Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.
Showing posts with label Petaling Jaya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Petaling Jaya. Show all posts

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family for Comfort

It is crazy. Almost every time my family and I went to One Utama for dinner, we will end up inevitably in Vietnam kitchen. We would always start with some wishful thinking, saying let's go dinner in One Utama. Why? Oh we want to watch movie after or there is something to buy or it is raining, are the usual reasons for a family, especially one with a baby boy (which always serve as the ultimate reason/excuse to everything including being fashionably late).

Sighing, I would then pretend and ask "But where would we eat?"

My dad would pretend to answer "Oh don't know yet?"

As if on cue, I would answer "Alright, we'll see then", with a resign note.

We would then try to act oblivion and with hope that when we get there we will decide on somewhere ‘else’ to eat but in the end we would somehow, someway we would decide on good old Vietnam Kitchen. Not that it is a bad thing because due to the numerous times that we have dined there, it has somehow became a sort of comfort food for us family. It invokes the sort of sense of security where you know what you would be getting anyway and what you would want to order without having to rack your head over the menu with. And almost always that you know what to expect out of the meal. With this, we have somehow minus out the angst that sometimes come with eating out, which instead let’s us focus on the gathering of family aspect itself. Moreover nowayears, with the new addition to the family, we do indeed need a lot of extra focus; it is quite amazing how a little package can bring so much more to what there already is.

It is true that sometimes, something that we have so much off we would actually overlook, thus you can see why the lack of pictures for this place that I have been more times than any other places that I have reviewed here. Nevertheless the food is enough to comfort no matter how many times we have been there. Though I must say it used to be better, bigger portions and better fried spring rolls, but still it is worth to go for affordable Vietnamese food or if you and your family have no idea where to go and need some kind of fall-back plan to keep the peace.

Vietnamese Bun
If I am ever going for a single dish for myself, I would always go for the Vietnamese bun that I find oh so light and easy to eat. It is almost like an Asian noodle salad, rice vermicelli served on a bed of fresh sliced greens (normally cucumber and carrot), topped with either grilled chicken or pork, herbs, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. This Vietnam Kitchen version comes with sliced fried spring rolls too. Then it is served with the Vietnamese popular condiment - Nuoc cham (fish sauce mix with lemon, garlic, vinegar, sugar and chili), for you to drizzle over the dish generously. Ah, just describing it makes me want to go get one of these refreshing dish for this hot day.

Pork ball noodle soup and Beef noodle soup
My dad on the other hand would always go for his soupy goodness, sometimes my brother in law will follow suit, which is the pork ball noodles, which comes with smooth rice noodles and clear but flavourful soup. Meanwhile, though my dad being a non-fan of beef, there is also the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup here. It may not be the best of its kind but for the variety that this restaurant is serving, it is good enough for its kind. It is the usual famous Vietnamese noodle soup with thick broth and smooth noodles.

Vietnam Kitchen House Platter

House platter
Besides that though we almost always order the house platter which is a somewhat like my Vietnamese bun but deconstructed and with addition of more meats like grilled shrimp wrap around sugar cane and meatballs. Also it comes with fresh big greens and rojak-like dark sauce for use to roll the fillings together in a rice paper. Yes, it is kind of like the Vietnamese version of our popiah.

Set menu/dishes and
There were few times that we had ordered from set menu before when we are eating in larger crowd but I personally think that the ala-carte dishes are better.

All in all, after the meal each time, everyone would be happy and then get on with their reason for being there, but one thing to give warning to if you are in a similar situation like mine is, do not start walking around with a toddler to entertain him for you might succumb to his/her seemingly innocent big brown eyes which sparkles at a certain thing which would end up with you having a lighter wallet. You have been warned, bout the toddler of course and not the meal, do try it if you are ever in One Utama and like us have no idea on where to eat in there.

