I think it was Anthony Bourdain on one of his shows who said that chances are, the best sort of food you could find anywhere is not going to be in a fancy restaurant or hotel, but more likely you’ll find it on the street. I think he is right. I’ll get back to his statement at the end of this entry.
Tender, juicy and full of flavour
Along Jalan Opera J, 40150 Shah Alam (in front of Taman TTDI Jaya Mosque)
Tel: 012 332 1965
Sticky, sweetish, savory, spicy and very good BBQ wings
Deciding whether to eat it on the spot or take it back home
One evening I sent my car for a wash in an empty lot next to the Taman TTDI Jaya Mosque. Just across the street was a shop-lot area, and along the street, I saw various stalls already set up and flocks of people browsing through the delicious morsels on offer. Street food, so to speak.
This mini-bazaar of sorts is present every evening at this place, just opposite the TTDI Jaya Mosque. The mini-bazaar balloons to bigger proportions during Ramadan, but today, late April, there were only a few stalls selling snacks and drinks.
But it was a smoky-sweet aroma that made me cross the street to find an itty-bitty stall that was the source of the wonderful smell. I stopped in front of the stall: it was just a small barbeque grill, with long metal skewers of chicken wings, gizzards and ‘tongkeng’ (bishops nose) hanging inches above the grill, and a large container filled with chicken parts marinating in a mysterious liquid.
The stall had no name, just a sign listing what was one sale, and that was pretty much it; wings, gizzards and tongkeng. A gentleman, who stood diligently preparing the yummy chicken bits for the waiting customers, manned the stall.
I asked for a couple of wings (sorry but I don’t really like gizzards, or chicken butt for that matter) and waited a bit while he prepared them. He nodded curtly and proceeded to pull off two wings from a metal skewer hanging above the grill.
He placed the wings on the wire rack that served as the grill for the chicken to cook through, basting occasionally with the marinade juices. After about 3-5 minutes, he packed them in a generic clear plastic baggie. Now I had to decide if I should wait for my car to finish being washed and go home to enjoy the wings, or to gobble them on the spot.
Rather predictably though, I took the latter option.
Yum-yum. The wings were wonderfully glazed, appearing almost shiny with bits of charred skin where they were licked by flames. I bit in, and to my delight discovered the meat was tender, juicy and full of flavor. It wasn’t at all dried out. I don’t know what marinade this stall uses, but it was sweet, spicy and savory. I tasted hints of honey, turmeric, garlic and ginger, and a spice I can’t put a name on. The wings also had a hint of smokiness that is the hallmark of a good BBQ. It was sticky, messy and very, very good. This is really something you use both hands to eat, as you’d want to get at every bit of flesh, every spot of the sticky marinade. You’ll want to lick the bones clean.
Unsurprisingly, the stall-keeper didn’t want to divulge me the ingredients to marinade when I asked. “Rahsia (Secret),” was all he said with a knowing smile and continued to fan the grill, cooking more wings and chicken bits.
It ran me RM 2.60 for a couple of wings, which isn’t too bad. Maybe next time I’ll bring someone who can tell me what the gizzards and tongkeng is like.
Now, earlier on in this entry I mentioned that Anthony Bourdain once said that the best kind of food you could find anywhere would be street food. This little stall and its wonderful wings would be fine testament to that statement.