It was by sheer chance that I found this!
Who would have thought… tucked in a little “run-down” food court (if this place can even qualify as a food court!) a roaring multi -million business exist (ok, fine, maybe a bit of an exaggeration here ;p) BUT DEFINITELY thousands of ringgit daily at the very least, I kid you not!
Me: “Pak Ya, tiap -tiap hari berapa ratus popia Pak Ya jual?” (Pak Ya, how many hundreds of these popia (spring rolls) do you sell daily?)
Pak Ya: ” Ohh…TIDAK..tak sampai beratus- ratus… beberapa ribu saja… (Ohh.. NO..not hundreds… only a few thousands…)
The popia (spring roll), fried to a crackly crisp with its ample filling of yam bean and bean sprouts is best eaten doused with the THICK sweet spicy sauce plus a sprinkling of crunchy nuts.
And the skin deserves a special mention, as it tasted very fresh.
Simply cos it is handmade right here too!
Using their hands, these popia ladies grabs a blob of the batter (1st pic), gives it a yo-yo swing in the air (2nd pic) (the batter is surprisingly elastic and it bounces right back to her hand, and this step supposedly gives the skin a more elastically chewy texture, which is noticeable if you eat the popia basah version) before she swirls a thin layer on the flat griddle. Over a slow fire, each film of batter is given approximately 2 mins before it is peeled off the pan.
Here it is separated layer by layer (these skins stuck together due to it being piled up while it was still hot) before each is rolled up with the required fillings.
Below: The yam bean being machine – shredded.
The humongous amount of bean sprouts used in a day, basket after basket of these are stacked on top of the other.
The rolled up spring rolls are then fried in batches in another kitchen (which is essentially another stall in the same row)
Fresh off the wok, tanks of these crispy babies are lined up at the side of Pak Ya’s stall, in a row, ready for pick up by other proprietors in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
Pak Ya himself can be sighted at the TTDI bazaar, (remember my previous post?) where a snaking queue is ever-present from the moment his stall is set up.
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For Puasa month: 5pm onwards. Fried popia from lunch onwards but the basah (wet version) ones are only after 5pm.
Normal days: 9am to 8pm, Mon to Sun. Both versions available from morning.
Lot 401 & 404
Medan Hang Tuah Food Court
4th Floor, The Mall
Walk into the food court and his stalls would be on your right. You might have to go closer to each stall to find out which ones exactly, as they do not carry any signboards that says Pak Ya popia or anything remotely of that sort.
But one certainly can’t possibly miss the group of popia ladies all hard at work & cheerfully rolling the spring rolls!