Went to Senai today to visit Huat Kee, a little street side stall serving homely Hakka style dishes for over fifty years.
想吃客家炸肉和苦瓜汤等等的客家家常菜可以到士乃大街天橋边的發記老档口. 他们的滑蛋河也很好吃. 有蛋香, 有锅气. 这个道地, 五十多年历史老店是老街坊们的最爱. 早上七点半就有的吃. 到下午两点为止. 期四休息.
The simple zinc, wood, and canvas stall is right beside the overhead pedestrian bridge across Lebuhraya Senai (leading to Kulai and Senai Airport). Often blocked from view by parked cars, it's easy to drive by Huat Kee 發記 stall without noticing it.
Most of the customers here are locals and regulars. The stall has a welcoming kampung feel. As it is just beside the busy Lebuhraya Senai, we can hear the constant traffic rumble.
At the back of Huat Kee is the imposing looking Wong Tack Mew building built in 1934. The building was built by Wong Piang Nam, one of Senai's wealthiest pioneer plantation owners during the pre-War years.
Wong Tack Mew building was a theatre and was Senai town's old entertainment and social hub - but today, it is closed and in disrepair.
Little food stalls sprung up around the Wong Tack Mew theatre. Ah Feng's mum's little stall Huat Kee was one of them. Ah Feng 阿峰 has been working here for over fifty years. The heydays of Wong Tack Mew theatre were long over but Huat Kee stood the test of time - is still thriving today.
We ordered a wat tan hor 滑蛋河 (flat rice noodles or kway teow with runny egg sauce) - something we used to take for granted but good ones are hard to find in Johor and Singapore nowadays.
The kway teow was seared to a slight char outside giving it a subtle toasty flavour - a bit of wok hei as they say in Cantonese.
Nice silky savoury sweet eggy sauce smothering the toasty kway teow.
We topped our wat tan hor with Hakka style fried pork 客家炸肉.
The crispy outside has a nice aromatic savoury nam yue 南乳 (fermented bean curd with red rice yeast) flavour while inside the tender juicy pork still have some natural porky sweetness.
A must have at any Hakka food stall in Johor is their bitter gourd soup 苦瓜湯. In the anchovy and bone stock soup are thin slices of bitter gourd, lean pork slices, pork liver and kidney. The delicious dish tastes savoury sweet from all the fresh, natural ingredients.
If you have not tried bitter gourd soup before, and worry about "bitterness" - I assure you that the thin slices of fresh bitter gourd is slightly sweet and crunchy, almost like thin slices of apple.
Our total bill for all the food came to RM18.
4-Star (out of 5) If you are around Senai town or catching an early flight at Senai Airport, Huat Kee would be a good place for breakfast or brunch. The 50+ year old kampung style stall is a local favourite. Their Hakka fried pork is excellent. Their wat tan hor and bitter gourd soup are very good too.
Restaurant name: Huat Kee 發記 stall
Address: Off Lebuhraya Senai, under the overhead pedestrian bridge near Jalan Senai 10. The easiest way to get here is to pull into Jalan Senai 10, park and walk 100 metres to Huat Kee
GPS: 1°36'04.9"N 103°38'41.6"E | 1.601370, 103.644877
Hours: 7:30am to 2:00pm (Thurs off)
Date: 6 Feb 2017