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Saturday, March 06, 2010

The taste of freedom

From ducks to chickens — Patrick Teoh can’t seem to stay away from feathered creatures.

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Patrick Teoh is one of Malaysia’s most iconic personalities. And why haven’t you been hearing him on the radio, you ask?

That is because the 62-year-old is busy rearing poultry — organic free-range ones at that. But wasn’t it birds that got him in so much trouble in the first place?

For those old enough to remember, Teoh played an April Fool’s joke in 1995 on his radio show when he had his friend call in to complain that her advertising agency was putting ducks on hot plates to make them dance for a commercial.

This upset many people and police reports were lodged before people realised that the “dancing ducks’’ were a hoax. To cut a long story short, many were not happy that Teoh used national radio to play pranks and called for his resignation. Teoh was suspended from radio soon after.

Patrick Teoh infront of his new restaurant
You might think that ducks would be a sore topic for Teoh but this plucky guy has no regrets.

“Come to think of it, it’s quite a silly matter actually,” says Teoh. “The issue was blown out of proportion and even the Ministry of Information got involved. This goes to show that Malaysians can’t really take a joke. But never mind that.

“I decided to get involved in the poultry business when Allan Phoon, who is now my partner, ate this delicious chicken in China. The meat was so tasty that he had to ask the restaurant what type of chicken it was.”

Phoon, 36, found out that the meat tasted different because the chicken, called cho kai in Chinese, was being fed and reared the organic way.

“We both like chicken but the meat we are used to is mostly from factory chickens, like the ones you get with your Hainanese chicken rice. The meat is always very smooth, tender and succulent-looking but is relatively tasteless. The flavour is all in the soya sauce,” points out Teoh.

As Phoon’s family is involved in the farming business, he and Teoh decided to rear their own organic chickens and ducks so that Malaysians would be able to enjoy the delectable meat.

So what makes their organic chickens and ducks different from factory birds?

Wild haruan is on the menu of Damansara Village@Imbi.
“Factory chickens take 30 days to mature but ours take 90 days,” explains Teoh.

“For the first 60 days, the chickens are allowed to roam freely, fed grains, corn, fruit and vegetable scraps and eating worms they find in the ground. We do not feed them chicken feed and they are not given antibiotics or injected with hormones. This results in their meat being very sweet.

We put them in cages for the last 30 days as we don’t want their meat to get too tough. It will be a nice texture. They will continue to eat the same food they have been eating for the past two months.”

Their two-acre farm in Sungkai, Perak, rears 60% chickens and 40% ducks, all of which are supplied to their newly opened Damansara Village @ Imbi restaurant.

“We can’t produce enough to sell commercially so we are just supplying to our restaurant for now. This makes it exclusive. The organic chicken is available at our Imbi restaurant but the organic duck is not on the menu yet. We will be introducing it in a few months’ time. Our other restaurant, Damansara Village Steamboat @ Damansara Jaya, will offer both dishes eventually,” says Teoh.

Their ducks are reared in a similar way, too, being allowed to roam freely for 60 days and fed fruit and vegetable scraps. Factory ducks mature in less than a month.

Surprisingly, they steam their ducks.

“Ducks are usually braised or roasted and are not usually steamed because of their strong smell. The only ingredient added to our organic chicken and duck dishes is salt. You get to savour the original taste of the meat as no herbs, MSG or spices are added at all,” adds Teoh proudly.

Besides the organic birds, Damansara Village @ Imbi also offers wild haruan or sang yee that is caught fresh from the Perak rivers by the orang asli.

“Most of the haruan you find in Chinese restaurants are farmed. They have a strong ‘fishy’ smell and a mushy taste. The orang asli catch about 10-12 wild haruan each week for us. The texture and taste of wild haruan are totally different as the flesh is firmer, almost cod fish-like, and there’s no muddy smell or taste,” explains Teoh.

Damansara Village @ Imbi,
32 & 34, Jalan Utara, off Jalan Imbi
(opposite Pasar Rakyat), Kuala Lumpur.
Non-halal, open from 11.30am-3pm
and 5pm-midnight
Tel: 03-2141-1678.

GPS 3°08'41.08" N 101°43'01.84" E


the Razzler said...

Hi! Patrick..

I must try the organic chicken & duck one day! :)

monsterball said...

From radio acting..and owner and chicken farm owner..Pat seems to move on...from digital and acting skills.... back to make millions...hahahahahahaha
Good luck PAT!!

patrickteoh said...

Hahaha...monsterball, if I made a Ringgit for everytime somebody thinks that I have millions I'd be very rich indeed. But thanks anyway. Hope to see you at the restaurant one day soon.

