PETALING JAYA, Aug 19 — I may not be from Sitiawan but a week-long eating trip there led to an appreciation for all things edible in that town. With a local as our guide, I remember tucking into bowls of starchy loh mee at the wet market.
It’s very much an acquired taste, probably due to the pungent smell of bamboo shoots.
So, when a friend mentioned Restoran Win Hou’s Hock Chew offerings I was curious. He described it as “typical Sitiawan taste” and he was spot on.
The Sitiawan Hock Chew noodles stall is run by Madam Chian Sow Chon, who relocated to PJ about 20 years ago from Sitiawan.
Even though she is originally from Singapore, she grew up in Sitiawan as her grandmother and other family members are from that area. When she came down to PJ, she first set up her food business in the Damansara Uptown area.
Later she moved to Aman Suria and about four to five years ago, she moved here. Previously she was making dim sum but since her son handles that tedious part, she decided to sell noodles. Her cooking skills were honed from just observing others cooking.
The loh mee is not much to look at, to be honest. With its deep brown colour, it’s the epitome of ugly delicious.
We love the chewy strands liberally coated with the thick gravy. Stir the gravy to discover bamboo shoots, wood ear fungus and lean char siew slices inside the bowl. You will also be served with chopped garlic and vinegar on the side. Toss it in for a nice tangy taste.
If starchy, pungent noodles is not your cup of tea, go for their Foochow red wine chicken. It is often hard to find a good version in the Klang Valley. This place delivers an incredibly comforting bowl that is not overly strong with the glutinous rice wine aroma.
It warms the stomach and you will want to drink every last drop. Madame Chian tells us that the glutinous red wine and the silky mee sua noodles are all sourced from Sitiawan.
Then there’s their kampua mee. The same chewy noodles served in the loh mee is used here. Tossed in dark soy sauce and lard, I really like the bouncy texture of these noodles. Topping it is their version of char siew — thin slices of lean pork with the reddish tinge.
You also have fried wantans. Aside from these offerings, Madam Chian also serves curry noodles and fishball noodles.
As it’s a dim sum shop, do try out their handmade offerings. Apparently, the tiny morsels are made by Madame Chian’s son. If you’re unsure what to pick, they’ll bring over the huge steamed tray of goodies for you to choose from.
It’s good. Not mind blowing but I appreciate their chunky, handmade texture. The siu mai is plump with the chopped pork mixture and the steamed pork ribs is given a mild flavour boost with chopped garlic.
There’s a long list of steamed handmade buns, from red bean, lotus paste, char siew to unusual items like wine chicken, black sesame custard. They are served in mini sizes, making it easier to add on these items when you want something extra with your bowl of noodles.
Coupled with the whole area’s Chinese kampung vibe, dining here almost feels like you’re in the sleepy town of Sitiawan.
Restoran Win Hou Dim Sum & Steamboat
16, Jalan PJU1/3B
Sunway Mas Commercial Centre
Open: 6am to 2.30pm (weekdays), 6am to 4.30pm (weekends)
Closed every second Monday of the month