There are two popular shops in the small town of Lukut near Seremban and Port Dickson (Malaysia) run by the Teng 鄧 family, famous for their "dirty noodles" or la zha meen 拉揸面.
La zha meen means "dirty noodles" in Cantonese colloquialism but there is nothing dirty about these delicious noodles at all. People from far and wide travel to taste these "dirty noodles".
Many years ago, the grandmother 貴嫂 of the current owners started a noodle stall at the market place in Lukut. The noodle stall was located where 3 canals (large drains) met. The 3 canals were choked with rubbish and dirty stagnant water, making it the filthiest and smelliest place in the whole of Lukut at that time. The locals started to refer to the popular noodle stall as "dirty noodles" 拉揸面 and the name has remained ever since.
Yesterday, I tried the younger Teng brother Octo's "dirty noodles" and today, I went to try the elder brother's version. The two "dirty noodle" shops are about 3 km apart along the same main road in Lukut (both near to Port Dickson).
I have been warned by locals to be here before 10:00am, especially on weekends. Officially opened till 1:00pm but the shop closes when the homemade noodles are sold out. Most of the customers are locals, joined by people from Kuala Lumpur, Seremban and Singapore on weekends.
A well weathered banner commemorating the award of "Gold Medal" to "Dirty Noodles" by Nanyang Siang Pau newspaper in 2008 hung proudly in the old kopitiam (coffee shop).
We waited 30 minutes for our noodles but service was very friendly. By 10:00am, customers had to stand and wait for seats. Also, expect to share a table with strangers which is common practice in Malaysia at popular restaurants. I am used to such arrangements and found that locals are usually friendly and easy to engage in casual conversation with.
My simple "dirty" lo meen 撈麵.
Al dente noodles slick with lard and rich savoury sweet flavour.
The "dirty" lo meen is served with a small bowl of soup. It's a homemade style soup with fresh choy sum greens, and slices of well marinated pork. The savoury sweet soup was simple and nice.
The fried "dirty noodles" was excellent as well.
The noodles were fried till there were caramelised charred bits outside. Good wok hei was clearly present in the simple plate of fried noodles with pork slices and choy sum.
I am craving for it now as I write this.
The locals like to eat the "dirty noodles" with lots of this chili sauce. It's actually a commercial sauce but the Tengs have blended in additional ingredients that gave it a tangy, sweet, salty, spicy and garlicky flavour.
Our 2 plates of noodles with a glass of homemade herbal tea came to RM10.30. After settling the bill, we stayed to chat with the friendly owners.
Though they were very busy (this was a Saturday morning), Mr Teng and his family warmly welcome me to photograph them at work in the kitchen at the back.
Mr Teng begins his day at 5:00am, starting with making noodles fresh every business day. The homemade noodles are cooked by dunking in boiling water.
The cooked handmade noodles are then seared in a wok with sizzling lard until some of it are caramelised and has a slight char outside.
The caramelised noodles are then further stir fried with stock, sauce, pork slices and choy sum greens before serving.
We asked the matriarch how her sons learnt how to make "dirty noodles". She replied that her sons have been following her at the market stall since they were drinking milk. So, the boys have been watching her and helping out since they were toddlers. No wonder the two "dirty noodles" by the Teng brothers were really very similar. They have stuck to their grandmother's old recipe which the locals love.
Lukut "dirty noodles" are in good hands. This is the fourth generation in action deftly making "dirty" lo meen.
When you are near Seremban or Port Dickson, take a short excursion to Lukut and try the famous "dirty noodles". If you like homemade noodles and plenty of wok hei in your food, you will be in for a real treat.
During my trip to Lukut, I stay connected using VisonData pocket wifi. VisonData is a more affordable option compared to data roaming and local SIM card. I was able to stay online throughout my trip at SGD9 rental per day for a VisonData pocket wifi. 4 - 6 devices can share one pocket wifi, so savings are substantial for travellers in groups. Find out more about VisonData here.
Restaurant name: Kedai Makanan & Minuman Mian Jiu 久拉揸面食
Address: No. 1854, Jalan Besar, Lukut, Negri Sembilan, Malaysia
Hours: 7:00am to 1:00pm (Closed on Monday)
Tel: +6012-353-8307 / +6012-905-8663
Date visited: 31 Jan 2015
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.