Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vendor delights on a Sunday

Last Sunday, we could not decide  what lunch would satiate our appetite but short of tossing the coin, we headed to Ampang village opting for yong tau fu. We arrived  there  in a mere 20 minutes. The place was  already a hive of activity . Parking  came without any hassle. Phew! Then it  was decision time - which shop should we pick to  eat the famous yong tau foo when 3  are standing in a row and blogged about so deliciously. Well,  hungry stomachs couldn't  wait and  we settled for Foong Foong.

 In the heartland of Ampang yong tau fu.  Business bustled at the  3 yong tau fu restaurants, one of which is hidden from the view. We were at Foong Foong.  Overall the food was good though I would have liked less oil  in the dishes cooked.

As we  weaved our way among the traffic and people, I heard  a familiar sound - ting, ting ting... I trained my ears to the sound. It rose above the hustle  and bustle of the cars honking . There he was, as expected, chisel in hand and knocking the bits of candy away from the main block in the pan. Excitedly I  reminisced the days when  the ting ting tong  man was a familiar figure in  the town when I was growing up. The main ingredients in this delight are sugar and sticky molasses. 

Chisel away and bits fall away from the main block. Will the ting ting tong man be around for long? - a dying breed  rarely seen.

Ready to be sold, the candy is wrapped in small packets. Wonder who with a sweet tooth will come along?

As we waited for our orders, our table was near  the vendors selling their delights  - just outside the shop and by the roadside juxtaposed among motor bicycles and  cars - a commonplace scene in a village setting. 

Our conversation turned to the nangka/jackfruit  vendor. Somehow, my hubby said it was 'a Ceylonese thing' to relish nangka! We laughed . He was referring fondly  to his late father who was from Sri  Lanka. He  enjoyed the nangka. And there's our neighbour, also Ceylonese. They  have a big tree sporting  huge fruits hanging on the trunk. The fruit is versatile and finds its way in the cuisines of India, Sri Lanka , Indonesia, Vietnam and  Cambodia where the  nangka is grown abundantly. The wood of the tree  is used to make musical instruments.

Selling the nangka/jackfruit  has been his business for the past 50 years since he was 17 - right inside this village! The fruits  are harvested  from Seremban.  It is a challenge to cut the fruit as the sticky latex gums up the hands and knife. To prevent this, the vendor rubs oil to make the job easier.

The exterior of the nangka has a spiky look.  Note the white fibre  clinging round the yellow  fleshy pods. Inside them are   seeds which look like chestnuts. These  can be boiled or steamed.

There's the roasted chestnut vendor  a few yards away. I paid special attention to him as I enjoy roasted chestnuts and later bought some.Seeing him reminded me of  our holiday in Lisbon  in 2009. In the train station behind the closed doors, we cracked  the hard outer hulls and shared some plump, golden  chestnuts, away from the cold wind. My other favourite way of eating chestnuts is to find them soft and moist in a turkey stuffing. Ymmm, they are simply gorgeous.

Can you smell the chestnutss roasting? The man was working hard turning the chestnuts over and over again in the huge wok. Even as I spoke to him to say I was taking a picture of him, he just nodded . Under the shade  and the sun was a scorcher by 1 pm, the heat did not seem to bother him.

A lady was attentively looking after her  pickled  pickled mango and papaya delights. Those who have a penchant for sourish  and sweetish  snacks will find this tantalising.  Occasionally  the pickled  papaya  finds it way at dinner tables as appetisers before the the start of  the meal proper . As for me, to make a choice, I prefer the pickled papaya.

Pickled mango and papaya to whet your tastebuds. I remember the  many stalls  during my childhood days. The full grown but green fruits are sliced and marinated in a mixture of vinegar, sugar and water.


  1. Foong Foong was the shop that I used to visit many years ago. I thought this is the famous one. No? It's been a very long time since I last saw these sort of stalls. They bring some sweet memories.

  2. What a fun way to spend the day--a delight for the senses!

  3. from very different street foods!!
    though nangka is familiar in India, we call it Kathal in our local language

  4. Oh, my that looks so yummy. The smell of those roasted chestnuts must have been wonderful!

  5. Wow where did you go exactly, Ampang where? Awesome food and fruits. Makes me want to explore the same, some time;)

  6. Lovely photos of the street scene. I have left Penang. Tried to click your email but nothing happen there. This is my email I have a great time in Penang. :)

  7. Makan time! I havent seen the ting ting man for such a long time! I remember when I was young and staying in Seremban, we used to visit my aunt in KL and everytime, we have the ting ting man on his bicycle around. Nangka and chestnuts my fav too...though seems like everything is in the supermart nowadays.

  8. Oh my! Ting ting candy! And jackfruit! Those are among my favourite things to buy from the night market! And my mother loves roast chestnuts! This is such fun! One night we should go to the SS2 night market together. I can pick you up from your house. We can have bubble tea too! Deal?

  9. Oh Ting Ting Tong still alive and kicking in Klang Valley but in my kampung no more no sound of ting ting for many years. Great your IMAS contest has extend closing date..done have clicked 'like' already. Good luck.

  10. Really enjoyed this post. Good to see all the food being prepared. Loved the photos as well as your write up.

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. Have followed you.

  11. Tasty flavors abound at this marketplace, and I would love to try some pickled mango. I ordered a seed catalog with Asian veggies and many of the recipes included were for pickled items. I need to try this!

  12. They look yummy, such delightful stuffs on sale.

  13. Thanks for your visit, I wish I could have spent the day with you everything looks so wonderful and so different. I love Asian food but I am lazy about making it as I can often not get the ingredients! Take care Diane

  14. Thanks for your visit and the following and appreciate your comment. I love the pictures on the "Ting Ting" candy. This brings back lots of childhood memories for me. My mum never fail to buy me a packet each time the Ting Ting Candy man comes to our housing area when I was little girl. Sometimes, when we go to China town and the Ting Ting Candy man is there, I will buy my Mum a packet of the candy. Ampang Yong Tau Foo is still very famous but it has been 20 years since I went to there. Do they still use the loud speaker to place the order?


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