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Karak treat in the heart of PJ

RESTORAN SRI KARAK,
No. 17, Jalan 52/8,
Section 52, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7958 3240
Business hours: Mon-Sat; 11am-10pm;
Sun & Public holidays; Lunch 11am-3pm;
Dinner 6pm-10pm.
Pork free.

FANS who crave for a meal or some of the durian pastries from Yik Kee Restaurant need not travel all the way to Karak now, for a branch of the well-known establishment has been operating in the Klang Valley for the past six years.

Restoran Sri Karak in PJ New Town offers diners a similar experience as one would get at the original restaurant, except that unlike the Yik Kee Restaurants in Karak, Gohtong Jaya and TTDI, it offers a pork-free menu and more extensive pastry and dessert selections.

Freshwater fish: Steamed Upstream Patin with Homemade Supreme Soya Sauce

Sri Karak manager and chef Cheng Shian Chyr said the Cheng family business had spanned over six decades and three generations, starting with a simple outlet that was frequented by those who travelled along the Karak Highway to head to the East Coast, to four restaurants serving a variety of seafood, poultry and seafood items.

Durian lovers would be spoilt for choice with the range Sri Karak has, like Durian Bomb, Durian Tart, Durian Pancake, Durian ABC, Durian Souffle, Durian Muffin and Durian Ice Cream.

The Durian Bomb offers an “explosion” of taste with its crispy texture outside and creamy soft inside.

Sri Karak’s dedicated pastry section has equally delectable non-durian items like Portugese Egg Tarts, Kaya Swiss Roll, Marble Cake and Chicken Siew Pau.

King of fruits: Restoran Sri Karak offers a wide range of durian-inspired pastry items, like (from bottom) Durian Tart and Durian Bomb. The restaurant also sells durians brought in from its orchard during the durian season.

“Our pastry items are homemade and baked daily in the early mornings. Once they are sold, there won’t be any new stock until the next day,” said Cheng, who is in his 30s.

“The Durian Souffle, served with Whipped Cream, was something I came up with after my initial working stint at a prominent hotel.

“It’s a special order dessert only available here, and at least six must be ordered for this dish to be whipped up.”

Another off-menu dish is the Steamed Chicken, which Cheng said was a Guangxi clan speciality. It is served with a sauce made from ginger, garlic, spring onions, Chinese parsley and oil.

“We use farm chicken for this dish, because these chickens are fed well and their meat is more tender than kampung chicken,” he said.

Unique dessert: The Durian Souffle, served with Whipped Cream, is a special order dessert only available at Restoran Sri Karak

For fish dishes, Cheng recommended the Steamed Upstream Patin with Homemade Supreme Soya Sauce, House Special Tempoyak Ikan Temerloh Patin and Sri Karak Curry Fish Head.

“I learnt to cook the Tempoyak Ikan the traditional way from a Malay woman who helped raise me,” said Cheng.

“It’s a labour-intensive dish where tempoyak (fermented durian) is mixed with a stock made from daun kadok, anchovies, turmeric, galangal leaves and old cucumber, then cooked with the fish.

“The patin can be served in other styles like asam pedas, minced ginger and spicy bean sauce. The Curry Fish Head features a mix of Indonesian and Indian spices for its curry, which makes it not too spicy.”

There is also the Abu Claypot Fish Head, Steamed Cod Fish with Ginger and Soy Sauce, and Ikan Tilapia served either Steamed with Minced Ginger, Steamed in Hong Kong Style, or in House Special Curry Sauce.

Besides patin and tilapia, Sri Karak also offers other types of fish like kelah and jelawat (depending on season).

“All our freshwater fish are sourced from Temerloh. They’re caught from the wild, hence don’t have the muddy smell typically associated with freshwater fish,” Cheng said.

Other seafood dishes include Special Stir Fried Freshwater Prawns, Steamed Freshwater Prawns with Sliced Ginger, and Superior Soy Sauce Freshwater Prawns.

Besides the usual poultry dishes, Sri Karak features unique items like Stewed Deer Ribs in Claypot, Stir Fried Ostrich (either with Spring Onions, Bitter Gourd or Black Pepper), Sri Karak Country Roasted Duck, and Switzerland Chicken Wings.

For noodle dishes, Cheng recommends the Sri Karak Freshwater Prawn Fried Noodles, otherwise known as Sang Har Mee, which features crispy noodles topped with a rich gravy and freshwater prawns.

Other items include Sri Karak Seafood Fried Noodles, Penang Char Koay Teow, Cape Ostrich Fried Koay Teow, Beef Fried Koay Teow, Pacific Prawns Fried Noodles, and Fish Cake Fried Noodles.

Some noodle specialities unique to the PJ New Town outlet are Otak-Otak Fish Balls Noodle Soup, Nasi Lemak Panas, Seafood Curry Laksa Mee, Sri Karak Curry Laksa Mee, Fish Cake Noodle Soup, Porridge with Sliced Chicken and Salted Fish, Rambo Seafood Porridge, and Sri Karak Freshwater Prawns Noodle Soup.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.