Friday, 25 November 2022

One Dish Meals (or Siu Chow) @ Various Places

Siu chow and tai chow are probably two of the most common lunch or dinner choices among Chinese families.  Where tai chow is considered more premium as it involves a number of cooked-to-order dishes eaten with rice, siu chow (literally translated as small fry) on the other hand are one-dish meals with rice (also cooked-to-order) which are regarded as a more economical lunch or dinner option.

Siu chow
usually involves a meat fried with a small amount of vegetables and it's popular with many patrons coz it's viewed as a complete/balanced meal which one can have that's freshly cooked and served hot at an affordable price.  These days I rely on such meals rather frequently too.  It's great when I don't have to cook (or too lazy to cook)....and sometimes it can even end up being cheaper than cooking.  The beauty of it is each of us can then order exactly what we like...and all I need to do is fry up a big plate of vegetables (sometimes) to supplement our greens intake.

There are many of these siu chow places on ShopeeFood (where some of them are also tai chow places). Although most of them cook almost the same well-known dishes, we order them from different eateries so that we don't get bored with the taste...and here are some of them.

#1 - Pandan Jaya World Restaurant, Pandan Jaya

Marmite Chicken Rice 
@ RM12.90 - Pleasant flavours of a well-loved marmite sauce with tender, boneless chicken chunks.  This one obviously wasn't mine though I actually don't mind the sweet flavours of a marmite sauce once in a while but try to stay clear of something sweet.

Speciality Black Pepper Pork Chop Rice
@ RM15.90 - Fair (some will say small) portion of about 4 chunks of delicious and lightly crisp, cut up pork chop cooked with slices of carrot, green bell peppers, red chillies and onions in a black pepper sauce that you can definitely taste.  I'm guessing that speciality means their signature dishes.  I did love the taste of this hot and super peppery black pepper sauce but if you can't take the heat, you better stay clear of this one.

Speciality Sliced Pork with Preserved Mustard
@ 13.90 - Ordered this thinking it was mui choy but turned out it was cha choy.  There are so many translated names (from Chinese to English) of these salted vegetables that they can be quite confusing (only the Chinese names are precise).  These Chinese tai chow/siu chow restaurants usually do have the names of the dishes in Chinese but they're lost on those who don't read Chinese.  Cooked with sliced pork, cha choy and tomatoes, the preserved vegetable was very soft but also too salty for me as expected.

Spare Rib with Fragrant Sauce R
ice @ RM12.90 - Turned out to be boneless pork chop (instead of pork ribs) and there were also just 4 (slightly) thick slices...what to do, pork is expensive these days...but so is seafood....even chicken has gone up in price.  Well, is there anything that hasn't risen in price?  Cooked in a sauce that resembled a cross between kung po and marmite but not as sweet.  I guess that's their fragrant sauce.  I quite like it actually.

Sliced Fish with Ginger & Spring Onion
@ RM13.90 - A frequent order of mine at any siu chow place as it's a lighter meal for me than meat.  I was glad to see that they weren't frozen dory but fresh fish slices (about 5 fairly big slices, I think it's toman) that were soft and flaky + the sauce was nice too.

Sweet & Sour Sliced Fish Rice @ RM13.90 - Ordered sweet and sour fish next but (unfortunately) got a wrong order of the same ginger and spring onion fish again. >.<

Pork Belly with Salted Fish Rice
@ RM12.90 - Another good dish that came with a tasty sauce although I was looking for a bit more salted fish and dried chillies taste.

Concluding Thoughts - Nothing we tried disappointed.  Standouts were the black pepper pork chop and fragrant spare ribs.  Portions were acceptable.  Prices among one of the lowest.  Pleased to see compartmentalised packaging of the dish separate from the rice.

#2 - Wong Chao, Taman Shamelin Perkasa

Sweet & Sour Pork Rice
 @ RM14 - Usually, sweet and sour pork will be one of our first tries to gauge if a shop is any good.  Unfortunately, the pork nuggets were dense in texture coupled with a sweet/sour sauce that was underwhelming.

Homemade Tofu
 @ RM18 - This was a hefty portion of at least 8 pcs of deep-fried house-made tofu with a crisp exterior.  The dish was passable though I thought the tofu texture wasn't as soft or smooth as some I've eaten before.

Concluding Thoughts - This place used to have a very limited menu (though they've recently added a few more options).  After trying two dishes that didn't really tickle our tastebuds, suffice to say we won't be ordering from here anymore.

