Day 6 was all about pan mee.
What’s that? I hear you say. Pan mee! Pan mee is a noodle dish which originates in Malaysia.
All I want to do is cross off as many Malaysian must eats as possible and this one sounds like a good’en.
At the pool my head’s buried inside two Lonely Planets, one Berlitz book and a couple of KL Timeout magazines searching for my next meal. The following info in the Lonely Planet intrigues me,
Home-grown Chinese dishes that the city is famous for include pan mee. Literally ‘board noodles’, these are substantial hand-cut or hand torn wheat noodles tossed with dark soy sauce and garlic oil, garnished with chopped pork and crispy dried sardines or anchovies and served with soup on the side. Lonely Planet Kuala Lumpur, Melaka & Penang.
Now, I know there’s an area across the road from my apartment which seems to be a mini China Town, it very much reminds me of the narrow food streets of Tainan, my old home in Taiwan. I reckon pan mee may be found over there.
Despite this area being across the road it’s a bit of a trek to get to because there’s no bridge over the very busy road (more of that irritation in another blog). Anyway we make it across the road, hot and sweaty but we make it (hot and sweaty seems to be a pretty constant feeling in KL). The streets behind South City, another mall near my apartment, are packed full of Chinese Malay food options plus we spot a couple of cool cafes to add to our to-do list.
PAN MEE…shouts the sign above JoJo’s Little Kitchen. Oooooh this is it. We enter and the staff definitely do a double take when they see two visiting foreigners. This is a really common reaction in the less touristy areas of Asia, we’re the minority and we definitely stand out.
A waiter comes to take our order literally as another waiter hands us the menu. Ermmm more time please. The menu is in English which so far seems quite common in KL (this feels like a treat in comparison to Taiwan living, in Tainan English menus were not as common). Menus in Kuala Lumpur can be long and a bit confusing but at least we know what we’re ordering, thank you!
You have to pick your type of pan mee, the size of the noodles, whether you want them dry or in a soup and also if you want ikan bilis (dried anchovies) on top. Tom gets curry pan mee, in a soup with thick noodles and no dried anchovies. I get regular pan mee (because it comes with crispy pork) in a soup with thin noodles and dried anchovies (well you’ve got to try some things that may not sound as appetizing as you’d like them to sound). Plus I also order a side of crispy wantons because I find it really, really hard to just order one thing (I know 1st world problems).
Pan mee was thoroughly enjoyable and really, really filling. I think the noodles filled me up right until the following afternoon! I could take or leave the dried anchovies, they’d probably taste better if you held your nose.