Thursday, 6 December 2018

Keng Nam Hai @ Kepong

Each time I visit my mother, I'd pass by Keng Nam Hai @ Kepong and notice that the coffee shop is always packed to the brim.  You know what they say about a place full of customers, something must be good.  So, we decided to stop by one Sunday morning enroute to my mom's place.

It took a good 15 minutes wait before we got ourselves a table.  I was circling around the tables so many times while my spouse was trying to find a parking space (oh yeah, parking is a challenge, be prepared to park far away) that the fruit rojak stall owner told me that there are more tables upstairs.  Huh, got upstairs?  That's when I noticed the staircase but I didn't want to sit upstairs in case it's difficult to get service (it's air-conditioned upstairs by the way).

Before coming, I (of course) googled to see what's good here and noted from vkeong's blog that it's famous for Hennessy XO Seafood Noodles.  As you can see, they have pictures of the food they offer like Seafood Beehoon, Hennessy XO Seafood Beehoon and Salted Egg King Prawn Beehoon...but they have also conveniently omitted displaying the prices! :P  I think the latter two is in the region of RM20 or more.

Well, since I don't drink hard liquor, the Hennessy XO Seafood Beehoon was not an option for fear that they'd put too much and it'll be too potent...and I'll get drunk (hehehe!).  Of course, liquor connoisseurs would say otherwise...the more, the better.  As for the Salted Egg King Prawn Beehoon, I was wondering how that it salted egg mixed into the broth?  If so, it sounds too rich and creamy for me.  As I was about to order, I saw a worker prepping 3 bowls of lala (clams) beehoon (rice vermicelli) and since I liked the looks of it, I went with the Hua Diao Lala Beehoon @ RM11 (which I think is probably the cheapest option at this stall).

I loved that they used the coarser, thicker type of beehoon (and theirs were quite different) which held up very well to the hot broth unlike the usual thinner version of meehoon which tends to absorb the liquid very quickly.  I was happy with the lala as they were fresh, plump and juicy...certainly of an acceptable size and amount for the price paid (there were at least 15 pcs of lala).

As for the broth, it isn't clear like some I've had before.  The broth itself was flavourful and good with the taste of rice wine and a hint of ginger.  Would I have appreciated more rice wine in the broth?  Sure...but I still liked it a lot nevertheless. ^.^  But, then again, I'm not one who likes the wine flavour to be too intense. So, I guess for those who do, they could perhaps ask if they can add-on extra rice wine for a fee, of course.

I also stumbled upon ccfoodtravel's blog which enlightened me that the siew yuk here is good.  Walking past the roasted meat stall, the meats did look tempting....and glistening.  I placed an immediate order for a plate of Char Siew & Siew Yuk Rice @ RM8.

For a very reasonable price of RM8, they were generous with the meat and the char siew was thickly cut too. Both the meats were good...the tender siew yuk had a nice crispy crackling (just that the crackling was slightly harder than I would have liked) and well caramelised melt-in-the-mouth char siew.

On a separate visit, my son had the Char Siew Rice @ RM7 (though this time the cut wasn't as well caramelised).  But just look at the portion given...truly value-for-money.

The fluffy rice had a decent dose of chicken broth flavour.

I got a nicely charred cut of char siew for my tapau-ed rice.  It was even topped with some crispy garlic.

Since we enjoyed the siew yuk the last time out, we ordered the Siew Yuk again (for 1 pax) @ RM10.  The pinkish meat at the bottom is testament that the siew yuk is cooked just right but got a cut that's longer this time (I like those shorter pieces when it comes to siew yuk).  Do watch out for the fresh chilli dip, it's fiery.

When I was having the lala noodles on a previous visit, I saw that the curry laksa ordered by the people sitting next to me (sharing tables is the norm in a crowded coffee shop) looked really good.  I made sure we ordered the Curry Laksa @ RM7.50 on our next visit, three to be exact, one for me (with cockles), one for my spouse (without cockles) and one-to-go for my mom.  This order was for small but the portion here is considered large for an average-eater, so come very hungry (I spotted a man ordering a large serving...omg, you should have seen the size of that bowl!).

