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To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have known about Hon Ki BKT if Ah Tao of the famous Ah Tao Seafood Bak Kut Teh was still alive.

When I was sharing the news of Ah Tao’s demise (RIP) with Zess over Chinese New Year, our Klang ahbeng who’s well versed with everything bak kut teh then mentioned that perhaps I should check out Hon Ki, a bak kut teh outlet that also makes a habit of adding seafood to the old fashion Klang dish, as his sister had good experience with it. So I did.

Hon Ki Seafood Bak Kut Teh, converted from a residential unit
Hon Ki Seafood Bak Kut Teh, YY is pleased

Hon Ki is a second generation bak kut teh eatery that has been in operation for over two decades, according to the proprietor, they have been serving seafood bak kut teh even during his dad’s time, so this is definitely not one of those “me too” sort of place that tries to jump on any bandwagon.

Situated at Persiaran Pulau Pinang (what a coincident for a Penangite) just opposite Klang Parade across Jalan Meru, the restaurant is converted from a corner lot terrace house with zinc roof, a basic set up that is sufficient and rather typical of Klang BKT scene.

flower crab simmering together with your favorite pork cut in BKT soup
flower crab simmering together with your favorite pork cut in BKT soup

The bak kut teh here comes in clay pots, choose the meat of your choice and you can have it dry, with soup, and of course, with a number of different seafood options to add on, such as fish fillets, prawns, abalone slices, or flower crab. Unfortunately, lala or kappa isn’t an option here.

prawn? crab? pork? why not all?
prawn? crab? pork? why not all?

Like other bak kut teh with seafood, the soup at Hon Ki very spicy as well, and this is done with loads of red chili padi, which I found slightly more convenient not accidentally chew one down, it also has a slightly different aroma and hotter compared to the green type. The additional complexity from seafood does give the bak kut teh an extra dimension, I love it.

Kerol was quite satisfied with the bkt lunch
Kerol was quite satisfied with the bkt lunch

Expect to pay about RM 40+ for two person if you have 1.5 portion of pork with seafood in it, flower crab gives the soup a stronger taste, while prawns were much less messy to eat. Try it!

Address:
Hon Ki Bak Kut Teh
60, Persiaran Pulau Pinang,
Jalan Meru, 41050 Klang
Selangor
Tel: 011-1111 5686
GPS: 3.061762, 101.450480
Hours: breakfast & lunch

When it comes to food in Ipoh, the most famous of them all has got to be chicken rice with bean sprout, and for those who love this dish, there’s no other place that is more popular than Restoran Tauge Ayam Ong Kee right in the heart of Ipoh town, which was where we stopped by for lunch on New Year’s day.

Ong Kee Ipoh Chicken Rice
Ong Kee Ipoh Chicken Rice

If you get to Ong Kee on weekends of during public holidays, getting there in itself can sometimes be a problem, and parking too can be quite a challenge. After all those, you may still end up spending a bit of time waiting for a vacant table. Though thankfully, food usually doesn’t take too long to be served, so there’s that.

innards, bean sprouts, poached chicken
innards, bean sprouts, poached chicken

The menu choices are simple, there’s poached chicken, innards, bean sprouts, and there’s also pork balls should you want to indulge yourself in some non-avian meat.

Most popular eateries get the “used to be better” and “overrated” labels quite a bit, but honestly speaking I do find Ong Kee’s chicken right on par with expectations. They are tender, not overly complex, and soak in properly balanced cocktail of soya sauce. The bean sprouts too is of rather good quality, as with most bean sprouts from Ipoh, probably due to the water quality.

the amount of chicken they sell each day is astounding
the amount of chicken they sell each day is astounding

Overall, lunch proved to be quite a satisfying affair, and at RM 36 including drinks, it was quite an affordable option as well. Happy eating!

map to Ong Kee chicken rice, Ipoh

Address:
Ong Kee Tauge Chicken Rice
48,51 & 53, Jalan Yau Tet Shin,
Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak
GPS:  4.593838, 101.083929
Tel:  05-253 1562

While curry may be originated from Indian cuisine, here in Malaysia, the local Chinese has since adopted many of the same spices and cooking methods and embraced the dish as their own. Of many curry dishes out there, one of my favorites has got to be fish head curry, one of those dishes that may raise an eyebrow or two if you try to describe it to Westerners.

One of the many restaurants that can cook up a pretty awesome curry fish head is Ah Lye Curry Fish Head at Subang SS19.

Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head with the gang

Nestled within the housing area of SS19 in Subang Jaya, Ah Lye is one of those old school type of “tai chao” restaurant that has embraced the fact that Malaysian weather and dinner is sometimes not the best combination, hence the place is equipped with air conditioning, albeit with otherwise very basic set up.

Parking is quite a straight forward affair as well since it is not a busy commercial area like other shop lots areas in Subang.

curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg
curry fish head, asam prawn, fuyung egg

It was a dinner for 7 pax, and we naturally ordered 6 dishes to share around.

The claypot curry fish head was definitely on point. Loaded with generous amount of okra, brinjal, and fish head, it reminds me of the Nyonya version that mom used to (and still) makes. I love it.

The asam prawn here is quite proper as well, with thick soya sauce covering those pretty decent size prawns. It would have been perfect if they make it slightly more charred.

Fuyong egg provided even more seafood on our third dish with bounty from the sea, if you have a history with gout, this may not be the most healthy diet.

fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege
fried tofu skin, namyu pork, vege

Stuffed tofu skin and fried namyu pork provided some differing texture to our dinner, they were crunchy as they are savory, goes well with steamed rice.

