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Oct 27, 2012 01:50 AM

Kuala Lumpur - Fabulous "Sung Har-Mein" at Chinatown Seng Kee (唐人街胜记)

Chinatown Seng Kee (唐人街胜记) on Jalan Sultan was not exactly our original intended destination this evening - rather, it was supposed to be Sang Kee (生记酒家) round the corner on Jalan Hang Jebat. That was, until my dinner date for that evening saw the place & suddenly changed her mind – that zinc-roofed old spot was waaay too grungy for her, she insisted. Okay-eee, I'd have proceeded to go in - but, as things stood ...

So, it was onto Seng Kee - a casual Cantonese eatery that looked like it was teleported straight out of some village in Southern China (including those diners sitting inside) and plonked right in the heart of KL Chinatown. The friendly proprietress was very nice though (a refreshing contrast to the stern, unsmiling old chap who owns Sang Kee), and even spoke in English to me first, before promptly switching to Cantonese when my KL friend responded to her.

No regrets coming here - what we had: the "Sung Har Mein" (生虾面) or braised large, freshwater prawns served atop crisp "yee fu" noodles. The sauce was eggy and delicious, flavored by the roe-filled prawns, with some sharp spike in flavors from the ginger & scallions.

Another dish we had was the sweet-sour pork - my choice actually - it's my comfort food, and one which I'd ordered *everywhere* I went - Tokyo, Dublin, New Delhi, Sydney, Berlin, ...

The version at Seng Kee was, as I expected, 100% what a good sweet-sour pork should taste like: sweet (sugar), sour (vinegar), oniony, tomatoey, with green peppers providing an added texture, and twice-cooked battered pork cubes which were crunchy on the outside, yet soft inside. It certainly wasn't the best version I'd ever had, but it was very competently cooked nonetheless - certainly went very well with my cold Heineken beer, I must say :-)

Address details
Chinatown Seng Kee (唐人街胜记)
52, Jalan Sultan
50000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2072 5950

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  1. Entrance to the "offending" Sang Kee (to my dinner date, at least) - it's via a makeshift carpark, accessed from Jalan hang Jebat. The restaurant also shares a compound with a traditional Chinese medicine clinic. Need to come back here by myself one of these days, or at least with some blokes who don't mind dinghy spots that serve good food ;-)

    9 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      That looks very familiar. :-D I remember we used to park on the main road and walk down to it and could see the roof as we did so...

      p.s. I said "tin-roofed" in that other thread but I tend to use that interchangeably with "zinc-roofed" inasmuch as they look alike - those wavy/corrugated sheets of metal used as roofing. Boy, it got noisy in there when it rained. :-)

      1. re: huiray

        I didn't notice a staircase, huiray, but that's because I was a bit distracted by the Chinese medicine shop sign. Not sure if it's "your" restaurant, but I'll be sure to ask the old man there if/when I go back, at least to find out how long the restaurant's been operating there.

        1. re: klyeoh

          There may not have been a staircase (I edited my post) - it may have simply been when we parked further up the main road and walked downwards towards it. Nevertheless, I definitely remember eating at this place, it really does look familiar.

          In any case, there was also a "New Sang Kee" lurking in my memory and I don't remember what the overlap was. If you could, ask them also about a place that used to be at the top of that short cul-de-sac/parking lot besides Nanyang Hotel on Sultan Rd just south of Cecil St. ?

          1. re: huiray

            Sure thing - I'm planning to get my oldie KL friends to come along, since I don't have a *clue* of what (names, places) you're talking about :-D

            They'd probably be able to banter with the old chap on the old spots in that area.

            1. re: klyeoh


              BTW Sang Kee should have sang har mein also. :-)
              BTW2 When I say "New Sang Kee" I mean "Sun Sang Kee" (in Cantonese), of course.

              1. re: huiray

                Um, no chance for the return visit this time, huiray - my oldie KL friends had "written off" Sang Kee since the original founder's family sold the restaurant off, as explained in this new thread here:

                BTW, that other place you described: "place that used to be at the top of that short cul-de-sac/parking lot besides Nanyang Hotel on Sultan Rd just south of Cecil St." - one of my friends asked if you meant "Ho Weng Kee"? Does that name ring any bell for you?

                All of them seemed to miss the famous "Lai Cheong", another one of those stalwart old-world KL Cantonese restaurants. It was part of the old Chinatown demolished 3 decades or so back when the Dayabumi complex was built. I was told that Lai Cheong's location was on that large car park in front of the rejuvenated Central Market.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  That's so sad. Another oldie-but-goodie bites the dust. :-( Darn. Thanks for the feedback and info of course, klyeoh.

                  "Ho Weng Kee"? Could be...I can't say that it *lights up* my memory, but it well could be. I remember it had a big sort-of circular motif in its neon sign in front at one point. I think you could also get "tai pow" and "lor mai kai" at all hours stretching into the late night unless they 'ran out'. It was at the foot of that "hill"/cliff on top of which sat the Confucian School.

                  I don't remember eating at "Lai Cheong".

                  1. re: huiray

                    Don't remember what the restaurant at the cul-de-sac below Confucian School but it was not Ho Weng Kee. HWK was located on Petaling Street proper before it moved to PJ then recently (already a few years back) moved to Lot 10 Hutong.

                    1. re: OneBigMouth

                      Where was Ho Weng Kee when it was on Petaling Street?

                      There was a corner kopitiam on the west side of Petaling Street at the SW corner of where Jalan Panggong joins Petaling St and which was a "broad street" that also functioned as a car park? Well, that corner kopitiam had decent "kon lo mein" and I used to walk down to it from another kopitiam further up Petaling St (where my family used to spend a lot of time) for a meal by myself when I was young. That entire block is not there anymore, I think. Wasn't that HWK?

                      Edit#2: Of course HWK has been talked about as a great spot for "KL-style" wonton noodles, by klyeoh for example. I obviously had a "senior moment" when the name didn't ring a bell for me before.

    2. Looks delicious, especially the sang har mein. Was there anything in those orange bowls on a table at the front of the place?

      1 Reply
      1. re: huiray

        Yes, those little bowls were filled with a liquidy chilli paste. Apparently, it's the standard condiment to go with the restaurant's signature dish: claypot "loh shee fun". Ah, I didn't have a chance to Google & find out more about this place before this impromptu visit.