Old favourites with a new twist
PETALING JAYA, Jan 16 — For 40 years, the corner shoplot on Jalan SS2/6 has been a landmark for hawker food; it’s constantly filled with residents from the neighbourhood and beyond.
The façade of the shoplot was a familiar sight and the famous Lim Mee Yoke noodles were a familiar taste. Now, a modern building with glass walls and staircase not unlike an Apple store stands in the place of the former shoplot... complete with a promising new name, Ho Ho Sek (which means very delicious in Cantonese).
Offering Astro programmes on branded flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and a contemporary-meets-old-school décor, one wonders if the food is now more expensive and if our hawker favourites are still available.
Observing the lunch crowd on a weekday, nothing much has changed – it is as busy as ever with no signs of business slowing down. Old-style Chinese marble tables and stools are occupied by office workers, housewives with children and retired uncles from the neighbourhood.
The hawker stalls are now located outside of the indoor dining area, lined up two by two in a row of cubicles. Checking out the hawker stalls, we found out that the popular mee yoke wasn’t there anymore so we opted for other delicacies. There was still the evergreen favourites like pork noodles, popiah, fried kwayteow, lam mee, etc.
Speaking to some hawker stall owners, we found out that Ho Ho Sek is under a new management and that the rental went up by 20 per cent, and that is the reason why my noodles now cost 50 sen more.
There is actually more to the story but it was best to find out from the horse’s mouth. Ho Ho Sek manager KC he told us that 75 per cent of the original hawker stalls are still at Ho Ho Sek. He grew up eating at this particular shoplot on SS2/6 and when the opportunity came, he bought over the place because of “sentimental reasons.”
“We wanted to offer our customers the same affordable hawker fare they loved in a clean and better environment. Basically, we demolished the old building and rebuilt it in three months. People have this misconception that a modern place means expensive food but we are still offering their favourite hawker fare at a reasonable price,” said KC.
Venturing a few doors away down the road from Ho Ho Sek, we found a newly-opened Restoran Chow Yang. Here, you can find wan tan mee, chicken rice and a selection of pau among other food on offer.
The owner of Restoran Chow Yang was selling drinks in Restoran Mee Yoke Lim before it was taken over by Ho Ho Sek. The reason she moved out was because of the increase in rental price. Ironically, before Restoran Mee Yoke Lim bought over the place, the name of the coffeeshop at that shoplot (where Ho Ho Sek is now situated) was also called Restoran Chow Yang.
She told us that the famous Mee Yoke noodles have relocated to the row of shops behind Ho Ho Sek and Restoran Chow Yang. We set out to look for the restaurant and found the new Restoran Lim Mee Yoke easily, serving the familiar prawn noodles, lam mee and lor mee.
Yes, this trinity of good eats — Ho Ho Sek, Restoran Chow Yang and Restoran Lim Mee Yoke — is just within walking distance of each other. Besides, you can burn off some of the calories you gained from eating at the first restaurant while walking to the next.