As we all know, the Puduraya bus terminal is currently under some major reconstruction and a temporary terminal has been set up at one of Bukit Jalil National Stadium's vast carparks. The inconvenience caused is immeasurable but for the sake of a better, proper bus terminal that I can be proud of, I'm going to bear with this. As much as I'm looking forward to it, I wonder if there's any plan to tackle the other problem that, to me, seems to be more obvious and necessary - the perpetual congestion along Jalan Pudu that leads to the bus terminal.
I had to reschedule my return trips. No more midnight express coaches back to KL because the only means of public transportation available at the stadium around 3 am is the taxi but I don't want to spoil my very early morning with futile, frustrating bargains. And it would be insane to ask a friend or family to travel all the way here to pick me up.
Inevitably, I resorted to the earliest departure from Singapore on Saturday morning, at 8. With the clearing of customs, a compulsory 30 minutes stop and getting to town via the LRT all thrown in, it's no wonder that I only managed to reach the Plaza Rakyat station (where the Puduraya terminal is located) at approximately 2 pm.
With half a day wasted on travelling, I felt that I deserve a good meal. Not fastfood that's easily available nor some MSG-rich hawkerfare but something rewarding that's worth the trip back home. I thought hard but nothing registered in my mind. Dad sprung up the magic words that got my world halting for a while (thank goodness I was not driving). He suggested Hokkien Mee.
The Jinjang Selatan wet market was where I spent most of my childhood. The infamous goreng pisang (fried banana fritters) here is still as good and to me, it's one of the best KL has to offer. There's a new fried noodles stall located inside a coffeeshop that had my folks returning regularly for lunch. It's famous for the fried fish soup with rice noodles, actually. Although it's not as aromatic (aka oily) as the more popular ones in town, it certainly fared well in taste. With heaps of preserved vegetables, fried fish, tomatoes, evaporated milk and dried sour plum flavouring the soup, I guess the perfect word to describe it would be INTENSE. Brownish, almost pale, the look of the Hokkien Mee didn't entice me, to be honest. I like mine dark and sticky. Then again, I've learned that dark doesn't always ensure a serving of flavourful Hokkien Mee. And this newfound truth revealed itself yet again, here. Despite the complexion, it was full of wok hei and came with intestines and a generous amount of fried lard cubes, making every bite extra crunchy and aromatic. The savoury stock, combined with sweet dark soy sauce, provided the noodles with a delicious dressing. And the egg noodles tasted like egg, unlike...nevermind, I'm not going to condemn that well-known Hokkien Mee stall any further. This was an unexpected find that I have Dad to thank for. And Happy Father's Day, by the way.
Weeks later, I found an answer to my midnight coach plight but at the cost of a more expensive ticket. Fine, it's a price that I'm more than willing to pay than to bargain for hours for a ride home. Or to have to waste half of my Saturday on the road. Welcome back, freezing cold, sleep-inducing midnight coaches! And 2 full days of fun and food, with family and friends.
Tian Tian Lai (天天来)
Jinjang Selatan Wet Market
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia