Friday, February 20, 2009

HUP KEE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Most of the time, I don't ask why I was brought to a certain restaurant or stall to eat. I'm sure my parents find them to be of a certain standard (as in taste and not ambiance and class, which we really don't care much) before suggesting it to the spoilt (as in the tastebuds) son.

I vaguely remember dining here although I do pass by this area quite often. The restaurant itself is of an interesting proportion, almost like a slice of pie (yes!), and looked more like a rusty zinc-roofed coffee shop that serves breakfast in the morning and perhaps, just beer at night to the old folks who live nearby.

Things got a little interesting when the boss came to take our order and dad started to talk to him. Apparently, this restaurant has been around for more than 50 years. Back in the olden days, this was like the place to be for lunches and dinners. The owner of this restaurant, whom was also the father of the current boss, used to play soccer with the uncles in my neighbourhood! Now, I was more intrigued in their conversation rather than the food. Things have not changed much since then. It is still packed during lunch hours but the dinner crowd has thinned. We didn't ask why but judging from the number of commercial buildings surrounding this restaurant, it was quite obvious dinners are often catered to the residents in the neighbourhood, which is rather scare as most houses made way for the development of this area.

And that's not a bad thing, if you ask me. With a smaller crowd, one is able to absorb in the history of this place. The interior is still very much similar to those old coffee shops in Chinatown and the signboard bearing the name of this restaurant still stands tall, overlooking the busy Jalan Ipoh.

Although they've stepped up to the game by coming up with dishes to suit the younger tastebuds, we went for their good old signature dishes instead. Okay, it was dad's idea to go classic.

It came piping hot and the aroma of the mashed salted fish was simply wonderful. The continuous heat supplied by the claypot ensured that the aroma is not lost and that's great. There's something about that acquired taste (and smell) of salted fish that makes it appetizing. The pork belly, coated with a nice, thick layer of soya sauce was well-cooked and delicious. Some dried chillies were added for heat as well. I had a crazy thought of mixing my bowl of white rice into the claypot and just have it all to myself because white rice and this dish make a perfect pair, definitely.

I remember a fish dish. Deep-fried that resulted in a crispy skin and flaky white meat. But I can't seem to recall the type. Most probably a siakap. But it was the soya sauce that got me excited. So, what makes a good soya sauce dressing for fried fish? It has to be re-cooked with piping hot oil and fried garlic. There should be enough sweetness in it to give a good contrast to the saltiness of the sauce. And yes, this one was just everything I imagined. Nice.

When the boss suggested spinach with superior soup, I rolled my eyes in my mind. Yes, it's definitely achievable. Anyway, it was a signature dish that was greatly misunderstood on my part. The fact is, it was not so much about the spinach but the soup itself. One sip and you'll taste the richness of the soup. Not surprising as it does come with three types of eggs, namely century, salted and well, normal chicken eggs. To add more flavours and textures, there were button mushrooms, shitakes, chinese ham and anchovies. A bowl packed with flavours, this. As I looked around, this dish was on every table! They don't call this a signature for nothing.

Dad had to order the classic of the classics; fried prawns with yam sticks. Perhaps for diversity in texture and taste, the combination was interesting but the batter was rather generic and reminded me of those pre-packed Kentucky powder we use for deep frying. In other words, overspiced. But that's just my opinion as some like them with lots of five spice powder. Dad also said that the yam sticks used to be finer.

Another good dish was the stir-fried black pepper pork slices. Combined with healthy portions of onion and scallion, the dish was a good go with white rice. I think I must have had two bowls of rice, at that point. The aroma of black pepper was evident and the pork slices were smooth. Okay, I like this dish.

Some would have noticed that I rant about Hokkien mee all the time and how people just don't cook them like they used to. I bring this thought with me everytime I visit a new dai chow restaurant. So, with about 0.5% storage capacity left and the fact that this is an old skool Chinese restaurant, I requested for Hokkien mee, hoping to find a taste that was lost since my primary school days. It passed the test on multiple levels, for example; dryness, colour, his royal lardness, ingredients and chilli paste. But it was the slightly milder taste that lowered the score but still, very much better than those restaurants that serve wet Hokkien mee which I always think is misunderstood for Hainanese mee.

I should mention that the chilli paste was absolutely flavoursome. Authentic enough, it was re-fried with the addition of dried shrimps for that savoury taste, unlike those that serve cold chilli paste off the plastic bags.

