Face To Face Noodles House 面对面板面专卖店

I don’t want to do my Canto Pop Part 2 today. I want to do it tomorrow, because tomorrow is Saturday, and I can spend more time indulging in good songs while writing. So today I’ll talk about food again.


Sometimes it is very depressing for people from KL to work in Penang. This is mainly due to the stubbornness of Penang people when it comes to food. Whenever any “outside” Malaysian food franchise attempts to set up shop in this little island, it is very hard for them to garner the necessary amount of support, and they will go bust within a few months or a year. After awhile, not many people from the south of Penang are even bothered to try. As a result, whenever we crave for a taste of our hometown, more often than not, the only solution is to retreat into a corner and cry like a little baby.

Face To Face 面对面 is one of the newer franchises trying to break this trend. Their specialty is the Pan Mee. When they announced their grand opening, the little boy within me rejoiced with all my might. I have a deeper affinity with this franchise than most eateries. This is because I was already a patron when they originally started as a single shop in Jalan Genting Kelang, Setapak. It was one of our favorite lunch spot as TARCians (TAR College students).

For the international readers, Pan Mee means flat noodles. They are sort of like, the pasta of Malaysia. The dough is hand kneaded, and made of flour, egg and water (not sure of the composition). Then they can be either torn into pieces by hand, much like the traditional pasta making ways, or rolled into a specialized machine to create strands of noodles.

Strangely, this machine is called pasta maker LOL!

Back then, they were cheap. Of course nowadays, as a franchise, the prices have increased. But the taste is still there. I love them to the bits, probably more because of the KL factor and nostalgia factor than because of super awesome taste factor.

Face To Face
The litmus test of awesomeness can be found in Step 3
Face To Face
The Special Chili

Whenever I am not cooking, this is another of my regular hot spot for having my meals. The week when my guest was here, this was one of the places I took her for dinner. This is as authentic a Malaysian food as you can get. Even Wikipedia tells us, Pan Mee is a Malaysian Chinese cuisine, and originated from Malaysia.

Face To Face
Pan Mee (Soup) – RM 7.50, 10 pcs Wantan (Dry) – RM 5.50
Face To Face
Sarawak Bihun (Dry) – RM 7.50

Don’t ask me whether this is authentic Sarawak or not, I didn’t even know there is such a dish called Sarawak Bihun. I always thought Sarawak is only famous for kolo mee or kampua mee. But I like this dish, so I’m not bothered about authenticity.

They do sell kolo mee too, but I tried it once and will not try it again. It does not taste authentic. They used dark soy sauce for it.

[EDIT: A friend set me straight on the kolo mee’s authenticity in FB after I published this, thanks 😉 :]

Kolo Mee

Face To Face
My most favoritest drink, Ribena Lychee – RM 4

Ribena (grape juice concentrate) mixed with tinned lychee together and the accompanying syrup. Sinfully sweet but super awesome! Of course, I don’t drink this every time I come here. It will be a sure fire way to diabetes! I have this like, once every 5 visits, or once a month.

I know I know, it is bloody expensive for a hawker food level of dish. But I miss the taste of my hometown, and I am desperate. So screw it!


Location? In the same cluster of shops as the pork noodles. Alternatively, you can go try them at their original shop in Setapak, KL. Or their various other branches. Click here for all their locations, addresses and maps.

I am not sure how long they can last. I think they are as of now, doing barely adequate business, but if I have to judge based on their promotion’s success, I don’t feel hopeful. They have a daily thing called [The 100th customer of the day eats for free] and the photos of the customers are posted on their FB page. That 100th customer always happen at night. Even assuming that they rake in an average of RM 40 per customer (they count 1 bill as 1 customer, 3 people dining together is considered 1 customer too), that would place them with a revenue of maybe RM 5000 per day, which is NOT a great deal as restaurants go.

If I am the restaurant owner, I would not pin too much hope on a restaurant business of such figures. Hopefully the real owner would not think like me, or I would soon end up having to cry in my little corner again…

 

22 Comments

  1. I am a Penang born and will retire there someday too. True that we are stubborn fellas. LMAO!!!
    I like to eat at Face2Face and JoJo as their noodles & chilly sauce really gives me the kick & oomph! I never have problem to bring my Penang guests out to makan in KL as we have many better food & choices here! Pity I am not a food blogger.

