BY CK Lam
Food hunting will take us to many places. We took an hour ride to Sungai Petani, Kedah and while we were there, we patronized several eateries. For lunch, there is no better place to stop in than Sin Yik Wah 新益华餐室, an old school Chinese chu char restaurant.
Housed in a corner double storey shophouse on Jalan Dewa, this eatery has been operational for decades, with a loyal clientele of both locals and visitors.
Even though there’s nothing fancy about the interior with the walls lined with white wash tiles, the culinary really brings a sense of nostalgia! The eatery still holds true to its traditional way of serving rice in aluminum tin bowls.
Let the chef tantalise your taste buds with old school Chinese chu char dishes: choose from choices of roasted pork, Chinese sausage, sweet sour pork, steamed chicken, tauhu fish fillet, kao yook (steamed taro with pork belly), and sambal prawns among many others.
From the choices of roasted meat, we enjoyed a small serving of their signature Chinese sausage as most were sold out. Well marinated, the pieces of sausages were served on top of a bowl of steamed rice.
We especially like the tauhu dish, full of sweet flavors from the fish fillet, and plenty of leeks and onions.
The sambal prawns are more than prawns cooked with sambal as they don’t focus on spiciness alone but rather on balance of flavors. It was mild enough for the children and the elderly. Even the presentation is made simple and convenient, with the shells removed and the prawns cooked just right.
The menu features kao yook, a specialty steamed cuisine made with a combination of melt-away tender taro and deep-fried pork belly. The dish captured our attention with its aromatic depth; with a distinct taste of nam yue 南乳 (fermented bean curd) and a hint of Chinese wine.
Overall, Sin Yik Wah is a good place for anyone who pines for old-school chu char dishes. The restaurant is packed almost every day. Make sure to drop by early as most of the signature sides are sold out by 1.30pm.
After the heart-warming meal, the day out continued with the exploration of the street art and beautiful murals located at the back lane of Sin Yik Wah. Slowly yet surely, the lane is blooming into a lively social point for visitors and locals. More photos of the eye-popping murals can be viewed here.
We top off the stroll with a little snack – deep-fried fritters and cold sweet cendol dessert from the stalls located right beside Sin Yik Wah.
Sin Yik Wah 新益华餐室
35 – 40 Jalan Dewa
08000 Sungai Petani
Business Hour: 11.30am – 3pm
Closed on Monday
*Part of this write up can be found in Makansutra.