Bandar Utama Shopping Centre
S312 2th Floor Highstreet,
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama Damansara
47800 Petaling Jaya
0377241336

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Taste of Kampung

Buka Puasa, which means literarily ‘to open the fast’, is done in the month of Ramadhan. Malaysia, has a big percentage of people who are Islam that observes this fasting in the day and break their fast at Maghrib (sunset) prayer time. Being part of this multi-cultural country, the rest of us non-Muslims couldn’t help but also join in the feast that comes with the buka puasa. These elaborate meals are mostly for the community to get together and nurture fellowship. In Malaysia it also tops to nurture the sense of Muhibbah (living in harmony) between all of us. Here for the elaborate meals we can have from the roadside Bazaar Ramadhan (local food market that only opens during these times) to restaurants featuring various promotions to fine dining and buffets that cater specially for this. At these times the feasting was great as various hard to get authentic local dishes will gather in one or few places for us to savour.

Therefore when I was invited to have a Ramadhan buffet review in Paya Serai, Hilton PJ, I knew I would be in for a great feast and thus accepted eagerly. Boy was I right! The buffet spread headed by Chef Noor Hisham definitely did not disappoint as it offers extravagant spread of over 100 local and international cuisines. Apparently it changes every week but at the time that I went is enough for me to think that I covered most of the important dishes in Malaysia. As I walk from the buffet line inside to the outside where they had set up mini stalls, nicely decorated with kampung (village) style and serving local delights had me gush with excitement, mentally noting to taste everything, well almost.

As I was taking pictures earlier before the buka puasa starts, a man was curious to why I was doing the picture shootings thus I explained that I am a food blogger here for review. Then straight away he gushes on with the reason why he came here for buka puasa and it had been one of his favourite choices because here is where you can find the real authentic taste of Malay food. He added that you may find the same dishes in other buffets but none can compare to the real taste here and to top it off the variety we can find here as well. Being suddenly really tham jiak and focusing on what I would eat soon I actually forgot to ask the name of this young man that gave me the secret information, thus I hope if you are reading this and you recognise your praises do drop a comment here!

Armed with this new information, I resolved to taste all the local Malay dishes above anything else. Here you would be able to get all the authentic kampung dishes in one place! I started with the scrumptious appetisers of Buah Jeruk, Acar Rampai, Kerabu Pucuk Ubi, Kerabu Nangka, Taufu Sumbat and Sup Ekor. I am totally a fan of all these acar and kerabu dishes, which are sweet, sour and slightly spicy, it is a delight to the tongue, truly something Malaysian. Honorouble mentioned also goes to the Sup Ekor (oxtail soup) that was so rich and flavourful, I just had to lap it all up.

For the main course I zoomed in on all the Malays dishes again, ranging of Nasi Lemak with sambal sotong, beef rendang, ikan masak lemak (fish curry), assam prawns, lemang, serunding daging (dried beef flakes), kacang botol and satay. At the ‘live action’ stalls that I mentioned, you get chefs cooking and serving you freshly made food Kambing Panggang, Roti Jala, Putu Piring, and Murtabak. Here notably with tham jiak stars was the nasi lemak with sambal sotong (spicy squid) as the sambal was really good and the sotong cook till tender, it was almost perfect except the absence of wrapping in banana leaves. Another noted was the roti jala was done really well too, I had second helpings of it. The satay (barbecued meat on stick) were tender yet crunchy on the outside got the thumbs up from me.


At the end for dessert, time for me to open up the other section of my stomach, we had so many local choices again like Bubur Pengat Pisang, Bubur Durian and many more Buburs in a row, freshly made Apam Balik, Tapai Ubi and Malay Kuihs. From here I must say I love the Pengat Pisang which was not overtly sweet as the usual that I found and the texture of it was just right, and the Bubur Durian, which was also not too sweet and with the pungent taste of this king of fruits that doesn’t overpower but it doesn’t hide as well. A second helping of this Bubur Durian seals my kampung feast of tonight nicely.

