There was an old cook of the East,
Who’s kitchen though old was complete,
He ate in between,
Whilst others served and cleaned,
He was the old cook of the East.
There was a young man whose eyes,
Where unusually small in size,
When chicken was served,
He’d open them wide,
People would stare in surprise!
There were two waitresses of yore,
Folks called out, real loud to, for beer,
They could juggle tea hot,
in a small teapot,
Just make sure you order real CLEAR.
There was a wise man with a pen,
his shrewd ways were known through the land.
He saved every penny,
Under lock and key,
So that future generations could spend.
There was an old man with a cleaver,
Who never wanted to take a picture,
So he cried ” Girl with the camera,
I’ll slay you , come nearer.. ”
That angry old man with the Cleaver!
– This limerick is entitled ” This old place”, by Ciki. .
When A little Fat Monkey suggested visiting one of the oldest Chinese establishments in Kuala Lumpur, I nodded furiously in enthusiasm. How did he know that I was so sick of hawker food, that I needed some old-school magic to perk up my weekend? The guy has E.S.P. I tell you.
The place I am referring to is of course Sek Yuen Restaurant, on Jalan Pudu. Together will a couple of foodies who were free that weekend, KM (Life of Beginners), CK , Munkey (A lil Fatmonkey), S , Paranoid Android, my other-half Cumi, we traipsed down to the heart of Pudu for some ‘vintage’ service and food.
For years and years this lovely, somewhat musty old restaurant has been the venue for Chinese weddings, reunion dinners, birthdays etc.. and even Paranoid Android’s mum had her wedding dinner in this very restaurant! If the dusty black and white paintings at Sek Yuen had a voice, they would tell you of the many liters of whiskey , bottles of beer, barrels of laughter and tears of joy spilled in its very hall.
A lot of the old favourites that require Love’s labour actually need to be pre-ordered so we were a little bit disappointed when they did not have that classic dish know as the Fishken (minced fishball wrapped in chicken skin and fried). Incidentally, this term Fishken was coined by non-other than the famous Fatboybakes himself.
Also on the pre-order list would be the four-season cold dish, pat poh ngap (eight treasure duck), crab balls, braised pork knuckles and the fish maw braised with sea cucumber. Needless to say, we had NONE of that, that day as we did not have the foresight to pre-order anything.
What we did have however, was spectacular in its own right.
Pei Par Ngap (roast duck)
Crab, Egg mince and Tung Fun (Glass noodle) with lettuce wrap
Steamed Chicken in Special Sesame Oil Soya Sauce with Kai Lan vegetables
Sing Kwa Tofu (Special Gourd vegetables with tofu, mushroom and baby corn)
Wu Tao Kau Yoke (Yam and Pork Belly with Black Fungus in fermented bean sauce)
Kah Heong Chap Choi ( vegetarian bean curd tofu special)
My favourite dishes were, .. mainly the meats! The roasted duck was amazingly crispy and the flesh had a slight smokiness to it that was just so pleasent on the palate.The other classic meat dish, the steamed chicken was as smooth and tender as you can imagine. I don’t normally eat the skin off chicken unless it is fried but this steamed chicken was awesome. I had no trouble popping the entire piece into my mouth, skin intact.
The piece de resistance , that good old fashioned yam and pork belly in fermented bean sauce was as pink (due to the fermented bean) as it was delicious. It was so aromatic and succulent I forgot where I was for a moment. What I appreciated most about the way they do this dish here is the fact that they don’t kill you will the fattest part of the pig. This sliver of pork had a soft segment of lean meat and just a modest top layer of fat. Add this to the full aroma-ed, powdery texture of the yam and you have a true winner.
Of the vegetables, my favourite was the Vegetarian bean curd tofu. The beancurd was exceptionally delicious – you hardly get such gorgeous, plump sections of curd in restaurants in Petaling Jaya, ever.
At the end of the day, our bill for 7 persons came up to just under RM200 (USD 57 total), which is peanuts really for the amount and quality of food ordered. What an incredibly satisfying meal!
If you have not been to, or perhaps have forgotten to visit Sek Yuen recently, we say DO SO .. soon!
There were the old ladies of Sek Yuen,
Who sit and gossip all day,
“We’ve slogged in the past,
our time now to play..”
So, how many grand children ?
Come, tell us we pray!
313 & 315, Jalan Pudu
Tel : 603 9222 9457