The bowl of curry laksa was generously filled with ingredients of (lean) char siew, pork balls (or squares), beancurd puffs (that have soaked in all the delicious broth), beancurd sheet, rehydrated pig skin (that could be a tad softer), raw cockles (with its rightful place on top of the bowl, not underneath) and beansprouts (even that is served on top to ensure it stays crunchy, maybe?).  And don't be a smart alec like me and ask for a half-lean-half-fat cut of char siew coz it doesn't work if they're not a roasted meat specialist.  You'd end up with chewy, fatty char siew instead (just stick with the char siew they give you which is normally lean).

The curry broth was both creamy and savoury with enough sweetness from the coconut milk.  It also had a thick consistency, probably just missing that spoonful of very thick curry, and wasn't too oily.  Nevertheless, this was an outstanding bowl of curry mee.  Would I have preferred if there was some poached chicken (instead of pork balls) in the mix?  Yes...but that doesn't take away the fact that it was still really good. ^o^

For this to get a nod from my husband (maybe even in the running for a no. 2 spot on his list?) when all other curry laksas have failed to meet his standard, you can be assured that this is indeed a fine bowl of curry laksa.  This definitely makes it to my list of favourite curry laksas too but I'm not so sure about the no. 2 spot 5 certainly....hehe! ;P

I had Kopi-O Ping (Iced Black Coffee) while my spouse had the Kopi Ping (Iced Milk Coffee).  The coffees here are good too...just remember to ask for less sweet.

Check out a more recent post on the place here.

My Personal Opinion

My husband is glad to have found another worthy spot for curry laksa while I'm glad to have a place where I can have a good lala beehoon....and curry laksa as well.  Can't find many places that offer lala beehoon...and even less places that offer a good one.  And for the prices we paid, the portions here are more than generous.

No blogs mentioned about the good curry laksa here which we stumbled upon by virtue of looking at someone's ordered bowl.  It pays to notice what other people eat...hihihi! ;)

On both our visits, we also noticed that there was a perpetual queue at a stall known as Black Man Nasi Lemak.  No prizes for guessing what we'll have next! ;P

Restoran Keng Nam Hai
Pusat Niaga Metro Prima
No 1-G Jalan Prima 1
52100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-947 1988


  1. looks like a kepong gem! at first, when i read about the 15-minute wait for a table, my first thought is, noooooo, forget it. but the food all certainly sounds tasty enough that a short wait is worthwhile :D

    1. I think it really depends on your luck as to how long you need to wait for a table. On our second visit, we were lucky and waited only 5's like eating in O & S in PJ, the wait can sometimes be long or short.

  2. Oh Wow Wow! I have bookmarked this place on knowing that they serve real Hennessy XO Seafood Beehoon! I must try since I love any food or chocolates with alcohol. The upstairs air cond comfort and near-home location is calling me. I will try the curry laksa too and not to miss the kopi ping!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome...hope you enjoy the food. I didn't know you like alcohol so I can see why the Hennessy noodles appeal to you. I believe those kitchen + bar eateries will suit you very well.

  3. Sounds like a happy eating session here and I am sure you and your family will be back for more. Perhaps you will visit your mum more often hee...hee.....

    1. Ahh yes, more incentive to visit often....hee...hee! ;)

  4. Challenging parking and a wait for tables - they are lucky you had the patience to give them a try!

    1. For good food, one must be prepared to wait...haha! :D

  5. Char Siu & clams, I think I'd choose those two!

    1. Good choice...but must try the curry also! ^_*

  6. It's my area and you know what, I never try this kopitiam. But I had a few time the Black Man Nasi Lemak when he relocated to this place.

    1. Ah, that means the Black Man Nasi Lemak is good since you've had it a few times (I must try). Yup, sometimes the places closest to us and we have never stepped in coz we always end up at our favourite shops.

    2. Hmm.... The Nasi Lemak is good but just not entirely outstanding, for me lah :P


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