Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kampar Braised Pork Ribs Platter (金宝 "马来王" 卤排骨) - (MFF - Perak)

It's the month of Perak for Malaysian Food Fest! I'm so excited!

Kamparean, I'm sure you somehow know this. If you are Kamparean between 70's and 80's generation, you definitely know Ma Lai Wong's (马来王) stall in Wing Lok Yuen. This Kampar braised pork ribs platter a simple and yet classic braised dish that always goes together with prawn noodles as a side.

Since this month's Malaysian Food Fest is Perak, I'm going to feature my replication of my hometown's dish, focusing on Kampar's Wing Lok Yuen's good-old-days specialty; prawn noodles, braised pork ribs, claypot chicken rice and hopefully I could get the CB chicken biscuits recipe right too.

Some background of this dish : Wing Lok Yuen (永乐园茶餐室) is one of the legendary coffee shop in Kampar, Perak founded since 1947 by a local Kampar based family. This coffee shop is famous with it's prawn noodles, braised pork ribs ("马来王"虾麺+卤排骨), claypot chicken rice (庆记瓦煲鸡饭) and it's traditional confectioneries - especially Chicken biscuits (CB 鸡仔饼).

(Photo Credit : Asia Explorers)

Ma Lai Wong (马来王) is the original prawn noodles and braised pork ribs stall owner in Wing Lok Yuen during the olden days. Ma Lai Wong's prawn noodles and braised pork ribs is one of the "must-try" food in Kampar back then. However, as time passes, Ma Lai Wong has moved, and setup their own prawn noodles coffee shop instead. They no longer renting a stall in Wing Lok Yuen coffee shop anymore. And now, I someone else took over the prawn noodles stall in Wing Lok Yuen.

A month ago, I make a trip back to my hometown Kampar, and I visited Wing Lok Yuen coffee shop to look at their current prawn noodles stall. My intention is to taste their noodles and ribs and see if I could still find back the childhood taste. I'd say, the existing prawn noodles stall continues the same way Ma Lai Wong sell their noodles, serving braised ribs as a side. And as expected, the good-old-days taste is no longer there. It's salty. It's disappointing. But well, time has changed. People changed too.

I took a photo of the braised pork ribs platter to show you guys how it looks like. And yes, Ma Lai Wong's serving style is the same as this. One bowl of prawn noodles and a small plate of braised pork ribs platter, with the combination of pork ribs, eggs, pressed tofu. And even pig's tail if you request for it.

To kill my curiosity, I get my mom to hunt for Ma Lai Wong coffee shop's current location a month ago. Sadly, everything has changed. The cook has changed, and the taste has changed too. The only thing remain is the name Ma Lai Wong hanging on the signboard.

My mother knows how to replicate this braised pork ribs platter. I have my full trust on her, because she do sell prawn noodles and braised pork ribs platter too when I was 5. I ate them almost everyday. The taste of my mom's noodles and ribs is pretty close to Ma Lai Wong's one. My mom said, they used to call it "Kampar style" during the back old days. The only difference is that Ma Lai Wong's name is somehow more famous and has become a kind of recognition by the locals.

(Disclaimer : Please correct me if I'm wrong, as all these info's are provided by my mom and also my aunt who stayed in Kampar long enough to tell me these old-wives-tales.)

(Source : My Mother - Mdm. Chai)
  • 600g Pork Prime Ribs 龙骨 (Cost est. S$15.00)
  • 2 Pig Tails 猪尾 (Cost est. S$3.30)
  • 600g Small Pork Intestine 猪小肠 (Cost est. S$8.40)
  • 3pcs Pressed Tofu / Tau Kwa 豆干
  • 4 Hard Boiled Eggs 熟鸡蛋
  • 6 tbsp Light Soy Sauce 酱清 / 生抽
  • 1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce 黑酱油 (optional) 
  • 4 tbsp Oyster Sauce 蚝油
  • 2g Dried Tamarind Peel 甘皮 (about 4 x thumb size visually)
  • 1 whole bulb of Garlic, bruised 蒜头 (about 50g)
  • 15g Rock Sugar 冰糖
  • 1 tsp Salt 盐
  • 800ml Water 水
Some additional info here. These are the market price for the ingredients at major supermart and wet market. Just incase you worried you will get chopped "carrot-caked" by the butcher.
  • Pork Prime Ribs : S$21.00 to S$23.00 per kg.
  • Pig Tails : S$1.70 to S$1.90 per kg.
  • Small Pork Intestine : S$1.30 to S$1.50 per kg.
  1. For preparation of small pork intestine, refer to here. But of course, you can choose not to stuff the small pork intestines as it is pretty tedious. 
  2. Cook up some hard boiled eggs.
  3. Deep-fried pressed tofu / tau-kwa. Set aside.
  4. Soak up dried tamarind peel till soft. Scrape away the whitish inner line. 
  1. In a pot, add in small pork intestine, soften tamarind peel, rock sugar, garlic and water. Bring to a boil for 15mins. By then, small pork intestine is slightly soften.
  2. Add in light soy sauce, oyster sauce and prime ribs, cook for another 20mins.
  3. Add in hard boiled eggs, tau-kwa, pig tails. Then, add salt, and dark soy sauce (if you prefer darker color). Lid on and under very low fire. Let it slowly simmer for another 20mins, or more, or until the pig tails is soften enough. Give the meat few turn in-between. Leave this pot of braised goodness overnight for more flavorful result.
  4. The next day, heat up the pot of braised goodness. Dish up some ribs, and eggs. Chop tau-kwa and pig tail into pieces. Pour some braised sauce over. Serve hot. Preferably with a bowl of Kampar prawn noodles (Recipe is here). 
This is the pork prime ribs that I've got from Giant. Pretty nice cut. But well, prime ribs are always expensive. Especially I'm getting Aussie ribs.  

