2019 saw me discover Shui Kee Steamed Chicken for the first time because I often visit the Jalan Penchala food court.
It’s the busiest stall in this tiny food court tucked away behind the factories of PJ Old Town.
Being in operation for over 40 years, the stall always has a large crowd in front of it.
It’s the second-to-last stall from the end of the row of Chinese stalls, but there’s no signage. There are sections within this food court where vendors are offering Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine.
Since my plan to check out another stall at the food court last week did not work out, I skipped over to Shui Kee Steamed Chicken for a quick lunch.
Lunch seems to be a rushed affair on weekdays because patrons want their food quickly. There is a mixture of local residents and office workers.
A few will also be seen carrying their own tiffins to carry the food with them.
The entire family is working together in the tiny stall. In front, there’s the patriarch, hard at work chopping chicken. A younger man assists in chopping the chicken at the back. I noticed when I received a half portion of chicken that it’s quite laborious because they even debone the chicken.
With her army of foreign women, the matriarch is the one who takes orders and makes sure they are promptly fulfilled. Although they seem to have their own system of remembering things, it still feels like organized chaos.
Place your order as you approach the stall. They will take care of you if you just let them know where you are seated.
If the matriarch is not sure what your order is, she’ll send one of her helpers to double check. If they forget your order, just walk up to the stall again to remind them.
Seats are available in front of the stall. Some patrons like to also go to the back of the stall and sit at the longer wooden tables there.
In order to be efficient, they pre-cut some chicken that are placed in metal trays for you to select from, during the weekdays.
What I noticed when I revisited again on Sunday is the vibe was busier and all those pre-cut chicken had vanished.
Maybe it’s because demand is more, hence the chicken is all freshly chopped, which I tend to prefer since it doesn’t dry out so much.
So go on a Sunday, if you like your chicken to be chopped only upon order. You may have to wait a bit though but nowadays with your phone, you’re kept entertained.
The menu features two varieties of chicken. There is the pak cham kai, which is a staple on practically every table. You can choose from any part of the chicken and get a bowl of noodles for RM7.50.
Afterwards, there’s the free-range or kampung chicken. Of course, this costs a lot more. Only portions of half or whole chicken are offered for sale. Half a bird costs RM40, which is twice as much as pak cham kai.
The meat in the pak cham kai is more juicy and has a smoother texture. The meat of the kampung chicken is tastier. There’s a nice crunch to the skin as well.
In terms of texture, the pak cham kai is smoother and the meat is juicier. For the kampung chicken, the meat has more bite. The skin has a nice crunch to it too.
On its own, it has a plain taste. Hence I like liberally spooning the soy sauce over the chicken to give it more flavour.
Those who prefer stronger flavours may find the taste to be bland since the flavours are very homestyle and lean towards a lighter taste profile.
You’re only served soy sauce with chopped chillies, so there’s no potent chilli sauce to hide behind.
Usually customers will order drinks from the stall next to Shui Kee but I prefer a little walk to the back of the food court to get my teh tarik fix. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work on Sunday, since that stall is closed.
This whole area is a hub for good food. Further down, there’s Restaurant Hong Kee, where you also have another free range chicken or tai shan kiok paired with kuey teow thng. Also housed in the same restaurant, you can have a spread of homestyle Indian dishes with your rice.
Shui Kee Steamed Chicken, 4, Jalan 2/27. Jalan Penchala Food Court, Section 2, Petaling Jaya. Open:7am to 2pm or until food runs out. Closed on Monday and Thursday. Tel:016-6573919.
* This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.
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