Noodles cooked 'dai chou' style

  • Eating Out
  • Thursday, 18 Dec 2014

Damansara Uptown Hokkien Mee is served with a side serving of pork lard.

Wok frying over high flame brings out flavour of famous Chinese dish.

HOKKIEN noodles, the one cooked with dark soy sauce , has been around for decades and still remains a popular dish among locals.

For lovers of Chinese ‘dai chou’ (wok fry over high flame), Hokkien noodles is often the first dish they go in search of after returning from an overseas trip.

Hokkien mee is also a popular dish, clubbers have a hankering for after a night out in town.

It is a good thing that most Chinese ‘dai chou’ restaurants serving Hokkien noodles are open past midnight until the wee hours of the morning.

Decades of history

One particular eatery that is famed for its Hokkien noodle fare is

the famous Kim Lian Kee, located at the crossroads of Petaling Street.

This restaurant which has been around since 1927 and passed down through three generations, is a reputable name among locals and foreigners alike.

With about 80 years of history, a taste of their dark noodles will reaffirm the reason for its popularity as there is consistency in the flavour of the dish.

When we visited, we ordered the signature Hokkien mee and Hokkien meehoon.

Hokkien Mee at Kim Lian Kee restaurant in Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur.

Fried in thick dark soy sauce gravy, the thick yellow noodles felt a little too starchy when we tasted it, but its sauce was fragrant.

The mee dish appeared a little dry, probably due to the way the noodles were fried, for it to be a little on the drier side rather drowned in sauce.

The meehoon, on the other hand, was really tasty, drenched in dark sauce and was nicely done.

We could actually taste the heat generated from the fire, as each strand of the noodle was hot but delightful.

They are quite generous with their ingredients here, especially in the amount of seafood and meat that was thrown into the dish.

Cubes of pork lard is the one thing that most Hokkien noodle fans would look out for when ordering the dish.

Most people would say the secret to having the perfect ‘dai chou’ comes from the heat of the wok, which in turn relies on fire control.

The temperature is crucial as the heat has to be not too high or low, which might result in the noodle texture being either too hard or soggy.

KIM LIAN KEE RESTAURANT, 49 JALAN PETALING, PETALING STREET, KUALA LUMPUR. (Tel: 03-2032 4984). Business hours: 5pm-4am daily. Non-halal.

Damansara Uptown Hokkien Mee is served with a side serving of pork lard.

The magic of ‘wok hei’.

Wok hei in Cantonese means giving the noodles a charred texture and flavour.

“The wok hei and proper fire control is actually very important when cooking the perfect Hokkien noodle,” said John Lau.

Lau is the owner of the Damansara Uptown Hokkien Mee restaurant located at Jalan SS21/37 in Petaling Jaya.

Opened nine years ago, the self- taught cook now has two other Hokkien noodle eateries, that have opened due to demand.

He has one in Sunway Giza Kota Damansara and the other in Puchong, opposite IOI Mall.

Before moving to the shop along Jalan SS21/37, Lau was in the Damansara Uptown commercial area frying Hokkien noodles, from as far back as 17 years ago.

Operating first from a small hawker stall to a proper shop, Lau has trained a few of his cooks how to fry Hokkien noodles.

“I am really strict with them and I tell them exactly what to do, what to put in and how long to fry the noodles.

“Of course, there will be maybe a slight difference to the noodles’ taste because different cooks have different ways of controlling the fire,” he said.

Lau’s Hokkien noodles are the wet kind, drenched with ample amount of dark sauce.

When we were there, we ordered the Hokkien yee mee as well as their signature Hokkien noodle.

What makes his restaurant special is that diners can opt to order a separate saucer of fried pork lard.

They have the small and large portion, for those who want more lard in their noodles.

“We used to have customers telling us they want more lard all the time, so we decided to make things easier and give them the lard so they could add on as much as they liked,” he said.

When we tasted it, the noodles were cooked and seasoned to our liking, and we liked that the noodles were drenched in sauce.

According to him, it takes 10

minutes to cook one small plate of Hokkien noodles. Any longer or quicker and the noodle’s texture and taste will not be the same.

“Timing is essential. And we must be fast as well to cater to the many customers at our restaurant.

“Our motto is fast, good and tasty. I would also recommend that diners try our Hokkien noodles with our own sambal belacan which we make ourselves,” he said.

Apart from the Hokkien noodles, Cantonese fried noodles and roast duck, which is a recipe his friend learnt in Beijing are served here.

DAMANSARA UPTOWN HOKKIEN MEE RESTAURANT. 121, JALAN 21/37, DAMANSARA UTAMA, PETALING JAYA. (Tel: 013-334 5550). Business hours: 5pm-2.30am daily. Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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