PETALING JAYA, July 16 — Who knew mee Jawa can take on a different personality? Typically this noodle dish is served with gravy made from tomato sauce and prawn broth that is thickened with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.
If you think out of the box, it can be fried just like mee goreng. In Penang, you can often find this fried version but it is rather rare in the Klang Valley.
However, Penang-born Alex Khaw, 62, who has been frying up noodles for about 33, serves up a bona fide version of mee Jawa goreng for RM6 that will have you hooked from the first bite.
The secret to his mee Jawa goreng lies in the special chilli paste that is used to fry the yellow noodles. He keeps the recipe close to his heart as he has his own formula of spices and condiments to ramp up the flavours.
We also understand that he adds extra fresh chillies specially brought in from Thailand. Pair this with his skilled frying at the hot wok and you have fried noodles that is packed with flavours and textures.
You will find it’s just the right consistency too; not oily or too wet. Each meatless plate of noodles has chopped onions, cubes of potatoes and beancurd.
Just before serving, Alex will garnish the noodles with fresh lettuce, hard boiled eggs and shallot crisps. Squeeze the cut calamansi lime all over the noodles to give it a tangy kick.
Alex tells us that as a young man, he was bored with his monotonous job in a paper products factory located at Butterworth.
Searching for excitement in the big city, he landed at Sun Seng Kee, a coffee shop located in the PJ SS3 area.
The owner Ng Teng Kee took him in as his godson and taught him how to fry noodles. Ng’s other two sons also picked up their skills from their father who taught one son to fry char kway teow and another one to make chicken soup.
After Ng died, his sons sold the coffee shop and relocated to Rawang. For a short time, Alex traded out of his house. Later he returned back to the same coffee shop which was renamed Restoran Pom Pom after it changed hands.
About 10 years ago, Alex moved to Restoran Siong Pin as business is better here. This corner coffee shop is run by Loo Yong Wee, 50, who has been selling economy rice for about 20 years.
Both men get along well since they can converse in Hokkien. When you order your plate of mee Jawa goreng, make sure you accompany it with a glass of teh peng (RM2.20) made with fresh cow’s milk and sweetened creamer.
The slightly sweet, milky and fragrant cold tea is the perfect accompaniment to the fried noodles. Unlike other places, the tea is freshly brewed and not left to steep for too long as it’ll turn too acidic.
Even though Loo was not trained to brew tea, the former hotel chef tells us that he reversed engineered the taste of this brewed tea to suit his customers.
Sadly, once Alex who is a bachelor retires, the legacy of these noodles will be gone forever as none of his family members are interested in learning the recipe.
One of his previous workers did try to open up his own stall but unfortunately that folded since he couldn’t recreate the same taste. Currently it’s a one-man show since his worker recently left for Malacca to start up his own business.
Mee Jawa Goreng Stall
Restoran Siong Pin
No. 30, Jalan SS3/31
The stall is open from 1pm to 2pm, 7pm to 11.15pm. It closes for two days in a month, usually Tuesday and Wednesday.