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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 ― I had heard quite a lot about Danny Penang Tua Pan from friends ... so much so that it piqued my curiosity enough to take a drive to Ampang to try it out. Originally located in Kepong, the stall moved to Pandan Perdana in Ampang a few years ago.
The menu is a simple one with a focus on noodles, where each item is priced at RM8. You have fish meat bee hoon soup, fish meat fried bee hoon, a dry yin yong (mixed noodles), sang mee, Penang ee fu mee, char hor fun (tua pan), wa tan yin yong and Penang Hokkien char. They also offer fried rice, rice with gravy and a selection of dishes like steamed fish, steamed pork, sweet and sour pork to be paired with rice.
If you're from Penang, you will zoom in on two things, their char hor fun and Hokkien char. The first dish is sought after as it uses tua pan or broader flat rice noodles brought in specially from Penang. The second dish is rarely found in the Klang Valley as it's a simple fried noodles dish with a brown gravy made from prawns and pork. Pair this with a spicy sambal made with belacan.
What makes this place incredibly special is how the owner fries the noodles, as each plate has the highly sought after wok hei or breath of wok. That smokiness is achieved by many years of wielding the spatula and controlling the heat when frying with a wok.
The char hor fun is excellent. By using a broader flat noodle, you get more bite with each mouthful which makes you eat more and more of it. There are strands of bee hoon mixed with the flat rice noodles, just enough to give you a texture contrast. The sauce may look insipid especially for those used to the eggy versions but it's tasty and coats the noodles perfectly.
A friend had recommended the fish meat fried bee hoon and that dish blew me away. When eaten there, the fried fish is perfect with a light, crisp batter that gives way to sweet tasting fish.
The fried bee hoon has an enticing smokiness with possibly fish sauce giving it lots of flavour. I had also packed a portion home and it still tasted good when it cooled down. The only compromise would be you won't get the same taste of the exceptional fried fish.
As they also offer Penang lorbak for RM8, I ordered that. The meat roll may look burnt but it tasted fine. I liked the subtle flavour of the five spice powder and how it is composed entirely of meat versus those versions that mix minced meat in it. This gives it a firmer bite. The lorbak tasted good when served hot at the restaurant. Even when I packed it home, it was still tasty albeit not piping hot.
I'll definitely be returning here to try the other noodle dishes. You will also notice that a majority of the patrons speak Hokkien, making one nostalgic for the Penang food scene.
Danny Penang Tua Pan, Restoran Happy Cook, 35, Jalan Perdana 6/4, Pandan Perdana, Ampang, KL. Tel: 016-3280090. Open: 11am to 10pm. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Danny-Penang-Tua-Pan-410870519065513/