CURRY mee is a versatile dish which gives cooks leeway to get creative, hence the many versions available.
Some are spicier while others are creamier. The toppings, too, differ from one cook to another.
Those behind Chan Kee’s Noodle know what ingredients work best in curry mee and have been enticing diners to savour their version of the dish for more than 30 years.
Ken Tan’s parents started the stall at the Taman Midah Hawker Centre in Taman Midah, Kuala Lumpur, which eventually evolved into a family concern with siblings and cousins helping in the business.
They do brisk business selling curry mee, lam mee, prawn mee and other noodle dishes each day.
Each bowl costs between RM6 and RM7, depending on the portion.
Their signature dish is of course, curry mee, which is a perfect combination of spicy and creamy.
The thick and santan-laden curry base is special due to the family’s own blend of spices, as well as the fragrant chilli paste used.
While cockles are usually a common ingredient in curry mee, many stalls do not add them to the dish due to the lack of supply.
Chan Kee, however, gets a constant supply so customers will not be left disappointed.
The cockles add a delicate briny seafood taste to the curry stock, tempering the dish’s sweetness.
Filled with lean char siew, spongy tau fu pok, cockles and bean sprouts, this particular version goes well with any type of noodles.
Choose your favourite noodle or go for the combination of mee hoon and mee, which is my personal recommendation.
The family’s home-made belacan sambal is also not to be dismissed.
Add dabs of the sambal to each spoonful for that hint of spiciness or mix it into your bowl to jazz the dish up further.
“The sambal is made at home and it is not for sale, ” Ahbee Lim said, probably due to repeated requests from customers.
Lim, who is Tan’s cousin, is among those running the stall.
“My aunt started the business and her siblings and their children also work here.
“What makes us different is our old family recipes which have their origins in Pulau Pangkor, Perak.
“The soup bases and chilli paste are prepared from scratch. We make new batches each day to maintain freshness, ” she said.
Lim added that the soups are boiled over charcoal fire, hence their flavour.
“The food is simple but our focus is on flavour and quality, not quantity, ” Lim added.
This is certainly true as the dishes run out fast and it is normal to see queues forming over the weekend and on public holidays.
Asam laksa is a weekend treat and is only available on Saturday.
As it is a hawker stall, expect no frills except for good food.
I also enjoyed the local iced coffee which was thick and creamy as well as the special Hainan tea.
The stall is located near the Taman Midah morning market so it can get very crowded.
What is great about this location is that you can spend the whole day food hunting as there are many other stalls and restaurants serving mouth-watering local treats.
The stall is open every day, except two days each month, from 6am to 12.30pm daily.
Chan Kee Noodle stall is located along Jalan Midah Besar in Taman Midah.