DECADES ago, the term tai shue thou was a common Cantonese word for food stalls underneath a large tree.
Nowadays, you can hardly find any makan stall in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre that fits the description.
Just when I thought that all was lost, I found out that there is a makan place in Sungai Way that was built around a tree.
I knew what they were talking about because prior to meeting them, I have tried the fare at this tai shue thou shop.
What made the experience memorable is that the food stall made full use of its natural surrounding which provided protection from the elements.
The cosy makan place is Kedai Makan Fong Sen Kim (GPS N 03 05 197, E 101 37 304) in Jalan SS9A/14.
I also learned that the owner had begun his business near Sungai Way’s wet market before he moved to the present location at SS9 more than two decades ago.
The owner’s children are currently manning this makan place and they specialise in three dishes: steamed Chinese carp head, char yuk (stewed pork belly with black fungus) and fried ikan kembung (Indian Mackerel).
What’s interesting about this makan place is the cheap and good food.
It’s almost packed during lunch hour as office workers and labourers from around the neighbourhood would make a beeline for their quick fix.
I first came to know about Fong Sen Kim when went to Tukang Basikal Fook Sang, a well-known bicycle shop in the area.
Since my stomach was growling, I waste no time to go to Fong Seng Kim which is a stone’s throw away from the bicycle shop.
I was seated at a small wooden table and realised that the lunch crowd were eating fried fish and some other vegetable dishes.
Then, when a server took my order, she asked if I wanted a quick-fix or wait for the a’la carte dishes.
She suggested char yuk fan (stewed pork belly rice) at RM5.50 a plate or Kum Mong Yee fan (deep-fried Indian Mackerel with garlic sauce) at RM5.50 as the fast meals.
I ordered the char yuk fan and when the dish was delivered on my table, I found it hard to believe that something so simple could taste so good.
On quality, I rate the char yuk fan at 7 out of 10 on the Samo-scale.
As for the ikan kembung rice, which I I had on another visit, it is one of the best I’ve tasted.
The ikan kembung was crunchy and even its head could be eaten.
For RM5.50 a pop, it’s easy for me to sum up why this kedai makan is usually packed during lunch hour.
To get a second opinion, I rounded up my makan kaki Eddie Chua for a lunch treat.
We ordered chau fan shue yeep (sweet potato leaves), fried ikan kembung and char yuk.
I can see a stream of sweat from Eddie’s hairline and each time he takes a scoop of rice with the pork belly, he kept saying: “Mmm.. Mmm.. Good la.. Good..”
So, with his acknowledgement, this tai shue thou makan place has won another fan.
As a reminder to myself, I am already making plans for another follow-up trip to try out the shop to try out the cheeng yue thou (steamed Chinese carp head).
Fong Sen Kim is open for lunch daily and the landmark to look out for is the Balai Polis Sungai Way in Petaling Jaya.