Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Crouching Café, Hidden Sar Yung

Over a year ago...

If only you could see my face as I stared down the long line of cars in front of me...

Some days, an experience at a far-flung cafe isn't worth it. Even if I wasn't paying.

But Melody just had to, had to, go. Because an acquaintance had waxed poetic over several things there, and some food bloggers gave it rave reviews.

A recent photo (August 2015) of where Amaze K Café is. Believe me,
without the red food truck and sign, you wouldn't know it's there.

Most importantly, because she'd bought the Groupon promo for both of us.

But it wasn't just the traffic.

Snuggled deep within the industrial zone in Kota Damansara, the new Amaze K Cafe became a hit. I think part of the thrill for the patrons was finding it among the factories, garages and shuttered shoplots and, after eating and lots of photographing, rushing back to regale eagerly waiting audiences about the hidden gem they "unearthed", like treasure hunters that emerged from the jungle after being lost for months.

We found it with a phone call. "Opposite the shop with the Espressolab banner," we were told. I'd passed that banner once.

When we finally arrived at the doorstep of Amaze K, I could see why we missed it the first time. It blends right in.

So what allegedy made the food at Amaze K good was the management; the owner is an acquaintance of Melody's acquaintance, whose palate was more discerning than ours. The Groupon promo, however, limited the choices we could make.

We ended up ordering two set lunches: mine was the Salmon Steak Pasta, while she inexplicably picked the chicken chop with butter sauce and fried rice.

There was nothing spectacular about the experience, even though my pasta was fine. It had some kind of sauce at the bottom of the plate, possibly from the salmon, that made me wish I had a slice of bread to wipe it all off.

Melody didn't like her dish much. I thought the fried rice and the butter sauce lacked flavour - did they skimp on the salt? But the aroma of the sauce was just right, laced with the herbal and citrusy hints of curry leaf.

Halfway through, a whiff of something baked made me look up, just in time to see a pile of what looked like cream puffs on a plate landing atop the table behind us.

"That's the sar yung," Melody piped up. "She (the acquaintance) talked about it too."

Makan kaki Melody's photo of the carb-rich, liver- and diet-nuking
"sand codgers" from over a year ago.

As I understand it, this pastry (called 沙翁 or, literally translated, "sand codgers") is sold in Hong Kong and some parts of China. These balls of deep-fried dough sprinkled with sugar outside contain lots of air in a sparse honeycomb of dough. Some say that it's similar to the Okinawan sata andagi or the Dutch oliebol.

At Amaze K, the sar yung is sold by the half-dozen, which costs RM12, and it's not on the menu - at least, not yet. We just had to try it. That became the only paid item on the bill.

My experience with churros told me that anything deep-fried and saturated in oil and sprinkled with sugar is bound to be a treat. Once you bite down and start chewing, oh g*d. It's. So. Good. The soft dough inside collapses and just melts, and when the sugar and fried crispy dough shell melds into a forming melange in your mouth...

Fatty liver? Who cares?

But by the time I was sated I'd devoured four; Melody shot me that familiar "you unrepentant glutton" look after I'd reach for the last piece that was supposed to be hers.

On the way home, my stomach (and liver, I suspect) eventually got round to protest all that extra goodness I'd downed in a cloud of carb-induced intoxication. Call it my version of jungle fever.

Fatty liver? I CARE.

Thing is, I'm still thinking of diving back into that wilderness.

Amaze K Café
23, Jalan PJU 3/44
Sunway Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya


Mon-Sat: 9:30am-9pm

Closed on Sundays

+603-7733 7657

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