Behrang is essentially a Hokkien town. Where Hokkiens ( 福建话 – Fujian people) live, you will find authentic Mee Hoon Kueh in eating places. By chance, I discovered one of the best here. Mee Hoon Kueh is similar to the Hakka hand-pulled “pan mee” or flat flour noodles.
Instead of noodle strips, the flour dough is delicately hand-kneaded with egg and oil into bite-size pieces. It is then brought to a simmer in a broth of ikan bilis (anchovies), pork balls, pork belly slices and sawi (mustard greens). It takes time to cook the dish as you can’t hurry love.
Good thing the boss of Vivian, the Indonesian cook, is always busy with mahjong. She learned the craft, refined it and now makes one of the most awesome mee hoon kueh I ever tasted. She said she might set up a stall back in Surabaya when she retires.
‘Mee Hoon Kueh’ is usually pronounced as ‘Mee Hoon Ker’ outside Penang and the north.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 500, f4, 1/80 sec.
I’m still in Kuala Kubu Bharu town and at a shop famous for Ulu Yam ‘Lor Mee’. It is a Hokkien dish of yellow noodles cooked with a thick gravy of corn starch, spices, meat and eggs. It also tastes sour as vinegar is added for the distinctive flavour. What is special about authentic Ulu Yam Lor Mee?
The yellow noodles are hand made or hand-pulled. According to chef and owner Lim Kwee Hock there is no artificial colouring, flavouring, preservatives nor is brine added. Brine creates the familiar love or hate pungent smell.
Now that you know, you may want to check out Restoran Xin Yuen Kee (non-halal) when you are in Kuala Kubu Bharu town. Lim’s grandfather opened the first restaurant in Ulu Yam Lama. A 2nd generation successor opened another shop in Batang Kali. Their grandson is operating this outlet in KKB.
It is not that common to see a third generation descendent interested in a family business enough to inherit the recipes and to cook. Young Lim and his wife Elaine operates this simple eatery by themselves. The Lor Mee and other dishes taste very good and prices are reasonable.
Photography Tip: Sometimes, the best food shots aren’t just on the table. Ask for permission and go for some unconventional or less seen angles in the kitchen. Traditional Chinese kopitiam kitchens are usually dark, moody and full of character.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 320, f4, 1/60 sec.
I asked a friendly local for food recommendations. He suggested the Chinese Tom Yum stall down the road and I went there right away. Since the shop was quite busy, service was understandably slow. So I cleaned my lenses and a lady finally came to take my order.
She said there is no Tom Yam at her shop. Wrong place, wrong corner. Haha. She drew me a map and gave me directions as that other stall has no signboard or name. I ordered a drink, feeling bad that I used her table and received help. She said I shouldn’t feel bad and that I should hurry as the other stall might close soon. What wonderful people.
Finally found the real Tom Yum stall and they were friendly too, even though they are famous among locals. I ordered seafood Tom Yum with Kuey Teow (Chinese Fettuccine). It came with three fairly big (and fresh) prawns, mussels, loads of cuttlefishes and squids. Amazing.
Even more amazed to find out it is only RM 5.50 for the sumptuous bowl!
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/1250 sec.
Tasty Mee Siam Special with Sambal Sotong (spicy cuttlefish) in Selayang; at the start of my northbound adventure. The stir-fried vermicelli dish is a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Thai flavours. A very basic version used to be school canteen food.
Kluang Rail Coffee is purportedly the only authentic outlet outside Kluang officially connected with the original Kluang Railway Station Coffee in Kluang, Johor.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/60 sec.
I’ll take a brief break from Chinese New Year programming to share a few remaining pictures and thoughts from my Teluk Intan trip last week.
Mastan Ghani’s Mee Rebus is a must-try for any first time or even repeat visitors to the town. Their rojak is equally delicious and both the dishes look deceivingly similar when served. According to the boss, the ingredients for each gravy are indeed quite different.
The drink seen at the back is an iced rose syrup with black jelly (cincau). Not that I mind; they added the cincau without asking. It is a Teluk Intan thing it seems and, by that, I mean the cincau thing and not the choice thing. This is from one of two outlets near the famous Leaning Tower, at the unique and rustic tailor’s row. Yumz.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 200, f11, 1/80 sec.