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|Written by Administrator II|
|Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:16|
Article and Photos by HELEN ONG
Located on the first floor of Tesco Sri Tanjung Pinang, this “open” outlet is charming and neat, laid out with antique tables and chairs which Diana Chin and business partner Peggy Tan scoured the island to find. Cutlery holders on each table give the place an air of old-worldliness which is a feat in itself, considering it is right in the middle of a busy, bustling modern shopping centre.
As the Hakkas (Khek) originated from land-locked Central China, pork, as opposed to seafood, featured significantly in their cuisine. Much of their food was also dried, salted or pickled, so a typical dish would be the “Mui Choi Khau Yoke” (Pork Belly cooked in Preserved Mustard Vegetables); it’s slightly sweet and salty at the same time, and great with some plain boiled rice.
You’ll find other Hakka favourites on the unpretentious menu like Yong Tau Fu and Noodles served with Minced Pork patties, which has an added ingredient to give it that extra something: salted fish. It’s great, especially with a dollop or two of Diana’s home-made sweet, garlic chilli sauce.
Another is their “Abacus Bead”; mashed yam is painstakingly hand-rolled into small, perfectly-shaped discs, complete with a “hole” in the middle to resemble abacus beads, then steamed, and stir-fried with mushrooms, dried prawns and parsley, adding a delicious, savoury fragrance to the slightly glutinous discs.
Hakka families apparently delight in Loi Cha, otherwise known as “Thunder Tea”, a labour-intensive dish which is sort of the Hakka version of nyonya Nasi Ulam. Although not made just for special occasions per se, it is, as Diana puts it, “something that, if Grandma felt like making, she would.”
Most of the food is cooked by Diana’s mother, who used to run another outlet in Kulim. “This is the sort of food I grew up eating,” added Diana. “I thought it was quite normal but now everyone raves about it, so we decided to open up here and share with Penangites my mother’s cooking.” Hence the name: “Tree stands for family,” she added, “and we want families to gather here to eat our food.”
“It’s not all completely traditional,” Diana admitted, “but everyone has different tastes, so we are trying to cater for the new generation too.”
However, there are many other things which will entice me back, not least of all their home-brewed drinks and desserts. The Set Lunches look pretty good value for money too, and they plan to introduce Hakka Porridge soon. I wonder what colour that will be …
F27, 1st Floor Tesco Tanjung Pinang
Tanjung Tokong, Penang
Tel: 04-899 3887
Business Hours: 9.30am – 10pm every day
|Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2011 10:33|