The one thing that causes me endless frustration about being in Kuala Lumpur is the lack of easy accessibility to really good hawker food, and today was a perfect example: after negotiating torturous traffic and driving for what seemed like an eternity to satisfy a craving for Penang prawn mee, we arrived, hot, bothered and hungry to grimly shut metal doors. Because we’d had our appetites firmly zoned in to a bowl or five of steaming noodle soup, the disappointment was triply crippling.
Stuck in the middle of nowhere and edging rapidly towards desperation, we had one option open to us: the neighbouring Setapak Hokkien Prawn Mee store which we’d previously always eschewed in favour of Tan Kee’s noodles even though it sold exactly the same product. Nevertheless, ravenous enough not to be too fastidious, we sat down, although we were more than ready to turn our noses down at what we anticipated and assumed would be a poor substitute.
Sure, the soup careened a lick too much to the sweet side, and it lacked the hearty three dimensionality of a soup stock that’s been prepared with sufficient bones and prawns, but given that the prawns were fresh and of a good size, the noodles were done just right, and the chilli fairly acceptable, we were definitely not nearly as let down as we thought (or secretly hoped) we’d be.
Apart from the bog standard prawn noodles, Setapak also offers intestines both large and small, ribs, skin, big prawns, chicken feet, stomach, blood and abalone as variations on the same theme. If whisperings about Tan Kee having decamped to a new, obscure location are to be believed (and trust me, we believed, and embarked on an exhaustive and unsuccessful search after we’d finished the Setapak noodles, but that’s another story), then the pleasant service, fair prices, and relatively palatable noodle soup at Setapak will ensure that this store will inherit a lot of crestfallen Tan Kee loyalists for a long time to come. Fay Khoo
|Venue name:||Setapak Hokkien Prawn Mee|
86-6 Jalan Pahang
|Opening hours:||Daily, 7am-5pm|