One little-known fact about our cover girl Chris Tong? The affable 32-year-old is a big foodie, especially when it comes to Nonya fare.
"While I'm not Peranakan, both my grandma and mum were born and bred in Penang, which is renowned for its Nonya dishes. In fact, my grandma ran a hawker stall that specialised in prawn mee and asam laksa. I've loved eating Peranakan food since I was little," she shares.
"I'm also a pretty good cook, and I can probably whip up just about every Nonya dish in existence! I think the talent runs in the family," she grins.
We couldn't possibly pass up the chance to tap on Chris' culinary expertise, so we asked the actress, who was born in Kuala Lumpur and is currently based there, to recommend where to find the best food in her hometown.
HER FAVE FOODS!
1. Nasi lemak
San Peng Nasi Lemak, off Jalan San Peng (opposite San Peng Flats), Pudu, Kuala Lumpur 52100
"I really like the rice here - it's made with a generous amount of coconut milk, so it's incredibly fragrant. It's also very fluffy - perfect for mopping up curry or sambal. The chopped long beans add an extra crunch."
2. Hokkien mee
Pudu Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee, 215 Jalan Sarawak, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur 55100
"This stall uses an old-school method of frying the noodles over a charcoal fire, which imparts an unusual smoky flavour to the dish. While it isn't the only stall in KL that does this, its fiery sambal sets it apart from its competitors."
3. Wonton mee
Hung Kee Shamelin, 28-5 and 28-6 Jalan Loke Yew, Kuala Lumpur 55200
"Hung Kee is a household name in KL. I like how the handmade noodles here are fried with three kinds of oil - I'm guessing lard, garlic oil and sesame oil - making them very aromatic."
4. Chicken rice
Restoran Fei Por, 211 Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur 55100
"Here, you'll get a sizeable portion of tender, succulent chicken, doused with the restaurant's own special sauce. Plus, the stall operates till the wee hours of the morning, so it's a popular supper haunt among locals and tourists."
5. Bak kut teh
Restoran Bak Kut Teh Yik See Ho, 20 Jalan Landak (off Jalan Pasar), Kuala Lumpur 55100
"I love the broth, which is rich and not overwhelmingly herbal. It's also boiled with Chinese cabbage, which lends it an extra sweetness."
6. Yong tau foo
Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo, 20 Lorong Bandar (off Jalan Petaling), Kuala Lumpur 50000
"The yong tau foo pieces here - such as the tau foo, tau pok, fried dumplings and brinjal - are generously portioned and freshly made every day."
7. Zi char
Wong Ah Wah, 1 Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur 50200
"This popular restaurant offers a wide variety of zi char. I recommend the fried vermicelli, roasted pork noodles, salted egg sotong and its famous barbecue chicken wings."
8. Chilli pan mee
Restoran Kin Kin, 40 Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman Satu, Kuala Lumpur 51200
"The handmade noodles at this institution are delightfully springy and chewy, and pair perfectly with the very lethal dried chilli flakes."
9. Roast duck
Sek Yuen Restaurant, 315 Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur 55100
"The roast duck here is absolutely mouth-watering - think light, crispy skin, and tender, juicy flesh. The duck isn't overly marinated, allowing its natural flavours to shine through."
10. And of course, Nonya food
Lima Blas Restaurant, 15 Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 50200
"Besides authentic and delicious Nonya fare, the shop also boasts a fantastic ambience - it's crammed with all sorts of retro objects, such as vintage typewriters and posters, giving it a nostalgic vibe."
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