New Recipes

KL Hokkien Mee

KL Hokkien Mee
KL Hokkien Mee pictures (2 of 4)

Remember I told you that there are many talented Malaysian food bloggers? Today, I would like to introduce you to Citrus and Candy—a fantastic and gorgeous food blog by the very talented Karen Low, who is based in Sydney. Citrus and Candy is choked full of beautiful food photography and her dessert recipes are to-die-for. Anyway, for this guest post, I’ve got Citrus and Candy to share her favorite recipe with us—KL Hokkien Mee, or stir-fried dark noodles commonly found in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, which tops The New York Times “31 Places to Go in 2010.” Dig in, albeit virtually, and enjoy!

I absolutely love Malaysia and I’m so proud of our amazing cuisine. I have never really lived in my home country so I made the most of my holidays to KL with plenty of overeating! But it still doesn’t ease the constant cravings and homesickness.

Recently I started learning how to cook Malaysian at home. I’m still very much a beginner of course, so when Rasa Malaysia invited me for a guest post, I admit I was a little surprised (and scared) but excited! I knew I wanted to do a dish to showcase my home city of Kuala Lumpur and there’s only one so far that I know so well— KL Hokkien Mee.

Not to be confused with Singaporean (which is lighter in colour) and Penang Hokkien Mee, the KL version (a.k.a Char Mee) is famous for the dark, fragrant sauce that the noodles are braised in. It’s the first dish that I seek out as soon as I touch down in KL!

The secret to an authentic KL Hokkien Mee is the pork fat (which should be available from your butcher). Pork fat makes any dish tasty but of course I try not to indulge in KL Hokkien Mees too often! If it isn’t available on its own, then a piece of pork belly with a good layer of fat on the top would be fine.

I hope you enjoy it! A huge thanks to Rasa Malaysia for allowing me to share one of my favourite hometown recipes with you all.

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55 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. DailyChef

    I was in Singapore this past summer and I must have eaten hokkien mee every other day! Do you think the KL version is very different from what they serve next door in Singapore?

    • I’ve never been to Singapore so never had the privilege of trying the Singaporean version but sources have told me that it is lighter in colour, whereas the KL version uses a lot of dark soy sauce.

      I think I might have to try one for research :P

      • Gabrielle Lee

        Hi, What kind of dark soy sauce should be used on hokkien mee? And, what type of mee is that? Please let me know the brand name. I hope I can find the right sauce and mee in USA. Thanks for your help and hope to hear from you. Have a blessed day! -Peggy

    • chiaros

      The “Hokkien Mee” in Singapore is quite different from “KL Hokkien Mee”. There are foodies who post on Chowhound, for example, who write from both KL and Singapore (one, in particular, who is Singaporean but currently lives in KL) who aver that the KL version so far as it exists in Singapore is greatly inferior to the real thing in KL, while “Singapore Hokkien Mee” is in practice quite unlike “KL Hokkien Mee”.

      Of course, “Penang Hokkien Mee” is another dish again.

  2. Oh my… gorgeous photos!! How much I miss Hokkien mee, sitting at the coffee shop late at night digging into a plateful. I eat it with a side of raw chopped garlic in dark soy and the girls won’t kiss me after :)

  3. david

    If I’ve ever chosen the wrong time to look at your blog,it’s now, 10pm at night over here and I am starving. Wonderful looking dish,everything from the recipe to the color, look perfect, I want right now.

  4. OMG…THAT’s my FAVORITE dish!! When my mom was expecting me, the only food/dish that could sooth her was KL Hokkian Char (we call it Hokkian char instead of mee). And of course I grow up loving it too! :) My only problem here in Oregon is that I can’t get the true Hokkian Mee (yellow noodle — the ones we have isn’t “fat” enough! :P) Nonetheless, I HAVE TO TRY this recipe! Do you eat it with the raw minced garlic & dark soy sauce?? ;)

    • I hope you enjoy it! And clearly I’ve been deprived because I’ve never had it with minced garlic (for shame!). I think things will change from now on :D

      • Update: I just made it today for lunch. I forgot that I didn’t have pork, so I sub with chicken breast sliced thinly and used bacon for the chu yau cha! I also used spaghetti as suggested. All I can say is Y-U-M-M-Y!!! ;) Thanks Karen and Tom, for the recipe and the tips.

    • The salty flavour of the dish will come from the light soya sauce (and maybe the stock, depending on what type of stock you use). The dark soya sauce is only there for the colour and a little bit of the sweetness so the amount used isn’t going to affect the saltiness.

      Hope this helps!

    • I have come across fishballs in KL but you’re right, it isn’t a very common ingredient. But I love it so much in this dish and it was all I had at home :P

      Of course, I never claimed this to be a truly authentic hawker version so let’s just say that it has been ‘Australianised’ :D

  5. NYMY

    Wow, I haven’t had this KL Hokkien Mee since like my college days in KL. I love the ones across from Petaling Street, it has the best wok hei and glad to discover yet another fantastic food blog Citrus and Candy.

      • Perverted Old Glutton Goat Pete

        Used to go to the Petaling Street shop for the Hokkien mee donkeys years ago. The KL mee is thicker sized. Didn’t know it’s still open. They got bak kut teh as well there.

        Is it the same place?

  6. Yum! You know as a kid I used to pick out the pork fat, I used to hate it! Now I think, what a waste of all that lovely pork :) (Oh and the stall we used to go to always had fishcakes (flat fishball! :))

    • Thanks Shaz! I suppose everybody would have their preferences as to what to throw in the wok with the noodles! I love fish balls and cockles (which are hard to find here) and the occasional fish cake!

