29 August, 2012

Restoran Woo Ng Kee (胡伍纪冷气海鲜酒家) @ Taman Ehsan, Kepong

If you happen to search for traditional Chinese food around Kepong, then you should drop by at Restoran Woo Ng Kee, a third-generation family run business. Although it took me some time to find this place as I'm a stranger in Kepong, the trip was really worthwhile with loads of good food here!

From a roadside stall at Pudu 60 years ago, it is relocated into a two-storey restaurant since more than 26 years ago and the business remains brisk until today. 

Its warm ambiance is rather old school which reminiscences the nostalgic yesteryears. The restaurant is of the size of 3 shop lots yet you may still need to queue outside during weekends or public holidays.

#1 Double Boiled Garoupa Fish Head Soup in Claypot (沙窝鱼头) @ RM80

We started the dinner with the claypot fish head broth, an elegant creation stuffed with goodness of abalone slices, white fungus, goji berry, Chinese herbs and longan.

After the first round of boiling from the kitchen, now pour the old chicken soup essence into the broth and allow it to boil second time for 5-10 minutes, so that the myriad flavours are well-absorbed by the soup.

The broth is so fresh with natural sweetness from the concoctions of ingredients, along with a drizzle of Rice Wine (Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chiew 绍兴花雕酒). Rich in herbs and great in textures, it is not only tasty but also brings health benefits. 

 #2 Cold Hors d'Oeuvres Platter (七彩冷盘) @ RM85

Traditionally served before the main courses, it was once a very famous dish served in wedding banquets during 1960s. But now it is very difficult to find such hearty treasure because of the complicated process of preparing it. 

Jellied into a clump, the steamed kampong chicken, fresh prawns and thick slices of abalone have a firm, translucent texture. The village chicken is flavourful and it satiates the taste buds without being heavy on the stomach. A dip of mayonnaise just added little touches of tangy sweetness into the dish. 

 #3 Claypot Fried Rice (瓦煲炒饭) @ RM40 (For 4-5 pax)

My favourite of the evening is, in fact, the simplest dish that most Chinese can relate to: Fried Rice. Of course this is not the ordinary one. Very well-thought and it's the best fried rice I've ever sampled!

This is the luxurious creation by the young son of the owner, featuring caramalized rice crackers sipped within the claypot fried rice, topped with fresh crab, scallop and bacon, along with a garnish of spring onions to further enhance the taste and texture. 

  #4 Pei Pa Aromatic Duck (枇杷烧鸭) @ RM40

I can sense what's coming when I smell beautiful aromas wafting in the air from the flattened roasted duck. With the complicated process from steaming, drying to roasting which takes around 5-6 hours, limited amounts are served daily so do preorder to avoid disappointment. 

I always love Pei Pa Duck which is drier, crispier and less fatty than the usual roasted duck. Slightly saltier but smoky enough to whet my appetite! The duck, when dipped into a choice of plum sauce or chilli, has a refreshing twist to the crispy flavourful meat. 

  #5 "Mei Lan, Mei Lan, Wo Ai Ni" (梅蘭梅蘭,我爱你) 
from RM8 (2-3 pax)

The founder is a master chef with more than just great culinary skills but also high creativity in mind especially when naming his signature dishes! 

Here's an unique combination of preserved vegetables (Mui Choy 梅菜) and young Chinese broccoli (Kai Lan Miu 芥兰苗) which is bitter-sweet and salty on the edge. Surprisingly, it is very mouth-watering and I can't stop reaching for more. 

  #6 "Pig & Dog Friends" (猪朋狗友)
from RM16 (4-5 pax)

Next on the menu was the metalpot braised pork knuckle, traditionally known for its body-heating benefits and best taken during winter. The sweet-salty juiciness is revealed as I fork through the lean meat laden with fats. 

This dish is related to dog, because the herbs are used by our ancestors to treat dog meat, but now Mr. Woo has replaced the dog with pork instead. 

  #7 Guilin Crab Dumplings (桂林蟹枣) @ RM1.60 / piece

Beneath the crispy skin, each crab ball gives a soft, moist texture. Overall, the deep-fried light bite is so bouncy and flavourful that it is the first to be wiped out at the table. 

  #8 Nam Yu Pork Ribs (南乳排骨) @ RM15

Mr. Woo and his crew are also experts in authentic Hakka dish as the pork marinated in Red Fermented Beancurd is superb with its crispy deep-in-flavour crust. It is served on a bed of pickled vegetables (酸菜), making for a delightful combination of flavours.

#9 Curry Garoupa Fish Head (至尊咖哩鱼头) 
@ RM22 (Small) / RM30 (Medium)

To wrap up the evening meal, the chef delights us with its best-selling dish, a boiling hot pot of curry fish head instead of Chinese desserts. The graciously garnished fish head claypot is bracingly fresh, with rich creamy curry which is more on the sweet note than spicy. Awesome!

This is how the business started with their famous roasted duck 60 years ago.

Not only the service here is excellent, the humble owner is very generous to treat us with Whisky. To sum up, it is an enjoyable dinner to have a group of chatty friends along with good food and tasty red wines and liquor.

1. Woo Ng Kee is perfect for classic comfort food especially with family to bring out a homey feel.
2. Recommended: Curry Fish Head, Claypot Fried Rice, Pei Pa Aromatic Duck, "Mei Lan, Mei Lan, Wo Ai Ni" and "Pigs & Dogs Friends"
3. Pricewise, it is decent and good value for money considering the generous amount of ingredients.

Restaurant Woo Ng Kee (胡伍纪冷气海鲜酒家)
545, 546, 547, Jalan Ehsan 3/7, 
Taman Ehsan, 
52100 Kepong, 
Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: 603-6274 2305
GPS Coordinates: N 3.22116, E 101.623906

Business Hours: 
11.00am - 2.45pm daily
5.00pm - 11.00pm daily
Close on every Thursday

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