Monday, April 09, 2012

Pan Mee

Pan mee (面) is a hand made noodle that is uniquely Malaysian. The manner that it is made and the way it is cooked - I have not been able to find it any where else. However it is not my favorite food. If I have a choice, I would avoid it. I do not like the texture of the noodles. I find it rather thick and chewy. Still, I visited 2 shops specializing in this noodle over a period of 2 weeks. And survived to write about them.

The first place I went to was Kin Kin. When Crystal saw the pictures of the place in my Macbook, she asked "You went to Kin Kin?" I really have no idea what's the big deal about the place. Kin Kin has its origin in a shop at 40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Suleiman, off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in KL. It apparently is very popular. And like all successful businesses, they expand. The shop we visited was their branch in Pandan Indah, Cheras. I should perhaps use the word "branches" for there were 2 corner shops side-by-side, separated by a road.. Both were on Jalan Perubatan 4, Off Jalan Pandan Ilmu, Pandan Indah. Business must be very good with two shops in the same vicinity.

There are 2 varieties of pan mee. One is the common string-like noodles - normally made with a rolling machine. I had a bowl of it - kon lo (干捞) or dry. In it was some minced pork, deep fried ikan bilis and a poached egg. The yolk broke and flowed into the noodles, supposedly to enhance its flavor. I thought they were rather stingy with their ingredients. The mince pork was meagre and the ikan bilis could be counted with the fingers of one hand. 

It was served with a bowl of (potato leaf) vegetable soup.

Eaten with this extra spicy chili paste.

The other variety if pan mee is the flat 'pinched' type. This noodle is normally hand pulled or pinched from a piece of dough. If I thought the string noodles were thick and chewy, this was worse. I definitely did not order this bowl. It was either YF or HK who did - I don't remember. In this soup noodles were the same minced pork and deep fried ikan bilis. 

We also shared a bowl assorted fish and meat balls and fu chuk (腐竹).

Not more than a forth-night later, Crystal led us to another pan mee place for breakfast. It was the Super Kitchen Chilly Pan Mee at Jalan USJ5/9S in Taipan, Subang Jaya. The signboard says they were the 5th branch of this restaurant chain. 

According to their website, they also have their origin at Jalan Dewan Sultan Suleiman, off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in KL. Their shop lot is at No 33 - just a few doors away from the Kin Kin mother branch. Competition! 

Besides Subang Jaya, they also have branches in Kota Damansara, Kepong, PJ and Puchong. Is pan mee really that popular?

All 3 of us opted for the kon-lo (干捞) pan mee that morning. In it was the same mince pork, ikan bilis and poached egg. And something extra - a nice portion of deep fried garlic, which I found to complement the noodles very well. The ingredients in the bowl, compared to Kin Kin, was a lot more generous.

Also served with a bowl of potato leaf soup.

And of course the chili paste.

Like Kin Kin, they also offered fish ball and fu chuk (腐竹) that looked like this.

How did the 2 places compare in taste and favor? Well, like I mentioned I am no pan mee fan. And I am not very discerning when it comes to this noodle. I honestly could not tell the difference. They were equally good, or bad depending on your liking for pan mee. But one thing was for sure - it definitely was enough. It would be a long time before I eat another bowl of pan mee. To borrow the words of Shakespeare... I had "excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die". 

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