“I will commit heinous crime if these noodles became staple prison food”
~ Chopinand on Ah Kam’s home-style fried noodles
This is the twelfth and final blogpost in our series Singapore & Malaysia food trail 2013. Check out our previous blogposts in this series:
- Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Singapore
- Teh tarik, Rafee’s Corner, Singapore
- Chinese New Year of the Snake 2013, Singapore
- The Scarlet, a boutique hotel, Singapore
- Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
- Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, Singapore
- Food Safari, Singapore
- Restoran Soo Kee, Kuala Lumpur
- Restoran Fei Jay, Kuala Lumpur
- Breakfast in Kuala Lumpur
- Acme Bar & Coffee, Kuala Lumpur
Mysaucepan and I are on a 3-week eating spree and will be blogging about our street food adventures with lots of photos and tweets about hawker favourites and local delights that will also cover Chinese New Year 2013 – The Year of the Snake.
Singapore and Malaysia are fascinating destinations to visit during the Chinese New Year festivities. Our trip has been nothing short of spectacular because we manage to catch up with most of our family, relatives and friends to usher in the new year.
Mysaucepan and I are in Kuala Lumpur during this week leading up to the first day of the lunar new year and the city is abuzz with people doing their last-minute shopping.
Many shopping centres such as KLCC, Lot 10, Sungei Wang and Pavilion are decked out with elaborate decorations to attract shoppers and visitors to their premises.
KL is a good place to shop and if you are bothered to seek, you will definitely find some great bargains at the shops.
And when you are tired from shopping, there is awesome Malaysian food to contend with too.
As you can see, we have been slowly eating our way through and the second leg of our Singapore & Malaysia food trail 2013 in KL is no less spectacular than the first in Singapore.
Here is a round-up of our food safari in Kuala Lumpur where I am highlighting what I believe to be some of the quintessential eating experiences that KL has to offer. No doubt even with so much food, I know it is only the tip of a Malaysian gastronomical iceberg.
Roti tisu, Original Kayu Nasi Kandar
Malaysian food lovers are proud of their roti canai and roti tisu. These kind of street food can be found all over KL but the roti at Original Kayu Nasi Kandar is a little different.
This restaurant began as a humble stall within a kopitiam (coffee shop) back in 1974 and has since become one of the most popular mamak style restaurants in Malaysia.
Their wafer-thin roti tisu is legendary and is truly a spectacle just to watch how it is being prepared by the chefs. Dipped into a variety of dahl and curries, this is a must-try when in KL.
The best thing about this restaurant is that it is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year!
The Malaysian style char siew at this restaurant is legendary and is truly one of the finest interpretations of BBQ pork belly in the world.
When you visit this restaurant, there are three dishes that I would highly recommend you try.
Read my full review of Restoran Soo Kee here.
Soong Kee’s beef ball noodles, Lot 10 Hutong
Soong Kee’s beef ball noodles began after World War II in 1945 on Jalan Silang in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
This bowl of noodles is one of my all-time favourites. Mix the sprightly Hakka style noodles with the pork mince and dip the springy beef balls into a tangy and spicy chilli sauce.
Two bowls is the least I will settle for whenever I am at Lot 10 Hutong for this iconic KL beef balls which has been around for more than sixty years.
Soong Kee must be doing something very special.
Nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaf
Not tucking into a simple packet of nasi lemak when in Malaysia is as sinful as not slurping up a delicious bowl of ramen or munching on fresh sushi when in Japan.
Takeaway Char Kway Teow in special styrofoam container
A smoky Char Kway Teow that is ladened with crispy pork lard, egg, crunchy beansprouts and cockles is a heavenly dream, except what you are looking at is real because I ate it.
If you decide on a takeaway, many roadside stalls clanging their woks to serve up this delicious noodles will go the distance to make sure the ‘wok hei’ or breath of the wok remains ever so strong.
Takeaway styrofoam containers now cleverly now come with holes to let out all the steam to prevent a ‘steam trap’ and moisture to form so your CKT don’t become soggy by the time you arrive home – ingenious!
Noble Banquet, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Our trip to Malaysia during this CNY is also to celebrate my father’s birthday.
My mum, being the best and most thoughtful wife, mother and grandmother in the world, arranges a beautiful dinner at Noble Banquet restaurant. She invites thirty of our family’s close relatives to honour my father’s birthday.
These are happy moments with my family because Mysaucepan‘s parents who live in Singapore as well as my sister who lives in Perth, have also made the trip back to KL to celebrate this happy occasion.
The food is exquisite and one of my favourites is the braised baby abalone in special oyster sauce. Personally, this is the best way to eat baby abalone as the gentle braise makes it so tender and the savoury sauce is a perfect complement.
