Thursday, 23 January 2014

Kim Lian Kee (Fried Hokkien Mee) @ Viva Home

Just about everyone knows this place, famous for their Fried Hokkien Mee, which have stood the test of time (since the 1920s), and until today still uses charcoal to fire up their noodles.
So, when I feel like having Fried Hokkien Mee, in a clean, comfortable air-conditioned environment, I would go to Kim Lian Kee (KLK) @ Viva Home to have my fix.

Although they have 'upscaled' their premises, they have retained their old, rustic charm of marbled tables and chairs and porcelain chopstick holders....nice!

We start with notably their most revered Fried Hokkien Mee @ RM9.50 (serving for one), of course.  A really good Hokkien Mee, to me, have to have 2 things right---the thick black sauce and the crispy "chee yau char" (fried pork lard bits)!  The true Hokkien Mee, of course, is just the thick yellow noodles itself, but I like mine done with meehoon/mee (to offset too much "kansui" taste).  [#Note: "Kansui" is essentially a type of alkaline solution that gives the noodles a yellowish hue with a firm, slippery texture.]
At KLK, the Hokkien Mee is fried with a good black sauce, with just the right amount of moistness and "wok hei" (breath of the wok).  The veggies remained crunchy and the bits of "chee yau char" just elevated the whole dish.  [#Note: When the "chee yau char" is fresh, it's really good but, at times, it wasn't and you can taste the 'already past shelf life' in the lard bits.]  And when it is served on a banana leaf, it just heightens the aroma --- anything served on banana leaves, we, Malaysians, just go 'gaga' over it Nasi Lemak, Banana Leaf Rice, Mamak Mee Goreng (Fried Mee), Ikan/Sotong Panggang (Grilled Fish/Squid) etc.!
Although I have heard that their "Lor Mee" (which is the same thick yellow noodles cooked in an egg and starch broth) is good, I did not try it as I am not a fan of thick yellow noodles to start with (even my Hokkien Mee has to have meehoon in it).

Apart from their signature dish of Fried Hokkien Mee, they also serve a range of other noodles.  One of them was the Fried Mee Sua @ RM9.50 but, unfortunately, it didn't taste as good as it looked.  The mee sua is fried till it's rather crunchy (which is kinda odd to eat noodles this way) and the ratio of veggies to mee sua was way too much.

Another is the Claypot "Loh Shee Fun" @ RM10.90.  This is "loh shee fun" (a kind of Chinese noodle also known as 'rat noodle') cooked in a thick black sauce, with bits of "chee yau char", and served with a raw egg on top.  When you mix the raw egg into the noodles, it makes the noodles smoother although I did find the noodles a bit soft for my liking.

The Fried Rice with Shredded Pork @ RM9.50 was a bit different from the norm as you don't normally find rice fried with shredded pork as it is usually fried with either "char siew" (BBQ pork) or "lap cheong" (Chinese sausage).  It had a subtle flavour, one that kids will enjoy, I reckon.
Other than fried noodles, KLK also has other dishes (akin to small bites) on their menu.  We tried a few of them though none of them really stood out.  They are edible if you want something else, with your meal, other than noodles, but the "wantan" and dumpling skin is a bit thick though.

Deep Fried Crispy "Wantan" @ RM5.50 (for 8 pcs)
Deep Fried Salad "Tofu" (Soft Beancurd) with Mayo Dip @ RM5.50 (for 8 pcs)
Deep Fried Crispy Dumpling @ RM8.50 (for 4 pcs)
My Personal Opinion
Without a doubt, there's only one thing you should order at this place....and it's the Fried Hokkien Mee as the other noodle dishes fell short of expectations.
Price wise, I think it's reasonable (since it's air-conditioned) as those you get from coffee shops nowadays cost something like RM6 - 7 already.
Likes:  The Fried Hokkien a clean, comfortable environment.  Although not exceptional, but still worthy nonetheless.
Dislikes:  When the "chee yau char" is past "expiry date"!

Kim Lian Kee Restaurant
Lot 11-1 1st Floor Viva Home
No 85 Jalan Loke Yew
55200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2032 4984

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