KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — One of the best-kept culinary secrets in town is this hidden prawn mee stall in Pudu run by Beh Teng Kooi, 53, and his wife, Cheah Pheik Kee, 52.
What’s more, it’s been at the same spot for about 30 years.
Previously from Nibong Tebal, Beh honed his prawn mee-making skills from age 10 when he used to help out at a stall to earn extra pocket money.
When he turned 26, he decided to move to Kuala Lumpur to seek his fortune here. He selected this corner coffee shop in Pudu since his brother stayed in the area.
Even though the coffee shop has changed hands many times over the years, his stall has remained. Regulars fondly call it the Emico prawn mee after the Emico nightclub next door.
Beh tells us two important elements make or break a bowl of prawn mee: the stock and chilli paste. Beh explains that his stock is boiled from large pork bones and prawn shells for many hours to extract the sweet taste. His chilli paste is his own concoction of chilli boh and dried chillies that is not overly spicy.
Most importantly, he only utilises sea caught prawns with a softer shell since they give a sweeter taste. He avoids the farmed crustaceans as he says they have a strange smell.
At this stall, you have a choice between three sizes of poached prawns. A normal sized bowl of prawn mee will cost RM6.50 with small to medium-sized prawns while larger prawns will drive the price up to RM10.
Every day, preparation starts from as early as 5am. Everything is done by the both of them as they don’t have any workers helping out.
There’s much to do from poaching the meat to cutting it into thin slices. Each prawn is also painstakingly peeled once it’s poached.
Once you place your order, Beh will assemble each bowl of prawn mee with blanched kangkung and bean sprouts, your choice of noodles, poached prawns and pork slices.
The broth is added from a huge pot that is constantly boiling throughout. Beh will add a final flourish of shallot crisps so mix everything together and enjoy the sweet-tasting broth with all the other ingredients.
Hokkien Prawn Mee Stall
Restoran Red Leaf
Ground Floor, No. 61 & 63, Jalan Loke Yew
Open: 7am to 2pm. Off days are not fixed.