These smokin' pots hold one of China's greatest contributions to mankind: claypot rice. Cooked in a heavy, thick-walled vessel over a charcoal fire, the simplest of ingredients - rice, chicken, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), and salted fish - are transformed into something sublime.
At this stall in Subang Jaya a lone woman tends sixteen or so claypots set on braziers of varying heat, arranged in three rows. She starts each order on the bottom, slicking a pot with a bit of oil before adding water and rice, bringing it to the boil, and then covering it. After the water's been absorbed (instinct tells her when, but the untrained eye would know it from small craters on the rice's surface) she moves the pot up a row or two to a cooler brazier, and adds chicken, fish, and sausage. When the chicken is nearly done she anoints the dish with sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine, leaves it on the heat a while longer, and finally finishes it off with a flurry of chopped scallion greens.
Sweet, chewy lap cheong, thinly sliced edges curled and lightly charred from the heat, and savory bone-in chicken contrast with nubs of sharply salty dried fish. The rice on which they lay, its surface stained black with soy, is aromatic and fluffy, except for the thin layer that's adhered to the bottom and sides of the claypot. This blackened crust (I've been told it's not a desirable quality in a good claypot rice, but I love dislodging and munching on the flavorful crispy rice) is the conduit via which with the contents of the pot are imbued with a subtle smokiness.
The ultimate one-pot meal.
Claypot chicken rice stall, Restoran New Apollos. 2 Jalan USJ4/6B, Subang Jaya. 11:30am-3pm and 5-10pm.