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Monday, 16 April 2018

Red Leaf (Prawn Mee) @ Jalan Loke Yew

I came here specifically to look for the stall that sells Penang Hokkien Mee (or Prawn Mee to KLites) after drooling over the mouth-watering photos from blogs, kyspeaks and vkeong, and an article in malaymailonline.

To locate this prawn mee stall, look for a visibly old coffee shop by the name Kedai Makanan Red Leaf @ Jalan Loke Yew although the name Kedai Makanan Shoong City may probably be the name you'd spot first (if you're entering from the front of the shop).  I read somewhere that that was the old name of the shop.  Either that or it could be the name of the shop that takes over at night serving "tai chow" (stir-fry) dishes as I noticed a water-filled tank that's used to store live fish for consumption.

The fact that they call it Hokkien Mee in itself makes the stall pretty authentic already, don't you think? ;) Ok-lah, the word Prawn was still in there....but that's just for those KLites who may misinterpret it as Fried Hokkien Mee.

Anyway, let's cut to the chase and focus on what I'm here for.....and that's for the prawn mee!  I came with high expectations for something good, so I decided to go with a bowl of (large) Prawn Mee (with bigger prawns) @ RM10 (RM9 for small...and by that, I mean small bowl of noodles, not small prawns) to satisfy my yearning for a bowl of excellent prawn mee.

Oh my, oh my, they certainly delivered where the prawns were concerned...they were big, fresh, firm, sweet-tasting and utterly succulent.  They were cooked to perfection unlike many that tend to overcook their prawns to death! >.<  I counted...and there were seven prawns....which is unquestionably good value for the price charged! ^.^  And another thing, no slicing of the prawns in half (or any such crap) to try to make it look as though they're giving you more prawns.  I hate it when they do that coz they make the prawns lose their firmness and bite (some even curls up when cooked). >:(

Was there any doubt as to how good the prawns would be....just look at that pile of cooked prawns at their stall (and those you see here are the smaller ones).  They use sea-caught prawns here (with softer shells) unlike those lower quality hard-shelled or farmed prawns that lack sweetness (which I dislike)Even my regular neighbourhood prawn mee stall acknowledges that the farmed prawns don't taste as good (so, those who use them are obviously watching their profit margin).

Actually, the ingredients here are pretty simple...there's the usual lean pork slices, kangkung and fried shallots (I always ask for the bean sprouts to be omitted) in my bowl of prawn mee.  They don't have those premium ingredients like pork ribs, pork intestines or XL-sized prawns with shells on that you can add on to your prawn mee...and they don't need to (I didn't miss it) coz the prawns were just that good.

Some think that the lean pork slices aren't crucial in a bowl of good prawn mee but I beg to differ.  The ones here are perfectly lean, sliced to the right thickness and nicely tender.  The only thing that wasn't to my liking were the fried shallots.  They seemed too finely chopped to me and I suspected that they were the store-bought kind (made in large quantities with the use of a food processor) though they were still of a decent quality and tasted alright.

But the key to any good prawn mee fundamentally lies in the broth.  And this broth, visually, had a good colour to begin with.  The first sip of the broth and I was bowled over big time by its rich crustacean undertones.

The prawn-y broth had this innate sweetness to it...probably (and hopefully) from the truckload of prawn shells that were used to cook the broth (or, maybe, a bit of MSG was in play?).  Let's not kid ourselves, we know many hawkers use it, it's only a question of how much (though some will vehemently deny it, of course, if asked).  For me, personally, I'm ok with it as long as the amount used is minimal.  I read from a newspaper article that they boil their broth with large pork bones and prawn shells over long hours to extract the sweetness.  I personally prefer a broth that's more savoury than sweet but certainly didn't mind it.  You can balance out the sweetness by dunking in all the spicy chilli paste like I did (the chilli paste is also really good).  The broth was so good that I had no trouble finishing the entire bowl...big some more! ^o^

