Friday, February 12, 2010

Yuen Kee and a Happy Lunar New Year

Amidst the humidity, chaos and a pinch of glum as a close family member was to leave for Manchester, came a plate of wat dan hor (hor fun with thick egg sauce) that was surprisingly good. Oh, we thought you were aware of their wat dan hor, said an aunt. Gosh, I felt betrayed. Lucky for them, it was not Hokkien Mee or else, someone’s head would have rolled that evening. Enduring the MSG and almost amateurish inclusion of mustard greens was not too difficult, given the good amount of wok hei (without being too oily) and silky smooth egg gravy that was just sufficiently starchy. It’s not easy to find gravy as golden as this, even at some reputable Chinese restaurants. What’s more comforting was when the first bite announced the right thickness of hor fun. Overall, no pickled green chillies required. And that’s a good thing.

I assume that I’d only been here once. Twice at most. Not that it’s bad, of course. In fact, the shed is usually packed to the brim come weekends. The dishes we had were rice-compliant – like the Taiwanese dish of three cups chicken, assam fish meat curry, omelette and the most exotic of them all, braised pig’s tail with peanuts. Despite my hair loss problem, I realize that one has to take life with a pinch of MSG. Let’s face it, the articial flavouring is now as mainstream as the internet. There are even grades to choose from too, apparently. What’s a broadband equivalent, I wonder. Oh, the point is, Yuen Kee comes slightly high on MSG.

The most anticipated dish was of course, the nicely rendered, chopped tails with softened peanuts to provide a good bite. The sauce was a typical oriental combination of soy, sesame oil and MSG. The same ingredients, when reduced further, drizzled with some fah tiu wine, sprinkled with more sugar and topped with basil leaves became the delicious coating for the three cups chicken. Power is something red, spicy, aromatic and sour – like assam fish meat curry. Usually filled with the goodness of fish cutlets and assorted colourful vegetables, it’s the all-time one dish wonder that guarantees a few servings of rice. Yuen Kee’s red snapper version was nothing short of power, except that I prefer thicker curries.

A quick inspection of the tables around me revealed a variety of dishes that looked interestingly dissimilar to what we would usually order at our favourite dai chow stall. Despite having partially moved to this part of KL for a few years now, I'm still learning about the food scene here. I drive pass Yuen Kee almost every weekend when I'm back in town. Looks like I should stop by for dinner more often. I wonder if their Hokkien Mee is any good.

Yuen Kee
Between Jalan Antoi Kiri and Jalan Kepong Baru
(Opposite Madrasah Al-Islah Ad-Diniyah)
Kepong Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

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I don't get to do extended family dinners often and therefore, I look forward to the next one, which will take place in a few days from now. It's going to be a happier event of course, as compared to the one at Yuen Kee, because everyone's back in town for the lunar new year. I've not received details of the venue yet (knowing them, I bet it's going to be another dai chow joint) but I guess in the company of close relatives (oh, and alcohol), some overdose of MSG should be forgiven. Not sure if I'll succumb to the exorbitant prosperous prices though.

This shot was taken after the ala carte buffet brunch at Jing and funnily enough, it reminded me of that old new year song about spring returning to the land with bees and flowers. Of course, one would have imagined more bees and flowers when listening to that song lah.

Here's wishing everyone a good year of the tiger and a restful holiday.

20 comments:

Selba said...

Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Holiday too! :)

ai wei said...

gong xi fa cai and happy holiday :)

minchow said...

That wat tan hor inspires me to break out into song! Worth all the heartache and stress of travelling home! Gong Xi Fa Chai to you!!

Life for Beginners said...

"Overall, no pickled green chillies required. And that’s a good thing."

I couldn't agree more. Hehe, me no likey cili hijau.

And a happy lunar new year to you, mate... :D

ice said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai Nic!

Hazza said...

gong xi fa cai, nic! Have a happy and prosperous one. Loved the look of the wat tan hor .. was there much "liu" in it?

thenomadGourmand said...

Gong xi gong xi Nic!!

mimid3vils said...

yuen kee is just a stone throw away fro my house but i never visit them :P yes they r having good business indeed...

HAPPY TIGER YEAR *roar*roar*roar*

J2Kfm said...

Happy New Year, Nic. MSG or not, eat more fatt choi .... for they're good for the hair (?!) and they're supposed to bring prosperity anyway.

J said...

Happy Gong Xi Valentine dear Mr Nic (KHKL)! :)

Hope the next year brings happiness, prosperity and lots of yummy food to you.

Bangsar-bAbE said...

Gong xi fa cai Nic!! The wat tan hor looks damn good...I might just close one eye on the MSG. ;)

babe_kl said...

gee i never been here but my parents always tell me their noodles are good.

May the year of Tiger brings you lots of joy, good health and roaring luck. Kung Hei Fatt Choy!

Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

wiZsurf said...

Happy New Year and yes , Chinese restaurant food has become MSG food, fast, easy & tasty. We heard there's even a factory in some KL outskirts preparing a special 7 spices recipe( color orangee) that is the universal flavorer and included in 88% of commercial Chinese cooking. We have confirmed this exist

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

Nic (KHKL) said...

selba, thanks!!! hope you had a good time too! :D

ai wei, gong xi fa cai to you too! got win big-big? hehehe.

minchow, wasn't connected since last week but hope you had a smooth flight back home! gong xi fa cai!

kenny, why u no like cili hijauz? me likez a lotz! maybe that's why i so sourz. hehe. hope your new year's awesome too.

ice, thanks! hope you had a sweet new year celebration! :D

hazza, gong xi fa cai to you too!! how's the celebration over at your side? hope it was great. there wasn't much "liu" in the wat dan hor but the egg gravy made it all good.

thenomadgourmand, gong xi gong xi to you too!!! hope you had a great holiday! ;D

mimi, haha! thanks! roar!roar!roar! to you too!! ;D woah, you stay near yuan kee ar? so lucky! cos carpark can be a problem there sometimes. check it out! ;D

Nic (KHKL) said...

j2kfm, san nin fai lok to you too!! ;D ooohhh...fatt choi is good for the hair? i must make it a point to eat more this year!!! :D

j, thanks! hope you had a good lunar new year and valentine's celebration too! ;D i wish you great food and great fun in the new year! ;D

bangsar-babe, hehehe, i think it's worth closing one eye for! ;D happy new year to you too!!!

babe_kl, ooooh, so their noodles are good? i must go check out their hokkien mee then! ;D
kung hei fatt choi to you and your family too! wishing you a year of good health and good food! ;D

anonymous, woah, thanks so much for the compliment! will work harder! ;D

wiZsurf, happy new year to you too! oooohhhhm orangee MSG! thanks for the interesting piece of info! i never knew of its existence.

anonymous, thanks for the tip! :D happy new year!

CUMI & CIKI said...

more bees and flowers..? eek.. dowan.. nanti they sting me all :P hehe.. great food - i like the fact that it is dissimilar to stuff u normally get at daichow. makes it so much more worthwhile trying new stuff:D

rokh said...

whoa so have you went back for the hokkien mee? if its good who's head to roll? :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

cumi & ciki, hmmmm...you have a point. those lyricists back in the 70s must be dreaming...haha! wei, come to kepong and we go makan!!! ;D

rokh, no, i haven't gone back there yet because it was closed on the first few days of cny. they must have made a huge profit before that la..hahaha! who's head to roll? hmmmm, i'm thinking of the relative that bugs me the most..hehe