Chinese fried bread stick, or commonly known as the Youtiao, Chinese cruller, Chinese oil stick, or Chinese doughnut, is dough shaped into long strip and deep fried to golden-brown. Originated from China and later common amongst many other countries with each having a version of their own, and slowly enjoyed distinctively in many cuisines. Especially the Southeast Asian country where these fried breadstick is known as many different names. There is a very interesting story behind origin of this delicacy and there are many out there on the internet. Best piece at Clearharmony’s Stories from Ancient China: The Origin of the Snack ‘You Tiao’ .
Commonly eaten together with the Bah Kut Teh in Malaysia, the two is almost the best combination one can think of. Other ways to enjoy this is to pair it with rice congee or porridges, rojak, desserts, hot soya bean, hot coffee or my personal favourite, with Milo. (CleverMunkey would say “Minum Milo, anda jadi sihat dan kuat”)
Anyway, the youtiaos are lightly salted and conventionally made in such so it can be torn lengthwise in two. The ingredients to making this generally comprises of flour, water, yeast, baking soda, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, alum and ammonia. One might be interested to know that the youtiao tasted very different when they ammonia were omitted. The only one stall which I reckon not having ammonia (and already popular amongst the locals) would be this particular stall called the Nine Floor Chak kuay. Reason being, they have been operating for many years next to the9Floor Flat along Jalan Bendahara. Today, they have moved to a tiny corner right next to the Famosa Chicken Rice Ball’s car park along Jalan Munshi Abdullah. (Just keep to the left after the left turn at the Famosa Chicken Rice ball and you would see a tiny stall hidden at a tiny space along the shop lots)
This experienced uncle is skillfully making the youtiao on the spot so take a moment to appreciate the artful technique while you are waiting for those delicious youtiao to be prepared. The dough are flattened and cut in long rectangular sticks and the swift and quick skill of the uncle would quickly transform this sticky dough to crispy youtiao.
A skewer is dipped in water and quickly streaked through the cut pieces of dough and later stacked in pairs for that conventional shape.
Pull to elongate the dough while deep frying it in that huge wok of hot frying oil. The youtiao cooks in almost instant and these golden brown youtiao sells at RM 0.80 each. Take note that the size of it is generously suitable for sharing.
Other varieties include the Ham Cin Peng with red bean paste fillings and the Butterfly bun. They even have these mini versions which are delighted to look at but slightly hard in texture when it is no longer hot.
These fresh and chrunchy youtiao is located along Jalan Munshi Abdullah right next to the Famosa Chicken rice ball. Note that they are not open during daytime. Locate them at:
GPS coordinate 2.200142, 102.252027