Image

This Might Just Be The Best Halal Ramen in Malaysia: Ramen Seirock-Ya, IOI Mall Puchong

Tonkotsu has always been my favourite type of ramen. I mean, what can compare to a bowl of chewy, al-dente noodles, swimming in a rich, savoury pork broth?

The answer: Tori-Paitan, aka Chicken ramen.

Up until recently, I had not heard of this type of ramen – but apparently it’s quite popular in many parts of Japan, especially Osaka, where it is said to originate from. Just like tonkotsu, the broth is simmered for hours with chicken bones and meat, until it’s bursting with umami flavour.

20210325_130302

Now, Malaysians can also indulge in this scrumptious fare at Ramen Seirock-Ya, a ramen restaurant specialising in Tori-Paitan. Founded in Tsukuba City in 2009, the brand has been expanding to parts of Southeast Asia with a large Muslim demographic, including Malaysia and Indonesia. It’s excellent news for our Muslim friends out there who love ramen (which is normally made with pork), since the brand is halal-certified by JAKIM.

20210325_130306
The outlet at IOI Mall Puchong is spacious and comfortable. You check off the items you want on a chit, make payment at the counter, and they’ll send the food to your table.
20210325_130932

The signature is, of course, their Tori-Paitan ramen, which comes in several variants including Extreme (the must-try), Shoyu (soy-sauce based), Shio (salt-based) and Miso. You can also decide if you want the basic, or with additional egg or chicken slices. The noodles come with a slice of lemon – the servers recommend savouring the original flavour of the broth first, before adding the lemon, which gives it a slightly different taste.

20210325_130950

The noodles are good – well cooked, al dente and springy – but the broth is the real star here. After being boiled for hours, the flavour of the meat is condensed into the lip-smacking broth, and the taste is further accentuated by fried shallots and spring onions. Despite the amount of oil swimming on the surface, it does not taste greasy at all.

20210330_111908

On another visit, I ordered a plate of pan-fried chicken gyoza. They were crispy and slightly brown on the outside, and juicy and moist on the inside with lots of vegetables – no complaints here.

20210330_111923
Order a side of fried chicken karaage – expertly marinated and deep fried to golden perfection – before washing down your meal with a cold (or warm) glass of green tea.

If you’re not keen on the signature, also on the menu are items like Tan-Tan Men (a Japanese take on Chinese Sichuan dan dan mian), Tsukemen (cold noodles dipped in hot soup), Japanese curry rice, katsu don and chahan (fried rice) among others. Prices are actually more affordable than my favourite ramen place (which, sadly, has become so popular now that it’s impossible to dine-in without at least a 45-minute wait), ranging around RM18 – RM30 for most mains.

RAMEN SEIROCK-YA (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

1F Food Street, IOI Mall Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Puchong, Selangor
Tel: +603 5882 1262
Business Hours: 10AM – 10PM (last order 9.30PM)

HALAL

seirock-ya.com.my

*Opinions here are my own. Feel free to agree/disagree with mtaste buds.

Hello!

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website by buying me a cup of coffee through Paypal. This will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. You can also support me on Patreon. Thanks for stopping by!

Image

Signature Pork Noodles @ Harbour Steamboat, Bandar Puteri Puchong

Harbour Steamboat in Bandar Puteri Puchong is known for its hearty, belly warming hotpot dishes, which are available for dinner. It’s not common to eat hotpot during the day though, so the restaurant has affordable rice and noodle dishes for the lunch crowd – and they serve some pretty darn good pork noodles.

20201204_133908

The restaurant is cosy and air conditioned, and has Japanese touches, with rows of Japanese sake bottles lining the walls. This is because the owners of Harbour Steamboat also run a Japanese yakitori place upstairs, called Minato Yakitori. (Also one of the best places in Puchong to get Japanese-style skewers!)

20201204_134335
Iced plum and calamansi juice; a refreshing thirst quencher
20201204_134628

The star for me is the signature pork noodles (RM14.90), which is what I order every time without fail. The portion is large and will easily satisfy big eaters. If you’re a small eater, you can even share the bowl between two people. Choose from a choice of different noodles such as kuey teow, mee, beehoon and meesua (my preferred choice).

20201204_134703

The noodles are soft and silky, but the winner is the soup. Chock full of ingredients, you get generous portions of pork belly slices, pork mushroom balls, offal (intestines, kidney, liver), tender minced pork, squid and shrimp, all swimming in a cloudy broth that is bursting with flavour. To top it all off: a smattering of deep fried pork lard, which really adds extra flavour to the soup.

