I am basically clueless when it comes to finding my way around Kepong, but I’m very lucky to have Mr. YJ. Having to grow up and live in Kepong for many years, he just knows every nook and cranny in his home town. One night, we ended up in the Kepong wet market and according to YJ, this restaurant serves the best Chinese food because the owner, Kau Kiah only get the freshest supply from the wet market stalls next door.
We were seated comfortably in the air-conditioned section. “Pak Thong’s most outstanding dish – stewed pork is simply out of this world!,” YJ, our food guide of the day, said. Pak Thong is the name of the restaurant but regulars will just remember it as Kau Kiah.
We had some mounting expectations after hearing YJ’s statement and we were not disappointed. The pork belly was so soft and tender, and the fat melted in our mouth with each bite. I loved to pair each bite of the luscious pork belly with a chopstick portion of soy sauce soaked rice – the best combination ever!
Bitter gourd has cooling properties which helps our body combat the hot weather, according Kau Kiah. For those who do not like bitter gourd, do not feel intimidated because the bitter gourd soup actually tasted quite sweet. Pork slices, carrots and red dates rendered their sweetness to balance out the bitterness. We also liked the thick rice vermicelli as it did not absorb the soup as fast and provided a nice, chewy bite.
I remembered this as my mum’s confinement food after she gave birth to my youngest sister. I loved to steal a bite or two from her as it was utterly delicious. Pak Thong’s version brought back memories. Crispy and aromatic shredded ginger, soft and fluffy scrambled egg, slightly browned and non sticky rice – it was just a simple fried rice with simple ingredients, but it was full of “wok hei”.
Pork belly marinated in a pungent, savoury and oh so aromatic red fermented beancurd mixture, then dusted in some flour and deep-fried to crunchy, reddish perfection. What’s not to love about this dish?
The hokkien noodles, with plenty of pork lard were seated atop a nice layer of full-flavoured broth. However, we found Pak Thong’s version to be a little too wet for our liking.
Not many Chinese restaurants in KL serve big sized crabs so when you are here, remember to ask for the XL size ones. The crab meat had plenty of delicious white, dense sweet meat. The size of the claw was bigger than my palm! The kam heong gravy was so aromatic and delicious, especially from the curry leaves and crispy bits of dried shrimp.
The garoupa fish head contained a sizeable section of flesh as well as some of the most delicious cartilage that was so tender and flavourful. Stir-fried in a delicious black bean sauce, the fish head pieces went really well with our bowls of white rice.
Total bill for 10 pax came to about RM300. This is pretty decent for dinner in Kuala Lumpur.
During our second visit to Pak Thong (Kau Kiah), we ordered the big head prawns in coconut curry sauce (3 prawns for RM198), steam XL size crab (1 crab for RM 60) and clams in superior soup (sing tong lala, RM 18). The coconut curry sauce was really creamy and flavourful but the prawns were overcooked, resulting in a really tough and chewy texture – not recommended.
The steam crab was one of the best crab dishes that we have ever had in KL. The crabs had plenty of really sweet and juicy flesh. We really enjoyed having the gravy with steam egg white as it absorbed the crab’s juice during the steaming process. The siong tong lala too, was utterly delicious. Pak Thong uses plenty of basil leaves in the superior soup infuse with Chinese wine. The soup was really comforting and hearty and the clams were really fresh and big.
We highly recommend Restaurant Pak Thong for its siong tong lala, steamed crab, braised pork and ginger fried rice – must order. However, we will have to warn you about the restaurant’s surroundings as it is located right next to the wet market. Remember to ask for a table in the air conditioned section.
Restaurant Pak Thong
Address: Kepong Baru Market, Jalan Ambong Kanan 1, Off Jalan Ambong, Kepong Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Kepong, 52100
Tel: 016-296 8700 (Kau Kiah)
Opening hours: 11.30am till dinner, daily
GPS coordinates : 3.210334, 101.645470
This article is also published in Hungry Go Where Malaysia.