Wong Mei Kee 王美记燒肉 have long been on my Eat List as many buddies swear by it - many declaring it the best roast pork in Malaysia and Singapore. I finally got to taste Wong Kee's legendary siu yok or sio bak - missing it many times before because the roast meat was always sold out within 1, at most 2 hours.
I arrived at around 11:30am and was greeted by empty shelves. Wong Mei Kee's (the restaurant's full name) business hours start at 12:30pm. My experience taught me that the best action was on, in the back lane 😛
Sure enough, when I wandered to the back lane behind the restaurant, roast meat master Wong sifu 王標輝 was busy at work. He was roasting slabs of pork belly inside smoke blackened 44 gallon drums with charcoal.
While I was taking this picture, Wong sifu joked: "Can you hurry up, if the siu yok is burnt, you have to compensate me.... ." Well, I think he was joking 😂😅
Roast Master Wong was warm and friendly, obliging don't-know-who-is-this stranger interrupting his work for photographs and questions.
Wong sifu started his career before he was 10 years old, starting at the bottom as a dish washer. He opened his own roast shop in his early 20s and has 40 years of experience under his belt now. He developed his own recipe and technique, turning out roast meat that has no parallel.
Wong sifu is a fastidious professional. He insists on top ingredients from the freshest pork, quality seasoning spices, to even the best charcoal. Wong sifu uses only premium grade charcoal which are denser, dryer and able to deliver the most intense heat required for his roasts.
I can feel the intense heat inside the drum when I leaned over to take this picture of the slabs of pork belly inside.
The skin of the flanks of pork belly came out of the drums black as charcoal. Wong sifu's helper scraped the black carbon off the skin using the lid of a milk can. The timbre of the "shiak... shiak..." sound which the tin lid and roasted skin made, gave us a hint of the skin's crispness.
The "cleaned" slabs of sio bak were returned to the drum for further roasting (a total of 4 times per slab).
The slabs of roast pork belly were finally ready (after the carbon was scraped off). The whole roasting process took around 2 hours.
Wong sifu allowed the slabs of roast pork to cool and rest for some 30 minutes while we salivated and waited patiently.
Meanwhile, the coffee shop was steadily filling up with patiently waiting customers who knew the drill. No serving before 12:30pm and today, they were a bit late some more.... 😂
The price list of Wong Kee's roast pork belly on a curling, browning piece of paper stuck on the glass cabinet with masking tape. Buddy commented that it was "more expensive than Mao Shan Wang durian" 😂.
It was full house when Wong sifu finally started chopping the roast meat (at nearly 1pm). The master did the chopping work personally - I soon found out why.
Two things struck me first while Wong sifu was chopping his roast meat. First, he discarded substantial amounts of lean meat lopped off from the outside surface. My heart ached a little when I saw the mound of thick slices of browned roast pork casted aside.
(Note: Buddy Clarence shared on my Facebook that Wong sifu gives the shaved lean meat to the needy. Thanks buddy.)
I was a little surprised to see that the lean meat layer was slightly pink with visible moistness (like good corned beef). The lean layer which I have seen before in other roast pork places was always whitish
Standing close to the chopping board, I can smell the natural sweetish fresh pork aroma released when Wong sifu sliced open the hot slabs of roast pork.
As we had other errands to run that day, we took away half a kilo of Wong Kee's sio bak.
Like that, RM55.50 (50 sens for the plastic box).
Wah lau eh.... .
If I look at it logically, my heart ached a bit. But, when it comes to food legends like this, sometimes we have to suspend judgement and let emotions take over. Heart over mind makes us human. You can't really put a price on food that move you to let your feelings overrule logic.
With all the browned lean meat shaved off, customers only get the choicest cut of skin, fat and pinkish lean meat which accounted for the premium pricing.
Wong sifu's siu yok was as good as legend has it 😋
The lean meat layer was thinnest. It was savoury and not salty, so I can taste a subtle natural fresh porky sweetness beneath the savouriness.
The fat layer was thickest. It was soft but not mushy. Almost like a juicy fruit sac (you know what I mean). Put another way, it's like warm aromatic oil in a capsule with very thin membrane outside.
When I bite into the fat layer, the warm juices gave off a burst of more savouriness with underlying sweetness. Overall, the flavours were mild, well balanced, and tasted sooooo.... good.
Needless to say, the golden orange skin was crackly giving off a "kwek kwek" sound to the bite. It was neither hard nor chewy, but more like good freshly deep fried pork lard crackling. It's taste also reminded me of fresh pork lard.
(Wong Kee's sio bak comes with 2 different dipping sauces but we didn't bother to try them. The neat sio bak taste was too exquisitely balanced, so we couldn't bear to throw it off kilter. We also ate the half kilo of roast pork without any rice to moderate the flavours. It was not too salty at all even without rice.)
I especially appreciate it that Wong sifu's awesome crackly roast pork skin was achieved the tedious traditional way, rather than resorting to chemical tricks (like using excessive baking soda at some other places). More accurately, I am touched that there are still hawkers/ chefs who do things the authentic way. Thank you, Wong sifu.
Recommended for you 👍 Glad that I finally tasted Wong Kee's legendary roast pork belly. Indeed, it was awesome as so many of Wong sifu's fans said. I want to be back to eat at Wong Kee to soak in the full experience of eating at one of the best roast shops in Malaysia and Singapore.
Read this fascinating detailed account by The Wolf and Bulldog Chronicles for more on Wong Mei Kee 👈 click
Wong Mei Kee is located at the intersection of Jalan Nyonya and Jalan Brunei Barat.
Wong Mei Kee also serves deep fried chicken and charcoal roasted char siew, but most people are here for Wong sifu's famous roast pork belly.
Restaurant name: Wong Mei Kee 王美记燒肉
Address: 30, Jalan Nyonya, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3°08'21.3"N 101°42'40.1"E 🌐 3.139240, 101.711124
Waze: Restaurant Wong Kee
Tel: 03-2145 2512
Hours: 12:30pm - 3:00pm (roast pork usually sold out in 1 -2 hours)
Date visited: 14 May 2019