20201204_134547

Not in the mood for noodles? You can always get the pork soup with rice.

HARBOUR STEAMBOAT 

G, 49, Jalan Puteri 2/3, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: (daily) 11AM – 2PM, 5.30PM-10.30PM. Pork noodles available for lunch only.

Phone: +603 8063 5776

Help a Girl Out ! 

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website. Contrary to popular belief, I do not make big moolah from writing – and this will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$12.00
$60.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly
Image

Ginger Wine Noodles: Imbi Pasar Mee Halia @ ICC Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

Here in Malaysia, wet markets are more than just places to get fresh ingredients and household essentials – they’re social hubs where people gather to shop or meet friends and neighbours (well, pre-pandemic, at least). This is why you will often find kopitiams and food courts close to or located within a wet market facility.

Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang (also known as Imbi Market) was one of these places. The market was an icon of Kuala Lumpur for over 60 years, and the food stalls there were equally legendary: you could get noodles, classic kaya butter toast with coffee, Nyonya Kuih and more.

20200819_103859

A couple of years ago, the market had to be relocated to make way for a building project, so they moved to new premises at ICC Pudu. The new building is much cleaner, has a better layout than Imbi and has proper facilities. While it lacks the chaotic charm of the old market, the hawkers are still the same – so you can still get that authentic taste.

20200819_112606

One of the stalls here sells a rather unique dish: mee halia, or ginger wine noodles. You don’t often find this dish sold commercially, as it is usually served at home to new mothers, especially during confinement (for my non-Malaysian readers, confinement is a traditional practice following childbirth whereby the mother stays at home to rest, and have to adhere to things like avoiding water, eating certain types of food to boost recovery, etc.). In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is thought to have beneficial properties and it is often recommended to expel ‘wind’ from the body, improve digestion and reduce bloating. 

The owner-chef is 70-year-old Wong Mei Lan, who has been selling the noodles for over four decades. “There was a young mother in my neighbourhood who had just given birth. She asked if I could make her a dish, as she didn’t have money to eat the proper foods for nourishment,” she explains. “More women started coming to me after that, and then even men because they said it was tasty. That’s how I started my business,” she shares.

20200819_105256

Each bowl costs RM9 and comes with a large portion of rice noodles, swimming in a cloudy broth topped with egg that has been fried with minced ginger, as well as tender pork slices and fresh prawns. The broth is definitely the star – after simmering for hours, the ginger, rice wine and pork bone create a deep and complex flavour, and a warmth blossoms in your belly with each sip. Comforting is the best word I can think of to describe the taste. The proportion of the wine has to be done right in order to achieve this effect, and although Madam Wong doesn’t make it in-house, she gets it from old folks from Perak who mix it at home. Basically everything that you’re eating is homemade, rather than commercially produced.

20200819_105304

One of the things I love about Malaysian hawkers is that they often last generations: you can find century-old establishments that are now into their fourth or fifth generation in the business. And even though age has caught up to Madam Wong and she can’t move as fast as she used to, she’s glad that there’s someone to take up the mantle: her youngest son Lee Chee Wai. Now, just as Madam Wong used to cook for her customers and their kids, so will Chee Wai cook for a new generation – and keep his mother’s cooking traditions alive.

IMBI PASAR MEE HALIA 

G20, ICC Pudu, Jalan 1/77C, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur 

Opening hours: 6AM – 2PM 

Note: I interviewed Madam Wong and Chee Wai for the October issue of Fireflyz, the inflight magazine for Firefly Airlines. This article features a few tweaks and some additional info I wasn’t able to fit in to the story.

Help a Girl Out ! 

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider supporting my website. Contrary to popular belief, I do not make big moolah from writing – and this will go towards hosting fees and ensuring that I can continue to deliver authentic content for your reading pleasure. Thanks for stopping by!

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$12.00
$60.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Trying Out Kuala Lumpur’s OG Hokkien Mee: Kim Lian Kee @ Petaling Street / Chinatown KL

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown has a storied history. Like many Malaysian cities with a rich tin mining heritage, it started off as a pioneer town, with a large Chinese migrant population. Although Malaya was then under British rule, the colonists often appointed overseers from within the respective communities – and in KL, a “Kapitan Cina” administered over the Chinese.