Tampines Kid said...


I am writing from Singapore where any claim for 'organic' must have some sort of certification. I am not sure if such guidelines are applicable in Malaysia.

Anyway, congratulations to you and your new venture. You have been marvellous in your engagement in Singapore TV and plays. Hope to see you in action soon.

Tampines Kid said...

I am writing from Singapore where any claim for 'organic' must have some sort of certification. I am not sure if such guidelines are applicable in Malaysia.

Anyway, congratulations to you and your new venture. You have been marvellous in your engagement in Singapore TV and plays. Hope to see you in action soon.

You should get your mediacorp contact to feature your restaurant in the food/variety program - this will generate awareness among Singpore food lovers who frequenly go Malaysia for food.

kampong said...

Hey Patrick, how do we greet you should we run into you at the restaurant? Would Niamah be OK? :-)

Tampines kid said...


I am writing from Singapore.

Use your mediacorp contact to get them to feature yoru restaurant in the channel 8 food program - a good publicity for Singapore food lovers to try out your food. Maybe you can get Astro AEC's A-Xian to visit you (his program is also shown on Singapore Ch8).

By the way, 'organic' requires certification in Malaysia? I believe in Singapore one must fulfil certain guidelines before claiming the food to be organic.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be nitpicking but too many businesses use 'organic' as a marketing ploy b'cos (apologies if I am wrong) in Malaysia there is no organic certification authority. So, as a matter of interest, or call it idle curiosity, is the the chicken feed (grains, corn, fruit and vegetable scraps etc) organically grown?


raj raman said...

Must call Allan Poon to supply me his mandarin duck.
This guy good in animal.So you niamah get a right partner.

rajraman666.You are already a millionaire Patrick like Allan Phoon but only low profile about $$$ but high profile when u make fun.

Thank u.
We can be racial but can't be racist.

Charlie Oscar said...

Dear Pat,
Cannot support you no matter how organic or fresh your menus are.
You are too anti-gomen and very pro-PR.
A business man should be neutral or seen to be Apolitical.
Anyway, wishing you all the Best in your businesses!!!

Anonymous said...

i will be there to try out soon...any discount ah?? hehehe...i have tried the salt baked chicken from sungkai and the chicken meat was very ternder n tasty..will wanna try uncle pat's too

Anonymous said...

Get 8TV's Ho Chak to showcase your organic chicken....

Anonymous said...

YES, i remember :
Yasmin kept asking him : " you want to eat ngap-fun (roasted-duck rice)
or not ?" (iwc)

patrickteoh said...

Charlie Oscar, a businessman should be apolitical? Okay I shall think about that.

Raj Raman, I am already a millionaire? How come I don't know one?

Anonymous 8:56 PM. No we don't have certification for our organic claim.And no I am not sure that the feed the chickens eat are organically grown. All I know is that the chicken tastes damn good.

Hey Kampung, when u meet me you call me Patrick. What else? Niamah would be okay too. :-)

wahi said...

Hai Uncle Patrick, I really like the way you do your poultry! It's those things that sets a good business apart. Not sure when I can get over to your eatery, though. Keep it up!

raj raman said...

Raj Raman, I am already a millionaire? How come I don't know one? (niamah quote)

There's a problem with u Patrick,very2 low profiles.Allan Phoon young chap i know him and extremely low profiles.So just admit it.

rajraman666.You may ask Phoon whether i am a millionaire.I will say i don't know but i have millions ideas.
We can be racist but can't be racial.
Thank you.

蟾蜍 said...

Do you serve frog-legs?

It is the 'IN' thing in bolehland now, both organic or inorganic with so much jumping around.

Anonymous said...

Hi there

Hope you also educate the orang asli to catch and release those small haruan lest they catch the nice ones for you and the small ones take home and fry. By next yr, habis a those wild haruan. he he

Must go try your restaurant........soon

Anonymous said...


Ducks and chickens is above non-Malay in Malaysia. You asked why? Because our government allowed Ketuanan Melayu, supported Perkasa, and calling non-Malay pendatang. Not even 2nd class citizens but below the poultry.. :)

Oh yeah only business people that wait for hand out and crutches are apolitical. Or better still cari makan punya olang.. Lowest class of Malaysian type.


azlan said...

too bad its non-halal, would really like to try the chicken and the duck.

1 Malay-sia(L) said...

don't let those teevee fella come to shoot your cho-kai and sang-yue. they go around places eating aaaalot but NEVER once i saw them pay (on AFC Astro CH703)!!! niamah!!!

don't say i didn't warn you...

