KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Nestled deep inside Taman Muda, Cheras is Lam Kee Wantan Noodles, a spot popular with locals known for serving up a stellar plate of wantan mee topped with roasted pork ribs.
It’s one of the many places serving food in Taman Muda Food Street, where a veritable melange of hawker favourites, mostly Malaysian-Chinese, can be found.
A massive economy rice joint occupies the corner at the entrance, while if you stroll further along you can catch glimpses of stalls selling everything from pisang goreng to chicken rice.
Lam Kee can be found more or less in the middle of the street and was exceptionally busy when we visited on a weekday afternoon.
It’s a small space, and you’ll have to brave some tropical sun if you find yourself in a queue for tables.
The wait only serves to heighten the anticipation, as the smell of char siu and pork ribs roasting begins making its way to your nose, filling it with a smoky-sweet aroma that’s a sensory delight.
When we did get a seat and the food arrived, the pork ribs looked even better than they smelled.
Where the magic happens.
They’re cut into literal bite-sized pieces and are glazed with the same glossy, molasses-like rub as char siu is, creating a dark, caramelised bark that’s tender, sticky and satisfying to bite and nibble on.
Unlike baby back ribs which are expected to be fall-off-the-bone tender, these retain the optimal amount of resistance, allowing for that deeply fulfilling pull and eventual snap when you bite the meat clean off the bone.
The noodles don’t let you down either: springy, chewy and tossed through with just enough sauce, they warrant additional helpings.
A bite-sized piece of BBQ pork rib, glistening in the sunlight (left). I’m no Tarantino, but that is a gorgeous foot right there (right).
Aside from the pork ribs, you’ll also find the standard toppings of char siu and wantan, as well as braised chicken feet.
Smoky, sticky and nicely caramelised like the ribs, the char siu has the ideal ratio of fat to lean meat, which makes wolfing these down a rather tender affair.
The wantan is thinly wrapped, with the filling tasting slightly peppery — all the hallmarks of an old-school, handmade one.
A common pairing with wantan mee, the braised chicken feet here are supremely earthy, and savoury but not salty, tasting heavily of the shiitake mushrooms they are braised with.
A small portion of wantan mee with ribs is RM9.50, while a portion with char siu and wantan is slightly less at RM8.50.
Look up for the sign.
However, you can ask for ribs to be added to your order, though this depends on availability.
As we left at around 11am, we heard that the ribs were sold out, so I advise getting here early.
Save for the few lots on the inside of the food street, parking is a bit of free-for-all madness, so come here and come early.
You’ll leave wondering why there aren’t more places serving something like this. It’s just that good.
Lam Kee Wantan Noodles
30, Jalan Bunga Tanjung 10A, Taman Muda, Kuala Lumpur
Open Wednesday to Monday, 6.30am-2pm
Tel: 012-648 1266
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