Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Review: Reunion Lunch at Sek Yuen


Today's the third day of the lunar new year. How has the new year gone so far with you? Am sure all the visitation filled with feasting, drinking, and gambling are still on going. This year, we have asked my mother not to toll herself to cook our reunion lunch. Since I knew Sek Yuen Restaurant, the legendary old school Chinese restaurant in Pudu which is still using firewood stoves, would be open for lunch on new year's eve, I booked a table for 10 to feed the family and even pre-ordered the food. We preferred the non-aircon side as we find the servers were more jovial and helpful.

Long queue

I walked in from the back and saw a queue right till outside the doorway. Wow whatever is that for? As I walked further in... ahhhh... they were queuing to take-away yee sang (raw fish salad) and pei pa duck (a type of roast duck). Then we saw a familiar face and turned out to be my brother's friend. She said she queued for 45 minutes just for one pack of yee sang, hmmm...

Non-Stop Slicing

The pace at the yee sang station is frantic! There were 2 people assembling the yee sang onto plates and the take-away orders. 2 - 3 people preparing the pomelos, crunchy nam yue crisps and an uncle busy shredding carrots, radish, and etc away. Just to note, all these are done using a well-worn cleaver by hand and grated using a mandolin and as we sat down for our entire 2 hours lunch, he has been slicing non-stop! I've a video of him here shredding kaffir lime leaves, just check out the speed!

Yee Sang Station

It took quite a while before our yee sang arrived. Dad prep the fish (only one type available here is sang yue - snakehead) by squeezing in the lime juice and toss in the white pepper powder and 5 spice powder. Then he add the fish onto the colourful and myriad ingredients of shredded radish and carrots, sweet pickled young papaya, pickled ginger, pickled leeks, deep fried yam strips in red and green, pomelos sacs, nam yue (red fermented tofu) crisps, coriander leaves, toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. The dressing is a concoction made of plum sauce.

Yee Sang

Once the fish, dressing and some peanut oil are poured onto the yee sang, everyone at the table would grab their chopsticks and start to toss the yee sang whilst spewing out all the good sayings in Chinese wishing everyone good fortune and best of health. As my youngest brother devoured his yee sang, he declared that this is the most authentic and very old school tasting yee sang he has ever had! We all agreed with him ;-)

yee sang collage

Next came the signature Pei Pa Duck. "Pei Pa" is actually a Chinese musical instrument. The Pei Pa has a halved pear shaped sound box, a crooked neck with 4 - 5 strings. Hence the name of this roast duck dish.

Image from Cultural China 

Normal roast duck would be roasted whole but Pei Pa Duck has the body flatten and spread out like the sound box of a Pei Pa, while the head is the narrow part of the body. The duck is then seasoned and air dried before roasted in firewood here in Sek Yuen. The taste was great but the texture of the meat is a little on the tough side. My mom commented that usually Pei Pa Duck is not so meaty and flatter which I agree with her. Maybe the duck is a little on the large side as the other time we ate, it wasn't so meaty.

Pei Pa Duck

We have a beancurd dish which consisted of Yue Wart (fish paste), Dau Kan (beancurd sheets), Tofu (beancurd). Quite plain and ordinary. We also have a platter of Hai Joe (crabmeat balls) which is made of a mixture of crab and pork meats, wrapped in beancurd sheet and deep fried. Sorry no photo of them.

Yue Wart, Dau Kan, Tofu

This signature vegetarian dish of Kah Hiong Chai (Hometown Vegetarian literally) is everyone's favourite. Everyone concurred that it's very very fragrant of nam yue (fermented red beancurd) and well seasoned.

Kah Hiong Chai

I took the recommended Thai-Style Deep Fried Garoupa since we would like to have a whole fish for reunion as opposed to BoiBoi's fave of Sweet and Sour Fish Slices. This didn't went down well as the fish is over fried making it dry and there's too little Thai sweetish and sourish gravy to go round.

Thai -Style Deep Fried Fish

As we already have Pei Pa Duck, we opted for 8 Treasures Trotter instead of Duck. The trotter is fork tender and stuffed with delicious fillings of chestnuts, gingko nuts, lotus seeds etc making up 8 ingredients in the fillings enough to name them 8 Treasures. Given a choice, I would go for the duck as there were more meat where else the trotter is mostly skin and fats as most of the meat has been removed to put in the stuffings.

8 Treasure Trotter collage

All 10 of us are impressed nevertheless with the old school offerings with tastes of how they were like when we were young. All the above dishes with one big bowl of rice (dai dau farn :p they usually serve small metal bowls of steamed rice but if there are too many people, they serve rice in one large bowl) and tea came up to RM299.80 (sounds prosperous already!). 

Don't miss this Chinese New Year to pay a visit to Sek Yuen for authentic old school yee sang and dishes. I'll post more of Sek Yuen later of the other dishes we have on normal days.

Sek Yuen Restaurant
313-315, Jalan Pudu, KL
Tel: +603 9222 9457 (non-aircon)
+603 9222 0903 (aircon)
(You'll have to call the correct number to make your reservation of the section you preferred!)


  1. i'm glad i read this post, cos you just educated me about the meaning of pei pa duck! i'm gonna be looking out for that guitar-like shape whenever i order it from now on! heheh :D

  2. Gong Xi Fa Cai. Looks like a great reunion lunch you had with your family. I have not been to Sek Yuen for ages. The food looks like how I remembered them:D

  3. Went here for lunch recently. Feel Kinda disappointed with the food. Even got scolding from my mom for thinking of dining here.

  4. oooh! so cool.. so now I know where Pei Pa duck comes from!! very nice:)

  5. Gong Xi Fa Cai ... again :D
    We didn't have any elaborate meals this time around. The family reunions seem to be shrinking in size and so are our dinners :D

  6. We were there recently too...will blog about that later ;-)
    Koong hei fatt choy!

  7. Oh I have never dined here but have heard quite a lot of this place. Quite legendary, this place.

  8. It definitely sounded very busy there with all the people queuing for yee sang. Thanks for sharing your reunion lunch! Living overseas, I love to see this kind of things. :P

  9. Preparing Yee Sang freshly on the spot, and queuing up for 45 mins sounds like a great deal. Can imagine the freshness of the combination, rather than just lazily using conventional sliced salmon from the supermarkets.
    Happy CNY to you and family, Babe.

  10. Sean, lol sounds great

    Quay Po, do make a point to drop by cos we have no idea how long they will last :(

    Michelle, oh dear sorry to hear that

    C&C, we never stop learning eh?

    Ping, so was ours, really sad huh?

    Thanks Little Inbox

    Pureglutton, looking forward to your post!

    Baby Sumo, you must make it a point to stop by one day then

    LCOM, actually I know that's why I have to post this up :D hope you like it

    Thanks Choi Yen

    J2Kfm, thanks and totally agree with you ;-)

  11. Gong Xi Fa Cai ! Oh, their dishes look authentic and yummy. I must pay a visit to this restaurant eventhough they are far away from my place.

  12. Kuang Hee Huat Chye! They were featured in the star about Yee Sang. LOL! The dish used to mix the raw fish screams old school man.


Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012