Friday, 14 September 2018

Foochow Hock Chew Food in JB. Restoran Soon Chai in Ulu Tiram 顺顺来美食中心



When I saw Jeff Tan's Facebook post on the Foochow mee sua 福州面线 from Restoran Soon Chai 顺顺来美食中心 in Ulu Tiram, I quickly went to check it out. After visiting the restaurant, I am excited to tell my Hock Chew friends and friends from Sitiawan about the excellent house made Foochow noodles here.



Restoran Soon Chai is a quiet shop lot restaurant tucked away in a backstreet Jalan Denai 2 in Taman Bukit Jaya in laid back Ulu Tiram about 15km from downtown Johor Bahru. Soon Chai's clients are mostly residents and workers who live or work nearby. It is pretty much under the media radar, traditional or social media, maybe because it is quite ulu (remote).



The restaurant is run by Ms Lee and a helper. Ms Lee said that she had been running this eatery here for over 20 years. She hails from Sitiawan (Perak state) and her father was a Foochow noodle maker there for over 50 years till he retired recently. Ms Lee makes her own Foochow noodles for use in her restaurant.

Foochow people come from Mindong Region of China's Fujian province where Fuzhou 福州, the provincial capital is located. In Malaysia, Foochowese are concentrated in Yong Peng (Johor), Sitiawan (Perak) and Sibu (Sarawak). Sibu is referred to as "New Fuzhou" because of the large settlement of Foochowese there. Like all communities, Foochowese have their own signature dishes. The Mandarin name Fuzhou is transliterated in several ways such as Hock Chew, Foochow, Hokchiu, Hokchia etc. For this post, I shall use the name Foochow.



Ms Lee's Foochow noodles are made with just flour, salt and duck eggs - there's no lye water or preservatives, so the noodles must be eaten within 2 days. Ms Lee makes just enough Foochow noodles for her own use, so there is no mass production here.

Most noodle makers use chicken eggs or none at all, even in JB. Some even use synthetic colours to give the noodles an eggy yellow look. Duck egg noodles are like rare gems. Pure egg noodles (chicken or duck) have a pale yellowish tint. If you see bright yellow noodles, it is from lye water reaction with flour or food colouring or both.



Ms Lee used to also make her own Foochow mee sua but stopped as town council would not give approval for sun drying the rice noodles in open spaces. Since, she can't make mee sua the traditional sun dried way, Ms Lee did the next best thing. Now, Ms Lee gets her Foochow style sun dried mee sua from her friend in Sitiawan.



I ordered a red glutinous rice wine noodle 红糟酒面 instead of mee sua because I was eager to try out Ms Lee's house made noodles first (next time, I shall come back for the mee sua).



The red rice wine sauce was great. It had good round body, robust sweet sourish taste with slight underlying savouriness. The taste and heat from ginger was quite strong in the aftertaste. The sweet sourish bits of red yeast rice pulp in the red colour sauce also added to its body. Needless to say, Ms Lee made the red rice wine herself - it is a cherished Foochowese tradition.



Soon Chai's house made Foochow noodles were great. It was tender outside but was firmer inside - the layered tender firmness gave the noodles a slight chewy spring and bounce to the bite.



I followed up with a plate of Foochow fried noodles. Ms Lee was surprised at how much I could eat in one go 😄 (Actually, I was stretching myself to try more dishes 😂 )



The thicker Foochow noodles had more tender chewiness, and more bounce to the bite. The noodles were stir fried and then simmered briefly in a sweet savoury stock made with soy beans, mung kuang (Chinese turnip), stock bones and soy sauce. There were small pieces of fresh lean pork, fish cake, egg and leafy greens in the plate of noodles.



👉 Soon Chai 顺顺来美食中心 has a good range of Foochow noodle, mee sua and rice dishes. Hock Chew friends in JB needing a Foochow food fix can get it here. It is a bit ulu (remote) in Ulu Tiram but the house made noodles here are the nearest thing outside of Sitiawan. Worth the drive if you crave for authentic Hockchew noodles, mee sua, red rice wine etc. As for me, I have come to like Foochow food very much since long ago.

Looking at the menu, next time I want to try the red rice wine mee sua, lor mee and la la (clam) noodles.



Restaurant name: Restoran Soon Chai 顺顺来美食中心
Address: 2, Jalan Denai 2, Taman Bukit Jaya, Ulu Tiram, Johor
GPS1°35'55.2"N 103°48'28.5"E 🌐 1.598677, 103.807903
Waze: 2 Jalan Denai 2
Tel: 07 861 2680
Hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm (Off day not fixed. Updates on Facebook page)

Date visited: 14 Sep 2018


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2 comments:

  1. Went here and try today. Legit. The fried noodle is the best. They even use high quality vinegar.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 福州红糟麵线 , 很好吃 🔥
    福州滷麵 , 可以 。
    馬來麵 , 可以 。
    福州炒麵 , 馬馬虎虎 。

    ReplyDelete

I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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