Friday, April 23, 2010

Mun Wah Hokkien Mee

You are what you eat.

Then I'm only half the man I used to be.

Those days, the renowned KL-style Hokkien Mee was braised to a consistency of dripless, sticky combination of lard and dark soy sauce, with every bite bursting with the immense aroma of fried shallots, garlic and dried flatfish powder. Thick egg noodles had taste and golden lard cubes, fried to crispy perfection, would crack and combust in the mouth a redolence that's second to none. These two ingredients feel so bland and mass-produced these days that I wonder if people still give a damn anymore. Has the society redefined Hokkien Mee? It is now simply known as stir-fried noodles with dark soy sauce? Charcoal or not, that waft of wok hei would seal the deal with a big grin as we wipe that smearing of lard oil off our lips before sipping a small cup of strong Chinese tea. I'd always leave the table as happy and as inspired as ever, knowingly or not.

I feel sorry for the generation that didn't get to taste the real thing. Sure, you get your so-called Hokkien Mee as you sit comfortably in proper, air-conditioned restaurants or at the convenience of the after-party hours but really, unless Hokkien mee is of sustenance than substance to you, then I don't think you'll feel satiated at the end of the meal. More so if your chilli boh is tastelessly naked. I confess that I do sound like a broken record, especially on the topic of Hokkien Mee. Whatever. I used to roll my eyes every time the older relatives eagerly tell me the same story of their lives; from the junks that carried them from mainland China to that bowl of noodles that used cost a mere 5 cents. But now, I can somehow understand this habit of repeating old stories. These are priceless experiences that can never be felt again and the closest one can get to it is through reminiscence. And that's exactly how I try to relive a childhood of really good, authentic Hokkien Mee.

On to Mun Wah. Triple parking, spilling crowd and bland Hokkien Mee. Sorry, but despite the efficient service, this is an example of Hokkien Mee that makes me half the happy man (or boy) I used to be. I don't even see the need to deconstruct the dish for the purpose of discussion here.

Note - it's never a good thing to pre-cook a wokful of Hokkien Mee and reheat it in another wok when needed. As a Hokkien Mee fan, I find it insulting.

Kedai Makanan Mun Wah Hokkien Mee
155, Jalan Maharajalela,
50150 Kuala Lumpur


jean` said...

Ooh you should try Ah Wa Hokkien Mee at Jln 222 :D

Restaurant Ahwa
66, Jalan 14/48,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

J said...

Bland hokkien mee? - Yikes. What a waste of calories. :(

boo_licious said...

It's weird how Mun Wah has always come highly recommended by many but when we went a few years back, we thought it was awful stuff. Sigh! Everytime I pass by it when I leave KL, it's always packed too.

Great Hokkien Mee takes a little more time than the mediocre ones, since time is needed to braise it.

mimid3vils said...

I found it was good enough for me wor... :P They really reheat the pre-cook hokkien mee?

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the funny thing after reading boo's post n comparing..

i think i like the look of the noodles..dark and sticky.. but funny the taste is the other way around!

Life for Beginners said...

A man who stands by his standards (for Hokkien Mee, that is) is a man indeed, full and uncompromising. You're not separuh jantan, my friend, you're the Complete Male. :)

PureGlutton said...

What?? This is the 1st time i hear abt pre-cooking a wokful and then refrying the hokkien mee! Yes, definitely very insulting.

Extreme Power said...

whoa.. black is power. Nice... sipek hochiak..

minchow said...

Despite the accolades I've heard piled upon Mun Wah since I moved to KL years ago, I've never quite been convinced enough to try. Not even when it was late in the night post-partying and the only choices were between this or some random Ramly.

ck lam said...

Indeed a first time hearing preheated Hokkien Mee. Cannot really imagine the texture of the noodle after reheating.

thenomadGourmand said...

Hmm.. me and unka had it some time back and & it ws pretty good (but i like my hokkien not so lardy and salty..could be why..)

CUMI & CIKI said...

sigh sigh sigh.. i can do hokkien mee posts ALL day ALL week ALL month.. no problemo:P

UnkaLeong said...

