I’d blogged about Kim Lian Kee before as part of my writing about KL’s old Chinatown eats, but I reckon a 80+ year old (not more than a century-old as claimed by previous articles) eatery which invented the iconic black-sauced KL-style Hokkien noodles deserved its own thread.
Anyway, I was back there again last night. Dishes tried were:
• The unmissable KL-style fried Hokkien noodles (also called “black noodles” by its many fans). Kim Lian Kee’s version was black as night, glistening with lard, smoky from being fried over high heat (gas burners, not traditional charcoal braziers here unfortunately), and garlicky. It’s flavored with minced dried flounder, pork, pig’s liver, shrimps, squid, cabbage & liberal helpings of crisp, golden lardons. Ultra-sinful, it’s virtually heart-attack-on-a-plate via reverse lipo-suction. Kim Lian Kee’s fried Hokkien mee’s secret has to be its addition of a rich, flavorsome broth (made from boiling pork bones, shrimp-heads/shells and toasted, dried flounder bones, plus other secret aromatics). During the frying process, a ladleful of this broth would be added to the wok, and the whole concoction stirred with its trademark noisy, clanging din, till the broth had been partly absorbed by the noodles, and partly evaporated. The noodles take on a sticky, gluggy consistency as the starch begins the break down. That’s when it’ll be served, steaming hot and lip-smackingly delicious. Condiment on the side included "sambal belachan" (Malaysian-style pounded chillies with toasted shrimp paste/belachan) with a squeeze of kalamansi lime.
• Stir-fried frogs’ legs with ginger and scallions – another traditional, deceptively simple-looking dish, done to perfection here at Kim Lian Kee. The frogs’ legs had feather-light texture and were totally bursting with flavors here.
• Bitter-gourd omelette – very flavorsome here. We’re not going to kid ourselves – much of the deliciousness probably came from the use of lard for frying, something which health-conscious consumers in Singapore are loath to admit, and hence eschewed by Singaporean hawkers.
For the less-adventurous, one can opt for the air-conditioned Kim Lian Kee incarnation right across the street from this stall. We chose to dine at the dingy-looking, original stall at the busy Jalan Petaling/Jalan Hang Lekir intersection at the epicenter of KL Chinatown’s Petaling Street night market, sitting on little stools and eating from rickety tables, whilst throngs of pedestrians walked by amidst the din and noise. It’s KL at its gritty best, and I wouldn’t trade this for the world!
Kim Lian Kee Restaurant (金莲记)
49-51 Jalan Petaling
50000 Kuala Lumpur
by Kelsey Butler | Nostalgia is a factor not to be discounted when it comes to food, and these five holiday staples sometimes...
by David Klein | Mail order cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats are better (and more prolific) than ever...