Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hainanese Food @ Sin Seng Nam, Kuala Lumpur

Another old school place which all of you would have heard of - Sin Seng Nam at the heart of busy Kuala Lumpur. I love the building which has been spruced up with the white walls and bright yellow wooden shutters. You can either enter from this side or the front entrance. At the back of the building is the river and you can catch a glimpse of the courts and Masjid Jamek.

This place has been around for many generations and is currently run by the same family. There's the old man at the counter at the front entrance. On one side of the restaurant, they prepare the chicken rice and the curry chicken or curry fish depending on what is the specialty. Long ago, there were stalls at the back of the shophouse but these have now moved in. You can pick and choose yong tau foo, chee cheong fun, rojak, mee rebus from these stalls.

What's really popular here is their Hainanese Chicken Rice - it's a must order for every table. You get a choice between the poached version of the deep fried version. To prepare for the lunch crowd, everything is chopped ahead in small plates to speed up delivery. Must admit this is one of the nicest chicken rice I have tasted. The rice is fragrant and fluffy while the chicken meat is smooth.

Another specialty is their Hainanese Curry Chicken (RM5). Also another popular dish as people order a bowl of this which comes with a plate of white rice. Usually most people either opt for this as lunch or share a bowl of the curry with their chicken rice. Filled with chunks of chicken and potatoes, the curry sauce is fragrant with curry leaves and rich with coconut milk. Aside from the chicken curry, depending on which days they switch with fish curry that comes with chunks of fish and vegetables.

I've read quite a few accounts of people raving about their chicken chop (RM10). This takes a while to arrive so be prepared to wait especially during busy lunch time. There are significant differences between this version compared to Yut Kee. Here the chicken chop is served with baked beans and crinkle type french fries while the Yut Kee version is served with mixed vegetables and thickly sliced potatoes. At Sin Seng Nam the chicken chop is topped with chopped onions and carrots while Yut Kee's topping is chopped onions and tomatoes. Tastewise, the chicken chop here is nicer as it's tender and has an even thickness. Although the sauce here is tastier, I would have preferred the chunky potatoes from Yut Kee versus the crinkle type french fries which look like they came from a frozen pack.

Sin Seng Nam
Leboh Ampang
Kuala Lumpur

(Pork Free. Open for breakfast and lunch. Closed on Sundays.)

*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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Tummythoz said...

Hey, u read my mind. Passed this shop yesterday & wondered if it's opened on Sats. Actually been there for lunch before but only remembered the scary crowd. So, thot maybe should try again on a Sat.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

poached chicken is the way to go for hainan chicken rice!!..the chicken chop well since it takes longer..shud b better then yutkee rite?..yut kee is almost fast food pace..makes u wonder how everything is already pre-cooked..

Precious Pea said...

I heard the Hainanese serves the best chicken and pork chop. True?

Flower said...

I love the Hainanese Chicken chop. And they also make nice beef steak too.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

great pics, Boo! Makes me feel really nostalgic, and i'm not even that old! *cough* lol. The chicken curry looks really lemak and extremely tempting. Should go well with a plate of steaming white rice. Yummm.

fatboybakes said...

precious pea, of COURSE its true that hainanese serve the best chicken chop. ahem.

aiyo, the main problem with getting to this place, is parking. how?

sc said...

never tried this place before, but quite near my office, can pop over for good hainanese chic rice..umm, boo, am a bit blur, how do i get to this place, say, if i'm at the masjid jamek LRT?

*sooyin* said...

I love the chee cheong fun here, I have it everytime I go to Seng Nam...=) While many people have raved about the chicken rice, most of my colleagues who try it say it isn't nice, so I've never bothered ordering...*grin* -sooyin-

mh said...

oh... you tried the poached chicken, I still no chance to try it yet. Btw, the old man seems dunno you're taking photo huh? :p

boo_licious said...

tummythoz - somewhere to go besides Yut Kee I guess. Yut Kee's crowds are always so scary, people waiting outside the shop.

someone who is constantly craving - yeah, I always prefer poached vs deep fried all the time.

precious pea - yup, give it a try and you will know.

flower - thxs for the tip. Must try that too.

lemongrass - Yup the chicken curry is wicked esp with rice. Preferred choice of many as I observed.

fbb - parking is bad here. Must park far far away like the lawyers and walk I reckon.

sc - this place is further down HSBC Main Branch if you are coming from Masjid Jamek. Walk down the small lane right next to the river past HSBC. Turn left at the end and the building will be on your right hand side.

sooyin - the rice was surprisingly nice. I was dubious when I saw it but decided to try since a lot of people ordered it. Rice is not too oily but fragrant.

tekko - I zoomed from quite far away hence he didn't see me.

Precious Pea said...

Boo, my colleague who is also a silent reader of your blog, told me that she tar-bau once the chicken rice from this shop for me. Now that i recall, yep, it was good. Next time will get her to tarbau chicken chop for me. :)

serendipity said...

This is also the only Chinese coffeeshop I have been to which serves scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast. The scrambled eggs are really good.

Unknown said...

What a lovely photo of the building! I do like eating at the "old school" restaurants owned by the same family for generations. It is like eating a piece of history.

bibliobibuli said...

i love this building too but have never stopped to eat there.

your photos are beautiful, capturing not just great food but old kl

but i need to run away now and put something in my tummy!!

boo_licious said...

precious pea - this type not so oily but the rice is fluffy and fragrant. Hope you enjoy yr chicken chop.

serendipity - thxs for the tip. Not easy to get good scrambled eggs nowadays.

lannae - yup. These should be preserved rite? I think they're doing a good job in keeping it tidy and clean though.

bibliobibuli - I love the yellow shutters. Adds such character to the place. Wish KL's city council will preserve the old buildings vs tearing them down.

Julian Si said...

I really can't wait to try try try ... my dad was telling me whilst I was at Bukit Tinggi Klang's HAINAN CURRY RICE today, you gotta try the place at Leboh Ampang, checked Google @ Blackberry immediately, and voila ... YOUR blog popped up , No surprise :-) , I'll visit one day soon!

Gotta do a SHOOT OUT between this Hainan chicken chop, Yut Kee's and Coliseum's!! The old skool clan :-)

Julian Si said...

Thanks for your advice earlier today, hmm.. This helps me prepare for WEDNESDAY.

Plan to do a shoot-out btwn this chicken chop and Sin Kee Brickfield's! ;-)

Riya Joselyn said...

Amazing Article! Your Article is very informative and I felt quite interesting reading it. Thanks for posting such post and waiting for more in future.
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