There’s a saying that if the restaurant is packed, chances are the food is good. I’ve walked past Fong Lye many times over the span of 2 years, only to see a snake-like queue outside the restaurant. “Business must be good”, I thought to myself. “I shall pay the place a visit when it isn’t so packed.”I was with Shum deciding on what to eat at The Gardens, and since my favourite eye candy wasn’t around, I suggested Fong Lye. She was just as game, because she too, has been curious about the place. So we went. To be frank, I hated the seating arrangement. Tables were way too close to each other, and someone grazed my arm with her butt cheek while trying to squeeze out of the narrow table gap.On to the food. The Three Varieties of Supreme Diced Chicken (RM19.80) was highly recommended, so I ordered it. Shum had the Three Colour Chili Beef Rice (RM26.80). Drinks were ridiculously expensive. RM4.30 for a can of coke and RM3.30 for a bottle of water. We shared a pot of Jasmine Oolong Tea (RM12) instead. The tea pot set was very delicate and very pretty, but I’m afraid that was the only nice thing about it. The only thing remotely tea-like about this ‘tea’, was its colour. We were paying for its presentation.First to arrive was the Three Colour Chili Beef Rice. Portion was small, even for Shum, who has a considerably smaller appetite than myself. It tasted peculiar, like a mix of ketchup, oyster sauce, honey, chilli sauce and soy sauce tossed together with the beef slices and bell pepper. Come to think of it, you know those local chilli and tomato sauces mamak stalls use for their French fries? THAT was what the gravy tasted like. Poor Shum. Slightly better was the Three Varieties of Supreme Diced Chicken, basically a glorified name for 3 Cup Chicken (san bei ji). Cooked with basil leaves, sticky dark sauce, sesame oil and chilli, the chicken didn’t taste that good. At least not as good as people were ‘oooh-ing’ and ‘aaaah-ing’ about. I thought the chicken wasn’t fragrant or flavourful enough and it reeked mostly of star anise. I don’t remember 3 Cup Chicken ever being cooked with star anise. More shaoxing wine would have done the dish a favour. The minced pork on top of my white rice didn’t do much for the set. I felt like a child who had just discovered her candy bar was actually a carrot stick wrapped with a sweet wrapper by her mummy.The side dishes, which included a bowl of lotus roots soup, stir-fried French beans, fried fish cake and half an egg, was boring. I didn’t give two hoots about the soup, French beans and egg — I could get those at home. The fried fish cake was well, fried fish cake. Nuff said.
We had to fork out RM67.40 for lunch. Shum was upset. Her set was a complete disaster. I was angry, because we could have eaten at Ko Hyang or TGIF for less, and feel more satisfied.
Ambiance: 4/10 (refer to butt-cheek incident)
Food: 4/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: Tiny portions, below average food and wallet-denting prices.
Fong Lye Taiwan Restaurant
Mid Valley City
03 2282 8699