Restoran Sek Yuen

Sek Yuen Restoran

Can’t remember how many times I have driven past this single storey building with its stark neon sign and vowed to come here… my wish came true as i finally headed for this place together with colleagues during the CNY period and also to celebrate my birthday. We made our way after work and it was still relatively early so we could have our pick of any of the tables. I opted to sit on the non-airconditioned side simply because I wanted to have a more authentic dining experience.

Sek Yuen Interior

Steeped in decades of history, I reckon Sek Yuen is the chinese equivalent of Coliseum Cafe. The “waiters” are family, and the 3rd generation of the Phang family is currently at helm of this place. Having survived the test of time, the nolstagic interior of kopitiam chairs, faded tables and polished tiles bear witness to that. Even the chefs in the kitchen have been cooking using firewood for as long as they have been operating.

We decided to have a small portion of yee sang as I have heard praises on this dish here. The ingredients are prepared themselves, which is quite laborious as it involves shredding and the julienne cutting of various items incl. pickled ginger, green papaya, carrot, jicama etc. Heaped with spring onions, deep friend wonton skin crackers, cilantro etc and served with side servings of lime wedges, green& red packets of pepper and five-spice powder. The fish slices are generously doused in sesame oil and topped with some ginger slivers.

The freshness of the ingredients of this dish made it a delight to eat and we had fun tossing it, knowing that it’ll be a year later before we attempt to have more.

I loved the “kar heong zhai” (家乡齋), which is essentially a mixed vegetable dish stir-fried with nam yee, or red fermented beancurd. Strands of glass noodles interwoven between slices of chinese cabbage, beancurd, cloud ear fungus, and lily bulb knots etc, I had several helpings as it was so good with the rice. Which brings me to the rice… I have read a few blog reviews on how they had steamed rice served in metal bowls but we didn’t get that. Instead, we had a big bowl of rice to share amongst the table.

Wanting something different, we asked for stir fried intestines which the waiter recommended to be prepared with dried shrimps. For more flavour, spring onions and chili padi were also stir-fried together. But this dish is not for everyone as some reckon there was an aftertaste. But I thought it was quite refreshing and I liked the texture.

The steamed grass carp fish head (蒸松鱼头) with ginger paste was very fresh and perfectly steamed.

As we didn’t pre-book the 8 Treasure duck, we opted for the Stuffed Pork Trotter. I also learnt that this dish is not always available so we were quite lucky to get it at short notice. I enjoyed this sublime dish with the tender, soft meat. The stuffing used were a mixture of its own chopped meat, chestnuts, chinese mushrooms, chopped dried oysters etc. The entire trotter was also topped with my favourite fatt choy moss. Even the gravy was yummy though must mention that the meat was rather fatty, or gelatinous if you prefer. Still, highly recommended esp. if you love rice dumplings as it felt like eating the rice dumplings.

Lastly, we had their famous Pei pa duck (琵琶鸭). I heard that the ducks are reared by the restaurant themselves and are dried in the hot sun for that crisp skin. True enough, I enjoyed the crispy skin most of all. The accompanying tangy dip is also quite memorable. The oil drippings on the plate seems to indicate that the duck was given a hot oil bath before it was served.

in Sek Yuen, another old school restaurant tradition that is practised is the handing out of hot handkerchiefs after a meal. Ah, comfort is feeling the warmth against one’s skin.

The overall dinner costs RM220 for 8pax which is reasonable enough for a taste of old-style Cantonese cooking. And what I truly enjoyed about this place, apart from the atmosphere is the homecooked flavour of the dishes. I don’t even mind the slightly curt and impatient gestures of the waiters as they’re actually quite lovable once they soften up. And I can’t wait to discover other hidden gems of dishes served there… afterall there’s no handwritten menu.

