She’s the one…

I loved the nyonya kueh (cakes) and the nyonya chang (meat dumplings) sold at a stall in front of the shops along Green Road in Kuching. However, it would only be open for business in the afternoon and more often than not, I would be taking the morning or noon flights home so usually, I would not be able to grab all the nice stuff from there to bring back and enjoy. Besides, this was not in the city centre so unless one had transport, one would just have to give it a miss.

After the delightful lunch at Peterson Corner and the refreshing ang tao peng that I had at Swee Kang on the day I arrived in Kuching, I headed to the place but the stalls were nowhere to be seen. I stopped to ask a man standing by the road and he said that Monday was the old lady’s off day. Yes, we would refer to her as Ah Mu, meaning old lady and that would differentiate her from another stall where there was a younger lady selling more or less the same things but hers were not as nice.

That was why I had to go back there again the following day and I found the exact location of her stall – right in front of this shop (1.543629,110.332481) …

Chen Hong Green Road

…and the folding table for her stall would be chained to the pipes at the pillar once she knocked off for the day. If it is of any help, that shop is the second one on the extreme left of the rows of shops along Green Road, the first one being a coffee shop, not including the block where Goh Say Lak is which is located a little bit to the inside, a little further up on the left.

Soon after I got there, she and one man, probably the husband, arrived and started setting up her stall, taking everything from the car and displaying them on the table…

Old lady's stall

There was a mind-boggling array of delights, so many that one would face much difficulty in trying to decide what to buy. There was this colourful kao-teng koi (9-layer cake)…

Kao teng koi

…and you can see the bee pao bee (rice-wrapped rice) to the right.

I am not sure what these familiar-looking ones are…

Or koi

– probably or koi (yam cake) but I sure do know these chai koi

Chai koi

…only too well – the steamed kueh with vegetable (mostly sengkuang or mangkuang) filling wrapped in the thin translucent slightly-chewy skin. What draws the line between the boys and the men would be the texture of the skin – if it is tough or rubbery and difficult to bite and chew, that would be a double thumbs down. Of course, the filling must be nice as well and there must a reasonable amount of it in each of them.

I wish I could buy all but I just could not finish all of them in one sitting and I was afraid that they would not last the long drive home to Sibu the next day. That was why I only bought a packet of the tinggi salat/kueh salad aka the serimuka (RM3.00 per packet)…


…and it was so so so good! The layer of pulut (glutinous rice) at the bottom had a hint of saltiness to balance the sweetness of the green layer which was so lemak (rich with santan/coconut milk). Gosh!!! If only I could buy the whole tray back! I do think, however, that the ones I had before were slightly, but only slightly, nicer – I think I do recall it being a little bit more lemak than this at the time.

I did not see another favourite of mine – the kueh cangkeh (tea cup cake) which would have the same green layer on the top half and a brown layer at the bottom so I asked her and she said that being old, she could not stand making so many different types of kueh anymore. Sigh!!!

I bought two ang koo koi

ang koo koi

…as well and they were simply awesome with the absolutely perfect so-very-thin skin wrapped around a generous amount of the mung bean filling. If the timing is right the next time around, I certainly would want to buy a whole lot of those home!

Well, the only thing that I did buy to take home to Sibu were her nyonya chang

Nyonya chang 1

…RM4.00 each for the regular ones and RM5.00 each for the ones with or nee (sweet yam paste)…

Nyonya chang 2

…if I remember the prices correctly…

Nyonya chang 3

…and they were both so good!

There did not seem to be another stall anymore that day – probably the other one had given up in the face of such stiff competition from this old lady and incidentally, she did not seem as old and scruffy as before, if I can remember correctly. In fact, that day, I thought she was nice and friendly and was very well-dressed, make up and all, and her hair looked as if she had just been to the salon…so much so that I was wondering if this was the same Ah Mu that I knew before or her daughter who had grown older after all these years. Perhaps somebody in the know can enlighten me on this?