From my time spent researching about Kim’s Famous Fried Hokkien Mee, I came across several posts that told of a story about a huge Hokkien Mee empire under the Kim brand name. Truly enough, Kim’s Famous Hokkien Mee stems back from the 1980s. People wouldn’t mind cashing out $15, about $29 in 2016-2018 Singapore dollars (using MAS’ inflation calculator) for his famous claypot Hokkien Mee.
Being born in the ’90s, I wish I had the opportunity to try Kim’s Hokkien Mee back in its heyday. After all, the Hokkien Mee is one of my favourite hawker food. Word’s out that Kim went into semi-retirement and disappeared from the hawker scene in the 90s. But since the turn of the millenium, he’s back again.
When we visited last week, our ‘Rolex Mee Master‘ – his moniker as he’s always seen sporting a Rolex watch and a buttoned shirt, was seen at the stall and smiled at us. He took our orders before proceeding on to cook the Hokkien mee for us.
Glad that it was Kim himself behind the wok though. I’ve read from several places on the internet that if it’s a mainland Chinese staff cooking, he will not put his heart in the cooking and just whip up a lazy and uninspiring dish. I figure that I’d appreciate the level of quality control from the man who cooks with his heart and soul into a decades-long business than receiving a half-hearted dish from the Chinese national staff.
After a short wait, lunch is served. Damn, I get hungry trying to re-enact the dish.
From my first impressions, the smell of the prawn broth just fills the air instantly. A myriad of colours that make up this unique dish turns to an appetising aesthetic. It’s calling out to us to taste the rich ingredients. In my opinion, fried hokkien prawn mee is best tasted when hot, not warm.
The sambal kang kong doesn’t look oily at all, which is a plus. I get put off by the amount of oil that comes with the dish in plenty of zichar stalls nowadays. It really is unnecessary.
The noodles absorbed most of the thick prawn stock. It landed on my taste buds with a rich and flavourful sensation; albeit not too salty that’s just right.
Most Chinese dishes tend to fry eggs with the dish. With Kim’s Hokkien Mee, I got to experience an abundance of eggs, which is really what I want in most places.
Crispy lard await our molars to have a crunch on them, contrasting to the softness of the noodles. It’s just the fun factor. The surprise bits in our bite. By pairing that up with the sweet sambal, you get a good combination.
Speaking of noodles, I feel that it’s too soggy and that the dish might get slightly cloy after awhile. I prefer mee that’s still springy, yet soft. But this is entirely subjective; I know people who favour stock-infused soggy noodles.
After all, this is Kim’s cooking style. He cooks the noodles in a separate wok to ‘let the taste sit in’, and then stir-fry once more, with the ingredients, on order.
The sambal kang kong was light in oil and palatable. It is rich without the overpowering sambal and oil, but somehow I feel that it lacks a certain kick to it. Maybe it was the lack of garlic and chilli shrimps? I’ve definitely tasted better ones out there; although most of them are too oily. I would’ve preferred something with more of a wok hei feel to it.
In conclusion, while the location feels like a typical zichar eatery, who would’ve known that a once-renowned Hokkien mee master resides here? Quite possibly, the more senior demographic, and a majority of them, would agree that Kim’s standards have fallen short since. After my experience, I’m still curious to search for Singapore’s best fried Hokkien mee.
Expected damage: $5-10 per person