      And the most important thing now is that you love the pork fat now :P

  7. Gorgeously sinful stuff. :) I’m not a fan of Hokkien Mee myself, though staying here in Malaysia. But those lards they generously serve the noodles with ….. SINFUL.

    • The important part of this dish is the sauce, not the noodles so substitute with anything you like. Thick is always better than thin and though I personally prefer egg noodles, any wheat noodle will also be fine. Shanghai noodles would be perfect and udon is also a popular substitution.

  8. Ivy

    OMGGGG. Heavenly!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this especially on a cold rainy day, dunno why. I love eating it with pickled green chili or a dollop of sambal. Sadly, I cant even get yellow noodles where I live now :( What more fishballs and the like :( :(

    My hubby is in Malaysia now for a business trip (the lucky &%^#@*) and I’ve given him a list of things@foodstuff to bring back for me.

    Bee and Karen, what do you think I should get him to bring me, besides the usual soy sauce, sesame oil. Im honestly salivating looking at the pics above, and compensating by eating shortbread cookies is just NOT the same. Sobs.

    Thanks a million by a Msian-food-deprived girl.

    • Hi Ivy! Oh no – must be hard not finding certain Asian groceries where you live! Other than soy sauce and sesame oil, I’d request dried belacan, jars of sambal, dried ikan bilis and Malaysian/Indian branded curry powders and bases :P But that’s just me.

      I always find myself bringing back biscuits, dried cuttlefish and all the naughty Malaysian treats that I miss out on in Australia.

      • Ivy, you could also request pre-fried salted fish (if you like salted fish). I usually get my mom to pre-fry them then seal them in a plastic bag, and into a tightly seal container, and then triple packed in plastic bags again. I have them pre-fried cos’ that way my neighbors here in Oregon won’t pengsan, if I have to fry them!!! LOL.

  9. Pork fat must be one of the key secret ingredients to hawker food! That’s why it taste good! Yes, the Singapore version is a light-colored version. But in Singapore, the Hokkiens have another darker-colored version – usually braised. Have not tried a real KL hokkien mee though.

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  11. sheryl

    I love hokkien mee and tried this recipe. I find it is a bit salty and need to improve the taste. Is still not as same as I had in hawker stall. Maybe is just me.

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Of course, I’ll never claim this to be anywhere close to the hawkers. I myself, think that nothing will ever beat the hawker flavour. When it comes to cooking, recipes only serve as a guide and never as a rule, so adjust seasonings to your own tastebuds.

      Thanks for the feedback :)

    • Perverted Old Glutton Goat Pete

      Sheryl: For the seasoning I would put only 1 tbs of soya sauce and add 2 tbs of oyster sauce not mentioned in the recipe. Then instead of discarding the prawn head and shells I would boil them in 1 1/2 cups of water around 20 mins to get the flavor out of them to use as the water required in the recipe. Add a bit more water if not enough when boiling.
      That should improve the flavor.

      The portions in the recipe would not really be enough for me alone cos I can eat a lot for 1 meal.

  12. Anne

    Hi Karen

    Wow, I just love this site ;-) The only problem is I am in Bulgaria and can’t get most of the ingredients for most of these recipes. I liked the idea of substituting pasta for the noodles, but what can I use for the thick soy sauce? Also when you say pork fat, is it just the fat or is there meat attached to it?

    Great site and thanks for the recipe for one of my fav foods :-)

    • Hi Anne, you’re very welcome :)

      Sorry for the late reply! From the top of my head, I can’t think of what you could use in place of dark soy sauce – it’s a very unique ingredient because of the sweet flavour and the caramel-like thickness. Sorry :(

      And yep it’s just the fat that you use for the oil and chu yau cha because there is already the pork belly for the ‘meat’.

  13. susan

    I had always love KL Hokkien mee, and missed it so much 15-23 years ago after we landed in Vancouver, BC. I personally have never tried cooking this dish, but happy to say that my husband now cooks the best ever Hokkien Mee. My brother visited from KL who never eats over night food, ate the mee my husband cooked. He pounds ikan billis(anchovies)to make the stock, and uses choy sum(mustard green leave vegetable) instead of cabbage. In KL, the hawker used choy sum too more than 30 years ago, but switched to cabbage when choy sum was too expansive. I would love to try your recipe and give my husband a surprise!

  14. calytrix

    Mmmm… made this tonight (with some variations…) I didn’t have pork or fish balls, so used a some sliced steak and diced chicken (in place of the pork) and some extra prawns, and threw in a bunch of Chinese greens and bean sprouts that were in the fridge… and a julienned carrot. Very good – flavour very much like Asian restaurants here (Perth)… although mine did turn out very salty – I think I’ll try using low-salt soy sauce next time (and I do like salty food!) Hit the noodle craving almost perfectly, though! :-) Thanks!!!

  15. Vivienne Nonis

    Aiyoh … whenever I miss home food, I come to your site to look at all my favourite food. I don’t think it helps but the pictures look too good to ignore. I want to attempt making har mee.

  16. Judy Tang

    Hi Bee Yinn I have been following Rasa Malaysia for awhile now. Loved every recipe in it. Can you please add recipe for the sambal that goes with KL Hokkien Mee. So complete with it. Thank you so very much.

  17. Hi Karen, I tried your recipe today and found it to be very salty. May I please check if the use of 4TB dark soy sauce and 2TB light soy sauce in the seasoning is the reason? Would it help if I used thick soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce? Many thanks for your reply.

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