Kuala Lumpur - Hakka Specialties at Kien Kee Restaurant (权记辣汤)
Only KL foodies-in-the-know can (or will) seek out this rustic little restaurant located in an out-of-the-way side-street in an out-of-the-way township, way out of KL's urban centre.
There's a little air-conditioned room (accomodating 4 or so medium-sized tables) located at the back of the al fresco restaurant - very much recommended unless you choose to sweat buckets whilst downing Kien Kee's Hakka specialties:
- Hua diao chicken - this is a must-not-miss dish: tender morsels of perfectly-cooked chicken bathed in Hua Diao wine, dark soy sauce, ginger, scallions, garlic and onions. The silken-smooth chicken-meat were slightly caramelised on the outside and smokey, and packed with a myriad of wondrous flavors;
- Kien Kee's specialty spicy pork-and-chicken soup - completely unexpected: a claypot of bubbly clear soup chockful of tender little edible tubes of pig's intestines: the best I'd ever had; generous slivers of just-cooked pig's liver; golden straw mushrooms, pork strips and pieces of "village" chicken (which was supposed to yield greater flavors than farm/battery chicken). The soup was super-peppery and was further spiced up with lots of old ginger;
- Prawns in sweet Hakka rice wine. This dish was incredible and floored me literally. The strong alcoholic soup enveloped and complemented the fresh, crunchy prawns perfectly. Another must-not-miss dish;
In contrast to Kien Kee's impressive trinity of specialties above, the other side-dishes were surprisingly below-average:
- Steamed tofu coated with oyster sauce/dark soysauce and topped with scallions and crisp pork/dried shrimp bits - this dish was bland and pretty tasteless;
- Stir-fried "yau mak" (Chinese baby lettuce) with crisp, golden-fried chopped garlic - overly oily and also disappointngly bland. Chinese lettuce is my current fave vegetable, but I didn't like Kien Kee's version at all.
For an obscurely-located, but surprisingly popular eatery, its prices were pretty high by KL standards - our lunch consisting of the above dishes, plus some simple home-brewed tea, costed RM165 (US$52).
Restoran Kien Kee (权记辣汤)
D-1, Jalan 10/3 (behind Post Office, Jalan Besar)
43300 Seri Kembangan
Tel: +6012 3509900
Closed on Mondays
YUM!! That looks very good.
For myself I could envisioning myself enjoying the tofu and lettuce as simpler foils to the other much stronger tasting and palate-hogging dishes!
Ah, the Serdang area.
I guess the menu you took a picture of lists only the most commonly ordered stuff? I see their "sayur sawi" is choy sum. Is it ever pak choy around there? Is the "ayam fah teu" the "hua diao chicken" you had? What's in their "sup pedas" that makes it so popular to be at the top of the posted menu? :-)
huiray, I was actually perplexed about the Malay signage - for one, I can't imagine any ethnic Malay-Muslim stepping into this non-halal Chinese restaurant. The signage seemed old, as the walls of air-conditioned part of the restaurant was pasted with photos and descriptions of other options, e.g. the drunken prawns.
"Sup pedas" referred to that peppery-gingery chicken-pork-pig's intestines soup which we ordered. The Malay language description somehow conjured up images of reddish-hued "tom yum" soup, or those scald-your-tongue Sichuanese soup with red peppers floating around :-D
Yes, "ayam fah teu" was indeed the drool-worthy "hua diao chicken" which we had.
For some strange reason, it's hard to find the humble "pak choy" on restaurant menus here in KL, although you can find the vegetable as an option in the "economy rice" stalls around town. Maybe the humble "pak choy" is being seen as too common to warrant a spot on a sit-down restaurant's menu? In Singapore, we usually find a large "pak choy" leaf lining the bottom of a basket containing "xiao long bao" - how ignominious, for a sweet, juicy vegetable to be relegated to the role of a placemat!