New Boston is arguably the most popular “tai chao” restaurants in Klang, and one with a reputation to boot. It is this reputation that took me more than a year after moving to Shah Alam to finally give it a try.
What’s the reputation you may ask? They are two, first – the lala is awesome, and second, the queue is super long. As we found out, both of these claims are true.
New Boston Restaurant at Klang, wait and you shall be rewarded
It was a planned dinner with a bunch of relatives, so to avoid disappointment Haze went there just before 6pm (opening hours at 7pm) to start queuing, and within minutes there were already a couple other people joining the line.
We got our seats by 6:55 pm and made our orders about 5 minutes past 7 pm. To be fair, it took less than 20 minutes for our first dish to be served, which wasn’t too bad considering it was already fully packed by then.
If you arrived after 7 pm, chances are you may have to wait quite a bit before getting a table, and it’ll certainly be an exercise of patience to get your food. However, New Boston operates till about 2 am so if you come here for supper, it’ll probably be a more pleasant experience.
order your lala in abundance
The claim of fame for this place is the lala in superior soup (RM 24), and if you’ve already invested all those time in waiting, I’d definitely recommend ordering enough to go around. For the 10 of us, we asked for 6 plates, and that turned out to be just right. Some even suggest to order one big portion per person.
The lala did meet the almost impossible expectations, it was really fresh, juicy, and had just the right kick & slight spiciness from ginger, garlic, and chili padi to make any lala fan yearn for more.
The lala used here is what Hokkien refered to as “kap par”, which has a thicker shell but also more substantial & juicer meat, which I really enjoyed. For the “normal” lala in prepared in kam heong method, I recommend the version at Alisan street hawker at PJ SS4, available at night..
lala, claypot seafood tofu & vegetable dishes
We had a full dinner with rice at New Boston, and thankfully most of the dishes here were also right up there in terms of quality.
Claypot seafood tofu came packed with a generous portion of goodness, while the greens had good wok hei and generous amount of garlic, which I really liked.
Fried Hokkien mee is another one of the more popular dishes here. It is very rich, dark, and came with enough lard to satisfy any Hokkien mee fans. One word of caution though, this should be consumed piping hot, a cold version of super rich Hokkien mee is usually not entirely too appetizing.
hokkien mee, steamed red snapper, ginger chicken, mantis prawn with oat
Another stand-out dish we really enjoyed from New Boston was their soya fried ginger chicken, it was absolutely spot on and went really well with steamed rice. I think perhaps their secret is the ginger, both lala & chicken utilizes a lot of ginger, and they were some of the best redetions of these dishes I’ve tried.
Mantis prawn with oats & steamed fish were decent dishes as well, but not up to the expectations set up by the wait time at this place.
Anyway, if you’re a lala lover, you owe yourself to try this place at least once. I will probably head back to this place again one of these day,s but most likely not for the busy dinner session.
A couple weeks ago we were invited to a food review session that promises a good dosage of “Dong Po” (東坡肉) pork belly, and since that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it was an easy decision to not miss this one.
Update: Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant is permanently closed.
Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant, PJ
The restaurant is Secret Garden at Taman Megah nearby Wolf Modern Dining and almost a walking distance from our previous home in PJ, but alas, this time around it was a bit of a drive, which was fine for some a porking promise.
The restaurant is stunning, with vertical garden, beautiful wooden long table, and tastefully use of empty space. I’m going to go on a limb here to say that it is most likely attributed to the fact that the founders include an interior designer, a fine art illustrator, and a mural artist.
When the surrounding is awesome, appetite also increases, kan?
crispy fried prawn cracker
Anyway, let’s get on the food.
For the review session, we got to sample quite a few dishes from the menu, starting with the appetizer – crispy fried prawn crackers. This is not your typical prawn cracker, but rather thin layer of pastry stuffed with plenty of prawn meat in between, best enjoyed with a dip of Thai chili sauce. I had white wine to go with this, but beer would make for excellent liquid to wash this down.
home style Taiwanese chicken soup w pickled pineapple & bitter melon
Any Chinese restaurant worth it’s salt should serve up a decent bowl of hot soup.
