Monday, June 28, 2010

Hakka Mee & Mee Hoon Sotong - My 2 favourite food from Seremban

I am a small time girl from Seremban, a town an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Seremban is a very simple town, no frills, not much to do, more or less everyone leads a simple and comfortable life.

While I was growing up, eating out was considered a luxury. Money was tight and we ate at home most of the time. So, I am the least familiar with what are popular food in Seremban.

I came to KL to stay when I started working. I began to discover more of Seremban's food specialties in my bi-weekly weekend visits back home. While KL and PJ boast of variety and excellent food but there are 2 Seremban favourites that I am not able to find readily available in KL or PJ. Only in Seremban, where I can get the best authentic Hakka Mee and Meehoon Sotong.

Hakka Mee
Home-made flat noodles comes with minced pork in clear sauce. This dish indeed looks easy to cook. However there is just a specialty in Seremban's Hakka Mee which is difficult to describe. The Seremban Hakka Mee is clear, no dark soy sauce whatsoever. The "special" broth is clear and is mixed in just a tiny bit for the special taste. So this is considered a dry clear noodles.

I always wondered how can such a simple dish taste so good and I could never find something close to the taste in KL or PJ. The secret "special" recipe as I heard from the grapevine is "pork lard". Haha! Not surprising cos all Chinese food taste great because of pork lard. I don't know what they put in the pork lard but it sure make this simple dish yummylicious.

There are 2 stalls in Seremban most popular for the Hakka Mee. Both are named Tow Kee - obviously connected but the gossip is that both stalls (they are related) don't see eye to eye. One shop is located at the Wet Market (Pasar Besar Seremban) and the other is located opposite the Yellow Bus Stand - oh yeah, long ago the most popular buses in Seremban were all yellow in colour and thus the name Yellow Bus Stand.

Some say the shop opposite the Yellow Bus Stand is better, I lean to agree BUT and there is a big BUT, you have to put up with the fact that the shop is always closed and when they choose to open, you have to wait at least 30 mins or more for your food. The bigger downside is that the people in the shop (especially the lady boss!) won't even bother to talk to you or even look at you when they are busy. By the way, they are always busy. So if you can stand the worst kind of treatment from the shop owners, ignore them for the sake of good food, go ahead and try this shop. Many people still do.

Check out this YouTube video of how the stall actually make the noodles and yeah the scary lady in the video is the owner.

Address - Tow Kee, No. 94 Jalan Kapitan Tam Yeong, Seremban Phone: +60 6 761 6638.

Nowadays, I don't even bother to check if they are open cos I will just swing by the wet market and most often if I am early eg before 12 noon, I can get to eat the Tow Kee Hakka Mee @ Pasar Besar Seremban. Since it is located at the wet market, bear in mind the conditions may not look good but what the heck, for good food, I don't see the surroundings! Best of all, I don't have to wait for 30 minutes and I don't have to see a black face when ordering.

Address : Tow Kee Pasar Besar Seremban Tow Kee Hakka Mee (Stall 810).
They have a Facebook Fan Page. Click HERE to view.

For a discussion which stall is better, click here for the Facebook Discussion.

Mee Hoon Sotong (Cuttlefish Vermicelli)
This is basically mee hoon (vermicelli) deep fried, then topped with sotong (cuttlefish), braised pork and vegetables and covered with a thick starchy brown sauce. Some may say it is a bit like (wat tan hor) but the sauce is slightly different. The fragrance of the fried meehoon and the combination of the sauce makes this a sure hit with me everytime I am in Seremban!!

In my opinion the best store is located at the wet market, as you walk up the staircase, look straight ahead and you will find Mee Hoon Sotong sign board staring back at you.

Funny story - for years, I could not eat at the store as they are always closed. I assumed that they have closed down their business. So I would have to eat something else or visit another mee hoon sotong shop at the back of the wet market. One day (and this is many years assuming they were closed for good) I walked up the wet market staircase and I could not believe it, they were opened and the small lady who served me years ago was nicely doing her work.

Address: Stall 787, Pasar Besar Seremban, Jalan Pasar, Seremban, Malaysia

I excitedly went up to her and said "Hello, where have you been? Why were you closed for so many years????" This lady looked at me with an odd expression on her face and she said "Huh? I open everyday!" I was taken aback "But for many years, every time I come, you are closed".
She replied "Really? I don't know about you but I open everyday and close about 9.30am every morning"

That was when I realise, all these years, I arrive to the wet market after 10am and that is why they were closed. Folks...Lesson learned : In small towns in Malaysia, if you want good food, be there early! They open and close in the morning!

Alternatively, if you are late like me....there is an another shop, at the same wet market, at the end of the left side (2nd last stall), there is another couple who sells Mee Hoon Sotong too till about 1 - 2pm.

Address: Stall 753, Pasar Besar Seremban, Jalan Pasar, Seremban, Malaysia.

Since 3 years ago, my parents moved down to PJ to live with me. So my trips to Seremban reduced significantly. The good thing is that I found a restaurant that serves my 2 Seremban favourites and it is aptly named Famous Seremban Favourites Restaurant.

Oh well, the taste is close but somehow not the same. Maybe it is because it is not made in Seremban.

Famous Seremban Favourites Restaurant
Address : No. 80-1 (Ground Floor)
Jalan PJU 1/3, Sunway Mas Commercial Centre
47301 Petaling Jaya
Tel No: 017 - 279 8582


Becky said...

everything is good in pork lard lol. This looks really good and i enjoyed reading this post. I never had this typ of food and i'm surely missing out.

mysimplefood said...

Thanks Becky for visiting my blog. I agree on the pork lard!! :)

homeladychef said...

Hi girl! I am from somewhere(titi) near Seremban as well! Used to study in Chan Wa. ;) I like to go to Seremban Pasar for its beef noodle, simply! But unfortunately each time i went, it was usually closed! too bad, i missed this hakka mee on the top floor though, would try to get it if this beef noodle stall close again!

You have a nice blog here. Keep it up!

Miss Lucky Piggy said...

I Miss eating noodles or any street food at food stalls like in your photos. Eventhough they are just street food, they are very tasty :D

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I lived close by to Aman Suria and loved their Hakka Mee and especially the char siew. Now Im not in Msia and missing msian food so badly :(

mysimplefood said...

Homeladychef - Yeah the Seremban Beef noodles is very very popular and unique - very different from KL and even Singapore. However I know there is a Seremban type beef noodles at the food court nearby Fairprice Marine Parade. Check it out! :)

Miss Lucky Piggy - Yup! Street food are the best! No frills just quick, fast and cheap and delicious food.

Anonymous - Yeah, it is only natural to miss all the good food back home. When you get home, it will be a non-stop eating spree. Usually the case :)

Anonymous said...

I'm frm srmbn 2.... & i soooo knw wht u mean whn it comes to our fav homtwn food. Nthng in kl comes close to our gd ol sbn mkn joints... & mnd u, they were't evn d fancy shps. I go hm bi-weekly frm kl cravng 4 d food of my chldhd... Esp arnd d mrkt area. Thnx 4 hghlghtng our sbn delicacies, babe... Gd job !!

irene said...

there's one stall selling seremban mee hoon sotong at good place setia alam,very nice

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a stall selling sotong bee hun in sg. I want to know what's the soup base

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