October 10, 2006 | | Comments 15

Singapore-Malaysia Trip: Soo Kee Restaurant in Jalan Imbi

I went to the Soo Kee Restaurant in Jalan Imbi TWICE this week. John and Jeff took me to this place on separate occasions. The Soo Kee Restaurant is famous for its “sung har meen” (fresh water prawns) and fried beef hor fun. It is not located exactly on Jalan Imbi but just around the detour/bend when one try to get into Jalan Imbi.

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I was told that the owner of the Soo Kee restaurant was from the original Lebuh Pudu’s “tai see tow”. Across the road from Soo Kee is another restaurant that specializes on the same thing. It’s called Soo Kee’s Son Restaurant. Does anyone know the story behind this Soo Kee’s Son restaurant? Is it really owned by Soo Kee’s son?

Anyway, it is Soo Kee Restaurant that is busier. It’s a favourite among the lunch and dinner crowd. Their kitchen is just by the roadside. You can see a lot of cars and buses driving past the congested area.

In terms of comfort, Soo Kee is terrible. It is hot and the restaurant poorly ventilated. Despite this, the restaurant is packed with diners every day. Service wise, it is extremely poor by western standards. However, the food is superb.

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Their signature dish is the sung har meen. It is a fried noodle dish with large fresh water prawns. This dish alone costs RM25 (about CAD$8) — very expensive for noodles in Malaysia where noodles could be bought as cheap as RM4. It is the huge prawn that is costs the most.

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Their other favourite dish is the fried beef hor fun (hor fun is flat rice noodles). The gravy is exceptionally tasty and thick. I see that almost every table ordered this dish. This does not cost as much as the sung har meen.
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John ordered two pieces of jee pow gai (marinated chicken wrapped in paper). This is a favourite of mine and goes very well with rice.

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A good jee pow gai had lots of juicy gravy. They are prepared by marinating the chicken for a couple of hours and then wrapped with cooking paper. The whole thing is then deep fried until the chicken is fully cooked.

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Although the food was great, I must say again that the service is poor. This is so characteristic of many popular Malaysian restaurants. Their business is so good that they think they can afford to choose their customers.

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Categorized Under: ChineseKuala Lumpur 2006

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  1. Dave says:

    Now I’m hungry…

  2. Erick says:

    Those noodles with gravy look delicious, especially the fried beef hor fun. Looks like very simple ingredients for the gravy…eggs, spinach, green onion, chicken broth and cornstarch. Must have tasted fabulous!

  3. Chubbypanda says:

    As usual, some tasty looking treats.

    Actually, the first dish reminds me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. The last time my fiancee and I were in BC, we ordered “prawns” on two occasions, once in Richmond and once in Vancouver. On both occasions, we received medium sized shrimp, not the large prawn shown in your picture that we were expecting. Is this a cultural difference between Americans and Canadians?

    - Chubbypanda

  4. Ben says:

    Hi Chubbypanda: I have never come across these large prawns in Canada — not those the size you see on this blog. I guess the large ones are more common in temperate countries. I do know that there are tiger prawns farms in Malaysia where they breed large prawns for export.

  5. Suanne says:

    Hi Chubbypanda: I have never come across these large prawns in Canada — not those the size you see on this blog. I guess the large ones are more common in temperate countries. I do know that there are tiger prawns farms in Malaysia where they breed large prawns for export.

  6. Pat Wong says:

    Ben, yes Soo Kee’s Son Restaurant is owned by one of the sons.Infact Soo Kee was originally in this location and when they moved to their current location across the road, one of the sons took over the original location.

    Chubbypanda,huge fresh water prawns are easily available in Canada.They come frozen from Thailand or Vietnam.I am sure they available in the States.Check out the frozen seafood section of your Chinese/Viernamese Supermarket like Ranch 88 (or is it 99?).Sizes are typically 4/6 or 8/12

  7. Ben says:

    Hi Pat: I don’t see the reason behind operating two restaurants one across from one another. Do you know if father and son are business rivals?

  8. klux says:

    I visited the restaurant tonight. Round 1, I ordered medium prawn sang har mee for 3 persons. We finished it quickly and ordered another Round and this time only for 2 persons.

    The restaurant made a mistake and pack the 2nd order as takeaway. We told them that we want to eat the second order at the restaurant and unpack and serve the dish to us.

    We noted that the prawn size for the second plate is MUCH smaller than the first order. Immediately, we notify one of the waiter.

