Monday, 18 December 2017

Seng Kee Chicken Rice @ Damansara Uptown

I came to Seng Kee Chicken Rice @ Damansara Uptown after a comment was left on my post of 10 Places for Wonderfully Delicious Wantan Mee asking me if I would try the other famous outlets for wantan mee...Seng Kee being one of them.

According to blogger TM, the original shop is in Taman Desa and the one here is their second outlet (opened in February this year) two doors down from Annie 1.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived to see that their signboard had the words 'chicken rice' on it.  Hmm, that made me confused as to what their speciality really is (since I came here thinking they're famous for wantan mee).  From the signboard alone, a calculated guess would be chicken rice, of course! ;)  For now, let's not delve into this reservation of mine too much.  This concern will be addressed and dealt with at the end of this post.

At the time of writing this post, I suddenly remembered that this is a food place in Damansara Utama and straightaway wondered if our 'Uptown Girl Food Specialist' (*wink wink*) has been here, so I googled it...and, lo and behold, she has (and, due to my poor memory, I've obviously forgotten all about it)...and, yikes, her review wasn't favourable! >_<

Well, let's see, shall we?  Browsing through the menu, I noticed that, besides roast chicken, they have poached kampung chicken but that can only be ordered in whole, half or quarters (they don't do a one pax serving with rice).  I already knew (from the obvious signboard) that chicken rice is their main focus, so I asked if their kampung chicken is their speciality.  A short, stout gentleman (the owner maybe?) replied in the affirmative, so I made an order for Poached Kampung Chicken (Lower Quarter) @ RM23 which comprised the drumstick and thigh portion (the upper quarter of chicken breast and wing is RM18).  Rather expensive kampung chicken to some (I'm sure), it better be good, I thought.

Luckily, the kampung chicken was really good...the meat was absolutely tender, smooth and flavourful too (nothing like the overly firm meat of some kampung chicken I've had before).  I usually don't like poached chicken skin but this one had no visible fats underneath and was smooth to the bite, so I was able to eat it too. ^o^  Only thing I didn't like was that they didn't bother to debone the drumstick.  It's fine for the other parts of the chicken (if they're not deboned) but not for the drumstick.  For some reason, the drumstick bone is very brittle and tend to shatter to smaller bits when chopped (it's like that when my chicken seller from the wet market chops the chicken for me too).

For this chicken rice shop, the condiments on the table included not just the usual fresh chilli sauce but also the less frequently provided freshly minced ginger (this was so good) and a bottle of thick dark soy sauce (which some like to squeeze over their rice, not me though).  The minced ginger was so fresh and finely minced, it was strikingly delicious.

You have to order the rice separately.  The Signature Oil Rice costs RM2 a bowl and my first impression when it arrived was I could see that the grains were nicely separated and not broken or mushed like many of the chicken rice I've come across.  I can't quite remember if it had the aroma of a good chicken flavour in it coz I was excited about the minced ginger (which you don't find at many chicken rice stalls) and could have been overly generous with it in my rice! ;P  Not only that but the aromatic combo of soy sauce+sesame oil, lying underneath the chicken which was a bit on the saltish side, was also deliciously drizzled all over my rice.

Though I applaud the nicely separated grains and non-oily rice, I found the texture a tad too firm for my liking (but I do know that this texture appeals to spouse, for instance, who likes his rice with a bit of bite).  I don't like mushy rice but I don't like hard textured rice either.

Since I was recommended to try the wantan mee + my family don't really fancy poached chicken all that much, the BBQ Pork (Char Siew) Wantan Noodle @ RM8 was their automatic choice.

The first thing I noticed about the char siew when it arrived was that the texture looked a bit like pulled pork.  Although the char siew was all lean, it was still irreproachably tender but it was the taste of it that took me by surprise.  It's different from the sticky-sweet char siew we're used to, this one had a very smoky flavour...and by smoky, I mean really smoky like the char siew had gone through a process of (western-style) smoking.  It was nice....different but nice.  I liked it :)  But for those looking for a melt-in-your-mouth fatty char siew with a sweet sticky glaze, this will not meet your expectations.

As for the noodles themselves, they were alright...very springy but the sauce wasn't my favourite.  Tasting more sweet than savoury, it was also on the oily side.  The sauce was strongly flavoured with some kind of oil but I can't say if it was sesame, pork lard or onion oil...or a combination of all three.  Another bummer was the few pork lard crisps on the noodles were hard and also tasted past its prime as the oil smelled rancid.

The wontons were nice and meaty...and I found the soup quite ok too :)

We also ordered a portion of Roast Pork (Siew Yoke) @ RM8 (for one pax) to try.  Visually, when it arrived, I was sold already as they were those 'short type' cut that I like.  The skin was admirably crispy and the meat tender though a bit on the lean side.  I thought it was a respectable siew yoke, maybe not among the best but certainly more than decent (it also looked very different from the one in phonghong's blog...improved recipe?).  If you prefer a leaner siew yoke, then this may well suit you.

My spouse, on the other hand, has very high standards for siew yoke (coz it's his favourite roasted meat) and he didn't like this one as much.  The reason was that he found the meat bland, not salty enough.  I definitely didn't think it was bland, only not as savoury as he would have liked (since he likes his food salty).

Service was a little slow taking into consideration we were the only table that needed to be served (as the other table had already finished eating).

#Side Story on case of 'mistaken identity'

Now to address my earlier confusion as to the place being well-known for wantan mee, I'm convinced that this was not the wantan mee I was supposed to try...haha! ;D   I have my reservations based on what I observed/found out:

1)  The wantan mee in Taman Desa is spelt Sing Kee...not Seng Kee.
2)  The menu offered at both places is very different.
3)  I noticed most diners here ordered rice...not wantan mee.
4)  And when I re-read the post by phonghongbakes, I saw TM's comment about liking chai boey (spicy sour mustard greens made with leftovers) and crispy wu kok...aiks, they don't have that here.