One of these Kapitans, Yap Ah Loy, is attributed to the founding of KL’s Chinatown. After devastating fires, floods and civil war between the Chinese (from the Hakka and Cantonese clans) for control of the tin mining trade, many of the miners and coolies were keen on skipping town. Yap  persuaded them to remain in KL and ply another trade: growing rice and crops. He opened a tapioca mill in Petaling Street, which allowed trade to recover. In Cantonese, Petaling Street is called ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ (starch factory street), a tribute to its beginnings.

20200927_115709

Over the years, Chinatown’s flavour changed (I wrote about this in a previous post, which you can check out here). It became less of a hub for Chinese culture and more of a cheap market for counterfeit goods, managed by foreign workers from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan and India. This loss of authenticity is the reason why I have not returned to Chinatown for many years – until recently. Times are hard, and the pandemic means that many foreign workers, whether legal or illegal, have been sent home. The street is much quieter now, and most of the stalls are manned by local Chinese again.

Thankfully, one thing that has remained unchanged through the years is food – and Petaling Street is home to many well-established, decades-old institutions, such as a 40-year-old muachi stall, a 2nd generation roast duck kiosk, wantan mee, and of course, Kim Lian Kee. 

20200927_120134

Widely touted as the ‘birthplace’ of Hokkien Mee in Kuala Lumpur, Kim Lian Kee was founded by a Fujianese migrant, Wong Kim Lian in 1927. That makes it close to a 100 years old! The brand has since expanded all over Malaysia, with proper restaurants in malls and commercial areas. At Petaling Street, the ‘original’ hawker stall, which has outdoor seating, sits just across the road from a slightly more upscale-looking resto with air-conditioning. 

20200927_120319

20200927_121143_mh1601193363028

20200927_121919

The style of cooking and noodles may have Hokkien roots, but Hokkien Mee was created by the Southeast Asian Chinese diaspora – and as such, you will not find it in China. Three places are known for their Hokkien Mee, and they are all slightly different: Penang’s version features thick noodles in a spicy broth made from prawn shells, prawn heads, prawn and pork ribs, served with pork slices, hard boiled eggs, kangkung, bean sprouts, fried shallots, sambal and lard. Singapore’s Hokkien Mee is stir-fried, lighter in colour and comes in a fragrant sauce made from stewing prawn heads, meat, clams and dried fish.

KL’s version, which is what Kim Lian Kee serves, is known as Hokkien char by Penangite Hokkiens, to differentiate it from the soupy one. It is stir-fried in a dark soy sauce together with ingredients such as pork, squid, fish cake, cabbage and lard. A good Hokkien Mee should be cooked over a charcoal fire, and the intense heat (wok hei) helps to seal in all of the flavours.

I had high hopes for KLK’s Hokkien Mee. Unfortunately, while it was decent, I would not say it is the BEST that I’ve ever tasted.  The noodles were nice and had bite, but they also had a strong bitter taste, likely from kan sui (lye, used in making yellow noodles). The yuet kong hor (moonlight kueyteow – raw egg on stir fried kuey teow noodles) was also just… okay. A tad disappointed, as I was expecting more from a place touting itself as the ‘birthplace’ of Hokkien Noodles. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

20200927_122113

Aside from noodles, Kim Lian Kee has an extensive menu offering dai chow dishes like fried rice, fish and meat items, vegetables, tofu, etc. We got a fried rice with shrimp. Again, not bad but nothing wow either. The rice was a little hard. Uncle Roger would have a couple of things to say,

20200927_122019

The best item that we ordered (the bro agrees) was the fried chicken wings. They came in a set of three pieces, freshly fried and still piping hot. The chicken was marinated well and had great flavour, the insides were juicy, and the skin was crispy.

Our meal along with drinks came up to RM68, Considering that we were in a tourist area, I think it is still a fairly reasonable price.

Video below:

KIM LIAN KEE (PETALING STREET) 

92, Jalan Hang Lekir, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur.

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (closed Wednesdays)

*The original hawker stall is at No.42, across the road, and is only open at night from 5PM. 

**If you’re looking for awesome Hokkien Mee, I have two other suggestions. One is the Kim Lian Kee branch at Aeon Cheras Selatan, although I haven’t been back in 5 years so the quality may be different now), the other is Aik Yuen Hokkien Mee in Setapak, behind the Tawakal Hospital. The latter is literally a shack and looks dodgy af, but you know those are the kind of places that serve the best food lol.

