Monday, 1 November 2010
M’sia - Soo Kee Beef Noodles, 14 Medan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
Where’ve you been? I know, I’ve not posted anything for a while, and even then, the things I post aren’t exactly hot off the press type stuff either. We’ve been busy, and only just returned (last week) from a 2.5 week holiday in Malaysia (absolutely wonderful trip). Thus, the week so far has been spent recovering from jet lag (surprisingly quick – it took us about 2 days to get used to London time again. And then the clocks went back.) We also had to get used to Tube again – and how we live miles from any good places to eat, except for Peninsula which is quite fabulous.
Anyhow, the next few posts are gonna be about what we had in Malaysia, and I really like the pics taken (even if I do say so myself, and it’s usually myself saying so) because sunlight really does out the best in a photo. On a sidenote, we went to a really good Korean restaurant near Tottenham Court Road last night, kinda near Centre Point, called Assa, and I was so annoyed I didn’t have my camera with me! This calls for a repeat visit, and even if I have to eat every dish we had yesterday again, and even if have to enjoy myself there so much, I’ll do it just for you.
OH-KAY, back to this one. So, Soo Kee is where we go to for soft, silky, smooth and absolutely delicious beef hor fun. Not any hor fun, but the most slurpylicious, eggy noodles with tender, thick-cut slices of beef. I’ve often wondered how they make the beef so tender as I can’t do this when I’m cooking beef, but that’s probably why they get paid for cooking and I don’t.
This place has been around for ages, as far as I’m aware anyway. The guy who serves us (not entirely sure what role he plays here – either the owner / chef / waiting staff / senior staff, who knows) usually stops for a chat, and despite my fiance and I only having been here about 2 times before, he remembers who we are, and tells us stories of when he used to work in Germany. The guy speaks German too, fluently.
This coffee shop looks and is traditional. In fact, there is nothing about the place that suggests it’s ever been refurbished at all, which adds to the charm of it all. The tables are the proper green stone ones which are an absolute pain to move (so don’t even try joining those tables together), and the menu is a whiteboard, handwritten affair on the wall.
Condiments which go best with the beef hor fun are chopped chillies – either pickled (like the ones above), or the actual red chillies (like the ones below).
Utensils are fancy-free, the way they should be.
The tools of the trade are top-notch equipment which have seen better days, but how’s that for quality when you can still use them to produce first class food, hey. I love taking pictures of these things, because it’s not often you get to look into someone’s kitchen, let alone photograph their utensils. Over here in this restaurant though, everything is open-plan, so as long as you’re not too in the way, they’re OK about the occasional camera about.
Our German-speaking friend who talks the talk, and fries the noodle From this humble wok comes the most amazing beef noodles I’ve ever tasted in the whole of KL and London. A few quick dips in the sauce bowls, a couple of quick tosses over the fiery flames, and a few stirs from the master – we have what we call …
Ngau hor – translated as beef hor fun.
Underneath all that beef is soft, silky and smooth rice noodles with just the right amount of chewiness to them. When you lift it up, the noodles quiver ever so slightly on the chopsticks – each quiver threatening to break the noodle and ping it back onto the plate. The ones which succeed remaining on the chopsticks slowly get raised to the mouth, and when chewed on, slowly melts to release the most delicious noodley sensation.
One little stove picture while I pause to savour that noodle.
If you want something more than noodle, Soo Kee does pretty good paper-wrapped chicken, sang har meen and also sang cheong (pic above) – which is stir fried intestines with chives. This is sort of a specialty as the sang cheong is not available every day, so when it is, it gets sold fast. The chives were so fresh, each mouthful a wonderful crunchy sensation with a bud at the end of the stalk.
The food here has been consistent, and the quality always good. My fiance absolutely loves it – and I can understand why. In London, there’s just nothing like it. You get wat tan hor if you know how to ask for it (and describe in detail what you mean), but the way they fry the noodles just isn’t the same. Believe me, we’ve mentioned this to the chef in our pursuit to get similar versions of this in London, but until he decides to open a stall there, this remains the best place for beef hor fun that we know of.
Would I recommend this place? Slightly pointless to even ask this question but since I try to do it at the end of every post as a benchmark, I’ll answer the question. You betcha. If you’ve been before, you’ll know what I’m saying. If you’ve never been before, then you definitely should try it out soon. And ask for extra beef.