A tale of three kitchens: Tasty Little Kitchen at Sri Petaling, Mei Wei Little Kitchen in PJ's Section 17 & Private Kitchen at Damansara Uptown.
First up, Tasty Little Kitchen, where 'lap mei fan' fantasies become claypot-crusted reality.
Reasonably aromatic, reasonably priced (RM55+ per pot). A little more liver sausage might make this even better, but we still relished every spoonful.
Pork belly braised with brown squid. Deliciously caramelized, devilishly fatty-oily.
Salted egg silver fish. Well, even mediocre renditions of this recipe are enjoyable.
Three-cup chicken (boneless, hurray!), with a strong, sizzling sugary-salty zing.
Eight-treasure veggies sound sumptuous on paper. On the plate? Meh.
Cost of meal: North of RM160. Slightly steep, but not startlingly so.
Next, Mei Wei Little Kitchen, a fairly friendly spot in the heart of Section 17.
Kicking off with sweet-savory Guinness pork ribs. Might make a nifty beer snack.
Claypot chicken with black beans. Tasty, in significantly sodium-packed fashion.
Golden-battered oatmeal mantis shrimp. Not bad; could be crowd-pleasing.
Cabbage-wrapped carrots, corn, mushrooms & ginkgo nuts. Fun.
Choi poh omelet. Forgettable.
Chilled bean curd, layered with minced pork. Cute.
Fried rice comes in many forms at Mei Wei, including with three types of egg ...
... & with XO sauce, shrimp & squid. Could be more flavorful, but that's OK. Meal cost: RM180.
The final stop in our suburban kitchen crawl: Private Kitchen.
Festive feasting: Salmon yee sang. Nitpicking: Radish seems too thickly sliced, with a cracker-to-veggie ratio that's uncomfortably high.
Ginger sand chicken, succulent enough to have us nearly gnawing on the bones.
More 'lap mei fan,' this time fried. Can't complain; a serving for two costs below RM20.
Salt-&-pepper tofu, with a thin, crisp exterior shielding its soft insides.
Seafood-stuffed omelet, nicely presented, but perhaps less memorable-tasting than it could be.
Chives with pork belly & shrimp. Love this one; brilliant balance of taste & textures.
Typhoon shelter noodles, a spicy-garlicky serving with a juicy pork chop.
Osmanthus-wolfberry jelly, a chilled treat to wrap up a RM200 dinner.
Tasty Little Kitchen @ Jalan Radin Bagus, Sri Petaling.
Mei Wei Little Kitchen @ 619, Jalan 17/10, Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
Private Kitchen @ 103, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama.