The Essence of Prawn

Prawn Noodle Soup

Are you a patient cook?

I am not. My ferocious appetite gets the better of me. I’m always nipping off my ingredients way before the dish is done.

That’s probably the reason why I’ve never bothered with making Chinese-styled soups. Like prawn noodle soup for instance. No chance to sneak a bite because it would be flavourless anyway.

But all that’s changed. I now have my very own personal chef who possesses all the patience I lack. A chef by profession, I have indeed struck gold 😉

He, unlike me, is super patient in the kitchen (he’s been in F&B for 15 years for crying out loud) and immensely knowledgable. The amateur cook in me shrivels away with embarrassment every time we step into the kitchen. He’s the head chef and me, his humble sous chef. Together we will conquer the world of deliciousness one recipe at a time, the slow cooking way. And by slow, I do mean from scratch. Because come on, I have a legit chef at the helm in my life now *wink*.

First slow recipe we did (confession – I only chopped the shallots. He kind of did everything else) was prawn noodle soup.

If you think it’s mighty tedious, you are RIGHT. Labour-intensive much. That only means that the flavours will be mighty fine as well. You could be the judge but oh wait, you’re reading this on a computer screen. It’s ok, I will invite you to our kitchen one day (when we open our thingamajig ok?).

Prawn Noodle Soup

Step 1: Peel 1kg fresh prawns (whatever you can lay hands on). Set aside the flesh. Reserve shells and heads.

Step 2: Stir-fry chopped shallots and garlic till golden brown then add in prawn shells and heads. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

Step 3: Throw in dried shrimps, a handful of ikan bilis (anchovies) and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add one star anise and top up with water (enough to cover).    

Prawn Noodle Soup

Step 4: Bring a pot of water to the boil. Blanch pre-cut 300g pork ribs. Drain water and set aside.   

Prawn Noodle Soup

Step 5: Throw in blanched pork ribs into prawn broth and simmer for one hour (or till tender). Remove ribs and set aside.

Step 6: Strain prawn head/shell mixture and blend those splendid umami elements in a blender. Remove awesome super mixture and pass through a muslin cloth (or a strainer). 

Step 7: Add cooked pork ribs to the heavenly broth. 

Step 8: Season broth to taste (salt, white pepper). 

Step 9: Poach prawn flesh in broth for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.  

Step 10: Cook noodles of your preference (we used yellow egg noodles).

Step 11: Add broth to noodles and serve. We like our vegetables so we combined the power of prawn with a side of kai lan drizzled with oyster sauce. 

That’s it!  Hats off to all you hawkers out there who cook prawn noodle soup every day.

P.S. My personal prawn noodle soup stall is Whampoa Prawn Noodles at Tekka Market. To die for. Slurp. 

Posted on 13th Dec 2015 in Noodles, prawn, Uncategorized  |  Post a comment

Lai Lai Family Restaurant

Now that I’ve been to Taiwan, I look at the country differently – I have more affection for its culture, and many various facets, everything from the way they communicate to how their food is flavoured.

One thing’s for certain – I miss Taiwan. I miss the cool weather, the mountains, the hospitable people and of course the food. Yes, especially the food.

So you can only imagine my delight whenever I pass by a restaurant that claims to be selling Taiwanese food. Some are obviously bucking the trend while others are really authentic. At least now, I can’t be fooled because I’ve eaten the real deal 🙂

Last weekend, after Easter mass on Sunday, my sis and I were searching for a new place to eat. We were pretty ravished since it was about 8pm+ when we reached town. We were craving for something Indian but we were at Liang Seah St so I guess that was quite a stretch. Nevertheless, we decided to walk further down the street in search of something delicious.

We didn’t have to walk far before we came across this restaurant with the prominent ?? (Lai Lai) logo. Translated to English, it means come, come. I was very much tickled by the image of a concussed cow/bull as well. I kept calling it ‘dead beef’.

Anyway as soon as I saw it was an eatery selling ???? (Taiwanese food), I knew I had to go in. It’s been a long time since I last ate Taiwan food.

Sis and I didn’t take long to figure out what to eat. The obvious choice was the beef noodles ($6.80). I wanted something different so I had the braised pork rice ($5.20). Both were really good. So good that I regret not bringing my camera to take photos. But it’s okay, I went there again this week with my colleagues and this time, I brought my camera!

Here’s a shot of the lovely beef noodles:

The broth was really good. Sis thinks it was even better than the one we had at a roadside beef noodle stall in Taiwan. Perhaps it was. I didn’t protest. The beef itself was tender to the bite. Trust me, it’s that good – we cleared the bowl well and good.

I don’t have a photo of the braised pork rice but you should try it if you’re a fan of those fatty bits of pork. The sauce was also really yummy. I love nuts and totally appreciated it being served with the rice. Oh, one more thing – if you love chilli, you have to try the dried chilli concoction that’s placed in a small jar on every table. They mix the chillies with fried shallots that’s super crisp. Quite addictive actually. I did finish up a fair amount.

The second time I went there with my colleagues as mentioned above, I had the Taiwan vermicelli ($5.90):

You can choose the type of meat you want – fried fish fillet, pork meat balls or shredded chicken. I chose the meat balls. I really like this vermicelli. It’s kind of different from the normal mee sua we have here. Check it out:

Slightly thicker in width, this vermicelli has a better bite. Brings back lots of memories 🙂

My other colleague had two side dishes, the beef tendon, and a smoked egg.

I didn’t try them so I can’t comment! But she said it was good. The egg looks yummy too. I’m currently into hardboiled eggs with soft centres. Liquid yolk is always delicious.

Here’s how the interior looks like. You’ll get a glimpse of the ‘dead beef’. haha.

The exterior:

Can you see the logo? I like it alot, it’s quite distinctive. Love this place as well. Will be back again soon. I want to try the rest of their menu!

I still have more photos from my Taiwan trip that I haven’t posted! I will definitely be putting up more soon. A great chance to reminisce and let all of you appreciate its beauty!


Lai Lai Family Restaurant
No. 20 Liang Seah Street
Tel: 6837-1556
Open daily 11:30am to 3am

Posted on 30th Mar 2008 in beef, Noodles, Taiwan  |  4 comments

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