Monday, October 19, 2009

1ST. LUNCH WITH NATE @ LITTLE HAINAN, LORONG TUN AHMAD ZAIDI ADRUCE 9, KUCHING



It's never a good idea to try out a new eatery at its inaugural; chances are the place will be packed with eager beavers, service will come to a crawl, and worst yet the food suffers as a consequence, and one never gets a true picture of the place as it would be at normalcy. Such is the scenario for the latest set up along Jalan Permata...

... I've seen the signs of the impending opening of this new chicken rice place. Who can miss the fire-engine red façade of the shop?  And it opens on an ominous date - Tuesdays the 13th! Well, I didn't go on its opening date (aforementioned la-di-da, la-di-da, la la). It so happens the following evening (late), we are at the next door bakery hunting down a bargain.



Being a Kay-Po, we stroll down to the new place to have a peek as they are about to call it a night. Coincidentally the young friendly proprietress happens to be at the door, (first encounter) and she  gives us a low down of the set up. There's a notice on its front door informing of its closure for the next morning's operation; she explains that it has to do with some shake-up of the operational side of the floor crew. 2nd day of operation, and she has the acumen to nip the problem at its bud, works out the kinks, and  sacrificing a morning's worth of business.



I've been out for a good part of Saturday morning with Nate (home alone), showing him around India and Gambier Street. As we pass by this place after one o'clock, we take the gamble of finding a table; the wait isn't that bad (5 minutes), and the crew is quick to clear the table in no time.

A few items on its menu were sold out when, so we had to make do with whatever mixed meat they still had. The Kiam-Chye-T'ng (preserved mustard green soup) is the first to be delivered. It was full-bodied with enough sliced vegetable to tempt Nate to have numerous sips before the food arrives.

Next, the chicken rice arrives in 3 small scoops rather than the usual single bowl portion. Nice presentation! The rice is nicely done, not overtly oily with the prerequisite fragrance of what a chicken rice should be; moist enough to hold itself together, yet each morsel separates itself in a fluff.

When the rice passes the acid test, can there be any doubt of its chicken? After all, there's a couple of old hands behind the family's Hainanese chicken rice; mom and pop run the Ang Loke Hui at Jalan Sekama (next to the old Lido cinema), and they are on hand to ensure the food meet their exacting standard. Its Lo-Bak (braised pork) stands out from the demure poached chicken; and undoubtedly the braised eggs benefit from the savoury gravy of the pork. Unlike the normal soy-broth braised pork, this one is coarse in texture and semi-dry like Rendang.



This place is an intimate small space with a seating capacity that can probably accommodate around 50 persons at a given time - tastefully decorated, short of being kitsch. When marketing savvy meets a solid tried and tested recipe, this Little Hainan can be an island of joyous culinary endeavor.

* Breakfast and tea are served as well with the usual suspects of toast, boiled eggs, kolo mee, porridge, laksa and pau (bun).

6 comments:

suituapui said...

Good grief! 3 scoops of rice for 1 person? Any connection to some place in Penang with a similar name? If it's a franchise, it's usually nice but not really great - like the Chicken Rice Shop or Singapore Chicken Rice...

Kong-Kay said...

it's not a franchise, but probably will be if this one takes off, seeing how enterprising the lady is at fine tuning the operations.

Nate-n-Annie said...

I was sipping the soup because I was thirsty and the drinks hadn't arrived yet ;-). It was good, though.

So was the rice. (That was a LOT of rice!) I only finished 2 of the scoops.

It was nice to see a restaurant full like that. Hopefully she does well.

Thanks for showing me around!

Kong-Kay said...

the food certainly didn't disappoint... would have been better if we got to try its whole range of meat.

babe_kl said...

chicken rice shop look so uber chic in kuching?!!! how r the prices?

Kong-Kay said...

well, kuchingnites do have a thing or two up their sleeves. the price is no more expensive than the usual rice rice shop. our combo costs a bit more. with drinks it was still cheaper than those from the mamak stall.

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