There is an undeniable lightness of taste, a sense of hearty comfort that hits home with every spoonful. A sense that it will soothe whatever that has gone awry for that day.
Madam Tan, who runs Tua Thow in Johor looks like the quintessential mother who enjoys feeding her audience. Just as she would in her own home.
Looking unassuming and diligent, she moves about with equal grace and earnestness, unfazed by the attention that our cameras had adorned on her humble stall.
|Hard at Work|
Her main offering is kway teow soup, of the seafood variant. She also sells other homecooked style dishes to go with rice. Kind of like economic rice you find here, but all looking simpler yet fresh.
We reached just after 10am, and her popularity was quite palpable as there was already quite a crowd gathered in her eatery, digging into her food. The place was bustling, and the energy equally visible for a breakfast crowd.
|Seafood Kway Teow Soup|
The soup was derived from a combination of pork and fish bones, and it was just that. No additional flavorings, just the natural goodness from the bones. The broth was not overly robust, but somehow it was something I could gravitate to.
A simpler, yet comforting flavor that permeated my taste buds. Her choice of pork liver and kidneys were marvelously cooked to just a nice medium texture. Ever the kidneys had nicely carved patterns on them. Every piece was tender lovely.
The fish slices were an even greater revelation. Superbly fresh, it really had that wonderful taste of the ocean that can only be found in the freshest of catches. It tasted like it was just caught minutes prior. And the pork slices were not a letdown either, beautifully cooked and equally delicious.
|Tau Pok with Leeks|
As a side dish, I also really enjoyed this simple tau pok with leeks concoction. It resembled something my dad used to cook. That nice sweetness and brightness you got from the gently cooked leeks, coupled with a light soy gravy was all you need to coat the soya protein.
|Tau Pok 2|
There was yet another tau pok dish that BT ordered, and it looked like it was steamed and garnished with a darker soya sauce. Maybe it's just me getting older, but such simple food seemed to seduce me these days. It was undoubtedly effective.
I always believe that behind every great eatery, lies a greater story to tell. And from what I have been told, Mdm Tan has a backstory behind her starting this popular kway teow coffeeshop. That story will have to be left for another day, but for now, it is enough to know that Mdm Tan has found her groove running this place.
That philosophy of mum's cooking is always the best can hardly be proven wrong here. How often do we get to eat such fare in Singapore nowadays? Not often enough is the answer.
As for finding a kway teow soup that reminds of you of home, here it is.
Restoran Tua Thow
Susur 4, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak
Next to Shell Petrol Station
All videography and photography and editing by Ian Low.
Music written, performed and produced by Ian Low.
Shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 5S.
No kway teow was injured during the shooting of this video.