I love savoury dishes and this tea-smoked free range chicken is salty just to the right level to be wrapped with a piece of crunchy lettuce.
But what is amazing is the smoky tea aromas on the skin of this chicken. This is one dish that is on my radar to replicate at home.
A sau meen is a must for a birthday to signify longevity.
The noodles have soaked up a good splash of Chinese wine but still so fresh and sprightly and the sweet and succulent crab meat adds a little decadence to a beautiful meal.
A sau bao is the Chinese equivalent of a birthday cake except it is more meaningful because it also signifies longevity and doubles up as a dessert.
These buns are usually stuffed with lotus seed paste and steamed in wooden steamers.
Chinese New Year Open House at home
We are having so much good food during our trip to Singapore and Malaysia but some of the best meals are often those at home at my parents’ house.
My mother is a great home cook and she has imparted her skills and recipes to Ah Kam, who has been a loyal home cook and housekeeper to my parents for more than twenty years. She began working for my parents in 1990 and through the years, she has developed a deep understanding of the tastes and flavours that my parents love when it comes to home cooking.
Ah Kam is like family to us all and as much as I love the street food of KL, I will rate her cooking as some of the best I have ever tasted anywhere in Malaysia.
Ah Kam’s home-style fried noodles
I love a good Malaysian style Hokkien mee but this dish is really special.
Instead of Hokkien noodles, Ah Kam’s home-style fried noodles are ‘low she fun’ or rice drop noodles stir fried with mince pork, bean sprouts and choi sum. These noodles have a smoky aroma from a searing hot wok and the small bits of mince pork go so well with the fat and slippery texture of the noodles.
Add a bit of Malaysian sambal belachan with a squeeze of lime juice, I will commit heinous crime if these noodles became staple prison food.
Ah Kam’s Chinese style roast pork belly
How can anyone resist Ah Kam’s Chinese style roast pork belly?
This slab of pork belly is 5 kilograms, left marinating with Chinese five spice powder in the fridge for 24 hours before being slowly roasted in the oven for 2 hours just before lunch.
It is a beautiful roast pork recipe which I have learnt from Ah Kam and it is always a hit whenever I have a roast pork dinner party back in Sydney.
Big tip: Hang around the kitchen with an ice cold beer or a glass of chilled rose when Ah Kam starts chopping up the roast pork.
Stealing pieces of succulent roast pork with that earth-shattering, crispy crackling and downing it with a gulp of icy cold beer is indescribable!
Ah Kam’s Malaysian style curry chicken
Ah Kam is equally adept to cooking either Chinese or Malaysian food at home.
Today during this second day of Chinese New Year, it is a mix of Chinese and Malaysian because we are having nasi lemak too.
One of the great things about Malaysia is that food is so plentiful, tasty and cheap. Whenever you have a party or a large gathering at home, you have the added option of going down the street and summoning the local satay stall to cater for your party.
There are more than forty relatives and friends coming to my parents’ Chinese New Year open house lunch and these catered satays are as good as home cooked, minus the hassles of preparing and cooking it yourself.
Click here for my own recipe for Malaysian chicken satay.
CNY is about happy children and nothing lights up their faces more than these golden brown and crispy deep fried onion rings.
Ah Kam’s deep fried Spanish mackerel cutlets
Deep fried Spanish mackerel with curry powder, turmeric and curry leaves is one of my favourite Ah Kam dishes because the flesh is firm and so tasty. It is one of the best complements for nasi lemak as well.
So dear readers, what is your favourite Malaysian food?
Original Kayu Nasi Kandar
64, Jalan ss2/10
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 7877 7745
Business hours: Monday – Sunday 7am – 7pm (24 hours), open 365 days a year
Restoran Soo Kee
373- 1 4th Mile Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 4257 0767 Mobile +612 905 4607
Directions to Restoran Soo Kee:
If you are coming from KL city centre:
- Head down Ampang road until you see a fly-0ver in front of you (The tall Ampang City complex would be visible on your left).
- Bear left of the fly-over and do a U-turn underneath the fly-over (just before the traffic lights).
- Restoran Soo Kee would be approximately 50 metres on your left after the U-turn.
Lot 10 Hutong
LG Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre
50 Jalan Sultan Ismail
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2782 3840
Restoran Fei Jay
3, Jalan Rimbunan Mawar 1,
Laman Rimbunan Kepong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 6241 4618
Business hours: 10am – 2.30pm, 4pm – 10pm. Closesd every third Sunday & Monday of the month.
Imbi market (aka Pasar Besar Bukit Bintang)
Jalan Kampung (off Jalan Bukit Bintang)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Open everyday (except Mondays) from 6.00am – around noon.
235 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2145 8822
Acme Bar & Coffee
Unit G1 The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Tel: +603 2162 2288