Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Food: Wong Ah Wah Restaurant @ Jalan Alor, KL

A friend recently commented that all our food reviews so far have been at "polished places". So far that may be true, but I assure you we don't eat at pricey places every day! In time we will also share the places we think have the best fried hokkien laksa..etc etc. After all, we couldn't call ourselves Malaysians if we didn't know some back alley places that serve great food.. =D

This time we didn't go to a back alley restaurant, but one that is located in the heart of town, along one of the most famous streets for outdoor eating - Jalan Alor!

Jalan Alor is not exactly a main road in KL, but it is lined with eateries on both sides of the road. The place is just next to Bukit Bintang, so it benefits from all the tourists who stop by after exploring its more famous neighbour, Jalan Bukit Bintang. There are so many restaurants along Jalan Alor and competition is so rife that they have to employ whatever tactics they can to attract customers. In fact, it kind of reminds me of other tourist destinations like Phuket or Bangkok - local girls standing outside the restaurant holding a menu of food, calling out to you and telling you to come try their best dishes. 

But there is one restaurant that stands out amongst aaaaaall the others. It is one that has been established since I was a little boy (I think). It is Restoran Wong Ah Wah.

Located right at the end of Jalan Alor, just ask anyone to complete the sentence "What is Wong Ah Wah famous for...." and I'm willing to bet that 9 out of 10 times someone who answers is going to say "Chicken Wings!". The other 1 time the answer is going to be "I dunno...what?"

I kid you not. Do a random search of Wong Ah Wah chicken wings and the number of blogs and reviews that talk about it stretch on for pages and pages (trust me I tried it on Google). But hey, we're here to do a complete guide of food that brings contentment, so we can't be left out either. =P  

Last Sunday the both of us had dinner with my parents there, which is why we got to eat more dishes and take more pictures, and why this won't just be about chicken wings. that would be way too boring!

Bamboo clams, more commonly known as "zhuk tan" in Cantonese

First off, we had some 'zhuk tan' (RM13). The English translation for that is Bamboo Clams, and as the name suggests, it is basically long clams inside a shell that looks a lot like bamboo. It is mainly tasteless with a tinge of fishy, which is why the sauce and way it is cooked is very important. This dish isn't always found in Chinese restaurants and we don't have it all the time, but this one wasn't too bad. The texture is a bit chewy and the sauce a bit sweet, so it's suitable for everyone. Just don't expect to be full with just a plate of these!

"Ikan Bakar", which translated directly means Grilled Fish
On the other hand, Ikan Bakar is something that most coffee shops will have at night. Usually the fin part of a stingray is used, although any other fish can be grilled too of course. The unique part about using stingray is the bones can be eaten too! I used to have a lot of fun crunching up the bones together with the meat. I like fish, but I always hate having to look out for bones, so discovering this when I was young was so much fun. =D

(Wendy: I've never eaten up my stingray bones! Does this sound weird to you all too, or is it just me?)

 I've had this many times in different places and it's usually all about the same, but at Wong Ah Wah we were served with one of the meatiest pieces of stingray I have ever seen! All of us were amazed, and Dad was even confident enough to say that a piece of fish that size would cost at least RM50! He's usually right when it comes to food prices, but not that night; we were so amazed when the bill came and we saw it only cost RM28.

Butter Squid..or "Nai You Sotong" in Cantonese..=p
Next up is the Butter Squid. I happen to be a fan of all things buttery and cheesy. Therefore whenever there are 2354623635 different types of chicken, fish, prawns, or anything other meat on the menu, my preference will always be for it to be cooked in butter style. Although the picture looks like it's just plan old fried squid, it's actually coated in buttery batter and later fried with curry leaves, giving it that sweetish taste. I like! However, as we got to the bottom, the batter was damp & clumpy, and we could even taste chunks of flour. Quite a pity.

Hong Kong 'Kai Lan' vegetable
In my family, vegetables are usually the hardest dish to choose. Dad will let us pick the vegetables, I don't like veg so I won't pick, and Mum can never make up her mind (This is why now, the vegetable choosing task usually gets bestowed upon Wendy). This time we ended up with some kai lan fried simply with a bit of garlic. This is another simple dish that can't go wrong, the only point of interest is whether the veg is fresh or not. One thing I will never forget is my Grandma explaining one way of how Hong Kong Kai Lan should be different from normal local ones. She said the kai lan should always be laid out and stacked up neatly, all facing the same direction. From the picture above you can see that never happened. But then again, I think you will only get to see such attention to presentation at fancier joints.. =P

The real shock of this dish was the price - RM13! That made it only 50 cents cheaper than the huge plate of hokkien mee we had. I know that Jalan Alor is a tourist trap, but still..RM13 is really exorbitant for a simple plate of vegetables!

Satay! On left is lamb and on right is chicken
 It's kinda strange to have satay at a Chinese dinner because satay is a Malay thing. Guess this goes to show that Wong Ah Wah really embraces the 1Malaysia spirit! =P

Nothing much to comment about the satay here. Nothing special, but a quick fix if you have a satay craving to satisfy. Wendy liked the lamb and thought it was quite good due to the lack of fat, but I thought it was just so-so.

Hokkien Meehoon + Mee!
Hokkien Mee is one of my favourite dishes. One day soon I will definitely blog about my favourite Hokkien Mee joint! At Wong Ah Wah, the hokkien mee (RM13.50) was passable. It wasn't too dry and had enough sauce to go round. It was just a bit pale for my liking. For me, the blacker it is, the better! The portion that we ordered for 1-2 persons was really big though, and there was more than enough for all of us!

...And last but not least, we have the chicken wings.

Pretty wings all laid out in a row..

Wing tips on top of the drummets!
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, the famous chicken wings of Jalan Alor for all to see! We ordered 10 wings in total. I think the real magic in their wings is their ability to get the right amount of sauce absorbed in the wings. The wings are also not overly burnt, which is very important because burnt skin is not nice to eat, but if its not burnt then its missing part of its best flavour. Also, the meat is tender and tasteful! I don't know how they do it so well, and I guess it'll be a secret the father will pass down to the son. I'm just here to tell you just how categorically amazing these wings are, and how you have to get your hands on some!

Fried rice. Wasn't good.
The final main dish of the night was a plate of fried rice for one person, to give a bit of carbs  to the night's dinner. Unfortunately the fried rice turned out to be the worst part of the meal; the rice was lumpy and dry, not to mention it was bland and tasteless. This dish was an utter waste of RM8.50, and I do NOT recommend it to anyone who is going there to eat.

All in all, the food was just average with a couple of misses, with the exception of those famous chicken wings. 

Durian Cream Puffs!
Finally after we had polished all the food on the table and thought we couldn't possibly eat anymore, we turned our attention to dessert because Chinese have a second stomach specially for dessert only. Mum saw them on the menu and wanted to give them a try. It comes in a pack of 4 so everyone got to try one. To me it was good because the cream had a strong durian flavour. They cost RM2.00 each though, so savour that cream slowly! I'm not too sure, but I think the durian cream puffs at Australian Cake House Sea Park are still better. =)

So that wraps up our first review of a Chinese restaurant! As the months go by there will definitely be many more to come, so keep following our blog, especially with the Follow button so you will know instantly when we update. Please do give your comments too if you have anything to say or ask about Restoran Wong Ah Wah!

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