***PS: I am now on Patreon! You can subscribe here. You can also follow me on other social media channels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Your support would mean the world to me! 🙂

 

Chewy Japanese Noodles! @ Miyatake Sanuki Udon, ISETAN 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya

My favourite udon joints seem to be closing one by one. First it was Marufuku Udon in Jaya One, then recently, Hanamaru Udon in Sunway Pyramid. Thankfully, I’ve found a new place to satisfy my chewy noodle cravings – and it’s close to my new workplace.

20200922_141337

Miyatake Sanuki Udon has roots in Kagawa, Japan, where they have restaurants and their own noodle factory. They opened their first outlet in Malaysia at ISETAN 1Utama in 2019.  The resto looks like your typical Japanese casual dining joint: lots of wood, attractive photos of the food, and Japanese-style buntings you usually see at sushi spots and robatayakis. Orders are made  for at the counter, and you can also pick your side dishes like chicken karaage, enoki mushrooms, crab sticks, chikuwa, and more.

20200922_134753

20200922_135228

It goes without saying that their specialty is udon, and there are several varieties, such as plain, with curry, with thin slices of beef, and with onsen tamago (soft boiled egg). Went for the latter, which featured a full, yellow yolk that sat atop a bed of silky, chewy noodles.

Miyatake Sanuki Udon’s noodles are well known for their quality, and it is also sold in supermarkets around the world. The noodles are made from wheat that has been carefully selected and milled at their factory in Sanuki, giving them a sumptuous, strong-bodied flavour. You can taste the fragrant aroma of wheat, and it is by far one of the chewiest udon noodles that I’ve tasted. If you like chewy noodles, this will be right up your alley.

20200922_135258

Ordered sides of chicken karaage and fried enoki mushrooms.

Enjoying the different textures – crunchy and crispy, soft and chewy – is the ultimate satisfaction! Dip your fried snacks in tempura sauce for extra flavour.

20200922_135510

The onsen tamago was literally perfect: tried lifting it up and the membrane didn’t even tear.

An average bowl of udon here ranges from RM11 – RM20. My meal with two sides and a drink came up to RM25. Green tea is refillable, but the price is steep at RM4.

MIYATAKA SANUKI UDON (non-halal) 

Food Paradise, 2F, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Central Park Avenue, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

facebook.com/udonwon

Oodles of Noodles @ Kai Xin Restaurant, Taman Wawasan Puchong

I’ve lived in Puchong nearly all my life, but I still haven’t been to the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve. It’s a popular hiking spot on weekends, and there are usually loads of cars parked near the entrance. Just next to it is a row of single storey shoplots with a few cafes and eateries where visitors can go to for breakfast / brunch / lunch after their hiking excursion. One of these is Kai Xin Restaurant, which specialises in simple, homemade noodles. The place has probably been around for some time, judging from the faded signboard which we had to squint at to make out.

20200823_130319

Typical of casual kopitiams, the interior is sparse and no-frills. While some customers seem to be hikers, judging from their attire, the rest are likely from the surrounding neighbourhood. The menu is limited, namely serving Wantan Mee, Pan Mee, Ginger Wine Noodles, Pork Trotters in Vinegar, Curry Noodles, Pork Noodles and Har Mee. You know what they say about good food spots though – quality over quantity!

20200823_131342_001

The curry noodles are ‘Melaka Nyonya style’, according to the boss who took our orders.

Hawker fare is typically served in a sloppy mess, but this was beautifully presented and came chock full of ingredients: tofu pok, sliced egg, fish cakes, beancurd sheets and charsiew, topped with a dollop of spicy sambal. The curry offers a spicy kick, and you can really taste the fragrant flavours of lemongrass and galangal. Curry noodles in KL tend to be creamy and heavy on the coconut milk, but this is very clear and light.

20200823_131917

Pan Mee is another one of the restaurant’s specialties. You can choose to have it in a soup, or dry / tossed in dark soy sauce. You can also pick from either thick, thin or hand cut noodles. Personally I prefer thick noodles as the extra thickness / bite just adds to that extra mouthfeel / al dente satisfaction! Both the soup and dry versions come with crunchy fried anchovies, minced meat and wood ear fungus.

20200823_132011

20200823_130351

Round off the meal on a sweet note with some sweet Chinese desserts, the likes of red bean soup, black sesame soup or barley with pumpkin. 

