Sunday, September 13, 2009

More KL Char Siew: Oversea

with Larry, Luckee, Prof Horolographer, SJX and Kin

The last time I wrote about Oversea Restaurant at Jalan Imbi in KL, I had wanted to feature their famous Char Siew, and also introduce it to my Italian friends. But alas, when we arrived, it was sold out. This time round, we made a reservation the evening before, and also reserved a medium portion of char siew.

We were rewarded when we arrived for lunch:

Glistening in its fats...the char siew was still warm.

It was gorgeous. As can be seen, the cut is relatively fat, which imbues the meat with flavours, and also made it very juicy and tender. The meat was covered in a thick, sweet sauce, parts of it purposedly and masterfully charred to create a crisp exterior. Wonderful.

Immediately the next lunch after eating at Meng Kee, a comparison is rife. Both are extremely good, and I would call it a draw, but if forced to decide one, I would give the very slight edge to Meng Kee. The Meng Kee portion had a bit more oomph, a bit more X-factor than the Oversea.

We also sampled the exquisite sio bak, or roast pork:

Again, perfect.

That lunch, the sio bak was outstanding. Even better than the last time I had it. The skin was crispy to a fault; really amazing in its texture, and crunch as one bites into it. A small sliver of fat lingers under the crisp skin, and from thence a piece of lean meat. The overall effect of the crisp bite on the skin, to the melting fats, and the firm bite of the lean meat is excellent. Definitely rivals the 1 Michelin star Lei Garden offering in Hong Kong.

We also had their salt and pepper prawns:

The prawns were very fresh. The light batter clinging onto the shell was a bit salty. But deshelling the prawns, the meat was just right.

The vegetables were also interesting that it was cooked with macademia nuts instead of the more common cashews:

The vegetables were done just the right side of al dente...still crunchy, and lightly seared in the hot wok. Lovely.

We also had a hot plate of venison:

This was somewhat more average, but nonetheless tasty.

And also my favourite tofu:

Home made tofu, cubed, deep fried so that a slightly crispy skin develops, and then drenched in braising liquid in a claypot, so that the crispiness turns into a springy texture in some parts while retaining some crisp on others. Not spectacular, but very nice.

I have been told that Oversea is known to overcharge. But in my experience, I have never been charged what I judge as fair for the quality and quantity of the food. But caveat emptor, as I avoid ordering items on the menu listed as market price. The plate of totally awesome char siew was RM40, compared to a similar plate at Meng Kee at RM15; but totally different ambience. Oversea was a proper restaurant, air conditioned, and I can feel relaxed to enjoy the meats. Meng Kee is a dirty, greasy coffee shop, but with overwhelmingly wonderful char siew.

For me, both are mainstays for char siew in KL. And a must try for every visitor.

Oversea Restaurant
84 - 88 , Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur
Tel No: 03 - 2148 7567
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