Some of us in the Makan Club are well acquainted with Woo Lan Restaurant. Now housed in an air-conditioned shoplot at Jalan Scott, Brickfields, it didn’t start out that glamorously.A wooden structure under the overhead bridge next to the Holy Rosary Church. Cars parked haphazardly.

Was that all? Just another old shack to cater to those who lived and worked there? Probably not, judging from the old faithfuls that thronged the place. An interesting point to note about Malaysians (in general, anyway…there are some who have gone to the dark side…hehe) is that they do not care about appearances as long as the food is good. And that’s the success story of Woo Lan.

“Progress” and “development” eventually took place in that lot next to the church. Woo Lan subsequently moved to its current location, barely 50 metres from where it last stood.

My love affair with foo yue yau mak (romaine lettuce stir-fried with fermented beancurd) first started in Woo Lan over ten years ago. Over the next few months, I tormented my friends by constantly ordering the same vegetable. I wasn’t very compromising then! Pretty Pui and Bouncing Barbie are quite relieved that the obsession is over and that they can get on with life.

This evening, as Ecstatic Eeyore and I drove down to Brickfields in search of roti canai for dinner, instead of heading to our usual haunt, we were somehow drawn by a hidden force towards Woo Lan. Our minds were filled with visions of fried mee suah with seaweed and fried pak kor. The force was strong and in our moment of weakness, we yielded to it.

We are but mere fallible humans. Not only did we order the mee suah and pak kor, we also asked for yue sang. For two. The spirit of Chinese New Year was in us, and we wanted to be one with the yue sang.

What a wondrous sight it was. Our first yue sang (raw fish salad) for the year in all its colourful (artificial) glory. Bits of shredded vegetables, pomelo, crackers and raw fish drizzled with plum sauce and sesame seeds. Yue sang is normally consumed during the Chinese New Year period and is presented in the centre of the table whereby everyone, with chopsticks raised, toss the salad, uttering good wishes (good health, good job, lots of money, a girlfriend who looks like Amber Chia).

It must have been a sorry sight to see two very hungry looking people tossing the yue sang and yelling out every imaginable good wish to each other.

Pak kor is a rice cake that is thinly sliced. This dish was prepared in a nice garlicky dark sauce and fried with prawns.

The mee suah in Woo Lan is my current all-time favourite dish. A master of deception, this dish looks plain and unappetising. Mix it with the bits of crunchy seaweed, prawns, chinese cabbage and fried eggs and inhale…The combination of flavours arouse the senses.

Believe it or not, we finished everything. Burp.

Woo Lan
19, Jalan Scott,
Brickfields, 50470 KL.
Tel: 03-2274-8368

Opening hours: 11.30am – 3.00pm & 5.30pm – 10.00pm