Shin Kee Beef Noodles Specialist
Loulou and I walked past Shin Kee on our way to Central Market which is about 5 minutes walk from Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur. The scent of beef noodle soup wafted out the front and we looked at each other and said: “We have to come back and eat here later!”. Later that night, we made good on our intentions with an early dinner at Shin Kee.
Becoming giddy with excitement, I had my first food nerd experience in Malaysia here. When the signage says beef noodles specialist, that’s exactly what it means. The only thing you can order here is beef noodles. You choose your noodles from about five varieties and whether you want beef slices, beef meatballs or a mix. Serving sizes in Malaysia are happily on the small side and you don’t usually have to worry about overeating unless you order multiple items.
Loulou had sliced beef in noodle soup and I…well I went for the beef mix which had sliced meat, meatballs and tripe. Now don’t wrinkle up your nose like that! Tripe isn’t a scary thing for me to eat at all. As I’ve said before, since I’m prepared to eat meat, I am happy to eat most parts of an animal. It gets on my nerves when people refuse to have meat on the bone or only eat chicken if it’s breast meat.
When I ordered from the man at the counter he asked me what kind of noodles I’d like with it and mumbled something which sounded like “super dry”. I gasped: “Is it?” and then realised a second later that he was actually asking me if I wanted it with soup or without (dry!). I think he thought I was very silly. I chose the soup version and slunk back over to our table, a little embarrassed.
The bowls came quickly and the clear beef stock was clean tasting and very soothing. It was either MSG free or very low on the stuff. The sliced beef was just cooked but the thing that made it over the top good was the beef sauce on top. I’m telling you, that stuff is gold. The rather simple bowl of soup, meat and noodles was lifted by the intense, unami-heavy dollop of sauce on top. Housemade chilli sauce on the side was also available for those that like some spice. As we ate, many customers came for a takeaway version of the noodles and looking around, I saw that the majority of those eating in had chosen the dry version.
Dammit! That must be the most popular way to eat it. I announced that we must return and luckily, Loulou was fine with the idea. I must have had a crazy glint in my eye so she quickly decided to humour me. A few days later in Penang, I saw another beef noodle stall and I ordered it just so I could compare it to Shin Kee. It was okay but was missing that meat sauce on top that made Shin Kee’s crazy good.
I sound a little fanatical but I did some research on my return to Sydney and Shin Kee is well known in KL as one of the best places for beef noodles. The store operates during the day and at night has a hawker stall on Petaling St to capture the market’s evening customers. The recipe for the beef sauce seems to be a fiercely kept secret. On my first visit to Shin Kee I asked the man when I was paying what was in the sauce and he said: “Beef”. Stubbornly, I asked how they cooked it and he said: “Fried”. Wow, not giving away anything are you, mister?
Supposedly, the family don’t even allow the meat sauce to be packaged separately for takeaways; perhaps to deter those who want to reverse engineer the sauce. Honestly, if you just ate there enough times I’m pretty sure you could work most of it out. On our return to Shin Kee a few days later, I ordered the dry version and I agree that it’s the best way to enjoy the noodles. You get to really taste the meat sauce which is added actually sparingly on top. The flavour is intense and rich so the noodles don’t need much.
Loulou kept me company on the second visit without ordering any food (see, I knew she was humouring me!) and the food nerd inside me was ecstatic. Eating carefully, I tried to discern the ingredients of the beef sauce. I could taste some garlic and perhaps some shallots that had been cooked slowly down with the very finely chopped beef. There must be other ingredients too and I became very conscious that patient Loulou was waiting for me to finish eating so we could do something else. Although ordered dry, a bowl of clear beef soup is still provided and this time, I had beef meatballs only. They were made in-house and were really the best Chinese-style beef meatballs I’d ever had.
If you’re ever in KL, go to Shin Kee for the beef noodles, you won’t regret it. Unless you don’t eat meat and in that case, avoid Shin Kee! They only serve beef noodles and you’ll go hungry.
Shin Kee Beef Noodles Specialists
7A, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
10.30am to 3.30pm | 6pm – 11pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Phone: 012 673 7318 / 017 238 8331