Sek Yuen Restaurant was first established by three brothers in 1948 as a humble pushcart selling Wantan Mee at a hawker centre. To this day, Sek Yuen still stands on Jalan Pudu as one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest surviving eateries.
Their roasted duck features a perfect balance between crispiness and tenderness, and sweet and sour pork is delicious without being overly floury or batter-heavy.
Authentic Cantonese Cuisine
If you’re craving old-style authentic Chinese cuisine, look no further than Sek Yuen on Jalan Pudu. Opened in 1948 and still running today under its original owners and staff, Sek Yuen still exudes vintage charm. From its black-and-white pictures on the walls to its stainless steel standing fans and metal bowls with wear dents from years of use, the restaurant retains all its vintage appeal.
Sek Yuen offers some of the tastiest traditional Chinese cuisine in town, like whole roasted duck stuffed with vegetables and lotus seeds (Pi Pa), steamed duck served Kai Lan style in light soy sauce, and the classic salad “Yee Sang”, consisting of snow pear strips, spring onions, parsley leaves, homemade crackers with sesame seed topping, sang yue slices in ginger slices topped off with succulent plum sauce – or old-fashioned cold jelly chicken served alongside rice bowl.
Dining at this retro-chic restaurant transports guests back in time, to pre-Merdeka/Independence days. The staff of at least 65 years old is surprisingly agile and speaks excellent English, though their Chinese pronunciation may sometimes be off-putting. Furthermore, food quality and prices are extremely reasonable – you should definitely give this establishment a try!
Pei Pa Duck
Established in 1948, Jalan Pudu’s oldest restaurant has long been beloved for its long list of uncommon yet delectable dishes like Pei Pa Duck. For optimal results, call one day ahead as there are only 10 pieces served daily! We particularly loved their Chap Choy which features sweet bean curd slices fried together with dry lily bulbs and fermented bean curd to add extra flavour!
Food at this cosy eatery is truly excellent, but what really stands out is the old-world ambience. Steeped in decades of history and filled with traditional kopitiam chairs and faded tables, its atmosphere can’t be recreated anywhere else in town.
At Sek Yuen, it’s like entering a period movie set. From the moment you walk in, you’re met by clanging teapots and the sound of utensils against plates as staff pass around wet hankies for wiping. At prices still very reasonable, Sek Yuen should be visited by any fan of traditional Chinese cuisine – don’t leave without having tried their signature dish: roast duck with their special sauce that is neither too sweet nor salty – also try mock shark fin omelette and their 8 treasure duck; both were excellent!
Paper Wrapped Chicken
Paper Wrapped Chicken at this restaurant is an unforgettable dish, serving both steamed and deep fried elements in one package! A truly amazing sight and memorable conversation piece at any dinner, it features marinated chicken marinated with flavorful ingredients before tightly wrapped in paper to prevent oil seepage into its core, helping it remain both moist and flavorful throughout.
To create this special meal at home, start by cutting 20-cm (8-inch) squares of baking paper as many times as the number of chicken pieces you intend on cooking. On your worktop, arrange the chicken slices, slices of ginger and strips of spring onion before wiping your fingers clean with damp cloths. Take one paper square, place slices of ginger and spring onions at its centre before placing a chicken piece atop it all – and roll up both ends tightly around this new package – repeat for each remaining square!
Dining at Sek Yuen feels like traveling back in time – old wooden tables and chairs, walls adorned with black-and-white pictures, stainless steel standing fans, metal bowls with dents and scratches from decades of use, staff dressed like they have been handed down from older generations, food such as Pei Pa Duck (crispy skin roast duck), Steamed chicken with Kailan in light soy sauce as well as Chinese New Year special Lup Mei glutinous rice dish filled with waxed duck and crab meat water chestnut nuggets make for an authentic dining experience!
One of KL’s oldest remaining Cantonese restaurants, this historic eatery is best-known for their delectable roast duck (Pei Pa). Established by brothers Phang Shue Tang, Chew Kan and Phang Meng Yun in pre-independence Kuala Lumpur, its popularity quickly spread after it expanded from being just a push cart into several shop lots along Jalan Pudu with air-conditioned dining rooms; yet their original stall remains unchanged with photos and mementoes from old days adornments from yesteryear!
Contrary to most restaurants and fast-food chains, all the staff here are second-generations of the original founding family members. Although older, they still speak and move with youthful vitality despite their age; furthermore they are very efficient when serving guests quickly.
Lunch began with yee sang (RM24 for small). Constructed of snow pear instead of turnips, spring onions, parsley and snake head or sang yue with ginger slices; it was light and refreshing. Next we enjoyed some steamed chicken with Kailan in light soy sauce followed by Lup Mei glutinous rice featuring waxed duck and crab meat with water chest nut nuggets to complete our feast for Chinese New Year eve!
I was also very pleased by the roast duck, which had been sun/air-dried before being slowly roasted over coals to produce crisp skin and succulent tender meat. Additionally, their mock shark’s fin omelette with julienned carrots and onions was excellent; although slightly too sweet for my tastes but nonetheless flavorful and enjoyable.