Thanks again to Frat and the lovely ladies of Zest PJ for the invite to this wonderful Ramadhan buffet. Indeed it was a scrumptious meal and it made this tham jiak very happy to be able to taste so many authentic Malay dishes at one go. For those who would also want to buka puasa here or just to join in the fellowship as well, here are the information:

First 3-days of Ramadhan
Adult: RM75++
Child (below 12 years old): RM45++
The next one-week
Adult: RM99++
Child (below 12 years old): RM59++
The following weeks
Adult: RM109++
Child (below 12 years old): RM69++

More information at Zest PJ

Paya Serai
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia
603 7955 9122 extn. 4260/1

Friday, April 02, 2010

Chill at Uncle Chilli's

If you're looking for a place to chill with good booze and music, yet still have a hearty meal, Uncle Chilli's is the place for you. I came here once when we had the previous food review Toh Yuen, which has to-die-for Chinese food and if you have not read about that yet you must here, and that time I had a had a great time, performances were great and drinks kept on coming! But it had never occur to me that one can have a complete meal right at this place itself while still enjoying the drinks, the atmosphere and the crowds.


I must say it is a bold concept by the Hilton PJ folks, but the bold achieves great things right, so hopefully this concept works out. I had a great time there and had been thinking of right occasions to bring my friends as well. This is the kind of place where you just want to go for a good meal, have a good chat and then continue to party without adjourning to elsewhere. Beware though if you plan for a quiet night of talking, you would need to leave at night before the live performance starts.

So with bold concept of the place comes bold concept of food? Not quite so but I must say I totally enjoy the unpretentious and hearty meal that they offered here in Uncle Chili’s. We started off with Caesar salad, I for one was never really a fan of this salad, but this one here has the right balance on balance of creaminess yet fresh, but I think the winner was the perfectly cooked egg, just the right softness with slightly gooey yolk, ah who would have thought the best food in life is one of the most basic one at that, and it could only have been better if it was a perfectly poached egg instead. Hah, pardon me.


Then on came the Crab Bisque, such indulgence for an appetizer, but nonetheless it was delightfully rich, creamy and smooth to the palate. I would definitely order this if I come again, only that this time I might request for less salt.


Then came the excruciating decision making part, where we had to decide between seemingly delicious mains – Uncle Chili’s burger with guacamole and spicy salsa (just typing this makes me want to have it now) or Tomato glazed black cod with seared scallop in saffron broth (sounds truly elegant and inviting) or braised lamb shank with onion confit (definitely sounds like comfort food to me). So after gnawing and gnawing on my fingernails, I came to conclusion to go for the black cod, but of course after we had a compromise with the rest to order burger and lamb shank for sharing. Ah, how apt, this tham jiak was excited at the prospect of trying everything!

But first with her choice, she was very please indeed, as it was definitely the best of the three, at least for her, as the saffron scented broth was really flavourful while the cod and the seared scallop was exquisitely soft yet toothy. The beans were also a clever addition to the texture dimension of the entire dish.


As for the rest of the mains, the Uncle Chili’s burger holds true to its name for being a signature dish, standing tall and wide, it holds promises of huge juicy meat patty with loads of generous filling squeezed in between it. The fries were also addictively good as it were crisp and nearly devoid of oil. Though I must say I would have preferred better kick of salsa and guacamole, the main star as we can quite see was actually the burger itself.


Besides that, the lamb shank was good, as the meat was soft and juicy while swimming in a good measure of broth. The sunny side up egg gave it a little perk too.


Of course then, after a full and satisfying meal, will then come the next favourite moment for this tham jiak – the dessert! I find it that, no matter how full one can be from all the food, there is always a spare room in there that has the space for desserts. Is it only me or is it so for everyone else as well? I hope you would agree cause it would be quite a shame to miss the dessert here as the one we had was pretty good. Nicely assembled was the warm chocolate pudding with amarulla pudding, which is topped with a peanut butter crunch and then piled on with macadamia nut ice cream. Is your mouth watering yet? The whole assemble was cleverly thought out, with enough crunch, slightly warm creaminess and chocolatey sweetness atop with some cold ice cream.


