This may not be the discovery of the year, but it may as well be the rediscovery of the year. Last rainy Saturday night, en route to Jalan Alor’s Wong Ah Wah for dinner with the gang, I suddenly thought of Restaurant Woo Lan. To my surprised, neither Lis, Ivan nor McCutie has ever been to (or heard of it for that matter) this legendary restaurant. So, we made a detour and headed for Brickfields. Judging from their doubtful faces, I’m guessing that they have their reservations of eating Chinese in Brickfields. The hoards of Hindu devotees getting ready for a religious ceremony outside the restaurant, didn’t quite help either. But being the troopers that they are, they went along with my recommendation.
Suspicions aside, Woo Lan housed in a nice air-conditioned and brightly lit establishment is tucked nicely in a quite corner of Brickfields facing the down ramp of Jalan Istana. But, it wasn’t always like that. I can still vividly remember how my parents used to bring me to an old shack under the overhead bridge, right next to the car park of the Holy Rosary Church along Jalan Tun Sambathan. Almost every Saturday, my dad and I will picked my mum up from work and we’ll head there for lunch. It was our ritual. Getting to the place was actually half the fun as parking was always crazy. So understandably, lunch there was always subject to car park availability. Once there, we would savour on traditional FuZhuo dishes like Foo Yue Yau Mak and their signature Ginger Garlic Steamed Fish Head. As time passed, development kicked in and one day we found ourselves staring in disbelieve at the demolished shack. That was the end of our love affair with the restaurant-under-the-overhead-bridge. We never really knew the name of the place.
It wasn’t until a couple years back when I started getting my regular blind-massage therapies that I found this place again by chance. After a session, I was hungry and I stepped into this place. I looked around and saw some rather familiar dishes. It was then that the past and present came together. I happily ordered and ate. But my enthusiasm was cut short. The bill came back rather steep for a simple meal consisting of a plate of noodles and one meat dish. I’ve only returned once again for dinner out of laziness to go any where else after a massage.
Back to our dinner on Saturday, our decision to dine here was no mistake. We ordered to the recommendation of the Si Tau Poh. And no matter how many dishes we’ve ordered, I was persistent to order the Fried Mee Suah. This have to be one of my all-time favourite noodle dish. I do miss it every now and then, but never really took the effort to get my butt here ever since I stopped my massage sessions. It’s a simple dish and subtle in presentation. But do not be fooled by its unappetising appearances. This signature dish is quite the con-artist. The flavourful combination of gluten starch, Chinese cabbage, pork, prawn, crunchy seaweed, fried egg and held together by “some” lard is just droolsome.
All in all the dinner was satisfying. I agree with Lis when she note that this place serves rather traditional-village-tasting food and it’s not very often that we get such cooking in this big city of ours. And based on the taste of the food alone, we wouldn’t mind driving out of the way every now and then to savour some good ol-skool dishes.
However, we changed our minds the moment the bill arrives. I was reminded once again why I hardly eat here. For a meal consisting of Stuffed Taukan, Foo Yue Yau Mak, Black Bean Chicken, Mui Choy with Minced Meat and Mee Suah, it came up to a total of RM76! There wasn’t even fish to begin with! Doesn’t anyone else think this leans on the expensive side based on what we’ve ordered in a restaurant of its kind? I’m guessing not many judging from the crowd of diners they bring in. Sighs… guess, it’ll be a while more before I get to savour the yummylicious noodles again.
Despite whatever I’ve said, do try the food there when you can-lah. Just do not expect to pay the price of your neighbourhood Tai Chow. For the benefit of those whose not heard of the place before:
Restaurant Woo Lan
19, Jalan Scott,
Brickfields, 50470 KL.
Opening hours: 11.30am – 3.00pm & 5.30pm – 10.00pm