I don’t have a clue why my wife hasn’t brought me to this place before. Situated in Central Market, next to the food court, it is a Nyonya restaurant so right up her street. It has a large range of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, and quite a few can be made vegetarian (vegetable dishes in Malaysian cuisine very commonly come with fish/seafood). Hugely popular with Chinese tourists, which seemed like a good sign.
It is one of the most attractive restaurants I have ever been to, with decor similar to the Peranakan museums I have visited in Penang and Melaka. Lots of carved wood, art, stained glass, urns, traditional Chinese cabinets… beautiful place to eat. It’s part of a small chain, I later found, with two more restaurants nearby and a gallery which has vanished from the internet. Staff were good enough, except for delivering dessert before mains.
One of the dishes they can make vegetarian was Chui Pei Tofu. I went for this without shrimp, and got a huge block of tofu with pickled radish and spring onions, plus a delicious sweet and salty sauce. The tofu was jelly like, which I am not a fan of, but overall I was content. It went well with the coconut, ginger, and pea flower rice.
Mee Siam was excellent, according to wife, with a sauce which was rich, spicy, savoury, sour, and fishy. It had a few pieces of chicken, tofu and egg for protein.
Itik tim soup was a bit disappointing for her, though, with the sour duck soup not having enough flavour.
I had a couple of local drinks; the roselle was a refreshing hibiscus drink with a hint of salt; the sour plum was just water, sugar and salted plum, without lime as I expected. Both good.
Desserts were bubur cha cha, a coconut milk soup with yam, sweet potato and banana, which was OK (though actual fruit such as peach or pineapple would surely be nicer!), and sago in coconut milk with gula Melaka. The small chewy sago balls pick up the flavour of the palm sugar and slightly salty milk well, and it was a decent version of a pudding I like here.
Precious Old China is probably at least twice the price of the food court next door, but the quality of the food is better than average, and the surroundings are really nice. If you are in the market, it’s worth eating there at least once.
Address: Lot 2, Mezzanine Floor, Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi, 50050 Kuala Lumpur