I have often wondered, what makes the perfect Charsiew (BBQ Pork) Wantan mee or Wantan noodles. Heck everyone in KL has their favourite that they will defend to the bitter end but.. I know that some people are partial towards the perfect balance of the sweet charsiew sauce, or the best meaty wantan, while others place more emphasis on the texture of the noodles, and still others, the caramalization on the charsiew..
We all have our favourites.. and now, we share our Top 10 with you!
1. New Times Place Restaurant (KL Ring Road)
Perhaps most famous for their Steamed fish head, what folks don’t realise is that this restaurant does an amazing Charsiew (BBQ Pork) Wantan Noodles.
Definitely a must order here. It’s got that old-school, greasy braised feel about it that harkens to a bygone era of great cantonese coffee shop noodles. I miss my grandparents when I eat this sort of food. Springy, yet totally absorbent and plump with charsiew sauce and laced in lard, the wantan noodles are rave worthy.
The charsiew meat also deserves an oscar award of its own. It possesses a nice balance in savouriness, sweetness and smokiness and caramlized sticky outer layer. The meat is dense and tender. They all play a part in making this one of the more outstanding Charsiew Wantan Noodle’s in KL.
New Times Place Restaurant, ( Next to Ring Road restaurant)
No. 50, Jalan Gelang,
off Loke Yew Road, Kuala Lumpur.
55200 Kuala Lumpur.
2. Late Night Wantan Mee at Pudu Wet Market, Kuala Lumpur
This part of town never ceases to amaze me. Pudu houses the city’s biggest wet and dry market to date – Pudu Market is a crowded market place especially in the early morning where there are plenty of stalls and makeshift carts containing merchandise from live chickens to different kinds of fruits. The sellers of Pudu Market are super-friendly and bargaining is allowed. You can actually bargain and lower the price of all your purchases before giving in to the merchants. You need to have a strong stomach, as the surroundings are not always clean and the smell can be awful in the wet market but you will find almost any food that you desire. Just south of the Golden Triangle shopping district, Pudu Market is highly accessible via LRT and is only a 5 minute of walk from the station.
In the evenings, this same area converts into a night-time hawker area and you will spot butchers starting to prep the pig carcasses for the next early morning’s activities in the Pudu Wet Market. Chinese Bakuteh, Wantan Mee, Indonesian Cuisine, you name it.. they have it.
Now this particular wantan mee Sifu, from the new generation, preps the wantan noodles, and our dinner is on the way.
The family has been operating the stall here for over 30 years. Everything is made fresh each evening.
Check out the green chilli at this stall – it’s unbelievably fresh and green and crunchy! The red chilli made fresh each night, and ours is still hot from the cooking pot.
Cumi’s wantan mee – topped with a generous dose of curry sauce and sprinkled with chopped chives and coriander. You can see the thick, semi-coagulated santan (coconut cream) in the curry sauce. At the base, a layer of pork oil adds even more taste overload. The texture of the noodles is al dente. The charsiew is fatty and succulent. There are generous chunks of fried pork lard in the noodles which I try to avoid. Cumi just mops up the entire lot. The flavour of the wantan mee is far out! Best I’ve had in ages. Probably best in Pudu too.Add: Pudu Wet Market, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur
3. Kepong New Hing Kee Char Siew Wantan Mee
This place is one of the best kept secrets in Kepong, and definitely top on our books. So good we’ve been reluctant to share the location for years! One of the most balanced and well braised, pork lard flavoured noodles on earth. All that braising, and still it maintains a bouncy texture. The Charsiew can be as fatty or lean as you request. Be warned though, we have eaten at a lot of places and the BBQ pork meat at New Hing Kee is probably the fattiest one in KL. To avoid an oil slick, just order lean meat.
The plating at this restaurant is on old school plastic deep plates that are great for collecting the charsiew sauce at the bottom – note the pretty flowers on the sides of the plates, add aesthetic value when dining at this coffee shop! The outer charred skin of the Charsiew here is so intensely caramalized it can glue your canines and molars together as you chew it. Little nuggets of generously sprinkled chee yar char (deep fried pork lard) and tart, pickled green chili makes this the top place to visit in our Top 10, for sure.
19, Jalan Burung Tiong,
Taman Bukit Maluri,
Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur
4. WHS Restaurant Taman Yulek, Cheras
Restaurant WHS at Taman Yulek Cheras, located just up the road from Jalan Durian, is perhaps less well known than Yulek Wantan mee, but nonetheless a plate of Charsiew wantan noodles is guaranteed to hit the spot. Springy, ultra thin egg noodles cooked al dente, gives it a real bite and chewy dimension. Some folks find this kind of bamboo made egg noodles too hard, but I like it. The soup that the wantan is served in is murky, white and thick with pork bone flavour.
This place also serves Duck porridge on certain Mondays in the evenings. It’s definitely a contender for great Charsiew Wantan mee in KL.
5. Yulek Wantan Noodles, Cheras
This famous Wantan Mee stall needs no introduction. It used to be located in Restoran Meng Shiang just down the road from their current new premises on Jalan Durian, Yulek, Cheras. The wait is still long, but not half as long as it used to be in Meng Shiang.
Come here for the generous amount of half lean half fat charsiew – the portions are still big for RM6.50. Nicely barbecued and wearing a gorgeous glaze, this is not the place to count calories.
Female chefs rock!
