Recently, after some tiring trooping up and down at a shopping mall, we were stumped at what to eat for a late lunch, or was that tea?… it was close to 4pm then. For breakfast, we already had our fill of hawker fares at the foodcourt earlier… and we weren’t too impressed with the ramen we ate after the movie. We didn’t fancy eating at any more of the food outlets/restaurants at the mall. Then a lightbulb flashed in my mind … and I suggested to DL that we should go check out this Claypot Chicken Rice in Pudu which we’ve heard so much about. That brilliant idea was met with instant approval… after all, DL is just about the biggest claypot chicken rice fan around! He was pretty happy with the claypot rice we had here some time ago.
Anyway, coming back to this Pudu place… we’ve heard from friends that this is really one place all claypot rice fans should visit. Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice is located right smack in Pudu town centre, near the market, at Jalan Yew. It’s established more than 20 years ago by Madam Heun May Lan who started off with a small hawker stall at the PJ Old Town wet market.
What really impressed me was the row of traditional charcoal stoves lined up in front of the restaurant. They reminded me of the charcoal stoves from my childhood days. Those days back in Ipoh when my mom would always use charcoal to boil soup in a huge clay pot. Yes… I learned very early in life how to light a charcoal fire – I had to use a half-burnt fan made from nipah leaves to fan the charcoal until embers were flying into my face, waiting for the charcoal to glow and then burst into flames. Here at Heun Kee there was some very active embers and flame action going on from underneath the claypots and I knew we were in for some real good stuff.
Every pot of rice is cooked upon order – there is no pre-cooked rice (like some establishments practise). A huge tub of marinated chicken, small plates of salted fish (of the “mui heong” type) and slices of Chinese sausages were ready on the counter – these were the ingredients that went into the claypot with the rice, cooked with some stock from a big metal pot.
Once the pot of rice started boiling and the stock has partially seeped into the rice, the claypot is covered and hot glowing charcoal are then heaped on top of the lid. This method of “double heat” from top and bottom is Heun Kee’s signature process… the bi-directional heat locks in the juices and flavours from the marinated chicken as well as creating that layer of charred rice at the bottom of the pot.
We didn’t have to wait long before our Big Pot of Claypot Chicken Rice (RM22) was placed on our table. (Medium Pot @ RM16 and Small Pot @ RM9) The aroma of the chinese wine-infused chicken and salted fish was almost intoxicating.
Now, tell me… isn’t this the most delectable-looking pot of rice you’ve ever seen?
As DL stirred and mixed the rice, sniffs of mouth-watering aromas hit our nostrils and energised our taste buds and we could hardly wait to dig in.
Every grain of rice was cooked perfectly and so were the chicken pieces. They were extremely tasty and every juicy piece had hints of ginger, sesame oil and chinese wine well infused. Mix in small bits of the salted fish… the flavours intensified to a different level. We scraped through the bottom for every bit of the charred rice stuck there, made more fragrant by the charcoal fire.
We had a plate of stir-fried Kangkong to go with our rice. Not the sambal belacan version, but the plain version, with just garlic. Delicious.
The good thing about Heun Kee is that they don’t close in between main meal hours. They are open throughout the day, from 11.00am onwards. So if you feel like having a pot of rice in the middle of the afternoon or early evening, like we did, Heun Kee is where you should head for. They do have a number of other dishes on the menu, like Waxed Duck Pot Rice, Assam Fish Head, Pig Stomach Pepper Soup, Wine Chicken, Vinegar Trotters – just to name some. We definitely will be going back to this place since now even LL has become a converted claypot chicken rice fan!
Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice
59, Ground Floor, Jalan Yew
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Open from 11.00am till 9.30pm
Closed on every 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month
Open on Public Holidays
Check out their website for the Location Map!