With the cats waking me up before 7am every morning and the fact that I now ride a bike to work, it opens up a lot of opportunity for me to explore various breakfast outlets in the city. Last week I went to one of the oldest Hakka noodle stalls in town – the “Da Bu Mien” stall at Jalan Sayur, Pudu.
Hakka noodle at Jalan Sayur, brisk business in the morning
Even at the early hours, the 8 decade old stall is already packed with people. Sharing table is a norm, and you can say goodbye to comfortable chairs or air conditioned dining hall. The promise is a bowl of noodle as authentic as it gets, hand made and with ingredients true to the heart of the operator.
The stall has a yellow label that says “Da Bu Mien” (大埔面), which state it’s origin from Dabu county, a district of Meizhou, Guangdong Province of China, a center of Hakka culture.
minced meat, chasiu, and wantan too
A bowl of noodle is RM 4.50 and comes with minced meat, chasiu, vegetable, and a side of wantan soup. The traditionally made noodle (using bamboo) has a good springy texture to it and is closer to wantan noodle instead of the more common flattened style found in other Hakka noodle places.
I find myself enjoying the slightly oiled minced meat quite a bit, in fact, some regulars prefer to have more minced meat instead of chasiu.
Over all, it was a rather good bowl of noodle, and a place I certainly will visit again.
Address: Chun Kee (Da Bu) Hakka Mee 446, Jalan Sayur, Off Jalan Pudu, 55100 Pudu, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.135208, 101.713051 Hours: breakfast till late lunch
Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.
We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.
The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.
Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.
Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza
If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.
Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.
Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
Then came the ramen.
Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).
Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.
The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.
Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.
Hidden at this not-so glamorous part of SS2 is a little restaurant that has made a name for itself despite the location (at the dead end from the same road that has New Paris) and the rather odd name – Toast & Roast.
Toast & Roast at the less glamorous part of SS2
I was initially introduced to this restaurant from Cheesie, and this is her go-to restaurant due to the location as well as the availability of, in her words, very good charsiu.
So last weekends we finally stopped by this little shop and give it a try over lunch.
glorious char siu, one of the bests in town (this is from a rather “fat” section)
Unlike most other locations in SS2, this place doesn’t suffer from a shortage of parking space. The restaurant itself though, can be quite a bit busy over lunch time, and while charsiu and rice can be served relatively fast, noodle dishes can sometimes take a while to arrive.
The premise is pretty clean, and there isn’t any interior decoration to speak of. It’s a no nonsense old school eatery that just happened to have a pretty modern name.
the roast pork is decent, and I quite enjoyed the sui kao (dumpling) too
We ordered a medium portion of charsiu (bbq pork, RM 16) and a small portion of siuyok (roast pork, RM 8) to share. Yuki opted another plate of charsiu rice as her main dish while the rest of us went with Hakka noodle (RM 4.50 or RM 5.50).
The charsiu that was served to us turned out to be a pretty fat cut. This suits me just as well as “pun fei sau”, or the half fatty version, but might be too much for some. I love the flavor and the melt in your mouth feel from the fats, it was on par with some of the bests. My only complain is the serving size, for RM 16 you only get some 2 dozen pieces.
then there’s hakkan noodle, and you can order single serving charsiu rice too
As for the Hakka Mee, you can opt to have it served either with minced pork or charsiu. Since we already ordered charsiu to share, we chose the former.
The combination of minced pork with that bits of fried fish skin worked well, and I enjoyed the texture of the noodle as well. Of course, everything tasted even better when you add in a couple pieces of charsiu to go with. I wasn’t disappointed.
Horng, Yuki, Kerol, and KY
Oh, then there’s those fried sui kao (dumplings RM1) that’s stuffed with black fungus, minced pork, and prawns that were quite addictive. Do order this as they make excellent appetizer while you wait for those Hakka mee.
Toast & Roast can be a bit pricey, but I do think this is the case of “you get what you paid for”. I don’t mind revisiting this place at least once a month or something. 😀
Hidden within Fahrenheit 88, also known as the re-branded KL Plaza, is a little Japanese ramen restaurant that has it’s origin in Singapore.
The island republic does not usually have the upper hand when it comes to food, but Japanese ramen is one of the rare exceptions. Here in Malaysia we have been stuck with trying to make ramen halal for way too long while our neighbor kept it real and true to the origin – with pork, like how ramen should be.
Marutama Ramen is located on first floor of Fahrenheit 88 (old KL Plaza)
Local eateries have since realize what diners really want and it is good to see that there are a lot of ramen places that serves the dish with the right ingredients.
Marutama was introduced to me by Timothy, who got to know the place from his girlfriend Audrey, who in turn got the recommendation from Ringo. The two of them must be the most “Japanese” lookalike and act alike Malaysian in the country, so if they say it is good, it must be good.
chasiu ramen, I love it with plenty of fried garlic
I always measure a ramen place by its most essential dish – the good old chasiu ramen.
Marutama’s version is unpretentious, four slices of chasiu (not to be confused with BBQ pork, the Japanese version is slices of rolled pork shoulder), 3/4 boiled egg, seaweed, spring onion, and ramen noodle in pork chicken broth.
check out the glorious 3/4 boiled egg
The broth at Marutama is one of the thickest and most flavorful I’ve had from anywhere, very savory and absolutely brilliant. They also have the egg boiled just right, and the chasiu were fatty and tender like they should.
Best of all, there’s free flow deep fried sliced garlic on the side to be added to your ramen.
I went with timothy and david on separate occasions
Other than ramen, they also serve some side dishes like grilled pork belly, fried rice, gyoza and so forth. Their gyoza was just alright, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try their fried rice (it was quite lousy). Stick to the ramen and you’ll have a wonderful experience at Marutama.
I’ve been working at the proximity of Bukit Bintang for over half a year now, and I gotta say that compared to KLCC, this place has so much more lunch options. One of my relatively recent discovery is this little Japanese ramen shop on the first floor at Wisma Cosway – Ton Chan.
Ton Chan at Wisma Cosway
The interior decoration is not unlike other simple Japanese outfit, with plenty of lanterns and empty sake bottles. I spotted a few Japanese dining within, and that was when I decided that this is probably a place worth visiting.
Chasiu ramen with glistering pork & 3/4 boiled egg
On my first visit I ordered the Chasiu Ramen (RM 15), since it’s supposed to be a ramen restaurant, they should serve good chasiu ramen, the original stuff.
And what came was a bowl of ramen with five pieces of chasiu that stared at me so seductively it could make a grown man cry. Half of a perfectly 3/4 boiled egg, plenty of green onion, home made ramen, and their light but tasty soup made up the rest of the dish. It was a bowl of good ramen that ensured my return to this restaurant.
rice with pork, rice with chicken & egg, ramen
On my second visit with a few colleagues, I tried their braised pork with rice. Served with the same half an egg and a side of soup, the braised pork were seriously one of the bests I’ve had. It was fat, succulent, and super savory. I’m gonna have trouble choosing between this and the ramen.
My colleagues tried ramen and liked it, another ordered oyakodon (rice with chicken and egg) and gave good reviews to them too.
A meal at Ton Chan typically costs somewhere around RM 15-25, but you do get real Japanese food that are different from your typical sushi/sashimi shops.
Give it a try if you’re at the area.
Address: Ramen Ton Chan Lot 1.18-1.21, 1st Floor Wisma Cosway Jalan Sultan Ismail 50540 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.150875, 101.711812 Tel: 03-2148 9389