It was an impromptu change of dinner plan that had me heading to this restaurant. Not that I minded – due to 2 reasons: I had actually wanted to try out this place much earlier and secondly, I was going to dine with some of my favourite makan-kakis 😉
Located in an intermediate shoplot behind the Cash Converters & Sime Darby Medical Centre, Restoran Fu Kua is your typical no-frills chinese restaurant with lots of bright colours on their walls, table cloths, chairs – ranging from green to yellow to orange to gold. First and foremost you will be greeted by their extremely bright plastic-bound menu – every item of their extensive menu is squeezed together in small print with no spacing and printed on bright yellow paper, so it looked like everything is highlighted in neon yellow!
Quite a pain to the eyes … so we abandoned the idea of scrutinizing that and turned instead to the friendly service crew with her quirky Cantonese who spewed off a string of recommendations in rapid fire speed. Quite hilarious actually… but I gave up trying to understand her and left the ordering in the capable hands of my fellow diners, some of whom have been to this restaurant before.
Now, to the uninitiated, “fu kua” is bittergourd or bitter melon and it has many nutritional benefits and medicinal virtues. See, that’s another reason why I had no hesitation for this dinner – I was still recovering from a bout of bad flu and sorethroat and surely, the bittergourd is helpful in my recuperation, no? From helping to reduce blood pressure, prevent diabetes, lower cholesterol, cleansing the blood, anti-cancer and lowering “body heat”, the bittergourd is a miracle gourd, I would say. Read all about it’s benefits here.
In Restoran Fu Kua, naturally the bittergourd is featured in almost every item in the menu – you can have bittergourd cooked with any accompaniment … from vegetables to seafood to pork to chicken to frogs. Just name it and I think they can cook it any how/any way with bittergourd! They also have fried noodles and rice featuring the bittergourd…. and oh yes, bittergourd juice as well! But, if you are not a bittergourd fan, no problem – there are also a wide variety of dishes sans bittergourd.
We actually started off the meal with a few no-bittergourd dishes, like the Shelled Prawns in Sambal and Braised Pork Knuckle with Peanuts. Both dishes went extremely well with plain rice. The prawns were fat, juicy and succulent and the sambal sauce was fragrant without being overpowering. The shantung peanuts used in the pork knuckle dish were braised till very soft – the way I like them. The nuts lent a sweet tinge to the equally tender pork knuckle which had hints of 5-spice powder and oyster sauce in the gooey gravy.
I had my first taste of the wonder gourd in the Ma Yau Yue (ikan senangin or threadfin) with Bittergourd. This was a most difficult dish to photograph because the dish came with a generous serving of blackbean sauce and the entire fish was almost hidden by the pile of bittergourd and garnishings on top. The fish was fresh enough and the black beans flavoured the dish very well. Ahhh… but I wanted more bittergourd! I was looking forward to more gourd in the next dish… but then we were served this…
That must be the most interesting dish that night. When it was placed on our table, I was very curious to see what was inside the bamboo (remember, I didn’t do the ordering, so I had no idea). Well, after some “unearthing”, out came some mashed stuff, which later on turned out to be steamed minced pork with salted egg! I was rather disappointed with this, firstly because there was no bittergourd in it ;)Secondly, the minced meat had an odd taste to it, which I couldn’t quite pinpoint (possibly due to the over usage of the bamboo?).
I was a bit more appeased as I got more bittergourd in the next dish… Fried Bittergourd in Salted Eggyolk. Strangely, in a wonderful and most balanced way, bittergourd and salted eggyolks go divinely together. There’s the “yin yang” factor to this marriage, balancing the good (bittergourd) and the evil (salted eggyolk) which gave us enough reason to feel a little less guilty about gorging on salted eggyolks (there was more to come!). There was hardly any bitter taste in the slices of bittergourd, which were fried to a delicious crisp, having been coated in a sinful batter of salted eggyolks. This was excellent finger food, man.
I certainly didn’t mind that this was actually a “wrong order”! My makan kakis had in fact wanted another more famous version of their Bittergourd Salted Eggyolk item. See, I told you … this place can even serve different styles of the SAME dish.
Minutes later, the actual order of their famous Bittergourd Salted Eggyolks came…
So… this was what they all came for.
Thin slices of gourd stir-fried (not deepfried in batter!) with bits of salted eggyolks. A simple dish, really… but it was good stuff. However, it was a tad too “wet” and I would have preferred the gourd to be less overcooked – there should be some crunch to the slices. Nevertheless, this dish was wiped out within minutes 😉
Eating here is not expensive. Our dinner that night came to about RM170 for 7 of us. Depending on what you order, prices of dishes range from RM8 for vegetables to RM30 for pork knuckle and RM36 for fish (eg that ikan senangin). That neon yellow eyesight-busting menu holds many more wholesome dishes which I will go back and try, because bittergourd is good for you.
Restoran Fu Kua
No.21 Jalan SS23/15
Opening hours: 11.30am-3.00pm; 5.30pm-11.00pm