KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — For a strong taste of nostalgia, this classic 1950s Cantonese dish — the paper-wrapped chicken or chee pau kai — is hard to beat.

It’s almost disappeared from the culinary scene as Chinese restaurants opt for more modern dishes. But you can still find it served at a few yong tau foo stalls and old-school eateries. Occasionally dim sum places also offer this item.

Essentially it’s chicken pieces (leg or thigh) marinated with soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and ginger juice. The chicken pieces are then wrapped in grease-proof paper and deep fried. In the old days, transparent cellophane paper was used to wrap the chicken.

Some recipes include tweaks such as adding spring onions or even Chinese shiitake mushrooms to give more flavour and texture to the dish. As the chicken is cooked in the paper parcel, you get the benefit of deep frying minus the greasiness.


With the hot temperature, the juices are sealed within the chicken, making it a messy but finger-licking dish.

Restoran Leong Ya
No. 26 & 28, Jalan Dagang 4/2
Taman Sungai Besi Indah
Seri Kembangan, Selangor
Tel: 03-8948 4657

Previously a shack located at Selangor Turf Club’s present location, this place was popular for its yong tau foo and paper-wrapped chicken.


Since it was demolished, the family members have gone their separate ways and opened their own restaurants around the Seri Kembangan area. They also have branches in Puchong and Subang Jaya.

Their version tends to have more sauce with a hint of spices.

Restoran Chen Fatt
1487B, Jalan Besar
Seri Kembangan, Selangor
Tel: 03- 8948 6673

Located on the busy main thoroughfare in Sri Kembangan, this restaurant has been around since the 1940s. It serves mainly Hakka fare like mui choy kaw yoke (pork with preserved mustard greens) and old-school  fare like tofu kang, a thick soup reminiscent of shark fin soup minus the fish.

Here, their paper-wrapped chicken is well prepared with juicy pieces of chicken marinated with a hint of ginger and rice wine.

Sek Yuen Restaurant
315, Jalan Pudu, KL
Tel: 03-9222 0903

The paper-wrapped chicken at this restaurant harks back to pre-independence day and is simply superb. Unwrap the paper to discover juicy pieces of chicken with a beautiful caramelised skin.

You will be wishing that you have seconds. Note that it’s a pre-order item so make sure you call ahead to book.