Prawn mee and curry mee stall
By Robyn Eckhardt
I’d long been curious about a hawker stall-lined alley off Jalan Pudu about a block from Jalan Pasar, always heaving with customers every time I drove past, usually on my way to lunch at Sek Yuen. Sitting as it does on the edge of Pudu Market, the thoroughfare seemed to promise untold old-timey deliciousness. Well, looks can be deceiving. A recent reconnaissance mission turned up lots of so-so and OK lah but only one specialty truly of note. But I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. One hit is better than none at all. Besides, this one’s a beaut.
Right at the Pudu mouth of the alley, next to a shop named Barang Barang Thean Fah, sits a stall proffering prawn noodles and curry mee (on weekends the stall’s owner extends his seating onto Thean Fah’s arched walkway). Good prawn noodles are hard to find outside of Penang (where they’re known as Hokkien mee), but this version could give a bowl made in Georgetown a run for its money. It boasts a sublimely rich broth reeking of long-simmered prawn heads and pork bones and evincing a wee chilli burn, yellow noodles springy and elastic rather than over-boiled and mushy, and four generously sized, pleasingly crunchy, briny-fresh shrimp. The vendor replaces the traditional bean sprouts with kangkong (purists, take note; I didn’t find the switcheroo offensive) and crowns the lot with a carpet of golden fried shallots. Fans of the hot stuff will like the smooth sambal served alongside; it exudes more capsicum than belacan and spices up the prawn noodles nicely.
Also on offer here is curry mee which, next to the bowl of prawn mee goodness, is rather a disappointment. Its thickish coconuty soup will please those who like their curry on the slightly sweet side but disappoint anyone hoping for a bit of depth or complexity. Shredded chicken, bean curd puffs and some bean sprouts adorn this bowl, but don’t go fishing for prawns or cockles, let alone eggplant or long beans, in your broth. This curry mee doesn’t offend, but it doesn’t excite either. I suspect that it’s there mostly to occupy those prawn mee-averse friends and relatives of the prawn mee lovers who brave the traffic on Pudu to satisfy their cravings at this stall.
At mouth of alley right next to Barang Barang Thean Fah, Jalan Pudu one block from Jalan Pasar. Mornings. No fixed off day.