Culinary tradition: Fifth generation Chua family offers delectable Pork Leg Rice

A set of Pork Leg Rice

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, June 12: Pork Leg Rice is a popular one-dish meal that is often traditionally served with steamed rice.

Ever since one can remember, this one-dish meal has made its delectable mark among city folks and food lovers here.

This dish is so popular that we often find it served in selected eateries in the city that is almost certain to attract food lovers.

Comprising slices of pork meat, pork intestines, pork skin, and egg, it usually comes with a savoury herbal soup, light curry sauce, blended spicy prawn paste and steamed rice.

A close-up of Pork Leg dish with slices of pork meat, intestines, skin, chicken, duck and boiled egg served on a plate.

A hefty meal popular among patrons at eateries serving the menu during mid-morning meal or lunch, the pork leg dish is well-liked due to its simplicity in flavour with its succulent pork meat and pork intestines that are juicy, tender and a little gamey.

Nowadays, the dish has braised chicken and five-spiced duck meat to give it a more palatable variety.

The palatable adventure begins with dipping the succulent pork meat and assorted cut in a relish of blended shrimp paste.

Further satisfaction is sipping a spoonful of the tasty herbal soup after a mouthful of steamy rice dressed with the curry sauce.

Kelvin at his food station preparing a meal for his customer.

To find out more about this palatable dish, the writer spoke to businessman and eatery operator Chua Yam Sia and his son, Kelvin Chua Kian Chuan.

The father and son shared their ancestral insight into the dish, which their family lineage had been doing since they came from mainland China years ago.

“Looking back, we had been doing this dish and business for five generations,” Chua said.

“The business of selling Pork Leg Rice started with my great grandfather. He (great grandfather is a culinary connoisseur of the dish.

“In those days, he used to sell Pork Leg Rice on the streets of Kuching by using a shoulder carry pole to bring about wooden food boxes or basket containing the food items.

“In later years, when the family acquired permanent fixture, my grandfather, my father, uncles did the business around Kuching City.

“My family and I were involved in selling the dish in Wayang Street, Green Hill Corner, King Centre and here at Gala Corner. These days, I leave it to a family member as I venture into other business,” he revealed.

“Pork Leg Rice business in the family has been our bread and butter since my great grandfather. Now, my eldest son, Kelvin is the fifth generation culinary maestro of the dish,” he added.

Chua professed that the delectable dish is not difficult to prepare.

“The pork meat and the intestines are cooked in light and dark sweet soy sauce, five-spice powder, other herbs, garlic and seasons.

“To go with the pork meat and the intestine dish, we also add pork skin, braised chicken, five-spiced duck and slices of egg.

“Patron usually has steamed rice, a bowl of curry sauce containing long beans, a bowl of herbal flavoured soy soup and sambal belacan as a relish,” he reiterated.

“With all these condiments, the dish has the right balance in its taste. It gives it an umami taste.

“The secret is about keeping the consistency of how it is being prepared and cooked. It takes about three hours to stew.

“So it is about constant monitoring of the meat which is stewed in the broth with condiments. The recipe is always the same over the years. Nothing much has changed, ” Chua revealed.

Assorted meats and sauces displayed at Kelvin’s food station.

In following the tradition, Kelvin now manages the eatery and helming the stall.

The writer interrupted the younger Chua, who was obliged to furthering the conversation on the subject.

Kelvin said he gets fully involved after quitting his 9 to 5 job and decided to carry on with the family tradition.

“It is nothing new as I had been doing and preparing Pork Leg Rice at an early age. So, I am used to the routine and how my patron wants their pork leg,” said Kelvin, whose work routine begins at 4am.

“We have to ensure our regular patron enjoyed the dish. So, we know how to make the meat and the pork spare parts tasty and succulent. The pleasure is through the facial expression.

In addition to Pork Leg Rice, Kelvin further disclosed that their stall is also renowned for their savoury Kueh Chap ( flat rice noodle in dark soy sauce and an assortment of pork cuts) and Assorted Meat Curry Rice.

“We do these dishes as the ingredients and preparation for them is the same as Pork Leg Rice,” he said.

Kelvin’s food station menu.

The Chua’s savoury and signature dishes are at Tukia Cafe, Gala Street Mall here and it opens between 8.30am to 2.30pm daily except Monday. — DayakDaily