So there goes, a nice dessert to end a nice meal of the night which was started with some nice appetizers, but of course the most important of all, was accompanied by a nice bunch of people to make it a truly enjoyable dinner. Once again thanks to the lovely people in theQguides.com and Zest PJ for having this tham jiak enjoy another wonderful meal at Hilton PJ.

Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
Menu

Friday, December 11, 2009

And the Duck Goes

Best duck in Klang Valley? Possibly. Best duck in PJ? Most likely. Best duck in Seapark? Definitely! One day I had a chance to be around my favourite PJ area and so caught up with fellow housemate to eat duck at the famous Sunrise restaurant


For this place it is better to be early than be sorry. Once long ago, (did I say long?), when I was still in university, my friends and I had eagerly went there bout ‘normal’ lunch time, before 1pm and was told that all has been sold off. I was like ‘What!” and stared at the rows of duck hanging still at the stall and then I sweep the entire restaurant in seconds to be greeted by tables empty of ducks and patrons anticipating hungrily. So we shrug and left in disappointment. But after that I did have a chance to try it once or twice when I am ever early enough to catch the bird, literary. 


So this time imagine my delight when we were seated promptly and then ordered half a duck for both of us, my eyes bulging at the thought of it but who cares, I am ready to take on the challenge. Just when the duck came and is laid in front of us, crispy sin glistening atop tender juicy looking duck meats, all doubts went out the window. I am ready to devour it clean!




What makes this one of the best duck in town? One, as I heard from friends that are generally more sensitive to eating duck due to its ‘gamey’ texture and taste, they said that the ones over here are overall less rubbery and lighter in taste yet manage to retain the unique taste of duck. How does one began to describe the taste of duck? As for me, the tham jiak, I am all for either end of duck spectrum, but for this one, I absolutely love the juicy meat, rare in ducks, and crispy skin. Just look at the skin again! The sauce that comes with it also complements the crispy duck very well, definitely a dish that helps one finish up the entire plate of rice. Burp!
Now what are you waiting for? Go out there and get the possibly best duck in town!

Sunrise Restaurant
31, Jalan 21/1

Sea Park
46300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
03-7876 9689

Daily except Mondays, 11.30am till sold out

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Secret

Psst, I have a secret to tell you. Yes, you! Come closer. Have a look at this:


Clockwise from top left: Durian Puff, Chee Cheong Fun, Xiao Long Bao, Steamed Egg Yolk Custard Bao, Seaweed Roll, Pork and Chinese Sausage Rolled in Beancurd Skin.
Yes it is as good as it looks. Yes there are many more. And yes, there are actually good dim sum in Klang Valley! (Thunder claps at a far distant for a dramatic effect)

This secret was actually revealed to me by my good buddy Y, this was how she said it “Have you tried the dim sum restaurant behind our house? No? You must! Damn on!” Yeah, that is practically what she had said, and for the record, she claims the expression ‘Damn on!’ as hers and she plan to advocate it to a point of becoming a common exclamation for anything that is real good. If you hear it anywhere else by anyone, remember you hear it here first with credit to Y, I did not want her to sue me for plagiarism.

So, I perked up immediately with interest as I have always been on the lookout for good dim sum around Klang Valley. Either I found those that are mediocre or lack of choices, or environment not as good enough and usually those good ones you got to pay through your nose, which of course I have yet to explore so I cannot comment if those are good enough. But for this secret that we found, the price was reasonable, the choices are amazing during the peak like weekend breakfast to late lunches or the urbanites favourite hip brunches, while the choices dwindled down to acceptable for the other times but all in all the quality remains, freshness secured somehow and the environment is comfortable with air-condition (crucial for the crazy Malaysia heat), spacious, and clean. Totally defying the usual dim sum haunt where people have to brace the heat, the humidity, the rowdy crowds, the tight spaces where servers try to navigate around tight spaces with huge tray of dim sum for people to choose.

