HEUN KEE CLAYPOT CHICKEN RICE,
No 59, Ground floor Jalan Yew,
Pudu 55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Business hours:11.00am to 9.30pm
(closed on the first and
third Thursday of the month).
IN THE hustle and bustle of the Pudu Wet Market lies a little restaurant at the end of Jalan Yew that has made a name for itself over the past 25 years.
The Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice shop is run by Heum Mei Lan, 68, who bought over the shop from a hawker in 1986. Heun used to sell Nyonya Kueh at the Petaling Jaya Old Town Market in Jalan Othman before deciding to venture into the claypot business.
Heum built the business from scratch, fine-tuning the recipes she learned from the previous owner.
Even though she has had to shift from one shoplot to another within the Pudu market area, she has managed to secure a good number of regular customers.
“I have customers who have been eating my food since they were dating. Today they are still here, married with grown up children,” said Heum.
What makes her Claypot Chicken Rice such a success? According to her son-in-law, Ray Teoh, 34, who is currently helping her expand the business, it is her cooking methods.
Heum has always insisted on using conventional cooking methods such as charcoal stoves.
“She uses the two-way heat system by cooking the rice in a claypot and placing more hot coals on the lid to help lock in the moisture and the chicken’s flavours,” he said.
Heum also has a secret marinade sauce for her chicken pieces.
She said the sauce was a tightly guarded family secret and it was important to marinate the chicken for a minimum of 12 hours, but they usually leave it overnight. Inside the dish, there is also ‘Lap Cheong’ (waxed sausage) and salted fish that adds flavour to the aromatic dish.
Apart from that, their Claypot Waxed Duck is also popular but the dish is only available during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
“It’s a specialty here, we bring in all the ingredients from Hong Kong, so its availability depends on our suppliers. Customers can always call us and check if we are serving it,” said Teoh.
According to him, customers come back for their claypot dishes because of the portions and the size of the chicken pieces inside.
The small claypot (RM9) that is meant for one person can actually be shared by two while the medium (RM16) is for two people and the large (RM22) is for three persons.
Another must-try is the seafood beancurd that is popular with patrons.
There is plenty of seafood including fish paste inside the soft beancurd and it is served with a special home made chilli sauce that goes really well with it.
Another local favourite is the Fish Head Curry served in claypot. This mildly spicy curry is perfect with white rice and has plenty of condiments including Garoupa fish pieces, lady’s finger and ‘Tau Pok’ (fried tauhu) inside.
To wash down the meal, try the “Umbra Juice” made purely from buah kedondong with no water added.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.