HOUSE number 52 in Semenyih, Selangor, is a makan place that needs no introduction.
I came to know of it through my old friend Lee Hon Yew, who is happily retired.
“Eh Sam ah! We must try this place in Semenyih which is famous for its Guinness stout phai kuat la…,” he recommended.
I took up the offer without hesitation and was joined by some newspaper veterans including master food critic and travel writer Philip Lim.
Later, I learnt that Lim had given the makan place a raving review which was published in an English daily sometime in May.
Lee had also rounded up his regular makan kakis HW Cheah and CM Khor for this food expedition to Semenyih, which is located south of the Klang Valley.
We took a drive from a meeting point in the city towards Cheras which took nearly an hour due to the heavy traffic in and out of the Kuala Lumpur’s city centre.
The landmark to look out for is the junction towards Hulu Langat’s 14th mile and the Sungai Tekali forest park.
Once you hit the turn, the restaurant is located about one kilometer away.
Since we were the early birds, (I was told by Lee that this place is usually packed during lunch) parking was no issue.
There was ample parking space in the house compound.
Restoran 52 is an air-conditioned makan place offering Hakka-style home-cooked food.
It has also been well publicised and on the wall near the cashier’s counter, I noticed an old article which was written by my ex-colleague Geetha Krishnan in her ‘Food Safari’ column.
Geetha made reference to some of the house dishes including Restoran 52’s renowned Guinness Stout phai kuat.
Our host Lee had ordered a few dishes and as we waited for the food to be served, a flat-screen TV mounted on the dining hall’s wall was showing some Hong Kong entertainment.
This kept us occupied while we engaged in a conversation about old times.
It didn’t take long for the dishes to arrive simultaneously.
Lee had ordered the signature phai kuat dish, woo thou kou yuk (pork belly with taro), cheeng chau fan shue yeep (stir-fried sweet potato leaves), cheeng fei chau yue (steamed tilapia) and the yee pheu thong (fish maw soup).
Pricing was quite decent as our host paid RM116 for the dishes catering to five people.
As far as taste is concerned, I would rate the woo thou kou yuk at six out of 10 on the Samo-scale.
As for the signature dish, the much talked about Guinness Stout phai kuat failed to sizzle.
I found the ribs too dry for my liking despite its tasty marinade.
The ikan tilapia, well, having seen how these freshwater fishes are farmed, I reserve my comment.
Noteworthy are the fan shue yeep and yee pheu thong dishes.
Restoran 52 (GPS coordinates: N 02 57 243, E 101 50 764) opens daily for lunch and dinner and is located along the road towards Hulu Langat from Semenyih.
For directions, you can do a search on ‘Google Maps’ which is an effective tool to locate the makan place.