Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan was what my family did yesterday, post 6% GST! This 3-month tax holiday is the best time to eat out. Never mind that it was a work day and we only had two hours to spare. We made the best use of the window of time to drive to Sungai Siput (U) for a very unique lunch at Fook Kee Air-Cond Restaurant.
Fook Kee is actually a 40-year “old brand name” (low jiu pai) in town. However, it was only recently that we rediscovered it upon the recommendation of a local friend. Fook Kee, to me, is a hidden gem that only locals know about. After all, Sungai Siput (U) is not a touristy town and there is hardly any reason to visit. Fook Kee could be the attraction, if only more people knew about the unique dishes served here.
Handmade Fish Noodles
The noodles in this platter are painstakingly handmade by the “Sifu” (Master Chef) of Fook Kee using fresh fish meat. The noodles are braised in an assortment of ingredients, some of them premium, including mushrooms, prawns, crab sticks, and baby corns.
Enjoy the smooth and springy noodles, mixed with the other ingredients, dripping with flavourful sauce. Cantonese cuisine is all about flavours, thus this platter of handmade noodles is its epitome.
Chinese Poached Duck
Served with dipping sauce of finely chopped ginger and onions topped with coriander leaves, Chinese Poached Duck is prepared in the style of “pak cham ngap” or white cut-duck.
This is a dish rarely served because of the gamey taste and odour of ducks. Personally, I only like to eat roasted duck as I wouldn’t be able to taste the gaminess when it is roasted. However, Fook Kee has made me change the way I view and eat duck meat. I am now receptive to other preparations of these waterfowls, even for “pak cham” style!
The duck used in Fook Kee is a species of free-range kampung duck called “fan ngap”, which is very lean and bony. Looking at my photo depicting a whole duck, you can hardly notice the layer of fat between the skin and meat. What makes this duck special is that it can even be consumed by those who suffer from arthritis.
By the way, it takes a lot of “kung fu” (culinary skills) to prepare this dish. At least two hours is needed to steam it, to ensure its tenderness. Therefore, overnight reservation is required should you wish to come by for a meal of Chinese Poached Duck.
Handmade Fish Balls
These are no ordinary fish balls as you can see. They are handmade fish balls using fresh meat from Caesio cuning, locally known as Tofu Fish, due to its exceptionally soft meat, like tofu.
While this saltwater fish species is prevalent in Malaysian seas, diners seldom find a restaurant that presents it in fish ball form. Like the handmade fish noodles, these fish balls are also smooth and springy. Of course, the delicious sauces are what make the difference between one and the other.
Porridge has always been snow white for me, so it was quite difficult for my brain to believe that this was porridge. It really was and not a mind trick. How porridge can be fried is a secret recipe of the “Sifu”.
Moreover, this is not plain ol’ congee but fried with a generous mix of seafood ingredients and topped with chopped spring onions, not only to add flavour to the dish, but a dash of colour as well. Oh, by the way, although this brownish porridge looks salty, it is not. The taste? Just right!
Garlic Oil Paku
This plate of pucuk paku (jungle fern) is a non-fried dish. It’s mixed with garlic oil and slices of big onions. This fern dish is cold and sourish, which makes it an ideal appetiser.
Warning: Garlic Oil Paku can be rather addictive – you may not be able to stop eating once you start, like what happened to me! HEHEHE
Sizzling Clay Pot Chicken
Can you smell the aroma of the chicken wafting up in this dish known in Chinese as 生煲雞? Do you know why it is called 生煲雞? It’s because the chicken is entirely cooked in the clay pot – as opposed to using the clay pot as just a serving bowl. As you can imagine, the chicken is delicately sizzled until the meat is cooked. That’s when the meat separates easily and cleanly from the bone.
From what I read, there are two distinctive benefits of cooking using clay pots. The first is that the porous clay pot helps heat and moisture circulate evenly through the pot, therefore, food is cooked slowly, delicately and most of all, patiently. The second reason that clay pot triumphs over conventional pots is that clay is alkaline. So, when clay interacts with the acidity of food, its pH balance is neutralised. Hence, even sourish food will take on some natural sweetness when cooked in a clay pot.
Braised Noodles with Bitter Gourd and Egg
The noodles used here is known as sang meen (生面). Braised with bitter gourd and egg, I had expected the bitterness of the gourd to overpower everything else. How wrong I was! Matched with bitter gourd and eggs, the noodles tasted just perfect, surprisingly. Also, the duration to fry the noodles was just right, so it was neither too hard, nor soggy.
So, these were what we had for lunch yesterday. All are signature dishes of the restaurant. Can you believe it? There are way more but those mouth-watering items would have to wait for our next visit sometime soon. Fook Kee even has a menu of ‘exotic meat’!
Oh dear, do we need more excuses to swing by Sungai Siput (U)? A hearty meal is a strong enough reason to come to Fook Kee, I believe. And if you spend time at Pos Kuala Mu, you can have a memorable meal here, too, before leaving for home.
By the way, while the name Fook Kee Air-Cond Restaurant tells us that the eatery is air-conditioned (and WiFi connected), they also have a non-air-cond section. Basically, those who choose to dine in the cool area, order from the à la carte menu, like the above dishes. Meanwhile, those who dine in the section without air-cond, order from the economy rice counter, which is also available.
Mark down these details and remember to make your reservation!
Restoran Fook Kee (Fook Kee Air-Cond Restaurant)
Add: No. 26, Rimba Panjang, 31100 Sungai Siput (U), Perak (opposite Thong Thye Groundnut Factory)
GPS Coordinates: N 04° 48’02.4″ E101° 06’00.5″
Mobile: +6016-5210633, +6012-4598796
Business hours: 11am – 11pm (closed on alternate Tuesdays)
Note: Restaurant is non-halal
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