On Friday, I stayed back in office till 11pm+, waiting for Kevin to finish off his work. We haven’t taken our dinner yet, so you can imagine how hungry we were. Reluctant to eat at mamak stall, I then suggested to have bak kut teh at Liang Lee on Jalan Raja Laut, one of our old time favourite.
Its been eons since I started eating here. It was my dad who first brought me here, and I remember their business used to be much more brisk. But they are clearly affected by the opening of the Mungo Jerry next door (yes right next door), selling bak kut teh as well to make it worse.
Although it was past midnight when we got there, the roadside was full of parked cars that belongs to the patrons of either Liang Kee or Mungo Jerry. Evidently Malaysians really eat 24 hours a day eh? From my experience, you can safely park on the roadside as I’ve never seen any police here giving summons at night before. And Jalan Raja Laut is a one-way street, with 1 bus lane and 3 normal lanes, so I guess we won’t be obstructing the traffic right?
This particular bak kut teh shop is operated by 2 brothers. Being a “frequent” customer, I found out that they recognize me, even though there was a 2-years lapse while I was in Australia. As you approach the restaurant, the older brother will try to attract you to his shop, although most of them have already decided to go to Mungo Jerry. You can almost sense the smell of rivalry and bitterness in the air!
One thing I noticed is the crowd at Mungo Jerry tends to be younger, while at Liang Kee, the crowd comprises of old uncles, and 30-40 years old businessmen. One possible reason is the younger people prefer to have more choices (Mungo Jerry offers other food besides BKT), or because older people have more sense of loyalty. Another obvious reason I guess is because Liang Kee’s shop looks rundown, while Mungo Jerry just underwent renovation about a year ago, and so much brighter.
During dinner time, the difference between the number of customers in those 2 shops is very apparent. But once past 10 or 11pm, the crowd at Liang Kee will slowly picks up.
The bak kut teh here is slightly milder than elsewhere, with lesser herbal taste to it. But that doesn’t mean that its not good. In fact, the broth is still pretty flavourful. It is served with huge portions of pork ribs, pork belly (chue chang), fu zhuk (beancurd skin?), and mushrooms.
To balance such an sinfully fatty food, we ordered a small plate of “Po Li Sang Choy“. They also brought us a bowl of fried tofu, and a plate of “Yau Char Kwai” (Oil Fried Ghost literally ). The vegetable is okay, though slightly oily (which defeat the purpose of ordering it at the first place), but the Yau Char Kwai was quite disappointing. Instead of being crispy, the Yau Char Kwai felt soggy, and simply not tasty enough.
The rice is served with some fried shallots, which I believe is thrown in and cooked together with the rice. It used to be really good, so much so I will eat the rice first even before the meat is served. But over the years, the taste has deteriorated significantly.
Here there ain’t any ritual of boiling your own tea like those in Klang. You simply order either a pot of tea, or individual glass of iced chinese tea.
You can also order Braised Pork Knuckles here. Their version is very delicious, braised in a thick and savory gravy. You can ask the cook to add extra chillies to give it more kicks.
So if you are roaming the city centre of Kuala Lumpur at midnight, lusting for a hearty meal, look no more. Just head to Jalan Raja Laut, and enjoy a delicious porky meal ala al-fresco, while watching intensely how the owner tries to entice customers and stare bitterly at Mungo Jerry. And if you are lucky, you might even get to watch those idiotic Mat Rempits (or the more flattering nickname by Badawi, Mat Cemerlang) doing their reckless stunts.
Liang Kee Bak Kut Teh
Address: Jalan Raja Laut (right after Menara Eon formerly known as Wisma Cycle & Carriage)
Operating Hours: Dinner time till 2-3am