Monday, April 5, 2010

Hokkien Mee @ Restoran Aik Yuen

Maybe it's the excess calories burnt while grooving to David Guetta's recent string of hits in the club or the rubbers in the earlier badminton session or simply, the euphoric anticipation of the weekend, but Saturday nights or technically, Sunday mornings, seem like the hungriest time of the week for many. Unless one is working on graveyard shift, this feeling of weekend liberation often leads to a celebration that is usually food, good food, before slumbering with a comfortably full stomach and vegetate the Sunday away.

It does sound great but seriously, good food at night? Especially during the wee, club-closing hours? Of course, if one's other half (or mother) is Nigella Lawson, who keeps her refrigerator full of delicious leftovers, this is not an issue at all. Well, 99.5% of us are just not that lucky and we resort to food at stalls.

There are countless nocturnal or semi-nocturnal food stalls around and some have achieved superstardom with their apparently excellent food. Indeed, in the city that never sleeps, there exists some really good nasi lemak and wanton mee and fishball soup noodles. So, I want to believe. However, the skeptical side of me thinks that in the inebriated state, everything tastes good. I'm not saying this without basis, of course. In sobriety, I've tried some of these prominent fried noodles and chicken rice stalls in town and the only conclusion that I can draw is that oil (whether it's the animal or cooking type) and MSG come with a huge discount after 12. Anyway, it's a choice and at 3 am, there aren't many choices around.

The point is, I don't like spending on substandard dim sum or fried noodles or overpriced bak kut teh but yet, I want a good grub when I'm done with the clubs. Or my dreadful homework.

At 3 am on a particular Sunday, I pushed my luck and sped to Aik Yuen from Bukit Bintang, in hope of being able to try one of the most discussed Hokkien mee stalls in town. I was, of course, still within the speed limit and this was clear as I felt static when being overtaken by a group of Mat Rempits. Good choice of location for their much despised art, I feel, for there were 2 hospitals around - the General Hospital and Tawakal.

The main restaurant was already filled with stacked tables and chairs, which meant that I was too late, yet again. Niamah.

Like many dominating Chinese restaurants out there, the tables overflowed to the pavement, stretching to the next few shophouses on both sides. The helpers were clearing the sides as well when we spotted 2 occupied tables of dyed shades of brown hair with very trendy outfits. I ran over and asked the helper if it was still open for business.


Oddly enough, the kitchen was located somewhat opposite the restaurant. I presume that it must be the intense smoke from the oil that caused the move. From a Hokkien mee fan point of view, it means that we can anticipate some good amount of wok hei.

I tend to generalize the black Hokkien mee into 2 types - the dry (good) and the soupy (a curse). Following the dry type, they are sub-categorized further into - the sweet and salty. This can go on for hours but let me just conclude that it's the sweet type here. I prefer the salty kind but the Hokkien mee I had that morning was still very good.

Though sweet, it was not sourced solely from the dark soy sauce, hence the lack of bitterness. A plus. It was served dry. Another plus. On the other hand, it disappointingly lacked the empowering wok hei that I was looking for and the amount of oil used would keep liposuckers at the nearby Tawakal (if any) in good business. I'm one who loves a good dose of lard but when it's too much, it kills the appetite by insulating the taste of the sauce. In other words, it dilutes the flavours with fat. There was nothing much to say about the chilli as the typical runny chilli boh paste was used.

Aik Yuen might not be the greatest Hokkien mee that I've been searching for since its disappearance some 20 years ago but relatively speaking, it was better than two other popular Hokkien mee brands that I've tried recently.

Oh, and really, I was sober the whole time at Aik Yuen.

Restoran Aik Yuen
Behind Tawakal Hospital
Jalan Sarikei, Off Jalan Pahang Barat
53000 Kuala Lumpur


Hazza said...

From where I sit at the moment, on a cold rainy manchester evening, this will do me nicely!

lanatir said...

good to see a review on this place. i was just there last week because someone asked me to try it out... i must say, after the hype, i thought it was disappointing especially since the wok hei is non-existent and the sambal was a waste of time. ordered some veg along with the food... that was even worse.

CUMI & CIKI said...

Too bad my other half is not Nigella Lawson, who keeps her refrigerator full of delicious leftovers !! hahaha :P (see, that's why i'm so skinny!)

behind Tawakal.. oo yeah baybeh.. loadsa goodies.. if u have a cardiac arrest just roll into hospital.. :P

J said...

