What is it about a bowl of noodles and hot soup that sets one at ease. For me a good bowl of noodles is one of my favourite comfort foods. During a family vacation last December, I as introduced to a restaurant in Johor Bahru, Malaysia known for their fishballs and yong tau foo. Yong tau foo is chinese stuffed bean curd. Traditionally served in a clear broth with some vegetables, yong tao foo is served with noodles or rice. Ah Koong restaurant to local Malaysians and Singaporeans alike known for yong tao foo.
With the open kitchen located in front of the restaurant, my eyes were tantalized with trays of fresh fish balls, tofu and stuffed vegetable such as green/red chilli, lady fingers/okra with fresh fish paste sitting on a bed of ice. Beside the colourful platter, there is a buffet of different noodles from yellow egg noodles, rice vermicelli to big fat rice noodles. Time to tickle the taste buds.
You can’t help not too look at one side of the restaurant wall where a montage of pictures of local and Singaporean celebrities pictures who has patronized at the restaurant giving their thumbs up. No doubt this boost their popularity a little more. One of the things I love about eating yong tao foo is that you can eat the traditional way served in a soup or you eat “dry”. When it is served dry, it means some sauce poured over the individual ingredients. Trying Ah Koong yong tao foo for the first time, I opted to have mine the traditional way in a soup with some rice noodles.
When the bowl of steaming hot clear broth was placed in front of me, there was some fish balls, deep-fried wanton, some marinated pork balls, crispy bean curd skin stuffed with fish paste, some lettuce leaves and a piece of seaweed. The broth was full of flavour and I love that each scoop is filled with either one of the ingredients swimming in the bowl. The fish ball is not too chewy and there is still a crunch left from the crispy skin of deep friend wanton and bean curd skin. We couldn’t help to try some side dishes. A serving of ngoh hiang and a basket of deep-fried yong tao foo. Ngoh hiang is pork mince with water chestnut wrapped with bean curd skin which is deep-fried and served with some chilli sauce. It is very sinful but rather delicious not only from the crispy skin and the crunchy water chestnut inside the mince. As for the deep-fried yong tao foo, it was a mixture of crispy bean curd skin only, wanton, and bean curd skin stuffed with fish paste. Well what can one say about anything deep-fried, it sure tasted good.
In a recent day trip to Johor, my family couldn’t driving to Ah Koong for lunch. This time, I wanted to be bold and try something different. I ordered my yong tao foo noodles served dry . The rice noodles are tossed in dark soya sauce topped with some spring onions with a small bowl of the clear broth and some pieces of mixed yong tao foo. It is a nice balance to have the clear broth to wash down the soya sauce noodles. If I had to choose between soup or dry yong tao foo, I would order the soup version. I just like the comfort of sipping hot soup. We also ordered a serving of steamed yong tao foo. The dish came with several pieces of stuffed bean curd, red/green chillies and bitter gourd drizzled with some garlicky brown gravy. Bitter gourd is my least favourite vegetable and happily offered to anyone who is willing to eat it.
I do enjoy the food at Ah Koong. I love their quality of the home-made fish balls and serving consistently good wholesome food. If we were to drive to Johor again, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a detour to Ah Koong for a bowl of good fishball noodles.
Ah Koong Restaurant – Skudai, Johor Branch
Located at: No.42 & 44, Jalan Jati 1
Taman Nusa Bestari Jaya
81300 Johor Bahru, Johor
Tel: +607-511 2200
Business hours: 11am to 11pm