    After having finished our dinner, we asked for the bill and they restaurant charged RM30 for the first plate of sang har mee (for 3 persons with much bigger prawn) and RM25 for the second plate of sang har mee (with smaller prawn for 2 persons). Immediately, I complaint to the waiter and later asked for the manager. The “manager” insisted on charging us RM25 for the second plate of noodle despite that much smaller prawn. He just keep repeating to me that prawn comes in varying sizes. The funny thing is that I am paying more for smaller prawn. At most, I would value the second plate of sang har mee for RM15. This means the restaurant have cheated me RM10 tonight!

    (For those reader of this blog who has never been at this restaurant before, it will cost you double if you order King size prawn, instead of medium size prawn.)

    Judging from the reply from the manager, I decided that it’s useless to keep arguing with him. I told that I shall pay him the full bill but he should find it difficult to digest the overcharge amount.

    Well, there were two tables nearby who are aware of this and of course, Me amd my cousin will never go back to this restaurant AGAIN. They have earned all the money they want from me tonight…and no more business from me.

    Blog reader, please take note. I also ordered a takeaway sang har mee for 3 person, earlier this month. I would suspect that this particular Soo Kee cheat customers who orders takeway by giving them smaller size prawns!!!.

  9. Ben says:

    Whoa! They pissed you off, didn’t they? I don’t at any moment doubt the account of your issue with them. Funny why so many Malaysians still go there even though they have shitty service.

  10. bbkp says:

    Most of the Good Dai Chow places are as rude and obnoxious as they come. Even tiny stalls, there is a popular pork noodle soup stall at this lonely little coffee shop in Taman Bahagia, PJaya, who can tell customers coarsely ” If you dont want to wait, eat something lah!” It is still packed with customers daily!!!

    I guess for most Malaysians, we are as used to it as hailing a taxi/bus in the middle of a busy street, for vistors to Malaysia it is sort of a cultural experience, lol. As long as the food is ineffably good, I think most of us can just close one eye…. I do draw the line at Cheating though… (thanks for the heads up, Klux.)

    A German friend of mine recently went home, and his pal had a shocking time at a Chinese “Fast food” joint ( prices are cheap comparatively ) His pal was ranting about how rude the waiters were, my friend told him that its like going an asia street stall without paying for the air-ticket lol… its an experience.

  11. gigi says:

    I wish the site owner can allow me to say something for the hawkers.

    i am a malaysian too, so it is not surprising to see all this situation.

    If roadside stall can standardise their prawn size so easily and you find people greet you like in hotel, it wouldn’t have been a roadside stall but a franchise like McDonald.

    It is just prudent to expect what in a context rather than complain only

    Just to comment as i think ppl usually blame the service.

  12. Henry Guitry says:

    My friend from Malacca – EuGene ,who works in KL WANTED TO TAKE ME OUT FOR A” SPECIAL MEAL” BEFORE I FLEW BACK TO NZ .IT WAS MORE THAN SPECIAL – IT WAS SUPERB!!!!
    I WAS INTRODUCED TO JASMIN HON & SHE GAVE ME HER BUSINESS CARD .AT THAT MOMENT I DID NOT REALISE THIS IS YOUR RESTAURANT !
    CONGRATULATIONS -MY LAST MEAL IN KL @ SOO KEE WAS MY BEST – THANKYOU .I ATE WITH YOU 23/01/07 @ 10pm

  13. Ken says:

    I remember bringing some friends from Sarawak there last year. They charged us about RM80 for the sang har mee (for 3 persons)!

    Feel so cheated and will NOT go back again… >:(

  14. middleperson123 says:

    Actually the father’s soo kee in jalan imbi owned by the father’s daughter. Many people went there because their history is longer than any others soo kee or soo kee son restaurant. But the chefs in the soo kee are not the member of soo kee family.
    I compare the father’s soo kee with others soo kee or soo kee son. the soo kee’s boss and their worker are action and the environment are more dirty.
    I don’t know why all malaysian go there to eat and don’t go other soo kee or soo kee son’s.
    ATTENTION: This is Soo Kee’s Daughter and not Soo Kee. I think the originally Soo Kee(father) had passed away already.

  15. gigi says:

    For the strict history lover:

    Soo Kee started with Mr. Hon Soo, a man with 5 daughters and 6 sons. He passed away 26 years ago and since then the daughter (Jasmine Hon) continued the business with the same authentic cooking and same chef. (the main chef has been working for 50 years).
    All the stalls owned by the HON family members are authentic, just slight taste difference (this is not McDonald as some said).
    Anyway, these old time favour is vanishing soon. Savour while you still have the chance to.

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