#3 - San Tai Thong, Taman Tenaga

Kong Fu Yi Mee
 (or Cantonese-Style Noodles) @ RM15.50 - This one was pretty forgettable as the eggy sauce wasn't great and the noodles were a bit too crispy.

Fried Roasted Pork in Dark Sauce with Rice
@ RM17.50 - Not my order of cuts of pork belly stir-fried with dark soy and lots of garlic.  From just the looks of it, it should be tasty.

Stir-Fried Fish Slices with Ginger & Spring Onions with Rice
@ RM19.90 - Loved the plentiful spring onions cooked just right but the fish (I think it's toman) was just lightly fishy with a rather rubbery skin.

Sweet & Sour Pork Rice
@ RM16.50 - One of our least favourite rendition of sweet and sour pork as the pork chunks had too much batter which turned out soft rather than crisp + there was way too much sauce on the rice since the dish wasn't packed in a separate compartment from the rice.

Braised Pork Belly with Mui Choy Rice
 (or mui choy kau yuk) @ RM21 - Thick slices of pork belly (three, I think) cooked till super tender together with mui choy (preserved mustard greens).  Portion was small for the price (and it definitely needed more mui choy) but tasted great.  This happens to be my son's favourite dish from here. ^o^

Braised Pork Belly Meehoon
@ RM21 - This order was inevitable since the braised pork belly was so good. The meehoon was tasty as it soaked up all the flavours of the sauce.  Now this portion was big (big enough to satisfy two small eaters)....but don't be too happy first coz it's the meehoon portion that's big, not the meat...haha! ;)

Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables
 (a la carte) @ RM34 - Still smitten by the flavours of this ultra soft mui choy kau yuk, we ordered a serving of it on its own.  Portion was still small and the mui choy was still too little (haiz).....but the sauce went great with rice.

Salted Egg Yolk Pumpkin
 (a la carte) @ RM25 - we ordered this to go with the dish above (and boiled our own rice) and were very pleased that the dish travelled so well, reaching us as if it was just served at the restaurant.

The salted egg yolk pumpkin knocked it out of the park with its softened (but yet crispy) pumpkin slices and robust salted egg yolk taste with bits of fragrance from the crispy curry leaves.  The dish was rich in flavour, so sharing is

Concluding Thoughts - Most of the dishes we tried were satisfying and some were really good.  Portions are decent (except for the braised pork belly) but prices are certainly on the higher side.  Standouts include the braised pork belly dishes with mui choy and salted egg yolk pumpkin.

#4 - Wah Kee Stir-Fried (Restoran Ma Bao), Taman Maluri

Kung Po Prawn Rice
 @ RM13.90 - Found 6 - 7 smallish prawns with sliced onions, ginger, spring onions, dried chillies, cashew and ground nuts in the dish.  Since prawns are expensive, one can't expect to get much for RM13.90, so they tried to load up the dish with more dried chillies to camouflage the few prawns given.  But the vast amount of (inedible) dried chillies they used was just ridiculous that it made it too spicy in the end which also made it difficult to eat as I had to pick out all the chillies. >.<

Nestum Cereal Fish Rice
@ RM12.90 - Nestum-coated deep-fried fish pieces (probably dory) cooked with fried curry leaves.  The Nestum coating was fragrant and crispy with further aroma from the curry leaves.  It was an ok dish but overall feels dry when eaten with rice.  My son is fine with a dish that's dry but I need some sauce with my rice.

Concluding Thoughts - Although we've only tried two, the flavours did not impress especially the smallish kung po prawns.  Even though prices are reasonable, we doubt we'll be ordering from here again.

#5 - Ah Keong Steam Fish Restaurant, Taman Lembah Maju

Cantonese Fried Kway Teow + Meehoon (or better known as kong fu chow yin yeong) @ RM12 - My most favourite stir-fried noodles and my very first order from this place.  Came in a very good portion size (that may satisfy even a man's larger appetite).  Liked that the meehoon was crispy and the kuey teow well fried. The gravy isn't the best tasting, neither too thick or too watery, but still decent.  The liew (ingredients) were a little lacking with just lean pork (not much of it though), fish cake slices and lots of choy sum but no prawns.
Sweet & Sour Grouper Fillet Rice
 @ RM16.90 - Always love sweet and sour fish but to get grouper (sek pan or kerapu) is a bonus as most would use the least favoured dory, many do it with toman (snakehead) while some (very few) do it with sang yue (also known as snakehead) which I think is the tastiest option.  Got 6 - 7 good-sized pieces of lightly battered grouper that were fresh and flaky but would have liked a bit more crisp on the exterior.

