Thursday, 31 May 2018

Prawn Noodle King @ Overseas Union Garden

I've heard about their special mantis prawn mee for a while now and when someone mentioned he'd be interested to know what I thought of it, there's no better time than now to pay a visit to Prawn Noodle King @ Taman Overseas Union since this prawn mee has been on my radar of places to try.

Opened in the last quarter of 2017 (with a second outlet just opened in USJ Taipan in May), this place originated from a stall, known as Penang Seang Lim Toptaste Hokkien Mee, previously located in Pinang Delicious Food Court on Macalister Road, Penang (this was what I read from a Penang food blog).

That stall is no longer in operation but her famous Penang Prawn Mee King signboard has found a new home in the current restaurant.

Walking into the restaurant, the first thing I smelled was the aroma of prawn shells wafting through the air...which wasn't necessarily a good thing.  If it was the scent of freshly baked breads, that's a different story altogether...that I welcome! ;)

Once seated, we were given a laminated hard board menu that contained only 8 items...short and sweet....showcasing 7 choices of prawn mee (with different toppings), priced from RM8.90 - RM20.90 with the most expensive ones costing RM28 or RM35 (for soft shell crab) and RM46.90 (with all 4 toppings) and a side order of Penang Lobak & Prawn Fritters (RM12 for small, RM18 for big).

Although there's a self-order chit, a young man came to take our orders.  Only after he left, I took a look at the order chit and noticed that there was an additional side order of Crispy Salmon Skin (RM8) and a dessert of "Guai Lin Gou" (RM6.50) unless these two are no longer available.

If you don't like prawn mee, then there's really nothing for you to eat here.  My husband isn't a big fan of prawn mee but he was willing to 'stomach' it since there's a siew yuk version...and that's exactly what he ordered, the Prawn Mee with Roast Pork @ RM14.90.

There's only mihun and mee for your choice of noodles here.  The bowl of prawn mee came with the usual prawns, slices of lean pork, taugeh or bean sprouts, fried shallots and half a hard-boiled egg (but no kangkung).  Of course, this one came with additional roast pork where the pieces were thickly cut.  The taste of the siew yuk was so underwhelming (that I'd even say some of those from the wet markets are better) + I found the cuts to be too fatty...and what's worse than fatty meat...tough fatty meat! >_<

My choice was the Prawn Mee with Mantis Prawn @ RM20.90 as I wanted to try something special and unique that's not offered elsewhere (+ I wasn't enticed by their original prawn mee which showed only two miserable prawns).

Besides the usual ingredients, I found fried pork lard crisps (not that I don't welcome them), I just thought it strange they'd be in a bowl of prawn mee.  Unfortunately, these crisps had gone rancid.  Not only that but the store-bought fried shallots were stale-tasting too and not of a good quality (I can confirm they were store-bought as I happened to see from afar one of the servers opening them from a plastic packet).

The texture of the mantis prawns, however, was soft and mushy.  I've had mantis prawns before, cooked in salted egg, butter and milk, marmite or kung po style usually, but they were firm, never mushy.  Ok, maybe you might argue that they were battered and fried, thereby yielding a much firmer texture.  But still, I would think that fresh mantis prawns should have a texture like prawns (some even say that they have the taste and texture close to lobsters).  That could explain why it originally looked like some kind of minced meat (in many of the photos online) which actually turned out to be tiny bits of prawn meat (coz they were probably mushy when peeled, thus resulting in tiny bits).

As for the prawns, they were almost non-existent...I found only two smallish ones! O_o  It was the same with my husband's bowl of prawn mee with siew yuk as well.  Even the photos of all the prawn mee options show only two tiny pathetic prawns.  This is a prawn mee for crying out loud...what happened to the prawns? :P There was a generous amount of lean pork that was good as they were thinly sliced.  As for the hard-boiled egg, I found the whites a tad too firm (it was as if they had been left steeping in the prawn stock for too long judging from the stained exterior).

But, more importantly, how did the prawn broth fare?  Well, at first sip, it wasn't any where near the good ones I've had.  Although it did have the desired prawn-y undertones, the soup was somewhat thinner and the prawn flavours also tasted slightly different to the usual ones I've had.  I can't explain's just different. Is it possible they could have used mantis prawn shells (or something else) in the broth?  Hmmm, I wonder. Either that or the type of prawns they use just didn't have that inherent sea prawn sweetness.

The sambal (chilli paste) is available tableside for you to tweak the spiciness level to your liking.

I held back adding the sambal initially as I wanted to taste the unblemished broth first.  It did taste better with a spoonful of sambal added.  Somehow, the broth in my husband's bowl tasted different from mine (mine had more flavour and was slightly sweeter).  I wanted to re-taste my husband's broth again but, by then, it was too late as he added loads of sambal to try to cover what he terms as a disappointing broth.

This was the Penang Kopi-O Ping @ RM3.50 (is there such a thing as a Penang version of kopi-o-ping?).  Did it taste any different from any local coffee?  Nope.  Did it taste better?  Nope.