3 am??
And you were sober? - I dun believe... :P

Kheng Leong said...

Dang! Really should have ventured there instead of heading towards Soong Kee after a recent night out with becks. *sighs*

and where was this orgasmic Hokkien Mee which you had more than 20 years ago? I've been looking for the fella that used to operate near Soong Kee for almost as long! Could it be we are looking for the same person?

Bangsar-bAbE said...

"it disappointingly lacked the empowering wok hei that I was looking for and the amount of oil used would keep liposuckers at the nearby Tawakal (if any) in good business." LOL...I love that sentence!!

When you find that awesome Hokkien Mee that went missing, lemme know! ;)

babe_kl said...

actually i find this place so so only. i was told there's another place somewhere along genting klang dat uses charcoal but not sure where hahaha

~Christine~Leng said...

so near my workplace Nic! I will definitely try :)

thenomadGourmand said...

Ahh..finally someone reviewed tis plc!
So it wasnt that good yea? Ha, thts what i thot so 2yrs ago, and back then i was new to KL. Find all the food sucks ;p
But now, thanks to foodies like yrself, i'm more adept at seeking out good grubs!

qwazymonkey said...

only you and you alone can be so poetic with a plate of hokkien mee. Respect. Ur truly the king of hokkien noodles!

GFAD said...

Mmmmm.. and it looks so good too.

Oh well, if you do find the Holy Grail of Hokkien mee, pls do share. :)

mimid3vils said...

The Hokkien Mee that I eagerly want to try when my pregnancy (my little Sam now 7 mths dy) but have no chance yet*sad*

thebaDderMen said...

We have not entered this zone yet for the Big Black Boodles but certainly hope to one fine night

J2Kfm said...

I wouldn't hop over for a taste, seeing that this over-hyped place did no justice with their Hokkien Mee. The sambal MUST be good, REAL good to complement the mee.

HairyBerry said...

Hazza, u shd try making this in manchester! It'll a fantastic meal on a cold day.

Lanatir, hi! Thanks 4 dropping by. :) yeah, i also feel that wok hei is very important because without it, basically, we are left with mee and kicap. Hehe. I din try the other dishes b4. Thanks 4 the info !

Cumi & ciki, u not skinny la. U r healthy! A examplary foodie for pigs like me. Hehehe.

J, hahaha! Really la, i always obey the rule one. Plus, chinese tea helps. ;)

Unkaleong, i don't think we are referring to the same person lah. But whr is this soong kee? *intrigued* my fave was this stall located at the carpark of pekeliling flats. I heard it's now in selayang but not sure yet. Letcha know whn i know ya! ;)

Bangsar babe, of course, of course! ;) and i'll superimpose the pics as well! Hehe. But hafta find it first la ;)

Babe_kl, agree! But i guess it was still better than some branded ones that i've tried. There's a good one at selayang but i've not tried in yearssss. Time 2 revisit! ;)

Qwazymonkey, wahhhhh! U flatter me lah, u king of comics! We shd do a hokkien mee crawl whn i'm back. I havent trief ah wah b4! >_<

Gfad, yupe, will surely share when i find the holy grail of hokkien mee. It's not an easy task though. I need that da vinci code guy's help. Hehe

Mimi, aiyo, kesian! But it's not too far from kepong, so can go anytime. :) or ask your hubby to tar pau for you! :)

Thebadderman, so u guys changed website already ar? No wonder no news frm y'all lah! ;) i reckon it's better than kam lin at hutong. ;)

J2kfm, u r right! It's just so sad that some stalls dont emphasize on the condiments. It's only possible if the mee is really, really good.

HairyBerry said...

oh no, i ter-left out 2 replies!!!!! so sorry, becks and christine!!! pi piakzing myself.

christine, where do you work now? ahhh, i kinda figured out d...hehehe. do give it a try, ya! ;D

thenomadgourmand, hahaha. but if you are in the area, do give a try la. then at least u can say, been there done that. have fun! ;D

mimid3vils said...

tapao not so good dy :( I die die must go de, tag along little Sam, haha!!!

HairyBerry said...

mimi, omg!!!! so kesian lah, little Sam! haha. u better bring a small fan cos it's really hot these days. ;D

Maverick said...

HB, u should try the pak guo