Lai Foong Beef Noodle

Kedai Kopi Lai Foong (丽丰茶餐室) is a popular eatery near Pudu Sentral bus station terminus. This old coffee shop has been around since time immemorial. Well, I may be exaggerating, but at least it has been operating for several decades.
One of the most popular stalls in this coffee shop is Lai Foong Beef Noodle (丽丰牛肉面). This stall started in 1956, making it even older than this great nation. I am not sure whether the stall started at this very spot, though. Please forgive my ignorance since I was not born yet.
There are several versions of Beef Noodle (牛肉面) depending on how gaga you want to go over it. For RM10.00, you get the full package which includes lean beef (牛肉), belly (腩), stomach (肚), intestines (肠), tendon (腱) and beef balls (牛肉丸).
The beef soup is saturated with rich flavors, although I feel that it is on the saltier side of my liking. The recommended type of noodles is flat rice noodles (粿条), but other choices are available too.

Beef belly is certainly the star of this dish. The meat is a lovely mixture of lean and fatty tissues, giving it excellent mouthfeel.
On the other hand, I do not enjoy the lean beef so much because it is too tough and coarse in texture. It should be better if it were cut into thinner slices.
Meanwhile, the beef stomach is quite enjoyable. The rubbery texture is a real treat in the mouth.
Another gratifying ingredient is beef tendon, which has a tough yet pleasant texture.
The two beef balls are springy and highly addictive. The only way to comprehend this is by tasting them by yourself.
As for drinks, they are the regular ones available at any old-fashioned coffee shops. Our drinks today are iced coffee, hot milk tea and hot Chinese tea.
Kedai Kopi Lai Foong is quite packed during lunch hours, and the waiting time for food can be surprisingly long. However, take comfort with the fact that every customer is in the same boat. The crowd cannot be wrong about a popular stall, right?
Address: 138, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 03-2072-8123
Business hours: 6:30am-4:30pm

Mou Tak Ding

Petaling Street (茨厂街) is Kuala Lumpur's very own Chinatown. Besides selling various trinkets to tourists, this place is also popular for several curb-side eateries like Kim Lian Kee (金莲记) and Hon Kee Famous Porridge (汉记靓粥).
In terms of drinks, the most popular stall is Mou Tak Ding (冇得顶). This stall is located right at the crossroads between Petaling Street (Jalan Petaling) and Jalan Hang Lekir. In fact, the stall has been operating at this exact spot for as long as my memory goes. Quite recently, Mou Tak Ding opened a kiosk at Mid Valley Megamall too.
The signature drink of this stall is Air Mata Kucing (罗汉果龙眼冰糖炖冬瓜, RM2.30), which is made from luo han guo (罗汉果), longan (龙眼), winter melon (冬瓜) and rock sugar. This herbal remedy is believed to be able to combat heatiness, relieve coughing and soothe the throat. Whether true or not, this cold drink is perfect for a hot day.
Address: Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 012-377-5200
Business hours: 10:30am-10:00pm


Hon Kee

Unlike Mou Tak Ding (冇得顶) at the busy crossroads, Hon Kee Famous Porridge (汉记靓粥) may not be the most imposing stall at Petaling Street (茨厂街). However, its simple appearance can be misleading. Remember the porridge stall at Lot 10 Hutong? Well, this is where the recipe started.
Hon Kee is now being operated by the third generation. Although its name explicitly mentions "porridge", porridge is no longer the only dish available. For example, chee cheong fun (猪肠粉) has also been added to the menu.
The signature and bestselling dish at Hon Kee is Fresh Raw Fish Porridge (驰名生鱼片粥, RM6.50). Instead of boiling fish chunks with porridge, raw carp fish (鲤鱼) is provided on a separate plate à la sashimi style! To enjoy this delicacy, gently dip a thin slice of raw fish in the bowl of hot porridge for several seconds. You know that the flesh is cooked when it turns from pink to white. The taste? I love the partially raw sensation without the fishy stench.
For this dish, plain porridge with chopped scallion (spring onion) is provided. The rice grains are mashed up to produce a homogeneous composition. This is the Cantonese-style porridge; this is my personal favorite!
If raw fish does not agree with your palate, try the Crispy Innards Porridge (猪杂粥, RM5.00) instead. The composition of this porridge is the same as the one before, but the bowl also contacts succulent pork innards such as tongue, liver, stomach and intestines. In particular, I love the delightful crisp of fried pork intestines. Exquisite!
Switching gear to something different, the Secret Recipe Sauce Rice Noodle (驰名山水猪肠粉, RM4.00) is also enjoyable. Here, sheets of steamed rice cakes are cut into strips, then drenched in signature sweet sauce and with a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Kuala Lumpur is full of amazing eats that do not burn a huge hole in your pocket. You just need to know where to find one like Hon Kee Famous Porridge.

