Sinful and lard-laden: 5 under-the-radar Hokkien mee places in KL and PJ

— Picture by Lee Khang Yi
— Picture by Lee Khang Yi

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Unique to Kuala Lumpur, the Hokkien mee beckons for dinner or even a late-night after-drinks tummy filler. That plate of dark brown and almost black looking noodles is said to have been created by Ong Kim Lian.

The Fujian native opened his stall in 1927 along Jalan Dang Wangi, peddling his version of Hokkien noodles with his handmade yellow tai loke mee or thick noodles made with alkaline water to give it bite.

The Hokkien noodles are fried with lard to give it flavour and to mask the alkaline water taste. Firstly, the ingredients like pork slices and liver are lightly fried in lard. Subsequently, a broth made from pork bones will be added to the noodles together with squid, prawns and vegetables.

There will be a dash of dark soy sauce with hints of sweet caramel and a sprinkle of dried sole powder added. A lid will then be used to cover the wok to allow the noodles to be braised and the flavours absorbed.

Once the lid is removed, the noodles will be quickly stir-fried over a hot fire to catch the wok hei (literally, wok breath) and to allow the broth to evaporate.

A handful of deep-fried lard cubes will be added and stirred quickly into the noodles for extra flavour before being ladled out. Sambal belacan will be served on the side for a spicy kick to the noodles.

Some prefer mixing the thick yellow noodles with beehoon for a drier and more flavourful noodle dish, since the rice vermicelli strands absorb more of the gravy.

Hau Kee Seafood Restaurant
12, Jalan Kaskas 2,
Taman Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Open: 6pm to 2am
Even though this place is better known for its seafood, try their superb Hokkien noodles that glistens with lard and has good wok hei. The noodles are served with prawns, sotong and Chinese cabbage. You’ll find hidden treasure with each bite — light crispy and crunchy lard fritters.

Restaurant Loong Kee
20-5, Jalan Pahang,
Kuala Lumpur
Open daily: 7pm to 5am
Spot this tai-chow with its kitchen up front in this quieter part of Jalan Pahang near Chow Kit. Customers dine at tables and chairs that spill out onto the sidewalk. The place serves up dishes like salted egg yolk prawns and Hokkien noodles like bak kee thng for the late night crowd. When your plate of Hokkien mee arrives, eat the well-braised and tasty noodles quickly before it gets cold. It’s fragrant with a serving of lard fritters that are well prepared with crispy edges. The noodles are served with prawns, sotong and pork slices.

Fatt Kee Hokkien Mee
Restaurant Win Heng Seng,
183, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
Open: 5pm to 12pm
Closed every second Monday of the month
This place makes a good stopover on the way home from the city centre. The draw for this place is their Hokkien mee is served with a generous portion of well-prepared ingredients — brown cuttlefish, prawns, fishcake slices, tender pork slices and two types of vegetables, Chinese cabbage and chai sim. Other popular dishes include their Cantonese fried noodles and braised yee mee.

Ming Heang Hui
3 ½ miles, Jalan Cheras
(next to Petronas station and opposite Menara PGRM)
Open: 5pm to 12pm
Closed on Mondays
This stall located within a corner coffeeshop is popularly known as “PGRM Hokkien Mee” or the “Mo Chiew Pai Hokkien Mee” (literally, No Signboard Hokkien Mee). Even though a charcoal fire is used, the Hokkien mee tends to have just a little wok hei and is a bit wetter than the rest. Ask for extra pork lard fritters to infuse the noodles with more taste. Forget about their Cantonese fried noodles as it is insipid and almost tasteless. The coffeeshop also serves refreshing drinks like the unusual pumpkin and barley combination.

Peng Yuan Hokkien Mee
Restoran Mei Keng,
42, Jalan 14/48, Petaling Jaya
Open: 4.30pm to 1am
Known as the other Hokkien mee next to the famed Ah Wa’s further down the road, this place dishes up a decent Hokkien mee with wok hei and an abundance of lard fritters. They tend to be rather stingy though with ingredients like prawns and pork slices. Its plus point is the shorter waiting time for your meal compared to the other crowd-crazy place. Another draw here is the delicious fried chicken sold outside the restaurant. You get juicy marinated pieces with a crispy skin, so good that you won’t say no to seconds.