It must have been somewhere after the Rawang exit that I began losing my bearing. Then, there were oil palm trees, oil palm trees, cows, oil palm trees and more oil palm trees on both sides of the expanding road. Along the way, the only thing that looked vaguely familiar (from food blogs, I think) was a signboard directing cars to Ijok for the infamous beggar’s chicken. At a certain T-junction, we turned left to Klang. I asked my cousin if we had made a wrong turning.
Kuala Selangor is the other direction, right?
Yeah. But we are going for some snacks first.
Woo gok and choi bao.
Huh? VEGETABLE bun? That good meh?
*Nodding* Mmm…very famous.
At first glance, the shop resembled nothing but a small town kopitiam where locals would come to chill. I imagined pairs of hostile, stinging eyes as we entered. Some would let out scary, evil grins that rivaled The Joker's (Jack Nicholson’s portrayal). Ahhhh, here comes a fat guy. He’ll make good filling for our steamed buns for months to come. But we must first shave him clean, like how we do wildboars. Somebody stop me from bingeing on AXN Beyond already!
It was nothing of that sort, of course. In fact, as I observed, patrons were an equal split between locals and tourists. The counter where orders were placed and delivered, was armed with mostly foreign staff of impressive agility. The crowd grew as we waited for our take-out and by the time we left, the number of cars lined by the corner lot had doubled.
Understandably, with slightly burnt hands holding the steaming hot buns and mouth busy chomping them, no pictures of the snacks were taken in the car as we continued on to Kuala Selangor. Now, skeptics (like myself) may ask how interesting can vegetable buns be? To add faux meat will be ridiculous. How about the inclusion of quartered, hard-boiled eggs then? Now that’s a thought! It definitely added a nice touch to the stewed, soft shreds of jícama (doesn’t that sound more sophisticated than our usual sengkuang-bangkuang?). Think popiah filling, only less complex. Encapsulated in a slightly chewy skin of flour, it was good, hot stuff. I can’t praise the buns enough. The curry version, on the other hand, paled in comparison, in terms of innovation and taste.
Apparently, the major attraction is the woo gok or yam puff. Soft and refined, the layer of yam was a marvel. To contradict that texture with a thin, crispy coat (thanks to the flour that bound the yam paste) that was not dissimilar to deep-fried batter, was excellent. Aromatic as well. The filling, which made up of minced chicken oozed moist from the combination of savoury marinate and juice from the meat. This classical dim sum was certainly worth the stop.
Re-steamed, the buns tasted as good as the ones we had that morning. This is one of those rare foods that I believe will satisfy everyone; be it healthy eaters or carnivores. And it makes one darn fine midnight snack too.
Hmmm...if only I remember how to get there and not end up in some twilight zone.
Kedai Kopi Shin Lok
1, Jalan Kenari 1
Taman Kenari Sungai Sembilang
Tel: (+603)3264 7591