These days, everything is about convenience, isn’t it? Internet banking, liposuction, online shopping, cable programmes recorder, PDA integrated mobile phones, Xpress boarding…as long as you’ve got the dough, you’ve got convenience. Life in the fast lane can’t get any faster than this, provided you don’t crash and burn, that is.
Heck, even the usual day-long reunion dinners (preparations included) have been conveniently reduced to a 2 hours hassle-free dinner at restaurants which are kind enough to open on reunion’s day to satisfy you speedsters. Not that I’m complaining though. Think of a joyful day without bickering on whose doing the dishes, swearing of the little ones while folding back the endless collapsible chairs and those dreadful whispers of whose dish was the yuckiest. This is real, people, unlike those syrup-glazed reunion advertisements you see on television. Yes, reality bites.
This year, the senate (those with the dough power, actually) has again unanimously voted for a hassle-free dinner away from home. Hooray! No more tasteless sweet and sour pork from Aunt No. XXX or Aunt No. YYY’s oily curry.
Sin Kar Hee was the choice. A first for me. There are 3 restaurants on the same row of shops bearing very similar names. I wonder why. Apparently, this specific restaurant is famous for its (very) affordable price tag and commendable food. Judging from the overflowing number of reserved red-clothed tables, I was quite sure there’ll be havoc no matter how heavily armoured this restaurant was. Thank goodness the rascals were punctual (me included) and we started feasting at 6.00 pm sharp before everyone else.
The Yu Sang (raw fish salad) got the ball rolling. Kiasuism galore as everyone tried to toss higher than the rest while yelling auspicious phrases like (loosely translated), “toss higher, prosperity more”, “business good like dragon” and “ascending with every step”. Whatever happened to “heal the world”? The salad was generic at best, with the sweet plum sauce dominating the overall taste. Textures were aplenty, from the crunchiness of the crushed peanuts to the crispness of the crackers to the softness of the fish.
The Deep-Fried Beancurd With Thai Sauce somehow resembled a rojak sans shrimp paste. Instead, a sweet and sour Thai sauce was used to dress the crunchy pieces of beancurd. Crushed peanuts and sliced onions added both flavour and texture. A simple dish that appealed to the little ones.
I enjoyed Kar Hee's version of Braised Pig Trotter. The skin was smooth and soft while the meat was tender and flaky. The savoury braising sauce was minimally sweet and was not overpowered by the five-spice powder. My only complaint being the slightly starchy sauce.
Despite the plentiful ingredients, I thought the Braised Seafood In Claypot was unexciting to say the least. The prawns were fresh but the sea cucumber was quite hard. Braised? Hmmm...The sauce was a mere starch and oyster sauce mixture.
Next on the menu was the Steamed Chicken. Frozen chicken it was not, the meat was tender and quite flavourful. The warm juice from the chicken tasted savoury and sweet. A good accompaniment to the untouched bowl of white rice. I wished there was a shallots/sesame oil/soya sauce/cilantro dipping to go with it though.
The dinner gained momentum as the Steamed Hybrid Fish was served. A new Taiwanese breed of river carp (wan yu) and bighead carp (song yu) combined, the restaurant claimed. Cooked just right, the meat was flaky and smooth. The sauce was a typical diluted minced garlic/ginger paste, which provided a sharp and flavourful twist to the rather bland freshwater meat. The only downside being the countless amount of Y-shaped bones.
Greens-wise, there was the generic Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts. The sprouts were well-cooked but lacked in that fried garlic flavour and wok hei (slightly char flavour). We also had Stir-Fried Bittergourd With Scrambled Eggs. Albeit the slight over-saltiness of the sauce, the addition of eggs added a wonderful aroma to the dish. No picture of the bittergourd as the rascals weren't that camera-tolerant. Food-blogging friends, go get your baseball bats!
Did I mention the greens were the finale for the evening? Well, technically yes. But I guess laughters and teasings were really taxing and we ended up ordering an additional signature dish of Kar Hee's to make up for energy lost. The Steamed Frog Legs With Chinese Wine. Served piping hot, the meat was tender, succulent and sweet. Infusion of the sweet wine added another dimension to the dish. Best consumed while hot. Portion was humongous, by the way.
Overall, the dishes were commendable. Exquisite they were not, but definitely good tai chow (stir-fried dishes). With that many auspicious ingredients (prawns, fish, chicken), a bill summing up to only about RM830 for two tables (of 12 pax each), including a few bottles of Heineken, and endless laughters, there was not much that I can complain about, really.
The rest proceeded to desserts at a relative's house while I rushed to my second appointment. Talk about the fast lane, huh? I was on overdrive that night.
Kedai Makanan Kar Hee
No. 28, Jalan Manjoi
Taman Kok Lian
51200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 6253 1240, (+6019) 277 4003, (+6012) 338 0469