If Hokkien bak chor mee is the comfort food of most Singaporean Chinese, then over in Johor Bahru, it is Teochew kuey teow thng 潮州粿条汤.
Naturally, there are many kway teow soup stalls or shops in Johor Bahru. Lao Tee Kue Teow 老弟潮州粿条汤 founded over 60 years ago is one of the oldest names in Teochew kway teow.
The stall now run by one of founder Lao Tee's grandsons still retained the founder's name 老弟 (which literally means "old boy").
Inside the Lao Tee shop, decor is typically bare bones. Plastic tables and stools, plain walls, uncovered fluorescent tube lights, and whirling ceiling fans keep everyone cool. As usual, Lao Tee's was packed - mostly regulars, often three generations together.
Note: Not sold here
Digression - We shared a small table with a middle aged couple who brought their 90+ year old granny here. They are Lao Tee's decades old regulars. They offered to share their fried fish cakes with us (which they bought from just across the road at Ah Koong which is a kway teow soup shop popular with Singaporeans). Such is the warmth of everyday folks in JB. (Please note that the fish cake is not sold here.)
Back to Lao Tee and his kuey teow soup.
Instead of kway teow (flat rice noodles), I ordered mee pok
The closest thing to Singapore bak chor mee 肉脞面, but different.
On the mound of mee pok (flat egg noodles), there were minced pork, pork slices, tiny shrimps, fish ball, fish cake slices, pork ball, crispy fried shallots, lard crackles, and chopped spring onions. Everything is then tossed in a blended sauce of lard and aromatic vegetable oil used to fry the shallots. Customers can separately add chili sauce, light soya sauce and black vinegar to taste.
This is quite a big jumble of textures and fresh flavours. It's so loaded, it's quite hard not to be impressed.
The minced pork at Lao Tee doesn't have much fat, if any. So, I can toss and mix them into my noodles guilt free.
Lao Tee still hand makes their own fish balls (and pork balls too).
We ordered two large bowls of noodles. They were nice but it was too much (we just had noodles at Ah Song Hakka Mee <- click )
But, the biggest kick for me at Lao Tee, came from the soup. It's a layered savoury sweet blend that seemed to be a mix of pork bone, anchovy and prawns.
I normally have my soup and noodles separately as I prefer not to let the noodles or kway teow interfere with the flavour of the soup.
My tip is to order just a small bowl of dry noodles for the best noodle-to-soup ratio :-D
If you like more flavours, there are squeeze bottles of light soy sauce, black vinegar and chili.
->> If you want to know what is the JB comfort dish Teochew kuey teow thng 潮州粿条汤, try it at one of the JB people's old favourites at Lao Tee Kue Teow.
The shop is easy to locate in Taman Sentosa (same row as Bierhaus and opposite Ah Koong). Plenty of free parking. And, importantly, delicious old style Teochew noodles.
Restaurant name: Lao Tee Kue Teow 老弟潮州粿条汤
Address: 295, Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
GPS: 1.494129, 103.780101
Hours: 9:00am to 2:00pm (closed on Tuesday)
Date visited: 6 Jun 2015
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