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Aug 11, 2013 07:47 AM

Kuala Lumpur - Authentic Chiuchow Flavours from Pak Loh Chiu Chow, Starhill Gallery

This is the KL sister restaurant of the famous HK-based Pak Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant, established in Causeway Bay back in 1967. Specializing in Chiuchow cuisine (潮州菜) from the Shantou region in Guangdong province, China (where the maternal side of my family originates from), Pak Loh executes the dishes with a nod towards authenticity - no concession to Cantonese or Chinese-Malaysian tastes. What we had for lunch today:

- Braised Chiuchow platter, where the items were all bathed in a staranise-tinged soysauce-based braising sauce & marinade. The platter consisted of pig's ears, large pig's intestines (melt-in-the-mouth tender - best ever!), soft tofu, hard-boiled egg and goose meat. I really relished the rendition here, as good as any I'd tasted ever. Correctly served with a white vinegar dip, spiked with finely chopped raw garlic and red chillis.

- Deep-fried crabmeat-pork meatballs and prawn balls. These were slightly over-fried (sacrilege!) and dry-ish. Served with a golden molasses dip, this dish was a let-down - complete contrast to the well-executed braised meats platter.

- Steamed large freshwater prawns atop glutinous rice, and topped with finely-chopped scallions. The roe-filled large prawn heads were sinfully rich, and the soft-textured moist glutinous rice was a perfect accompaniment to crunchy-fresh prawns. Too good to miss!

- Wok-charred crisp-skinned pork belly slices. These were *incredible*. Only thing missing was a sweet chilli sauce dip - but that's just me - so maybe I should bring along my own sauce the next time I drop by this place.

Dessert: The classic "Orh-nee" - Chiuchow mashed taro (Asian yam) with sugar syrup and lard, topped with sugar-cured gingko nuts. The version here was not too sweet, smooth-textured and tasted absolutely divine.

Address details
Pak Loh Chiu Chow
Starhill Feast Village
LG12 Feast Floor, Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:+603-2782 3855

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  1. ahh i walked by this almost everyday bc i stayed the ritz, but i decided i can always get it in HK where i am alot more often than KL so i didnt go

    looks like you had a great meal, love the dish selection

    11 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Just a tiny selection compared to the huge menu they maintain. My first time here actually, although I'd been in KL more than 2 years already. I usually get my Chiuchow fix back in Singapore, where there is a large Chiuchow (we call ourselves Teochew there) presence compared to mainly Cantonese KL. But, you know what? Pak Loh's braised platter trumps most versions we have back in Singapore!

      I'd been to Pak Loh in Causeway Bay numerous times as my relatives in HK are mainly Chiuchow, so they do want to "get back to their roots" every once in a while :-D

      1. re: klyeoh

        yah i like pak loh in causeway bay

        btw speaking of lo sui time in HK you must do tak kee! the goose is amazing, not only is the lo sui really excellent, but the goose is nicely tender not dry like alot of places make it (look the color of the meat!)

        1. re: Lau

          I like braised goose - the best ones are usually homecooked, as we can decide on the preferred flavourings, as well as time the cooking to get the right kind of tenderness. But we only cook goose on special occasions - much like how the Americans treat turkey.

          Just attach a pic of our *typical* homecooked meal, to give you an idea what Teochews eat at home - this one's a Sunday lunch back home in Singapore (clockwise from top): stir-fried flower crabs with beansauce, ginger and garlic; braised assorted tofu and fishcakes; steamed rice cakes & turnip cakes which were then pan-fried to crisp the glutinous riceflour skin; stir-fried char-siu and siu-yuk with soysauce; and crisp-fried Teochew-style coiled beancurd.

          1. re: klyeoh

            looks wonderful...i have a big thing for chiu chow food, i find it really delicious and interesting, it suites my palate well

            i like those teochew gao 糕...those look very nice in that pic

            i miss homecooked chinese food, unfortunately when the older generations of my family passed on all the home cooking skilled went with them

            1. re: Lau

              I guess we're luckier in my family - most of the family recipes from my maternal side are recorded and shared among the (female) family members - plus, we have a large extended family network that stretches all the way from Singapore to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Shantou, so someone, somewhere, will have record of how to cook such-and-such.

              Now, if only I can do the same thing for my paternal family side, which has Anglo-Eurasian and Baba-Nyonya cooking spanning Singapore, Malacca and Penang! Much has already been lost as old family members died out, and relationship with paternal family members in England, US and Australia are not as strong as my maternal side's more Chinese-oriented emphasis on close familial links.

              1. re: klyeoh

                thats awesome...i think living in a western culture may tend to dilute things more (just a guess) as has happened to my family.

                its a bit of a shame bc the home cooked cantonese meals i grew up with were unbelievable and of course at the time i didn't appreciate them as much as i could now. my grandmother did everything the old school from scratch way and my grandfather was both a professional cook and baker, so there was a lot of cooking skill. i can still taste my grandmother's siu mai (so good) and various other dishes she made that decimate anything ive had in a restaurant. the last time i got a meal like that was about 7-8 years ago at a friend's family's place in HK, the older generations of their family were shocked that i'd had every dish they served bc they said you would never see any of these dishes at a restaurant

                1. re: Lau

                  For Cantonese homecooking, the best cookbook I'd found is "Madam Choy's Cantonese Recipes" - it's published in Singapore and is aimed at Singapore and Malaysia's Chinese diaspora:

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      just bought the book...i should learn to cook cantonese, i think im the only younger person in my family that has any real interest in chinese stuff (food, language etc)

                      1. re: Lau

                        That's quick. Do let us know how your dishes from the recipes turn out. I have a collection of all cookbooks in that series: Eurasian, Teochew, etc.

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          im good at eating, less good at cooking (probably bc i only do it once in a blue moon haha)

                          ill def give it a whirl, see how it turns out