Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top claypot chicken rice in and around Kuala Lumpur

Thanks to documented evidence, our neighbouring country cannot claim that claypot chicken belongs to them. This dish originated from Guangdong Province in China and in Malaysia, the charming town of Kampar, was probably the first to serve claypot chicken rice. Over the years, the popularity of this dish spread to other towns. So, let’s have a look of what’s available in Klang Valley…
(1) Huen Kee Claypot Chicken Rice: Established in 1985 by Madam Huen May Lan, this coffee shop, though specializing in claypot chicken rice, also serves garoupa fish head curry, stewed chicken, seafood tofu, white tofu, claypot Chinese wine chicken and a variety of soups. The secret of its signature dish is the double-heat method of cooking. When the rice is half-cooked, the claypot is removed and replaced with a metal lid containing glowing charcoal embers. In this way, the flavours and juices of the marinated chicken pieces and sausages are preserved. Rating: 4.5/5. Address: 59 Jalan Yew, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
(2) Restoran Choong Kee Kampar Claypot Rice: This eatery doesn’t seem to harbour any secret recipe. High-grade rice, superior salted fish (possibly kam heong), and fine sausages are cooked over charcoal stoves, fanned furiously by Indonesian workers. Waiting time can be half-an-hour during peak hours. The soups are smooth and pack powerful flavours. Five types of Chinese teas are available. After my meal, I enter its wee room. It’s as hot as a sauna – because it’s located adjacent to the kitchen -- but pleasantly clean. Closed on Wednesday. Rating 5/5. Address: Jalan SS 22/25, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya
(3) Restoran Busy Corner: This coffee-shop gives creative twists to the standard claypot chicken rice by offering black pepper chicken rice, red bean sauce chicken rice, yam chicken rice, Thai chicken rice and prawn rice – all served claypot style. The claypot chicken rice contains all the standard ingredients plus huge – yes, huge -- slices of onions. The result is a sweet crispy texture to the rice and a wake-you-up aroma. Busy Corner is also famous for its claypot prawn rice. Closed on Thursday. Rating: 4/5. Addresss: No. 83, Jalan SS 22/11, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya.
(4) Restoran Makanan Teow Chew: This coffee shop serves teow chew porridge and various accompanying dishes such as stewed duck, braised tofu, fermented bean paste, preserved vegetables, and fried fish in black bean paste. But its claypot chicken rice is its bestseller. You will hear krug krug krug sounds in your ears when eating a mouthful of the claypot chicken rice because fried anchovies are added to the standard ingredients. Pretty high quality rice is used but the chicken can be improved with better selection of cuts. Rating: 3.5/5. Address: No. 19 & 21-Block C, Jalan Desa Aman 2, Taman Desa Aman, Cheras Kuala Lumpur.
(5) Taman Kok Lian Claypot Chicken Rice: At Jalan Batu Amber in Taman Kok Lian, you’ll find the best claypot chicken rice in uptown KL. By using the right amount of water to cook the rice over charcoal stoves and by drizzling it with dark soy sauce produces a dish that is robust in flavour. When the claypot arrives, the rice is almost all whitish and only after mixing does it turns dark slightly. The flavourful chicken pieces seems to be marinated with rice wine and sesame oil. Closed on Saturday. Rating: 4/5. Address: Jalan Batu Ambar, Taman Kok Lian, 51200 Kuala Lumpur.
(6) Restoran Gafan: Gafan offers regular claypot chicken rice, drunken chicken rice, black pepper chicken rice, beancurd sauce chicken rice, black pepper steak rice, Thai chicken rice, mutton rice and prawn rice. I sample both its regular claypot chicken rice and claypot mutton rice. Ample sliced onions and scallions garnished both dishes. The salted fish is served separately on a small saucer. The mutton is not local but imported as its texture is pretty tender. Sparing use of dark soy sauce allows the rice to maintain its fluffiness. Rating: 4.5/5. Address: 40 Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught, 56000 Kuala Lumpur.
(7) Wei Ji Claypot Chicken Rice: Wei Ji is housed in a converted corner double-story house. The low overhead of this eatery is passed to patrons in the form of generous amounts of rice and big chicken pieces. For some reason, the claypots are wrapped with wire, which perhaps increases the temperature to create a powerful smokey aroma to the dish. Vegetable soups are also available, but they lack the invigorating flavours to liven the senses. Rating: 4/5. Address: No. 112, Jalan Chong Hwa, Off Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.
(8) Hong Kee: At Hong Kee, you can order interesting side dishes such as grilled fish, grilled prawns and grilled squids – all done Portuguese style. And there’s coconut water to boot! Though Hong Kee adheres to the classical way of preparing claypot chicken rice, it has been let down by the quality of the rice: they’re very short, as though they’d gone through a blender! Using higher-quality longer rice would have lifted the overall quality of the dish dramatically. Opens from 5 pm onward. Rating: 3.5/5. Address: Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur.
(9) Restoran Shi Yue Tian: This shop started out as a stall at a shabby structure at Batu 8, Jalan Puchong more than 20 years ago, which its owner still maintains. At the new premise, you can amp up your meal with 10 varieties of double-boiled soups and steamed fish. The special spin to the claypot chicken rice here is the addition of ginger paste apart from the sliced spring onion. The rice is slightly wet and soggy and its strong flavour seethes in your mouth when you chomp a spoonful. Rating: 3/5. Address: 29-01 Jalan Kenari 19A, 47190 Bandar Puchong Jaya, Selangor. /end

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