Teochew Restaurant - Landmark dishes

By : Sam Cheong

PERSONALISED: Chef Kam at work preparing the fish head broth.
PERSONALISED: Chef Kam at work preparing the fish head broth.

SAM CHEONG gets a taste of fine food from a landmark restaurant.

(From left)One of these  prawns is enough to knock your socks off! and a garoupa fish head in Chinese herbal broth.
(From left)One of these prawns is enough to knock your socks off! and a garoupa fish head in Chinese herbal broth.
TEOCHEW Restaurant in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, is an establishment that needs little introduction among many a wai sek kuai (glutton in Cantonese). Eyes light up at the mere mention of this makan place in the heart of KL.

For one thing, it’s been around for more than two decades, serving dim sum breakfasts from 7am to 11am. But it is the after-breakfast meals on which Teochew Restaurant (that’s the actual name) has built its reputation.

For many a gourmand, Teochew, of Jalan Thambi Dollah, is a household trademark for suckling pig dishes, the norm for weddings, anniversaries and birthday celebrations among he traditional Chinese families.

The house speciality, loh mai yee chue (suckling pig with glutinous rice) is one dish that gets me coming back for more.
Teochew’s chef, C.Y. Kam or Ah Kam kor (big brother Kam), said the suckling pig dishes are done by a siew chue (barbeque pork) specialist who has been on the job for more than 13 years.

“We choose the best ingredients to roast our piglets and the usual yee chue that most of our clients order are thin and crispy. For the glutinous rice version, we need at least one week’s advance order to cater for our customers,” Kam said. “This is a hot favourite especially for those who love their meat crispy and tender.” Kam has recently introduced a new variation, Japanese-style suckling pig, with miso sauce and wasabi dip.

For this, too, orders need to be placed a day in advance. “And right now, we have a promotion price of RM88 for this new item on our menu.”

Though Teochew Restaurant has made a name for itself with pork dishes, chef Kam picked out several other dishes to show off his restaurant’s skills. These were: garoupa fish head in Chinese herb broth, stir-fried king prawns, and fish-paste noodles.

At RM50 a go, the garoupa is something out of the ordinary, and the effort put into making this dish is itself is a story of its own.

Kam explains : “We can use freshwater fish like the sang yue (snakehead), and song yue (Chinese carp), but saltwater fishes are best. If we can source for high-quality fishes like the tiger garoupa, potato cod or coral trout, the quality of our herbal broth will complement the fine choice of fish.”

The meal is prepared fresh on-the-spot.

How about the taste? I must say that a second or probably third helping is in order. The broth is clear and tasty and the fish head is not overcooked.

Teochew Restaurant’s stir-fried king prawns is priced at RM25 and above, dictated by the market price of prawns at RM10 per 100gm.

I am not a big fan of prawns, because of the hard work in peeling the shell to get at the meat, but chef Kam’s rendition of king prawns is an exception.

When served, the dish resembles the usual sweet and sour’ prawns of other restaurants, but looks can be deceiving. This is a dish that wins hands-down. The prawns are sweet, juicy and succulent, not overcooked and come with a very pleasant tasting sauce that is not too spicy or overpowered by use of sweet chilli sauce.

Are you a fishball fan? Teochew’s fish paste noodles will have you swooning.

Chef Kam, who believes in freshness, said no boric acid or artificial preservatives are used in making the noodles.

“I use a blend of ikan tenggiri (Spanish mackerel) and taufoo fish meat to create the fish paste used to make the noodles,” he said, while advising us “the noodles has to be eaten hot as soon as it is served” to maintain freshness.

Other than the special dishes mentioned, there is also the smoked duck which came highly recommended by my buddy Lee Hon Yew, a regular wai sek kuai. To savour this special meat dish, you will need to ring up the restaurant and place an advance order.

* Teochew Restaurant opens daily, 7am-3pm and 6pm-11.30pm. For reservations, call 03-2141-5851 or 03-2148-3452.



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