Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork Review: Famous Sabah Pork Kway Teow In Singapore | Eatbook.sg
Hawker Reviews

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork Review: Famous Sabah Pork Kway Teow Now In Singapore

24th November 2022

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork in Orchard Road

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - flatlay

I’ve no qualms about admitting that comfort is high on my priorities when it comes to looking for good food. So, when I heard about famous Malaysian hawker stall Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork launching its first shop outside of the +60, I pretty much leapt at the opportunity to check them out.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - david and storefront

The man responsible for taking Ah Yen beyond its original little hawker stall in Sandakan, a city in Sabah, East Malaysia, is 29 year-old David Lee, who was previously chef de partie at Pollen, in Gardens by the Bay. His grandfather is the original Ah Yen, who first started hawking the Hakka fried pork and house-made kway teow dish in 1940.

Today, Ah Yen has stalls in Kota Kinabalu and KL, and they’ve got their sights set on Hong Kong next.

Food at Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - sandakan fried pork kway teow dry

We started the meal with Ah Yen’s signature bowl of Sandakan Fried Pork Kuey Teow Dry ($6.50). It also comes in a larger serve ($8.50), and as a soup version if you prefer. It’s the only dish that the OG stall in Sandakan sells; everything else on the menu at this Food Republic branch has been created by David, together with his business partner Chef Ace Tan.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - sandakan fried pork closeup

David comes to Singapore every two weeks at least to personally prepare the marinade for the pork himself—that’s how top-secret the family recipe is. What we do know is that as is typical of Hakka fried pork belly, it’s marinated with red fermented beancurd, AKA 南乳 (nán rǔ), which gives it an addictive umami flavour.

The very thin crumb, which gets a thumbs up from me, differs from Ah Yen’s original recipe. David has jazzed it up with a mix of glutinous rice flour and plain flour, which he says makes for a crispier finish. If the flavour hadn’t won me over, this definitely did.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - kway teow

The kway teow they use at this Singapore outpost is sourced locally, due to the perishable nature of this rice noodle. David tells me that it doesn’t compare to what he gets back home, but they make do. I enjoyed the savoury, lard-fragranced sauce it was tossed with; the slippery, soft noodles were a pleasant contrast in texture to the crisp, thinly sliced pork belly.

In keeping to the authenticity of this dish, David even brings in a specific fermented light soya sauce from Malaysia, which he uses in the food. It’s the exact same soya sauce his grandfather used, and it’s also available at the stallfront, should you require more flavour in your meal.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - sarawak laksa

Next, we had Sarawak Laksa with Tiger Prawns ($12.50), another East Malaysian speciality. It sounds pricey, but this portion was huge. You can get it without the prawns ($9.50) to keep your meal here sub-$10!

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - sarawak laksa soup

Instead of the traditional thin bee hoon, we had it with mee kia, which was a pleasant switch. If you’ve not had Sarawak laksa, don’t expect the same creamy, lemak, curry-style laksa we’re used to. It features a more delicate nose that’s slightly spice-forward—as in herbs and spices—brightened with assam and a squeeze of fresh lime.

The rempah for this dish is not made by Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork; David gets it from a ‘famous supplier’ back home who makes it specially for him.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - sarawak laks ingredients

Large, fresh tiger prawns and more of that fried pork belly dress up this dish, alongside garnishes of coriander, sliced omelette, tau pok, and fish cake. The pork belly added extra flavour to the dish, but as expected, got soggy pretty quickly. I also wished the prawns came peeled for convenience.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - Salt & Pepper Chicken rice with egg

Don’t miss the Salt & Pepper Chicken Rice with Fried Egg ($7.50), which I can see myself ordering again down the road.

ah yen traditional fried pork - salt pepper chicken

It’s no ordinary fried chicken cutlet on rice: fresh Malaysian chicken is battered and fried, then dusted with Sarawak pepper and salt.

ah yen traditional fried pork - dipping shot

Dip it into the super yums, house-made chilli that’s self-service at the stall for extra shiokness—the chilli is freshly cooked every few days, with a zing that makes it appetising.

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - lard rice

If, like me, you go for the sesame oil-based sauce that’s drizzled over chicken rice, you’ll like the flavoured rice here. It’s aromatic with a trio of shallot, sesame, and lard oil, lashed with their special soya sauce, and then sprinkled with house-fried lard puffs. Cut a runny yolk in, and it’s the 猪油捞饭 (zhū yoú lāo fàn) of my dreams.

Ambience at Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork

Washoku Goen - Ambience

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork is located on Level Four of Wisma Atria, within the Food Republic food court—or right next to Orchard MRT Station, making it extremely conveniently located. There are ample seats to go around, but it also gets quite crowded at meal times—come at off-peak hours to avoid the office crowd.

The verdict

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork - verdict

My dining companion found some of the food slightly salty, but it sat alright with me. If the lines in front of the stall at lunch time when we were there are anything to go by, I guess I’m not alone in thinking so. I actually quite enjoyed the kway teow and chicken rice, in particular, and I’d definitely come back to eat this again.

For more Hakka noms, check out Goldhill Restaurant, which serves traditional, handmade Hakka yong tau foo! They’ve also got rarely seen abacus seeds on the menu. Otherwise, Melbournian cafe Puzzle Coffee has just opened next to Wisma, at ION Orchard.

Address: 435 Orchard Road, Level 4, Food Republic, Wisma Atria, Singapore 238877
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 10pm
Website
Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork is not a halal-certified eatery

Photos taken by John Lery Villanueva
This was a media tasting at Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork 

Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork Review: Sandakan-Famous Family Recipe Since 1940
  • 8/10
    Ah Yen Traditional Fried Pork Review: Famous Sabah Pork Kway Teow Now In Singapore - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Pros

– Large portions
– Tasty fried chicken and pork
– Kway teow dry and chicken rice were very flavourful

Cons

– Some items were a little salty

Recommended dishes: Salt & Pepper Chicken Rice with Fried Egg ($7.50), Sandakan Fried Pork Kuey Teow Dry ($6.50)

Opening hours: Daily 10am to 10pm

Address: 435 Orchard Road, Level 4, Food Republic, Wisma Atria, Singapore 238877

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