[Kuala Lumpur] Seng Kee (腾记)

There’s so much good food to be eaten in Malaysia. Each trip I take across the border is short and leaves me wishing I had eaten more.

At the risk of sounding like a brat, sometimes I wish the food scene in Singapore was less… healthy and sanitized. The dearth of street hawkers (except those pretend ones in Chinatown who charge more than the food court vendors in my neighborhood mall) makes us look so boring compared to our neighbours, and we’re limited to the same few options like Chomp Chomp or Geylang when seeking nighttime nibbles.

But back to Kuala Lumpur. It can be a hassle to locate good food, especially if you’re a tourist and have to rely on public transport. Thankfully my friend’s Malaysian cousins were nice enough to drive us to Seng Kee for supper one night.

Siu Yuk Meen (Roast Pork Noodles or 烧肉面), RM9.00.

Seng Kee is known for their siu yuk or roast pork in Cantonese. Because of the large Cantonese population in the city, there’s a distinctly Cantonese twist to Chinese cooking in KL. The roast pork at Sang Kee has been caramelized to the extent that it’s blackened. Ignore the sounds of your arteries wailing, these little cubes of meat are sweet, crunchy and unapologetically fatty. The pork is flavorful, as are the egg noodles, which have been coated with black sauce.

Lou Shu Fun, RM 9.00 for smallest serving. Black Hokkien Mee in background, price unknown.

What truly blew me away was the lou shu fun, translated literally as the horrifying “rat noodles”, because of the noodles’ resemblance to rodent tails. This unappetizing translation is colloquially Malaysian/Singaporean – they’re actually known as ngan chum fun (or silver needle noodles) in Hong Kong.

Name aside, this dish is unbelievably delicious. I literally was overwhelmed by emotion as I ate it. That it arrived in a claypot topped with a mountain of minced pork, a liberal sprinkle of chopped spring onion and a raw egg was visually stunning. The aroma it emitted was mouth-watering and the umami bomb that hit me as I took my first mouthful of the hot, slippery rice noodles was just… awesome.

Seng Kee also does a mean hokkien mee, but it’s no match for the first two dishes reviewed above. The black hokkien mee I’ve tried (both here at Seng Kee and at Wong Ah Wah at Jalan Alor on my last visit back in 2010) is nothing like the white version we have in Singapore – the color can be attributed to large amounts of soy sauce and dark soy sauce, and results in a dish that’s way saltier and fiercer than what I’m used to. I’m also not big on the starchy, thick yellow noodles they use for the dish. But this all boils down to personal preference, and from what I saw at the restaurant this dish certainly has many fans.

Thanks to Seng Kee, lou shu fun is now something that I’ll think of everytime KL comes up in conversations. If anything, this is one great reason for me to return to KL soon.

Seng Kee (腾记)
52, Jalan Sultan
50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: Noon – 3.00a.m. daily.

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