We had a kueh keria moment - or maybe it was a Shan donut moment - a few days ago, at the morning market in OUG (a mostly Chinese enclave about 20 minutes from downtown Kuala Lumpur). We've been spending a bit of time there lately, on the good eats trail.
Bag-toting aunties clustered around a Chinese fry stall. There were the usual items - sweet potato balls, curry puffs, red bean paste-filled glutinous rice balls. And little three-bite donuts.
I've never been a donut fan. The appeal of my country's contributions to the deep-fried sweet treat genre - Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts - completely eludes me. Nor do I generally like eating sugary items before noon. A cup or two of good, strong coffee is all the morning jag I need.
But this vendor forms her donuts lovingly, patting the dough as gently as if she were powdering her dear grandbaby's naked tush. Fresh out of the fryer, they beckoned. We ordered two.
How do you describe the ultimate donut?
Let me try. When it's still hot its skin is crackly-crunchy, with nary a hint of grease. Inside it's yielding, melting even, almost to the point of mimicking a firm custard. As the donut cools it retains some crispiness, while the interior becomes a fluffy pillow that meets the teeth with a bit of resistance. It smells and tastes of baked grain first, and then of some - but not much - sugar. The dough itself doesn't really need sweet, because that's what the extra-fine grains of white sugar decorating the donut's golden skin are for.
We ordered two more and ate them as we walked. Heading back to our car we diverted, as if pulled by some invisible, inexplicable force, for thirds.
And, this morning at first light, we drove back to OUG for more.
Wang Ping An (in red, handwritten Chinese characters) fry stall, OUG morning market (outside). At 50 sen each, you're crazy if you don't buy a dozen.