Onn Kee (founded in 1969 by Mdm Leet Hoo) is one of Ipoh’s leading purveyors of “nga choy kai” (literally, “beansprouts chicken”), a combo of poached chicken, chicken-flavoured rice (the uncooked rice grains are fried in chicken grease before being cooked in chicken stock with ginger, scallions and pandan leaves) and crunchy, slightly blanched beansprouts dressed in chicken fat, good quality soysauce and garlic oil. “Hor fun” flat rice noodles are also usually served with the chicken and beansprouts, in place of the chicken rice.
Today, 50 years later, Onn Kee is still one of Ipoh’s top “nga choy kai” spots, alongside its 2 stiff rivals Lou Wong and Cowan Street. The business is now run by 82-year-old Mdm Leet Hoo’s 3 children: Cheng Sau Wan, Cheng Sau On and Cheng Sow Keong. There are two branches in Ipoh, one in Bukit Mertajam which opened in 2015, and the latest one on Acheen Street in George Town’s historic quarter
We gave the new Acheen Street branch a try last week. What we had:
Poached chicken - the chicken, organic ones from Buntong district in Ipoh, are tasty and with a toothsome texture. The soy dressing was perfect. The chicken is dusted with pepper and garnished with fresh coriander leaves before serving.
Blanched beansprouts - Ipoh’s beansprouts are reputedly the best in Malaysia, many attributing it to the mineral-rich soil and water in Ipoh, although I felt it’s more to do with the local variety of beansprouts planted, and the careful, constant watering of the sprouts by the local farmers there. Bathed in soysauce and garlic oil, the dish is given a generous dash of pepper, and topped with chopped scallions before serving.
Chicken rice - the rendition here is one of the best one can get in Penang, as Onn Kee ensures its dishes are cooked to the same exacting standards as the ones in Ipoh. Penang’s standard of chicken rice has always been way behind those of Ipoh, Malacca and KL in Malaysia.
Fantastic ! Poached chicken Is a mainstay in our eating rotation. When cooked correctly, it is moist juicy and redolent of chicken flavor. Often, I don’t embellish the pieces with any accompanying sauces.
Last dinner in HK tonight. I think Poached Chicken is a definite. Thanks for all your great reports, you’ve introduced so many foods and places. Looking forward to experiencing some in the near future.
Moving back to Kowloon side and lodging in TST East for the duration. The extension will make this HK leg a full two weeks. I dread facing my bathroom scale next week. Fortunately, my scale can’t laugh.
Thanks to @naf and yourself for the excellent suggestions.
Just a couple of nights ago, my wife and I were lamenting about having to go home and wishing for more time here. A higher power must have taken note and intervened on our behalf. This Japan and HK trip has been so enjoyable that we just want to stay and keep eating.