Allow me to google translate that – *Ahem*
” Once you’ve tried it, there’s no escape from me! ”
That was the bold warning that Uncle gave me, exactly the kind of warning that most Wah Kee Prawn Mee addicts tried to challenge and failed. It was obvious to me during our conversation that his words came many years too late for me!
This humble little stall started off as a pushcart along Farrer Road in 1951 for 20 cents a bowl. Back then, Uncle was already learning the secret behind this red savoury soup from his father. More than half a century has passed since Uncle took over his father in 1968, and he’s generated quite a large following, to the point that when he had to leave for a surgery recently, many called him to ask where he went!
If you’ve never tried Wah Kee Prawn mee before, you’re probably wondering- how good can prawn mee get? Well, good enough for President Tony Tan to send his chefs to dabao it back for him! But for $8 or $10 a bowl…..is it worth it? There was this once when I agreed to pay $15 dollars for a bowl! That was my way of indulging >.< oops.
The Ang Kahs come with roe; yumm
But all in all, I think it’s worth it to pay $10 for a bowl. Of course, don’t expect small little shrimps for $10! That’s for the $3 portion. For those who are willing to spend more, you can get 4 HUGE Ang Kah ( Teochew for Red Leg) Prawns. At wet markets, these Ang Kahs sell for as much as $20 per kg. That being said, supposing you buy around 8 Ang Kahs for $20, Uncle is really selling his prawn mee at around the cost price! Value for money in my opinion. And you get a cute tissue pack if you buy the $10 portion. Plus points to that haha:)
Let us not forget the many hours of preparation needed to prepare his signature red soup. A total of 6 ingredients go into the soup. I would tell you what they are, but i’d have to kill you after. JUST KIDDING. I have no idea what goes into the soup too 🙂 But Uncle insists that no MSG goes into it, despite it being so savoury and sweet. And if you notice, his soup isn’t brown like most prawn mee soups. The brown colour comes from boiled pork bones, and Uncle believes that he is the only one in Singapore who uses purely prawn heads as the base of his soup.
That explains the red! The red prawn heads give the soup its distinctive red colour, and rich flavour. There will be times when the soup comes out yellowish, and Uncle explains that it’s because of the availability of red prawns. He uses yellow ones as a substitute when they aren’t in season.
So if we’re willing to spend more than $10 dollars for a bowl of ramen, with say..two slices of char siew, why not spend that same amount on Wah Kee Prawn Mee? I think we can accredit his prawn mee the same kind of status we give to japanese ramen. There’s so much more to this bowl than we can taste. Beyond the richness in flavours, belies half a century of history, and a man in his 80s who’s just happy doing what he does.
Address: #01-15, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, 41A Cambridge Road
Opening Hours: 7.30am to 2pm, closed on Mon and Tue
- Prawn Mee – $3, $5, $8, $10, $15