I didn’t go out in search for good food on my recent trip back to KL. Apart from running some errands and making a trip down memory lane, I spent the rest of my time at home watching Discovery TLC and sports. Ironically, mom was away on a road trip, so Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast consisted of packed meal boxes.
I wanted to have something that I can blog about for lunch before heading back to Penang. After much deliberation, about 10 full seconds of it, I decided to head to Jalan Bunga Mawar 2, otherwise known as 太子园胃食街 Taman Muda wai sik gai (Nom Nom Street).
Anything you want, you can find here. Chicken rice, pork noodles, wantan mee, chee cheong fun, tai chao, vegetarian, desserts, pastries, etc. You name it, we have it here.
I came here for the famous 杂饭 zhap farn (mixed rice). Now, there are a few zhap farn stalls along this stretch. The last time I counted, there were 4 of them. Only one of them is famous and does brisk business, the others mostly deal with mosquitoes.
How to identify which is the right zhap farn stall? Simple. Look for the only one where the crowd is insane. If this doesn’t work for you, look for 胜记杂饭 Restoran Sun Gee. If it is not this name, stay away.
For the international readers, the way mixed rice works is, you get a plate of rice, then there is a buffet line of dishes, you pick a few dishes that you fancy, get a portion of each, and then get charged based on what you took.
If you ask me, forget about char kuay teow or roti canai. If you are looking to eat “what the locals eat”, mixed rice is the real deal. This is something that non-cooking people will eat day in, day out instead of just occasionally.
It was actually almost 2 PM when I arrived. Lunch time is supposed to almost be over, but not here..
So, why is this zhap farn stall so famous? Well, first and foremost, the sheer amount of dish selections on offer. Sun Gee Mixed Rice is sometimes known as The 100 Dishes Mixed Rice. While I think 100 dishes is an exaggeration, I do believe they have close t0 80 dishes going.
And it’s not all just the usual cheap stuff. They have a select pool of about 20 more exotic dishes that you can get, dishes like steamed fish head, steamed village chicken, braised pork belly, curry wild boar, etc.
Have you noticed that I used the word crowd instead of queue earlier on? Here, you only queue to get your plate of white rice. After you got your rice, the word queue should be banished from your vocabulary for a few minutes at least. You have to basically scan for the dishes that you want, then just squeeze in. This is a place where nice guys finish last.
Another good thing about this place is that they offer complimentary drinks and soup, free flow. You can have 10 glasses of Chinese tea and 10 bowls of soup and nobody is going to give two hoots about it.
Seeing poor families dine here is a common sight. This place in non-halal, so obviously the Malays and Muslims will not come here. But you can sometimes see poor Chinese and Indian families here. The parents would each get a large plate of rice with one dish. Then they would sit down, parents and a few children in tow, enjoying two large plate of rices with 2 dishes and unlimited soup.
They are obviously taking advantage of the free flow soup, but the staff hardly bother to disturb them. I guess they do such great business overall that they are willing to overlook some not so well to do parents trying to feed their kids.
This was what I got myself..
Everything are my favorite zhap farn dishes. Romaine lettuce in chili stir fry, long beans omelette, tofu in minced pork sauce, and of course, every kids’ most favoritest food, 古老肉 gu lou yoke (deep fried sweet and sour pork). All these, with free flow Chinese tea and soup for RM 7, or US$2.
So, what do you think of this 100 dishes zhap farn?