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  • Writer's pictureLi Zhengxuan

House Chicken Brings the Taste of China to Malaysia

Author: Li Zhengxuan

Editor: Chen Xinyu

(House Chicken in Southville. Photo by Li Zhengxuan)

House Kitchen is located in the heart of a predominantly Malay community, a small Chinese restaurant that has become increasingly popular among local students and has become the place for Chinese students wanting to try home-cooked food in Savanna.

House Kitchen is owned and operated by Yang Hailiang, a Malaysian Chinese with a passion for cooking. He opened the restaurant in February 2023 with the aim of creating a space where people from different backgrounds can come together and enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine.

When you enter the restaurant, you can see that Mr. Yang's family members will help to take care of the front desk, and there are two elderly people who are his mom and dad.

In an interview with Mr. Yang, he explained that the name "House Chicken" was inspired by his childhood memories. Growing up, his mother would often make chicken dishes at home, and he wanted to recreate that same comforting feeling for his customers.

"I remember the smell of chicken wafting through the house, and it would always make me feel happy. I wanted to create that same feeling of warmth and comfort in my restaurant,” Yang said.

“When I get older, I sometimes do not know what to do when I reach the age of retirement, so sometimes I come to help,” Mr Yang’s mother Tian Yi said.

Crispy fried chicken also serves as a nod to the restaurant's most popular dish. Mr. Yang takes pride in his secret recipe, which involves marinating the chicken in a blend of herbs and spices for several hours before frying it to golden perfection. Curry chicken is also the signature here, marinated in a unique development method, and then poured with curry sauce, becoming the best-selling dish.

Mr. Yang chose to open his restaurant in this particular location because he noticed a gap in the market for authentic Chinese cuisine in the area. Although there were several Chinese restaurants in the city, most of them served a fusion of Chinese and Malay dishes. Because it is close to the school, it attracts many Chinese students who are our main customers.

"I wanted to create a space where Chinese students could come and feel like they were back home. I wanted to offer authentic Chinese dishes,” Yang said.

(A la carte area. Photo by Wang Bohan)

In addition to catering to Chinese students, Yang wanted to create a space where people from different backgrounds could come together and enjoy the food. His choice was to open a Muslim-friendly restaurant to attract a diverse clientele, including Malay students and staff nearby.

Back in the serious days of COVID-19, Mr. Yang had the idea of opening a restaurant, and after two years of procrastination, Mr. Yang finally achieved his goal. This time he found a better location than before, perhaps a blessing in disguise. He already plans to expand the menu to include more Chinese dishes and introduce new promotions to attract more customers. “We are also looking into catering and delivery options to reach even more people,” Yang said.

"I want to continue to provide authentic Chinese cuisine to students and locals in the area. I also want to create a space where people can come and enjoy good food, connect with one another, and create new memories," Yang said.

To get a sense of what makes House Chicken so special, we spoke with three Chinese students Wang Bohan, Xu Bingxuan, Xu Zihao and one Malay who frequent the restaurant, Murniwati Mat Rradzi.

Wang Bohan, a 21-year-old student from Guangzhou, China, said that he was initially sceptical when she first heard about House Chicken.

"I didn't think a Chinese restaurant in Malaysia would be that good, because it's hard to find one here that is ready to kill and it definitely doesn't taste that good, but when I tasted the food, the chicken was always tender and flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised because there was more or less freshness in it," Wang said.

Xu Bingxuan agrees, adding that the portions are generous and the prices are very affordable. “I come here at least once a week, sometimes more. His favourite dish is scrambled eggs with tomatoes, simple but authentic and tasty at the same time, but today it's out of luck, it's sold out."

Xu Zihao, a 22-year-old student from Hunan China, said that “House Chicken” has become his spot for meals frequently.

“I come here almost every day, the food here is very good and at the same time there is a wide variety, while there is free soup available, which makes me feel like I am back home in Hunan," Xu said.

Xu added on, “My favourite dish is chicken curry, which is the best dish I've ever eaten. When I choose a dish, I almost always choose it, unless I'm sick, because it makes a sore throat worse."

(Chinese Cuisine. Photo by Wang Bohan)

Murniwati Mat Rradzi, a 30-year-old staff member in 7-eleven, Southville, said that it was a surprising experience.

“This place has grown from nothing, originally there was only Mamak, then there was KFC, what surprised me was that now there is a Chinese restaurant, I had thought that Chinese restaurants should not be good in this small place. But in fact, when I went there, what surprised me was that I really liked the green vegetables he made, not too greasy and tasted good,” He said.

In a world where food can be mass-produced and lacking in soul. House Chicken is a refreshing reminder of the beauty and joy of homemade cuisine. It is clear that the owner's passion for cooking and dedication to quality has resulted in a restaurant that truly feels like home.

House Chicken is more than just a restaurant. It's a place where cultures blend together through food, creating a sense of home for those who may be far away from their families.

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