During the lunch rush, it feels like every seat at Two Hands Noodle Shop is accounted for by students and Southeast Asian ex-pats hungry for a taste of East Malaysian, Sarawak-style noodles.

These toothsome, springy and delicious things are made with egg and high-protein wheat flour on-site using a noodle roller that works similar to a manual pasta machine, in the mornings and afternoons between lunch and dinner. On particularly busy days, owner Joseph Lau says he’ll sometimes have to make noodles during service (it’s in the name – everything here requires both hands to make).

Two Hands' menu represents two Southern Chinese language groups that migrated to Malaysia in the early 1900s: the Foochow food of Sibu that Lau grew up with, and the Hokkien-style cooking synonymous with Kuching, Sarawak’s capital city. Among the major differences between the two styles, the Hokkien-style noodles (the curly kolo mee and kolo mee pok) are only cooked briefly to retain a springy, almost al dente mouthfeel. In comparison, the Foochow-style noodles (mee pok, and thin and straight kampua) are a little softer.

Each is seasoned differently, too. Foochow noodles are flavoured only with lard and soya sauce. While Hokkien noodle cooks also deploy lard and soya sauce in their bowls, they’ll also sneak in some garlic oil and – crucially – white vinegar. Of course, the best way to taste the difference is to go with a buddy (or an appetite) and order both. Noodles come in both regular and large sizes.

As far as recommendations go, the pan mian (thicker cut than the other noods) are a pleasure to eat. The plus-sized baos are pillowy, dense and make excellent road-trip snacks; and the stir-fried rice rolls have smoke and savour for days. For those chasing flavours of Southeast Asia, this is an essential Perth address.

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Updated: April 6th, 2022

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