Good food at reasonable prices is the secret of Kam Kitchen’s success.
KAM Kitchen’s success calls to mind the popular adage about great oaks growing from little acorns.
Having started out as a simple tai chow (“big fry” in Cantonese) stall under a big, shady tree in Kampung Cheras Baru, the humble enterprise by chef-owner Ben Kam has grown into a three-shop restaurant that draws a constant stream of customers from all over the Klang Valley.
From the various news clippings displayed inside his restaurant and the blog postings online, one learns that Kam is an experienced and passionate cook who is particular about the ingredients that go into his creations.
However, before you jump into the car impatient to try his cooking, be forewarned that only brave and patient souls show up at Kam Kitchen during lunch and dinner without reservations.
Similarly, if you’re going there on a weekend or public holiday, be prepared to wait your turn. Inside the brightly lit and partially air-conditioned restaurant, the cacophony of noise is ear-splitting but most diners seem willing to overlook this minor discomfort because the food is hearty, delicious and reasonably priced.
It also helps that Kam’s sister, Alvina, runs a tight ship at the front end; everything is dealt with briskly and efficiently so one’s wait for tables can be surprisingly brief despite the crowd.
The place is known for its simple but immensely satisfying home-styled dishes that would please even the most fastidious matriarch. One of our favourites is Braised Pork Tendon (RM33), a rare speciality that you won’t find in regular Chinese restaurants.
Lightly braised in oyster sauce with black mushroom, snow peas and carrot, the tendon is tender and has a gelatinous texture. You can also opt for a more indulgent version that includes sea cucumber.
Instead of plain rice, we settled for Kam’s Signature Fried Rice (RM20). What makes this dish so appealing, especially to children, is the generous topping of ebiko (prawn roe) on the mound of fluffy rice with minced pork and egg.
Another dish that all family members will like is the Princess Beancurd (RM19). Silky smooth and soft as custard, the block of pan-fried beancurd is served with seafood in a light viscous sauce. Adults and children alike are partial to it. For a healthier take on this speciality, the Pumpkin Beancurd comes highly recommended.
Now Marmite is a condiment that one either loves or loathes, but the dark, sticky and savoury spread is a central ingredient in Kam Kitchen’s Marmite Chicken (RM18). Complemented by a thick, caramelised sauce that tickles the tastebuds with its heady, sweet-briny umami (savoury) flavours, the deep-fried battered chicken is delectably moist while remaining crispy.
Other noteworthy dishes to sample include Salted Egg Yolk Squid, Wet Butter Crabs or Prawns, Curry Lamb Ribs, Pork Chops with Fruity Sauce and Kam Heong Hokkien Mee.
Prices for the restaurant’s dishes vary according to serving size; those stated above are for a table of six.
For reservations, call Kam Kitchen at 03) 4296 7072 or drop by No 2 & 4, Jalan 18, Kampung Cheras Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 11.30am–3pm and 5.30pm–11pm. Closed on alternate Mondays.