So outstanding and memorable that I had to return the following Sunday to have it again...only to be driven away by the massive traffic jam (caused by Ching Ming).  So, we returned the following week.  This time, I had the (big) Prawn Mee (with small prawns) @ RM7.50 (RM6.50 for small bowl).  Just look at the prawn/sambal oil around the rim of the bowl...if that's not a beautiful sight, I don't know what is! ;)  It was on this visit that my suspicion was confirmed that the fried shallots were indeed store-bought as we witnessed the fried shallots being taken out from a pre-packaged bag (one of the stall owners was seen banging on the package probably to dislodge the fried shallots that were stuck together).

I wanted to try the smaller prawns to see if they could stand on their own against the bigger prawns (there were only two options when it came to the size of the prawns).  Even with small prawns, the bowl of prawn mee was still awesome!  But for an extra RM2.50, I think it's worth it to 'upsize' the prawns to make it even more awesome!! :P

I seldom order big for noodles but I did in this case coz I was hoping to get more broth, not more noodles! ;P See, I almost finished all the soup (which I usually try not to do)...a testament to how good the prawn broth really was.

My Personal Opinion

Other than, perhaps, a few missing slices of hard-boiled egg (which would have made the bowl 'complete') and the fried shallots not conforming to my overly strict preference of them being freshly fried, there's no denying that this is a very good prawn mee...and it has become a top favourite of mine since eating it.

I'm really glad that I sought out this hidden gem of an excellent prawn mee.  Seriously, I can't gush enough of the prawns itself which were fresh, firm and sweet, unlike any of the prawns I've found (and eaten) in a bowl of prawn mee before.

Although I prefer the broth to be more savoury than sweet (well, I can counter that by just adding all the chilli paste in), I do know a lot of people want that inherent sweetness in the broth.  So, if you're among them, you have to seek this place out to try the prawn mee and you'll be glad that you did....that's how confident I am that you'll like it! ^_^

Kedai Makanan Red Leaf
No 61 & 63 Jalan Loke Yew
(corner of Lorong Loke Yew & Jalan Loke Yew)
Pudu
55200 Kuala Lumpur

12 comments:

  1. I have bookmarked this hidden gem as I am a real fan of very good prawn me. The way you described its big, fresh, firm, sweet-tasting and utterly succulent made me drool and your words echo & replayed in my ears. Help!!
    This stall is so generous with their big prawns and the price is just reasonable.

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    1. Prawn mee is my second most favourite noodle and if you're a real fan of a good prawn mee, then you must seek this one out. The 7 good-sized prawns is unbelievably priced for RM10, if you ask me.

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  2. Well, I take it you would come to this place every time you have a prawn mee craving!

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! It's my current no. 1 favourite...until I find one that can better this! ^o^

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  3. ooo - i should bookmark this, since it has your very solid recommendation! hmmm, could you try Prawn Noodle King in OUG someday - i ordered it via foodpanda a few months ago, and i thought it was quite satisfactory, particularly in terms of the broth ... but customer feedback seems rather mixed, so i'm curious what your verdict would be! :)

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    1. Ah, I'm aware of this one...with the premium ingredients of roast pork, pork ribs and mantis prawns. But it was the photos of their prawn mee with just two miserable prawns that has stopped me from trying (though the broth did look tempting). What's prawn mee without prawns, eh? ;) Well, if I do happen to try this Prawn Noodle King one day, I'll certainly let you know what I think of it :)

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  4. The cheery yellow entrance is very welcoming.

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    1. I'm not so sure about the cheery yellow entrance though as this shop is really old and dated.

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  5. This is now my favorite prawn mee place, been having it quite regularly :D

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  6. Even the small prawns are bigger than what offered by many prawn mee stalls out there (theirs are mini prawns =.=")

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    1. I agree totally. I've had my fair share of these mini prawns (some are even sliced in half) in prawn mee. Moreover, these prawns are not those bland-tasting, poor quality ones.

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