January 20, 2019
Raise the red lantern for our favourite new Chinese restaurant, which promises diversely robust recipes with a timeless allure. Fat Fook Inn's head chef and co-founder has honed his craft for nearly two decades, resulting in a sense of capable confidence throughout the extensive menu. Lip-smacking temptations abound - pork belly is served in two textures within one sizzling claypot, with some slices steamed for a tantalising tenderness and others deep-fried for a juicy crunch, bound together by the savoury richness of a fermented bean curd sauce (RM28); comforting chunks of pure pumpkin, perfectly sweet and ripe, come wok-fried in buttermilk gravy for a flavoursome punch, rounded out with chillies and curry leaves for a fiery kick (RM20).
Fat Fook Inn is the sister restaurant of The Fat Fish, Mont Kiara's seafood specialist outlet, so it's no surprise that the bounty of the oceans and rivers shines here. Baby octopus yield a beautifully natural bounce, firm to the bite but luscious to the chew, aromatically coated in golden-brown garlic (RM32); red tilapia is irreproachably steamed to showcase the fish at its finest, brightened by ginger, buoyed by crunchy bits of pork lard (RM42 for a substantial whole tilapia; other fish such as rainbow groupers and empurau are also available, in preparations that span steamed with assam sauce to deep-fried with Thai sauce).
There were numerous carb crowd-pleasers that caught our eye, from stir-fried rice with house-roasted pork belly to the perennially popular Hokkien noodles, but for this round, we selected the Fujian-inspired XinHua mee hoon, complete with chicken, prawns and peanuts, for a platter of noodles that every generation will enjoy (RM18).
We also sampled one of the daily-changing traditional soups that accompany Fat Fook Inn's set lunches - for RM15, you'll receive a main course such as braised yee fu noodles with stewed ginger duck or steamed boneless chicken leg fillet with waxed meat and mushrooms, along with white rice, seasonal vegetables, Chinese tea, and of course, a soup that brims with the nourishment of being simmered for many hours, evoking the loving flavours of home.
Whatever you order here, supplement it with a serving of pork lard rice, irresistibly worth the calories and cholesterol, with a triumphant attention to detail for everything from the texture of the grains to the taste of the soy sauce (RM3).
There's still much, much more to try at Fat Fook Inn, sufficient for potentially five or six repeat visits, but for now, we left with the final memory of delicate, double-boiled hasma with red dates and osmanthus Oolong tea syrup (RM12).
All in all, for a feast of Chinese fare that balances simplicity and sophistication, at prices that feel fairer than the norm in this neighbourhood, we'll happily check into Fat Fook Inn. Bonus points for every other element, from the meticulous service to the soundtrack of cherished classics to the setting enlivened by a lovely mural and a wall of Chinatown-sourced tableware.
Many thanks to Fat Fook Inn for having us here.
Fat Fook Inn
15-0-2B, Shoplex Mont Kiara, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 1130am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.
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