Kopitiam in Kelana Jaya offers modern twist to favourites.
E101 Jalan SS 6/2
Tel: 03-7490 6601
Business hours: 8am-7pm (Monday-Saturday). Closed on Sunday and public holidays
THE days of visiting a neighbourhood kopitiam with its marble table tops and chairs, miniature cups of strong local coffee and kaya bread are slowly fading as more trendy cafes take its place.
But, tucked away in Kelana Jaya, YumCha Place is keeping the tradition alive, albeit with a modern twist that is sure to appeal to the masses.
YumCha Place, located next to the general post office in Kelana Jaya, serves up some excellent teas and coffees as well as specialising in halal Hainanese cuisine.
The restaurant is owned by entrepreneur Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor, who is also Sedania Group founder and group chief executive officer, while chef John Tan See Hong manages the kitchen.
Chef Tan expertly helms the kitchen at YumCha Place and has put his 30 years of experience into reimagining local favourite recipes.
For breakfast, the restaurant serves everything from the favourite nasi lemak as well as bread with butter and kaya to the slightly unusual roti kapas and roti susu.
Served with either coffee or tea, the breakfast sets are reasonably priced from RM4.80 to RM7.80.
No Hainanese restaurant is complete without the ubiquitous chicken rice and YumCha Place does not disappoint.
“We cook the chicken for about 40 minutes. The trick is to find the right balance as you do not want it to be undercooked or overcooked, which makes the meat too dry and tough.
“Although many Malaysians prefer either roasted or fried chicken, here we try to promote the steamed variation as it is a healthier option,” said chef Tan.
At a cost of RM7.80 per portion, the chicken rice is certainly one of the top picks at the restaurant.
The meat is succulent and tender, while the rice is flavourful without overpowering the chicken. In essence, a perfect complement to each other.
For a little kick, dip the sliced chicken in chilli sauce that is chef Tan’s special recipe of red chillies, bird’s eye chillies (cili padi), shallots, garlic, ginger and lime juice.
The restaurant also serves up an excellent Hainan Asam Laksa that is certainly a must-try.
The first noticeable aspect of the dish is its unusual colour. Unlike the traditional brown-ish asam laksa, chef Tan’s is a striking red colour.
Another distinct feature of this dish is the absence of a fishy smell that usually goes hand-in-hand with a laksa dish like this.
Chef Tan explains that instead of a fish-based stock, he has used chicken stock for the broth.
“I use chicken because a lot of people find the fishy smell offensive, especially if they are going back to work,” he said, adding that the whole cooking process usually takes up to three hours.
The end result is a satisfying dish that is redolent with chicken slices and fish cake, and full of flavour.
In a similar twist, YumCha Place’s Hainanese Curry Laksa abstains from using coconut milk in its broth.
“Coconut milk is very unhealthy and makes you feel full very fast. By substituting it with fresh milk, the thick consistency of the broth is still there,” said chef Tan.
For a less spicy option, try the Shang Tong that is served with either yellow noodles or kuey teow and topped off with chicken slices, fish cakes and mustard leaves (sawi).
Also a chicken-based soup, the broth is boiled for six hours to bring out all the flavour and has a strong taste of pepper.
All the noodle and rice dishes are priced at RM7.80 each.
YumCha Place has also expanded its drinks menu with a selection of mocktails to cater to the more adventurous.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.