Poon Choi @ Restaurant Lee Hong Kee

poon choi top layer

I’ve always wanted to eat poon choi. It’s a a traditional Chinese New Year feast in a bowl that requires at least 8-10 people to finish. There’s an interesting article in Wikipedia that has the origins of poon choi – it’s apparently prepared in layers and meant to be eaten layer-by-layer instead of stirring everything up.

poon choi tapau

I decided to book a table at Restaurant Lee Hong Kee (previously known as Restorant LYJ) since their flagship dish is poon choi. However, the restaurant is fully booked for all the dates even *remotely* close to CNY. Thus, I decided to take away and have it at home instead.

full house

Restaurant Lee Hong Kee really is packed to the brim – there’s a sign saying “Full House” and all the tables are reserved. We sat down and waited about 20 minutes for our take-away poon choi to come. It’s served in a big, deep bowl and wrapped with aluminium foil and wrap to retain the heat.

restaurant lee hong kee

The people there will also help you to move the poon choi to your car!

poon choi to go

I also ordered some of their popular dishes like their signature roast chicken a.k.a. “Dong Tok” chicken. It’s literally a chicken that’s made to *stand up* with head and throat served intact. Since we had it to go, I couldn’t make it stand up without assistance, despite all my best efforts. smirk

standing chicken

There were 11 of us that day – some are kids, but all of them are my dear’s brothers and parents. The poon choi is priced at an auspicious RM 338 and contains a lot of goodies – the top layer (dry) has ½ Hainanese steamed chicken, ½ roasted duck, abalone slices, fishball cake, a dozen large prawns (unpeeled) and a token amount of vegetables.

poon choi

I found out that poon choi doesn’t have a lot of vegetables coz of the history behind the dish. There are a lot of premium ingredients though!

poon choi bottom layer

The bottom layer contains the “wet stuff” and other goodies which can absorb the sauces which drips down from the top layer – fish maw, roasted chestnuts, pig skin, bean curd, Shittake mushrooms, braised chicken feet and stewed pork, just to name a few.

big bowl feast

It really was a wonderful experience eating the poon choi! I had it with my dear’s family and the 11 of us couldn’t even finish the bowl! It’s not called the Big Bowl Feast for nothing. The sauce is really delicious and we all ate till we’re about to burst! I highly recommend their poon choi, it really is something special due to the chef’s familiarity with preparing the dish.

classic pun choi

The bill came up to RM 421 and it’s definitely worth it. I’ll happily eat the poon choi from Restaurant Lee Hong Kee again – according to my dear, it’s the best she has eaten to date.

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

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17 thoughts on “Poon Choi @ Restaurant Lee Hong Kee

    • I would highly recommend it! :)

      I haven’t eaten it before this too! First time eating it and I was really glad I did. It’s delicious!

  1. HB, poon choi is still not too popular in Chinese restaurants in states. San Francisco the Asian markets deli sell iyt as takeout only but still enjoyed at home.

    • It’s quite popular here! :)

      Some places don’t do it well though. My better half tapau from a well known restaurant last year and it was horrible but this year’s was great! It depends on where you get it from.

    • Yeah, I know steamboat is popular from my sister! :)

      It seems some people associate CNY with steamboat, which is a good community meal. This one is too but you need to find a good restaurant to have good poon choi.

      Restaurant Lee Hong Kee has been doing it for ages so it’s delicious!

    • Yeah, I didn’t know can tapau until I asked at this restaurant too! :)

      Restaurant Lee Hong Kee does it every single day of the year e.g. it’s not a CNY special. They sure know how to do it and have mastered even the packaging so it doesn’t spill.

      I loved their poon choi and Ling said it’s the best she had to date too!

  2. Yummy! Yummy! I love the CNY food served in restaurants and had several Poon Choi & Yee Sangs. That made me FATTER by 3 kilos.. Sob!

    I could imagine and taste the Poon Choi in your photo! Thumbs UP!!

    • I’m not such a huge fan of yee sang since it’s basically a salad and I don’t like salads. :)

      Haha! I will still eat yee sang though for tradition but poon choi is my new favorite now!

      This restaurant does poon choi really well! The separation is really good so you can taste each ingredient on it’s own!

    • Yeah, it can feed up to 10 people easily! :)

      It’s an interesting read, I checked the Wikipedia link for the origins of poon choi and found it to be quite interesting.

      It’s also very delicious if you find the right place – the food is better than the sum of it’s parts coz of the juice/sauces that drips down.

    • Yeah, there is also a RM 500+ one with scallops in a bird nest! :)

      I didn’t know about that though, I was only quoted this one when I called. I found out later that some of their poon choi cannot be tapau-ed e.g. the ones with “bird nest” since it’s impossible to wrap up properly.

      I would love to eat the biggest and best one in-house for the experience. I’ll do it next year and book early.

      Thanks Eli! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family too! :D

  3. Not my favourite. Nice, of course, very nice – how not to be nice with all those delicious ingredients but I think I would prefer each on its own – like all the nice roast meat, not really crazy about that served soaked in gravy.

    • This is my first time eating it and I was surprised by how good it tasted! :)

      The gravy doesn’t get all mixed together. The top layer e.g. dry ingredients are separated very well with chicken and duck flanking the sides and fishcake and prawns (which is steamed and doesn’t have gravy) filling in the blanks.

      The bottom layer is separated slightly too, and the best part is that eating from the top layer causes a little gravy (not a lot, like the hot platter) to drip down so you can taste those parts too!

      They’re quite smart as to separate the ingredients so you can taste each one without having the gravy overpowering everything and making it all taste the same. I think part of the appeal is getting the prawn essence to “drip down” so that it also flavors the abalone slices at the bottom, which you can’t get from eating them alone. I loved it! :D

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