It's all about grazing. Malaysians seem to be eating 24 hours a day. If you have the stomach and the fortitude, you could start at 6 a.m. and not finish until midnight.
Did I say that? Apparently so, when at 3am my time on Monday I Skype-joined a panel discussion in Los Angeles on street food. Three hours later I rolled out of bed, moaning, and headed out with Dave to do a spot of research for a street food tour I'm leading later this month. Our destination was Imbi Market, but as we found when we arrived, Monday is the market's Off Day. There were just a few fruit and chicken sellers working; every hawker was shut tight.
So there we were, in downtown Kuala Lumpur at 730am. That doesn't happen very often. We decided to salvage the morning with breakfast at one of our very favorite hawker stalls in KL, one we hadn't visited in years.
We couldn't help but wonder if the Hakka mee served up at this Pudu institution would seem as delicious -- if it would be as delicious -- as when we first wrote and photographed this post in 2007.
But by gosh, it is. It really is.
The noodles are perfectly al dente, just the tiniest bit of bite set off by a wonderful elasticity. The pork mince truly speaks of swine, with so very much flavor packed into each nugget of meat. Lard oil (if you order your Hakka mee dry, with "white sauce", which you definately should do) lightly coats each strand of pasta, exponentially ramping up the dish's overall pigginess. The wonton, floating in their cloudy, fat-flecked meaty, are delicate-skinned purses hiding more porky gold.
The dish is a masterpiece, the execution at this stall nearly flawless. How -- why??! -- did we stay away so long?
As we were finishing Dave said, "I'm not sure, but I think the Hakka mee I've been eating on my photo walks might be better." What??!!
Clearly a scientific comparison was in order. We hopped in the car and took off for Chinatown. Alas, the Hakka mee stall in question was closed.
We compensated with a surprisingly fine curry puff bought from a cart on a corner. It was one of the best I've eaten in Kuala Lumpur, or anywhere in Malaysia for that matter, in a long while -- excellent filling-to-pastry ratio, lots of flavor and enough chili to leave the tongue a- tinglin'.
Dang. Malaysian street food rules. It really does.
Hakka Mee stall, at mouth of alley on Jalan Pudu near Jalan Pasar intersection (across from Sek Yuen). Early morning till they sell out. Another family member takes over at 3pm, selling their own version. We haven't sampled it, but it comes recommended.