Yi Kei Cafe

Special thanks to Yi Kei Cafe for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Yi Kei Cafe (义记) a relatively new eatery at Jelutong, located near the intersection between Perak Road (Jalan Perak) and Perak Close (Solok Perak). The mastermind at the kitchen is the former head chef at Sin Tai Tung (新大东海鲜饭店). Sin Tai Tung was a popular Cantonese-style stir-frying stall at Kedai Makanan Joo Seong (裕商茶室), just next to the UMNO building in George Town.
Taking advantage of many years of culinary experience, Yi Kei Cafe features Traditional Pork Noodles (传统猪肉粉, RM7.50) as its signature dish. The broth for this dish is prepared by boiling pork bones for more than 5 hours. As a result, the flavor becomes richer towards the later part of the day. As suggested, this dish is best enjoyed with thick rice vermicelli (粗米粉).
This noodles dish has nearly everything that a pork-lover craves for. For starters, minced pork (猪肉碎) is quite succulent and flavorful especially while it is hot. In addition, there are various pork innards such as brain (猪脑), liver (猪肝), kidney (猪肾) and intestines (猪肠).
Ultimately, what I truly enjoy is pork brain! This jelly-like organ is very delicate and unique creamy texture. Once inside the mouth, the pork brain releases intense savory flavor which may not be agreeable to some people. Personally, I welcome this delicacy with open arms.
According to the proprietors, another crowd favorite is Sour & Spicy Soup With Pickled Vegetables & Pork Innards (酸辣咸菜猪杂汤, RM6.50). The main flavor comes from pickled vegetables that give the soup delightful saltiness. In addition, a handful of bird's eye chili (小辣椒) are smashed flat such that their spiciness is entirely absorbed by the soup. There is also a hint of pepper to provide mint-like pungency.
Meat ingredients used for this dish are minced pork (猪肉碎), intestines (猪肠), liver (猪肝), meat slices (三层肉), meatballs (肉丸). I feel that the soup itself is the main attraction; the presence of pork is just supplementary. Yam rice (芋头饭, RM2.00) is also available separately should customers require something staple to go with the soup.
As for Seafood Thai Style Tom Yum (海鲜泰式东炎, RM15.00), the spicy soup is very satisfying indeed. Instead of using ready-to-use tom yum paste from a jar, Yi Kei Cafe prepares its tom yum by mixing various spices from scratch. The spices used are of premium quality, therefore the quality of tom yum is comparable with those of proper restaurants.
This tom yum dish contains various seafood including 3 large shrimps, several pieces of grouper (石斑鱼) and squid. The flesh of shrimps is juicy and succulent, thanks to their freshness. This dish can be enjoyable as a meal on its own, preferably with some Maggie Mee (快熟面) for RM1.00 more.
Curry Fish Head (咖哩鱼头, RM17.00) has moderate level of spiciness. The curry is best enjoyed with rice so that the fiery flavors are not overpowering. To produce creamy composition, evaporated milk (淡奶) is added to the curry. Evaporated milk also manifests as mild aftertaste sweetness, much to my delight.
The curry contains the selected cuts of grouper head. Yi Kei Cafe takes in whole fish from the fishmonger, often exceeding 10 kilograms each time. Although the head does not contain much meat, it is well-suited for this curry dish. My only suggestion is to remove fish scales more thoroughly, as residual scales disrupt enjoyment of the grouper.
Moving on to side dishes, Fried Prawns (招牌脆皮虾, RM10.00) was one of the bestsellers back at the old stall. The coating of batter is not too thick. This allows the entire batter coating to be crispy without having doughy-like layer underneath. I highly recommend this side dish.
Fried Squid (脆皮苏东, RM10.00) is prepared using slightly different recipe for the batter. Some spice is added into the mix, therefore the squid releases a different type of aroma as the batter crumbles in the mouth. Usually, Fried Prawns and Fried Squid are available as separate dishes. They are combined only for the purpose of this review.

An order of Belacan Chicken (峇拉煎鸡, RM10.00) includes several pieces of chicken drumettes and wings, marinated with shrimp paste for several hours before frying in hot oil. The chicken is best enjoyed while still hot from the fryer, because this is when it is crispy and does not have greasy sensation. Although chili sauce is provided, I feel that condiments are unnecessary as they tend to overwhelm the original flavor of Belacan Chicken.
Last but not least, Pai Kut Ong (排骨王, RM10.00) is stir-fried pork chunks that has been marinated with various spices including five spice powder (五香粉). Meanwhile, the gravy is made from Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, vinegar and sugar. Using masterful fiery aroma (镬气), the scrumptious pork chunks are irresistible in the mouth.
Name: Yi Kei Cafe (义记)
Address: 403, Jalan Perak, 11600 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-418-6617, 016-464-5864
Business hours: 10:00am-12:00am, closed on alternate Tuesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/yikeicafe
Coordinates: 5.39388 N, 100.31455 E
Directions: Yi Kei Cafe is located along Perak Road (Jalan Perak) between Kang Beef House (江祖传牛肉小镇) and Khidthung Thai Seafood Tomyam Restoran (想你泰中泰海鲜大排档). There are parking spaces along the service road in front of the restaurant.

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