Two hours - that's not how long these particular mee goreng (fried noodles) take to prepare, but the amount of time you'll need to spend in the car (assuming you're starting from Kuala Lumpur) to sample a plateful. Drive all the way to Malacca just for a [yawn] been-there-done-that dish like mee goreng? If the dish in question is Hassan's, I'd consider it.
Hassan's shack sits about a kilometer outside of Malacca's 'old town', kitty corner to the decaying Pacific Inn Hotel. Business is ripping early on a Sunday morning. We're forced to wait good and long for a seat, with nothing to do but take in the scent wafting from the 'kitchen' and hungrily eye the plates of noodles that top every table in multiples.
What's the draw here? Nothing special, just yellow noodles and bean sprouts fried together in an arm's-width sized wok. Hassan literally throws himself into his work, weilding spatulas in both hands and calling into play every shoulder muscle to dig in deep, lift, and toss.
When you arrive at Hassan's head straight for the egg queue. It's long, but moves at a brisk pace. Hassan's eggs are fried one or two at a time, in redder-than-red chili oil.
As you arrive at the front of the line a plate is sent sliding across the counter in your direction. Now it's time to customize, albeit within fairly narrow parameters. Tong up a smidge or a pile of thick-cut cucumber sticks and fork up two blobs of sambal. On second thought, better make that five blobs - Hassan is known far and wide for his robust sambal.
Now, head for your seat and wait for the main to arrive. Try not to dig right into the egg before your noodles even hit the table. When they do, take a second to admire their pristine nature - find no sauce, no meat or prawns or other extraneous bits of this or that, only fire-kissed noodles and surprisingly perky sprouts.
Now, grab your egg plate and tilt, allowing the whole chili grease-slicked lot, cucumbers and sambal and all, to slide onto its noodle bed. Break the yoke (unless you've specified otherwise your egg will be sunny-side up, boasting a lovely, runny middle) and mix in sambal to create the beautiful mess-on-a-plate that opens this post. Dig in. Note that the egg's edges have gone paper-thin and lusciously crispy, and that Hassan's sambal is belacan free, all smoky chili heat that starts slow but builds to a wonderfully tongue-throbbing inferno.
The noodles are sublime, the chili-oil lashed egg even more so. But it's mostly about the sambal. The chili-phobic will find no joy at Hassan's.
Nudge the last morsels onto your spoon, and follow with a cooling hit of beverage. Then, reluctantly, relinquish your seat and walk away, harboring more than a bit of uncharitable envy towards those who took your place. The high point of your day is over, while they still have a plate (or two) of Hassan's mee goreng to look forward to.
Hassan's Mee Goreng, Jalan Tengkera (kitty-corner to Pacific Inn Hotel), Malacca. 8am-11ish, or until supplies run out. Closed on Friday. Hassan also sells nasi lemak (with the infamous sambal) but we just can't imagine ever getting past the mee goreng.