Menglembu “Wai Sek Kai” – Wonderful Honey Chicken, Wantan Mee & Mini FishballsSeptember 2, 2011 | 9,813 views
Glistening, caramelized and crispy skin; basked in a honey sauce that’s made from a secret recipe since 1986. The chicken is deep fried instead of grilled or roasted. To my surprise.
And it’s Friday! Haha …. barely set my mind to work and off we go on another two days of deserving rest! Don’t you just LOVE Malaysia and the declared and impromptu public holidays?
Although I was hankering for a few more days of lazing around in good old Ipoh; eating at my favourite food joints, mingling with the legends of Ipoh’s street food and growing horizontally effortlessly from the abundance of caloric-laden fares, work took precedence and here I am recuperating from the long holidays that went by in a flash.
Enough with the temptations already you said? Oh no. We have barely scratched the surface. A teaser of a post to tantalize your well-trained mind/diet into the weekend; let’s hear it for Menglembu’s famous stretch of glutton street aka ‘wai sek kai’.
Come weeknight or on weekend’s evenings, you’ll see a crowd here at Wonderful Honey Chicken lining up and picking on their favourite pieces of gorgeous meat. The CHICKEN I mean, don’t think otherwise.
And what better way to represent Menglembu’s ‘wai sek kai’ than this 25 years-old stall selling fried chicken, honey chicken, and various snacks including bishop’s nose (a very mild name to depict the chicken’s butt), crinkle-cut fries, chicken skin and innards, etc.
Here you have Madam Phoo (Elaine) chopping away with such grace. When you have such filial sons and a loving husband doing all the marination, how could you be sour?
And so this turned out to be quite an adventure. If you have been an ardent follower of this blog since 2008 (yeah, this blog is THAT old ….), you must have noticed that the reviews on food in Menglembu were nothing short of scarce.
Just the occasional post once in a blue moon, and that’s it. A shame actually, since Menglembu has so much more to offer in terms of good eats; hawker food that defies time and niche.
You don’t need extra crunchy, generic KFC’s version when you have a flavourful batter coating the juicy chicken; much like how I have always enjoyed Poh Lee’s version in Pasir Pinji.
Thus, this time I was really adamant on trying Wonderful Honey Chicken in Menglembu. More so after the devil himself posted a shot on the Facebook page; tempting me to no end.
DT was kind enough to drive me over since this Motormouth can be a lost lamb without his GPS in Ipoh. Don’t laugh, albeit the many good finds in nooks and corners, Menglembu’s still a region much unbeknown to this poor hungry soul.
Forget about the diet regime. These crispy chicken skin will do you in with less persuasion. God-sent, I tell you. And makes you wonder why the restaurants don’t serve this!
After a good half an hour or so (yeah … I stay THAT far in Ipoh. What? You mean half an hour’s near?!), we were there. And it started drizzling.
How ironic. But oh no …. wasn’t letting up the slightest of chance to walk about Tranchell Street (the name of the street where the food stalls are parked along the curb) and snapped a few good shots of the surroundings.
How to eat fried chicken without the fries you tell me?
There were a few stalls short of ten. The perennial favourite of many was this wantan mee stall with a few ladies in their late 50’s/60’s busily wrapping pork dumplings on the go, the fishball noodle stall with smaller version of the conventional fish balls; and you can chew on 5 at one go without risking a choke, this char koay kak (fried rice cake) stall at one corner of the street, and a few others.
Two stalls were closed that Monday night; one being another wantan mee stall that serves theirs with bean sprouts and mini fish balls only, and another stall that serves pretty good braised pig’s offals.
A whole thigh for RM6/USD2, that can easily filling up one’s stomach for dinner. Go for the smaller cuts like drumstick (RM3/USD1) or chicken wing (RM2/USD0.70) instead.
Wonderful Honey Chicken used to operate from the corner shop along the same row. They moved to their new premise in September last year, and still doing brisk business … if not better. Most patrons chose to take away their chicken though, judging from the crowd that evening. But of course, feel free to be seated inside the very airy shop, and you can order from any stalls along the street.
They’ll be more than glad to bring over your food to you. Eating here felt like as though you’re witnessing a family of hawkers running the same restaurant. Everyone knew each other by name (of course, most of them have been there for more than a decade now!), and there’s simply no rivalry since every stall has their own fans.
Right in their elements, witness the magic of Menglembu’s wai sek kai’s traders churning out local favourites like wantan mee, char koay kak and fish ball noodles.
Egg noodles with blanched bean sprouts, and a bowl of delicious pork wantan. Very small serving though, but complete your meal with a piece of honey chicken, and some fish balls shown in the picture below … and voila! A balanced (somewhat) feast for a good night’s sleep.
Don’t be alarmed by the sheer quantity. The fish balls are but the size of a 10 cents coin. And in the flavoursome soup you can find lots of crunchy bean sprouts, red chillies, chopped scallion and piquant sour vegetables.
The fact that you can order like nobody’s business here and still feel that every cent spent is worthy. True enough, you don’t see varieties as abundant like at Medan Aneka Selera (Tung Koo Thing) in Ipoh Garden, Tong Sui Kai (Desserts Street) or even Stadium Food Court, but the honey chicken is definitely one of its kind; in a league of its own.
Some may find the sauce slightly too sweet to be a savoury dish, but the allure of eating sweet honey chicken deep fried to crispy perfection brought back fond memories of childhood somehow.
Use your bare hands, grab the drumstick and bite into the crisp skin coating the moist, tender flesh underneath. Lick those sticky, sweet caramelized honey sauce off your fingers for that extra zing. What if the chicken meat tasted somewhat bland? No worries. Grab the bottle of sweet chili sauce that’s just perfect for fried chicken. Like Poh Lee’s or Winner’s.
With a signboard that stand out amongst the rest, can you still assume that you’ve tasted the best of Ipoh’s street food without making your pilgrimage here? I can proudly say I have now.
WONDERFUL HONEY CHICKEN STALL
012-516 1411, 012-507 0005
Business hours – 5.30pm – 11.00pm.
Off days not fixed.
Menglembu Wai Sek Kai (Glutton Street)
@ Tranchell Street, 31450 Menglembu, Perak.