Makansutra: Electrifying epok epok at #MakanBoleh
Pastry skin of handmade epok epok at #MakanBoleh will win you over
Everyone has their own idea of what to call them and what a good one should be.
There is the epok epok, kali pap and curry puff, which can be confused with the Chinese versions and the baked ones with a layer of flaky filo pastry-style skin.
This version at #MakanBoleh does not check many of my boxes yet I could not stop eating it, and I was not even hungry (a common trick to use when reviewing food).
The Malay-style epok epok should have a nice crispy skin, made with a decent portion of rice flour.
It should contrast well with the almost soft curried potato and that wedge of egg inside.
The mouthfeel and contrast of flavour from both skin and filling is the X factor I always look for.
When I was told Kak Ti'ah's epok epok is "by appointment and advance booking only", I had to rush in.
My "makanmata", or food cop, made the anonymous order and what I saw at the stall was a flurry of activity.
Two workers were busy rolling the dough and carefully placing the spicy stuffing of curried potato with egg and chilli sardine.
Kak Ti'ah said: "We make everything by hand, and I had never made this before I started this stall."
They sell the usual Malay rice and noodle sets and dishes each morning and lunch ("not many eat that after 3pm so I tried making epok epok").
Every customer who showed up had a confirm-order message on their mobile phone and carted home bags of it at $1 each.
The occasional walk-in stragglers have to depend on prayer for an extra one or two pieces she can afford to spare.
First, it is the pastry skin that wins you over. It has an arresting, freshly fried and soft allure - it feels easy on rice flour and has a light touch of butter.
Every piece is done by Kak Ti'ah's husband Salim.
The potato filling is spicy and just short of mushy soft, and the sardine has a touch of tomato flavour with a sambal and chilli kicker.
I only wished they pressed more onions in to contain and contrast the spiciness and texture.
With all the elements in place, you will understand why I could not stop at one with a not-so-empty stomach.
I know such dishes can be easily and flawlessly replicated with machines, but one reason I am riveted by this aspect of our makan roots is the delicious imperfections that come with it.
#01-36, Seah Im Food Centre
Opens 5pm to 8pm, closed on Sundays
Tel: 9121-4262 (for advance orders)