When asked for makan spots in Taiping, K's friends enthusiastically nominated the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah at Kuala Sepetang aka Port Weld. We were warned that it tends to be rather hot to dine in this open air stall during the day, so we came at night instead.
Finding the place was an anti-climatic adventure as we couldn't find an address. Turns out there's really no need for one as it's facing the ONLY trunk road from Taiping. There are a lot of Mee Udang stalls along the road but we were told to ignore them and only go for Mak Jah.
The famous dish is actually called Mee Udang Banjir (literally translates to Flooded Prawn Noodles) and is not the same as chinese style prawn mee. I've never actually had Malay style prawn mee before but whoa, this is good stuff I can't believe I've been missing out all my life!
The biggest difference between the malay style and chinese is that the former's soup is thicker and more tangy, probably due to a tomato base. Add the slow burning spiciness balanced with sweetness and you've got a bowl good to the last drop. It's served with crunchy fried shallots and of course, a generous serving of fresh prawns from Kuala Sepetang.
The noodle dish comes in two versions; "biasa" (RM7) and "special" (RM11). The difference is the size of the prawns, the latter served with bigger prawns.
K: I had the Mee Goreng Udang Biasa (RM7). It's basically mee goreng basah with a generous serving of prawns. The mee goreng udang was good but having tasted TJ's mee udang I have to admit, mee udang is waaaay better than the mee goreng.
According to an article published on a local daily that hangs proudly on display, the restaurant exclusively uses fresh prawns from Kuala Sepetang. No prawns = no mee udang = close shop. Fuh, that's commitment!
Afterwards a friend of K's asked him if he tried the cucur udang which we didn't since we were already quite full after eating the noodles. K's friend said the cucur udang is a must have too. Ah well, next time then.
Mee Udang Mak Jah is a family run restaurant and one of her children opened an outlet in Klang Valley! Some critics say it is not as good as the original but we have no complaints upon our recent visit there. Having missed out on the cucur udang at Kuala Sepetang, we didn't want to miss out on them this time. Alas, the Wangsa Maju outlet does not serve cucur udang.
K had a chat with the cashier who turned out to be the wife of Mak Jah's younger son. She says it's not easy to prepare the cucur udang, which is why it's not available in KL. Apparently the cucur udang is prepared by Mak Jah's older son, who is running the original outlet in Kuala Sepetang. He was supposed to come over to KL and serve cucur udang at the outlet here which would mean no cucur udang at Kuala Sepetang, but since his kids are still in school, the idea was shelved.
K was quite astounded at this bit of news. Since when was cucur udang so complicated that only ONE PERSON in the entire family knows how to prepare it? Not even the younger brother can prepare it?
Wow!! This must be a helluva cucur udang!! SAYA MESTI PILIH!!!
Another trip to Kuala Sepetang beckons....
In short - Slurp slurp burp! Good food + generous portions + good price = Must makan
Mee Udang Mak Jah
Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang
Kuala Sepetang, Taiping
Open from 11am to 10pm daily*
*closed on Wednesday
Mee Udang Mak Jah
No.22, Jalan Wangsa Delima 10,
Wangsa Maju (near Wangsa Walk)
Open from 11am to 10pm daily
Price - $