KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — Sunday is my day to relax, unwind and now, it's also the day I eat wantan mee in Restoran Lian Wah.
The place hidden inside Sungai Besi, is totally off the beaten path and only known to people who live around the area.
Its history harks back to 1969 as it was one of the places located in the iconic Razak Mansion. Sharp eyes can spy a photo of the original shop inside the premises.
The 15 blocks of four-storey walk-up flats were "launched" in 1962 by Malaysia's second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. It was later demolished in May 2017.
With the redevelopment, the residents were given new apartments in 1 Razak Mansion. Across from the apartment, you will find the commercial area, where shops occupy a row of single story lots, right opposite the market.
At first glance when you walk inside the area, you will notice there are no signboards. One needs to peek inside the lots to see the name of the shops.
It's a mishmash of modern glass and metal paired with old school Chinese medicine cupboards or coffee shop plastic tables and chairs.
Wrinkly braised chicken feet and mushroom is one of the toppings you can get with your noodles (left). A special for the day was the superb braised pork trotters with peanuts (right)
Walk all the way to the end from the entrance to find Restoran Lian Wah at the corner.
Here you find folks chilling and catching up with the local gossip, after they've done their grocery run at the market.
In the old days, they offered economy rice. Now, their business model is different.
On weekdays, it's siu chow items, made to order. This, I guess, cuts down any unnecessary waste of food.
Curry pork rib and potatoes with your 'wantan mee'? It's a great combination with the soft potatoes
Another reason for the limited menu is the lack of staff to help prepare and cook vast quantities of food.
You get an assortment of fried noodles and simple stir fried dishes.
On Saturday, it's just snacks and so forth.
The magic happens on Sunday as it's wantan mee day!
What makes Lian Wah different is their herbal soup served with the 'wantan mee', which makes up for the lack of 'wantans'
They cook up various toppings like braised chicken feet and mushroom, curry pork ribs with potatoes, steamed chicken and Hakka char yoke.
I was especially blessed the Sunday I visited as they had their special braised pork trotters with peanuts. This was luscious with the fatty bits and soft peanuts, tied together by a rich sauce with hints of wine.
The noodles are toothsome which I prefer, compared to the fine brittle strands you usually get.
On weekdays, order fried noodles like this eggy sauce Cantonese Fried Yin Yong with 'bee hoon' and 'kuey teow' (left). The menu is limited but I enjoyed this simple stir fry of pork slices with spring onions and wood ear fungus (right)
The braised chicken feet were old school with a dark brown hue and crinkly skin. Slowly enjoy the skin and bits of meat. You also get one piece of shiitake mushroom, well braised and tender to the bite.
Here, the sauce is clear and slightly starchy that gives a lighter flavour to this dish. It's rare to see a sauce minus soy sauce paired with this dish, just like how they used to do in the old days.
I also tried their Hakka char yoke, which I did as a takeaway. There's less batter over the thick cut pork belly slices, which are tender to the bite. You also get crunchy wood ear fungus. What I would have liked though was more sauce though since I like to banjir my food.
Inside the shop lot, you can spy their signage and preparations for the 'wantan mee'
You can also order the curry pork ribs with your noodles. The best part is the potatoes and the mix of the fragrant curry with the dark soy sauce used to mix the noodles with. There's also smooth poached chicken too as another option for your wantan mee.
What makes their wantan mee exceptional is the soup served with it. It doesn't have wantans since it's too much work so their herbal broth served with the noodles makes up for it.
It's a light yet distinct herbal brew that warms your stomach and you'll drink every drop of the broth.
The place is part of the community around here so sit outside and enjoy the gossip spun by the ladies
On a weekday visit, I got to order the Cantonese Fried Yin Yong noodles. What I really liked was the egg laden gravy. This paired so well with the noodles that I was scraping every last bit of the sauce.
Since I wanted something else, they also cooked up a simple stir fried sliced pork with spring onions. It's a classic dish, well cooked with the velveting done well for the pork to yield a smooth bite. I especially liked the wood ear fungus, which gave a nice crunch.
There's no signboard outside Lian Wah but walk all the way till the end of the commercial centre as it's at a corner lot
Prices for the food are around RM10, while the pork trotter is RM14.
But best of all I feel with all these places is the warm service you get. As you slowly chat with them, or listen to the ladies at the next table gossiping about their neighbours, it's as though you're part of the close knit community here.
Restoran Lian Wah, No. 1, Pusat Perdagangan 1 Razak Mansion, Jalan Razak, Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 6.30am to 2pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
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