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Michael’s Western Food @ Restoran Kuan Yew, SS3

I used to stay in University Gardens SS3 for a short while many many years ago. I had first come to the city fresh from school and put up with a family friend for a few months.

This part of SS3 was and still is pretty quiet, I’m not so sure if people still call it ‘University Gardens’ anymore. Hidden between the LDP and SS2, its a nice neighbourhood with a few row of shops, a Shell station, a community hall (or as I like to call it, the Indian wedding hall), a covered basketball court (it wasn’t covered back then) and a few tennis courts. There’s a pasar malam here on the main road, but its nothing much to talk about. Actually the most outstanding thing about this place is the junction on a precarious slope that severely tests learner drivers (they’ve installed traffic lights here now).

But there’s one thing people know this area for – the famous Western food. There’s actually 2 stalls, located in two different coffeeshops back to back. The one facing the main road is the less famous one. The one facing the houses behind is far more famous. It’s called Michael’s (although I’m not sure if its owned by the same guy anymore) and the coffeeshop is called Restoran Kuan Yew.

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(a typical corner coffeeshop. The cornerstone of urban Chinese civilization in Malaya…)

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(Michael’s stall. Dude, how much does it cost to replace the sign?)

After something like 15 years I went back to this place again yesterday. Nothing much has changed – all the tables were occupied as usual. Three Indian uncles kindly vacated their table for my family. The coffeeshop actually has a few stalls open at nights. There’s a satay lady, a Chinese tai-chow guy, somebody selling fried chicken (?). But the star of the place is undoubtedly the non-descript stall at the back.

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(The satay stall)

The place is buzzing with customers. Lots of Indian and Chinese uncles (and I suspect one or two Malay pakciks) enjoying small talk over beer, liquor and fried noodles. Very 1Malaysia. Young couples and families waiting patiently for their chicken chop. Go to the stall and make your order, they’ll give you a plastic cup with a stencil letter on it. Don’t ask questions, just take it and go wait at your table (make sure the server can see your plastic cup).

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My cup says ‘F’.

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This is their signature chicken chop. They also have a mixed grill platter that looks delicious. My wife ordered a side of soup with garlic bread. I thought the soup was a little too peppery.

So which did i prefer, this or the other one behind? Both are good, definitely miles ahead of anywhere I’ve tried, and much cheaper than what you get at PappaRich or any of the new kopitiams. But i personally prefer the other one, maybe i don’t like the batter on my chicken chop.

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