KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — In some old school Hainanese coffee shops like Yut Kee or Sin Kok Thye (also known as New Cathay), the Hainanese chicken chop is a must. It is believed that the dish probably originated from the British kitchen but was adapted by the Hainanese cooks to suit our tastes and availability of ingredients.
Essentially it is a variation of an English dish of meat (usually pork chops) that is served with fried potatoes, gravy and boiled vegetables.
The version served in Malaysia would have a deboned piece of chicken leg that was renamed the chicken chop. It would be battered with beaten egg and flour, and deep fried till golden brown.
When it is served, the piece of chicken chop with be drowned in a brown sauce made from onions. An important ingredient is Worcestershire sauce that is either used to marinate the chicken or a dash is added to the sauce to give it a more rounded umami flavour.
Some chefs would add tomato ketchup to the sauce to give it a slightly sweet taste. It was usually accompanied with boiled peas and hand cut potato wedges that were fried. Nowadays, modern tastes have taken over and commercial crinkle cut French fries, boiled mixed vegetables, fried egg and canned baked beans are the accompaniments.
For the old school style, you can visit Yut Kee behind Jalan Dang Wangi where it is served with a thin brown onion gravy with a hint of Worcestershire sauce. Those who prefer a slightly sweetish sauce thanks to tomato ketchup may visit Sin Kok Thye in Port Klang for their version.
Another good spot is Sin Kee at Brickfields that serves chicken chop with a thick brown sauce, potato wedges, baked beans, soft cooked sliced onions and boiled peas. This place also offers a version with pork chops.
If you prefer newer interpretations of this old dish, try these places:
Iron House Kopitiam
Lot 65639, Jalan BS3/1
Section 1, Taman Bukit Serdang
Seri Kembangan, Selangor
Open: 6pm to 12.30am
In this unpretentious cafe with a zinc roof, the Hainanese chicken chop is reinterpreted as a piece of deep fried deboned chicken doused with a homemade brown sauce fashioned from fresh tomatoes rather than the bottled tomato ketchup. The sauce is accompanied with homemade potato wedges, sliced onions and mixed vegetables.
Swee Hainanese Western Grill
Jalan Angsana 8,
Taman Bukit Angsana,
Open: 5pm to 11pm.
This six month-old eatery located in Cheras is run by chefs who hail from the iconic The Ship restaurant. They take your typical kopitiam Western dining up a notch here with their well executed dishes usually found in restaurants, like their escargots slathered with a creamy garlic sauce.
Here they use a piece of deboned chicken leg that is covered with a luscious deep amber sauce with a tangy sweet taste. A topping of diced pineapples, cucumber and onions gives it a texture contrast while the pineapples add a tangy bite.
The pork chop version features two pieces of pan grilled pork chops that are not tough with nary any gristle or fat bits.
No. 3, Jalan Sungai Bertek, Klang
Open: 7am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays.
Originally run by a Hainanese woman known as Aunty Ruby for 38 years, this coffee shop was taken over recently by a group of enthusiastic Malay guys. One of them is a chef who cut his teeth working on a Miami cruise ship and a cafe in Shah Alam.
Their Hainanese chicken chop (available from 10am onwards) is a superb rendition with a golden brown deep fried chicken chop slathered with a luscious smooth brown sauce. It’s topped with soft cooked onions and boiled peas that are slightly split. On the side you have homemade potato wedges to mop up the deliciousness.
Other goodies they serve here include fried noodles, chicken rice and rice with chicken curry cooked over a charcoal fire. On Fridays, there is a lamb curry.
Lot No. G.01 and G.03A, Ground Floor,
Pacific Express Hotel,
Jalan Hang Kasturi, KL
Open daily: 7am to 7pm.
Opened by the people behind the ARCH art pieces, this cafe serves a set menu (labelled as lunch) that stretches from 10am to 6pm daily. Pick from main items like nasi lemak, chicken rice and add RM3 for free flow drinks and a slice of cake from the counter.
The Hainanese chicken chop offers an incredibly satisfying meal with its crispy deep fried chicken slathered with a slightly sweet tasting sauce tinged with tomato ketchup. It ticks all the right boxes with the potato wedges, mixed vegetables and soft cooked onions. You also have a half slice toasted bread to soak in the sauce.
The cafe also serves a Durian Imperial cake, a mild tasting durian cake decorated with piped thorns made with cream and cheese tarts that are popular for takeaways.
Kwong Sang Yuen Coffee Shop
G021 & G023, Block J,
Jaya One, Jalan University, PJ
Open: 10am to 10pm.
The coffee shop shares the same space as Lameeya and Xiao Lao Wang hotpot as they are under the same owner. Order the Hainanese chicken chop that is available side-by-side with their famous dishes like lam mee.
Their rendition has a homemade taste... just like what your mother would whip up in her own kitchen. Here it’s a pan fried piece of deboned chicken chop that is slathered with a brownish onion gravy with a creamy texture and paired with mashed potatoes. It’s topped with sliced onions and dainty diced carrots that offer a crunchy texture contrast.