Buddy Soo Shiong suggested that I try the popular char siew at Hup Kee in Setapak which is his personal favourite.
So, here we are at Hup Kee which is along the short back street Jalan Ayer Lombong in Setapak, near the wet market at Kampung Baru Air Panas. This place is about 20 minutes drive from KL city centre without traffic.
The quaint time worn signage says Hup Kee serves roast duck and pipa duck. Pipa duck is no longer on the menu and char siew which is not on the signage is Hup Kee's claim to fame now.
Stall holder Ah Ngau has been a roast master for 30 years - 10 years at the famous 道记 Toh Kee roast stall in Singapore's Chinatown food centre, and 20 years here in Setapak.
For 20 years, Ah Ngau and wife run Hup Kee in Setapak serving char siew, siew yok, roast duck, roast chicken and poached chicken. Hup Kee used to serve "economic rice" as well but the couple decided to trim the menu as they are getting older.
Ah Ngau's humble little shop has a loyal following, including some who came from beyond the Setapak neighbourhood for his signature char siew.
We started with a plate of Hup Kee's signature char siew. Cut in thick strips, on the outside, the char siew is gleaming golden brown with dark char at the edges.
I asked for the fatty cut 半肥瘦, so the char siew is a soft strip with a bit of embedded lean meat inside the juicy fat. The whole strip from fat to meat is spongy soft. Outside, it is gummy from the caramelised sugar. The juicy inside tasted quite intense with sweet and savoury flavours well balanced but leaning slightly on the salty side. (Folks who like a more savoury char siew will prefer Hup Kee's over the sweeter ones.)
We also had a lower ¼ of roast duck.
The golden brown skin has only a slight crisp. The meat was juicy and it has deep layers of robust savoury flavours from the blend of soy sauce, bean paste, fermented bean curd, Hoisin sauce, 5-spice powder etc. If you like roast duck with strong savoury flavours, you will like this.
Customers are welcome to help themselves to the free flow of tasty soup. I had two rounds 😄
4-Star (out of 5). Hup Kee in Setapak has one of the best char siew with soft mouth feel and deep intense savouriness with sweetness for balance. It is very competitively priced too.
Our total bill for the char siew, roast duck, rice and drink came to RM26.50.
Restaurant name: Hup Kee 合记港式烧鸭叉烧
Address: Jalan Ayer Lombong, Taman Ayer Panas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
GPS: 3°11'24.9"N 101°43'06.3"E 3.190254, 101.718415
Tel: 016 688 4976
Hours: 11:00am to 2:00pm (Friday off)
Date visited: 25 Dec 2016
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