Nestled on a bed of pickled cabbage and doused in homemade chilli sauce, the stinky tofu is one of my discoveries in the Taman Connaught market. Oh but there's so much more here so come with an empty stomach and a sense of adventure...
Hold on your noses. Stinky tofu heading your way..
I bit the stinky tofu and the juice oozed out dripping down my chin and hands. Despite the appalling aroma it has a mild taste. Coated with crispy skin, the insides tasted like briny soft tofu. It gets its heady odour from being fermented in a mixture of Chinese herbs and vegetables for a few months. Even though this is something I would rather not eat again, my friend wolfed it down like a chocolate covered cream puff.
Looks benign enough covered with chilli sauce and pickled cabbage
The smell....oh my god.. the smell... stinky is actually an understatement. My nose felt like it was being assaulted. Yo, its naaasstyy. Imagine a sweaty geezer's armpits mixed with eau de sewer. You catch the whiff now? I was appalled and intrigued.
Seriously... frying 'em doesn't make it any less stinkier
So I followed my nose and found my way to a queue of people in front of Chow Tofu, Mr Koh's humble truck. Mr Koh has been operating his tofu business at Taman Connaught for a few years. He also sells his tofu in the pasar malams around Serdang and Cheras. I've been hearing about this weird delicacy for a while and have wanted to taste it for years. If you're a bonafide foodie, try to eat without barfing. Live a little. A word of warning: Once you've gotten some of the juice on your skin, the smell will stick to you like super glue.
Taman Connaught is the longest night market in Cheras. Hundreds of stalls sell their wares here along the 2 km stretch. It opens from 7 pm to 1 am every Wednesday. You can find almost everything here ranging from food to clothes.
Now for something a little less smelly
After my mini adventure with the tofu I made my way to the other food stalls. I spied a lady making Vietnamese Popiah. I thought that it was fresh spring rolls using rice paper but as I got closer I saw that it was actually a sweet version. Made with fresh grated coconut and long strips of hard candy rolled in a pancake, this is a refreshing snack to enjoy while you check out other goodies offered by the market.
A sweet rather than savoury popiah
Along the way, you will pass plenty of stalls selling Japanese food. Mr Wong has been selling sushi at the market for the past 7 years.
Street sushi anyone?
He added takoyaki in his repertoire just a couple of years ago. Takoyaki are wonderful balls of savoury pancake batter cooked in trays with hollowed out circles. You choose your filling and they'll add it in. I opted for crab so my takoyaki has bits of yummy crab sticks in them. Served with a huge dollop of mayonaise, sauces and bonito flakes I devoured mine down in an instant. When he's not in Taman Connaught, Mr Wong can be found at the Batu 11 and Klang night markets.
I dub thee wonderballs!
Another interesting find is shark fin soup. Only one stall sells it. Get a bowl for just RM 4.50. I asked the owner Uncle Wong where he gets the sought after fins. He just smiled and said that he's got a regular supplier that he usually goes to. Bowls filled with crab meat, chicken and jelly strings of shark fin adorn his table along with a pot of the hot soup. Shark fin soup has a tangy flavour that compliments the gelatinous texture of the fins.
It's not really PC but then...
Chocolate covered banana men on a stick... tee hee...
There are plenty of noodles and rice stalls at the market but I was more interested in the variety of snacks available. Take a pick from cutesy chocolate covered bananas to an assortment of Hello Kitty and Doraemon shaped mini cakes. Whether you like it fried, steamed or sauteed, there is bound to be something that will catch your fancy.
You can have Chai Kueh with chives inside
Or with carrot and turnip
I'm a huge fan of Chai Kueh. Wrapped in translucent skin, there are 2 types sold at the Penang Chai Kueh stall. One has carrots and jicama while the other one has chives in them. Both are equally good. Soft and smooth skin hides the light and delicious fillings. Steamed to perfection, these delightful dumplings are nice eaten warm.
Next to this stall you can find Miss Luo, a chinese native selling pies. These pies actually look like giant curry puffs. You can see her flattening her pie dough and filling them with leeks as her partner pan-fries them on the spot. You can get Leek Pies or ones that are filled with minced pork.
Dough rolled up with deftly and filled with filling
Then pan fried like a burger
Miss Luo uses a doughy type of crust. Her leek pies are hearty and satisfying. Break them open and you'll see the generous mixture of leeks and minced egg.
I found a quiet spot to savour mine...
Trawling the market can leave you thirsty. Stop at the many drinks stall and quench your thirst with a longan drink or a bubble tea. With my appetite sated and my purse lighter I headed home. This is a market that is definitely worth checking out. Colourful and vibrant, your first visit here will probably not be your last.