Sentul Ah Yap Charcoal Hokkien Mee
Plates of the mouth-watering dish “Hokkien mee” that carry a certain melancholy homesickness taste, or the Singaporeans’ Hokkien fry prawn mee are dishes developed by the Fujian people when they landed on this foreign land, to establish themselves, it is named with their hometown Hokkien province in mind.
In Kuala Lumpur, one of them is an old establishment that had been passed down to three generations, following traditional way of frying using
charcoal (Hokkien mee lover knows the best ones need to be fried using charcoal to bring out the aroma), modern outlets are established in the
downtown of Klang Valley, giving an opportunity for the younger generation to taste the traditional taste that belongs to Kuala Lumpur. This local old shop that has been the talk for decades is Sentul Ah Yap Charcoal Hokkien mee.
Sentul Ah Yap Charcoal Hokkien Mee’s person in charge Danny Yap（third generation successor), following the teachings of frying methods and secret recipes that has been passed down by his parents, coupled with modern method of operations is
carrying forward the fame of this Fujian cuisine.
The earliest charcoal fried Hokkien mee is operated by Danny Yap’s grandfather, it is later into the early 1960s, when Danny’s parents inherited his
grandfather’s craft, began operating in the local charcoal fried Hokkien noodles scene. When his
father Yap Seng Loh opened his shop at the beginning, it coincides with the independence where social and economic aspects are just at their infant, life aren’t easy, even the start-up funds were
borrowed from relatives. Until the business was stable only they were able to return the money.
The Diligence of The 2nd Gen, Fighting For A Living
Besides the few days of traditional Chinese holidays, they are open almost everyday with Yap Seng Loh and his wife diligently working. After buying the raw ingredients at the market in the morning, they will start their business from 3o’clock in the afternoon to 3a.m. in the morning, no matter rain or shine. Although the Hokkien mee was sold only at 80cents,the ingredients were chosen carefully, insisting on giving the best for their customers. As their charcoal fried Hokkien mee fragrance drifted in the air and the usage of fresh ingredients, it attracted the fancy of local residents. As we observed here we can see that the older generations fighting spirit and diligence, laid a path for Danny Yap in the future.
As there was no formal name used for this amazing Hokkien mee, the residents who often call Yap Seng Loh) as “Ah Yap”, gave birth to “Ah Yap Hokkien mee” as the stall’s official name eventually.
The Yap couple are blessed with four children,
Danny Yap is the third child, with a younger brother.
Since young, he is use to seeing his older sister
helping out at the stall, not long after he and his brother also followed their foot-step and helped out, experiencing the hard work since then. Danny smiled and exclaimed that:” we uses charcoal to fry the noodles, in the era where electric fans are absent, the brothers take turns in front of the open fire using their bare hands to fan the flames, sometimes they even get ashes everywhere!”. The childhood filled with heat and smoke was one of the happy memory the family of six cherishes.
The Well-known Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee, No Additives Added
Danny remarked that, Hokkien mee fried with
charcoal is particular good texture wise, accompanied with the indispensable lard and flatfish, as long as the control of the heat is optimum, it can highlight the charcoal aroma and the flavour from wok-frying where even pedestrians across the road can smell it. Anyone who tasted their noodles will notice that their noodles are flatter without any taste of lye water. Danny explained that:” this is the specially devise noodles from the last generation, because no additives are added, the noodles are softer and must be sold each day without keeping them overnight. “ Therefore, most customers that had tasted their noodle will come again definitely for the amazing taste. For decades, Danny witnessed that customers who supported them can be starting from
grandfathers to grandchild, with all 3 generations having a soft-spot for Ah Yap’s Hokkien mee.
Intending to establish his name in the food industry, Danny after graduating from secondary school and setting foot in the working world, he had engaged himself in the food industry. He accumulated his experience starting from western restaurants to be used in the future. Finally in the early days of the new millennium, he finally went back to Kuala
Lumpur to succeed his father
Danny started his venture by opening their first store in Kota Damansara and named it Sentul Ah Yap Hokkien mee. Initially when it started, he himself is in charge of the kitchen, but with the improvement in the business he started training their new hired. The opening coincides with diners pursuing
authentic traditional tastes, and started the fad for charcoal fried food. The combination of this and Danny’s parents’ heritage craft, make him more influential than before. Within 2years he opened two more branches in a row in PJ Sunwaymas and PJ Uptown. Born with an instinct for business, Danny developed a variety of specialty dishes and seafood dishes and adding them in the menu. Besides the charcoal fried noodles, he also added Sentul “Fried KwayTeow” and “potato starch noodles”. After the tweaks made by Danny, business is booming with tables fully packed especially on the weekends.
TV Series Slinging The Hokkien Mee Passed Down by Generations Into Fame
In 2008, the location of the shop was scouted as the setting for the local TV series “Romantic Delicacies”, bringing the Hokkien mee that was passed down generations into the silver screen. After the TV series were broadcast, with the main theme revolving
“Sentul AhYap Hokkien Mee”, it sparked like wild fire spreading its name even further throughout Malaysia, even foodies from our neighboring country Singapore that like Hokkien Mee came to dine
following the fame.
Following the Yap family Hokkien mee’s reputation and recognition, Danny Yap opened 5 branches in succession in the Kuala Lumpur area and in 2012 transformed his parents’ shop into their headquarters. Currently, there are a total of eight branches in Klang Valley, Kota Damansara and Damansara Uptown branch is operated by his brother Bernard Yap and their flagship shop in Kuala Lumpur plus 5 other outlets are managed by Danny Yap himself and manager Freaddie Chee. However, in order to effectively
manage the quality and consistency of their food, Danny Yap began plans to set up a central kitchen and central management and control system, it is believed that under his reforms, Sentul Ah Yap
Charcoal Hokkien Mee will definitely move
forwards into another milestone. The accomplishment that Danny Yap enjoys can be contributed to the joint efforts of Burmese’s Chinese Ben Lo and his fellow employees. Ben Lo had came to Malaysia when he was just in his twenties to work under the guidance of Danny Yap since the opening of his first shop towards today where he is in charge of the
employee’s training and deployment of all the branches. In the eyes of Ben Lo, Danny Yap is a kind-hearted employer that is compassionate to his staff, always giving them the opportunity and encouragement they deserved so that they can showcase their talents and dedication towards the company.
The influence and parental guidance towards Danny Yap since young, with his experience and as the
successor of the Sentul Ah Yap Hokkien mee, he is still humble and very easy to talk to. He will
punctually reach their main branch at 8.30 in the morning to work, and is steadfast on taking a trip to each outlet, continuing the Yap family’s legacy with his energetic spirit.