On top of it all, the most important criteria for this place worthy of praise is its dim sum, of course (duh!). But it is definitely true; the dim sum makes this place worth to be the ‘secret’. Normally dim sum are made of two very key ingredients – pork and shrimp. Both of these are really fresh here, where the pork (suspected to have mixed with pork fat and beaten together to form the paste) always has what Asian like to call, the QQ texture (soft yet toothy), while the shrimp, minced or whole, are also springy and absent of any hint of staleness. Other than that, there also many more items worthy of trying over here, in variety from its steamed dumplings to steam bao to fried items to even the sweet stuff.

Clockwise from top left: Siu Mai, Fried Brinjal stuffed Fish Paste, Jin Tui, Crystal Shrimp Dumpling
My personal recommendations to try are first, the most ubiquitous dim sum around – Siu Mai (steamed pork dumpling). Oh boy, the Siu Mai over here is definitely superior to the usual, with the fresh pork and prawn mixed and wrapped together, it also has a pleasant flavouring that I couldn’t quite guess what of but happily chew away anyway. Give it a try and you shall know what I mean. Next on my list is the Chee Cheong Fun, also superior to many out there, as this one, the skin is as smooth as silk with good mixture of either prawn or Char Siew or both with a good dose of sauce. Another must try is the Scallop Har Gao, better than the more familiar Har Gao, this one has its specialty of fresh scallop along with prawn wrapped in crystal like skin. Besides that, from my numerous experiences at this place, those that I can remember as good on top of my head now are fried prawn dumpling, thai style beancurd and XO pork ribs. For sweet stuff to clean the palate, I highly recommend the durian puff which is real durian pulp wrapped with nest-like pastry and then deep fried till crispy, really a must for durian lover though these are usually only available during weekend and normally sold out by lunch time.

Before you rush out to this secret of ours, there are few things to take note of. If you go during the peak hours of the weekend where it is hip to have dim sum for brunches apparently, be prepared to wait for a table. They had set up a tent with chairs for people to wait outside the restaurant, so if you are prepared to wait in the heat and your tummy are not growling with hunger, then you can head there, give your name and wait for your turn to be called. Rest assured though once seated, you can start your feast right away as they have trays and trays of steaming hot and freshly fried dim sum circling around for people to take straightaway. On the other hand, if you go during non peak times, it is entirely different where you can walk in straight for a table but you had to order your food through the menu or memory and wait for the food to be prepared. As during non peak times, the food are ‘steamed to order’ and some made to order as well. Though some fried stuff are ready for choosing but it may not be as piping hot as it should be.

Now that the secret is out (though it may not seem like such a secret anymore judging from the crowd at peak times), what are you waiting for? Head out there now to have a fix of your dim sum, either be a hip urbanite and brace the crowd for your weekend brunches or when there are sudden pangs of cravings for little morsels of goodness; this secret place is sure to please.

Jin Xuan Hong Kong
59, 61 & 63, Jalan SS22/19,
Damansara Jaya,
47300 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor
03-7729 6866
Daily, 7.00am – 11.30pm
Branches:
Damansara Utama and Kuchai Entrepreneurs’ Park

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chow-what? Chowtut!

Chow what? You heard me right, chowTUT! When I first heard of this word I thought, chow as in a meal and tut as in censored where you’re suppose to insert profanities here. So what is there to swear about food? Oh my, trust me, after the chowtut session, you would start swearing too, for being condemned to your chair permanently, or at least for a significant amount of time.


But by the definition of the originators, Integricity employees, here is the real meaning behind Chowtut:

CHOWTUT [chow-tut]
- noun / verb
An excessive dose, especially of food or alcoholic beverage
"Wahhh! Last night I chowtut at Changkat!"
"That fella sleeping la... he chowtut for lunch"
In short according to Frat, it is “The ultimate smorgasbord of orgasmic-tut (real censoring here)-fingerlickin'good-auntieonemoreplate food all in one place... at the same time.”


