Thursday, January 3, 2019

545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles : the alluring old school taste

Li Ruifang, 34, affectionately known as Hai Mee Soh (Prawn Mee Auntie), is the owner of this unassuming prawn mee stall at Tekka Food Centre. This stall opened on 1 January 2014 and has recently passed their 5th anniversary, it is one of the popular stalls in that food centre. It has been featured in the "Parts Unknown", a show by the late Anthony Bourdain. She is running the stall with the assistance of her parents. Ruifang, a university graduate, decided to leave the corporate world to start this stall as she is hoping to preserve the family recipe. His grandfather started selling pawn noodles in Whampoa in the 1950s before handing over to her father in the 1970s. Their original stall in Whampoa Food Centre is manned by her auntie. 

The preparation work starts as early as 2.30 am for about 2.5 hours before it is ready to serve the first bowl of prawn mee. And, she works averagely 15 hours per day. She insists in using only the sea-caught prawns like Ang Kar and Sua Lor as the farmed prawns would not have brought forth the same flavor. The broth is simmered for a relatively long timing using the pork bones and the shells of those peeled prawns. 

I was there on the first day of the new year and there were just another 2 customers in front of me. There are 3 different sizes for selection, the $4, $5 and $6. I decided to go with $5 for both orders. My dining companion opted for the yellow noodles. I went for a mixture of yellow noodles with kway teow and requested for an extra amount of chilli to go with it. 

The noodles were expertly cooked by the elderly Uncle before adding in slices of lean meat and few pieces of halved prawns and garnished with dried shallots and lard to serve. The spiciness of the chilli is toned down by the sweetness of the tomato sauce. I was asked whether I want it with tomato sauce when ordering earlier. A good bowl of prawn mee does not need premium ingredients like big prawns and even lobsters to truly stand out actually. This simple prawn mee is amongst the better ones that I enjoyed. 

The prawn broth though light but it was quite flavorful. The customer in front of me ordered 3 bowls of soup prawn mee. 

She has recently announced the change of the regular off-days from Wednesday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday in order to have more family time. 

665 Buffalo Road #01-326 Tekka Food Centre SINGAPORE 210665
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Saturdays & Sundays)

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