Dissection of Kueh Chap
To the uninitiated, kueh chap would be considered a strange and exotic dish of all things porky. Sometimes dubbed as ‘pork spare part soup’, the name is apt with the top to tail utilisation of this versatile animal. It is a local favourite and there are stalls selling this everywhere. It’s so good that I’ve even made a good attempt at preparing it from scratch in Adelaide.
So, today we are dissecting the anatomy of this fabulous dish. Hold on tight, some may experience nausea, queasiness or sheer hunger.
This is a humble bowl of kueh chap. Wonderful bits of pork and other proteins swimming in a dark savoury broth.
First up, hard-boiled egg. The hawkers usually have a quarter of a hard-boiled egg in each serving but this particular one from C121 Food Station, Kuching has doubled that amount. I always soak the egg yolk with broth. Dry egg yolks are icky.
Next, a slice of lean pork loin. Dip it in a little bit of chili for a spicy kick.
The small intestine is where you absorb nutrients from food, and this is the integral part of any animal. It’s a double bonus when it’s delish too.
Ah, pig skin. Glistening with goodness. The fat layer just underneath the skin was carefully removed, leaving a bouncy strip of collagen. Pork skin is sometimes fried and added to soup. In the Western world, it’s crackling if roasted. See? We’re not that different after all.
Something less daunting is fried dry tofu, or what we call taukwa. Puffs of tofu, deep fried and sliced. It does a great job of soaking up the goodness of the broth. Sometimes I’ll have a bowl of kueh chap with the flat noodles, egg and taukwa.
Guess what? It gets morbid here. The tongue is little bit clalky. It’s actually the first time I’ve had pig’s tongue in kueh chap. An interesting addition. I have to say, I prefer ox tongue though.
And last but definitely not least, a kueh chap essential, is the large intestine. Taking an excruciatingly long time to clean and prepare, I often doubt the hygiene of this component. Skipping the ickiness, it is actually one of my favourite parts of pork. Springy, chewy and sometimes tasting slightly floury, once again I love it more after dipping in hot chili sauce.
There you have it. The cast of characters that make up the legendary kueh chap. Some stalls have the ears, liver and kidneys. Oh the ears are crrrrunchy!
Anyone out there game enough to try it?