Kway Teow Soup @ Restoran Tua Thow 大头餐室 In Johor Bahru

TR2907 departed Macau International Airport at 10.35pm on Sunday, 1st Dec and landed in Changi International Airport, Singapore the next day (4 hours flight) at 2.35am, 2nd Dec 2013 on a Monday morning.

My children got worried thinking that I would be back on Sunday itself. The Whatsapp group message Valerie sent me was “Where are you? I thought you’ll be back on Sunday. You can’t extend your holidays and not inform us. That’s irresponsible!” Now you know who’s the mother in this family, lol… She had my flight details in her email but she didn’t check. It was late when I finally reached home at about 3.30am so I’d reply Val the next day. It’s a weird thing we do – Even though we live under the same roof, we like to text each other (of course in addition to talking to each other face to face).

After cleaning up, I happily made myself a cup of coffee. I was getting ready to review the photographs that I took in Macau, when I realised that the damned machine wouldn’t start. I gave the laptop a good hour of banging before giving up. Resigned, I went to bed and had dreams that the “dead” laptop came to live. What a cruel joke!

He who falls asleep immediately is the most content, the rest wait while they drown in their own thoughts – Tanzania proverb

The next 36 hours or more was frustrating as I discovered I haven’t backed up a lot of stuff. I dug up my 6yr old Macbook and began re-learning on how to use it. The editorial apps I had relied upon were Windows based and although I managed to get them on the Mac, the interface and functions were different. The external drive which I backed up files could be read but cannot store anything because it was partitioned for Windows so now the limited space on my old Mac badly needed some housekeeping, a chore I dread.

I was still doing some salvaging work when The Silver Chef came online. “Wanna go to JB? I’m on the way to meet the rest now.”

His “now” was 7.45am Wednesday morning. If I were to join them, I had exactly 30 minutes to reach Woodlands. What the heck! I shut down the Mac and went from Zombie mode to Wonder Woman approach – Spin around and got dressed. Yup, I was late but the motley crew waited 😀

An hour later, we had our first makan break at Restoran Tua Thow for kway teow soup. Needless to say, locals know that “Tua Thow – 大头” means “big head” which is also the name of mussels, in Hokkien and Teochew. Therefore, I’m sure mussels, oysters or the likes would be involved. I was only half right. Tua Thow in this case had nothing to do with the ingredients of this noodle dish. Tua Thow was actually the name of Mdm Tan’s late husband. The stall has been operating for the past 30 odd years and it is now helmed by Mdm Tan, herself.

Mdm Tan manning the stall here. We came barging in with our cameras like the pesky paparazzi but she wasn't overwhelmed by us or was she?

Mdm Tan manning the stall here.
We came barging in with our cameras like the pesky paparazzi but she wasn’t overwhelmed by us or was she?

MYR10 but I did not see the full works. It was supposed to have prawns, fish and meat balls. I guess this must be the upsized standard ingredients menu. Please see Tony's blog for the full works.

MYR10 but I did not see the full works. It was supposed to have prawns, fish and meat balls.
I guess this must be the upsized standard ingredients menu.
Please see Tony’s blog for the full works.

Slices of fresh pork, kidneys, pig's livers, rehydrated dried pig's tendons, sea bass, and swollen juicy oysters in clear fish broth, coupled with wedges of Chinese lettuce.<br />Topped with scallions and crispy fried shallots.

Slices of fresh pork, kidneys, pig’s livers, rehydrated dried pig’s tendons, sea bass, and swollen juicy oysters in clear fish broth, coupled with wedges of Chinese lettuce.
Topped with scallions and crispy fried shallots.

Ken enjoying the FAT succulent oyster. I hope there's one left for me.

Ken enjoying the FAT succulent oyster. I hope there’s one left for me.

This lady was stir-frying some tofu and leek dish that reminded me of my maternal grandma's cooking. I had to have them! But Tony had asked for braised tofu. We'll have two tofu dishes ;-) And oh, did you see what I saw? Sio Yoke! Roast pork, yumz!