Address: 93, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 012-227-6281
Business hours: 4:00am-2:30pm


CRC Chinese Restaurant

Across Pangkor Road (Jalan Pangkor) from the clubhouse of Chinese Recreation Club (CRC) is its flagship restaurant, CRC Chinese Restaurant (美丽华鱼翅海鲜酒家). This restaurant shares the same building as North Malaya Cheah Si Chong Soo (北马谢氏宗祠).
As Chinese New Year is approaching, many restaurants offer Chinese New Year packages to take advantage of the many appreciation meals that companies throw before the festive event. Our 8-course package costs RM628.00 per table of 10 persons.
Before the meal starts, it is common to keep the guests occupied with some tidbits such as roasted peanuts and pickled papaya slices.
Although the first dish is supposed to be Salmon Yee Sang (三文鱼鱼生), the restaurant had to substitute with Four Seasons (四热荤) because several ingredients of yee sang are still not available. In fact, I actually preferred this arrangement anyway. This serving of Four Seasons consists of bite-size delicacies like braised fish meat, fried fish stick with salad, sweet & sour pork and scallops with cashew nuts.
The next dish is Braised Shark's Fin Soup With Crab Meat (鲜蟹肉生翅). Unlike many Chinese restaurants, the soup is served in a shallow bowl, so it is not as large as it appears.
Nevertheless, the soup is rich in ingredients and is quite satisfying. The default amount of vinegar is insufficient for my palate, so I added several more drizzles from a small pitcher.
The next dish is CRC Roasted Chicken (美丽华掛炉鸡). Underneath the prawn crackers are delicious pieces of roasted chicken. The chicken is prepared well and are quite juicy. A saucer of sour plum sauce is provided to provide certain degree of tanginess.
The next dish is Braised Mushrooms With Sea Cucumber & Fish Maw (冬菇扣海参鱼肚). The main highlight are the lovely slices of abalone (鲍鱼片). Flanking on all sides are black mushrooms (香菇), sea cucumber (海参), fish maw (鱼肚) and broccoli (西兰花). I like the presentation of this dish as much as I do with its taste.
Moving on, Deep Fried Red Fish With Thai Sauce (泰式煎红狮) comes in rather large portion even for 10 persons. The choice of fish is red snapper (红狮鱼). Unfortunately, the fish is deep-fried instead of being steamed. I feel that deep-frying is a wasteful way to enjoy fresh fish - assuming that the fish is fresh. Thai-style sweet chili sauce is used to provide flavor.
The next dish, Glutinous Rice With Preserved Meat (腊味糯米饭), appeals to my palate. Glutinous rice is steamed with waxed pork (腊肉), Chinese sausages (腊肠) and liver sausages (润肠). This rice dish concludes the main course on a high note.
As for desserts, Chilled Lychee With Sago (荔枝西米露) serves as one-half of the dish. I like the way this dessert presents refreshing sensation as the soup flows down the throat.
Suspended within the milky soup are sago and lychee (荔枝). The taste is heavenly indeed.
The other one-half of desserts is Deep Fried Sesame Seed Balls (酥炸芝麻枣). Filled with green bean paste, the rice balls are coated with sesame seeds and then deep-fried to perfection.
CRC Chinese Restaurant also offers exotic seafood such as Australian Lobsters (澳洲龙虾), Loong Foo Grouper (龙虎斑) and Leopard Coral Grouper (星斑). These exquisite delicacies are not available in the regular course meal.
Overall, I find the food at CRC Chinese Restaurant to be favorable. In fact, several dishes here deserve special recommendation. Considering the food quality, I think the price of today's meal is very reasonable for a restaurant of such ambience.
Address: 22, Jalan Pangkor, 10500 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-227-8777
Business hours: 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm