02 July, 2008

Restoran Hak Seng - Why Do Food Nazis' Food Taste So Good

In my own interpretation, Food Nazis are people who are real ANAL when it comes to food. If you thought this was something, you ain’t see nothing yet until you meet Mr Ang Hak Seng, owner of Restoran Hak Seng – an old school kopitiam that houses a Tze Char stall.

The restaurant's reputation is preceded by Mr Ang's ‘fame’. He has earned nicknames like, ‘Loud-Mouth’ and ‘Noisy Uncle’ evidently due to his outspoken raucous manner and is also notorious for deciding what dishes customers have for their meals. Since we decided to stop over at JB to board the bus at Larkin to KL, we stopped by Hak Seng for dinner before catching the last bus – note that this is probably the third or fourth time that I have been to Hak Seng.

To ‘test’ the resolve of the uncle, my friend proceeded to ask whether they served crabs since we wanted some seafood, which he was quick to dismissed the idea and tell us if we wanted to eat crabs we can jolly well proceed here, which is just round the corner. Then, he started saying since we wanted seafood, perhaps we could have a dish of fish and a dish of prawns and before you can say “His Food Blog” – HE SCRIBBLES DOWN THE ORDER in his own illegible handwriting! He proceeded to ask whether we wanted noodles and vegetables (we said yes) and without even asking what vegetables we wanted, again the order was noted – talk about being efficient! What was interesting about the noodles was it was done “Yin Yang” style, i.e. Bee Hoon mixed with Hor Fun in Cantonese-style – personally this was the first time I have seen it done this way. The noodles came with a hint of ‘Wok Hei’, which is good, and the ingredients were fresh and generous – this is not the best I have eaten but is one of the better renditions I have tried, besides the novelty intrigued me.

The plate of Baby Bak Chor was well fried to taste, and with the addition of dried shrimps, it give this dish an addition kick. However its slightly too greasy as seen from the “shine” off the photo.

The Hotplate Prawns were a delight! With its concerted sweet, spicy and sour gravy, the prawns were well flavoured and well deep-fried. The flesh was firm & fresh and the gravy would make a perfect pairing to a bowl of hot steaming white rice. Did I mention that sucking the roe off the prawn’s head was gastronomically orgasmic!

The Pomfret Fish was steamed and poured over with “Gong Bao” styled spicy gravy, garnished along with Spring Onions, Chinese Coriander and Dried Chillies. Once again, the gravy surpassed my expectations – it was intense and rich with flavours and the fish goes well with it. However, on its own, the fish is a bit weak in taste.

The challenge of a bowl of Orh Nee was issued to us and we gladly took it up as a dessert for dinner. Came with Pumpkin and Gingko Nuts, the dessert was sweetened just right, but being a true blue advocate of Teochew cuisine, I prefer to have mine done much oilier.

Without the oil, it just doesn’t taste as smooth as it should – sinful but the right way.

Food: 4.5/5 (You don't get a choice but the food is darn good)
Service: 3/5 (Uncle aside, the service is quick and efficient)
Ambience: 4/5 (Old school kopitiam, spacious)
Price: 4.5/5 (RM80+ including drinks is very affordable for the standard of food)
Total: 16/20
66, Jalan Stulang Darat
80300 Johor Bahru

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red fir said...

Yuks. What audacity. Nobody dictates my food.

His Food Blog said...

Heh. Everytime he notes an order for you, it will come done in various way - kinda like Kinder Surprise to me - you dunno what you are getting but you know it will turn out good.

I am not complaining really because 9 out of 10 times the dishes turns out really fine.

fuzk said...

This uncle sounds fierce indeed. Keke. What if he decides for you and then it comes in something that you can't take?

You've never tried the 'yin yang' style of hor fun? It's my FAVOURITE style of hor fun. Bagus! :D

His Food Blog said...

Hi fuzk!

To be honest I have no idea since I eat almost everything - but one thing I know its so far most of the dishes he dished out whets my appetite.

And yeap - its probably the old conventional side of me showing - hor fun is hor fun to me, never knew you can have a yin yang style to it.

Steve said...

ha ha - this is so the funniest blog ever... a restaurant where they tell you what you are going to eat. No different to secret menu nights really (had the best secret menu meal at Bed in Bangkok in April last year).

Another one goes on the list - in fact this will make a good reason to go to JB.

Thanks HFB!

His Food Blog said...

Heh. Oh I didn't know Bed in Bangkok does secret menu - are the food any good? I am heading there in August perhaps I might go try it out just for the fun of it - I love surprises!

Yes. You should!! I always look forward to eating at Hak Seng.

Shao Ming said...

woo .. you also know this place.
This is one of my frequent place to have dinner when I'm in JB. My friends called him 'the attitude guy'. Once a female friend of mine started teasing him ... both of them has such an exchange of words that I'm worried that he will walk over to the kitchen and spit on our food.
I tried to decipher his writings once but they look more suited for chinese talismen. lol
He maybe rude and have an attitude .. but his food is too good to deter us.

His Food Blog said...

Hi Shao Ming,

Nice to see you here.

I agree on his handwriting, cos I tried to decipher it once to no avail. I reckon I stand a better chance with my doctor's handwriting Haha!

And yes - his food hardly fails me - its kinda nice surprise to me.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know where Hak Seng is now? The old shop is no longer there.

His Food Blog said...

Hey Bernice,

I might be wrong but he did mentioned that he was moving to Lion City Hotel or sorts. It is just down along the same stretch of main road.

I hope it helps!

Unknown said...

Hey guys, I found him :) yes, he's now at Lion Hotel. Thanks a lot

His Food Blog said...

YEAH!!! Hope you had a good meal. As for me, looks like its time for JB!

Unknown said...

Hello, does anyone know the contact number of hakseng restaurant? Which day of the week are the closed? Many thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

FYI - Hak Seng has stopped operations at lion city hotel a couple of months back.

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