Sek Yuen is KL’s oldest surviving traditional Cantonese family restaurant. Famous for its roast duck, served with a thick, sweetish bean-sauce dip, the venerable old eatery also offers a plethora of hard-to-find retro dishes like braised duck stuffed with lotus seeds and vegetables, and whole roasted pork-leg with glutinous rice stuffing.
It was founded by three cousins of the Phang family: Chew Kan, Meng Yun and Shue Tang.
The cavernous kitchen, unchanged since it was founded in 1948, has several wood-fired braziers upon which giant woks heat and sizzle.
Sek Yuen’s famous Cantonese-style roast duck. The ducks were sun/air-dried before being roasted in giant charcoal-fried ovens, yielding crisp-skinned and moist duck-meat. The flavours were smoky and flavoursome.
Mock sharks-fin omelette, with julienned carrots and onions, served in lettuce cups. The seasoning for this dish was subtle and complex. A must-try.
“Yau mak” (Romaine lettuce) lightly stir-fried and flavoured with “nam yue” (Chinese fermented beancurd) - my personal fave Chinese vegetable dish in KL.
Double-boiled chicken herbal soup.
The rice served here are steamed in metal bowl, the old-fashioned way, which yielded loose cooked rice grains instead of boiled rice which are usually more lumpy.
The real attraction of Sek Yuen is actually its old-world atmosphere - something hard to come by in fast-developing KL. Old wooden chairs and decades-old tables, in a building virtually unchanged for close to 7 decades exuded an ambience impossible to replicate elsewhere in KL.
315, Jalan Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3-9222 0903
Opens daily: 11am to 10pm