Kuala Lumpur - Ho Weng Kee wanton noodles at Hutong
Hutong food court in the upmarket Lot 10 mall in downtown KL must be the best food court in Kuala Lumpur. No, let me re-phrase it - the best food court in Malaysia!! Never had I come across such a congregation of some of the best hawkers from Malaysia & Singapore, all in one place, and where one can dine in air-conditioned comfort. Petaling Street's Kim Lian Kee has a stall there, complete with charcoal stoves ... charcoal stoves in an upmarket indoor food court!! But that's another story.
I am here for perhaps Kuala Lumpur's BEST wanton noodles - Ho Weng Kee (何榮記) , which has been churning out KL-style wanton noodles for nearly 60 years. Ho Weng Kee's main restaurant moved from KL's old Chinatown to the suburbs (SS2 in Petaling Jaya) many years ago. But its stall in Hutong food court made it very accessible to shoppers & visitors thronging KL's popular Bukit Bintang shopping/dining district.
Ho Weng Kee's KL-style wanton noodles are dressed in dark soy-sauce, lard & other flavorings which made it absolutely delicious & addictive. The noodles were thinner than those from most other places in KL, and the texture was delightfully springy. Ho Weng Kee's barbecued char-siu was as good as any one can find in KL or Hong Kong - nicely caramelised, not too fatty, tasty & with the perfect bite to its texture. Their wantons were minced pork-filled (as opposed to HK-style's shrimp-filled wantons), served in a delightful consomme.
I also ordered an extra side of crisp-fried wantons which were an absolute revelation - ultra-crisp wanton wrappers which shattered at the slightest bite, yielding tasty minced pork filling inside. Perfect. But the piece de resistance remained their noodles - I just couldn't stop eating!
Ho Weng Kee (何榮記) Wanton Noodles
Hutong Food Court, Basement
Lot 10 Shopping Centre
50 Jalan Sultan Ismail (corner with Jalan Bukit Bintang)
50250 Kuala Lumpur
It seems Hutong @ Lot 10 has got a lot of press over the last year or so, as you know of course, and it is interesting to me to read of its being set up as a site for "Heritage Street Food Stalls", which clearly involve Chinese pork dishes as you and others have mentioned. I guess that was the rationale for this place being allowed to be non-halal. (Hmm, although that has a faint tang of "quaint museum of Chinese foodstuffs")
Just a few links I've come upon in looking up this interesting place:
klyeoh, I was just reading your thread on wanton noodles in Singapore (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/744161) and you mentioned starting up a thread on Malaysian/KL wanton noodles.** I see only this thread as the relevant answer on searching for it - is there another?
Could you recapitulate what the differences are between Penang-style, KL-style, S'pore-style and HK-style wanton noodles?
Would you be able to say how those that you typically get in the US (East Coast/West Coast/Mid-West) in restaurants; or the ubiquitous premade & prepackaged stuff one gets in Chinese groceries (e.g. Yung Kee brand ["New Yung Ky Noodles, Inc."], made in Brooklyn, NY) compare with the above?
**As distinct from the various nice threads you have posted on beef noodles, other kinds of combinations etc.
p.s. I always suppress a smile when I see the transliteration "wanton" (the meaning of this as a real English word keeps intruding on my thoughts) rather than something like "wonton" which I tend to summon up in my mind instead of the former for those particular lumps of meat in that kind of wrapper. :-)
Hi Huiray - I'll have to get cracking on that "Best of Malaysian Wanton Noodles" thang sometime soon! A few things distracted me since my move to KL this year:
- too much work travels: been spending 50% of my time in Europe instead of KL!
- too many other food distractions: there's just so much my tummy can take :-D
- too much work in office!!
But I'll come round to do it soon - promise ;-)
No rush, take your time. :-)
BTW I also wonder if one can still get what I knew as "kai see [korn lou] meen" in KL - basically wonton noodles that was tossed with shredded chicken in a its own sauce mixture. You could ask for the noodles to be tossed with a semi-dark sauce instead or as well, usually with some minced pork etc + lard in it [korn lou]. Wontons may be added (on the side of the dish) as desired, or in a bowl of clear soup with the usual sprinkling of chopped scallions & cilantro. Sliced Chinese BBQ pork (char-siu) as desired or instead of the shredded chicken. There was a favorite shop of mine for the chicken variety, on Bukit Bintang Rd on the right (south side) a couple of blocks in from the junction with Pudu Rd, diagonally opposite the large cinema/movie house that used to be on the north corner. They also regularly had very nice char-siu tow (the well-caramelized ends of a strip of char-siu; they tended to hang on to them rather than randomly dispensing it out with orders for char-siu) available for a change in pace, yum.
I found my way to Ho Weng Kee's stall in Lot 10 tonight - a good tip :)
The noodles truely were delightful, great flavour and texture. While admittedly I haven't had a lot of char-siu, this stuff was the business - it was almost as if it was half cured, which gave it a more intense flavour. The wantons soup was also very good, though I reckon the noodles and char-siu were the star of the show. I was planning on trying some fried wantons too, but my belly was full!
One thing did let things down though - everything was only lukewarm, which was a shame, because otherwise I was really impressed.
So after a visit to Duck King for roast duck noodles (also in Hutong food court), I decided I still had room for some crispy wantons.
I couldn't complain about these bad-boys being lukewarm - straight out of the frier and onto my plate :) Somehow the wrappers had a sort of smokiness about them - whether by witchcraft, voodoo, or just the art of cooking them to within that magical, narrow window that teeters just seconds away from burning, I don't know - but the wrappers really were exceptional.
My only gripe was that there was only a pea-sized drop of pork filling in each one, barely enought to taste - but honestly, I don't think I would have cared too much if they were completely empty!