KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Among the predominantly pork, seafood or chicken-based noodles dishes in Malaysia, its beef cousin is certainly overshadowed.
Now if you like your bovine and are willing to deviate from its usual treats of steaks and Vietnamese pho, check out my recommendations below for decades old beef noodle institutions in the Klang Valley that serve home recipes passed down from generations before.
Take your pick of tossed noodles topped with dry minced meat or noodles immersed in flavourful broth.
By the way, you need not sweat it out driving and parking because all these are within a comfortable walking distance from LRT/MRT stations!
The Chinatown (Petaling Street) area is well served via a trio of LRT/MRT stations. Both the Pasar Seni LRT and MRT will bring you to the entrance of Shin Kee Beef Noodles and Lai Foong Restaurant while the Plaza Rakyat LRT is likewise just a short distance away.
With three famous beef noodles eateries (Soong Kee restaurant makes up the third) vying for your patronage, your cravings can easily be sated.
First up is Shin Kee which has been around for nearly six decades. Almost as established is Soong Kee, just 300 metres away. Both serve an identical style of beef noodles which is dry with tasty, braised minced meat. There is a soup on the side with either beef parts or noodles.
Shin Kee offers yellow noodles, rice vermicelli or kuey teow (flat rice noodles) while Soong Kee serves up thin, springy egg noodles.
For protein, you can choose to add in a variety of innards including tripe and tendon. A standard serving would be with slivers of tender beef and bouncy beef balls.
Another beef noodle stall offering similar servings is Ngau Kee at Tengkat Tong Shin. This outlet has been in business for almost four decades.
In terms of noodles, my pick goes to Soong Kee. I like its springy concoction. I also like my beef slices cooked lightly so they remain medium rare. One can leave them to soak longer in the piping hot soup for the pink tinge to go away, or enjoy their glorious succulence as they are.
However, where the soupy type is concerned, Lai Foong is where I’ll head to if the craving strikes. Here, I’ll take my time to sip on the slightly sourish but comforting, tasty soup.
My order would always be “a mix of everything” so I’ll get sliced beef, beef shank, tripe, tendon and beef balls in one hearty serving together with lai fun (rice noodles). And oh, the chilli here is the best out of the three with all its spicy goodness!
Elsewhere, an outlet called Restoran Ah Cheng specialises in Southern-style (Seremban-Kluang) beef noodles which can be served dry or soupy.
Its signature style lies in the dry lai fun (smooth round rice noodles) which covers a ladleful of thick, sweet and savoury brown gravy. Standard toppings are peanuts, preserved vegetable, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and your choice of beef by way of tripe, tendons, fillet or meatballs. Its “booster” claypot dishes and the tendon beefballs are also recommended.
Lastly, another place worth looking up is Yung Kee, for its rich, herbal-based soup and premium beef cuts. In fact, it is quite my absolute favourite. On weekends, splurge on its specials which are Kobe or M10 beef and the amazing honeycomb tripe.
Fret not if your wallet is prone to hawker prices, a satisfying bowl with imported premium beef is possible for RM10.
So depending on your preference, you could seek out all servings at these places plus the Soong Kee-Shin Kee-Ngau Kee style.
1. Yung Kee Beef Noodles (non-halal)
LRT/MRT: Pudu Distance: 450 metres
Operating hours: 8.30am to 3pm.
From the station: There are two exits. Turn left for Exit 1. Pudu which leads to the back lane behind Sek Yuen Restaurant or head for Exit 2. for Jalan Pudu/Jalan San Peng. Take the alley beside Hotel Pudu Bintang and Sek Yuen is on your left.
Enter the lane on the opposite side of the road between Kedai Kopi 168 and Maybank; take the first left turn and Yung Kee is on your left.
2. Shin Kee Beef Noodles and Lai Foong Beef Noodles (non-halal)
LRT/MRT: Pasar Seni
Distance: 400 metres
Operating hours: Shin Kee: 10am-7pm, closed on Wednesdays; Lai Foong: 6am-4.30pm, daily.
From the station: There are two stations one can take to get here. From Pasar Seni MRT: Take Exit A, cross the road and turn left. Walk on before turning right into Jalan Tun HS Lee. At the junction of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, turn left for Shin Kee or cross the road to the Lai Foong outlet.
From Pasar Seni LRT: After the fare gates, take the Jalan Petaling/Jalan Sultan exit. Go down to the street level, turn left and cross the bus platforms to the opposite side of the road.
To find Lai Foong, take the road beside Restoran Zhing Kong which is Jalan Sultan and turn left into Jalan Tun HS Lee. Go straight until you come to the junction of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. Turn left for Shin Kee or cross the road to get to Lai Foong.
3. Soong Kee Beef Noodles (non-halal)
LRT/MRT: Masjid Jamek
Distance: 400 metres
Operating hours: 6.30am–9.30pm, daily
From the station: Take the Jalan Tun Perak/Masjid Jamek exit. Head for the one that goes underground to cross the road. Once you’re on ground level, turn right and walk 50 metres towards Jalan Tun HS Lee. Turn right into this road and continue straight until you see Soong Kee just opposite you.
4. Ah Cheng Noodles (non-halal)
54, Jalan SS2/4A, Petaling Jaya
LRT/MRT: Taman Bahagia
Distance: 250 metres
Operating hours: 9.30am-4pm, closed on Wednesdays.
From the station: Exit the station and turn left to Jalan SS2/3. Turn right at the traffic lights and walk straight until you see a row of shophouses on your left. Then turn left again into Jalan SS2/4A. Restoran Ah Cheng is the middle shoplot on your right.
The fare from Yung Kee with its herbal-based soup and premium beef cuts.
Lai Foong's offering is tasty and comforting.
Ah Cheng's noodles can be enjoyed dry or soupy.