One of the places we learnt about during our recent trip to Cameron Highlands was Yong Teng Café, manned by an old couple who are both hearing and speech impaired. The space is small so it’s best to get there before 9.30am or wait until a table frees up.
The uncle takes the food orders and prepares the drinks, while the aunty does all the cooking. And by all, I mean she cooks the entire menu upon order. So be prepared to wait a little bit for your food and please, be understanding and patient with them.
Yong Teng Café serves a mix of Western and local food – they are known for their chicken chop, pancakes, nasi lemak and fried noodles. Signature dishes are displayed on the signboard for easy reference. The uncle will give you a menu and a notepad with pen for you to write down your order, and he will confirm the order via hand gesture.
Jien and I tried the chicken chop (RM18), which is simple but tasty. The aunty fries it upon order so the chicken is piping hot and juicy. I like that they kept the seasoning simple so it’s not overly salty. This comes with baked beans, a fried egg and some fries.
Our helper really enjoyed the nasi lemak with fried egg (RM3.50) which she ordered again the following day. We tried the version with chicken curry (RM8), and it was not bad. The rice is “lemak” and seasoned with a pinch of salt and the sambal although slightly sweet for my liking packs a wallop. A little dollop goes a long way.
I was expecting fresh strawberries in the pancake but Yong Teng Café uses strawberry preserves (RM7) – still tasty but I would have liked to have the strawberries fresh with cream since we’re in Cameron Highlands. The banana pancake (RM7) is better in my opinion, as the bananas are nicely caramelised so the edges are crisp.
Aunty makes her own pancake batter and her heat control is amazing. She gets the sides super crispy while the centre remains thin and soft. The plain pancake is simply drizzled with honey and it’s also delicious if you’re looking for something simple.
You get to customise your toast at Yong Teng Café – I opted for sunny side up and a chicken sausage (RM7). They also do scrambled eggs if you prefer your eggs cooked that way. Cheese, baked beans and chicken ham are also available.
On our second visit, we tried the mee rebus (RM6) and fried kuay teow (RM6); a popular choice among the diners at Yong Teng Café. The mee rebus is spicy as the aunty uses the sambal from the nasi lemak and also the gravy from the chicken curry to prepare this. Tastewise, it isn’t the mee rebus I’m familiar with – it tastes more like a mee kari than mee rebus.
The fried kuay teow is milder in flavour so if you’re looking for something spicy and wok hei laden, you won’t get it here. Instead, you’ll be getting something that tastes familiar to home. It reminded me of the fried noodles my late grandmother and mother used to cook.
Despite their disability, the uncle and aunty are both friendly and pleasant in nature. Our little ones who are generally shy warmed up to them quite quickly.
Food: 6.5/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: Simple staples but made well. Think of it as your grandmother cooking for you.
Yong Teng Cafe
72a, Persiaran Camelia 4,
39000 Tanah Rata,
Business hours: 7am till 5pm, or until sold out
(closed Tuesday & Thursday)