The Malaysian Food Review

The Definitive Guide to Malaysian Food


Dear readers, please be informed that The Malaysian Food Review has sent 2 teams of highly qualified reviewers to secret locations in the Malaysian Peninsular on food reviewing missions. The reviews will be posted on this website in stages upon our reviewers' return. Stay tuned.

P/s - they left me behind...

0 Bites (Comments)

Char Kuey Teow - Restoran Yon Len - TTDI

Char Kuey Teow is the staple food for Malaysians. It is synonymous with Malaysian Chinese just like how Nasi Lemak is to Malays, and Thosai is to Indians here in Malaysia. This dish is said to originate from the Nothern state of Penang. Many years later, it is found in every nook and cranny of a restaurant, from posh hotel ones down to your neighbourhood coffee shoppe.

A typical good Char Kuey Teow would consists of flat noodles or "kuey teow", garlic, cut up chives, shrimps, cockles, bean sprouts and eggs. The kuey teow is fried in a big wok with all the ingredients and given flavour by a little soy-sauce, chilli paste and pepper. The original recipe consists also of deep-fried pork fat and lard is used instead of vegetable oil. I must confess the traditional recipe is to die for but in this modern healthy society, it has died a slow and painful death. These traditional gems are still available in the far corners of the country where brave men and women unafraid of blocked arteries chow down their daily lard laden char kuey teow. If you do happen to come across one such stall, please do inform us.

The Restaurant of interest today is Retoran Yon Len, tucked away in a corner of Jalan Tun Mohd. Fuad 3, Taman Tun (opposite the KFC in TTDI). Over here, a couple does their best interpretation of Penang Char Keoy Teow. The stall is tucked away at the deep far end of the shop, so it will be missed by most newcomers, but it has garnered a good number of loyal customers. Be warned that the restaurant has fairly limited seating space, so do prepare to wait a while for your seat or share seats with strangers. The waiters are fairly attentive, and orders are normally served quite promptly.

The Char Kuey Teow here is cooked usually in plates of one or two, which is the ideal number. Anymore, and the consistency of the flavour and texture will be lost. Hence be prepared to be the last among a group to receive your food.

The dish arrived with a decent amount of normal ingredients. Non-cockles orders are not given fish cake as replacement. In my humble opinion, fish cake just does not go well with char keoy teow. The shrimps are of medium sized and the dish not too oily. The right amount of chilli paste was used so that it doesn't become the most prominent taste of the dish. The cockles are fresh and the noodles fried till just nice, with just a hint of being charred by the wok. In fact they are so popular it's often sold out by 1.00p.m.

All in all I give 7/10 for the Char Keoy Teow. Well worth the visit for your leisurely sunday brunch.
Cleanliness: 6/10
Capacity: 5/10
Ambience: 4/10 (not a place you would want to go dating at)
Price: RM 3.60 (small), RM 4.00 (big)

4 Bites (Comments)

Chicken Rice – Restoran Seng Nam – Kuala Lumpur

This Chicken Rice is very well known, perhaps because this restaurant has been around for a very long time. My paragraph on service later will give you an idea of how long this place has been around, but first, let me tell you about the chicken rice. I would rate the chicken rice here as slightly above average. The chicken itself is quite tasty but it is in no way filling. Even after eating a drumstick I often walk over to the Chee Cheong Fun stall and order some more food from there. Please note that they only have roast chicken available here.

The rice is better than the chicken, but cannot touch the rice at Nam Heong. It has a nice flavour and texture, and I would have considered it to be very good had I not eaten the Nam Heong chicken rice.

The chilli is just basic chicken rice chilli. The same stuff you get everywhere else, and the soup is just boring old soup.

This place is quite clean, but can get pretty hot. I would not recommend it unless you don’t mind feeling a bit sticky.

Okay now on to the service. The ‘waiters’ at Restoran Seng Nam are at least 60 years old, and they are MOODY. Well most of them at least. To order food, you have to call out your order to one of the 5 or 6 bald Chinese men who walk past your table every minute or so, and don’t expect any form of acknowledgement from them that they have heard your order, or any change in their facial expressions. Just sit and pray and hope that your food will arrive. But 95% of the time, the food will arrive. Also, make sure you know what you want, because indecisiveness could lead to a telling off.

Price – around RM5 per person

Rating – 7/10

0 Bites (Comments)

Wan Tan Mee - Restoran Shangri-La - Jalan Batai

Famous Hong Kee Wan Tan Mee is very popular among people living and working in the Damansara Heights area. After hearing so many rave reviews about it, I decided to give it a try. Epicurean tagged along to do his pan mee review. For photos of the restaurant please refer to epicurean's post.

Upon reaching the said restaurant which by the way is named after a 5 star hotel, I was unpleasantly surprised by the appearance of the Head Chef. He wore a white pagoda t-shirt (a very thin white t-shirt) that was DRENCHED in sweat, and sometimes, when he shakes his arm vigorously, drops of sweat roll of the edge of his sleeve and into the soup… yummy.

