Kuala Lumpur - New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice (新怡保滑鸡芽菜)
Knowing my quest to find good chicken rice in KL, many of my KL-lite friends have recommended that I try this famous Hainanese chicken rice spot along Jalan Gasing in Petaling Jaya, KL's very busy satellite town. I finally managed to do so this evening.
New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice (新怡保滑鸡芽菜) is 36 years old this year, it's expanded to occupy 4 shop-lots from the original one at the same spot. Business, according to my friend, an old KL hand, has quietened down quite a bit, as younger generation KL-lites opt for trendier eateries over traditional eating spots.
What we had this evening:
- Poached chicken (白切雞) over sliced cucumber, drizzled with a light soy-sesame sauce and sprinkled with curly strips of finely-julienned scallions. We chose the "normal" chicken over the yellow-skinned, chewier "kampung" or village chicken. Tasty!
- A plate of fat, crunchy quick-blanched beansprouts (芽菜), also drizzled with the same soy-sesame sauce, plus perhaps an addition of a smidgen of chicken fat, then topped with crisp golden-fried shallots. These were nice, though of a different variety from the famous type one finds in Ipoh, where the *best* rendition of this dish can be found.
- A bowl of pork balls in an Ipoh-style chicken-shrimp-flavoured consomme. These pork balls are the springy, bouncy type where the pork forcemeat is mixed with tapioca flour. The soup was also sprinkled with crisp-fried shallots. Good, but not great - mixing shrimp, chicken and pork flavours resulted in a pretty odd taste combination.
- Poached chicken livers & scallions. I loved this, not a healthy admittedly.
- Ipoh "hor fun" or thin rice noodles, served in shrimp-chicken consomme. This is a classic Ipoh combination - "hor fun" with sprouts and poached chicken.
- Chicken rice: this is supposedly one of the best Hainanese-style chicken rice in KL. I found it extremely disappointing - lacking in ginger, garlic and scallion flavours, and absolutely *no* pandan scent - in Singapore, it would have been one of the *worst* chicken rice I'd ever had - lacking in both scent and flavour. It's also coloured yellow, perhaps from the addition of margarine, which I understand is a popular technique when cooking chicken rice in Malaysia.
Looks like only Loke Yun in Ampang (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/865070) lived up to my expectations of what good Hainanese chicken rice should be here in KL.
New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice
)107, Jalan Gasing 10/1
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: + 603-7956 0958
Looks very good. By the way, Wee Nam Kee chicken rice shop has moved to United Square now after such a long time in Novena Ville. There's a construction project there now as an apartment building is going up on that site. I like Wee Nam Kee so I'm glad that they are continuing, unlike Swee Kee which closed permanently when they had to close their Middle Road shop. I thought Swee Kee was the best chicken rice shop which Singapore ever had.
Wee Nam Kee is now in United Square? That's 23 years too late! :-D
I used to work in United Square back in 1990 - the offices of the Singapore Broadcasting Corp then. Every so often, we'd traipse over to Wee Nam Kee for our chicken rice fix. Not *that* far really - a mere 10-15 minutes' stroll. But knowing Singapore's ever-hot, ever-humid weather, we were usually sweating buckets by the time we got there!