PETALING JAYA, Feb 14 — One of the more popular stalls at the AEON Jusco Food Court in 1 Utama Shopping Centre is Ko Ko Kai which sells chicken rice and chicken hor fun soup.
What not many realise is this stall with its cute name — it literally means chicken in Cantonese — is owned by Loob Holding Sdn Bhd which also brought us Tealive, llaollao and Gindaco. "Bryan (Loo)'s idea is to bring staple food to the masses," explained Loob Holding General Manager Full Service Restaurants Ryan Yeoh.
And why not? For many of us, chicken rice is our default food... any day, any time. It's the perfect staple. It fills up our stomach substantially and if you omit the rice, that poached chicken is perfect for those looking for a carb-free alternative!
There's also the added bonus of a comforting chicken hor fun soup. And crunchy beansprouts brought in from Ipoh.
Ryan tells us that the chicken rice recipe is from Bryan's friend, Andy, who operates a chicken rice place in Penang. What the people behind Loob did was to break down the process so the recipe can be easily replicated.
It took them up to year to open Ko Ko Kai. The delay was mainly due to the search for a right location.
When AEON closed the food court for renovation, they decided to open here. It was the right fit with a working crowd and families who come to the mall to shop.
Once they secured the place, it took about two to three months to work out the branding and processes. To maintain the quality of the food, everything served at Ko Ko Kai is made in-house, right down to their sauces and even the sambal hae bee. In addition, they also insist on hiring chefs so the food can be properly cooked and served.
You get a choice of four types of chicken here. The star is the Hainanese poached chicken. If you're a fan of braised chicken, give their version a try. It's a solid choice — flavourful soy tinged chicken — reminiscent of what's served in Hong Kong. They also offer BBQ chicken or BBQ grilled chicken with a sweet, caramelised taste.
The chicken is served boneless. A nod towards millenials who prefer fuss-free food.
What make it different from other places that serve chicken rice is that each portion served here is the same weight.
Their chicken has also won over gym goers. These unexpected customers like to pop over here after their workout for their protein fix.
We suggest you pair your choice of chicken with a plate of their incredibly flavourful Ko Ko Kai signature rice. You will be forgiven if you reach for seconds. We did too!
The secret to the rice lies in the chicken fat that gives it that oomph. You will find the grains are also large and puffy, unlike the rice at other places. It seems they use a mix of different types of rice to achieve this texture.
If you love comfort food, order their Ipoh hor fun soup. It's served with smooth hor fun or rice noodles and a broth that takes up to 10 hours to make! You will notice the broth is laced with prawn oil and has an almost creamy texture, since they use a lot of chicken bones to eke out the taste.
Each bowl of noodles is topped with poached prawns. Ryan explained to us, they insist on using a certain size of sea prawns for the topping. A dry version of the noodles dish is also available.
In addition to your chicken rice or hor fun soup, you can order their crunchy beansprouts brought in from Ipoh. Kai lan or bok choy are also available. Other additions include grilled whole egg or braised whole egg.
In future, expect to see more outlets of Ko Ko Kai crowing around the Klang Valley. Yeoh tells us that the next one is slated to open in a shophouse in the Sunway area.
Ko Ko Kai
AEON Jusco Bandar Utama
1Utama Shopping Centre
The Ipoh hor fun soup starts from RM5.80 onwards. For the Hainanese chicken, you have a range of RM7.30 to RM8.35 depending on which part you select. The Ko Ko Kai signature rice is RM3.05 per portion.