I gathered enough courage to eat the food marinated in an old man’s sweat as I heard that it is very good, and I was EXTREMELY disappointed by it. If I am going to risk my life eating a stranger’s sweat, the least they could do is make it tastier.

The noodles itself are okay, but I have had better in many more places, and like most average wan tan mee shops, the noodles get dry before you are done eating. The char siew is also pretty ordinary. Nothing I would travel too far to eat. The wan tan is, once again, average at best.

My biggest problem with this place is the soup. It tasted like water flavoured with a few drops of sweat from sweaty uncle’s sleeve. The trip was a waste of time and money. Should you still want to go taste the wan tan mee out of curiosity, please be forewarned that the shop is usually quite crowded during lunch hours.

I will review better wan tan mee hopefully in the near future.

And before i forget, here is a special treat for all of you. Please note that this photo was taken on a RAINY DAY.

Average cost per person – RM4.00 – standard price

Rating - 5/10

2 Bites (Comments)

Pan Mee - Restoran Shangri-La - Jalan Batai

The trouble with working in Damansara Heights, is that there just aren't enough Chinese coffee shops to go around. So after doing some digging, I was alerted to the busy but rather ineptly named Restoran Shangri-La on Jalan Batai. Nestled within a small block of shops in a parking lot, this place, along with the 2 other coffee shops on the block is a haven for many Chinese workers from Pusat Bandar Damansara and the surrounding areas. I was recommended to try the Pan Mee and the Wan Ton Mee at Restoran Shangri-La.

Pan Mee (flat noodles) has always been one of my favourite dishes, so I decided to give it a go. A typical Pan Mee dish comes in soup or dry varieties, and usually has the following ingredients - ikan bilis (anchovies), minced meat, fried onions, black fungus, Chinese mushrooms, tapioca leaves and chilli. But what makes for a good bowl of Pan Mee? In my opinion, a Pan Mee dish is only really really good when the ikan bilis is big and crunchy, soft tapioca leaves are used instead of other veggies, and the chilli condiment is thick and packs a punch. Oh, and I personally much prefer the dry or 'Kuan Lo' Pan Mee to the soup version.

Back at Shangri-La, I ordered the dry Pan Mee and was kinda unimpressed when it arrived. Upon tasting it i felt that the ikan bilis was a little too flaky and the noodles a little too dry and sticky. And choy sum instead of tapioca leaves? I was underwhelmed. What could've maybe saved this from being dumped in the pile of 'average' Pan Mees was the chilli, but even that was as bland as it looked.

I doubt they would be overly concerned though, as business is pretty good. It's hard to get a table here at lunch time, so on weekdays you really should get there by 12.30 latest to beat the office crowds. I've had to wait 20 minutes just to sit down, and its not uncommon to see different groups of people sharing tables. At least the service is reasonably quick.

Parking is easy, but it'll cost ya RM1.50 to get in. If you're lazy, cheap and/or obese you can always park further out and walk.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend the Pan Mee unless you can't be bothered to drive to KL or Damansara Utama for a good one. Or if you work in Damansara Heights at a company that'll send you a warning letter if you take an extra minute for lunch. There's definitely better to be had for your RM4.00.


1 Bites (Comments)

Bak Kut Teh - Restoran Sem Kim - Jalan Ipoh

When it comes to Bak Kut Teh, this has to be one of the best. The main pull of this place is the soup, of which you have 2 choices; you can pick either the darker, stronger soup, or if you are feeling weak or are female, you can go for the lighter soup. For those of you who are BKT noobs, the darker soup is called “Hak Thong” (pictured above) and the not so dark soup is called “Mou Hak Thong”.

The next highlight of this place is the rice (“Yau Fan”) (pictured below). Once again, this is only for the strong, macho people who won’t let a blocked artery stand in their way.

The downside has to be the fact that the Yau Char Kuay (below) is soggy and lacks crunch, the vegetables are not fresh and that the meat could be more tender.

The restaurant itself is relatively clean, but I wouldn’t eat anything off the floor. And this is also not the sort of place you would bring a first date, unless of course you want it to be the last date as well. Should you want to sit on the sidewalk and risk getting hit by speeding busses or cars, you can request that a table be placed there for you.

The service here is pretty good as well, with around 4-5 waiters sitting around the shop at any one time.

Please note that illegal parking is available right in front of the shop, or if you are chicken, you can always park on the road just after the shop, but please watch out for big huge scary rats.

This place is open for business 7 days a week from 6pm to 6am.

In conclusion, seeing as to how I personally judge Bak Kut Teh by the soup, I will give this place a whopping 8.5/10.

Average cost per person – RM10.00. This is the average price for bak kut teh in the Klang Valley.

2 Bites (Comments)

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