SEREMBAN: One of the best-known chicken rice shops here has not lost its sparkle despite recent unfavourable remarks online as it continues to pack in the crowd.
Restoran Chai Hong – popularly known as Diamond Chicken Rice – had received flak from social media users after a customer, who ate there with 15 others, posted the receipt on Facebook following a meal that cost them RM418.
The shop, famed for its Teochew-style steamed chicken rice with Ipoh bean sprouts, is located in Jalan Kapitan Tam Yeong here.
The queue for takeaways are usually long and the tables fully occupied even while 71-year-old Low Chang Kwang and his three employees are still preparing the birds and other side dishes for the day.
“Our reputation precedes us and we are still popular,” said the owner who had been in the business for 40 years.
Pointing to a price listing at the entrance, Low said his customers knew how much it would cost to eat at the restaurant.
“We have an economy chicken rice set costing RM5.50 and an individual set that comes at RM9.50. Half a bird costs between RM40 and RM50 depending on the size,” he said.
Both Low and his wife – the person behind the recipe – would painstakingly ensure the finest birds and ingredients were used.
“We use only free-range chickens, Bentong ginger and the highest-grade chillies,” Low said, stopping short of revealing the many more ingredients that went into making their famous chicken rice.
“I have customers who order from Kuala Lumpur and then get someone to do the pick-up. If I overcharge, my customers – who are multiracial – will not keep coming back,” said the father of four.
The owner also proudly showed the certificate of appreciation he had received from Chinese-American celebrity chef and TV host Martin Yan.
“He came with his TV crew to sample our chicken rice unannounced. We didn’t even recognise him until our customers alerted us,” he recalled.
Last year, officers from the state Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Department came following a customer complaint.
“After conducting their checks, they found that we did not overcharge,” he said.
Low said he had turned down approaches to franchise his business as they were afraid that quality would be compromised.
As to the shop’s sobriquet, Low said their customers used to notice the diamond ring and earrings that his wife wore.
“That’s how it got associated with our restaurant,” he said.
A customer, who wished to be known only as Gan, said Low’s chicken rice might be pricier but it was “simply the best”.