Monday Breakfast of Pan Mee, Anyone?September 20, 2010 | 3,526 views
Last weekend was almost a too ideal one with the occasional crowd hankering for bites at the usual coffee shops during breakfast hours, surge in traffic (both on the roads and in shopping centres) thanks to the lingering effect of Raya, and culminated in a wedding feast at Kam Ling Restaurant in Kampar, a three-storeys grand structure which no doubt injects some glitters to the lacklustre rows of shophouses along Jalan Idris in Kampar old town.
PAN MEE SOUP – Wriggly, uneven surfaces and bouncy strands of flat flour noodles made from a combination of wheat flour and eggs, blanched slightly then cooked in a wholesome and sweet broth with a distinctive umami flavour from the anchovies.
After reading about and hearing repeated positive comments on this particular pan mee stall opposite of what-should-be THE Pan Mee Specialist in Ipoh, parked in a lot belonging to Kafe Tim coffee shop. I have written about the curry mee from Kafe Tim once, but not a version that had bowled me over (pun intended). So I never returned for the other hawker fares since.
Let’s set things straight before I continue; I am NOT a fan of Pan Mee. Thus I seldom venture all out to try the various pan mee stalls (but more or less selling the same thing) in Ipoh. The recent Peking Pan Mee outing was partly due to the hype surrounding it, coupled with the array of interesting choices of pan mee.
Wanna know how this nameless, unpretentious stall fared against the like of Peking Pan Mee which is ironically directly facing this particular stall in review? Read on to find out …..
Don’t belittle this random pan mee stall. FIVE people were involved in the operations. One cooking, one dishing the noodles out, one serving, one wiping the bowls, and another plain running around cleaning up.
But of course, there was this issue of an exceptionally long wait for food, especially in the mornings. And so we went for lunch instead. The wait was bearable, about 15-20 minutes worth of thumb-a-twiddling and popiah a-popping. Wait, did I say popiah?
Fresh Popiah Rolls (RM1.70/USD0.50 each) with crunchy fritters on top.
Yup. To fill that hollow, grumbling tummy while enduring the potentially nerve-wrecking wait, we opted for two rolls of popiah from a stall run by a very friendly lady. Not bad, as the chili sauce generously slathered on top of the soft, steamed skin of the popiah provided much punch. And the sprinkle of crisp fritters atop the popiah gave a delectable crunch to the otherwise limp affair. Still not up to my favourite popiah stall in Kong Heng‘s standard, but certainly passable.
Underneath the pile of ‘sweet leaves’ (sayur manis). minced pork, chopped scallions and crunchy anchovies, you will find a satisfying portion of pan mee in the delicious broth. And of course, the sambal on the side if you ever need some pungency.
For RM3.30/USD1.00 per serving, you can choose to have your pan mee in soup, or served dry. Good to see that they don’t skimp on the portion or ingredients. Tastewise, not too shabby. For I was deeply engrossed with the sheer amount of ‘sayur manis’ (not sure what is the real name for the green leafy vegetables, but they have the size of mint leaves and has this very pleasant sweetness) in the soup.
Dry Pan Mee – Minced pork, crunchy anchovies and chopped scallions with the lightly tossed flat flour noodles in soy sauce and dark soy sauce.
Personally, I prefer the dry version of the noodles. Good thing about their noodles is that they’re not soggy nor reeking of an unpleasant taste (no alkaline taste that’s for sure), and retained that bounce in the texture. Al dente‘s the word I believe.
Generous serving of sayur manis in the sweet/savoury broth. I like my greens with that natural sweetness and bite.
Though I am not of the opinion that this pan mee is the end-all, be-all of pan mee in Ipoh (partly due to the fact that I have not been to most), Kafe Tim’s pan mee still remains as one of the better ones in my book. I still crave for a damn addictive dry pan mee, like the one near to Bukit Jambul Shopping Complex in Penang at the grounds of some flats, or even the fiery dry chili pan mee outlets in Klang Valley.
Not to say they’re at each other’s throat or something …. but do you sense a business rivalry brewing over the horizon?
But one point to ponder upon; let’s say you have to bear the sometimes 45 minutes to one hour wait for a bowl of good pan mee. And directly opposite of this stall you can find a shop that specializes in various pan mee (more than 10 varieties) with a definitely shorter wait but of lower quality; tastewise. Which one will you choose?
By the way, although the shop was not fully packed, with a few tables of waiting patrons, the man at the pan mee counter was considerate enough to inform us of the potentially long wait. (Maybe they are already used to the constant laments, but how fast do you expect the lady to cook your pan mee, when she can cook only 3 bowls at a time?)
The pan mee stall also sells pork mee aside from pan mee. But I would have imagined a much longer wait for that. No?
KAFE TIM – One of the most popular place for lunch now. Even housing the Poon Kee economy rice stall. Is this the one previously operating from the shop next to Salam Corner facing Jusco Kinta City?
Pan Mee Stall @ Kafe Tim
No 3, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1E,
Medan Ipoh Bistari,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Business hours : Opens for breakfast and lunch.
GOOGLE MAP to Pan Mee @ Kafe Tim
* Next to Yong He Taiwanese Snack, opposite of Peking Pan Mee, and further down the road you will find Akamomiji on the opposite side, and Spaghetti Sweet Tea Cafe and Serai Satay Kajang on the same side.