PETALING JAYA, May 20 — When I was growing up, the name Cheow Sang was synonymous with Teochew-style bak kut teh and fried fish head.
Previously located at the SS2 Chow Yang area, they have since moved and opened a few outlets around Petaling Jaya.
At this one located at Sunway Mas Commercial Center, things are a little different.
You still get their signature dishes but now, as chef Hugo has taken over the air conditioned space, there's also a variety of cooked Cantonese-style dishes. Expect to dine on the likes of Hainanese chicken rice, black truffle fresh water prawns with HK yee mee and stir fried HK lettuce with dace.
There's also the use of premium ingredients such as lobster, fresh fish like Soon Hock, and Iberico pork that elevates your ordinary meal.
These dishes are what he mastered under the tutelage of the late chef William Kwok. You will recognise some of the items if you have patronised previous places where chef Kwok had once been in charge. As the late chef Kwok was from Hong Kong, a trademark was his double boiled soups which you will also find here.
A friend had recommended this place for the chicken rice before we ended up dining here. Since another friend wasn't a fan of fish, we didn't have a chance to try that. However, another group of friends returned a few days later and gave their thumbs up to the HK style steamed fish.
The menu offers snacks like Teochew prawn rolls or fried pork belly with shrimp paste for you to nibble on while you wait for the main dishes to be cooked.
We ended up with the recommended BBQ squid (RM45). With squid, there's always the danger of it being rubbery but this wasn't. Each piece was perfectly cooked and tasty with a hint of curry powder.
The list of double boiled soups is pretty extensive and it's rotated daily. Expect wild haruan fish with watercress, or roast pork bone and radish. There's also fish maw with premium chicken soup that needs at least three hours' advance notice.
We had the double boiled pepper pig's stomach soup for RM88 to share among the five of us. The taste is less fiery compared to other places since they are more restrained with the white pepper. What we got was a sweeter tasting soup that we all enjoyed with tender pork meat and pig's stomach.
The signature Hainanese chicken rice is definitely a dish we don't mind returning for. You get juicy meat with a slightly crunchy yellow hued skin. Pair it with the fragrant ground ginger and the fluffy rice.
The rice is a little inconsistent though as it wasn't so fragrant when we ate it. My friend who has tried the dish a few times tells me it was very good for his last visit, that seconds were sought after.
We paid RM48 for a half portion of the chicken and our three bowls of rice were charged separately for RM6. It's best you pre-book this chicken dish a few hours ahead to avoid missing out.
To bulk up our meal, we decided to try their black truffle river prawns with HK yee mee (RM120). The noodles were the highlight – each flat strand perfectly cooked with a smooth texture and slight bite – coated lightly with truffle paste. The use of river prawns with this dish felt a little out of place though as it only added a hint of seafood taste.
If you like seafood, they also offer Typhoon style items with salt and pepper such as Boston lobster or sea prawns, There's also clams paired with yellow beans, fresh Japanese oysters or hot pot fresh river prawns with cheung fun. The cheung fun dish sounds interesting and would be a better dish versus the pan fried prawns we had, I reckon.
Since most of us liked vegetables, we ordered all of the dishes offered on the menu.
The one we all loved was the HK lettuce vegetables. These hybrid vegetables similar to yau mak have a crunchier texture and it's stir fried with canned dace fish with black beans to give it a touch of savouriness.
We liked how it wasn't too oily and salty but each leaf was tasty from the restrained use of the fish. It's priced at RM20 for a small portion while the large portion is RM25.
The other two choices were their fried organic lady's fingers with shrimps and Chinese cabbage with shrimps, which were both nice too with a lighter taste of the dried shrimps. Each dish was RM15.
It's best to book ahead for a table as the place gets crowded with patrons who have discovered this place. And if you wish to see the action in the kitchen, you can peek through to see chef Hugo frying up each dish himself with his assistant. We also saw some diners pairing bak kut teh with the cooked dishes.
Cheow Sang Bak Kut Teh Restaurant, 12A-1, Jalan PJU 1/3A, Sunway Mas Commercial Center, Petaling Jaya. Open: 10.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Closed on Monday. Tel:+603-78804930/+6012-6096636/+6016-4903344.