Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Precious Old China @ Central Market, Kuala Lumpur



I'm moving away from my Ramadan Bazaar coverage as I am sure all of you know more than enough places to go by now. If you do go and find interesting tidbits and items for sale, I would love to hear more about it, so drop me a comment in the boxes - the left hand side Haloscan Comment for non-bloggers and the right hand side Blogger Comment for bloggers registered with them.


Back to food reviews and after meeting an old friend yesterday, I remembered pictures I snapped when she was back for her previous holidays. She's very into Nyonya food hence we always seem to end up at Little Penang Cafe. This time round, we decided to go for something different i.e. all the way to Central Market to try Old China's latest outlet, Precious.

Central Market has gone through a revamp recently and everything looks much neater especially the downstairs stalls. Instead of the pushcart system, they now have individual lots hence everything is tucked in and not haphazardly placed around. Thumbs up for that improvement but sadly I suspect the costs of modernisation will be passed on to the customer as prices for goods in Central Market are shockingly expensive. My cousins from Canada were complaining to me that simple trinkets and handicrafts are pricey and the only way you get good prices is if you know the stall owners well.


Old China Cafe first started out near Petaling Street at an old shophouse i.e. off Jalan Balai Polis (the Police Station in English) and they are famed for serving Nyonya cuisine in premises decorated with old antiques that hark back to a time long forgotten. It's a great way to peek into how life was in those olden days. With this Central Market outlet, it's a similar formula of antiques but on a grander scale. Hence you see lots of crystal chandeliers hung around the restaurant including the wash room. What is most impressive is their huge bar counter at the front of their restaurant which has been beautifully restored. To read more about the furniture items they utilised in the restaurant and their origins, click on the Old China Cafe website link.

On to food to satisfy our rumbling tummies, first was the Top Hats or popularly known as Pie Tee (RM8.80), an essential order when you are visiting a Nyonya restaurant. This version came in a do-it-yourself platter with the Ju Hoo Char made from shredded yam bean (bangkuang) and chicken, minced eggs and chilli sauce. We all liked the chilli sauce which wasn't too spicy but added a nice touch to the whole ensemble.

Kerabu Paku Pakis (RM13.80) was next and it came with ferntops, prawns, shallots and lots of ground peanuts as a topping. We all liked this dish as it was nice and refreshing. However, there were some woody stems still left on the ferntops which was slightly irritating.

Originally we wanted to order Otak Otak, another must have in Nyonya restaurants but they had run out hence we settled for the Cincalok Omelette (RM10.80). Cincalok is an acquired taste as it's made from tiny prawns also known as krill that have been fermented in salt and cooked rice. If you taste it on it's own, it's extremely pungent but the taste is milder if you mix it with lime juice and sugar to make a sambal. It's also used to cook omelettes and chicken dishes.

This was everybody's favourite, their Kari Kapitan (RM18.90) with lots of curry sauce that was heavenly with white rice. In fact, we kept taking the curry versus the chicken.

This was pretty good too with white rice, their Lemak Nenas Prawns (RM39.90) which came with a creamy coconut milk enhanced curry and lots of pineapples. The curries are quite mild and we felt well suited for tourists (there were a few around that lunch time who were also snapping pictures) but if you're into spicy Nyonya food, then you will be sorely dissapointed.



We all finished with Sago Gula Melaka(RM4.90) which came with coconut milk and thick gula melaka (palm sugar) syrup that was simply heavenly.


The prices here are a tad expensive versus the average Nyonya restaurant but it's a great place to bring friends who are visiting Malaysia for the first time to let them experience the food. When it came to dividing the bill, my friend who works in London said, "so cheap!" while my friend who works in KL said, "that's pricey, I could have gotten a better meal in Cambodia!".

Precious Old China
Lot 2, Mezzanine Flour
Central Market
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03 - 2273 7372

(The restaurant is next to the food court. Go up the first stairs on your right hand side and turn left, walk straight and you will see the restaurant entrance that is flanked by two stone lions.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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18 comments:

babe_kl said...

have u try Ginger at CM? they serves thai and pretty good i would say but then again i noticed they serves a lot of foreigners

flymeng said...

The restuarant has nice ambience. The Kari Kapitan and Kerabu looks yummy. Paku Pakis is fern in Malay. Does it really have ferns in it or some other vege? The Lemak Nenas Prawns is expensive for KL standards. Boo, you must really have a high metabolism:) Thanks again for the nice post.

boo_licious said...

babe - is Ginger still there? I didn't really walk down after the food court as we only went downstairs to shop. Haven't been there for ages and I remember the food being quite decent long ago.

flymeng - yeah, I also like the atmosphere of the place, very ideal to entertain people.It has fern tops i.e. the tender fern shoots and there's also chopped shallots, prawns and etc in the salad.

The prawns is expensive but then I looked at Babe's blog and I suspect it's a standard size for each dish hence if I had shared that dish with at least 5 pax, it would not have been expensive.

cookies_cream said...

Wow, nice environment that looked "expensive". The paku pakis looked fabulous, and they add in prawns. The dessert looked so yummy, I love sago, gula melaka, and coconut milk but never try them before. :)

boo_licious said...

cookies_cream - do try sago gula melaka, it's yummy stuff especially if you have a sweet tooth.

Anonymous said...

How nice if I can say "So cheap" but still work in KL... :p. Btw, only knew Nyonya otak-otak is good after I tried it recently.

boo_licious said...

tekko - yeah, how I wish I was like her too since the pound is so strong vs RM! Did you try that in Melaka?

wmw said...

Oooh....Sago Gula Melaka, one of my fave desserts! Looks good, will try it out! Oh, thanks for linking me by the way. I feel honoured ;o)

Anonymous said...

Is Ms C. back? I didn't know..!! hmm, how come no one told me? For how long? maybe we can celebrate Ms P's bday together!

boo_licious said...

wmw - the sago was good especially the thick syrup.

jesscet - it was a quick visit as she came back for her bali trip. Don't worry you can catch up with her in December as she will be back by the 18th. Oh yeah, Ms. P's birthday is round the corner, I better organise something or she will make lots of noise at me.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, now i remember! will see her for Christmas then! ok, lets go makan for Ms P's end of this month.. you are the most qualified person to recommend a nice place ;)

boo_licious said...

jess - first we must catch her as she is always so busy with work.

Anonymous said...

Nyonya otak-otak, of course yes. It's still pending in my Melaka "eating" series, that's the last thing I ate.

boo_licious said...

tekko - sounds good, can't wait

fatboybakes said...

ooh, i love the ambience at this place. but aiyo, did you have to pay for parking? parking at central market is like parking in london!!!! SOOOOO EXORBITANT, and your car gets a free shower of crow's droppings.

boo_licious said...

fatboybakes - yeah, central mkt is expensive. We did Precious and Peter Hoe that day so it was an expensive affair in terms of parking charges! Ms. Chow was the person who complained abt the price since she had just come back from Cambodia!

*pinks* said...

thanks to your review, i just found a new place to eat near to my workplace...=) have been there twice since i read about it on your blog, once with my colleagues, the other time with my husband, and everyone just loves the food. you're right, the chicken kapitan is heavenly with plain white rice, and the sago pudding with gula melaka is one of the nicest i've tried...!

-sooyin-

ylva olsson said...

Hello,
I read your blog everyday. I live in Stockholm, Sweden/Scandinavia but I go to KL each January, for vacation. It is sooo cold here then. Anyway I am really intersted in this restaurant and I´d like to know if it is situated close to the Regent at Bukit Bintang since we plan to stay there. I really appreciate your restaurant reviews I use them as guides for our meals, please just bring them on!!!!

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