So the very lucky people of the Integricity, would have a quarterly chowtut on good foods from various, and various is by the meaning of nearly all over Klang Valley, in one place – their office. How is that? Early before the traffic of long Friday lunches are out in our lazy Malaysian afternoon, few designated employees don their sunglasses, zip up their jackets and rev up their super bikes (exaggeration alerted), and zoom off to their respective assignments of various eateries, from nearby Uptown to TTDI to Bangsar and all the way to the heart of KL – Tengkat Tong Shin and also span out to even Batu Caves, just to pack their said important orders and then brace the starting-to-form-traffic back to the office.


After that scene I was stuck. You see, this tham jiak here took for granted that she could reach the food haven in 30 minutes (she forgot it’s a Malaysian Friday!) and so she had to crawl through the traffic, staying cool with promises to self of many good food to come. She was already forming the heart-stopping-artery-clogging spread of food in her mind and boy, when she arrived, she found herself reliving her imaginations, albeit a bit massacred. You see, upon arriving fashionably late of 30 minutes, the wonderful spread has already been butchered to near oblivion, so no acceptable pictures could be captured but fret not (pun intended), her trusted friend Frat shall supply her with drool-worthy pictures, taken by him plus stolen from his friend, Nigel. Without further hesitation, tham jiak threw her belonging away and start digging in, before all there was nothing left!


She bit her tongue, “mmm, where to start”


Somebody whispered behind her ear “you got to get the char siew, it is reaallllyy good, and it is nearly finished!”. A hand from somewhere, just like an angel, points towards the said precious meats. She zoomed right on it and grabbed a few, nearly all but conscience got the better of her, then she bit into the juicy meat and she was at a sudden revelation – the feast had finally begun!



747 Kopitiam (SFS)
Jalan PJU 1/3C,
Sunway Mas Commercial Centre.


Next on her plate was this unassuming looking noodle, but not to be misled by its looks, it was really more-ish kind of tasty! The mee mamak was special in its way, sort of fried with a Chinese flare but in a good way. Then on the other hand there was the undisputable Sang Har Hor Fun, with huge freshwater prawns on top of soupy flat rice noodles, it was as good as it looks, on contrary you can judge this book by its cover! Time to head all the way to Batu Caves for lunch one of these days! Maybe on another long lazy Friday lunch, any takers?



Pan Heong Restoran
No 2, Jln Medan Batu Caves 2,
Batu Caves, Selangor
03-6187 7430
8 am- 3:30pm


While deciding to pour more good stuff onto the plate or not, tham jiak just had to sit down and start devouring first. Then suddenly she saw right in front of her, the golden buttery squid, she just had to poke one and put it into her mouth, and oh my, was it good – crispy then chewy at the same time all creamy and buttery, ah, such bliss. Also from this restaurant that she have blogged before was the fried pork yee mee (egg noodles), which tasted sinfully good, just slightly on bitter side though.



Mama’s Kitchen,
48, Jln Datuk Sulaiman,
TTDI, 60000 KL
03-7729 3030l


Then she saw Jek, who is happily biting on his deep fried chicken, the tham jiak just had to have one too! She had these before, nicely fried with secret (as she cannot name what are they, she just know their good) spices and was glad to have them again in free-flow sort of way. She ate one. Finished everything else, and took another one again. Then she rested, or rather her tummy did, and then she had another one of these. Yes, it was that addictive!



Village Park Restaurant
5, Jalan SS21/37,
Damansara Utama,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
03-77107860
7 am to 8pm daily,
7 am to 6 pm on Sunday/Public Holiday


Then finally, she stood up from the remnants of her food on the plate to go get the rest of the soupy goodness. She found a cute orange bowl, thankfully, and heads on to get her fair share of our very own famous Malaysian dish - bak kut teh. Ah, as FBB say, can’t go wrong with this one from Teluk Pulai, and also thanks to boo for going all the way to get it and then even sponsor it! Some say she had just bought a permanent ticket to all future chowtuts at Integricity, I better think of my ticket for the next one, wouldn’t want to miss it!



