This weekend was a bit strange for me. I was overjoyed with New Zealand Cricket Team (Blackcaps) winning a amazing match against the South Africans. My beloved Rugby League Team went down to St George. However, even through this, I managed to get some great food which I am sure has lead to my ever increasing waistline. (Malaysian Food is just too good as my Indian friend would say!). Once again I was accompanied by some great friends and yes, before you ask, the Terminator was there. ‘
Let me give you a little history of beggar chicken and this is up for debate by the way so feel free to jump in in the comments. So the story goes that a starving beggar is wondering the streets in search of food when he sees a roaming chicken. He captures the chicken and kills it. I’m warning you, they are many different stories. As he is looking for a place to cook and eat it, in desperation, he digs a whole and buries the chicken. Only to come back and find the chicken cooked. The Emperor happens to be passing by and gets a wiff of the aroma and dines with the Beggar. Demanding to know how he cooked the delicious chicken hence Beggars Chicken is born.
We traveled around half an hour from Kuala Lumpur to Ulu, Kelang. Normally the orders for Beggar Chicken has to be done 24 hours in advance however with our skills we were lucky to call in the afternoon and find out that there was one left for our consumption. Bless. Upon entering this place, I thought that this was some buggers house and we had been invited for dinner.That was not to be the case. The place was a house turned into a restaurant and the back was still the living quarters. The Tables were all full as expected when you have to pre -order something like this.
We walked out from our table to see the process involved. The staging area (where the chicken is buried) seemed more mad from ash than actual soil. We seemed to order everything from the sun and since it was all in Chinese, I had no idea what we were having. We start with the usual Chinese Tea, lucky as we are, we witness the appearance of the Beggar Chicken and how they take it apart from the soft cloth. The smell as the Emperor found out, makes your mouth water.
The food started arriving like a flood. Now one thing that caught my eye and this was a signature dish, was the fish. It seemed like fish however it was Tofu. They had taken the skin and wrapped it around Tofu. Brilliant. The taste was a little different however good in it’s own way. Other things to come through the flood of food was some delightful little nibbles, Sticky rice in Banana Leaf. One thing i’m not a fan of is the angel hair noodles they have here. It just doesn’t seem to have substance for me. I do love the sides of fresh chili with soy sauce, fast becoming a fan of this. The Beggar Chicken was the last to arrive. Once again the wonderful aroma. The chicken easily slid of the bone and everyone dived in. To me it was in the good category. I wouldn’t say amazing.
I have been promised Beggar chicken from another source which is apparently a lot better than the this one. In New Zealand this process is called a “Hangi“ or in Fiji a “Lovo” Earth Oven. I have experienced both and both are very delicious. The taste of the chicken is slightly on the soy sauce side after 4 hours of cooking to me really didn’t quite come through however the Banana Leaf Rice and Tofu Fish were both Delightful. I have been informed that it wasn’t soy sauce they add in but a mixture of herbs that give it that distinct flavor. You can find some of this stuff close to Apple Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. However be prepared to travel if you want Beggar Chicken. If anyone knows of a place closer to KL, Please feel free to add to comments below. Hope you all enjoyed this post and feel free to give me feedback on how I can improve the Apple Hotel in Jalan Alor blog.