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Kuala Lumpur - Breakfast/Lunch Options at Win Heng Seng (永興成茶餐室)

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Win Heng Seng is definitely *the* go-to "kopitiam" (traditional Chinese coffeeshop) in KL's Golden Triangle district, if there ever is one. Outrageously popular, I actually went there with more than a bit of trepidation, after my previous experiences with super-popular "kopitiams" in Ipoh - that other Malaysian city where the local populace developed snaring a table at a "kopitiam" into an art form (which involved a "take no prisoners", "fittest survive" approach). Luckily, no such problem here in KL, despite the peak Sunday lunch-time, getting a table at Win Heng Seng was relatively easy & stress-free - turnover was fast, and KL-lites didn't display the hard-nosed aggressiveness of their Ipoh cousins, perhaps because KL simply has more other dining options compared to Ipoh.

What we tried today:
- KL-style Curry Noodles: Very addictive version here, not too spicy, containing deep-fried wantons, poached wantons, fishballs, long beans, poached chicken, tofu puffs ("taupok"), crunchy beansprouts and fine egg noodles.
- Sarawak "Kolok Mee": I think "kolok" is a Sarawakian-Hakka-Chinese colloquial term which bastardized Cantonese "kon lou" (meaning 'dry') to describe their lard-laced wanton noodles, topped with delicious minced pork and BBQ pork ("cha-siu") slices, and served with a little bowl of pork broth containing smooth, spongy pork balls.
- KL-style "Chee Cheong Fun": rolls of steamed flat rice sheets, with "yong tau fu" morsels, smothered with the typical sweetish, KL-style brown sauce.
- Pork noodles: the ultimate dish here, IMO - I chose flat rice noodles ("koay teow"), served in a very tasty pork broth, garnished with slices of pork, pig's liver, pig's kidney, pig's intestines, minced pork balls (YUMMY!!!) and decadent nuggets of lardon. Each sip of the soup was pure bliss!

No meal at Win Heng Seng is complete without their legendary mini Chinese egg-tarts ("tarn tat"), with their soft, curd-like filling and buttery-flaky pastry.

One more thing: Win Heng Seng's Iced Milo drink is the BEST I'd ever tasted in Malaysia or Singapore, ANYWHERE! Thick, malty, chocolatey - you need to taste it to believe it!

Address details
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Win Heng Seng (永興成茶餐室)
183 Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  1. More photos from Win Heng Seng:

     
     
     
     
     
     
    3 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      How did you like these tan-tats compared to others elsewhere?

      1. re: huiray

        The tarts were tasty, not too sweet, with very, very delicate flaky pastry. Surprisingly, I didn't catch any waft of fragrance from the freshly-baked tarts, unlike those from HK. Maybe Win Heng Seng's did not use any butter but only vegetable shortening for the pastry?

        1. re: klyeoh

          Well, butter is not really used in Chinese cuisine - or only sparingly... Tan-tat (or dan tat) is supposed to be an invention with English influences, origin said to be in HK - although lard or shortening is also said to be used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_tart The further away one gets from "British Colonial Places" (HK and Singapore were more "English-cized" than the Federated Malay States :-) perhaps lard or shortening tends to predominate? Just speculating.

          I can't say I've noticed any prominent "butter fragrance" from tan-tats I've eaten here and there in various places.

    2. So glad you got there, and glad you like the place.

      I guess you skipped the "pork ball with siu cheong stall" - the one that presumably has the outlet at Hutong Lot 10 that you tried the other day. :-)

      Everything looks very yummy. I would love to have a bowl of that pork meat+offal +balls koay teow soup *right now*.

      6 Replies
      1. re: huiray

        Oh yes, the pork ball stall's offerings looked exactly like the one I had at Hutong Lot 10. It seemed to be the most popular stall at Win Heng Seng, but there's just so much pork I can take in one meal, so I had to give it a miss this time ;-)

        1. re: klyeoh

          I'd like to go back to Win Heng Seng again soon - I missed the Teochew fried noodles stall, and also the wanton noodles stall. It's been years!