20200823_131159

Was surprised that our meal for four came up to under RM40 (inclusive of the desserts and 2 drinks), which is very reasonable by today’s standards. Each bowl of noodles is only RM6. Good cheap food in a casual setting – can’t really fault that! So if you’re hiking at Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, drop by Kai Xin for a nice and filling lunch. 🙂

KAI XIN RESTAURANT 

No. 31, Jalan Wawasan 5/1, Pusat Bandar Puuchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 9AM – 3PM (Tues – Sun). Closed Mondays.

Handmade Sarawak Kolo Mee @ Restoran Permai Utama E-Fatt, Bandar Bukit Puchong

Kolo mee is a popular Sarawakian Chinese dish, featuring dry noodles tossed in a light sauce made from lard and shallots. The sauce is often just enough to coat the noodles. Different places have their own versions, but it is often served together with sliced charsiu (roast pork), ground pork and vegetables.

20200704_140833

Puchong is a big place, with most of the commercial shops concentrated near IOI Mall and Bandar Puteri Puchong. If you’re staying further in, like me, and don’t want to go through horrendous traffic on the highway just to have a meal, there’s Restoran Permai Utama E-Fatt in Bandar Bukit Puchong. The outlet here is a branch of a pretty famous resto in Subang. They specialise in noodles, but there are also rice-based dishes catered to the working crowd, such as braised pork rice, chicken chop rice, etc.

20200704_134203

Canteen-like interior; strictly a pop-in-for-a-meal kinda place.

SOPs are followed, including adequate spacing between tables and registration/temperature check at the entrance.

20200704_134534

For hygiene purposes, their drinks are served in disposable plastic cups. Not very good for the environment, but it’s more hygienic (I guess?). Anyway this was my 3-layer milk tea, which was robust, milky and not too sweet.

20200704_135212

Their specialty is their handmade kolo mee, which is slightly thicker than the regular ones you see at other stalls. The texture is al dente and provides a nice bite, and the sauce is well balanced. Instead of charsiu, the version here features slices of zha yuk (deep fried pork belly with red fermented bean curd), with the crispy bits used as garnish. The pairing is unusual, but not unpleasant. If you’re craving a kolo mee fix, this is a decent dish! Portions are pretty generous too.

20200704_135230

 

20200704_140750

Aside from the mains, the shop also sells snacks like curry puffs, deep fried sesame balls, nasi lemak and other items to go.

You can order delivery here. 

RESTORAN PERMAI UTAMA E-FATT (PUCHONG BRANCH) 

69, Jln BP 7/2, Bukit Pcuhong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 7AM – 5PM (daily)

 

Dim Sum & Wantan Mee @ Soon Hing SS2, Petaling Jaya

There’s nothing like a quintessential Chinese breakfast to start the day – that means dimsum and noodles! You can get both at Soon Hing Duck-licious & Dim Sum Restaurant in SS2, Petaling Jaya. The Moomins and I were in the area after a doctor’s appointment, and we decided to dine in.

20200620_092014

While quarantine restrictions were lifted last month, many people are understandably cautious – I think this is the first time we’ve dined in at a restaurant since February.

The restaurant has spaced its seating accordingly, and patrons have to check-in via QR code and get their temperatures scanned before entering the premises.

20200620_092340

Moomins wanted to have the Ipoh-style Mushroom Cheong Fun. Unfortunately, we were too early and they weren’t serving it yet, so we got wantan mee (egg noodles) (RM7.50), which is also the restaurant’s speciality. You can choose to have it dry (pictured) or in a soup, and opt for various roasties to go along with the noodles (siew yuk, charsiew, roast chicken, roast duck, or dumplings).

20200620_092429

I got mine with roast duck. The meat was nice and tender, albeit a little lean (I think what makes duck tasty is the fatty layer under the skin!). As for the noodles, they were al dente and the soy sauce flavouring was just right (not too salty). The Moomins said she didn’t like it though (?) Different preferences, I guess.

20200620_092413

Moomin’s siew yuk (crispy roast pork). Good flavour and great marbling.

20200620_092434

As a shared snack, deep-fried shrimp roll. It had more fish meat in it than shrimp, but the skin was nice and crispy, and the roll was not too greasy.

20200620_092419

Aside from wantan mee, the restaurant also serves other dishes, such as Fuzhou fishball noodles, pork noodles, curry mee, rice to go with your roasties, and a variety of dim sum. A good place to satisfy your cravings if you want both noodles and dim sum under one roof!

SOON HING (SS2 BRANCH) 

32, Jalan SS 2/66, SS 2, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Business hours: 7am – 5pm (daily)