If you’ve been keeping up with my chicken rice adventures, you would know I’ve been hunting down the elites, tasting one after another. But recently my curiosity was piqued by a Chinese restaurant in Kuala Lumpur which supposedly serves legendary char siew. And so with a rumbling tummy and a heart full of hope, I set off to Jalan Pudu Ulu’s Char Siew Yoong.
As expected of legendary char siew, the journey there would not be an easy one. And by this I mean the parking. (Is this a recurring problem with journeying to food destinations in KL)? After circling the block three times, I surrendered and resorted to parking at a private parking lot five minutes away. Oh well, more time to get my tummy ready for the much-awaited meal. Located amongst old shop lots, it’s quite easy to miss the restaurant. From the exterior, it looks pretty small but once you step in, you realise it’s actually a rather big space.
I felt like I was in a dream— endless strips of caramelised char siew were hanging from hooks in a glass showcase, with slabs of crispy looking roast pork sitting right underneath it all.The clock showed 11am but there were already cars double parked outside and customers were streaming in.
What I tried at Char Siew Yoong
The culinary highlight at Char Siew Yoong is undoubtedly the legendary char siew but it wouldn’t hurt to try the roast pork and the roast chicken as well, right? Famished, I placed my order: the Triple Rice combo (chicken, char siew and roast pork) for RM19 along with my customary order of tea. I must admit I raised an eyebrow when the plate arrived. The portion was definitely on the smaller side for the rather hefty price.
Of course the first on the chopping block was the char siew. I’ll be honest, it was a thing of beauty. I’m not even exaggerating when I say just the sight of it took my breath away. Charred edges, the caramelised skin glistening and underneath all that goodness… the fatty tender meat. If looks could kill, Char Siew Yoong’s char siew would have been the death of me. I scooped a piece in my mouth and immediately the fatty buttery char siew melted in my mouth.
I took another bite, this time with the homemade chilli sauce. Unlike at many shops, the chilli sauce here isn’t liquidy, and you can actually see the bits of chopped garlic in the sauce. Next was the roast pork— gorgeous crackling housing a layer of fat and meat. I took one bite and I’ll tell you one thing, it has to be the crunchiest and crispiest siew yoke I’ve had, hands down.
It took the second piece of siew yoke for me to face the stark reality that the meat was disappointingly on the dry side. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
Last on the plate was the roast chicken which truthfully was on the salty side. Despite being tender, the chicken had absorbed all the sauce lying at the bottom, and just a bite of it hit me hard. It felt like I had just drank soy sauce. Maybe next time, I’ll just stick to the char siew and roast pork.
As I sat in the bustling restaurant sipping my tea, I noticed every table had a super large plate of char siew. The enormous portion with its caramelised skin was beautiful to look at, almost spellbinding. It wasn’t even 12pm and each table was occupied with hungry customers. I won’t even be surprised if you’ve got to queue for a table during lunch time.
But was it a worthwhile experience? For the char siew, I would say yes!. Sure you might struggle with parking but drowning your sorrows in fatty char siew sounds like a happy ending to me. Bring your family or a whole group of friends— the more the char siew, the merrier, I say. And perhaps skip the roast chicken dish.
A little heads up for those of you who prefer your char siew with a thick crispy outer layer, you may want to head elsewhere to get your char siew fix. To Char Siew Yoong— the char siew that you’ve created is an absolute legend which I hope continues to delight taste buds for years to come.
Expected damage: RM12 – RM19 per pax
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