Of course, we always have a vegetable dish to provide a bit of balance to the whole menu, choy sum served this purpose well in this case.

Expect to spend around RM 20-30 per pax here, and it will be well worth it.

map to Ah Lye curry fish head, Subang Jaya

Address:
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head
No. 28, Jalan SS19/1G,
47500, Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.075912, 101.575388
Tel03-5638 0468

Thai food is probably the most matured international cuisine in Malaysia, we now get most everything Thailand has to offer, thanks to our proximity to the nation of origin, as well as our generally rather similar taste buds.

If you’re not far from Setia Alam area and love a good meal of non-halal Thai food, then perhaps Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant should be on your short list.

Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant at Setia Alam
Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant at Setia Alam

Located in the middle of the busy commercial area within Setia Alam, Thai Syok takes up a couple units of shop lots. The place gets quite busy over on weekday lunch hours and especially so during weekend dinner sessions. If you get there later than 7 or so, expect to wait for a table, or perhaps even get seated outside ala mamak style. I guess you can also call it alfresco dining to be more classy.

dinner is best served in varying colors
dinner is best served in colors – lemon steamd fish, prawn in coconut milk

I’ve so far tried quite a few dishes over two different dinner sessions at Thai Syok, with rather favorable experience overall.

The tomyam (RM 15.90 – RM 39.20) is served in the old school hotpot, properly seasoned, and carries quite a kick. The small portion should suffice for up to 4 pax or so.

Their lemon steam fish (siakap RM 44.50 – RM 59.30) is a great substitution if you don’t want to go with tomyam, The fish is fresh, and you get the soup base that’s properly sour, spicy, and very appetizing. Just thinking of this soup makes my saliva going.

If you are into spicy lemak food, prawn in coconut milk (RM 40) should fit the bill. This dish is rich, spicy, and flavorful.

raw prawn salad, moo ping (pork skewer), classic tomyam
raw prawn salad, moo ping (pork skewer), classic tomyam

Think raw seafood is only associated with sushi/sashimi? Then you gotta give the raw prawn salad a go (RM 22.20). Over here they serve it with a slice of bitter gourd, which I think accentuate the sweetness of the prawn quite well. My first time having this particular dish was at Kepong’s Thai Village, and subsequently at Khun Thai, Klang. I’ve been ordering this dish whenever available these days.

The moo ping (grilled pork satey, RM 12 for 3) is Yuki’s favorite, and nobody rejects the order either as we all enjoyed it as well, but I would also like to try out some of their other yakitori dishes next time (such as prawn, basil pork, orchicken wings).

red ruby has got to be my favorite Thai dessert
red ruby has got to be my favorite Thai dessert

Perhaps due to the amount of crowd or their extensive menu, my experience was that we always had to wait for quite a bit before dessert is served. That being said, their red ruby (RM 6.90) is on point.

I’m quite sure this is a restaurant that’ll repeating business from us for time to come.

thai syok seafood restaurant map at Setia Alam

Address:
Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant
No. 7-1-2, Ground Floor,
Jalan Setia Prima H U13/H,
Setia Alam,
40170 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.096934, 101.445174
Tel03-3359 6283
Hours
11:30AM–2:30PM, 5:45–10:30PM

One of the reasons I’ve been to Vietnam 9 times prior to this trip was due to work. Back then, we were developing a pretty complicated web based program with a team of programmers based in Ho Chi Minh City, and the team lead for that project was none of ther than Trinh, a friendly local chap whom I’ve developed a friendship over the years.

Quán Lẩu Cá Kèo Bà Huyện is the name of the restaurant
Quán Lẩu Cá Kèo Bà Huyện is the name of the restaurant

So on this trip, I took the opportunity to catch up with Trinh again after not seeing each other on flesh for the past 9 years or so.

Haze and I was on a rented scooter, following Trinh on his bike heading to District 3 towards Quán Lẩu Cá Kèo Bà Huyện 2 restaurant for dinner involving fish. A place I have visited in my previous trip, courtesy of another Vietnamese colleague’s introduction. I actually consulted the same person for address, too bad she was not able to join us over the holiday season.

fish is as fresh as they come, they're alive!
fish is as fresh as they come, they’re alive!

What we came here for was Keo fish, a type of freshwater goby/mudskipper measuring some half a feet or so (scientific name – pseudapocryptes elongatus). According to Trinh, this delicacy is only available in South Vietnam.

The fish is usually served in two different ways – grilled, or in soup.

The grilled version is served on a stick not entirely different from shishamo in Japanese cuisine, but of course with plenty of vege on the side, and some fish sauce based condiment on the side.

grilled keo fish vs steamboat version, Trinh & me
grilled keo fish vs steamboat version, Trinh & me

The soupy version though, came in a hotpot with even more vegetable and a side of vermicelli noodle as well. The texture is smooth and it also has a naturally sweet seafood flavor.

We didn’t know how fresh the fish were until Trinh ordered additional fishes when we ran out. They came to the table ALIVE! The waiter then carefully dump the live fish into the hotpot and close the lid real quick to spare us the death scene. A few minutes later, we were enjoying some of the sweetest and freshest seafood, the taste is not overly different from marble goby, in fact.

If you’re into some special type of seafood, this place would offer quite an experience.

P/S: I believe it was something below 300,000 VND for the three of us for this meal.

map to ba huyen 2, ho chi minh city

 

Address:
Quán Lẩu Cá Kèo Bà Huyện 2
10 Nguyễn Thông, phường 7
District 3, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
GPS: 10.777475, 106.685398
Tel: +84 8 3930 0636