At Secret Garden, the choice was a simple and comforting home style Taiwanese chicken soup with pickled pineapple and bitter melon. I love myself a good bowl of soup, and this version checked the box as well as any with simple everyday ingredients done right.
steamed free range duckweed fed chicken w homemade sauce
Up next was steamed free range duckweed fed chicken with homemade sauce. You can taste the difference in duckweed fed chicken meat compared to the normal wet market/hypermarket variety, the meat is firmer and the skin springier. With the condiments it makes for a good meal by itself with a bowl of rice.
If you love pork, you gotta try this dish named after the famous Chinese poet Su DongPo (蘇東坡) . The interpretation of this dish at Secret Garden is very, very good, and only made better when you have it with their super soft steamed bun. Can I get this combination for breakfast, please?
grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk
Perhaps to demonstrate the range of dishes this kitchen is able to come up with, we had grouper fish head in yellow curry with fresh milk next.
If really spicy and rich Indian or even Nyonya style curry is your cup of tea, this may disappoint, but if you enjoy milder curry with all the necessary ingredients with a much gentler assault on your taste buds, then this yellow curry may fit the bill. I’m a Penang boy who loves me some really spicy curry fish head, so it was just a tad underwhelming for me.
pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce
Pan fried fresh king prawn with soya sauce was my favorite seafood dish of the day. Instead of the usual tiger prawns or “meng har”, this version uses fresh water king prawns, which has big and juicy prawn head to suckle on (human cholestorel isn’t from what you eat, right?). I liked it, and wished I had some rice to go with this.
(btw I’ve published a recipe to my version here, if you care to cook your own)
homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy, & the hungry bunch
The last dish I got to try before we had to leave due to another appointment was the homemade organic black soya bean tofu in pumpkin gravy. I was told the tofu is made in-house, and it certainly tastes fresh as can be with the texture that’s almost like tofufar, it was nice, and pumpkin gravy certainly served as a good contrast to the salty and savory bits on top of the tofu.
our menu, and some live seafood for your picking too
Overall it was a more than satisfying dinner, and certainly an experience that is made unforgettable thanks to the beautiful dining area and excellent companions we had.
Secret Garden is current modelling the upper level and will be offering Private Dining. You give them a budget and number of pax, and the chef will come up with a menu from carefully chosen ingredients available. There’s currently no set price for Private Dining, I suppose the more you are willing to pay, the more exotic the dishes get.
Thank you Jessica for the invitation and for hosting us!
Address: Secret Garden Chinese Restaurant 家園私房菜 7 & 9, Jalan SS 23/15, Taman Sea, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.116306, 101.612408 Tel: 03-7887 6999 Site: secretgarden.my
This is Part 2 of our Garden Revamp project, part 1 can be found here, which I’ve forgotten to include the original design done by Haze on Sketch Up, it is now included in this post.
Garden Revamp Plan
We followed the design quite accurately, with the only difference being omission of the climber fence on the right bottom corner. We ended up planting kantan flower, lengkuas, and lemongrass on that particular plot, which does not warrant a climber fence.
building the water planter, aggregates, sand, cement
By far, the most difficult part of the project involved building the water planter, which serves three purposes:
filtration system for the koi pond
planter for water plants such as lily, lotus, kangkung etc.
pond for edible fish (tilapia, soon hock)
We made some rough measurements on the red bricks, aggregate, cement, sand, wood, and BRC needed for the planter and went to the nearby hardware store to get the goods.
the second layer is a bit trickier
Concrete work started on the 8/5/2016 in the evening. It turned out to be quite an unfortunate timing as you must complete concrete pouring in one go, it started raining heavily half way through and gotten dark, we ended up working till past 10pm to get it done. Thankfully that was possible partly due to the lights we had bought for Mount Kinabalu hiking trip.
After the foundation is done, we built up the perimeter with red bricks and cement (1 part cement, 3 part sand mix). We’ve also added some pipings for water inlet (1.5″) & outlets (2 x 2″).
waterproofing turns out to be quite a challenge, we used Sika
To make the upper level of the planter, I laid out bricks to support the wooden mould and did the same concrete pour. Then it was another round of red bricks and cement.
The inside of the pond was done plastered with cement and then painted over with Sika waterproofing agent. Waterproofing took quite a number of iteration as our plastering job was quite corse and uneven, thanks to the lack of experience. Oh well.
Building the water planter took a month, but water proofing was another couple months since we took some time off in between.
holes for posts in preparation for climber plots
While building the water planter, we also built some fencing for climbers.
