Sai Lam

Kedai Kopi Sai Lam (西南茶室) is a traditional, down-to-earth coffee shop at the corner of Chulia Street (Lebuh Chulia) and Carnarvon Street (Lebuh Carnarvon). The shop is rather small with only a handful of dining tables. There are several food stalls but only a couple are open when we visited.
Directly at in front is a stall offering two dishes and only two dishes: Beef Soup Mee (牛腩面) and Wan Tan Mee (云吞面). This stall is quite popular among locals and there is a long wait if you arrive during peak hours.
The Beef Soup Mee (牛腩面, RM6.00) is the perfect meal for beef lovers. This dish is a bowl of beef soup and wantan noodles. The soup is loaded with a reasonable amount of beef briskets (牛腩), tendons (牛筋) and choy sum (菜心).
Key to a nice dish of beef soup is its rich meaty flavor. By stewing the beef for extended time, the broth turns brown and inherits the meat's strong savory flavor. Although certain pieces of brisket are quite tough to chew (because they are too large in size), we enjoy the tendons due to their chewy sensation.
As for the Wan Tan Mee (云吞面, RM4.00), we opted for the dry version as recommended by the stall operator. The wantan noodles are lightly tossed with oyster and soy sauce to give a mild sweet and salty flavor. The wantan noodles are not as springy as we expected. Perhaps they are not sufficiently "washed" in boiling soup during the food preparation.
However, the wantan (云吞) pieces are delightful and certainly the highlight of this dish. Filled with minced pork and coated with a nice layer of dough skin, the appeal of the wantan pieces should not be underestimated.
This dish is also accompanied with several pieces of barbecued pork (叉烧) and boiled pork (猪肉片), both adding another layer of taste to the noodles. Some white pepper and chopped scallions are sprinkled on top for good measure.
As for the price, the food at this stall is quite affordable and comparable to other downtown stalls. However, the prices have increased steadily over the years as a result of increased cost of living.
Interestingly, this stall at Sai Lam is occasionally frequented by Western tourists too. Perhaps it has been recommended by nearby guesthouses when guests ask for "something local".


  1. Should try the dry wan tan noodles with sesame oil instead of lard and compare.