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16 Oct 2012

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Review: Soo Kee Restaurant


Soo Kee Restaurant is one of the older institution in Kuala Lumpur. It's so famous in its hey days for beef noodles (ngau yuk hor) and fresh water prawns noodles (sang har meen) that Soo Kee is mentioned in many foreign travel guide books. Hence it's not surprising to find westerners, Koreans or Japanese looking for this place these days.

Our visits however have dwindled down over the years as we felt they're not as good as before. Anyhow, we decided to drop by again since we have no idea what to eat one evening.

We ordered the signature fresh prawn noodle (RM15/pax for medium sized prawn) which we find it's drier than the eggy gravy found in Green View's version. It's not something we would have prefered.

Soo Kee - Sang Har Meen

Hubby liked their paper wrapped chicken (RM4 per parcel) though since Soo Kee's version is the dry one and not laden with gravy unlike Leong Ya's. I had a small piece and found the meat flavourful from the marinade they've used.

Soo Kee - Jee Pau Kai

We asked for a customary plate of vegetable which they recommended this choy yuen (a type of choy sum) stir-fried with garlic. This is a total disappointment for the vegetables are too OLD which are tough and fibrous!!!

Soo Kee - Choy Yuen

Now that was my boring review about our latest Soo Kee makan trip but my main reason posting this up is that I have a huge nugget of information to share. I've obtained them from Friedchillies' Kopitiam. In one of the threads, there was a discussion on the origin of our food. Biingo had contributed quite a lot of interesting information that we never have known.

Check out what Biingo had to say about the origins of Sang Har Meen...

So we start with Sang Har Mee and with that usually come wat Tan Hor, Nagu Yoke (beef) Hor, Chow Yin Yeong, Kong Foo Mei (bee Hoon).

We all know that the best comes from the famous SOo Kee of Imbi. Some will say Life Centre, Imbi old Tai Tong, Pandan Indah, Behind Kotaraya etc...

The fact is all of them originated from Soo Kee (Tai Sue Tow - or big tree) Imbi. He was the one who founded cooking the noodles via toasting it over charcoal fire. Thus brings out the fragrance of the noodles. Works very well for bee hoon and Keow Teow. The Sauce has to be cooked with pork base stock whilst adding in Intestines, liver and sang har (river prwans) to bring out the sweet taste.

Both combine makes it a very good aromatic dish... That is why in those days the boss will scold u if you order yin yeong (mix of kt & BH). The beef keow teow is cooked differently esp the sauce which is cooked heavily with spring onions and good slices of beef premarinated.. the sauce is darker and has a heavier beef and ginger taste.

whislt the sang har noodles same style of cooking the gravy with the bigger prawns whilst the nooldes they go for yee mee (pre fired egg noodles). However, some ppl like the fresh egg noodle (wan tan mee noodles) fried and complimented with the Sang Har. The roe of the prwans complements with the eggy saucce.

Now Soo Kee had one disciple and his sons were learning too. That one discple deecided to try his luck on his own staring a stall under a big tree beind the lanes of kotaraya. Named his stall tai sue tow also... Both him and his apprentice (his brother no 2) mended the stall.

During the late 80s and early 90s this place is extremely popular... Big borther continued to cook and educated his other sblings. All in all there are 13 brothers and sisters.... All learned to cook this sang har mee.

Brothers number 4 Ah Keong and Ah Fook numebr 3 ventured on their own. Ah Keong started at the corssroads of Changkat BB and Nagasari... he then moved to Taman Tun and now he is in Imbi next to the old Tai Thong (Now its called Yujia). To me Ah Keong is the bestcompared to 1&2 but he is very inconsistent and shouts too much at the wife... so when goes gila the food too.

Ah Fook was more stready and had better location expertise. He started in Life centre smack right in the middle of the golden triangle... he got famous becos of locale and lotsa biz ppl. He used to own a porsche... But of the lot of the bros... he is the worse. but then the riches...

Then came Ah KOw (#9) he began in kotaraya in the morning... when nite came he moves the stall to the main road...thats during the ealry 90s... He then shifted to pasar road near the old ocbc.. and then vanished and reapered 6 mths later in Pandan Indah now known as Ah Kow Siew...

