee Yuk, Harm Yee Fah Lam Pou, Harm Yee Cheeng Chee Yuk and Yong Tau Foo.
As a testament to its good and decently-priced offerings, you can see some luxury cars that are double-parked during lunch hour.
At times, tempers flare as the drivers are too engrossed in savouring their Choo Nyuk dishes (pork in Hakka), ignoring the cars they have blocked.
Recently, I went to this makan place with ‘Nice Guy’ Eddie, my colleague who had just transferred back to Petaling Jaya from Penang.
Eddie remembered Wai Kei for its steamed Sau Nga Yee (parrot fish) that I brought to the outlet some years ago to be steamed by the restaurant’s cook.
To get the ball rolling, I ordered 10 pieces of Yong Tau Foo and a plate of Harm Yee Cheen Chee Yuk (pork slices steamed with salted fish).
Now, before I go on here is some additional information on the salted fish dish.
Back in the days, fat and salt were considered good nutrients for odd-job labourers.
These guys would usually carry around sacks of rice weighing 80kg on their back and sweat it out.
In the process of moving goods the workers would run out of energy fast.
The best ‘recharging’ meal for these workers is harm yee cheen chee yuk made from parts discarded by butchers, salted fish and a piece of ginger.
Steaming it with rice saves time. Well, these days the dish is less popular as it is laden with fat and salt. It’s not a recommended dish for those with hypertension and coronary heart disease.
Okay, moving on, how did Wai Kei’s Yong Tau Foo fare?
Let’s start with the stuffed vegetables. On a scale of one to 10, I’d give this a 6.5 on the Samoscale.
The portions were generous but what it lacked was the oomph! as Hakka Yong Tau Foo’s filling has its secret ingredients.
What am I talking about? That is one part salted fish, one part minced pork and two parts fish meat.
You can’t find this combination anymore as good Yong Tau Foo are few and far in between.
So, how was the Harm Yee Cheen Chee Yuk? Eddie gave it eight out of 10 on the Eddiescale.
Our bill came up to RM36 for two dishes, rice and a pot of Chinese tea. Wai Kei (GPS N 03 05 249, E 101 40 424) is located in Old Klang Road and the landmark closest to this makan place is the former wet market.