KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — With a name like The Art Noodles Lab, there should be little confusion about what’s on the menu. And yet, when I visited this restaurant in Fortune Perdana, Kepong, the long and unrelenting menu lay siege to my senses; even now, the page of 26 optional add-ons is seared into my memory.

Yes, this is a noodle house, and they serve noodles, but the sheer variety of noodle dishes under one roof is extraordinary.

I could genuinely eat here every day for at least three months and never have the same dish twice. Pork noodles, pork ball noodles, seafood noodles, seafood and pork noodles, curry laksa, char koay teow... I feel like Bubba rattling off shrimp to Forrest.

I decided to go with what seemed popular when I dropped in for lunch at about 1pm.

Advertisement

I should mention that parking here requires luck, persistence and even more luck. On top of that, one can expect the place to fill up pretty quickly.

The restaurant was indeed full on this occasion, but perhaps most interestingly, there was at least one bowl of pork noodles on every table.

Not every bowl appeared identical, as they were all picked out of a list of 12 different iterations of pork noodles.

Advertisement

I skipped some of the more zany combinations, settling instead on the “perfect Jinhua ham angelica sinensis snow sliced pork noodles (RM18.90)”.

Full house at lunchtime.
Full house at lunchtime.

In a large bowl of thick, almost tonkotsu-opaque pork broth, are pork slices, mince and a pork tendon ball.

Dong quai, or angelica sinensis, does most of the herbal heavy lifting in balancing the intensity of pork in the broth. Wolfberries add some much-needed sweetness as well.

The mince is made from the belly, giving it a delightfully fatty and springy texture. Slivers of ham add a funky aroma to the soup, though the actual pieces end up tasting a little on the sweet side.

The soup here isn’t just cloudy; it’s almost completely opaque.
The soup here isn’t just cloudy; it’s almost completely opaque.

The pork balls are made in-house, so naturally there’s a page dedicated to pork ball noodles.

The fresh mushroom pork tendon ball noodles (RM16.90) are perfect for fans of the snappy, almost crunchy texture of tendons in ball form along with the meaty, earthy qualities of mushrooms.

Interestingly, there’s a choice of broths in this section: we went for the “god level tea tree mushroom soup” which arrived looking almost surreal.

Pork tendon balls and mushrooms make for a tasty combination.
Pork tendon balls and mushrooms make for a tasty combination.

The ‘siham’ + chorizo pork sausage + honey BBQ ‘Nyonya curry laksa’ is a solid, if a little different, version of KL curry mee.
The ‘siham’ + chorizo pork sausage + honey BBQ ‘Nyonya curry laksa’ is a solid, if a little different, version of KL curry mee.

Unlike the thick but slightly cloudy broth of the pork noodles, this had a tinge of yellow with a thicker, smoother consistency.

The flavour of Chinese cooking wine is expressed a lot stronger in this broth, but in case you would like more, there’s a tiny carafe of it at every table.

The second most popular bowl on each table announced itself by smell when it arrived at ours.

Tempting… but ultimately unnecessary.
Tempting… but ultimately unnecessary.

There are 14 different variations of curry mee on the menu, and we settled on the siham + chorizo pork sausage + honey BBQ Nyonya curry laksa (RM26.90).

A few things to address here. First, I figured the chorizo might be a loose translation, as it’s described as nothing more than a housemade sausage in Chinese.

Second, it’s a liberal interpretation of Nyonya laksa. The curry base is much closer in taste and resemblance to KL-style curry mee, with a strong curry powder flavour instead of the more lemak profile associated with Nyonya laksa.

Look for the white sign, or during lunchtime, look for the crowd.
Look for the white sign, or during lunchtime, look for the crowd.

That said, this was a surprisingly good curry mee, and the bowl was chock full of pork rind and fried beancurd skin. Unfortunately, the sausage — though decent-sized — really didn’t belong in the bowl.

It carried a very artificial-tasting smokiness and was difficult to discern from the average supermarket frank. Sometimes, you’re better off without a sausage after all.

十三香味面馆 The Art Noodles Lab

G-13, Fortune Perdana, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat, Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Open daily, 9am-2.30pm, 5.30-8.30pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

Tel: 03-6243 6777

Facebook: @theartnoodleshouse

* This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

* Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems.