Whilst the rest of the group made a beeline for shopping, I knew precisely where to head for. The much hyped about Meng Kee Char Siew was elusive the last three times I visited as it was closed by the time I got there. It is claimed to be the best in KL but I have already tried Overseas Char Siew which was Mmmmm.....Mama Mia, no words for such flavourful char siew when Dr Leslie brought me there. I literally licked the plate clean then.
I was early before it started selling at 11.30am and it is usually sold out before 3pm. Whilst waiting for the roast char siew to be ready, I wasted no time to meet Uncle Leong who was silently and painstakingly hovering over the "stove", his self-made oven formed out of a darkened drum, a traditional stove with strong fire sitting below to char the long streaks of pork and a basin to catch the drippings. Uncle Leong looks agile for his age, easily picking up the rows of char siew which can be quite heavy, and squatting next to the "oven" tirelessly minding the char siew to ensure the quality char siew to sell.
I also spotted the "wu hwa ro", a large slab of a special cut of pork which he uses for the char siew. The skin with some fat was left out and he only carved out the leaner meat with some fats. Why? more fats please!
What is so special about KL Char Siew as compared to Singapore Char Siew? KL char siew has that oomph factor in that for each bite you get to savour the very charred caramelized edges that gives you the kick, the leaner part that provides the bite and the fatty part which is the best component that gives the melt in the mouth experience bringing the diner a sensational taste.
Of course the ingredients and the technique of roasting plays a big part and the final result is a unique form of barbequed meat that is truly amazing.
Why the word Char Siew? I tested my colleagues after the trip and I got the correct answer.
Char is the fork that pierced the long streaky meat and Siew is roast. Silly that I thot otherwise earlier that char as in abbreviation of CHARRED Siew.
Meng Kee Char Siew has been around for 21years and they have shifted from one street away Tong Shin to the current Jalan Alor. Fans keep streaming back and it did attract one from as far as Singapore to make a dedicated trip to try it.
My Verdict: Relative to Overseas Restaurant char siew, Meng Kee Char Siew is slightly tougher and leaner whilst I wish for more fat and a softer texture. It is unlike Overseas Restaurant signature char siew which has thicker caramelized charred parts, fat to meat ratio and soft meat for the Crunch, Melt and Bite Feel All Rolled in One. If I had not tried Overseas, I would have gone gaga over Ming Kee too.
Meng Kee Char Siew is certainly yummy to go with beer which I had and I chomped through without any rice. The plate with generous thick cuts of char siew cost a premium price of RM20.00.
Check out how strong the fire to roast the char siew. Alas to eager until I forgot to ask Uncle Leong how long did the whole process takes....my guess at least 4hrs.
Meng Kee Char Siew
Jalan Alor Kuala Kumpur
Tel: 6017 6388648