Cooked with onions, tomatoes, cucumber and (fresh!) pineapple cubes together with garlic slices, the sauce had a nice balance between sweet and sour, slightly more sourish than sweet which I prefer.  When the fish of choice is garoupa (and not frozen dory), it tastes so much better (even better than toman).

Mixed Vegetable Rice @ RM15.90 - Fried with aromatics of ginger and garlic slices for better flavour with a variety of vegetables (may be different depending on what they have) consisting of pak choy (napa cabbage), celery, carrot, cauliflower, sugar snap peas together with abalone mushrooms, black fungus, lean pork slices and prawn (yes, singular!).  Cooked to the right doneness and finished with good dash of Shaoxing cooking wine (that I could taste) which just lifted up the taste of the vegetables and sauce.

Kung Po
 Chicken Rice 
@ RM15.90  - I've always liked things cooked kung po style with its slightly spicy sauce due to the dried red chillies.  The menu said chicken but the pic showed pork but what came was definitely chicken.

Kung Po Grouper Fillet Rice 
@ RM16.90 - Ordered this after being encouraged by the earlier Kung Po Chicken which didn't disappoint.  Cooked with thinly sliced carrots, onion wedges, dried red chillies and spring onions with some ginger slices, I really enjoyed the taste of the sauce.

Ginger Pork Onion Rice 
@ RM15.90 - The menu mentioned the inclusion of a fried egg but there was none. Flavour-wise, it was ok but definitely preferred the sweet-sour and kung po versions.

Kari Pork Rice @ RM15.90 - They do a decent rendition of curry with pork slices with onions and curry leaves.  The curry is fairly thick with quite nice flavours.

Braised Pork Rice
@ RM15.90 - Fatty pork belly cooked in dark sauce with onions and bird's eye chillies (for a bit of heat).  This one obviously was not mine.

Concluding Thoughts - Tasty, subtle flavours.  Fair portions.  Prices slightly higher than the rest.  One of our favourites.  Standouts were the simple mixed vegetable rice and sweet and sour grouper.

My Personal Opinion

With very limited siu chow and tai chow places in my neighbourhood to rely on for our weekday (and sometimes weekend) dinners, we had to seek out more of such places (near us) since dishes with rice (or be it just a one-dish meal) is the preferred choice of dinner for my family.

We found one recently in Fun OK Seafood Restaurant (that has now moved to a bigger space in Ampang) and can now add Pandan Jaya World, San Tai Thong and Ah Keong Seafood to our list of tai chow places to eat.

Now that the 2022 World Cup has finally descended, these are good options since I'm foreseeing little to no cooking during this period...kekeke! ;P  The weekend's snacks are ready.....C'mon England! ;)

Pandan Jaya World, No 1G Jalan Pandan 3/6, Pandan Jaya, KL
Wong Chao, No 1 Ground Floor, Lorong 6B/91, Taman Shamelin Perkasa, KL
San Tai Thong, 13 Jalan Selimang, Taman Tenaga, Cheras.
Wah Kee, No 1 Jalan Jejaka 3, Taman Maluri, KL
Ah Keong Steam Fish, 21 Jalan Maju 3/1, Taman Lembah Maju, KL


  1. Wow, you are spoilt for choice with so many siu chow dishes from various restaurants. If I were eating rice, this is what I would enjoy, one different dish a day. My favorites would be sweet and sour pork and marmite chicken. With such good choices and fairly good cooking, I think no need to cook lah hah...hah... Enjoy your football!

    1. Yeah, no time to cook during football fest....hehehe! ;)

  2. The preserved veggie in that Speciality Sliced Pork with Preserved Mustard looked like Ham Choy to me. :P
    I wonder what did you done on those containers, considering the frequency you order is quite high.

    1. It definitely tastes like cha choy + there were also no leaves like in ham choy. ;P Some of these containers I will reuse before discarding but, in the end, most will be discarded as there are just too many of them. Of course I'd like to see less plastic being used but it's out of my control and can't be helped really since the majority of food delivered or packed comes in plastic packaging (only some will use paper boxes).

  3. Wow! I swear that my mouth is salivating like east coast floods looking at your food photos. That marmite chicken, homemade taufu and pork belly Mihun are driving me crazy. They look delicious and should be inside my mouth now.
    Eh. Thanks for explaining the difference between Siu Chow and Tai Chow. I am hopeless in Cantonese and Mandarin.

    1. You're welcome. I'm in the same boat when it comes to Mandarin but Cantonese I can handle better...hehe. Yes, that pork belly mihun was very good.


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