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Monday, 9 June 2014

Char Siew Yoong @ Cheras

I first got to know about this place, Restoran Char Siew Yoong @ Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras, when I read about it in an article by a well known food writer (who sang praises of it) in the Star newspapers.  And, he was not alone.

So, I decided to try out the place (since it's near where I stay) to see what the hype was all about.  The restaurant was first run as a stall in a shack along Jalan Peel.  They moved to their current premises due to the MRT and Sunway Velocity projects in their previous location.

As the restaurant's name implies, their signature dish must be the "char siew" (BBQ pork) which is a must-order dish here.  It came highly recommended by the food writer who gave it full marks (a 10 out of 10)!

This was our plate of char siew and siew yoke (for 2 pax) @ RM19 inclusive of rice (for 2) + drinks (Chinese Tea and water).

If you like tender succulent char siew which is less fatty, then Char Siew Yoong's version will appeal to you.  The leaner parts were slightly chewy while the fatty bits (only very few bits) were more juicy.  Since it was more lean than fat, it did not have the 'melt-in-your-mouth' sensation (like Chan Meng Kee's version)Although I did like the fact that it was not as sweet, I didn't like as much the chewier, leaner cut of meat.  The sauce provided with the char siew (on the side) was also not as sweet.

However, I felt it was still good (since it was a leaner cut of char siew) but not good enough to get a 10 out of 10 'in my book' (or my son's book) as it didn't have much of the sweet sticky caramelisation that he liked.

When it came to the siew yoke, the skin was (no doubt) superbly crunchy but (flavour wise) the meat was not that great.  [#Note: You can see that the cut of the meat is slightly longer than the norm.  To me, the excellent ones are always the shorter cut ones.]  Sad, but true, I still prefer the (famous and pricey) siew yoke from Pudu.

However, I did enjoy the super crunchy roast pork skin immensely though.  It was very crunchy (without being hard) and crumbled easily when you bite into it.  Wished you could have heard the crackling sound it made in my mouth!

The chicken broth-infused rice was pleasurable with nicely separated grains and not too oily.

But the chilli dip was a letdown, probably one of my least favourite.  It did not have the garlicky flavour and (more importantly) the zesty flavour from the lime juice that I liked (and also it's more coarsely blended).

They also have "tan tong" (doubled-boiled soups) on their menu like old cucumber and watercress ("sai yin choy") soup.  This is the Old Cucumber Soup @ RM6 which was boiled with chunks of lean pork, chicken feet and red dates.

The soup was really, really tasty because of the flavour imparted by the softened old cucumber, red dates, chunks of pork and chicken feet.  I don't normally eat the meat that is boiled in soup but this was so tender, it was good enough to eat.

Another excellent eat here is the Braised Chicken Feet @ RM4 (small) with its tender texture...and (better still) it arrived at our table piping hot!  You either like chicken feet or you don't and I'm in the former category (though I try not to eat it too often).  The chicken feet were soft and good....and you can definitely taste the spices (star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods) in the sauce (albeit a tad salty).  This was one of the better ones I've eaten for sure (though I also like the one from Mei Sin's wantan mee stall which had a lesser spiced-flavoured sauce).

Other popular dishes here include steamed tilapia in assam sauce (yum), braised pork trotters (eww...so fatty and wobbly!) and steamed yam with pork belly ("wu tau kao yoke").

My Personal Opinion

I came with high expectations of the char siew but, unfortunately, it fell a wee bit short (for me personally) though I must admit that it's still one of the better ones in KL.  Suffice to say that even if the review comes from a highly regarded authority on food, it does not necessarily mean that we'd agree on the degree of tastiness of the food (as we are all different individuals in our own right and have very different taste buds and likes).
In this case, I did not arrive at the same conclusion (of the many people who swear by Yoong's char siew as truly excellent) nor share the same enthusiasm (as the food writer) for it.  Even though my char siew experience was not as great as expected, nevertheless, if you like char siew with less fat (and less sweet), I can understand why you would give top marks for Yoong's version (much like the famed writer).
However, the braised chicken feet and old cucumber soup were definitely good.  As for the char siew and siew yoke, it was (still) a "pop" (power of pork) sensation!

The place is worthy of a revisit (for sure) as the food still trumps many such chicken/char siew/siew yoke eateries out there.

Restoran Char Siew Yoong
No 23 Jalan Pudu Ulu
Cheras
56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-213 7163

4 comments:

  1. I like lean char siew so maybe I will go and give this a try. That's a big portion of old cucumber in the soup for just rm6.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, if lean char siew is your thing, then you may like this and the big portion of old cucumber probably contributed to the tastiness of the soup.

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  2. Not bad but not the greatest. Char Siew 7/10.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree.....and thanks for dropping by my blog :)

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