Friday, 15 June 2018

Lim Kee Orchard Goreng Pisang Fried Banana Fritters @ Maxwell Road Food Centre

These must be the most famous fried banana fritters (pisang goreng) in the world. How many fried banana stalls can count Prime Ministers, Presidents and Royalty from several countries as their fervent fans? I only know of the legendary Lim Kee (Orchard) 林记油炸芎蕉.

Lim Kee Banana Fritters was founded in the 1950s at Koek Road. It later moved to the famous Orchard Road carpark food centre, then in the late 1970s moved to Rasa Singapura food centre, and in the 90s to Somerset Road. Lim Kee is now in Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (since 2008).

But, do note that this is the last leg of Lim Kee's amazing journey.

Second generation owners, brothers Colin (right) and Steve have decided to close the stall on 23 Oct 2018, a week before Colin's 58th birthday.

Colin worked at his dad's pisang goreng stall since the 1960s. Colin was 7 years old then - that's 50 years of frying bananas 😮 When the stall moved to Rasa Singapura in the late 1970s, Lim Kee started to receive orders from the nearby Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defence for hosting foreign dignitaries.

Over the decades, Lim Kee's fried banana fritters became the favourite of visiting Defence Chiefs, Ministers, Prime Ministers, Presidents and Royalty. Some are known to specifically request for Lim Kee's pisang goreng 😄 Lim Kee was at the frontline of Singapore's fried banana diplomacy 😁

Colin remembers fondly the visit of the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah to his humble pisang goreng stall.

Lim Kee won over another new fan today - Ms Anson Chan, former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong.

Three things make Lim Kee's fried bananas special.

First, Lim Kee uses only Pisang Raja from Pahang for their pisang goreng. Pisang Raja, considered the king of bananas is the best for fried banana. It is about 10 to 15cm long. Colin uses the whole banana (not halved or quartered) to make each fried fritter, so Lim Kee's pisang goreng is relatively large.

Secondly, the bananas are coated with Lim Kee's secret recipe batter. Colin developed this from his dad's original batter and this recipe was firmed up in the 1970s. The stall started to prosper after that, expanding to nearly 10 outlets at the peak.

Finally, the battered bananas are deep fried with great skill at between 200-300℃. Colin said that he had received orders for 1,000 fried bananas before and the client insisted that it must be fried only by him 😂 Colin said that it was common for him to work 18 hour days.

Colin fries bananas only in small batches, so you won't see a small hill of fried bananas waiting for customers. Lim Kee's customers only get freshly fried pisang goreng. That means that customers often have to wait for Colin to fry his bananas. But, it is well worth the wait.

The thing about Colin's pisang goreng is everything is just right. The golden batter outside has just the right thickness, stiffness, crispness and tasted just subtly salty-sweet. It is also not greasy. Fans like it that Lim Kee's fried bananas can keep its crispness for hours.

Shielded from the 200-300℃ hot oil by the batter, the slightly fibrous banana flesh melted and the sugar inside caramelised into a well balanced sweet and tangy slightly coarse, moist custard.

👉 If you are one of Lim Kee (Orchard) fried banana fritter's fans, you have until 23 Oct 2018 to taste your favourite pisang goreng. If you have not tried the legendary fried bananas enjoyed by Prime Ministers, Presidents and Sultans, check out Lim Kee at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre before the brand becomes just memories and Singapore street food history.

Restaurant name: Lim Kee (Orchard) Fried Banana 林记油炸芎蕉
Address: #01-61, Maxwell Food Centre, Maxwell Road, Singapore 
GPS: 1.280412,103.844286 
Hours: 11:30am to 3:30pm

No pork, no lard

Date visited: 15 Jun 2018

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  1. Bobcatsysop YK Chan said on Johor Kaki FB: "in the 1970s when Lim Kee Goregn Pisang was in Somerset House, a small cornor coffee shop eatery next to the current PUB Building.. when the other goreng pisang were selling at 50c or 60c.. they were the highest priced at SGD1 and in the 70s and 80ss... that's very expensive only meant for the highly paid executives in Orchard Road. During that time, the office I worked for was in Cathay Building, then moved to Yen San Buiding at 268 orchard road in front of Mandarin Hotel. Somerset House was just a short walk behind Mandarin Hotel for me."

  2. Timothy Kao said on Johor Kaki FB: "i thought they had a smaller stall in cuppage centre hawker centre next to centrepoint too. 2 floor HC w a wet market downstairs. Now starhub centre. I think they owned that small kopi tiam, their story has a few ups and downs, now left with the maxwell stall, I think ST reported 2 yrs ago that they wish to stop and sell their recipe?"


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