Last but not least, some sweetness to end a meal (or was it multiple meals in one sitting?), there were doughnuts! Though she would love to have the chocolatey creamy one that Jek ate or rather lap up, those were so popular she was just left with either the plain or the chocolate glaze, she had to go for chocolate, you know her the chocoholic!


Krispy Kreme
Midvalley or Berjaya Times Square



Oh yes, that is Frat with the doughnuts, she suspected he was guarding the chocolatey creamy ones for his master Jek, ah he forgot about her on this one! Maybe this can be an excuse for tham jiak to make him give her a ticket for the next chowtut. Now after having a session of her first chowtut, this tham jiak totally understand now the meaning of “An excessive dose, especially of food or alcoholic beverage” and totally up for the next round of chowtut!


PS: Pictures are courtesy of Frat and Nigel


PPS: Fellow chowtutties (term from lemongrass) blogs on this:
FatBoyBakes
Boo-licious
Mr. Cheong
Nigel
Frat Mustard

Monday, March 09, 2009

In Praise of Pork – Char Siew

WARNING: Extremely non-Halal

As I am a true Chinese at heart, it was definitely filled with love for all things pork. Pork has been such a centrefold in Chinese cuisine, so much so, none can truly said they had fully tasted Chinese food without sampling its myriads of pork dishes. Just to name a few famous ones are the Char Siew (sweet barbecued pork), Siew Yok (roasted pork), dim sum (all pork varieties), braised pork, pork ribs, pork chop, minced pork atop many dishes, lap cheong (pork sausage), ham and oh so much more. How can I sing praises to good old pork? One way is to present all its glory in series of posts dedicated to it, that's how.

One best way, in my humble opinion, to present pork in all its glory is by singing praises of the caramelized skin to good combination of fat and juicy lean meat with charred skin for the extra texture, mother of all pork – Char Siew. Usually good Char Siew restaurant would ask you to pick between lean, medium or fat meat, which naturally, J and I would pick medium, for me the lean meat lover (oh pork aficionados do not look at me with that eye) and J the ones who revel in the full fat glory.

When I did a quick search in trusty Google for the ‘best char siew’ in KL and guess what, I was returned with pages of Meng Kee Char Siew in Jalan Alor. And yes I had to agree with Mr. Google here, the best Char Siew I have ever had was at this place. Thanks to a makan-kaki (fellow food-lover), JC (I am apparently running out of initials here for my anonymous friends, and why are there so many Js around?) , who very much likes to message me during Friday morning like this:

“Tham Jiak! Where are you going for lunch today?”
(For the uninitiated, Friday lunches are the epitome of all weekday’s lunches as it usually spans for officially 2 hours (technically more with excuses of traveling) for our fellow Islam friends to do their Friday prayers).

“Er, not sure yet...”

“Tham Jiak wor, how can...?”

“Erm...”

“Come find me I bring you to THE Char Siew place!”

At this point the picture of sweet juicy BBQ pork invades my mind and I can even begin to taste it in my mouth (he brought me there once during my free and happy days in KLCC) and so my hand shift to auto-mode, typing furiously at the keyboard:

“Whoa, ok-ok, let’s go!”

It doesn’t matter that I worked about 50km away from THE Char Siew place. It also doesn’t matter that I had to pass two tolls to get there as soon as possible to bite into the said juicy meat. So I grab an unassuming fellow colleague, A, who is also a friend of his and well understanding to our Tham Jiak-ness, flew us at max speed there, while on the way having JC calling us in 10 minutes interval asking where we are, which I can only answer randomly reading out of signboards, which we both doubt he knows where but it is so obvious that he needs to have his Char Siew fix soon, and seating there waiting among tables of it, bathing in its lovely aroma is not helping.