In the end, I was pleasantly redirected to a place that's famous for chicken rice since 1991 instead.  Oh well, this case of 'mistaken identity' led me to a decent poached kampung chicken, so all is not lost! ;)  Perhaps one day I'll make it to Sing Kee.

My Personal Opinion

In the menu at Seng Kee, there was a write-up (in Chinese) which I presumed must be about the place and I noticed two words...Skudai, Johor.  I later googled and came upon a review that mentioned that they're famous for chicken rice (and have been in business for more than 20 years in Johor).  And Seng Kee's Facebok did mention that this is their new branch...which could mean that this is a new branch in KL besides the one in Skudai.

Come here for the chicken rice, specifically the poached kampung chicken rice!  A side order of siew yoke (that's leaner and not salty) and a different style of char siew (that's smoky and lean, not sticky-sweet and fatty) should sufficiently please some as well.

Personally, I probably won't be revisiting (like dining in, tapau maybe) since the best thing here is their poached kampung chicken...and my family isn't into poached chicken....but that shouldn't stop you if you love poached chicken! ^_~

Restoran Seng Kee Chicken Rice
No 14 Jalan SS21/58
Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7731 8596


  1. Thank you for recommending a new place for poached chicken rice as the one Sam like is Top 1 at Klang, which is too far for us >_< This definitely a good alternative!

    1. Good that your daughter likes poached chicken coz many children I know prefer fried or roast chicken. Hope the expensive poached kampung chicken here is to your liking :)

  2. I'm curious to know if you've been to Mr. and Mrs. Chicken yet? We loved it, but I would like your local expert opinion.

    1. No, I've not been to Mr & Mrs Chicken coz it's a little difficult for me to visit a place that sells predominantly chicken since my son isn't a fan of chicken and my spouse doesn't like poached chicken. :( The 'chicken' places I've been to usually sell other roasted meats as well. If I do make it here one day, I'd surely give you just my 'two cents' local opinion, not local expert opinion...I'm no expert in any cuisine...kikiki! ;D

  3. Honestly I have not eaten at this outlet at Uptown as it was twice fully packed and it was my wife who told me they have same Chinese name as Taman Desa's. She ate them at Uptown and felt there is slight difference between the 2 outlets. We used to live 5 minutes walk away from the Taman Desa's outlet and lost count eating there. Their meat was seldom all lean which I prefer but often with fats and burnt parts too. Their regular crowds are amazing and the siblings who manage are very hard-working people. Besides the chai boey, they are famous for selling the "wukok" too.
    I will find time to visit Seng Kee soon!!!
    I think my new favourite Wan Tan Mee is still at Lot 10's Hutong at basement. I purposely took MRT to eat that Wan Tan Mee with its delicious char siew 3 times in 2 months.

    1. Is it possible that both these places have the same Chinese name? I still don't think this is the same Sing Kee from Taman Desa but only you and your wife can confirm this since you'd know the taste of the Taman Desa one. The one in Lot 10 Hutong...would that be Ho Weng Kee or Duckking? ;)

    2. I have checked the google maps and both the Chinese names are the same.....,101.6829942,3a,75y/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1sAF1QipOkmAb2IQk33NTX881frPIxUFDeCK4oKswAuxK3!2e10!3e12!!7i4032!8i3024!4m5!3m4!1s0x31cc4a22bdd5fca5:0xca7d4378e115aab8!8m2!3d3.1035418!4d101.6829186?hl=en

      That's Ho Weng Kee at Hutong. Yums!!!! Their Char Siew could melt in my mouth.

    3. I heard that Ho Weng Kee used to be in SS2 but their place was taken over by Chan Meng Kee, another melt-in-the-mouth char siew wantan mee too. They then offered their wantan mee at Soong Kee (also in SS2 but not sure if they're still there).

      Maybe both places have the same Chinese names but are totally different restaurants? I've seen these google pictures and Sing Kee Kitchen's menu is totally different, even the char siew looks different. The specialities here are their poached kampong chicken and fish head curry. The only way to confirm if it's the same is for you to eat there! ;)

  4. Hey, I was there just last weekend! Yes, their chicken rice has improved much. After that first visit, I vowed not to return but my partner did and he told me the chicken rice is different now. So I went back with him twice. Last weekend we gave the siew yoke another try but nope, no improvement there. Still too lean, dry and too salty. I saw a few customers having wantan mee and that is my next target hee..hee..

    1. Hmmm, from your comment here, I have to conclude that this place is very inconsistent with the taste/cooking of their food. Either that, or people really have very different tastebuds! @_@ My husband found that the siew yoke was bland but you find it too salty. And I'm in the middle (maybe I'd like a tinge more saltiness in the meat). Other than that, I'm pleased with the fat-to-lean ratio of the siew yoke...crispy skin, thin layer of fat, lean meat, another thin layer of fat and lean meat again. But you found it too lean (I'm eager to see the pic of the siew yoke you got when you blog about this place). Maybe some might want a thicker layer of fat but I like this 3/4-lean-1/4-fat ratio...hihihi! ;D I'd also like to know what you think of the wantan mee. If a place can be so inconsistent with their food, I'll probably not want to return as I wouldn't know what I'd get on a particular day. :(

  5. i actually quite like poached chicken, especially ones with fatty-layered skin (that's where we differ, i guess!). i've actually eaten an entire poached chicken in one sitting before - something i wouldn't be able to do with fried chicken! :)

    1. Wow, you must really like poached chicken a lot to be able to eat a whole bird! O_o The one here will cost a fair bit more since it's kampong chicken.


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