Friday, May 22, 2015

Breakfast at Yut Kee Kopitiam

My family and I are fans of breakfasts and brunches. That Sunday before he was leaving back overseas for work, I decided that a visit to the Old Lady of Kuala Lumpur would be a good wrap-up for the weekend. Yut Kee Kopitiam in Chow Kit has earned herself the majestic title by being around since 1928. The number of check-ins from my friends at Yut Kee in FB concurs that this eatery remains the choice of many till today.
We were greeted by a red building. The queue is madness, like the t-shirt suggests

We arrived at 11am and were greeted by a tall red building. This lot is the newer restaurant where the original Yut Kee had shifted to. The original shop is situated just around the corner. Apparently the cause of the relocation was the high ownership cost that nearly forced Yut Kee out of business. [1] She is not called the busiest breakfast spot for nothing as we joined the herd of customers outside who were waiting for their turn. The coffeeshop was, needless to say, replete with people chomping away. I registered a place for two under my name. I went back to the waiting crowd to wait till my name was shouted by a man whom I would surmise as Mervyn Lee, grandson of Yut Kee’s founder.
Herds of customers
At 11:20am, my ears caught my name screamed amidst the din of porcelain ware and murmurs. Our hands quickily shot up to validate our attendance and shuffled our way to our marble table. Feeling smugged leaving the waiting population, we grabbed the menu and relaxed to choose our food. While waiting for our orders, I noticed that the interior set the mood of the olden days with brown wooden cupboards, business-wishing mirrors and faded tiles. Black and white ancestor photographs were spotted invigilating the thriving business. The counter had compartments containing Hacks sweets and other tit-bits to be sold. Archaic windows that did not come from this time added its antiquity. While I sat longer, I felt that the time-honoured setting is articulated with sights of modernization here and there. There were no more creaking ceiling fans and vertical cooler fans facilitated the shop. Paint was bright and new. The business was run under computerized system. Touch screens sat on tarnished furniture shows stark contrast of the coffeeshop’s timeline.
Old meets new
We did not have to wait long for our food to arrive. We tried our luck with the signature Hainanese Chicken Chop, Roti Babi, Belacan Fried Rice accompanied by old-time coffee and iced tea. The Chicken Chop was generously doused with gravy that had big yummy chunks of onion and potato. I savoured the fried chicken softened with brown gravy, slurping the sauce with every bite. I have always enjoyed local coffee made the old fashioned way. The coffee was thick and aromatic as expected. The Roti Babi is a pocket of bread stuffed with marinated chopped pork and fried from the outside. I could taste the fragrance of butter when I took the first bite. Perhaps this is not a choice for the weight-conscious. My voluntary taster reported that the Nasi Belacan was a tad bit too spicy that it smothered the taste of the whole dish. The dish, fried with seafood, could better satisfy extremely spicy eaters. While we imbibed the atmosphere and food, we saw that people were still joining the queue outside.

Yut Kee's menu 
Star dishes
Hainanese Chicken Chop
Roti Babi
Nasi Goreng Belacan
The whole experience was enjoyable. While on our way back from Yut Kee, we discovered that it was conveniently a few walks away from the Dang Wangi LRT Station. The shop opens from 8am to 5pm and closes on Mondays. The time well accommodates people who enjoy tea. Whether it is the food or the old-time appeal, the Old Lady is worth a visit.  To me, it was amazing even only to look at the crowd and to be the crowd. That breakfast was a Sunday morning well spent.
17th May 2015