The temples of Batu Caves is probably best known as the focal point of the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam ?????????. Every year around January or February, a sea of devotees would climb up its 272-steps grand stairway – often with heavy offerings on their backs – to receive blessing from Lord Murugan. For the rest of the year, this limestone hill cave is a serene place for one to view the splendorous work of Mother Nature.
Not very far from the foot of this hill is another popular house of worship. However, this temple is solely dedicated to another form of devotion, more commonly known as food. Not just any food, it’s good food. Hundreds and thousands of devoted foodies from all around the country (and every corner of the world) make their pilgrimage to this sacred shrine every year. And what do they pray for? To be blessed with a happy belly and, hopefully, a healthy artery at the end of the meal.
With dishes like the intensely rich and smooth Cantonese-styled Sang Har Kway Teow (fresh water prawns with flat rice noodles in egg drop gravy) laden with prawn roes and the sinful Kow Yuk Mai Fun (fried vermicelli with stewed pork belly) fragrant beautifully by tonnes of zhi yao ja (pork lard croutons) as their signature dishes, it’s must be a divine miracle how anyone is still able to walk out of lunch without going into a cardiac arrest. If that’s not enough kill your heart, you ought consider an onslaught of crispy Nam Yu Pork Belly, which is marinated with fermented red bean curd. Every bite results in a burst of juicy pork fats into your mouth. You better pray hard it won’t kill you. Then again, if it did, it’ll be the best last meal you’d ever have.
A little trivia, the name of the restaurant is made up of two separate Chinese characters. ? which means “(wooden) plank” and ? is “fragrant”. Together they signify a Fragrant Shack. Why a shack you asked? Legend has it that until recently, they were operating from a run-down wooden hut right under a big tree. Hence, the restaurant also go by their unofficial name of Tai Shu Tao (literally, under a big tree). The walls of the restaurant is also adorned by many printed blog reviews by their devoted followers and believers. Judging from the impressive wall decor, I would have to say that this must be one of the most blogged about restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. One of which is courtesy of our very own Queen of DSLR!
Speaking of queens, I’m thankful to Queen Masak-Masak for (finally) making this food trip a reality. The Lord must have heard our hungry prayers, after rounds of cancellation, to grant us this meal. So was it worth all the hype? Ambrosia it is not, but it was a great lunch nevertheless. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Plus, the prices are very reasonable too. It’s a meal I wouldn’t mind driving 1/2 hour to, fighting for a parking and queuing another 1/2 hour for a table. Don’t call yourself a foodie until you’ve paid your homage here.
Note that Pan Heong is also famous for their silky smooth and almost creamy Century Egg and Fish Porridge. You should try it too. Perhaps, it is this healthy dish that has kept us alive.
Pan Heong Restoran
No. 2, Jalan Medan Batu Caves 2,
Medan Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves.
Tel: 03-6187 7430
Business hours: 8.00am to 3.30pm.
To view pictures of the other dishes, head over to my flickr gallery HERE