Two years after our first post, it seems appropriate to return to where our Malaysian food journey began.
The problem with food blogging, at least the kind we do, is that we're ever compelled to sample new dishes, track down unfamiliar vendors, and venture to unknown locales to gather the material that - we hope - make this blog worth repeat visits.
Food blogging has led us to know Malaysia (and other parts of southeast Asia) in a way we never otherwise would have. We don't live or travel the way we did before we started blogging. We've always been pretty low-to-the-ground sort of tourists, but over the last two years our encounters have been broader and deeper, our experiences richer than they were before we embarked on this EatingAsia thing.
Discovery's great, newness is buzz-inducing. That said, sometimes you stumble upon a particularly wonderful dish and/or an especially garulous hawker, and you just want to return to the same stall five days in a row without having to worry about photos and words for the next blog post.
So a month or so ago we backtracked two years and revisited the stall from which we ordered our very first Kuala Lumpur breakfast after relocating here from Saigon in 2005.
We hadn't been back since. Not for lack of desire, but for lack of time and opportunity. Too many hawkers, too few meals in a day.
We wondered. Would Mr. Tay's pork mee still satisfy? Would his noodles still be toothsome? Would his pig still exude a sublime hogginess? Would the guy remember us, maybe the first customers to stick a lens in a serving of his pork mee?
Check, check, check, and check.
The dish is still prepared with care, attention given to playing up the main ingredient's divine porcine-ness. The best pork mee in town? We have no way to judge because in the last twenty-four months we haven't chased down other versions (which in and of itself says something about the sheer number of possibilities when it comes to eating in this town). But Mr. Tay's take on the classic is well tasty.
Dry, with an egg, is the way to go here. Springy, dark soy-sauced noodles topped with bits of minced pork and crackling arrive with a side of clear, meaty broth thick with pork slices, choy sum leaves, and a runny-yolked poached egg.
Pork mee is the sort of dish that's easy to take for granted (how many hungry and bewildered tourists have we seen wandering Brickfields, right past this stall, without giving it a second glance?) - until, that is, you're down there with your nose over the bowl shoveling it in as fast as chopsticks will allow. 'More than the sum of its parts' - such a cliche, but a truism when it comes to a collection of mundane ingredients such as this - meat, noodles, vegetable, egg - that reaches sublime heights.
Perhaps it's time to dedicate ourselves (at least in part) to tracking down the finest of this, one of Malaysia's most humble dishes. Suggestions welcome.
In the meantime, we won't again be such strangers at New Lay Sin.
Pork mee stall at New Lay Sin Coffee Shop, 250 Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Early morning to 3-ish.