A little bird told me about Great China Restaurant in Pandan Indah, citing this as the latest venture of Uncle Cheong – “God of Chefs”, as he’s fondly known during his time with the Overseas Restaurant Group. Opened just a few months ago, Great China Restaurant already has a steady following. Mostly old timers who were with “Cheong Gor” in the early days.
As such, making prior reservation is a must to avoid disappointment. I mean, if you’re making the effort to travel all the way like I did, it’s only wise to call ahead to ensure your efforts don’t go in vain. On a weeknight, the place was crowded and Uncle Cheong played a supervisor role in ensuring the food standards do his justice. His apprentice is apparently the head chef at Great China Restaurant.
Seeing how the team at Great China is formerly from Overseas Restaurant, I had high expectations for the Braised Sliced Pork Belly with Salted Fish in Claypot (RM42). Fortunately, my expectations were met – thinly sliced pork belly cooked till crisp around the edges and meltingly tender at the centre. There’s a good amount of salted fish and dried chillies to lift this dish, though a small part of me wished there was more char at the bottom of the claypot.
The Braised Homemade Beancurd with Petola (RM18) is delicious stuff. Thick cut with an almost custard-like texture, I reckon no other Chinese restaurants can level up to this. Maybe I’m biased, as I always felt the version from Overseas was the best out there.
I ordered a Tilapia Fish Spicy Steamed (RM72) based on the tip-off from my messenger – and it was fish of 2023 for me. Who knew that a humble tilapia can be elevated this deliciously, butterflied and steamed in a sweet, savoury and spicy bean paste sauce. I’ve never been a fan of tilapia but this is one dish I’ll order over and over again.
They should have served the steamed fish (I think this is patin, but not wild caught) with soy sauce before the tilapia, as while also delicious, it paled in comparison to the latter. That said, the fish was cooked right and the soy based gravy is reminiscence of Overseas Restaurant’s version – same supplier, I reckon.
Our waiter suggested we try the Braised Pork Knuckle in Brown Sauce (RM68), which comes with steamed mantau on the side. I rarely enjoy pork knuckle braised as the skin is often not done right but this was good stuff. By default, I usually discard the skin but this time around, I ate everything, down to the bones.
The Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Leaves with Garlic (RM32) was nothing to shout about. I wished they had the claypot kangkung as that would have been pretty epic. Overall, a pretty enjoyable experience and decent enough dining environment, but I prefer Buddies over Great China.
I guess in Uncle Cheong’s case, the student has yet to become the master. But I’m quite sure he will, in a matter of time. Our bill came up to RM320 for 4 pax. Definitely better value than dining at Overseas Restaurant, that I can say.
Great China Restaurant also has private rooms for larger groups from what I saw. If you’d like that option, best to call ahead to check or book. I believe a minimum spend apply.
Food: 7/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: Try the spicy steamed tilapia, braised pork knuckle and the claypot pork belly with salted fish.
Great China Restaurant 大中華大飯店
28, Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 012-912 4699
Business hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pm