The prawn mee stall where everybody knows your name

A bowl of prawn mee is topped with thin slices of char siew and poached sea prawns (left). The wantan mee comes with an old school topping of mince meat and thin slices of char siew (right). — Pictures by Lee Khang Yi
A bowl of prawn mee is topped with thin slices of char siew and poached sea prawns (left). The wantan mee comes with an old school topping of mince meat and thin slices of char siew (right). — Pictures by Lee Khang Yi

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — There’s a stall selling prawn mee in Happy Garden... a little off the beaten track. Most people bypass the nondescript stall for the popular siew yoke place next to the four-face Buddha statue. This stall wouldn’t have been on my food radar either but a friend recommended it.

It’s a typical neighbourhood joint with its roster of regular customers and everyone knows each other. The whole place has a nice, friendly vibe about it.

The customers fondly refer to the owner, Neoh Pin Yey, 58, as the har mee loh (prawn mee man). His wife Ah Fong, 51, and their three grown-up sons are also there. There are also two drinks stalls here; one brews up local coffee and tea while the other sells a refreshing preserved lime drink and cut fresh fruits run by Neoh’s family.

This stall serves prawn mee and wantan mee at KL’s Happy Garden.
This stall serves prawn mee and wantan mee at KL’s Happy Garden.

The offerings at the stall reflect Neoh and his wife’s heritage. His father used to sell prawn mee that can be traced back to its Penang roots. In fact, Neoh’s aunt operates a stall at Air Itam selling prawn mee.

The darkish fragrant broth is thanks to boiling large pork bones with prawn shells. Neoh’s wife said that you have to use the bigger pork bones to impart more flavour to it. It takes them about three to four hours to boil that broth.

Throughout the day, it is kept on a slow simmer. For each bowl of noodles, there’s poached sea prawns. Stripped from their shells, these prawns make delicious bites without much fuss.

What’s unusual is the addition of thinly sliced char siew in your bowl of prawn mee. The char siew recipe is from Neoh’s mother-in-law. Previously, she ran a wantan mee stall for 40 years at Salak South. Hence you also can score a plate of wantan mee with an old school topping of minced meat here.

The stall uses very fine egg noodles for their wantan mee.
The stall uses very fine egg noodles for their wantan mee.

Ah Fong tells us she’ll fry up the topping with chopped onions to give it a sweet taste. You can opt for the soup version but everyone orders the dry version. The very fine strands of egg noodles are served tossed in dark soy sauce and lard for flavour. The noodles aren’t house-made but I enjoyed the al dente texture.

For the weekend, they offer curry mee. Neoh’s wife tells us the curry mee sells out fast. By 12, it’s all gone. Usually, a bowl of curry mee is served with their char siew, fuchok, cockles and beancurd puffs.

Wantans stuffed with minced meat are served with your noodles (left). Refresh with this cool icy, tangy preserved lime drink (right).
Wantans stuffed with minced meat are served with your noodles (left). Refresh with this cool icy, tangy preserved lime drink (right).
A special order for a regular diner includes an abundance of prawns on top of the wantan mee.
A special order for a regular diner includes an abundance of prawns on top of the wantan mee.

Since many of their customers are regulars, their orders are known by heart. Maybe that is why many new diners come from afar as Subang and Damansara to seek them out.

This is all from their regular customers’ recommendations. And sometimes, regular customers can even score off-menu items. That privilege can be, say a plate of wantan mee topped with extra poached prawns.

Stall at Jalan Rukun 4
Happy Garden
Kuala Lumpur
Open: 7am to 2pm
Closed on Mondays and Thursdays

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