KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — It's not easy to get a good version of fried Hokkien prawn mee in the Klang Valley. This type of fried noodles may be popular in Singapore but here, only a few stalls offer it.
Most of them are insipid versions of the real deal. Hence I was curious when I read about this stall located in the popular Restoran Keng Nam Hai. This area is just off Jalan Ipoh where you find a wet market and a Chinese school.
You know you have stumbled on a good thing when every table has an order for the fried Hokkien prawn mee. I only managed to spy the stall as the owner was frying up the noodles at the stove.
It's a stall located at the open area next to the coffeeshop and they sell various fried noodles like lam mee, fried hor fun plus porridge with different toppings like pork, fish and century egg.
The coffeeshop has many eats like these 'popiah' generously stuffed with yam bean filling.
You get stewed yam bean, crunchy dough bits, peanuts, omelette and cabbage leaves in the 'popiah'.
Once you place your order, you're given a plastic cup with a number for them to find you to deliver the order. That cup is much needed as the place is packed with people and the eatery spans two shoplots. There are also tables in front of the restaurant too.
I was lucky as the wait wasn't long. As they cook it in a huge batch, I must have managed to get my order in just in time for that current batch.
My plate came with a mix of yellow noodles and thick bee hoon strands swimming in the stock. You get a generous portion of prawns, squid and pork slices in the mix.
Happiness is also the crunchy lard fritters that topped the noodles. They dollop the sambal on the side with a calamansi lime.
If you prefer, try this milky wine-infused broth with tiny sweet clams paired with springy beehoon.
The 'kai see hor fun' is a comforting bowl with the chicken broth laced with prawn oil.
I was amazed at how tasty the noodles were. It had absorbed the flavourful broth and didn't really need the sambal for added lift.
Nevertheless, I still mixed the sambal in with a squeeze of the lime, and it did perk up the noodles. What I liked was how the sambal wasn't too spicy but complemented the flavours well.
The prawns were incredibly fresh and bouncy with one or two just a tad mushy. This was made up for by the squid that was cooked perfectly. For RM10, it was an extremely satisfying meal, which I wouldn't mind returning for another time.
Being new to this coffeeshop, I was spying what other tables ordered and saw plates of popiah. The popiah (RM3.50 per piece) is plump with the stewed yam bean filling, omelette, deep fried dough bits, peanuts and cabbage.
The stall cooks up a large batch of the noodles that is stewed in a broth with the seafood and pork belly (left). Look for this stall for the fried Hokkien mee, which also serves fried noodles, 'lam mee' and porridge (right).
You can also order Cantonese fried noodles from the stall that serves fried Hokkien prawn mee (left). Order 'popiah' from this stall and take a plastic cup for them to recognise you to deliver the order (right).
What I liked about the rolls were how juicy the yam bean filling was. However the dough bits weren't very crispy though, which would have been better for a contrast of textures.
I tried the plain and chilli versions too. The chilli sauce is quite mild and doesn't add much flavour to the mix except for a slightly sweeter taste.
I read the curry mee is pretty good but unfortunately the day I visited, the stall was closed. Instead, I tried out the kai see hor fun (RM8.50 for a small portion) and it was pretty good with a light, flavourful chicken broth laced with prawn oil. You get a generous portion of shredded chicken and two prawns.
There's also a stall that offers various seafood and fish noodles. You can indulge in their Hennessy seafood noodles or fish head noodles.
The busy coffeeshop spans two lots, one which is air conditioned for more comfortable dining.
Find various good eats at Restoran Keng Nam Hai, which is at Kampung Batu.
I opted for their lala bee hoon soup (RM12) that was laced with Shao Xing rice wine. It was a good choice as the springy beehoon came with a thick milky broth laced with wine.
I really enjoyed the clams as they use the smaller type which is sweeter tasting. The only thing is some shells were cracked but the clams remained intact inside.
The coffeeshop is a great spot to visit, if you want a variety of food since there's all sorts of stall food offered here from nasi lemak, fried dough fritters, char kway teow, wantan mee and so forth.
Even the drinks are good but if they are busy, the orders can be slightly delayed sometimes. During the weekend, expect limited parking spaces and you may need to walk a bit further.
Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee Stall, Restoran Keng Nam Hai, 51, Jalan Kepong Lama, Kampung Batu, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 7am to 2pm. The coffeeshop only closes for one Monday and Tuesday of the month, which is usually mid-month.