Unless you have the Midas touch (or good foodie contacts) where discovering new nosh holes is concerned, it’s easy to lose your way in KL: the landscape is pockmarked with so many anonymous eateries, each having no distinguishing factor from the next save for subtle variations in their names (Heong rather than Hiong or Hong, for a good real life example), that it’s easy to get mired in culinary mediocrity. Wedged in a row of shophouses all served by the same focused glare of fluorescent lighting, Kah Hiong melds in with the rest. If you’re not looking specifically for it, you’re just as likely to stumble into one of the other eateries and to experience a significantly less satisfying meal.
If my meager grasp of Cantonese serves me correctly, Kah Hiong means ‘extra fragrant’ and, in this instance, the owners have more than done the name justice. Forget the décor (what décor?), forget the unflattering lighting (there are no mirrors, so what the eye doesn’t see, the heart won’t grieve over anyway), you’re at Kah Hiong for two reasons, and two reasons only: the rocking good Chinese home-cooked food that is consistently brilliant, and prices that remind you once again that out of the city, things can still be cheap and good.
While the menu is a treasure trove of creative home-cooked dishes – the matriarch purportedly dives into the kitchen every so often to take over the cooking herself – there are some outstanding signature dishes which seem to be present on every table. The red tilapia curry with tamarind and mint – beleagured neither by muddy notes nor by mealy textures – is a masterful example of freshwater fish expertly prepared.
Let’s not forget the sayur manis lightly fried with egg that gets my mouth watering even as I write about it, or the sublimely flavoursome black pepper chicken, or even the unusual but-not-unpleasant bitter gourd with salted yolk, that I must absolutely recommend. A meal at Kah Hiong is a gift that keeps on giving: not only will you regularly unearth delightful new dishes, you’re also going to be pleasantly surprised when the bill is presented to you. Just remember, the good people of Subang have twigged about this little gem, so if you’re not the type that likes waiting for your food, you’d be well served to get there early. Fay Khoo
(Note: I later look at the Mandarin version of the name and discover that, in this specific context, Kah Hiong actually means ‘fragrant home-cooked’. Same difference.)
|Venue name:||Kah Hiong||Contact:|
9 Jalan SS18/1B
|Opening hours:||Closed on Mondays|