KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Hidden away in Taman Len Seng in the sprawl that is Cheras is a shop with a canary-yellow signboard (and similarly-coloured plastic tables and chairs to match).
Known by locals simply as WK Curry Mee, the shop’s proprietress Madam Koh makes a mean bowl of chicken curry mee.
I know this because I’ve been dragged here by my friend Wallace, a WK Curry Mee devotee. He first encountered Mdm Koh’s fabled chicken curry mee in 2011. Back then she ran a simple stall in Taman Seri Bahagia, just off Jalan Cheras.
Then one day, the stall just wasn’t there anymore. I recognise the feeling, as I’m sure you do, when one of your favourite roadside stalls disappears or a shop closes down and you have no clue where it went.
Madam Koh explains, “Business was actually very good but I was forced to relocate due to some complaints by residents. I finally found another shop to continue selling my noodles. But a few months later, due to a short-circuit, a fire broke out and the place burnt down.”
Third time’s the charm for Mdm Koh, who is now helped at her new shop by her brother and sister. However, the location can be a bit challenging for new customers.
She says, “Even some regulars find it hard to locate the new shop because we’re blocked off from the main road. Some days it can be quite quiet. Other days we are packed and finish selling our chicken curry mee quite early.”
Wallace is glad he’s found Mdm Koh’s new shop and so am I (along with other WK Curry Mee devotees, I’m sure). Our bowls of chicken curry noodles arrive wafting with steam, no, consider that infused aroma: the fragrance of curry and meat and the promise of more.
Her curry broth is rich and flavourful — we can taste all the dried chillies, curry leaves, ginger, onions, garlic and lemongrass that go into it, as well as the indispensable hit of creamy coconut milk.
Succulent pieces of chicken, blanched noodles of your choice, crunchy bean sprouts, long beans and pouches of tau pok to soak up all that rich goodness. Topped with fiery chilli oil and juicy blood cockles for that extra kick, and you have a bowl worth coming back for.
Adding some variety to her menu hasn’t hurt either. Mdm Koh also offers fish ball noodles or plain fish balls in clear soup for those who prefer something less spicy.
Her wantan mee looks deceptively straightforward until we learn she makes her own char siew, eschewing the ready-made version most shops obtain from roast meat suppliers. These are pun fei sao (half lean, half fat) and absolutely delicious.
Other items on the menu include rather generously-sized sui kao (pork and chive dumplings), braised chickens’ feet with mushrooms, and even an experimental fish head curry mee that is sweeter and more tangy than the original curry thanks to the addition of tomatoes.
Order a plate of fried wantan and don’t be surprised when these crunchy, savoury morsels disappear faster than you can blink. (Mdm Koh is often at the back of the shop, filling squares of wantan wrappers with more pork filling, so at least you don’t have to fret about ordering another round.)
While my friend is understandably enamoured by Mdm Koh’s rich chicken curry mee, I’ve fallen in love with her homemade tongsui. Wallace tells me she didn’t have these sweet dessert soups at her old stall but only introduced them after moving to Taman Len Seng.
As befitting her down-to-earth personality, there’s nothing fancy: only two types of tongsui here — hong tau sui (red bean soup) and yeemai fuchuk (barley beancurd skin soup). The latter is especially good: silky and creamy, not watered down unlike at some other places.
There’s something reassuring about having a place to return to, again and again, knowing what you’ll order without even looking at the menu. That what was once lost can still be found. Some measure of certainty in these uncertain times, not to be taken for granted but to be savoured.
Kedai Makanan dan Minuman WK
42, Jalan Satu, Taman Len Seng, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Open Tue-Sun 10am-10pm (Mon closed)