By Anthony Dylan
Food would always be the source or inducement for one to travel outside your norms. Today, we also have the famous Hawker Chan Soy Sauce Chicken rice whose establishment in Chinatown, Singapore won the accolade of being the World’s First cheapest Michelin One Star eatery located in the heart of Petaling Street. He also has another spot in Ipoh, Perak. Liao Fan Hawker Chan is also in many other countries. I have personally tasted his (Chan Hon Meng) soy sauce chicken rice which is also served with braised soy beans. The sweet salty taste and the juicy chicken complete the already fragrant rice. This is unique as it is known to be the cheapest and even in Malaysia, the prices are comparable with the best prices you can get for chicken rice.
There is another 1 star Michelin eatery in Hong Kong Macau which is setting up a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Kam’s Roast from the family of the famous Yung Kee Restaurant in, Hong Kong would tempt you with their family recipe of roast duck. I do hope they also have the famous roast goose but it does not seem to be so far as media information has provided so far. It would be interesting to see how they fare against the likes of Sunrise Duck in PJ and also I-Po Duck in Klang. Both are winners in their own right. There is also W’s Hainam Corner in a new shopping centre in Shah Alam which serves good herbal smoky roast duck and goose. Even when you are in Subang Jaya, you would find Roasted Chef’s House in USJ 1 or Wei Kee Roast Goose in USJ 10 as good alternatives.
In fact, even in the surrounds of Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam and Klang, you would find great food at unbelievable prices. Now, let me now bring you to a journey of something even more remarkable. Recently, a friend invited a group of us; 6 in total to a well known place in Klang for lunch. He insisted we reach there by 1145am as he claims that it would be packed earlier due to physical distancing. Otherwise, on pre Covid-19 days, arriving by 1230pm is good enough. Hearing this would already pique our interest.
I arrived at 1140am and met them at the door. The shop is called ‘Siow Tiow’ and does not look anything but rundown from the street. The shop sign is fading beyond recognition other than the name of the restaurant and a pomfret fish and a prawn by each side of the name. Hardly attractive, I thought as we walked in. We took our temperatures and scanned our QR codes for contact tracing before heading to our table. There were not many tables inside. At most we could see 6 to 8 tables for between 3 to 6 people due to the required SOPs of RMCO. The host rattled out the order to the server. He told us that we would be having their typical dishes which Klang folk would order. There were 6 dishes plus one fruit platter.
The restaurant then was starting to fill up and many who walked in had to be turned away. Common office folk and some high level business owners I would presume by the watches they wore and the beady eyed bodyguards standing outside. The interior is air-conditioned and the look and feel of the shop is just like any kopitiam but unbelievably clean. Even their toilets are clean. Their floor tiling shows its worn age but looks clean even for the grouting.
The first dish of vegetables stir fried in garlic came. It was done very well as the vegetable still maintained its texture and the seasonings not overpowering. I thought that this place would not disappoint after that. Next, came the oyster omelette (Orh Chien). This dish came with plump oysters and an even fluffy egg omelette. A bottle of Chilli sauce came onto the table and funnily enough had a label, ‘Vegetarian Chilli Sauce”. Honestly, the Orh Chien was good enough on its own.
The steamed pomfret came next. It was served in a worn aluminum round steaming tray. So much for presentation, we thought until we start eating. The flesh of the fish was done just right and the garlic oil dressing just hits the sweet spot. Just as we were finishing the fish, the fried prawns came. The look of these crustaceans would surely evoke salivating emotions. Just as good as its looks, the plump juicy prawns in light batter once again overwhelmed us.
The next two dishes were their noodle dishes. One was fried Mee Hoon and their version of Hokkien Mee. The platter of sweet fruits came last as we finished off the meal with hot Chinese tea. The pots have to be refilled on your own so do not expect service. As we sat talking, the host told us that this establishment is also known as the Klang Hilton. Before we could say anything, he went over to the cashier to pay.
As he sat again with us, we all said that the food was definitely very good and better than even a Hilton or a Shangri-La or any Michelin Starred restaurant; hence it befitted the moniker of being referred to as the Klang Hilton. Then he said we were only half right to our amazement. He then showed us the bill. The total was to our disbelief for the 6 dishes plus 1 fruit platter and a pot of tea; RM654.00. They did not itemize the bill nor take anything other than cash. Now that is an experience to talk about. Believe it or not, it is true.