How often do we see complimentary desserts these days in dai chow restaurants? This one even made coconut and mango jellies, which I thought were optimally sweet and tasty.

I believe I'm the third generation in my family to have dined here. I can't remember the first time I was here, maybe because I was too young and too into the western fried chicken restaurant somewhere along the road but it was a good revisit and it did spark off a new dai chow interest in me. When you have traveled too far and have eaten too much of those sushis and steaks, it's good to go back to your roots and enjoy what you've subconsciously missed; a bowl of warm, white rice with your favourite stir-fried dishes.

More of yesterday once more, please!

HUP KEE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
4A, Batu 4 1/2
Jalan Ipoh
51200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 6258 5309 / (+6012) 306 2628

Click here for the map.

31 comments:

Selba said...

*looking at the yummy food while humming the 'yesterday once more' song*

Ah... okiedokie.. gonna keep in mind to go back to the root :D eh... alamak.... what's my root hor? *scratching head*

Selba said...

eh.. btw, that yellow mini tank is so cute.. I didn't expect there're chop sticks inside it :D

sc said...

there will always be restaurants that's enjoyed by families generations after generations. there's one in my hometown too..most unfortunately closed last year as there's no one taking over the restaurant :(

Yin said...

nice one. i felt like a kid again, going back to basics :)

When you have traveled too far and have eaten too much of those sushis and steaks, it's good to go back to your roots and enjoy what you've subconciously missed; a bowl of warm, white rice with your favourite stir-fried dishes. -- betul pun!!


and now i've got that carpenter's song in my head!!

J2Kfm said...

Selba, I think those are toothpicks lah .... :)

oh lurve these types of restaurants. least you're not paying an arm and a leg for a decent meal.

Anonymous said...

ham yu fa lam pou,
i think i can have a dinner meal with just that dish and rice.

:P
chaokar.blogspot.com

Selba said...

*reads J2Kfm's comment*

*looks closely to the pic*

Oopssssss.....

I need my glasses!!! LOL

ck lam said...

Will make my way to this old classic Chinese restaurant on my next KL visit. It reminds me of my visit to Sek Yuen. Thanks for sharing!

Vivien said...

how is the pricing like? i heard this restaurant is quite famous.

Anyway, there is a restaurant near The Store Jalan Ipoh called Kin Heng(next to 7-Eleven), serve nice tai chow reasonable priced.

CUMI & CIKI said...

shall i sing you that song at the karaoke session .. shall i??!! it's yday once more.. (choke gasp splutter) hehe :P

i am still cracking my brain what 2sing..

eh , a lot of dai chow still give comp fruits wat.. depends where lor.. puchong, kepong still got;)

ladyironchef said...

haha i still prefer the other kind of hokkien mee, don't really fancy this type. yeah definitely old school Chinese restaurant!

Yin said...

Just got back from Hup Kee an hour ago!! Just proves how influential floggers can be :P

Had the pork belly...they gave us such a tiny portion :( more onions than belly! and yes, i almost threw in my rice into the claypot :D

The soup, woahhh, memang superior!

Also had their taufoo - pretty interesting, it had oyster mushrooms, baby corn and leeks.

Just two of us, so couldn't be too adventurous.

Good stuff and it's pretty near my sis' place - should bring her along the next time!

gfad said...

I am definitely all for the old classics. And yes, I am one of those who will order old favorites like lam yue chee yoke, sweet&sour fish and sambal belacan kangkung! And this will be my benchmark for failure or success as I will order the same thing at each dai chow I visit! Surprisingly not many new dai chows can meet the mark despite being them seemingly easy and common. For one, no one uses homemade sambal belacan for the kangkung. The same goes for cheong-cheng steam fish - every stall seems to be using the same premixed bean sauce! Ugh!! And no chee yau char too!

Oh well, enough of my rambling. I'm just homesick for harm yue fah lam, mun yong lam (braised goat stomach), kiong choong lok yoke and theem suen grouper!! And your closeups aren't helping either! :D

Oh, I'm especially partial to loh jiu pais (old signboards?!) in Ipoh. Excellent classic dishes to be found there.

thenomadGourmand said...

sooo agree! us chinese cuisine is stil the best at the end of the day!

Little Inbox said...

