In Kuala Lumpur, there is a type of popular eatery which locals call tai chow 大炒 which literally means "big fry". Tai chow restaurants are very casual places usually located in residential districts and are popular with families for gatherings. Tai chows are usually minimally furnished, come as you are places where you can saunter in in your shorts, singlet and flip flops - no one will bat an eyelid. (In Singapore, tai chows are known as tze char 煮炒 which literally means "cook and fry".)
Tai chows often have open kitchens. The platoon of chefs and helpers are fully engaged in frenetic action. Standing nearby, you will hear shouted orders, the clanging of heavy woks and spatulas, and the roar of turbo gas jets.
The bellowing steam and leaping orange flames dramatise the spectacle. Yet, there is order, system and method in the organised "chaos". The surprisingly quick and accurate delivery of tasty dishes to the table attests.
Tai chow restaurants have extensive menus rivalling their counterparts in 5-star hotels and the popular ones have a few signature dishes up their sleeves. Many tai chows serve live sea food like fish, frogs and crabs kept alive in tanks (where they spend their miserable last day before ending up on diners' plates).
This evening we are at Lucky Loke 幸运陸记, a 34 year old stalwart at SS3 in Petaling Jaya which is about an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur city centre. The popular neighbourhood tai chow has won the love of the locals as the accolades on yellowing newspaper cuttings taped on the side of a fridge beside the fish tanks testify.
Here at Lucky Loke, the signatures on the overhead banner are "three cup chicken", curry prawns, salted egg yolk mantis prawns, stir fried cabbage with yam, la la clams with superior broth, stewed pork belly with salted fish, deep fried tilapia, and tofu with pumpkin.
When the staff came to take our orders, I just picked three from the banner above my head 😄
The food arrived in a jiffy though the restaurant was full house.
Deep fried tilapia RM36
First up was this large deep fried tilapia fish set on a shallow pool of savoury sweet tangy sauce and smothered with a thick blanket of freshly chopped garlic, green chili padi, scallion and parsley.
The large, meaty tilapia was fried to a golden brown crisp outside while the white flesh remains moist. The flesh was sweet with a bit of savouriness from the crispy skin. There was little or none of the usual tilapia earthiness. If there was any slight earthiness, the slightly pungent spicy fresh raw garlic taste took care that.
This fried tilapia is Lucky Loke's claim to fame and we like it too.
Curry prawns RM35
The curry was just mildly spicy and it was sweetened with lots of vegetables like egg plant and tomatoes which also added a slight tangy flavour.
The prawns with head and shell on were very fresh. We were able to taste the natural sweetness of the fresh prawns because the curry was quite mild.
Three cup chicken RM21
The "three cup chicken" 三杯鸡 is so-named because the chicken is cooked with a traditional recipe of a cup of soy sauce, a cup of Chinese cooking wine and a cup of sesame oil.
The fresh chicken was done rather stiff and enveloped with a robustly savoury slightly sweet sauce. The savouriness was further balanced with a bit of natural chicken sweetness. There was also some spiciness from the ginger slices and garlic cloves.
Fried belacan kang kong RM11
The leafy greens with fleshy stems were done just right and enveloped with the mildly savoury spicy belacan and dried shrimps. The crunchy juicy vegetable's natural sweetness went well with savoury spicy sauce.
Our total bill came to RM110.
👉 We enjoyed our dinner and are planning to be back at Lucky Loke. I was salivating looking at stewed pork knuckles and a dish known as 一煲鸡 "one pot chicken" on other customers' tables which I want to come back to try.
Do use your GPS, if you are coming to Lucky Loke for the first time. The sun bleached, barely readable signboard at the corner shop lot says "Restoran Kean Fatt". The Lucky Loke signboard is inside at the side road as the tai chow is a stall inside Kean Fatt.
Restaurant name: Lucky Loke Restaurant 幸运陸记
Address: Jalan SS3/59E, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia (Reads like Greek, I know. It's always a good idea to use GPS when looking for an unfamiliar location 😀 )
GPS: 3°06'33.8"N 101°36'42.0"E | 3.109384, 101.611655
Tel: 019-3388909 | 017-6668321
Hours: 5:30pm to 11:30pm (alternate Weds off)
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.