Side Story #1

I ended up sitting at a table nearest the cashier counter.  The expression on my face must have said it all until the young man (that was serving us) noticed and came round to ask us how the food was.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't like almost all the ingredients in the bowl, so I just said that the pork lard was rancid.  He apologised and brought me another plate...I said thank you but no (coz, even though I'm crazy about crispy pork lard, it doesn't mean I like it in everything...and prawn mee was definitely one of those dishes where it shouldn't be there) + they didn't taste like those freshly fried, super crispy ones, with glistening oil all round, that I seek.

Side Story #2

If you check out their Facebook page, you'd see photos of someone frying up large quantities of prawn heads and shells to make their prawn broth (they claim to use up to 1,200 kg a month!).  I really don't know where all the prawn heads and shells came from seeing each bowl has so few prawns (just two, maybe three) in it! O_o  Hmmm, I wonder if one can buy just prawn shells?

I was also taken back as to how many videos (and lengthy ones I might add) the owner uploaded when I visited their Facebook.  It gave me the impression that he was more passionate about showcasing himself than his prawn mee...kekeke! :D

Side Story #3

From the blogs online, I noticed the prices for the prawn mee have increased (from last year) from RM6.90 to RM8.90 (for the original prawn mee) and RM18.90 to RM20.90 (for the mantis prawn mee) and they've not even been in operation for a year.  Well, with the price increase, you'd think they would at least give more than two miserable prawns! >.<

I found an old 2016 blog post that reviewed the prawn mee stall in Penang...and do you know how much was the mantis prawn mee then?  RM9!!  And we have to fork out RM20.90 now for the same bowl....that's a bit too much, don't you think? :P

My Personal Opinion

The two more successful things here were probably the broth and the sambal.  The prawn mee, though decent by many's standards (judging by the mostly good reviews on Google and their Facebook page), just didn't endear itself to me on a personal level.  I think the failure of the ingredients (of prawns, fried shallots, hard-boiled egg and pork lard crisps) and toppings (of siew yuk and mantis prawn) spoiled my overall experience of this prawn mee and ultimately made it one that I don't think I'd be revisiting.

In the end, I'm afraid this prawn mee will not make it to my list of favourite prawn mee to have.  I have a lot more other better (traditional) prawn mee options at my disposal...and one that comes with more prawns and cheaper prices too.  I can have two big bowls, with big prawns, for the price of one here...and with change to spare! ;P

Prawn Noodle King
4 Jalan Hujan Rahmat 3
Taman Overseas Union
58200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7971 8117


  1. ohhh noooo ... sad to hear this didn't live up to the promise. when i ordered it on foodpanda (late last year or early this year - they're now no longer on foodpanda), i did enjoy it (i ordered several different variations), and the all the ingredients felt fresh, plentiful and well-prepared - and the broth was very satisfying for me. i wonder if their quality has gone down while their prices have gone up - cos a few penangites i trust also enjoyed it when it initially opened. sigh! coincidentally i tried some penang-style prawn mee at another place this week (a modern air-conditioned place opened by penangites in kl), but it was quite average-tasting and not especially memorable, so i won't be needing an opinion on that place, heh :)

    1. There's one thing I wouldn't order via delivery...and that's any kind of soupy noodles as I like my broth piping hot when it arrives (and it won't be). I wonder if you got more than two miserable prawns in any of the several variations you ordered! >_< I wouldn't know if quality has dropped but I know it's not one I'd have again. For me, prawn mee is all about the prawns and the broth...and both didn't quite deliver, I'm afraid! :P

  2. Wow! This post's title really made my heart beat faster and drummed its way to read your personal opinion's verdict. My gang of Penang friends have been eating here many times but I never made time to join them as you can call me a snob towards them. They won't eat at Yong Len and I had no idea why....
    I am glad you posted this location to convince me as I trust your taste and opinion. I would be unhappy to see the crispy pork lard being submarined too.

    Yes, there was a typical Penang version of Kopi-O Peng once upon a time everywhere, including at funeral wakes in the island. When I was young, we often joked about nice kopi-o and pork porridge being served at Taoist funerals. Nowadays, the folks are serving all sorts of funny Kopi-O Peng.

    1. Oh, thanks for highlighting that there's a Penang version of kopi-o-ping. I thought all kopi-o-ping are the same...just our local black coffee with ice! ;P

      There are many people who enjoys this prawn mee (Penangites included) taste buds must be broken...hehehe! ;)

  3. Too bad it was not as good as what you expected. And goodness, rancid pork lard, yuks! And I agree with you that those crispy pork lard have no business mingling with prawn mee.

    1. Yeah, high 5! We may love our crispy pork lard...but that doesn't mean we like it in everything.

  4. I believe the batter of any fried food will not affect the original texture of the ingredient, so the mushy mantis prawns you had most probably were nor fresh >_<


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