I’ve been going to Mei Wei Little Kitchen a few years now right from the time they first opened. I remember when it first opened and it was quite a struggle as being located in a not so affluent or crowded area in Petaling Jaya, it might have had many things going against it.
But now after all these years, Mei Wei Little Kitchen has come a long way. This is a no pretense place serving very nice Homey Chinese food in a not so exciting ambiance I have to say, but the crowds just throng the place like it’s food is going out of fashion. Mei Wei would be something you see in little outer suburbs if you lived overseas, only things is, Mei Wei serves wonderful food.
So here we are celebrating Poh Leng’s birthday and it was last minute because the gang was traveling and timing always meant someone would be missing so this little impromptu last minute plan ended up in my favorite place. It might have been a hint to the Birthday Girl so I got my way.
I was first to be at the restaurant and only about 5 tables were taken. Please note, you better book your table if you want to go there at any given night and especially the weekends. As usual, Chik the owner, boss, waitress and everything was fluttering from table to table as she always does taking orders and advising what we should eat so that our order complements each other. She does such a good job that years later, she still does it because none of the staff can do it the way she does. And I might safely say, not many service people in this country can do it the way she does..everything with that bit of a personal touch.
So one by one they traipsed in and by now EVERY table was filled up and there was a crowd outside. Poh Leng and Chik were colleagues a few years ago before Mei Wei opened, and the transformation of Chik from an office person to a Restaurateur is beyond what you can imagine. Poh Leng and I placed the orders while Chen Ming and “Harry” came in and we asked them if they wanted to add anything and then Chia Chen comes in and looks astonished at the crowd. The crowd was getting louder and louder.
So our food arrived.
First was the Seafood and Home Made Bean Curd Soup. This is just a light soup with an assortment of seafood like prawns, sea bass and I believe some squid. Soup was not so strong with the seafood, as I really do not like that, so it sat fine on my palate and for everyone else as well. Vegetables were still crunchy and green as you can see. NO touch ups were done to the photos. Now the Home Made Tofu is the clincher that always makes me order this. It has a nice bite and not so strong in the tofu flavor that puts off a lot of people. In fact, if Mei Wei sold their Tofu, I would buy it. It’s that good.
The next dish was the Glutinous Rice Wine Kampung Chicken (Free Range Chicken). I’m a ginger person, I just love anything ginger be it foods and biscuits up to cocktails. This soup had the right amount of heat as it went down your gullet, you know that burning yet tasty sensation with the rice wine giving that most wonderful flavor. Chia Chen reckoned it was for Post Natal Mothers, but We all loved it. I did find the chicken bony whenever someone poured the soup into my bowl but that is the thing about Free Range Chickens but the most important part of this soup was the soup itself and the wonderful flavor, not really the chicken at all. The flavor of the Moo Er or Wood Fungus with all the flavors trapped in it takes it to another level. The usual tasteless wood fungus was filled with the ginger and wine taste. The spiciness of the ginger is just a wonderful feeling… quite orgasmic so to speak.
The Dish of the night and almost every night that we have been there is the Vietnamese Seafood Curry. I still wonder if there is such a thing from Vietnam but this dish is always the best. I took my friend over there last year, a real fussy pot he is too and I was just hoping everything would go well or not I would never hear the end of it, and so would Chik, and you should have seen his face when he took the first mouthful… Eyes brows raised and all.
Now I am not a fan of curry more so seafood, but I always make it a point to have it when I am there. Again this is seafood and Mei Wei has actually changed my view on seafood in a big way. Now the curry will come with glass noodles on it and it is still simmering and you have to mix everything up. This can be a one meal dish as it has proteins, vegetables and Carbs all in that clay pot. I drink it like a noodle soup. All the flavors are well blended and nothing in that clay pot is over powering the other. I could have taken more photos but I was more preoccupied with the food in front of me to bother. I did try to take a video while Chen Ming was mixing everything but somehow it didn’t work. This is a must order.
The Stir Fried Macadamia with Mixed Vegetable was just to please Poh Leng because she was watching what she ate. Everything was cooked well and there was enough nuts to go around. I remember as a child how little nuts Chinese restaurants put into their dishes. Not anymore though. Everything on that plate had a distinct taste, vegetables were crunchy and the mushrooms seem to have soaked in the flavors well although it looks like it is uncooked and just thrown in at the last moment. This could have been a vegetarians delight.
Golden Oatmeal Mantis Shrimp was next. Don’t get ideas that the word Oatmeal in the name means it is healthy. It is not! But it is so Nice and one just indulges. This is a other dish I always order. It is a nice picky picky dish while talking. The mantis prawns were fresh and crisp not because it was fried, but it was crisp with freshness. The curry leaves added a nice hint of curry fragrance. This is a dish you don’t get fed up with. There are other styles I have had here before like the Marmite Mantis. Hmm might have to ask her for that when I am there next.
Mei Wei Special Beancurd has always been my favorite. It is like a seafood tofu of sorts but unlike the bought nonsense, this one has a good amount of seafood in it without taking away the homemade tofu taste. This was another good appetiser picky picky dish. The next time I am there, I might just order all Mei Wei’s Homemade Tofu dishes just for tasting purposes.
While Mei Wei has room for a lot of growth not in improving food and all but more so to become bigger in size and get more recognition but I feel the owner Chik just likes it the way it is. The appeal of the place is obvious. It is not the most comfortable place to be, but when it’s good food, who really cares. We’re Malaysians!
I have this craving to go there again in the next few days. I hope I can muster a few people to go with me.
Please call to book your table. If not you are going to be lining up outside or worst still, you might be there sitting at your table and watching everyone else get their food.
Lunch time is good, and less crowded.