Restoran Sek Yuen 适苑酒家
313-315 Jalan Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel : 03 9222 9457

Closed Mondays

Other reviews:
masak-masak
precious pea
you get what you give

15 Comments »

  1. mimi said

    I heard that their “Lou Sang” quite nice~~

    epicuriousgirl says: it is. the difference lies in the ingredients…

  2. J2Kfm said

    oh i passed by this place few days ago, and was tempted to dine there.
    but gotta bring a larger crowd to try out everything eh?

    the style of cooking may be extinct liao, with so much emphasize on fusion, modern, and new age Chinese cuisine nowadays.

    epicuriousgirl says: yeah, def. need a few more people if u want to try the more well-known dishes in one sitting. but i won’t mind eating here with a friend if it meant coming back again and again to try new stuff. hehe.

  3. yes! its like a chinese coliseum for me too. the yee sang looks good, how many restaurants out there serves u actual shredded vege during this festive season? i’ve eaten mainly countless plates of those artificial coloured deep fried mee hoon😦

    epicuriousgirl says: i know! So i try to steer away from the artificial yee sang ingredients these days…

  4. my wife had told me about this place for ages… yet I never bring her here.. lol! Guess that this time I have to make some effort to drive from PJ to KL🙂

    epicuriousgirl says: go during early weekend evenings… shouldn’t encounter traffic/parking issues.🙂

  5. jason said

    Passed by this place countless time too but haven’t been here yet. I think parking is an issue here…

    epicuriousgirl says: so far we’ve been lucky in getting spaces along the road behind the restaurant. Try your luck?

  6. Tummythoz said

    They do have plenty of ‘olden dishes’ which my elders always complain no restaurants do them anymore. Pity I ‘banana’ so just cannot remember the names.

    epicuriousgirl says: Would love to learn more about these disappearing dishes…🙂

  7. Nic (KHKL) said

    so much has been said about this restaurant! yeah, authentic dishes are rare these days and even the priciest ones just dont quite make it.

    the vegetarian dish looks really good and that’s how it should be done. with the fu yu for that aromatic, savoury taste! i cant wait to go!!!🙂

    epicuriousgirl says: yes, a lot of have been said and i’m glad we went. loved loved the vegan dish.

  8. wanna check out this place when i get back ;P
    although i don’t frequent Pudu a lot… time to hunt down for some HOMELAND food! ;P miss ’em really.

    epicuriousgirl says: well, people do say, there’s nothing like home🙂

  9. gina said

    It’s definitely a to-go place to have a gastronomical experience and delight! Will try the pei pah ngap the next round!

    Guess what? The mechanic’s dad is a good friend of Sek Yuen owner. So during CNY, he gets a reserved car park and reserved best food in Sek Yuen!

    epicuriousgirl says: so next CNY we pergi sama-sama ya? Hehe

  10. eh.. did they have a paint job recently.. i remember it more run down that that !

    erm your fatt choy dish must have pumped up the price a bit.. me thinks!

    epicuriousgirl says: not too sure about the paint job but the pork trotter dish was good!

  11. vkeong said

    woah, clear n bright photos.. made the food look really tempting. i like how the restaurant looked.. really nostalgic

    epicuriousgirl says: haha, thanks. just one of those better days when I am rajin enough to lug my dslr😛

  12. Peko-P said

    Hey there, I just discovered your site from Asian Food Gallery.

    The Pei pa duck looks super yummy. I love the crunchy skin of duck in Chinese dishes. They dry it out in the sun? Wow.

    Peko-P

    epicuriousgirl says: hey. thanks for visiting🙂 see you around.

  13. […] Other reviews:- Sek Yuen Chinese Restaurant @ Jalan Pudu, KL Sek Yuen Restaurant Restoran Sek Yuen […]

  14. Still remember those days when my father used to bring back some Cantonese fried noddles with sliced abalone and pork stomach after a western cowboy film with me at BB Park(about 45yrs ago).I wonder how much would it cost and if they make it now.They still serve watercress soup with canned salted duck stomach as I did try to ask for it recently and it taste superd.

  15. […] has a pleasant ducky essence. It was a fantastic dinner. I was dying to order some seafood like the steamed fish head with ginger paste, prawns, or spicy fragrant crabs but we decided not to because we simply can’t finish […]

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