        2. re: huiray

          The original "pork ball with siu cheong" stall at Win Heng Seng had exactly the same look in terms of presentation and ingredients, but tasted infinitely better than the one at Hutong Lot 10.

          P.S. - Just as the original Soong Kee beef noodles and Kim Lian Kee Hokkien noodles were stupendous in their original outlets, but their outlets in Hutong Lot 10 (manned mainly by young foreign workers) served up sh*te.

           
          1. re: klyeoh

            More pics from the Jalan Imbi pork ball noodles stall.

             
             
            1. re: klyeoh

              Interesting.

              So - in your experience all the Hutong Lot 10 stalls that are "satellites" are all inferior to the "home planet" stalls, then?

              1. re: huiray

                Oh yes, BY FAR!

                I'm not sure if YTL Group should insist that all these "Hawker Masters" should be forced to ensure that their little stalls in Hutong Lot 10 MUST try and maintain at least minimum standards. I do see Francis Yeoh (the YTL Managing Director) there himself a few weeks ago - he was the one instrumental in coming out with this idea of grouping famous hawker street names in one place.

                2 days ago, I was at Hutong Lot 10's Kim Lian Kee and ordered the fried Cantonese-style "yee mein". The kitchen was manned by 4 very young Burmese cooks, unsupervised by any experienced Cantonese cook. The dish I had was so atrocious, I gave up after a couple of mouthfuls. They are serving up garbage, pure & simple!

          2. No Teochew fried noodles? It's one of the oldest and best known stalls there. I was hoping you'd post some photos of the stall and the food.

            12 Replies
            1. re: M_Gomez

              I did see the Teochew "char koay teow "stall, Martha, but the heat emanating from the stove, the strong frying smells, the hot oil and thick smoke, etc, intimidated me somehow ;-)

              Plus, there's just so much I can eat at one seating. My Oz cousin who was with me was *not* much of a help, only a week or so in town and he was moaning for poached eggs and some good cheese or something like that, instead of curried noodles. Call himself "Peranakan", "Chinese". Grrr.

              Wanton noodles - I was looking at what the customers at the other tables ordered, and somehow, the wanton noodles weren't as prominent as the pork ball noodles. Maybe I should try that the next time. So, when are you going to be in town? You've been putting off your trip for months now!

              Anyway, back in Singapore this weekend - Hari Raya break! Wanna catch up?

              1. re: klyeoh

                Is the char koay teow stall teochew? I've been eating there most of my life and didn't know that. It's good but there is a better one nearby in Imbi.

                It looks like you went to the newer annexe. The old part used to be like an oven with folks hovering behind you waiting to pounce on a table. The wanton noodles aren't that great but the roast pork is not bad if it doesn't sell out.

                i normally also go for the pork noodles with the offal. it's also good if you have them add a pseudo onsen egg.

                How do you manage to eat all that at one go?

                1. re: mikey8811

                  If it's still the same folks and the same stall, I used to 1) avoid that stall because I didn't care for char koay teow; then later 2) get it with double portions of "see ham" (cockles) when I got fond of char koay teow. :-) Hmm, I have a vague memory of them being "something like Hokkien", which I wasn't paying much attention to anyway - I suppose that counts as quasi-Teochew. I probably just spoke Cantonese to them, I don't remember.

                  @klyeoh and M_Gomez - How do you know the folks at this "char kway teow" stall are Teochew? By directly asking them/speaking to them?

                  @mikey8811: I suppose you are referring to the picture of the dining area with white walls and a big doorway in the background to what must be the main shop with orange walls, when you asked about the "annex". When was it built and where is it - the next shop over fronting on Jln Imbi?

                  1. re: huiray

                    In fact, I think there's a sign in front of the stall which said it's Teochew, or did M_Gomez put that in my head now :-D

                    I'll have to go back another time, but am off to Singapore this Fri - Hari Raya long weekend.

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      Back at Win Heng Seng today - the busy fried koay teow man looked at me quizically when I snapped a photo of his stall, instead of ordering his noodles - sorry, "Ah Heah", I'm going Hainanese for lunch today.

