Teng chai chuk is Hong Kong-style boat porridge; a rustic comfort food prepared and eaten by small boat dwellers in Hong Kong. Most of them live on their sampan boats, eking out a frugal living through fishing, ferrying cargo and plying the Fragrant Harbour waterways on errands. Whatever seafood at hand is used to cook the rice congee that may include pork or fish paste.
When Kenny Lock’s father started his food stall in 1993, the humble teng chai chuk became his signature speciality. Sited in Alisan Street alley in suburban Petaling Jaya, business was brisk over the years for Kenny’s Seafood Porridge. Many dishes were added and eventually became synonymous with the stall.
Joining forces with two partners, Kenny moved his humble stall into proper brick and mortar premises last year. The shop in Aman Suria Damansara is now known as Kenny’s Food Cart.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd-pulling Signature Teng Chai Chuk (RM9) remains the key staple. A hearty and soul-satisfying offering brimming with palate-pleasing textural contrasts and clear, delicate flavours, the rice porridge or congee comes laden with century egg wedges, brown squid, fried rice vermicelli, fried peanuts, chopped spring onion and fried fish paste. I daresay one can easily lap up a huge bowl without any problem.
Prefer some crunch to your rice congee? Then the Fried Fish Belly Porridge (RM10) should float your boat. No less delicious, the plain porridge acts as a basic canvas to capture and amplify the fish sweetness without any greasy aftertaste.
Additional side dishes and toppings you can order include the house speciality of Fried Fish Paste (RM4 for 5 pcs), century egg or salted egg (half an egg, RM1.50), sliced fish (RM4), shredded chicken (RM3), dried scallop/oyster (RM4), fried/boiled peanuts (RM1) and pork lardons (RM1) among others. Dipped into the robust, fiesty-hot house green chilli sauce, you can easily polish off the fried fish paste within minutes.
Minced pork and deep-fried pork lardons stirred with a whole egg make the Cantonese style Loh See Fun (RM8.50) a heartwarming option. Topped with plenty of fried shallot crisps and freshly chopped spring onion, the mixture of short, plump rice noodle strands with smooth, rich darn fah — wispy egg threads is a salubrious masterpiece of simplicity that you won’t tire of eating.
Still, if you don't fancy soupy noodles, we find the Fried Loh See Fun (RM8.50) a good alternative. There's nice wok hei, rendering the savoury noodle strands with a subtle smoky accent.
Dark, viscous and redolent with minced pork, sliced black mushroom and wood ear fungus, the old-school Signature Mushroom Pork Noodles (RM8) is another homespun offering that should appeal to diners of all ages. In addition to a hardboiled egg, chopped spring onion and shredded lettuce, it is similar to the perennial fave of Penang loh mee.
To appease the younger crowd, we are delighted to recommend scrumptious Kenny’s Fried Chicken (RM4.50). The tongue-in-cheek acronym is justified as the crunchy-crisp skin and deliciously juicy meat should induce fried chicken lovers to ask for repeat helpings.
Keep an eye out for newer or current specials listed on the chalkboard. The array may feature delectable Pork Chop (RM10) with rice or noodles and popular choices like Wantan Soup (RM5 for 5 pcs).
For reservations or information, call Kenny’s Food Cart, tel: 016 375 5304(Kenny), 012 329 8227 (Ivan) or tel: 03-7497 2199. Address: K-G-11, Jalan PJU 1/43, Aman Suria Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.