We wanted to visit the Batu Dam in Ulu Yam, which was close to a two-hour drive – but upon getting there we found out that they recently put up a fence all around the dam/lake, and visitors were not allowed to go in anymore. Talk about bummer luck!
Image credit: virtualmalaysia.com
Disappointed, we decided to hunt for some food at the nearby town of Ulu Yam, which is famous for its lor mee – a Malaysian/Singaporean Hokkien Chinese noodle dish in a thick, starchy dark brown broth. After looking up some suggestions from the Internet, we stopped by Swee Yen restaurant, which was packed to the brim with customers for lunch hour. There were lots of KL cars parked along the road, so we were guessing they were fellow KL-ites who had travelled from the city for some R&R.
There aren’t many shops in Ulu Yam Lama (old quarters) because it’s almost a village-like place with only two rows of shops. Swee Yen is just next to another famous lor mee place, Hock Choon Kee.
This group of middle-aged aunties actually snatched our places away even though we were there first. Talk about rude!
The place is housed in a modest single-storey colonial wooden shoplot. Along with plastic chairs and tables, there were also local snacks and delicacies on sale, such as prawn crackers.
After a 15-minute wait, we finally got a place inside the air-conditioned interior of the restaurant and were quickly served iced honey-lemon. This is tricky to make because too much honey – it becomes too sweet, but too little will result in an overly sour drink. Swee Yen made it just right, and the drink was cold and refreshing.
On the waiter’s recommendation, we ordered a few portions of sai toh (wolf herring)fish cakes. Wolf herrings are known to have a very sweet and bouncy flesh texture, perfect for fish balls and fish cakes. The ones here did not disappoint. Initially mum was like oh the portions here are really big, we should bring some back home but we ended up eating all of it lol.
Since there were four of us, we had two portions of fried rice to go along with the main star, the loh mee. The fried rice was done with eggs, shrimp, pork, waxed Chinese sausage, long beans and garnished with spring onions. Pretty good, although slightly salty.
And finally, the loh mee! The bowl came overflowing with broth and looked super messy, but the taste was decent. The soupy sauce is made of corn starch (that’s why it has a slightly gooey texture), bits of fried pork lard, vegetables, vinegar, pork and shrimp.
To be honest, I preferred the fried rice and fish cakes, but I guess this was okay too. If you’re ever in the vicinity, why not give it a try?
Cookies and other snacks line the shelves, so pick one after having your lunch. I havent had Shaat Kek Ma for ages! It’s a crunchy dessert made of maltose, egg, flour and sugar.
Various types of Western and Asian pre-packed noodles, including longevity noodles and fettucine.
Heong Beng, (literally translated as fragrant biscuit), a biscuit with roasted maltose on the inside which is then baked in a flaky pastry.
Swee Yen Restaurant
No 38, Jalan Besar, Ulu Yam Lama,
43300 Batang Kali,
Selangor Darul Ehsan