There are many pretenders to the throne, but the best chilli pan mee for me is still at Restoran Kin Kin or as locals will just call it, Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee. I used to frequent the original stall (there was only ever just 1, and there were signs on the walls to remind you so!) in the original little shoplot hidden away in the rather salubrious Chow Kit part of KL city. These days, they have branched out to the suburbs.
Queues would form as early as 12pm when the lunch crowd descends on the stall. There was no air-conditioning, and you’d most often, have to share your tables with other patrons, everyone slurping away at the delicious noodles, while wiping away sweat-beaded brows. For it was not just the heat that got to you, it was that delicious dried chilli condiment accompanying the noodles!
Story is that that dried chilli condiment is so good, people have actually STOLEN the tub placed on the table! Some other people scoop generous spoonfulls into little plastic bags and containers they smuggle into the shop. People will go to many lengths to have that tasty and spicy chilli that pairs so well with the noodles.
I decided to go back to the original shop after years away, to see if it still lived up to expectations.
Happily, it does.
Now, the shop is mostly air-conditioned (but not cold), although they still serve just one dish – the pan mee noodles that made them famous. The cooking is also now staffed by migrant workers. It used to be carried out by the family members, who’d always be bickering about something or another. But I still see one of the original owners around the shop, and I’ve also seen the sons in other outlets, keeping an eye on things.
When you are at Restoran Kin Kin, don’t have any other version than the dry version of the noodles.
The homemade flour noodles come in medium-thick strands, rather like spaghetti. They used to cut them in the shop with a little machine, as the orders roll in, to keep up. I still see the machine, and these days, Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee has branches in the suburbs and in various food courts around the city, so I’m guessing they have a larger production facility now.
The noodles are cooked just right – al dente, with a bite to it. It is mixed with various seasonings, and topped with a mixture of minced meat (pork), and generous sprinklings of fried shallots and fresh spring onions. The piece de resistance is the perfectly poached egg that sits on top of the dish.
When it arrives at your table, you add the chilli condiment from the tub on the table. Add as much or as little as you like but be warned that it is spicy! Mix it up, breaking open the egg to allow the molten yolk to mix and bind with the noodles and then slurp it all up. A small bowl of clear broth with some vegetable accompanies your noodles. It’s comforting and it was every bit as good as I remembered it.
Even better maybe, for I remember the portion being a little smaller. Time was, I’d go with a friend, and we’d order 3 bowls at once. 1 bowl of these delicious noodles just doesn’t quite hit the spot, and it leaves you wanting for more. They also sell fish balls and meat balls in soup or some appetizers to accompany your meal. But I’d go just for the noodles – this is truly the most original and the best chilli pan mee in the whole of Malaysia!
AMBIANCE: This is a simple coffee shop so everything is very simple and basic. When it’s busy, expect to have to share tables with strangers united in the love of these dry chilli pan mee. Parking is very hard to get in the area, although there are some paid parking lots nearby.
SERVICE: Service is fairly fast. Unless you order any side dishes, there is only 1 decision you have to make – dry or soup pan mee. Always go for the dry version. How else are you going to enjoy that wonderful chilli condiment?
TASTE: As good as I remember it to be. The noodles are springy and not overcooked, the flavours are simple but blend to a delicious combination that leaves you satisfied and wanting for more.
PRICE: Each bowl at the original shop is standard size and is now RM7.50 a bowl. In the food courts, it goes for about RM9 a bowl or thereabouts.
RESTORAN KIN KIN (Chilli Pan Mee)
40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman,
Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Also available in Kota Damansara, Cheras and in some mall food courts – EAT at Publika
OPENING HOURS: 6.30am – 6.30pm everyday
Restoran Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee
Restoran Kin Kin is where you want to go for chilli pan mee. Don’t bother with other versions. If you want the best, this is and has always been the best. I’ve tried many over the years, but when I want something that I know is good, I come back here because it really can’t be beat for taste and value. Besides, that chilli is bad-ass!
TRY THESE: Dry Pan Mee topped with their homemade dry chilli condiment