All the dishes look so flavourful. Those old Chinese Tai Chau serve good food still.

Jun said...

i always go for dai chow in kl. none of those hawker stalls that sell "penang" food for me cos they can't recreate the nostalgic taste i have of authentic penang hawker food. but why am i talking abt hawker food anyway?

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

some interesting dishes..prawn with yam..and that fried siakap??

Big Boys Oven said...

something reminds me of home cooking my all mums and aunties . . .just miss such spread of dishes! :)

Life for Beginners said...

@Nic: Eaten too much of those sushis and steaks? I dun balip u. But yes, I'm very picky when it comes to Hokkien Mee too... and that chilli sauce looks delish! I want me some!

@Yin: How come go lunch there no invite me wan? :(

P.S. Er, this is my Snow White Yin rite, and not some other poor Yin I'm haranguing?

Nic (KHKL) said...

selba, haha! u have a point. but i feel that roots is where we spend our childhood. that's the place that we remember the most, right? ;)

oh, the yellow mini tank is a toothpick holder. perhaps the zoom made it look bigger. very cute, aren't they? ;)

sc, yeah, classic restaurants are great for gatherings and the feeling is just so different! love it! yikez, too bad about the one at your hometown. i think we are losing them everywhere now. so sad!

yin, the days of nothing but fun. yeah, i miss those days. ;)

betul pun, kan? that why i like to get dai chow, especially when we're in a big group. can order ALL the dishes in the world! haha!

haha, love carpenters! we sing that in k next time! ;)

j2kfm, yupe, you are right. those are toothpicks. ;)

yupe, you are correct about the price, dude! well, hup kee is pretty well-priced (though slightly higher than most dai chows) but worth the money, i think. sometimes, the 10% and 5% charges are just not worthwhile.

chaokar, hey, thanks for stopping by! ;) yupe, that's what i thought when i took a bite of the pork. *salivating just thinking about it*..haha!

selba, haha, no worries. eat more carrots! ;) hmmm, i sometimes wonder if that really helps.

ck lam, oh, i am soooo wanting to go to sek yuen. have heard about it so many times yet havent stepped a foot in it. sigh....do check it out whenu visit kl cos classics are hard to find these days, unfortunately. ;(

vivien, hey, thanks for stopping by! the pricing is slightly about the usual dai chow stalls. and yes, it's quite famous, especially with the lunch crowd.

oh!!!! i think i tried kin heng before. it has been there for quite sometime d, i think. ok, will definitely revisit that place! thanks for the recommendation. and there's lau hiong as well, right? ;)

cumi & ciki, alright!!!! will be looking forward to that! ;) shoo bee dooo dang ehhh.... ;)

yeah, u r right. certain areas are still giving comp. fruits. and with yummy jellies, i think hup kee deserves a clap. ;)

ladyironchef, oh, i like all kinds of hokkien mee but perhaps i'm more of the , dry type perhaps because of where i come from. aiya, in fact, every noodle stir-fried i'll like la..haha! ;)

Nic (KHKL) said...

yin, haha, i am hardly influential lah but am DEFINITELY glad you had a good meal at Hup Kee!!!! ;)

yeah, you told me about the small portion. i think i'll go sound the boss the next time i'm there. lol!

dontcha just love the density of the soup? ;)

oh, i've never tried their taufoo before. mesti cuba lar, ni. ;)

alternatively, bring us food bloggers! hahha! just read kenny's comment. you shd bring him along too...heheheh...

gfad, ohhh, the most delicious, signature chinese dishes. ok, malaysian chinese dishes la..haha! yeah, i understand what you mean. these are the dishes that set the benchmark for dai chow restaurants. for me, it's hokkien mee..haha! and u hv a point...only some restaurants serve cheong cheng fish with chee ya char. and oh boy, do i smile at the sight of 'em...lol!

hey, next time you come back, we go there makan la! or we go to sek yuen at pudu!

thenomadGourmand said...
sooo agree! us chinese cuisine is stil the best at the end of the day!

Saturday, 21 February, 2009
Little Inbox said...
All the dishes look so flavourful. Those old Chinese Tai Chau serve good food still.

Sunday, 22 February, 2009
Jun said...
i always go for dai chow in kl. none of those hawker stalls that sell "penang" food for me cos they can't recreate the nostalgic taste i have of authentic penang hawker food. but why am i talking abt hawker food anyway?

