Was back at Sek Yuen not long ago for dinner with a big group of friends. This time we had some new dishes that are really good with typified taste, what we call “ko cha bee” (古早味) in Hokkien. In other words, these dishes’ recipes have been the way they were for the past decades with minimal modifications so you could taste the flavors of the past here. This old school restaurant that has existed even before Merdeka is simply an institution!
The Pei Pa Duck that night was slightly off for being overroast so the meat tasted hard and dry, you could actually see it was darker than usual. But the skin is still crispy with the peculiar flavor. I poked around and noticed other tables’ duck looked perfect. I guess we were just unlucky.
Chinese Long Beans with Roast Pork – a simple but ingenious combination.
According to the captain this is a rare dish that very little people know of. Called Steamed Beef Slices with ‘Q Tao’ and Ginger, it is indeed something that you don’t see often in Chinese restaurant nowadays. Once I tasted it, it immediately became very familiar.
Well, my dear grandmother used to prepare this awesome steamed beef for us when we were kids for supper. I missed that nostalgic taste a lot and I simply did not expect to taste it again here. I asked the captain if this is a Hakka dish but she insisted it has been a self invented dish at Sek Yuen all the while.
This is not your average Sweet and Sour Pork (Gu Lou Yuk) that feels like biting on tough and chewy meat. It is slightly crunchy with good “wok hei” after being cooked over high heat.
This is another signature dish at Sek Yuen – Stir Fried Sharks Fin with Egg, prepared like it is intended – flavorful and not oily. And of course, as expected, this won’t be cheap.
Deep Fried Pork Balls – I like the compact yet bouncy texture but taste wise I find them slightly too “porky”.
Another recommended beef dish here is the Stir Fried Bitter Gourd Beef with Black Bean Sauce. When ordering, remember to tell them you want the beef to be not so cooked to retain the tenderness and juiciness. If done accordingly, you would find the beef slices unbelievably soft and tender, just plain awesome.
Even though I am not a bitter gourd lover but I still walloped everything happily, that’s just how delicious it is. Sometimes if you are unlucky they might run out of bitter gourds. So if this happens my suggestion is to order the other beef shown earlier instead of the usual ginger and scallion style.
Lastly, Braised Fish Head with Roast Pork and Tofu Pok. Surprisingly this wasn’t too popular with the rest. I am guessing maybe because the fish head had too much bones making it very troublesome to eat.
Depending on availability, you could have the normal rice or steamed rice as shown above. I find it hard to believe a restaurant would run out of normal rice but that does happen at Sek Yuen. On a good day the steamed rice is nice and fluffy. But, if it was on a bad day the steamed rice would be hard and lumpy, so terrible that you just want to stop eating it altogether.
If you still haven’t try the food at Sek Yuen, I urge you to do it as soon as possible before the old head chef decides to call it a day and hang up his wok. If you could afford to spend, there is one dish here that cost more than RM1k namely the Braised Duck Stuffed with Sharks Fin (needs pre-order) There are only a few chefs in Malaysia that could prepare this legendary dish and Sek Yuen is reputed to make the best. So that alone warrants a try don’t you think? Trust me I am already saving the money for this.
Address: 313-1, Jalan Pudu, KL (non air-conditioned)
315, Jalan Pudu KL (air-conditioned)
GPS Coordinates: N3 08.119 E101 42.741
Tel: 03 9222 0903, 03 9222 9457