He cooks just as good as Ah Keong and is more consistent... the more drunk (due to guiness) he gets... the better the food is...His wife is equally as good assisting him when it is busy. Now his son learns from him and cooks during the day. Ah Sap Sam (#13) also learns from him.

#13 used to cook at Ah Kow Siew place.. but now the son is taking over the afternoon shift, sap sam is looking for a new place. I have treid #13 cooking... he is just as good and the most patient of the lot.

all 13 brothers are also noted for their chow intestines, chow intestines with prawn claws... fantastic.

Ok Soo Kee died and handed the biz to his eldest son (4 sons 1 daughter). Eldest son runs the current shop whislt # 2 runs the shop opposiate. Both these son prefer not to cook and hire assistance to do the biz... Sister opened a shop in PJ near fatty crab. She doesnt cook either.

So that ends the reign of cooks for Soo Kee but he did managed to have a few good apprentice thogh...

A good cantonese fired noodle must be cooked with patience.. Most places would fry (lietrally fry) the noodles or precook earlier in the day. As a result it becomes soggy or burnt and chewy. THE NODLES MUST BE TOASTED OVER CHARCOAL FIRE.

The gravy has to be served with generous amounts of egg, pork (or beef) and prawns..

So thats it.

Thanks Biingo for sharing such valuable and interesting information!

Soo Kee Restaurant
14, Medan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur
Tel No: (603)2148 1324
Closed on Mondays
Tue - Fri 12.00pm - 3.00pm; 5.30pm - 1.30am
Sat & Sun 12.00pm - 3.00pm; 5.30pm - 2.00am

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Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Not bad, got history lesson somemore. :-) Thanks, Babe n Biingo!!

Tummythoz said...

Wow, this Biingo can practically draw up Soo Kee's 'family' tree!

Rarebeet said...

Very insightful! But I have to agree, the food hasn;t been good in a long time.

MeiyeN said...

had been wanting to try this place seriously... and i love "sang har mee" but da prawn looked small and it didn't look too appetizing?

sc said...

wow, been ages since i last went to soo kee..i remember their ngau hor was fantabulous!

ling239 said...

i find the one at the Jalan Imbi Chef Rasa Sayang also not bad wor....^_^

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

too many zhai zhai lui lui..confuse liao..haha to think all come from the same si fu..

Big Boys Oven said...

Good history but aren't the noodles a bit expensive?

Dc said...

last time when i was working in Imbi selling computers, after work my boss usually will spend us good food when the takings is good, like Sakura, Here and a few more places nearby. Last time, the food was good, i haven't been back there in many years though.

daphne said...

wah. i always find history of these sorts of places interesting. It is a real pity that children of great cooks are not prepared to endure the same values as parents =( hopefully more great chefs will come up soon!

Jason said...

Seems like Biingo has been patronizing Soo Kee for a very long time :)

Ms One Boobie said...

Food didn't look that great.. either.. :( and the noodles were ex eh..??

Jun said...

nice lil' piece of history, tho i din think that the beef hor fun was all that great as touted @_@

Jackson said...

that's so professional....such a detail in the history of them!!! he paper wrapped chicken is calling me!!

Babe_KL said...

lemongrass, it's all biingo's hardwork ;-)

tummythoz, terror huh??

paprika, yeah not good for some time oredi

meiyen, we asked for medium prawns cos colesterol overload ler haha... seriously, stick with green view!

sc, u can forget about dat now

ling, ya ka *note down* thanks

joe, yeah but all produced different results

bbo, i think so

bambam, dun bother haha

daphne, sad case but lucky their parents have created such a great impact in their days. i guess now they survive based on the reputation

jason, yeah biingo sounded very seasoned :D

mamabok, not nice anymore

jun, it used to be good though

jackson, the noodles so-so only these days

wmw said...

What to do....the noodles were definitely a lot better (maybe two decades ago???). So always on the lookout for my noodles, especially the beef hor fun!

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

We miss Soo Kee. We were in KL Jan-May 2001 and ate there all the time. We got to know Jessie & Robert during that time. Our boys would hang out together. We miss KL & Soo Kee!!!

Eric said...

Woot we knew the owners!

Our kids would play together.

Loved lving in KL

Fred MLM said...

Used to patronise Ah Fook @ Life Centre. Just wonder where is his biz now?