Noodles are quite the ubiquitous street food and one of the most popular comfort food dishes around; an affordable, deeply satisfying meal in a bowl. Here are some of the finest specimens in KL that even the locals flock to.
Brave the permanent tangle of cars in Pudu, and you’ll find a sublime bowl of curry mee right next to a weathered-looking launderette. Eating Restoran 168’s curry mee is like digging through a treasure chest: in a single bowl you’ll find aubergine fingers, fresh mint leaves, ocean-fresh cockles, bean sprouts, green beans, beancurd puffs, gelatinous fish maw, and deep-fried pig’s skin, all floating in a wonderfully complex chicken-based coconut curry broth. Your standard bee hoon (rice vermicelli) or yellow noodles are delicious enough, but we suggest ordering the linguini-like spinach noodles – they slurp up ever so beautifully – as well as adding char siew (barbecued pork) on top for an extra sweet-savoury punch. They tend to sell out early, so make sure you arrive before 1pm.
1 Jalan Brunei Utara, Pudu
Pudu is where the locals eat, and they’ve been eating Hakka noodles at the family-run Da Bu Mian for more than eight decades now. Thin noodles are coated with a slick of lard and other secret sauces, topped with a braised pork mince, char siew and stalks of chye sim vegetable. The devil’s in the details: the springy and aromatic noodles are made in-house, and have none of the unpleasant alkaline flavour often found in such noodles. The pork is hand-chopped for a texture unattainable with food processors, and braised with soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic for a gorgeous, savoury depth. Expect to share a table with strangers at peak hours, and go for breakfast or an early lunch – they close at 2.30pm.
Chun Kee Hakka Mee
446 Jalan Sayur, off Jalan Pudu
Peter’s pork noodles are an homage to the pig, a veritable bowl of porcine goodness. A sweet pork broth – augmented with preserved winter vegetables – is topped with minced pork, sliced lean pork, pork liver and deep-fried squares of lard. Bee hoon, yellow noodles, mee sua (rice flour noodles) and kway teow (flat rice noodles) are your noodle options, but we think slippery kway teow pairs best with this broth. A perfectly poached egg (or two) completes the whole affair. One caveat: avoid the dry version of these noodles, which were carelessly sauced and bitter-tasting on our last try. There are two branches, both in Brickfields. If you’re at Restoran One Sentral, do try the pisang goreng (deep-fried battered bananas) from the stall outside for dessert – it’s some of the best you’ll find in KL.
Peter’s Pork Noodles
Mayflower Food Court, 144A Jalan Vivekanda, off Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields
Restoran One Sentral (Opposite YMCA), Jalan Tun Sambanthan 4, Brickfields
Chilli pan mee
Kin Kin Pan Mee may have expanded to several outlets – there’s even one in Singapore – but the best place to enjoy their signature bowl of chilli pan mee is still at their original branch in Chow Kit. Order it dry, as most people do. Each bowl of slightly sticky, deliciously chewy noodles arrives topped with salty, crunchy anchovies, minced pork, a scattering of spring onions and a poached egg. Stir in a dollop or two of their fried chili topping to taste, but go easy – the initial burn builds up to a tongue-scorching pain over the course of the bowl. Once infamous for their service (or the lack thereof), the staff’s grumpiness appears to have mellowed in recent years to a mild friendliness.
Restoran Kin Kin
40 Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1, off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kampung Baru
– TEXT BY FLORENTYNA LEOW
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.