The poles were actually 1″ water pipes sourced from local hardware store. We dug 1 feet deep holes and cemented the poles in with concrete. They turned out to be quite sturdy.
we procured galvanized fencing and repainted them black
We then affixed galvanized fencing (with anti climb fence fixtures) by drilling some holes on the poles. The lesson learned here was on drill bits, always buy quality bits, I ended up spending so much effort drilling a couple holes with cheap bits while the more expensive Bosch bits did the job with ease.
We then painted the whole thing black to suit our color theme.
At this point the garden is some 80% done, awaiting piping & planting. Will update part 3 with a rough total material cost soon.
The most popular Chinese dinner in Klang Valley is usually of the tai chao (大炒) variety, and while being able to order a huge variety of made-to-order dishes that comes out of a hot kitchen with plenty of fire power is neat, sometimes all you want is few comfort dishes to satisfy the hunger in relatively healthier fashion, such as those on the menu of Chia Yee Salted Chicken restaurant.
Chia Yee Salted Chicken, just opposite Da Tuan Yuan & Bandar Baru Klang
The restaurant is adjacent to the much more popular Da Tuan Yuan at Bandar Baru Klang, a stone’s throw away from Bukit Raja Jusco shopping mall.
The set up is clean, simple, and with minimum fuss. The menu consists of a few pages of choices with some pictures, and there are cutlery’s on the table, with urns of chili sauce strategically placed at a few condiment stations.
1/2 salted chicken, steamed egg, blanched choy sum
For the two of us, we had 1/2 a salted chicken (RM 20), a portion of steamed egg (RM 6), and blanched choy sum (RM 4).
The kampung chicken was smaller in size compared to regular variety, but is pretty firm, flavorful, and presumably healthier due to having less fat and perhaps lack of growth hormones. The steamed egg was done quite nicely, reminding me of the version we had at K.T.L Cheras, there’s a hint of sesame oil in the dish which I liked.
As for blanched choy sum, well, it provided sufficient fiber, vitamin C, and color contrast to the picture, so it did its job well.
simple comfort food menu & decent pricing
Overall it was a simple dinner and one that I sometimes find myself cherish. This is a restaurant we will most likely revisit, since Haze is quite a fan of salted chicken.
A user commented that ever since I moved to Shah Alam, there’s been an influx of Shah Alam & Klang food entries with very few on PJ/KL, so here’s one that I thought is quite timely – the HK style Yung Kee Beef Noodle at Restoran Kwai Hup, Pudu.
UPDATE 02-07-2018: Yung Kee has moved to its own shop just a stone’s throw away at 21, Jalan Kancil
Yung Kee Beef Noodle at Restoran Kwai Hup
This is certainly not a new establishment, but one of the really popular hawker eateries that I found out only recently via one of my colleagues.
A bit of research revealed that the proprietor spent quite a large chunk of his life in HK and brought the recipe back to Malaysia. The result is a version of beef noodle that is just slightly different from what we are used too. The broth is a little closer to the tangkak version, while the meat and innards are “fall off the bone” soft.
the default mixed beef (牛扎) with soup
Quite a few versions of beef noodle is available here.
Standard “ngau lam” style starts at RM 8 and comes with meat, brisket, and beef balls. Portion of beef is rather generous, and the melt in your mouth texture is really hard to beat. This place is becoming one of my favorites right after the first try, and I’ve returned for a few other visits since.
you can order just tendon, soft and tender tendon
If you’re like me who loves really tender beef tendon, you’re in luck. RM 12 gets you a bowl of beef noodle with nothing but tendon cut in scallop size. Heaven on earth is what this is about, I had this on my first visit and will dream about the beef tendon every now and then.
there’s also “American Fat Beef”, striploin I suppose
If you want to get a bit more fancy, they have a RM 25 portion of “American Fat Beef 美国肥肉”, or striploin for your enjoyment. We tried this last weekend and thought while it was good, the striploin doesn’t separate itself as a much more superior product than their regular beef/innards, which was already very very good.
Additionally, I’ve read that they have Angus beef every now and then (especially on weekends) if you want to indulge yourself further more. Feel free to ask for recommendations.
For me though, I’ll be back for their regular “ngau lam” with extra tendons pretty often from now on, I suspect.
Address: Yung Kee Beef Noodle Restoran Kwai Hup 24, Jalan Kancil, Off Jalan Landak 55100 Pudu, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.136191, 101.712989 Tel: 012-215 8009 Hours: 8 am to 2-3 pm