    • I think those like you that have settled down in KL are more tolerant and able to appreciate different tastes. Same like that blogger KYSpeaks. I guess Penangite visitors to KL need people like you to bring them around for food. Usually when my colleagues go to KL on holidays and come back, they will complain that those “Top 10 KL Must Eat” blogs are cheats and liars, and then make comparison with Penang’s version as the correct version. Usually this will open another round of intense mudslinging 😀

  2. What a coincidence! I just went for a bowl of pan mee this morning.. with ikan bilis, spinach, minced meat and this time, I ordered an egg to be added in too! I prefer the soup version compared to the dry.. 🙂

  3. Are you familiar with the organic vegetarian outlet called Lohas? I heard from one of their staff that they opened a branch in Penang recently and it is not doing too well. According to her, it is because Penang people are very “kiamsiap”. Food at these franchises are of course pricier than at the hawkers and if that lady’s observation is anything to go by, then maybe that’s why they don’t do well in Penang?

    • If you ask me, Penang people are very kiamsiap on many things that baffles me. Actually they do spend more on food if the restaurant originates from Penang, like Xuan Xin and a host of other Chinese restaurants, as well as the many many quaint little coffee houses that Penangites run. But that generosity is not extended to non-Penangites restaurants and food, for the same reason that I mentioned, they think those food are crap and not worth paying more.

      Sometimes I feel sad for this island, because of their stubbornness, they miss out on a lot of good food from the outside just because of their refusal to acknowledge these outside food. But then, who am I to comment, they feel happy enough living in the delusion that “Penang food is the best!”

  4. I wonder why that dish is called Sarawak bihun. Nothing of the sort here – maybe it is inspired by the way they serve Kuching kolo mee. Not really a fan of pan mee but I don’t mind having that sometimes for a change. I guess Penang is all about hawker food, though many would insist they’re overrated – personally, I would go for those too, mostly, when on the island instead of all those they have in the cafes and restaurants. Can get the same or perhaps even better elsewhere. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Hehehehehehe!!!!

    • I am one of those many. I think Penang hawker food has been hyped up by the locals here at the same time that they denigrate non-Penang food. We all love food from our own hometown, but I rarely see non-Penang people who will go so far as to say food outside their hometown is crap. Penang would even claim that their version of various hawker food are the authentic ones, even though in some cases, they are not (wantan mee for example). I’m stereotyping here of course, not all people behave this way, just a lot of them 😉
      If you ask people from KL/Ipoh/JB who work here, most of us would give you this answer: yeah, the food here is nice, but our hometown’s version is also nice. Their characteristics are different. The superiority notion is bullshit.
      I love Penang local food actually, but I don’t like the folks’ general attitude towards other version of local food. That’s why I like to open friendly fire at Penang food time and again to rile them up 😀 .

  5. Hah you will be posting your Canto pop today ahh? Weekends leh I’m viewing and commenting from phone..Cant view the videos one leh..
    Oohhh kam ngam geh, I also had Min Dui Min for lunch yesterday, at Ara Damansara.. I always order the Sarawak mee and Loh Hon Kuo ice..

    • I write today doesn’t mean I have to post today lah. I actually plan to schedule it for next week so that I can spend more time on the project.
      Apparently a friend on FB commented that their kolo mee is authentic, that it is supposed to have dark soy sauce option. Weird, I’ve never seen dark soy sauce option when I was in Kuching. I remember reading Kenny Sia who said kolo mee authentic = no dark sauce.

  6. Good morning Realgunner,

    Hope your weekend will be a good one. There used to be an outlet in Sri Petaling but from your link of their outlets, I see that branch has closed. Most probably because there is a Jo Jo Pan Mee close by so the competition is fierce. Hopefully the Penang branch will stay open forever.

    I think in Penang, in the hawker stalls and food courts we seldom can find pan mee stall Is this right?

    • You are right, pan mee is quite rare here, but not as rare as pork noodles, you can still find it in certain food courts. And recently there are quite a few specialty pan mee shops sprouting out in the little island. Some of them are jokes (super sweet sauce), a few of them are not bad.

    • I hav tried most of the pan mee franchises in Sri Petaling, jojo, super kitchen, and face-to-face…
      I prefer chili pan mee, am craving it every month.
      Ribena lycee is a great combination, I first tried it at Murni, it has a special funny name. Well if u been to Murni u will noe…haha

    • Not that embarrassing I think. I frequent it out of desperation and nostalgia rather than due to the pan mee is super awesome :/

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