Sunday, 22 February, 2009
"Joe" who is constantly craving said...
some interesting dishes..prawn with yam..and that fried siakap??

Monday, 23 February, 2009
Big Boys Oven said...
something reminds me of home cooking my all mums and aunties . . .just miss such spread of dishes! :)

Monday, 23 February, 2009

thenomadGourmand, i read somewhere that chinese food ranks top in terms of best international cuisine. and i think malaysian chinese cuisine just brings chinese food to another level. i likezzz!

little inbox, all the dishes that go extremely well with white rice, right? ;) dai chows are really rare these days i am hoping that ppl will revive this taste of yesterday which is really good. ;)

jun, hahaha! it's true. there's something really flavourful about the dai chows in kl. ok, there are some bad ones but the good ones are really really top notch eventhough the stall's just next to the drain. hey, free acrobatic rodents' performances, i want! haha!

joe, yeah, the siakap looks simple but the soya sauce's the killa! ;) i think i can eat that with just a bowl (ok, 2..lol ) of white rice!

bigboysoven, yeah, i am missing good dai chow food already! it used to a staple but has now turned into a rarity for me simply because i just have the time for a quick sandwich and tea. i want my dai chow!

kenny, hey, is it possible for us to form yet another group ar? the hokkien mee addicts group. haha! yeah, i can be less picky about fish and can even do without prawns and all but hokkien mee? no, never! yupe, the chili sauce is damn authentic.

@kenny re @yin, she was there for dinner and i think you were in hanoi lar that time. dun worry, next time we go together-gether, ya! ;)

re p/s: yupe you are right, you haranguing your snow white...haha!

fatboybakes said...

hahah, very exacting standards of hokkien mee you have, hairy berry...his royal lardness....guffaw. aiyo, mee hailam is totally different from hokkien mee surely....for starters, it always seems to be halal....

Shell (貝殼) said...

Long time never eat the pork with salted fish cook in claypot already... miss the smell & taste~~

thenomadGourmand said...

everyone loves dai chows! & its best to go in grp, else can staple all the food. So one Hokkien mee gang and dai chow gang must b formed!

~Christine~Leng said...

An eat-out with family 'tai chow' style... oh dear... we always have this during sundays ;P

Now i've to cook for myself.. lol

Nic (KHKL) said...

fatboybakes, hahaha, i thought of his royal lardness when i was typing..haha! oh, i got to eat pure hainanese mee with pork cos some of my relatives are hainanese..haha! yeah, it's kinda watery and some hokkien mee are liddat...so sad hor?

Shell (貝殼), ohhhh, the smell and that salty taste are incredible! i love it! hey, do visit a dai chow stall one of these days for it! ;)

thenomadGourmand, hahaha, u know, i always order a noodle dish when i go for dai chow cos nothing like a good fried mee after all those rice...carbo overload! but good! ;)

christine, worry not, babe. you'll be back in kl before you know it! then, u can eat as much dai chow as u want! ;) in the meantime, study hard, ya! ;)

Tummythoz said...

.."classic of the classics; fried prawns with yam sticks."
Never heard never had. *pat superbly young self*
But sounds real good.

ling239 said...

spinach with superior soup?
sure boh ?
looks more like a steam egg dish to me ~ :p

babe_kl said...

Hup Kee rang in my head, must have been here aeons ago :P

jin said...

Hi, just tot of dropping a little comment on Hup Kee.

Hup Kee is also famous for their sweet and sour fish. The fish is crisp and the sauce the right sweetness.

So if u like their sweet and sour fish u'll also love their sweet and sour pork.

my family especially loves their "wong ah pak" fried with mix meats and seafoods. The vege is braised to a right tenderness and the sweetness of the vege... perfect.

We usually also order their long beans fried with pork bits .... but some ppl may find it tooo oily.

Nic (KHKL) said...

tumnmythoz, yupe, sure is something here. ;) on never heard never had --> come, let's go! ;)

ling239, yupe, it's spinach with superior soup! yummy!!! ;) definitely not steamed egg la. ;)

babe_kl, it's quite famous back then. do check them out! ;)

jin, hi! thanks so much for dropping by! and for the excellent descriptions! now i know what to order the next time i pay a visit! yeah, the food here tends to get a little oily but i guess a little indulgence is ok la. ;D thanks again for the info! ;)