Chef Choi - forgotten favourite
Chef Choi has been around for years. Yet, its one of those funny restaurants that have never quite taken off and you wonder how it manages to stay around. Maybe its bad feng shui or maybe its the unwelcoming feel to the bungalow in that empty car park. Maybe the frontage is not noticeable enough along that busy stretch of Jalan Ampang. I have no idea. I just know that the food is pretty darn good and its kinda depressing dining in a Chinese restaurant that always empty. I mean, its a Chinese restaurant for goodness sake! Where are the ambient noises? Clanging of plates, dozens of families talking over each other, children running amok, etc... This was just...unnatural. I haven't been to Chef Choi in over a year, or has it been two? Anyway, its been a long time and I was glad to see that it was still open for business. I just love the crispy aromatic duck here. Its so wonderfully tender and moist, and the bones! My god, they are so incredible deep fried that you can actually eat them! Even my 5 yr-old niece was tucking into the flavourful and crispy bones. The other dish I really like here is sweet and sour pork. Yes, yes, the mat sallehs have killed this dish. But waaaay before they paired it with egg fried rice at a local corner takeaway shop, this was the perennial favourite of every child. And com'on, you know that kid in you wants to order it. Just like you order char siu pow "for the children" but you secretly like it yourself. Anyway, the sweet and sour pork here is just divine! Its only very lightly battered and despite it being quite lean, it still tender and juicy with just the merest hint of a crisp batter coating. Gorgeous! And since we are on the topic of mat salleh Chinese dishes, the lemon chicken here is also amazeballs! More often than not, this dish can taste like detergent but the one here is a lovely balance of zesty lemon and sugary sweetness. The chicken is also deceptively un-oily, making one believe that this might be a healthy dish!
I celebrated my birthday here with my family recently. It was a weeknight and we were the only ones there. I would like to think Hunky booked out the entire restaurant for me but sadly it wasn't so. My mum used to come here quite a bit with her mah jong kakis but they have long since moved on. They are not a very faithful bunch, preferring to go to the newest spots in town. Anyway, we all agreed that overall the food was very good although seafood is probably not their forte. I only say this because I am comparing it to other restaurants that have live seafood. We ordered the crystal prawn cooked in superior broth and we were all quite disappointed as it turned out to be har gow without the skin. Not my cup of cha. The signature tofu was kind of weird too as there was more fish than tofu. The kids loved it, it was like eating a springy fish ball. The stuffed and fried squid was interesting. Tasty but overpowered by the copious amounts of garlic. We ended the evening with noodles being my birthday and all. I like their signature egg noodle with seafood. I'm not crazy about it but its pretty tasty and satisfying.
I've been twice this year and I am probably heading over with Hunky for a dose of sweet and sour pork soon. If you haven't been, please do but you must remember to order the crispy aromatic duck!
Chef Choi - 159 Jalan Ampang. Tel: 03-2163 5866
Its on the same side as Citibank, right next to the Chinese temple and before Pelita. Opposite Corus Hotel, look out for the pedestrian bridge because its right infront of the restaurant.
Visit their website here
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