Thursday, May 8, 2014

YummY! - Beggar's Chicken @ Heong Kee

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                                           YummY!                                           Jotaro's Food Review     
Hulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia - May 2014
We will be eating mud today!
Yup. Chicken wrapped in mud and baked in a ash-filled kiln. This is the renown Beggar's Chicken, a dish not so easy to find these days. In the whole of Selangor there are only three places selling these. The ones in Ijok and Jugra, and the one here.

We were on one of our regular Wednesday night cycling, part of which was having a Beggar's Chicken dinner. After some crazy slopes and cold, rainy cycling at the Kemensah and Zooview areas; we were glad to approach our dinner venue - Restoran New Heong Kee at Jalan Ulu Klang. This place has been selling Beggar's Chicken for decades, and I find theirs the best so far.

At the place, the first thing my buddy Tailim (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) did was to take me to the backyard and show me a pile of earth!
Backyard? Earth? Eh...... aren't we eating?
Actually, it was a bit of education on the art of making Beggar's Chicken. This pile of earth is the first of the "ingredients" that goes into making this wonderful dish.

The laterite is put into a earth churning machine that squashed them into a more workable clayey material that will be used to encase the chicken.

Interestingly, no modern equipment is used in the baking. The chicken are wrapped in wax paper and then mud, and baked on a hot charcoal bed in this make-do kiln.

The "lumps" of baked chicken, mud and all, is put onto a wheelbarrow to be lugged to the dining area. Hey! This place looks more like a construction site.

I had the honour of breaking up the mud; one strong whack from a hammer and...

the chicken can be seen inside, wrapped like a Christmas present waiting to be opened.
All of this may not look appetizing...

But this is unwrapped Beggar's Chicken is! The nice golden brown texture made our mouth drooled. Our taxing ride here was worthwhile after all.

The encasing in mud had distributed the baking heat evenly, the chicken golden browniness was well and equally spread. Steam can still be seen exuding out from the neck opening; a warm meal, just what the doctor recommended for a cold night.

Inside the chicken has been stuffed with some vegetables, herbs and Chinese sausage. It is from this filling that a nice, tasty gravy have leaked out.
NOTE: As the Beggar's Chicken takes eight hours to prepare, orders for this dish has to be placed one day ahead.


Steamed Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf.
The rice was nicely steamed, not too soft and yet bite-able with some grains slightly harder than others - perfect!

Pe Pa Tofu.
Cubes of soft tofu cooked in a stew of Chinese black mushrooms and minced pork with garnishing of cut spring onions.

Next was an interesting dish - Reconstituted Fish.
This fish has had it's skin carefully cut out, the flesh stripped  and de-boned. The flesh is used to make fish paste that is then wrapped up by the skin and re-constituted to its original look and then deep fried. A wonderful unique dish.

Stir fried Chinese Lettuce to balance off our meal.

Another superb dish, Stewed Pig Trotters.
The first-rate stewing has made the trotters soft and slurpy until the gravy has seeped well into the meat. This is the closest to the one I like best, i.e. from Pratunam, Bangkok (... see Pratunam Pork Trotters blog).

Fried Glass Noodles to fill up our really, really hungry stomachs.

And to round off the meal, Winter Melon Chinese Herbal Soup.
The soup has been cooked in a gouged out winter melon.

The ingredients of the soup, including white fungus and dried red dates will definitely revitalize us.

Overall it was a magnificently satisfying meal full of "oohs", "aaahhs" and oomph!
Our meal came to about MYR360/=. At MYR30/= per pax it was a very reasonably priced meal considering that we had ten dishes (we took two of the fish) and beers.

Although just off the Middle Ring Road Two, the restaurant has a nice, cooling atmosphere housed in a timber bungalow amid some greenery.

Their menu-on-a-wall.

446, 7-1/2 Mile, Jalan Ulu Klang,
68000 Selangor, Malaysia (near Zoo Negara).
Phone: +603-4106 8698
Mobile: +6016- 2632
 Hours: 12:00 Noon to 10:00 pm

GPS : 3.200982, 101.761108


34-B, Jalan Skudai, 3-1/4 Mile off Tahar
80200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Phone: +607-237 5194
Mobile: +6016-757 1887

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