This lady was stir-frying some tofu and leek dish that reminded me of my maternal grandma’s cooking.
I had to have them!
But Tony had asked for braised tofu. We’ll have two tofu dishes 😉
And oh, did you see what I saw? Sio Yoke! Roast pork, yumz!

If we had had rice porridge, I would definitely order this. This fried fish and the tofu leeks are typical home-cooked dishes that my grammy cooked.

If we had had rice porridge, I would definitely order this.
This fried fish and the tofu leeks are typical home-cooked dishes that my grammy cooked.

Red-cooked Tofu with Leeks.<br />Red-cooking (hongshao - 红烧) means simmer-fried.  But in this case the tofu cubes had been deep-fried and then simmered with some gravy and leeks. It was not exactly 红烧 in Cantonese terms but the outcome is akin to their hongshao tofu.

Red-cooked Tofu with Leeks.
Red-cooking (hongshao – 红烧) means simmer-fried.
But in this case the tofu cubes had been deep-fried and then simmered with some gravy and leeks.
It was not exactly 红烧 in Cantonese terms but the outcome is akin to their hongshao tofu.

This was the soy braised tofu Tony suggested.

This was the soy braised tofu Tony suggested.

Siu Yoke or Chinese roast pork. The meat has cooled off significantly but the cracklings were still crunchy.

Siu Yoke or Chinese roast pork.
The meat has cooled off significantly but the cracklings were still crunchy.

I have never had this type of Kway Teow Soup before. The broth simmered purely with fish bones (no pork bones used) was tasty and uncluttered. You can taste the ocean with every sip. The meat and offals had the natural flavours without any offensive odours. The blanching of the secondary ingredients were timed so precisely, you’d think Mdm Tan uses Swiss crockeries.

Smart liked the fish especially citing freshness. I love the oysters for they weren’t rubbery, but were very fresh and juicy. Tony loved the soup.

The soy braised tofu was silky smooth in texture even though they have been simmered for sometime for the sauce to penetrate it’s flavour into the soy cakes and long poaching process usually hardens the cakes. On the other hand, I found the 5-spice a little overpowering for me. Ian shared the same sentiment. On hindsight, this could be illusional since we had very plain soup, our taste buds could have fooled us into thinking that the braising liquid a tad too strong.

The roast pork belly was already cold when served. The meat did not correspond to the expectations of Smart and Ian when compared to their favourite stall in Singapore. Nevertheless, the cracklings remained crunchy and that’s what mattered to me.

The soycake and leek dish was very 家村 or 村下口味 meaning traditional home-cooked, kampong style even, which aren’t usually seen in the commercially driven upmarket menu. This type of fare is considered “rough” or peasantry but it sure was yummy comfort food. It did to us, or at least to me, what ratatouille did to Anton Ego!

The next time, I must remember to have the whole works!

The next time, I must remember to have the whole works!

Mdm Tan carrying on her husband's legacy of simple yet delicious food which they have been operating for the past 30 years.

Mdm Tan carrying on her husband’s legacy of simple yet delicious food which they have been operating for the past 30 years.

Restoran Tua Thow

Restoran Tua Thow

Restoran Tua Thow 大头餐室
Address: Susur 4, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak (next to Shell petrol station),
Johor Bahru (filter left once you pass the Esso station, otherwise you cannot enter the side lane).
Malaysia.

Map: http://g.co/maps/6vbnw
GPS: 1.484281,103.751953

Operating hours: Daily 7:30am to 2:30pm (closed on Fridays)

Happy eating and bonding 🙂

Click here to see Tony’s blog on this dish.

Advertisements
Comments
2 Responses to “Kway Teow Soup @ Restoran Tua Thow 大头餐室 In Johor Bahru”
  1. Kevin says:

    lol. Your kids have a delinquent mother!!! 😛

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s