Dog-eared menus. Melamine plates. Tak Chee House is your typical Asian hawker eatery, where bare basics are the trade off for authentic Penang-style fare.

The decor is restricted to one floral painting at the back of the room, some flowers and waving golden cats at the front. Specials are printed on pink and yellow laminated A4 sheets and the sole fridge whirrs loudly.

A lot can be forgiven for excellent Hainanese chicken rice. Ask anyone: this is Tak Chee House’s go-to dish. It comes boned and either steamed or “fried”, which is actually roasted. Served on a bed of bean shoots with a cup of clear broth, it’s Malaysian comfort food at its best.

Other favourites include curry laksa, roti and kway teow. Just sit and listen to the orders going through to the kitchen for a few minutes and you’ll figure that out. There’s the usual steaming Chinese tea or canned drinks in the noisy fridge.

The wait crew ask all the important questions. Such as which part of the chicken you’d prefer: breast or leg; your chilli tolerance; and whether you’ll use chopsticks or a fork. Those little things count. And that’s why Tak Chee is packed for lunch and dinner, no matter what day of the week.

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Updated: January 24th, 2018

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