One of the few coffee shops where the sifu is a lady. She hasn’t even aged a single day since we’ve been dining here. Perhaps it’s the Charsiew diet that keeps one ever young, and with that healthy glow!
19, Lorong Durian,
Taman Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
6. Spring Golden Restaurant, Shah Alam
Who can resist that perfect fat to lean ratio of BBQ Pork meat, marinated in a secret, homemade honey hoisin sauce, then roasted till it resembles charred, savory, and sticky sweet perfection?
Some folks will swear by a super fatty pork belly, and some say, only the meatier pork loin, or pork shoulder will do. Some folks like the area in between. Well what ever rocks your boat, I say, but for me, Char Siew still needs to be somewhat fatty. Yup, I like it when the fat and meat look like it has crystalized at the core, held together by a dark, caramelized sticky, gooey outer later.
Spring Golden Restaurant
One of the iconic places to eat this sort of sticky, gooey and incredibly addictive Char Siew, is at Spring Golden Restaurant in Shah Alam. Half fat, half lean (pun fei sao) is the only way to go. The well roasted meat is tender and succulent with layers of fat that melts in your mouth, yet it does not taste or feel greasy. Such is the illusion of great Char Siew!
25, Jalan Sepadu C 25/C
Taman Perindustrian Axis
Shah Alam Tel: 019 3379319; 016 2050660
7. Fun Kee Noodles @ Jalan Sungai Besi
Everyone in KL has their favourite that they will defend to the bitter end but, this place is definitely one of the long standing Charsiew Wantan Mee institutions of its time.
Springy handmade noodles, a good thick sauce, melt in your mouth charsiew, bouncy wantan.. and most importantly, a plate that is reproducibly and consistently good. One of the better plates of wantan noodles that we like can be found at Fun Kee Sungai Besi. The wantan itself are slippery and smooth, but when you crunch into the center, it is bouncy and succulent.
The Fun Kee egg noodles are bamboo-made and springier (some might say slightly hard but I like it) and they retain their texture throughout the meal. I don’t like soft noodle so these are perfect for me. The char siew is the traditional type made from lean meat with bright red colouring and little charring. Some might definitely prefer the more sticky caramalized sort but I think a charsiew for every occasion and mood – sometimes I prefer it gooey and fattening, sometimes I like it lean and flavourful.
Fun Kee Restaurant,
No. 174-5, Jalan Sg Besi, 57100 KL.
Tel: 603 9221 1267
8. BBQ Pork Addictions at Hoong Kee, Ampang KL
It seems like every week, we find a great new place for BBQ Pork (Charsiew) Noodles. It doesn’t take much to make us happy, but the pork has to be spot on in terms of flavour, and have a nice charred BBQ outer layer too.
And now, we have yet another Charsiew place to add to our ever growing list of favourites. Hoong Kee BBQ Wantan Mee.
Located deep in the heart of Kampung Baru Ampang, the BBQ sauce is what sets it apart. The sauce has a unique taste to it, and has an interesting red color. Not sure what the secret ingredients are but it’s definitely different tasting from other Charsiew shops and their sauces.
The lean charsiew here is not as nice as the half-fat, half-lean, so you are better off ordering the fattier version. Their long gorgeous fatty strips of seasoned boneless pork, are skewered with long forks and placed in a huge BBQ drum and according to the chef, they use charcoal to cook the meat.
It’s harder to control the heat but the outcome is better, he tells us. The meat, they use is typically a shoulder cut that’s seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented soybean paste, dark soy sauce and possibly, hoisin sauce. But anyway, it’s a secret sauce, and we’ll leave it at that!
The wantan noodles is made weekly by the owner and Chef, Mr Chow. The wriggly shaped noodles here are thinner than usual and made with less kansui. When cooked, the noodles had a springy texture with a good bite. We’ve never minded traveling to Ampang for this version of the noodles.Add: Hoong Kee BBQ Wantan Mee, Jalan Mewah, Ampang, KL GPS : 3°08’34.2″N 101°45’41.8″E
9. Wai Kee Charsiew at Salak South
To be a true pork lover is to be obsessed with the entire pig—snouts, eyes, ears, and all. But is there such a thing as too much pig? We think not.
Pun Fei Sau (Half fat – half lean, BBQ Pork)
Here’s another place that we used to frequent, back in the early days of blogging. The Charsiew here is intensely flavoured, deeply caramalized and possesses a dark, almost black outer layer, which is a force to be reckoned with. Still one of the top in our books.Add: Wai Kee BBQ Rice, Restoran Phoenix, Jalan Hang Tuah 4 & Jalan Tuanku 1, Kuala Lumpur GPS: N3.08286, E101.69547
10. Wantan Mee Koon Kee, Petaling Street
Wantan Mee Stall, Koon Kee might have seen better days, but this iconic restaurant is a must visit, especially for foodie travelers who visit KL. Located right smack in the middle of the busy hub of Petaling Street’s Chinatown, on Jalan Hang Lekir, this coffee shop has been around for close to 80 years (opened in 1940). My mum remembers eating here when she was a kid, which goes to show, how this place has stood the test of time. Not the best of the best on our list, but Koon Kee is definitely worth a mention and a visit, because it is an institution in its own right. Come here for delicious handmade Wantan Mee and Charsiew, eaten to the cacophony and ambiance of Petaling Street – definitely and experience that’s hard to top!
Koon Kee Wantan Mee,
95 Jalan Hang Lekir (Chinatown, Petaling St)