“The Chef and I wanted to share how great it was to grow up in a small town. The food especially is a distinctive memory which invokes happiness, family and laughter. We want to share the authentic flavours which comes from the used of good ingredients and not from flavour enhancers. And finally, we also want to reintroduce the concept of ‘simplicity’ in an otherwise complicated world,” says Jenifer, the owner and proprietor of Anson Food Company.
This simple restaurant is nuzzled in the same neighbourhood as her other and more popular restaurant, Food Foundry, in the quieter parts of Section 17. The location is just perfect as it enhances its “small town” appeal. Called after the former name of Teluk Intan (which is translated as Diamond Bay), the restaurant set up is nothing more than just 4 grey walls, plastic chairs and tables and a bouquet of flowers placed in front of a feature wall with decals. In such a humble setting, the attention is definitely focused on their food.
“Chef Ooi hails from Teluk Intan and he started cooking out of interest. He takes after his mother’s Nyonya roots. He has no formal training except in the kitchens of the restaurants he worked in while in England and Ireland. He is a natural in the kitchen and we are both very passionate about retaining a little bit of the past from the little town which we grew up in,” she explained when asked about the origins of the restaurant’s name.
Jenifer continues her story and tells us how she met the Chef. Her cousin introduced them over a simple home-cooked dinner prepared by none other than the chef himself. After that fateful day, she decided to open up this restaurant as a platform to showcase his talent and food. And just like that, my dining buddies and I were treated to an array of appetizers that consisted of a tangy and addictive Nyonya Acar; a crispy and well-seasoned Pork Roll (‘Bak Kien’) that is usually a festive dish; the Sesame Prawn Toast an unmistakable 80’s party snack; and the Aromatic Crispy Duck, which was eaten together with a mix of julienne cucumber, spring onions, sweet bean sauce and chili paste rolled inside a thin popiah skin.
The lunch, hosted by Jenifer and her good friend, Mr. Alan Bligh (former TV personality and now a highly sought after voice telent and emcee), had us eating around a large round table with food enough to feed the entire town of Teluk Intan. It actually brought back memories of big reunion dinners I used to have with my extended family during the Chinese New Year. My relatives would have also served dishes like the Steamed Pork with Salted Fish, Sweet & Sour Pork, Hakka Pork Belly with Yam and Nyonya Curry Chicken in their respective homes. Anson’s version of the steamed pork was easily their best dish. There was also a slight twist to the sweet & sour pork as they used fried pork balls instead of slices – just like how my Grandaunt used to make them. However, I would have loved it more if these balls were a little more meaty – if that makes any sense.
We were also treated to Sambal Aubergine, Steamed Fish with Anson Sauce, Anson Braised Duck and Assam Seafood. The Assam broth may look watered down at first sight, but one sip and you’ll find it pack with enough kick, sourness and an extra ingredient – shrimp belacan – that made it ‘pop’ in your mouth. Now, I would have called it perfect if only it was a little bit more spicy. Just a little.
We washed all these down with the help of one specially concocted Tamarind Spritzer.
About a week after, I found myself back at the restaurant with two colleagues. We were hankering for some porky goodness and I led them here. We quaffed down our bowls of rice with the Nyonya Curry Pork that was bursting with lemongrass flavours, the silky Tri-Colour Steamed Egg topped with heaps of chee yao char (pork lard crutons) and the familiar yet excellent tasting Hokkien Five Spiced Pork with Egg. The braised pork went really well with a sourish and pungent sambal belacan served on the side. It definitely lifted our tired bodies and we happily went on to catch a movie after dinner.
It is nice to have a non-halal place like Anson to remind us about the simple taste of home-styled Chinese recipes with Nyonya influences. However, the only drawback is that the taste of their dishes can be inconsistant and I’ve been back several times to notice this. The same dishes can taste very contrasting on separate occasions. When I asked, they simply replied that perhaps the marinade hasn’t matured as much as the last. Perhaps.
I’m pretty sure this little suburban diamond can sparkle even brighter once they have polished off this temporary setback.
For the price conscious, most meat dishes average between RM19 – RM26, while dishes with seafood would cost more. Personal rice and noodle dishes are also available for about RM12. Jenifer has told me that they are currently in the midst of creating a Porky Lunch Menu consisting of simple one plate wonders like minced pork or pork chop over rice, with a side of vegetables and omelette for about RM10-RM13. I’m sure my colleagues would be looking forward to that once it is available.
Special note: Thanks to Jenifer for spending time with us over the weekend and responding to my multiple emails, and also to Alan for hooking us up with our first lunch here.
Anson Food Company
#619, Jalan 17/10
46400 Petaling Jaya
Tel : +603- 7955 2336
Business Hours: Opens Tuesdays to Sundays, 12noon to 3pm (lunch) and 6pm to 10pm (dinner). Closed on Mondays