My group of KL old-timers cum “makan kakis” (local-speak for “eating gang”) planned a Cantonese Sunday lunch at this 25-year-old restaurant, Tuck Kee, today. Located in Kepong, one of KL’s older suburbs, Tuck Kee serves “dim sum” from 6am in the morning so, by the time we got there at noon for lunch, the brunch crowds have just thinned out. I had a glance at their “dim sum” menu, and their gigantic 1-pound large steamed minced pork-filled big bun or “dai bao” (大包) had me salivating – I’d have ordered that, had my friends not come here for a Cantonese dishes-and-rice lunch.
As it was, we’re here to taste some of Tuck Kee’s signature dishes, especially their piece de resistance: the braised sand shark’s lips.
Our lunch today consisted of:
- Started off with the “kun tong kau” - which are large wanton-skinned dumplings in soup. Highly-recommended by the restaurant manager (who communicated with my oldie friends in high-decibel Cantonese which one can hear *across* the dining room), the dumpling was filled with sharksfin, dried scallops, crabmeat and mushrooms. Confession: I never did like “kun tong kau”, and the one here did nothing to change my mind, though my 5 lunch companions all seemed to enjoy it very much.
- The house specialty next: the braised shark’s lips – large, thick gelatinous strips braised in a thick sharksfin and dried scallops-flavored sauce, topped with sharks-fin and garnished with blanched broccoli. Very tasty.
- Teochew fishballs. Another highly-recommended dish by the restaurant manager but I personally felt was a dud. The fishballs weren’t springy or spongy like good Teochew fishballs should be (and I don’t even like “good” Teochew fishballs, as they are). One of my friends appeared to have the same opinion as I, as she exclaimed that the dish was “nothing special”. I thought I’d keep my opinion to myself as I’m the newbie to this “makan kaki” group.
- Steamed “patin” fish (a freshwater catfish from the mountain streams of Pahang state, Malaysia), with light soysauce, ginger strips and golden-fried minced garlic. This was absolutely delicious.
- Garlic fried rice with eggs. I loved this – as good as those one gets in the Philippines (I felt the Filipinos make the best garlic fried rice in the world)
- Sauteed lettuce with garlic, cherry tomatoes and crisp-fried salted fish.
- Steamed salted free-range chicken. This dish was amazing – the key to it was to use very fresh, good quality “kampong” (Malay for “village”) chicken, which yielded an intensely sweet and tasty flesh. The liquid from the steaming process was tinged yellow by the rendered fat, and tasted like a delicious, distilled chicken essence.
- Dessert was glutinous rice balls, stuffed with black sesame paste and covered with crushed, powdered peanuts. The best I’d had anywhere.
Tuck Kee Restaurant (德记点心)
39, Jalan Burung Jentayu
Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong
52100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-6274 2486/+603-6275 3857