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Best Hokkien mee in town

Popular in the Klang Valley, Hokkien mee was purportedly created by a Wong Kian Lee in the 1920s. Ewe Paik Leong checks out some stalls selling this dark noodle dish

1. FATT KEE HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN BARAT, KL

When the famous Restoran Win Heng Seng closes for the day, this stall opens at its sidewalk. It offers a variety of noodles (such as mee, vermicelli, kway teow and yee mee) cooked in either Hokkien or Cantonese style. Three factors make its Hokkien mee the gold standard: High-quality noodles with a smokey flavour, generous serving of meat, prawns, fish cake and vegetables. Portions for one, two and three persons are priced at RM9.80, RM18 and RM22 respectively. Closed every second Monday of the month. Rating: HHHHH

2. RESTORAN SETAPAK TEOCHEW, JALAN PAHANG, KL

Established in 1912, this restaurant serves fish cake, steamed fish, fried vermicelli, Hokkien mee, claypot fresh-water prawn and other Teochew-style dishes. There are also pastries like kaya puff, wedding biscuits and sesame rolls. The noodles are homemade and thinner than the commercial variety. All the standard toppings are available but it lacks depth of flavour and pork lard. So, this dish doesn’t hit the spot! Closed on Sunday. Rating: HHHHH

3. TONG SHIN HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN TENGKAT TONG SHIN, KL

Located in a side alley behind 12Fly Hotel, the stall is manned by two middle-aged, bespectacled guys. Served on a plastic plate, the Hokkien mee portion is a bit small and messy. Surprisingly, the smokey noodles have a wonderful chewy texture and they go well with the sourish-spicy sambal, giving a moist, mild burn on the tongue. Crispy pork lard deliver a great crunch. However, I have to deduct points for the shabby ambience and poor lighting.

Rating: HHHHH

4. KEDAI MAKANAN MING HOE, JALAN IPOH, KL

This coffee shop not only serves Hokkien mee but also Cantonese fare. When my Hokkien mee arrives, it looks yummy, with prawn, sliced meat and cabbage. But the taste is a disappointment. The noodles have not absorbed the dark soya sauce and the flavour is less than robust. Maybe, it was a rushed job. Closed on Monday. Rating: HHHHH

5. RESTORAN AIK YUEN, JALAN SARIKEI, KL

This stall is better known as Tawakkal Hokkien Mee because it is located on the roadside behind Tawakkal Specialist Hospital. Customers dine in Restoran Aik Yuen. The Hokkien mee is fried by two locals and a foreigner. What I dislike about this place is that the jars of sambal are left open. Besides being unhygienic, exposure to air also makes the sambal dry. Nevertheless, the noodles are packed with a good smokey aroma. Rating: HHHHH

6. SENTUL AH YAP HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN SENTUL, KL

The restaurant’s name is a misnomer as it is a full-fledged joint serving chicken, beef, pork, frog, fish and vegetables. The list of noodles available is impressive. Apart from Hokkien mee, it offers fried lou shee fun, fried glass noodles, Singapore fried vermicelli, fried mee suah, char kway teow and fried noodles with fresh water prawn. The Hokkien mee differs from others. The noodles are thicker and more al dente. These qualities put the restaurant at the forefront of the Hokkien mee scene. Opens daily from 11am to 11pm. Rating: HHHHH

7. AH WAH HOKKIEN FRIED MEE, JALAN 20/22, PJ

This stall is located inside Restoran Eighty Six. Ah Wah, the main cook, wears a white toque with pride. He has more than 30 years experience frying Hokkien mee and sticks to the old-school method of using a charcoal-fired stove. However, there is an overload of noodles but just a bit of prawn, meat and vegetable. The sambal is savoury though. Overall, it needs a good dose of Chinese tea or sour plum drink to wash down the oiliness. Opens from 6pm to 2 am daily. Rating: HHHHH

8. RESTORAN TIONG HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN SS21/37, PJ

Formerly a hawker stall tucked in a nearby roasted duck restaurant, this shop offers Hokkien mee that’s moist and silky. There is a hint of smokey aroma due to the raging heat of the wok. The tongue-curling sambal is second to none. The bright and clean interior of this fan-cooled restaurant is an added bonus.

Rating: HHHHH

9. RESTORAN SAN CHING SAN HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN METRO PERDANA TIMUR 3, KL

This coffeeshop in Taman Rimbunan is beginning to make its mark. Its menu includes Hokkien mee, noodles with fresh-water prawn, char kway teow, Cantonese kway teow, loh mee, yee mee and fried rice. Side dishes include fried dumpling, fried chicken wing, clams (ginger, spicy or lemon juice), seaweed meat soup and bitter gourd meat soup. The Hokkien mee has a lovely smooth texture and ingredients are generous. Rating: HHHHH

10. MUN WAH HOKKIEN MEE, JALAN MAHARAJALELA, KL

Having eaten here on several occasions, I find that the standard of its Hokkien mee has declined over the years. Fish cake and stir-fried vegetable of various kinds serve as side dishes. From the charcoal-fired wok comes porky-flavoured Hokkien mee that is gooey, soft and tender. However, it should be more generous with the ingredients. Though the stall has lost its glory days, it still whips out pretty decent fare. Closed on Wednesday. Rating: HHHHH

NON-HALAL