When my friend, Yan, shared the photograph of the RM3.00 kampua noodles that she had here on Facebook, she said in one of her comments that the steamed vegetable pao (bun) that she had there was very nice.
According to the lady who spoke to me, only 3 of the paos available were made by the lady boss, the lǎo bǎn niáng (老板娘), including the vegetable ones. I did try the meat ones but no, I was not that impressed – they were not the best nor were they the worst, this much I would say.
So far, the only chai pao, the steamed vegetable buns, as we call it in Hokkien, that I like is the one sold by one old lady at the central market since time immemorial – even when it was at its old location, opposite the Palace Theatre, between Market Road and High Street. Her meat buns are very nice too but of course, with the outbreak of the pandemic, I never set foot on that place so I do not know whether she is still around or not.
Seeing how the meat ones all over town have not been all that great, I thought I would give this vegetable one a try. It is not all that cheap though, RM1.80 each…
…compared to RM2.30 for the meat ones (and that can go up to RM2.80 or more elsewhere).
Inside, the filling was made up of cabbage, carrot and long beans…
…and it was a case of love at first bite! Yes, it was very very nice and I loved it so much that I asked for half a dozen (6) for me to take home.
My girl and the mum tried one each and both of them gave their thumbs up! All this while, either they never really liked the meat ones that I bought home or they could not be bothered to sing their praises.
I heated them up for tea that afternoon and had one more. The skin was so soft, eaten piping hot from the steamer, so much so that I liked it all the more. I certainly would want to go back again to buy some more from time to time.
While I was at the coffee shop, I decided to have a plate of their kampua noodles since I had not had my breakfast yet that morning. I ordered a plate of the black version…
…tossed in dark soy sauce, the way that Yan and also my friend, Annie, residing in KL, love it.
Maybe it was because I had just finished the aforementioned vegetable pao before the noodles were served so I was not that famished anymore…or perhaps it was the soy sauce that they used. It did not taste anything like what I would cook at home using the mushroom soy that we have been using for as long as I can remember (sometimes with a bit of Bovril) so I did not really enjoy it…
I did not feel like I could taste the fragrance of the lard and the shallot oil, that old school kampua noodles taste that I grew up eating and loved so well. As a matter of fact, I could not finish all of it and I did leave a bit behind.
Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. While I was there, an ex-student/ex-colleague, now holding a high-ranking post in the school, stopped by to tapao the kampua noodles home. I thought he stayed nearby but no, he said his house was at one far end of town but they liked the kampua noodles here so he was buying for his family to enjoy.
For one thing, with three kids (Gosh! The eldest is already in Form 5!!!) plus his wife, 5 of them altogether, he could save RM4.00, enough for an extra plate, compared to buying the noodles elsewhere! I had a glance at what he had in the plastic bag and yes, it looked like they were all like me – with a preference for the white/pale version, tossed in chio cheng (light soy sauce). High 5!!!
MASTER BAKERY CAFE (2.306820, 111.836234) is located in the main block of shops facing the main road at No. 26, Jalan Teruntum among the shops at the Rejang Park Commercial Centre here.