It’s always good to look back into the past when you need food for the soul!
There’s a reason why I keep going back to Restoran Woo Ng Kee… soul food! No fancy-smancy food but just pure comfort food that satiates the need for unpretentious dishes. First and second visits followed by more always create fabulous memories for me.
This round, Mr. Woo, had invited us for a dinner just right after the festive Chinese New Year. The humble chef and owner of the restaurant performed his usual magic to bring a piece of the past to his dishes that night.
We started off the meal with a straightforward soup of Duck Gizzard and Watercress Soup. Home-style and unpretentious, the soup is brimming with loads of soft watercress leaves, red dates and pieces of duck gizzard. Duck gizzard is reconstituted and boiled with the watercress and red dates for extra flavors. The nutritious soup is said cool down the internal body heat and to relieve the lungs. Not a gizzard fan, I tried a piece and found it a bit chewy and firm. It was actually quite pleasant. Surprisingly light and sweet, the soup is definitely wholesome and a great start to our meal.
I for one, have not seen Dried Duck Gizzard (or Duck Kidney) before… have you? I guess today’s generation has changed and Mr. Woo mentioned that it’s not readily as available as before. He found this ingredient in the older market in Pudu in the dried grocery stores. Most people substitute the duck gizzard with dried squid or dried cuttlefish, which is more readily available everywhere.
Our second dish was a magnificent Scrambled Egg with Dried Scallop!! More often done with shark’s fin, Mr.Woo decided to create the dish with dried scallop instead of the controversial shark fins. I simply couldn’t be happier with the dish since dried scallops tasted more robust than the flavorless shark fins. The yellow mount of eggs crowned with coriander is much loved by diners of all ages… J
There is just something so splendid with such a basic ingredient of fluffy eggs scrambled with bits of julienne carrots and cabbage jazzed up with loads of savory shredded dried scallops or konpoy. Sweetness exuded throughout the taste while savory scallop taste took center stage in flavors. Savor this with crisp iceberg lettuce for some sweet crunch and refreshing flavors! A Must-order…
According to Mr. Woo, dishes from the past do not utilize much ingredients but rather it focuses on maximizing the freshness and flavors from the main ingredient. Steamed River Prawns is lightly seasoned and steamed to perfection with egg custard and topped with some spring onions and coriander.
Big fresh and sweet river prawns had glorious orange creamy roes guaranteed to up your cholesterol level. But then again, who could simply resist this? Not me for sure as I dived straight into oblivion of ecstasy through the rich and luscious salty roes with the tender and sweet meat of the prawns. I simply consoled myself that indulgence is good once in a while. (wink, wink!!)
What’s this? As the saying goes that nothing is wasted in a Chinese kitchen, someone from the past has creatively processed Pig Tendons to be cooked and consumed! Pig tendons are the connecting joint of tendon in a hog. Said to be rich in collagen and elastin, the ingredient produces health benefits in renewal of skin cells, slows down aging, contributes to growth and also slows the rate of osteoporosis. My mother-in-law believes that it helps the joints of the bones from the rich collagen and elastin. This dried ingredient requires days of reconstitution and cooking treatment before it can be cooked as a final product. Again, the ingredient seems to be fading in today’s generation of the food pyramid because of the tedious efforts it requires to cook this.
Braised Pig Tendon with Mushrooms came piping hot in a claypot filled to the brim with long strips of gelatinous and silky pig tendons with flower mushrooms in a light brown gravy.
The soft and gelatinous textures are a preferential taste and I find it a bit amusing in the mouth. While the wobbly, slippery and jellified tendons are not to my taste, I savored a few pieces bravely simply for the purpose of knowing that the collagen is good for my skin and joints! J
Another huge sizzling claypot arrived with a wonderful aroma enticing our nostrils! Claypot Crab Meat Fried Rice is created by Mr. Woo’s son and the proud father gleamed with delight when the cover of the pot was lifted. Everyone at the table basically said ‘Wahhhh’ unanimously!
Covered in a green sea of spring onions, the fluffy and slightly damp fried rice was just bursting with sweet crab meat. Bits of meat and loads of egg graced the rice and produced superb flavors in the rice. As the rice was served in the heated claypot, one will find gratification in crispy bits of rice among the soft fluffy ones. If I can benchmark fried rice, this one certainly takes the cake!!
This is one impressive fried rice fit for royalty. I believed I had two full bowls that night and craved for a third one!
After much conversation from one to another, Mr. Woo went back into the kitchen and whipped up another home style dish his parents used to enjoy. Stir Fried Minced Pork with Mushroom Stalks was served with iceberg lettuce. Earthy and savory flavors of soya sauce were detected in the aromatic minced pork, pickled radish and mushroom stalks. There is a good bite from the chopped up mushroom stalks and radish. As the dish was a tad too salty, I was glad of the crisp lettuce was available to lighten up the salty flavors of the meat. A good hint of spicy flavors were also included through bird eye chilies for extra temptations.
The extraordinary meal was rounded up with a simple Chilled Honey Sea Coconut with Longan.
Another round of unadulterated pleasure of the past at Woo Ng Kee! No wonder I keep coming back… J
* Most of the dishes need to be pre-order a few days before. Please call for further information.
Restaurant Woo Ng Kee
545, 546, 547, Jalan E3/7,
Tel No: 03-6274-2305
545, 546, 547, Jalan E3/7,
Tel No: 03-6274-2305
GPS: N03 13.263 E101 37.431
** I have returned many times with my family for simple dining fare since my heavenly meals at Woo Ng Kee. Watch out for more to come from here...