I absolutely love hor fun (flat rice noodles). This Asian noodle, which is more popularly eaten in South-east Asia, comes in a few variations. The Cantonese-style hor fun comes in wide ribbons and is more suited for stir-frying. Its Teochew cousin is the kway teow, which is smaller in width. The Thai rice stick and Vietnamese ban pho are even narrower and thinner than their Chinese counterparts. Well, whatever their width or thickness, whether stir-fried or in soup, I simply adore these silky soft, flat rice ribbons.
Also famed in Malaysia and Singapore is the Ipoh hor fun. Situated north of Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh is a town in Malaysia where nearly 70% of its inhabitants are Chinese. It is known for its delicious Chinese cuisine, especially the super soft and silky Ipoh hor fun, which is credited to Ipoh’s hard water (high alkali content). Here’s more info on Ipoh cuisine.
Lucky for us that we don’t have to travel 500 kilometers (310 miles) for a taste of Ipoh hor fun. It’s been many, many years since I last visited Ipoh, but if my memory serves me right, the hor fun at Lee Tong Kee seems almost as authentic as the real deal.
R had the Tanjong Pagar Style Hor Fun (first picture), which is hor fun topped with chicken meat, prawns, Chinese chives, and braised mushrooms smothered in dark gravy. I didn’t try it, but it looked really mouthwatering.
My K.L. Style Hor Fun was delicious, with the star ingredient being the ultra thin, smooth and slippery hor fun. It was so soft that it seemed to melt in the mouth. The chicken was tender and moist, and the generous amount of beansprouts provided lots of refreshing crunch.
We ordered a small prawn wanton soup to share. There were altogether 12 prawn dumplings, which was the perfect amount for the two of us. The wantons were delightful morsels of crunchy and juicy prawns. Though small, we were impressed with the freshness of the crustaceans. The broth was robust with the flavor of prawn heads, but we felt it was a tad too salty. This was fixed by the home-brewed barley drinks (S$1.50 each glass) which were lightly sweetened.
One word of caution: if you only order a hor fun dish, it might not quite fill you up as the portion is rather inadequate. Because hor fun is relatively light, we left still feeling not quite full. Nevertheless, dining at Lee Tong Kee, housed in a refurbished and air-conditioned Chinatown shophouse, was a comfortable and pleasant experience. Considering the freshness and quality of their food, the prices seem quite reasonable; they don’t impose service charge and GST here.
Lee Tong Kee Ipoh Sar Hor Fun
278 South Bridge Road
Tel: (65) 6226 0417