If there is one word to describe the local dai chow scene, it’s drama. Outsiders will find us absurd to have our tables stretched out to the empty parking spaces. If the food is good, we care not if it’s neon, freon or streetlights that guide the goodies into our ever hungry mouths. And we have our ways of managing the tropical weather. From the al fresco setting (parking spaces), the most alert of diners will then quickly help themselves to the nearest shed (mostly walkways, blocking the entrance to the closed shops/banks/staircases) once the first drops of rain are felt. Helping themselves here applies to the adults carrying their own tables, chairs, utensils and dishes while the children cheer them on. The rest of the diners join in the action. It must have looked like the changing of a scene in the Olympics opening (or closing) ceremony, if viewed from the sky.
And there are those rivalry names of the restaurants. Each claiming to be the best, the most authentic or the founder of a local signature dish. There are many theories to this interesting phenomenon. Most of them circle around family feuds. And of course, there are cases of gambling debts and adulteries. So, if this is not drama, I don’t know what is.
Deep-fried pork knuckle with a mustard/tomato sauce dressing. Sweet, slightly sour and potent. The dressing suited the flaky meat well. Fear not for the layer of saturated fat beneath the crispy layer of skin. Simply scrap it off using a spoon (yes, it’s that surprisingly easy!) and have yourself a bite of aromatic crunch.
Hairy, have you started working out yet??
The potato leaves came fresh and sweet. I do know of people who need extra fat due to their high level of metabolism. I envy them all the time, even in my sleep. This oily version suits them fine. For the unlucky me, perhaps a blanched version would be better.
Apparently, one of the signature dishes here is the hotplate squid but since the cholesterol level already spiked to a new high with the knuckle, we had the nam yue (red pickled tofu) fried chicken wings instead. Oh come on, I’m sure chicken wings are far healthier than squid. Their meat is afterall, well exercised. Love the significantly mild taste of the nam yue and the crispiness of the batter.
This is the legendary dish that had Sentulians coming back for more. Their claypot fish curry (head or meat, whichever you prefer). Dig into the pot and you will find tender pieces of red snapper and a good mix of vegetables like okra, eggplant and cabbage. Served piping hot, it will have you calling for extra bowls of rice. I don’t remember the gravy being this dilute though. But it was still flavourful nevertheless, thanks to the curry leaves and turmeric.
Here’s how the same dish looked like on a Sunday afternoon, about two weeks earlier. Now is this more acceptable. Rich in coconut cream.
You can tell that this prominent dai chow restaurant will enjoy many more prosperous years to come because the food is good and there’s something for everyone; young or old, (dyed) blondes or brunettes.
And that is good to know for we certainly do not want our dai chow dramas to end with the emerging of the more appropriate and systematic fine (and semi-fine) dines.
Restoran Makanan Laut Zhen Liew Siang
No. 30, Jalan 14/48A
Off Jalan Sentul
51000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: (+603) 40413781
Business hours: 11.00 am – 3.00 pm / 5.30 pm – 11.00 pm
Click here for the map.