Offering one-of-a-‘kin’ Chili Pan Mee, Kampung Baru’s Restoran Kin Kin blows all its kin-petitors out of the water
In the raw, fledgling years of the Klang Valley, our wretched ancestors’ hardscrabble daily existence involved tearfully downing bowls of bland, unpalatable noodle soup for basic nourishment. This tragic dietary practice was eventually noticed by the cloud-perched Gods of gastronomy, who took pity on the deprived populace below, and devised to introduce a sublime dish that would alleviate their gourmet suffering. Using divine ingredients and celestial cooking techniques, the Gods conjured up Chili Pan Mee – which was delivered by a choir of angels down to 5 specially-chosen KL eateries where the immaculate dish would forever be exclusively available: Restoran Kin Kin, Super Kitchen Chili Pan Mee, Face To Face Noodle House, Jojo Little Kitchen and Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House. Today, the quintet of restaurants is the pilgrimage site of Chili Pan Mee devotees nationwide, who regularly pay homage to the miraculous dish. As per my role as a fundamentalist foodie, I performed my gastro-religious duty at the hallowed Restoran Kin Kin recently.
Although I arrived at the restaurant before noon, well before the peak lunch hour, the premises were already brimming over with patrons practically sitting on top of each other (just half an hour later, and I would have had to queue from Seremban). I was lucky to have the proprietor himself show me to a table, but I had to share it with two other customers (luckily, we had the common goal of demolishing bowls of Pan Mee).
Bare, utilitarian, drab – but reassuringly clean – Kin Kin is a run-of-the-mill shoplot which won’t win interior design contests any time soon (but with such a winning signature offering, it doesn’t need to). And in spite of its lack of air-conditioning and cramped seating, the outlet is airy, comfortable and reasonably well-appointed.
Before the main event was to start (my bestial devouring of an order of Chili Pan Mee), I hydrated my palate with a glass of Herbal Tea. The price of RM1.30 I found to be on the steep side, but after several healthy gulps, its cost was washed away from my mind. The beverage was aromatic, pleasantly bitter, characteristically weak-bodied and highly refreshing. Before even going bottom’s up, I had rated the tea 9.4 out of 10.
Then entered the restaurant’s prima donna dish, in a sizable, blood-red bowl (Pan Mee is offered in only one ‘regular’ portion). The gleaming white noodles were seemingly shy, as only glimpses of them could be seen from under an avalanche of ancillary ingredients, which included a lavish scattering of minced meat, anchovies, fried shallots, spring onions and a poached egg with contained, runny yolk (the latter had been boiled to a precise degree to attain a specific flavour, and is a key ingredient to the dish).
Accompanying the bowl was a jar of dark, fried chili flakes with the hotness of volcanic lava. They should be added sparingly to the dish, as the chili is truly stomach-dissolving (but insanely delicious). I sprinkled almost four teaspoonfuls because I’m a little suicidal.
Once everything was in place, I thoroughly mixed the ingredients (rather impatiently) and dug in. The noodles were wonderfully thick, soft and springy, and surprisingly flavourful in themselves (it was clear that the Mee was handmade and a special recipe of Kin Kin’s); while the mix of ingredients was a lovely, multi-part harmony of light and savoury tangs, and soft and crunchy textures. I was practically assaulted by deliciousness, and reveled in the flavours ravishing my palate (all the while, weeping copiously from the murderously spicy chili). It was sheer perfection, and I found myself crowning Kin Kin’s Chili Pan Mee as the best of all the five deity-appointed Chili Pan Mee restaurants in the Klang Valley. The RM8-per-bowl cost was entirely justifiable (it was a priceless gastronomic experience!), and I unhesitatingly awarded the dish a near-flawless rating of 9.8 out of 10.
But that wasn’t the end of my taste bud tantalization. The complementary soup, which traditionally plays a supporting (and usually forgettable) palate-cleansing role, proved to be a star in its own right. Containing Sayur Manis and poached egg white fragments, the clear soup was lip-smackingly tasty, and I briefly considered swallowing my pride and asking for a refill. In and of itself, the soup was a winner, and deserved a score of 9.7 out of 10.
Restoran Kin Kin
No. 40, Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1,
Off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman,
Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 7.30am-9pm (Mon to Fri); 7.30am-4.30pm (Sat and Sun)
Tel: +6016 372 8069
*Based on an article published by militant foodie, omnipresent shutter bug, indefatigable traveler and bionic blogger, Venoth Nathan, in Venoth’s Culinary Adventure. Images are courtesy ofhttp://venoth.blogspot.my/.