When people ask me what is my favourite food, mee pok doesn't come to mind. But whenever I am at a food centre, after going around a couple of times looking, more often than not, it is the mee pok stall that I settled for. When I am far from home and miss home food, it is mee pok that I think of, not char kway teow, and certainly not chili crab.
So when my friend Jeff shared on Johor Yummy group about his favourite mee pok shop in JB, I wasted no time to check it out. You can trust Jeff's word on mee pok - his brother runs the famous mee pok shop in Permas Jaya, JB.
When I saw that customers were spilling over the side walks at 11:00am at Poh Kee 宝记, I knew this has to be something special. Somehow, popular old style noodle shops in JB look similar in the way the people gather :)
I approached the lady boss hesitantly and mumbled half audibly something to the effect of "老板娘 (lady boss), your food is very nice. May I take some photos of you at work?" The lady boss's spontaneous response immediately put me at ease :)
Soon the friendly boss, Mr. Tan, joined us at our table to chat. Mr. Tan was in the logging industry in Indonesia before retiring and returning to Johor Bahru. Since returning to JB, Mr. Tan sold wanton mee for a while in Taman Pelangi and when the opportunity arose about a year ago, he moved here to start this Teochew kway teow stall.
Mr. Tan and his wife are food lovers and have been making and enjoying old style Teochew kway teow soup all these years. So, when the time came to make it a business, it was almost second nature for the Tans. Furthermore, the Tans already had a following from their wanton mee stall and friends from their logging business. Within a year, Poh Kee Teochew noodles stall became a famous name in JB.
My friend Euginn's RM5 bowl of mee pok comes with 3 pork balls, a fish ball, a few slices of fish cake, some small prawns and a small handful of minced lean pork. There was also a small bowl of prawn and pork soup.
My RM7.00 bowl had the same ingredients except for a larger mound of mee pok noodles.
The broad mee pok noodles were gently crunchy, pleasingly al dente. The sauce was subtly spicy from the home made chili sauce and had savoury hints from lard and soy sauce.
This prawn is not big but it is a wild sea prawn. Mr. Tan said that only this species of wild sea prawn can produce that distinctive prawny umami (savoury) flavour in the soup.
To me, Poh Kee's handmade fish ball set it apart from the rest. Poh Kee's fish balls are 100% fish meat with no starch added. They are bouncy but in a nicer way than those perfectly round "ping pong" starch/fish balls.
Mr. Tan gets up at 5:00am each business day to make these fish balls using Ikan Parang. Only a small quantity is made each day - just enough for the day's business. So, everything is fresh.
The thin slice of fish cake. Same flavour as the fish ball but a different mouth feel.
Each bowl comes with three pork balls. Bought from supplier so they were average, though good enough.
The pork bone and prawn soup was savoury and the prawny umami flavour was distinct.
The pot of lard at Poh Kee 宝记. For some people, just a dollop of this potent liquid makes
Another customer's RM5 mee kia. I like Poh Kee's style of minced pork - Lau Tee another famous mee pok stall in JB has the same style of minced lean pork. Finely ground pork with little fat, blanched in the savoury prawn broth. At average stalls, the minced pork is coarser and has more fat.
Poh Kee is another excellent Teochew noodle stall in JB worth trying.
Restaurant name: Poh Kee 宝记 Teochew Noodle Soup
Address: Junction of Jalan Biru and Jalan Merah, Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru (stall inside San Low seafood restaurant)
Hours: 7:30am to 3:00pm
Date visited: 12 Aug 2013
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