KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Say mee udang and everyone thinks of Penang or even Perak’s Kuala Sepetang where the noodle dish with its reddish prawn broth rules at roadside stalls. The popular Malay-style prawn noodles has many driving up North just to savour its sweet-tasting broth, fresh firm prawns eaten with yellow noodles sprinkled with aromatic fried shallots and chopped fresh coriander.
If you are craving for a taste of this delicacy, drop by Wangsa Maju where the popular Kuala Sepetang Mee Udang Mak Jah has a branch. The corner outlet is run by Rohaya Sidan, the daughter of Tijah Yusof or “Mak Jah”, the matriarch of the family.
Here, they cook their mee udang using the same recipe that has made their family’s stall a big draw to prawn lovers. Most importantly, the fresh prawns and the sauces are brought in specially from the fishing village to maintain its authentic taste.
You know it’s the real deal — prawns fresh from the sea or udang laut versus those sourced from breeding farms or udang kolam. Even river caught prawns are deemed not worthy enough to be used for their sweet-tasting broth.
The family also believes the taste of udang laut from Kuala Sepetang is far supreme with a sweeter taste and none of the stinky smells, since the waters around the river mouth is muddy and not full of sand.
According to Rohaya, if there’s no supply of fresh prawns from Kuala Sepetang, she prefers to just close her restaurant. It’s the same practice enforced in Kuala Sepetang, where the consistency of their prawn broth is important.
The original mee udang stall is located at Kampung Menteri, Kuala Sepetang which is about 18 kilometres from Taiping town. Started in 2009, the stall is named after Mak Jah. Nowadays, the 80-year-old lady is happily retired, leaving her family to manage the bustling business.
On the menu, you have their signature mee udang, in two sizes: biasa (normal) or special. The day we visited, they had run out of the smaller prawns, hence we sampled the special version, a serving of five larger-sized prawns. For the normal version, according to Rohaya, you can expect about six to seven smaller-sized prawns.
It’s a simple dish, uplifted by two elements namely the sweet-tasting broth and the fresh, firm and sweet prawns. This version differs a little from the Penang one, with its cleaner taste, that is less tangy.
According to Rohaya, the broth takes a few hours to cook in a huge pot. The family uses a special sauce, made by Rohaya’s sister at Kuala Sepetang. You will find the broth is not overly spicy, as it’s been tweaked to suit even children’s tastebuds. Just before it’s served to customers, the orange broth is heated up and the prawns are lightly cooked in the broth. The hot orange prawn broth is paired with blanched yellow mee, chopped coriander and fried shallots.
For a stronger taste, order their mee goreng udang served in a boat-shaped plate. The fried noodles is aromatic and extremely tasty as it uses a mix of sauces, like soy sauce, spicy sambal and the sweet prawn broth. Dig beneath the mound of noodles to discover hidden treasure — five juicy prawns to relish.
If you are not partial to the strong alkaline taste of yellow mee, customers can also opt for kuey teow or beehoon. The restaurant also serves char kuey teow, a wetter version with gravy and prawns.
Rice lovers can also opt for fried rice, paired with three types of prawns — fried with batter, sambal or flavoured with kunyit or tumeric. In the shop, you can also pick up seafood items from Kuala Sepetang like belacan, ikan masin or salted fish and dried prawns. This is supplied by Rohaya’s brother.
Prices for the mee udang biasa start from RM9 onwards. The mee udang special and mee goreng udang special with the larger sized prawns is RM13 each.
Mee Udang Mak Jah Kuala Sepetang,
Blok 3A, No. 22, Jalan Wangsa Delima 10, Wangsa Link, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur.
Open: 12pm to 10pm. Closed on Wednesdays.