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Friday, July 15, 2016

10 reasons to go to Taman Cheras

10 reasons to go to Taman Cheras
Photo: Kong Wai Yeng
The greatest thing about Taman Cheras, also known as Yulek, isn’t the food. That sounds almost blasphemous, but what really defines Yulek is the decades-old rumah pangsa – the four-storey, walk-up flats. The buildings are structurally angular, but the battered walls are carved out in pretty geometric patterns. Inside, houses – separated by a skylight crisscrossed with clotheslines – huddle tightly together along a sprawling, sun-kissed corridor. Their balconies, cluttered with plants, bird cages or shoes, tell better stories: The retro grills frown disapprovingly on the new crop of whitewashed shops; while their inhabitants – like live exhibits on display – dawdle around, stealing a nap, reading or clipping their nails. We’re all just participating in their daily lives. 

Photo: Kong Wai Yeng 

In general, the neighbourhood is clumsily conceived. Shops are scattered in a casual disarray; you never quite know which junction to turn but they mostly lead to the wet market – a cacophony that vibrates with life. The emblematic Yulek resident is a fast walker and an even faster talker; one who can haggle as effortlessly as he or she can skedaddle. 

Parking here, of course, is a nightmare (hello, this is Cheras). Tempers flare, people swear. But all these will be forgotten when a steamy bowl of pork noodles is brought right in front of you. Hold on, did we mention that it takes at least 35 minutes for your pork noodles to arrive? Well, good luck. 

Drink this

Tong sui 
Photo: Kong Wai Yeng 

Snow beer from Restoran 2008. It’s just chilled beer poured into a frozen glass. But because the glass is so cold, the beer foam crystallises into icy flakes, which gives the drink an ice-blended texture. 

The tong sui from Poon Kee stall on Jalan Kas Kas 2 (only available at night). If all peanuts aspire to be toast toppers, the peanuts at Poon Kee want to be in a soup, especially in a sweet and thick fa sang woo

Eat this

Pork noodles 
Photo: Kong Wai Yeng 

A bowl of pork noodles, laden with offals, minced pork, fried pork lard and a poached egg, is all yours at Restoran Kui Lam… if you can wait. 

There are two lam mee shops in Yulek; make sure it’s Cosy Corner. The noodles bear similarities to the one at May King in Pudu. That’s because the owners are sisters. 

Salted egg crab and beer pork ribs at Hau Kee. For cheaper dai chow fare, go to Wai Kei across the road from 7-Eleven – they make excellent salted fish fried rice. 

Do this

Taman Cheras wet market 
Photo: Kong Wai Yeng 

Old comic books and childhood games coexist nostalgically at Kedai Buku Wah Heng. Rent a copy of ‘Slam Dunk’ at just RM1. 

The thriving wet market offers a wealth of local ingredients but what also impresses is the variety of food stalls surrounding it. 

One of the best apam baliks in town can be found at the night market (every Thursday). The only version that can unseat this longstanding contender is the apam balik at Taman Segar’s night market, we think. 

Taman Cheras food street 
Photo: Kong Wai Yeng 

If you only do one thing... 
The food street in front of 7-Eleven. The best places to dine are the little street stalls that each do one thing particularly well. And these are veterans who have been cooking more than half of their lives. Never question the additional drizzle of lard oil or an extra fishball – they know what’s good for you.

10 reasons to go to Taman Cheras:

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