Anonymous said...

What an ironic title.

Freedom means being caught, cooked then tasted?

PETA is crying fowl (no pun intented).

wenn said...

i love to hear yr voice. i still remember u very well but i didn't know the reason why u just stopped suddenly.

patrickteoh said...

Hi Wenn. I stopped cos I just got tired of doing radio for Radio 4 RTM and nobody else offered me work. Yeah it is just that and nothing more exciting I'm afraid.

Don't worry Azlan, we will introduce the chicken into our Damansara Village@Damansara Jaya eventually. That outlet is PORK-FREE.

Anonymous said...

Patrick people are bringing money out from bolehland, why are you investing back in bolehland

Jestmelah said...

pork-free means halal or not. can be pork-free but non-halal.

let me guess, it's halal- except for the beer, right?

Anonymous said...

That's d way, Pat.
Congrats & good luck in yr business.

I used to DJ too back in d 80s. Can't be jumping around & spinning & scratching d records with white hair & hanging skins always, u know.......!!

Must go try your chickens & ducks one day.
I also not millionaire if u r NOT!!


patrickteoh said...

Anonymous 8:44 AM I am sorry that you are not a millionaire la. I definitely am not. Come try our place out one day. With more customers I will be on my way to becoming a millionaire and like you said if I am one then you will be too. :-)

patrickteoh said...

Jestmelah, pork-free means pork-free. I didn't say Halal. You did.But since you obviously need detailed explanation, no we don't have Halal certification which makes Damansara Village non-Halal. We do serve beer and toddy which are not Halal. But of course many Halal places I know serve alcohol but have Halal certification.

patrickteoh said...

Anonymous said...

Patrick people are bringing money out from bolehland, why are you investing back in bolehland

11:22 PM

Why? Because this is Malaysia. My home. I love my country and really don't want to see it FUCKED UP. Good enough reason?

Ho Liao said...

Dear Charlie Oscar

WTF does food got to do with politics? Is it in the BTN curriculum? I guess you eat and drink thinking of your juara rakyat. Don't tell me you also smell their fart.

Patrick is a good example of non-bumi entrepreneur without any aid from MARA or TEKUN. He does not need JAKIM certification. About time we can eat and drink without any fuss from those flers. Feel free to use lard as it makes food taste wonderfully special.

Swan said...

the chokai is really good and tasty, really unlike the chicken you get elsewhere, those from bukit mertajam are sometimes too tough...

the place has a high ceiling, hence not too noisy when packed (which was over the weekend!).

the fresh fish, crab and prawns for the steamboat with the special soup base is very very nice and we did not get any 'msg aftertaste' so they are kosher....

of course it was great to see Patrick there and one comment i made to my husband was, hey ! the crowd there were generally older...wonder why...maybe becos' all of us could relate to Patrick Teoh from our younger days....

anyway, its really a nice place to go and eat and we are definitely bringing friends over to eat...check it out ! ...but Patrick, do ensure you do not drop the standard when you see the $$$ growing ok ?

monsterball said...

Will arrange a gang to eat in your restaurant.
You can be sure of that.
Again..GOODLUCK and all the best.
I presume Muslims can eat there too....correct?

Anonymous said...

Patrick Khong, your bolehland is already FUCKED UP anyway, the land down south can convert your identity card to a red one with open arms

Charlie Oscar said...

Dear Patrick,
Ho Liao is a TYPICAL Pembangkang Rakyat (PR) Supporter!!!
ALWAYS Curse & Swear and Tokkok without Understanding other people's comments!!!
Mentality of "Oppose for the sake of Opposing"!!!

Pat, All the Best in your Imbi venture!!!

monsterball said...

I forgot...famous news versatile...make me jealous...hahahahahahaha
Yes...see you soon at your restaurant.

patrickteoh said...

Monsterball, Damansara Village @ Imbi is a Non Halal restaurant.

patrickteoh said...

Monsterball, Damansara Village @ Imbi is a Non Halal restaurant.

Khun Pana aka johanssm said...

Being pork free is good enough and Patrick is earning money the Halal way.

Congratulations to Damansara Village.
Will drop by for your famous ' cho-kai' dish.
(Some readers seems not knowing that there are Halal certified restaurent sells beer as well, especially in the BukitBintang area)

Anonymous said...

The chicken should be called 'Kampung Chicken', not organic as there is no certification.

Anonymous said...

Would that tv3 fatty lady 'Jalan jalan Cari Makan' at your restaurant?

She eats in gelojoh way.