We’ve been going to Damansara Kim every few months since many years ago. Our destination is KitaRefill, a detergent bulk store where we buy detergents using our own bottles. Funny though, we almost never dine at Damansara Kim. But that changed when we finally took the initiative in August this year.
We choose Ho Li Chow Restaurant as we’ve been eyeing it for some time. Ho Li Chow Restaurant claims to serve authentic Penang Nyonya food. We visited them twice this year, in August and December, and this post will include the food we ate on both days.
From afar, the restaurant’s signboard looks inviting with its bold lettering & colors, but as we stood at the entrance, I wasn’t so sure anymore.
To be honest, the decoration and ambience don’t look appealing. It sorta like has a foodcourt style arrangement where the majority of the ‘food stations’ concentrate on the right side in a row. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This is after all my first impression. My impression changed on my second visit where I feel its homey vibe.
The dining area consists of simple wooden tables and stools. This restaurant is powered by the good ole ceiling & wall fans. Although it’s not air-conditioned we didn’t sweat on both visits due to it.
The menu showcases Aunty Sue’s mission & their signature lam mee dish.
On the other side of the menu is The list of food and drinks they are offering. They all sound so appealing especially this never heard before lemak laksa.
During our August visit (1st visit), mom wanted something non-spicy and they recommended lam mee @ RM16 to her. Mom is a woman of few words when it comes to describing her food but she acknowledged this lam mee is good. I sipped the broth and found it flavorful with crab flavor.
This Penang lam mee also comes with sambal belacan which mom initially declines. But as soon as I told her that the sambal belacan tasted like her mom’s sambal belacan and was not spicy, she gave it a try and the rest is history!
When we visited again in December, I ordered the lam mee. Do you notice how different both dishes of lam mee look? 😁 I have no complaints and find it interesting and funny. I only noticed their stark differences when I was writing this post. LOL
The lam mee consists of regular yellow noodles (although a more authentic lam mee uses a slightly thicker yellow noodle), prawns, boiled sliced pork, minced pork, egg strips, chives, bean sprouts, fried onion, spring onion with a side of sambal belacan. The lam mee dish is elevated with the add-on sambal. So, remember to add the sambal when you’re having the lam mee.
One shocker about my lam mee is that all 3 prawns contain roes! The second shocker is the broth doesn’t taste like my mom’s. My one has no crab flavor but a very noticeable prawn stock taste. Both times, the broth is really rich though.
I ordered bihun Siam (Siam mee hoon) @ RM16 on my 1st visit. It’s nothing like the sourish Chinese-style bihun Siam. This bihun Siam is savory and delicious. You could detect some spices in it. It also comes with sambal belacan which complemented this dish well.
One thing they can improve on is to make sure the mee hoon is not bunched up because large chunks of mee hoon on this plate were like that and it wasn’t pleasant to eat.
Sis ordered the lemak laksa @ RM15 on the 1st visit. As it was too long ago, my sis only remembers YUMMY! Hahaha She remembers sweating profusely due to the dish, and not the environment. I also took a sip of the broth and it’s very rich.
She ordered asam laksa @ RM14 on the 2nd visit. She said it doesn’t have enough fish meat and the broth is not thick enough. Even after adding all the hae ko (shrimp paste), it’s still not enough oomph aka shiok. Sis said overall is ok which I don’t know what that means. Haha. Btw, do you noticed that the toppings for the laksa lemak and asam laksa are the same? If I’m not mistaken Aunty Sue said both dishes are cousins.
Later when I interrogated my sis further, asking whether laksa lemak tastes like curry noodle/laksa or asam laksa, she couldn’t answer me as she had forgotten the taste of the laksa lemak. I only had a sip so I also can’t remember. 😜 But when asked to choose which one she would order if there were only two choices, she said laksa lemak without hesitation.
Nasi lemak with chicken rendang @ RM17 was ordered by mom on our 2nd visit. She said chicken rendang is nice but the sambal is very spicy. The nasi lemak portion may look okay in the photo but when it was served, I was shocked at how small the portion was.
We ordered bubur cha cha @ RM6 during both of our visits. This is the bowl from 1st visit. It’s so delicious as the santan/coconut milk is very fragrant and pronounced. The only negative point is the yam, which is still a little hard. We had eaten some from this bowl, hence why it looks less.
And, this is the bowl from the 2nd visit. Spot the difference? Well, this bowl doesn’t have a strong perfumey santan taste as it was overpowered by gula Melaka. You can see this bowl’s santan is brown. I prefer the bubur cha cha from our 1st visit. Again, the yam is a tad harder. Would’ve preferred if the yam, sweet potato and tapioca were cooked to a similar softness.
Overall, the food from both our visits was great despite some of them having some differences in taste and presentation. I think the prices are on the slightly higher side but if I consider the efforts and work they put in to create these traditional Nyonya dishes from scratch, I think it’s worth it. I mean I could taste the difference if a food is made with care like at home or when the food is made from industrialized ingredients and added with MSG. Ho Li Chow is definitely the former.
When I think of the Nyonya dishes from Ho Li Chow, they remind me of delicious homey and comforting feelings. I can’t wait to be back to try other Nyonya dishes.
Ho Li Chow Restaurant
40, Jalan SS20/10,
47400 Damansara Kim,
Tel: 603-7710 4088
Business hours: 9am–3pm. Close on Monday.