Hmmm..Pre-fried? It wasn't that bad when I was last there. Warrants another visit to re-try!

fatboybakes said...

you are half the man you used to be!!! you better not lose anymore weight, or we cant see you when you turn sideways!!!

HairyBerry said...

jean, hi! thanks for stopping by! and for the recommendation too. ya know, i've always wanted to check out ah wa but it's rather far from my place. i'll get there soon, no matter what! ;D thanks again!

j, YALOR!!!! sigh, i should have gone for some maggi goreng instead...hehe

boo, the crowd had always piqued my interest but when i asked around, no one seems to think it's good. i guess i wont be visiting anytime soon. i definitely agree that the braising duration helps. pssst, ya know, i always ask them to make my hokkien mee drier. it always turns out tastier! ;D

mimi, yeah, i saw one big wok of pre-cooked hokkien mee on my way out. i think they'll just transfer some to another wok, stir a bit and serve. sighhhhhhhh. >_<

joe, i totally agree, dude. i love it dark, sticky and salty. it looked rather promising but sigh, the taste spoke otherwise. :(

kenny, hahahaha! so, if i had the real hokkien mee that i had when i was young, would that make me double jantan? hehehe.

pureglutton, it was bad enough that the taste was bland. when i saw that wokful of pre-cooked hokkien mee, my heart sunk. :(

HairyBerry said...

extreme power, hey, you got any good hokkien mee to recommend? do let me know, ya! i'll try to go far for a hochiak version! :)

minchow, i absolutely agree! and a random Ramly comes in cheaper as well! perhaps that's why i prefer a good maggi goreng above everything else sometimes. there's nothing a sachet of curry flavouring can't fix. hehe.

ck lam, you have a point. the noodles must have been soggy by then. i wonder if their other noodle dishes are any better.

thenomadgourmand, lucky you! wish i had a good thing to say about mun wah. sigh....have you tried ah wah since it's quite nearby? *wink* i really want to go!!!!

cumi & ciki, maybe you can do a list of hokkien mee in town! that'll be fantastic, especially for hokkien mee fanatics like me! ;D

unkaleong, ahhh tidakkkkkkkkkkkk! hahaha. i think i prefer to try ah wah instead. at least i heard more positive about that place than mun wah. heheheh.

fatboybakes, yes sir! am eating as much as i can these days. and if there's good hokkien mee, i'll be 1.5 the man i used to be before the end of may! ;D

Extreme Power said...

between the stadium and dewan pustaka in the evening got a good one. ;)

ieat said...

Ahhhrrgghh, can't find a decent KL Hokkien Mee in Singapore!

HairyBerry said...

extreme power, oooh, thanks for the tip! not sure if you are referring to mun wah but i'll sure check it out! ;D

ieat, hi! thanks for dropping by! yeah, i'm constantly on the lookout for a good kl-style hokkien mee in singapore as well. so far, i havent found one. but i'm not giving up yet! ;D

fashion, makan-makan & dance said...

this simply the BEST hokien me in the city ....

David said...

Since hokkien mee is my one of my favorites.I have been hunting high & low for the best hokkien mee.Sad to say the best hokkien mee i have tasted is at Jln kepong(near the school which used to be a post office)was closed as the proprietor passed away.
Back then they added fish slices on the hokkien mee.
However the current best so far is Ah Hwa S222 with one of their cousins also operating at Damansara Utama.
(Tiong Hokkien Mee).

HairyBerry said...

hi there Ramesh V, thanks for stopping by! ;D keep on eating hokkien mee! ;D

hi David, thanks for stopping by! i really agree with you that there are a few good hokkien mee in kepong! i'm not sure which one you are referring to but i remember having a good one at jalan kepong called a-go-go. the cook is an old man and he drinks guinness stout as he fries the noodles! there's one near taman kepong as well. and another one along the "main road" but had closed down a long time ago. sigh, really miss those good ones! i've heard so much about ah hwa too! can't wait to give it a try when i get back next time! thanks so much for the recommendation! good to find another hokkien mee fan here! ;D