                      The sign says, 'Teochew (Little) Brother Fried Rice Noodles.'

                       
                      1. re: klyeoh

                        Heh. So it does. :-)

                        Certainly the stall is much "newer"/refurbished from what I remember it as (Of course! After all these years). It's still more-or-less in the "center" of the long side of the "old" shop, right?

                        1. re: huiray

                          Yes, indeed - the one & only. In fact, I find the koay teow man's central location a bit intimidating, with the brash stir-frying action going on and lotsa smoke & heat emanating from his hot wok! He should exchange positions with the famous pork ball stall chap who is located at the furthest end of the kopitiam (that's where stir-frying action should be carried out), but I guess most hawkers here believed in "feng shui" and simply won't want to budge without good reason.

                          Notice the photo on the front of his stall - it's the koay teow man himself with Chua Lam/Choi Lan (蔡瀾), the famous Singapore-born HK TV celebrity food critic. Chua Lam is Teochew himself, of course.

                          1. re: klyeoh

                            Feng Shui - and not changing what brought you good fortune before - can be powerful motivators for many. :-)

                            Interesting about the photo. I suppose the stall is currently carried on by the next generation.

                            What d'you (and others) think of the Wiki article on "Char kway teow"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_kwa...

                            1. re: huiray

                              Back at Win Heng Seng today - need to satisfy my curiosity over the fried koay teow. It was "interesting" - very closely approximating Penang-style "char koay teow", but somehow lacking that extra "Penang scent" which the stallholder in Hutong Lot 10 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850906) had proudly boasted of.

                              Win Heng Seng's fried koay teow uses tiny but sweet little shrimps (de-shelled) and lots of cockles. It's also got egg, beansprouts and chives, but no Chinese sausages. Smoky, very well-fried, but slightly bland for me - could do with a bit more soysauce.

                               
                               
                               
                              1. re: klyeoh

                                Haha! Itch scratched. :-)

                                The CKT looks yummy enough from the photo, although it does also look a bit dry to me – but maybe I like it just a bit "wetter" (with sauce, that is, not oil) at least nowadays.

                    2. re: huiray

                      Well, huiray, I assumed it was Teochew because it was similar to the Teochew fried "koay teow" and fried "mee teow" I get from Ellenborough Street Teochew market in Singapore in the olden days. My husband is Cantonese, so he always spoke in Cantonese to the stall owner. We never asked if he's Teochew but assumed he was :)

                      PS- I can't speak any Chinese so I'm pretty useless at ordering here in KL.

                      1. re: M_Gomez

                        Aha. :-)

              2. Another stall worth checking out at Win Heng Seng, albeit a pop-up stall on the sidewalk in front of the kopitiam is the outrageously popular "Nasi Lemak" stall manned by an affable skinny Malay "pakcik" with a young Indonesian helper. It sells out by 9.30am or earlier each morning, so you really need to be early. The range/choice of curries was amazing. I tried the chicken curry (ok), squid sambal (excellent), beef rendang (tough, chewy) plus half a hard-boiled egg, crisp "ikan bilis" (anchovies) and groundnuts.

                The rice itself was dry-ish, though better than the one from KL's current #1 rated Village Park (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/847764). My personal fave in KL *still* remained the one at Sakura (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799101).

                4 Replies
                1. re: klyeoh

                  Pic of Win Heng Seng's "nasi lemak":

                   
                  1. re: klyeoh

                    How old is this pakcik and how long has he been there?

                    (There was a nasi lemak stall on the sidewalk in the early morning back in the 60's into the 70's...)

                    1. re: huiray

                      This could be his son - the chap's in his early-50s. I forgot to snap the photo of the stall as the crowd in front was very, very impatient. A Chinese chap behind me kept trying to nudge me aside, and even shouted his order even though I was in front of him and was there earlier! Anyway, this *is* Jalan Imbi ;-)

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        most of the hawkers there are 2nd generation (maybe even third) - if i remember clearly, pork noodles auntie took over from her father-in-law, CKT man took over fr his mom - likely nasi lemak abang as well.