KL is home to numerous traditional Chinese restaurants. One such spot, famed for their delicious yee sang dish made up of snow pear strips, spring onions and parsley; served alongside homemade crackers topped with sesame seeds is One Old Fashioned Chinese Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
Dine-in to experience tables adorned with vintage wooden furniture and eclectic decor; takeaway/delivery options also available.
Sek Yuen brings back memories of old school Chinese restaurant dining for many people. The original stall on Jalan Pudu still stands, featuring black-and-white pictures from decades past of chefs, patrons, stainless steel standing fans hung from its ceiling, metal bowls dented over time – not to mention all-ages chefs and waiters – all at least 65 years old, yet more agile than you’d think given their age!
At lunchtime, this venue becomes bustling as both locals and expats head for the traditional Pei Pa Duck (starting from RM26). Boiling then slow-roasting produces succulent meat with crisp skin for maximum enjoyment. Chai Choy offers delicious stir-fried vegetables reminiscent of home cooking experience that are also worth trying!
At Yee Sang, one of the must-try dishes is Yee Sang – a light plum sauce-coated mixture of snow pear strips, spring onions, parsley leaves, homemade crackers and sesame seeds served piping hot from an iron pot. Reminiscent of times past when families and friends would gather around this traditional Chinese New Year dish together as families and friends enjoyed it together; today few restaurants uphold both quality and tradition like this gem does; visit it soon to experience for yourself what this amazing experience awaits you.
Traditional Cantonese dishes
As one of KL’s oldest remaining restaurants, dining here will transport you back in time. Its walls are decorated with black-and-white photographs and stainless steel standing fans; tables and chairs may be old, but still in great condition, exuding an aged yet vintage vibe. Furthermore, this restaurant is staffed by chefs and waiters in their late sixties or seventies who move effortlessly while handling plates of food with finesse and grace.
They offer traditional Cantonese dishes such as cold jelly chicken and butterflied roast duck, just as they have always been prepared since its conception. In addition, their take on yee sang is unique: crab meat mixed with sweet bean curd slices, dry lily bulbs and mung bean noodles in light plum sauce served with strips of ginger is especially delectable!
Paper wrapped chicken (RM5 per piece) is another worthwhile dish at Pong Kee. Fried and wrapped in thin paper with crab meat for an irresistibly chewy texture, the crispy skin adds another delicious element and goes perfectly with their light plum sauce – you may just find yourself ordering more bowls of rice to go along with this dish!
The story behind Sek Yuen
On Jalan Pudu lies Sek Yuen Restaurant, established in 1948. Dining here feels like taking a step back in time with its vintage photos, black and white images, stainless steel standing fans and wooden tables and chairs with decades of use still evident from decades-long wear and tear. Also, one of its distinctive offerings includes chap choy (a dish featuring sweet bean curd slices, dried lily bulbs, mung bean noodles and stuffed pork trotter) served alongside its legendary stir-fries; another must when visiting.
At this Chinese eatery, instead of offering dishes a la carte like other modern Chinese restaurants do, dishes are offered as set meals meant to be shared among multiple people. Their famed Pei Pa Duck can be found there too – first boiled before being slow-roasted to render out all its fat and create an irresistibly crunchy skin! I highly recommend trying their steamed fish with ginger and spring onions as well as their legendary sweet and sour pork!
Though accommodating over 800 diners at once, this restaurant remains run as a family business. Led by its fourth generation leadership and employing more than a dozen family members full-time; for Chinese New Year celebrations alone all members come out together as one.
At Sek Yuen Restaurant on a warm Saturday afternoon, staff have already been hard at work. While dine-in customers don’t arrive until later that afternoon, takeaway orders and delivery requests have started coming in immediately. Occupying five shop lots along Jalan Pudu and seating up to 800 people comfortably, Sek Yuen employs around 150 staff with two kitchens operating daily and another on standby to handle overflow. Second generation family member Phang Yew Kee oversees daily operations.
Sek Yuen has been serving classic Chinese fare since 1948 and is well-known for their traditional dishes like Pei Pa Duck (from RM26). This addictively crispy roast duck is first boiled then slowly roasted for maximum crispy skinned goodness with tender meat inside. Be sure not to miss their Paper Wrapped Chicken (RM5) either; its juicy flavour makes for a tantalizing bite and makes the experience all the better! I recommend ordering two per person so no one gets left fighting over who gets to devour the last piece!
Another must-try dish at Yuen Yuen Yee Sang is their signature Sek Yuen yee sang dish which includes snow pear strips, spring onions, parsley leaves, homemade crackers and sesame seeds, along with the Sang Yau (snake head with ginger slices in light plum sauce RM24 for small). Seafood options here are equally good but I highly recommend ordering their beef and lamb shanks which come cooked perfectly and deliver just the right amount of heat!