KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – While Kuala Lumpur has an abundance of shopping malls, and fantastic Chinese food, the two rarely intersect. More often than not, you’re left with the choice of mediocre food court offerings, or chain restaurants that leave a lot to be desired. We can’t express how glad we are that Lot 10 Hutong has turned this on its head with the latest addition to their offerings.
The humble hawker-style establishment that Wong Wok appears to be is truly deceiving. Here, you’ll find some of the most artfully executed, authentic Chinese food that will have you coming back.
Helmed by culinary child prodigy Chef Wong, we find dishes that boast a keen understanding of their individual elements accompanied by a flair for marrying them. This is sometimes hard to find in even the fanciest restaurants, so to have it as a welcome break from an arduous shopping expedition is quite a treat.
It’s a rather welcome sight that you’ll be greeted by a cast of live crabs near the counter, so you can rest assured that the seafood is as fresh as it gets. It’s for this reason that the Fried Crab Noodle impressed. The seemingly simple concoction of mee hoon and crab meat was quite something. The simplicity of the dish only elevated the flavour profile. The freshness of the crab meat left a deliciously sweet aftertaste that’s hard to match.
As a distinctly Singaporean delicacy, Chilli Crab isn’t easily recommended in KL. If you’re going to get your hands dirty eating this dish (and there is truly no other way), this is the place you’ll want to go. Even though you have half the menu on your table, you’ll be remiss to pass up the bread (mantou or white bread) that comes with it to soak up the exquisitely flavoursome gravy.
Another coup for the noodle category is the Sang Har Mee (RM55.77/USD12.43). With a generous helping of sizeable prawns running through the dish, every mouthful is a treat. The sweet meat, coupled with the texture of the crunchy noodles and perfectly executed egg gravy makes this one of the better plates of this frequently uninspiring dish.
Lot 10 Hutong is the only non-halal food court in the city, and to that effect we find some of the best pork dishes we’ve had in the area. While Pai Ku (Sweet and Sour Ribs) and Sweet and Sour Pork (RM33.61/USD7.49) are similar, you’ll still want to order both of them. The former is a more traditional dish with its omission of ketchup, and boasts a depth of flavour that’s hard to match.
The Sweet and Sour Pork, too, surpassed our expectations with just how good it was. The morsels of pork at Wong Wok are hand-rolled by Chef Wong to ensure every bite is a treat. The ketchup-based sauce wasn’t cloying or overly sweet, which tends to be the case elsewhere.
While the only thing that surpasses a good Egg Foo Yong (RM20.02/USD4.46) is a Thai omelette (Khai Jeaw), the surprising addition of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) in this dish leaves it miles above the other stodgy offerings we’ve tried. Instead, it’s managed to remain fluffy and somewhat refreshing with a bit of a crunch for not overcooking the additions.
While not a personal favourite, the Braised Yam and Pork Belly (RM33.61/USD7.49) was excellent as well. The pork belly melts in your mouth, leaving all the flavours used in its preparation coating your tongue.
While we would personally skip the Steamed Salted Fish and Minced Pork (RM33.61/USD7.49), this is where you should be ordering it if you’re a fan. The pork was tender without being mushy, and the salted fish wasn’t overpowering as it tends to be.
As with the other noodle dishes we tried, the Beef Hor Fun (RM40.76/USD9.09) was excellent. While seemingly similar to Sang Har Mee, the texture from this dish comes from the generous smattering of beef strips and the chewy noodles. It’s definitely one of the better plates we’ve had in KL, and not one you would want to miss.
At this point, we weren’t expecting the Yong Chow Fried Rice (RM14.16/USD3.16) to wow us. As with everything else, however, it surpassed our expectations. What surprised us most was how there was so much wok hei (breath of the wok) in the fried rice when it’s found in the middle of a mall. It could be the fact that the cooking is done behind a glass panel allows for the high heat that is required for such preparation. Skip the white rice and go with this to pair with the dishes you’ve ordered, or even on its own.
What strikes us as a true departure with Wong Wok, is the fact that the food isn’t laden with MSG. There were no discernible traces of it. Instead, we found intense flavours layered upon each other to produce some of the best Chinese food we’ve had. The lack of pretension in decor certainly made the food shine as well, as we are all too happy to avoid the stuffy places that demand a certain level of decorum, but don’t deliver on quality.
Non-halal & serves alcohol
- The excellent Chinese food
- The unpretentious atmosphere
- The availability of local drinks, as well as options like Hoegaarden for beer
- The omission of MSG
- Lunch hour as it tends to get crowded
Tel:+60 3-2782 3592
We were guests of Tan Sri Fancis Yeoh at Wong Wok, but that has no bearing on the opinions expressed here.