Chow Kit... talk about this place and many people will give different opinions. To the elderly, this place was once very famous for its vice activities namely prostitution (red light district & gangsterism. Some people even come here for cheap bargains. As for me, I come here to find good food.
The place which I am going to mention is quite hidden from the main road of Jalan Raja Laut. Restoran Ong Lai had made quite a name for itself since the early days. Located behind Bee Seng Hotel which fronts Jalan Raja Laut, you have to turn into the alley once you see the hotel itself. Your next difficult task is too find a parking and if you are lucky, you will see a family leaving after a satisfying dinner there. My uncle who's in his 70's often told me about this famous place in Tiong Nam area (near Chow Kit) that whipped out delicious tai chow, o chien & steamed fish head (teo chew style). This place is also where my dad used to bring his girl (my mom-to-be) to eat everytime they went to KL. Back then as a kid, I never really paid any attention until I started appreciating good food. Guess what?? It was Jenn who brought me here for the first time.. again! LOL.. it seems that she is more adventurous than I do.
The restaurant is normally packed during peak hours... inside!
Open kitchen concept near the dining area!
O Chien or fried oyster - quite generous with the oysters and not too starchy. A delicious dish.. however I prefer my o chien to be crispy.
Signature steamed fish head - using song fish and steamed Teo Chew style, the fish meat was flaky and firm (indication that the fish head was fresh). Chinese cabbage laid atop of the fish head giving a sweet taste to the dish. The clear soup was so delicious that it's good till the last drop. Just be careful with the fish bones OK?
Pineapple pork ribs - one of the signature dishes of Ong Lai. The sauce is similar to those sweet & sour pork. However, from what it was supposed to be a hit, it was a total letdown this time. The meat was still a little raw and we guessed that due to the everending dinner crowd... they (the cooks) rushed orders and paid little attention to the preparation of the dishes.
A meal like this is definitely not complete without beer :)
Leo's verdict - One word to describe this restaurant - inconsistent! It is a better bet if you come early before the dinner crowd starts coming in. Like many other Chinese restaurants out there, be expect to douse a lot of water after the meal, as healthy dose of MSG is used in the dishes. An extremely popular with KL-ites and tourists on weekends. Even the Singaporeans know how to find their way here. So if you come during peak hours, expect to wait for tables and after that, additional 20-30 minutes before your food is served... as told by the boss himself. Parking is notorious here.. at times you will find yourself park quite far from the restaurant and walk all the way here (I did!)