Pig Tails and Sweet Intestines. Looking at it alone, you know they are really fresh.

I got this Ampang Tau Kwa at Giant. Comes with a pack of 3, and I deep-fried it nicely, and then I use it for braising later.

Look at this pot of goodness. The braised sauce is actually very little and concentrate. The water is just enough to cover the braising stuffs. If more water is added, it will turn too diluted and looked like a pot of soup. However, if you prefer more braised sauce, do add more water and add more condiments accordingly. I always emphasized that cooking is all about individual preference.

This is the result. It is nice! Max loves it!

This is my 1st attempt. It's good, but I didn't adjust the taste well. I added too much rock sugar, and I kinda didn't get the right feel of it. The taste and feel that I'm looking for is the good-old-day's taste. The authentic one that I ate during my childhood time. The one when Ma Lai Wong is the cook. Not the latter version.

For the 2nd time, it's much better and the taste is very much closer to Ma Lai Wong's one.

Do give this a try. I'm sure you will love it :)

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest Perak month hosted by WendyinKK of Table for Two….or more.


  1. Annie, I love all this porky goodness! I already bookmark to cook! Oh, you from Kampar? I used to have a room mate from Kampar and every time after the semester holidays, she will bring back chicken biscuits. Very nice, lor!

  2. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comAugust 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Hi Annie, I love the ribs, tau kwas and the eggs but not the tail and the intestines. I would not touch these two items and no matter how my hubby convinces me to give it a try, I won't. hahaha... So, whenever I cook this, it would be minus these 2 times :)

  3. Hi Annie, it has been more than 15 years since I last cooked pork intestines, and have forgotten how to do it. Thanks a lot for your tips. I noticed that you cooked the intestine for barely an hour while I have seen recipes that cooked them for 2 hrs or more. I would like to know whether the one hour of cooking produce intestines that are soft or are they still a bit chewy.

    1. HI Tammy, if you were to calculate the cooking time based on what I'd written, it's 15mins + 20mins + 20mins. That's 55mins in total.

      When preparing the small intestine, I did cook the small intestine for 15mins before braising, so as to set it's shape. Also, once the braised dish is done, leave it there overnight to age for better flavor and re-heat it on the next day before serving. Re-heating is cooking too. That should take another 15 to 20mins easily.

      So, the cooking time for the small intestine should be about 1 hour 30mins in total. However, I did mentioned 20mins (or more), means the braising time can be more if one individual preferred softer texture, and they may wanna cook it slightly longer.

      For me, I cook my braise on the 1st day, eat it on the 2nd day, and save some for the 3rd day. This is the best way to enjoy such dish. Flavorful! And each reheating takes time and it involves cooking. That makes the intestine turned from chewy for the 2nd day to soft for the 3rd day. If you were to ask me, I'd prefer the texture to be slightly chewy :)

    2. Thanks Annie. I migrated to NZ 15 years ago and have not seen pig intestines until recently when I saw a Chinese butcher selling them. Now that I have your recipe, I can't wait to try. Cheers!

  4. After uncle fell sick, the taste changed although it looks alike in surface, yet taste not as good as good old times. Ma Lai Wong is my extended relative. I saw uncle made the soup daily after school (from primary), sad.- Sook Pui

    1. Hey Sook Pui, I didn't know ma lai wong is your uncle! It's a small world!