About ages later, we got there, and once we sat down and before we can even utter finish “yau fan (oily rice), our table is filled with a big plate of Char Siew and some other lesser accompaniments like bean sprouts, steamed chicken, pork innards and Siew Yok (roasted pork) which could not quite match to its sister pork. The Char Siew here is arguably the best, with the sticky (yet not stick-to-teeth kind) skin, with slight tinge of sweetness, juicy sweet meat and with the right combination of fat and lean meat. Oh boy, thinking of it now makes me want to fly there again on next week’s Friday lunch.

Meng Kee Char Siew
13 Tengkat Tong Shin,
Kuala Lumpur
11.00am - 2.00pm
Closed on Sunday

But of course not all the time I am so adventurous and crazy as such to travel the distance, yes not even for my beloved Char Siew, and that though had my cravings crying at times during the weekend, was then finally answered by a new found place right in Petaling Jaya itself, what more a few stone’s throw from my place – Famous Seremban Favourites restaurant! Many bloggers had already sing praises to its Char Siew, and I had been hankering to go for a while, and finally one day, it was J itself that initiated for us to go there as he had a recommendation from a fellow colleague, have I not mentioned that this place was famous?

So we head there in glee one Saturday noon, and were immediately greeted by rows of yummy looking Char Siew hanging at the stall. But do not try to head to the stall and order like the usual hawker ways, the ordering is apparently restricted to boss, which is frantically trying to serve everyone by taking orders and claiming the bill all at once. To be honest, at times it was a bit frustrating trying to flag him down to get orders and also to pay up. If you are willing to stand the slow service and have an arm that does not tire from waving and with a heart steeled with love for Char Siew, then I definitely recommend this place for PJ folks who want to enjoy a good yummy Char Siew.

The skin is definitely charred to perfection, too sticky at times, and could be quite sweet so do be careful of dousing on the extra Char Siew sauce, combination of fat and lean meat which we ordered are the just right and juicy with the so famously quoted melt-in-your-mouth sensation. J and I had few times re-ordered in one seating as we could not seem to have enough of the Char Siew, which brings more pain to both parties due to the slow service and lack of help. Thus on subsequent visits, we tried to cover everything in one order. Also take note that they run out of Char Siew real quickly, once we arrive slightly after one and got disappointed as it had ran out and we had to make do by eating the other usual lesser accompaniments of steamed chicken, siu kao (this was not bad actually with generous filling), Hakka mee (worth a mention that it was among the best in PJ) and kon-lo lou shi fun (dry toss rat-tail noodle).

Famous Seremban Favourites
80-1 (Ground Floor), Jalan PJU 1/3B,
Sunway Mas Commercial Centre,
Petaling Jaya
7.30am - 5.30pm
Closed on the Tuesday

As for the last place worth a mention was actually the Char Siew in Restaurant Overseas, which I had a chance to try in a recent visit for a Chinese New Year dinner with fellow ex-colleagues at its Jaya One branch. I was seemingly excited for this dish, amidst all the other delicious sounding orders, and my heart nearly stopped when the waitress return to say that the roast pork we ordered ran out of...Siew Yok, oh no problem then, please bring the a plate FULL of Char Siew.


Picture courtesy of AC (once again I ran out of initials)

It was indeed a blessing in disguise, the Char Siew was also delicious with slight mixture of fat to its juicy lean meat, charred skin and not the sweet kind yet still retain the pork’s natural sweetness. I would have come back again for its Char Siew but I could not say the same for the rest of the dishes, thus finding it hard to warrant a revisit. If I ever get to have a nice sit-down dinner again at this place, I would certainly order a plate full of Char Siew again.

Restaurant Overseas
Jaya One
Petaling Jaya
603-7956 9911
11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 10.30pm
Other Branches

There you all have it, the best of the best Char Siews in KL and PJ, recommended by this Tham Jiak. If any of you do have any other good recommendations for Char Siew do let me know! I am more the willing to indulge in more! Praise to the pork!

Note: Click on the resturant names for the map
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