Oodles of noodles

Soh Ah Moy, holding up portions of mee pok
or flat noodles
Oodles of tasty Teochew noodles

Before the Johor Baru city centre was redeveloped, Soh Ah Moy, 66, and her family were among the stall-holders who operated their food business in the hawker centre at Jalan Ungku Puan.  Situated adjacent to the city’s infamous Sungai Segget, locals often fondly refer to this food haven as Chinatown. 

At that time, the Soh family’s stall sold desserts like cheng th’ng while the stall opposite, operated by Lim Hiang Kwang’s family, served a range of Teochew noodles like kway teow th’ng and mee pok tah.

Mee pok tah served by Sin Hock Guan noodle stall
When Soh and Lim were married, the couple continued with his family’s noodle business in Chinatown and fourteen years ago, they moved to their current premises in Kakilang Food Court Centre. 

Now regulars who have acquired a taste for the Sin Hock Guan recipe of Teochew noodles keep finding their way back for their favourite comfort food in a bowl of kway teow th’ng or flat rice noodles topped with fish-balls in clear soup and mee pok tah – dry-tossed, flat noodles served with a side of soup filled with a variety of ingredients.

Soh Ah Moy is still serving delicious
mee pok tah at Sin Hock Guan noodle stall

In this partnership, Soh mans the stall while Lim is involved in the various aspects of preparation.  Lim uses his closely guarded family recipe to make fresh fish-balls every day from fish known locally as tofu fish and fans of these smooth fish-balls know that its quality is proven with every bite.  They also make her kiau, literally “fish curls” or little nuggets of dumplings stuffed with fish paste which are served among other ingredients in the soup with mee pok tah.

With a history of more than 60 years serving these delicious Teochew noodles in Johor Baru, their recipes remain virtually unchanged today. 

While the use of pork lard has been reduced in the special sauce to toss with dry noodles, their signature soup for mee pok tah is still filled with a variety of ingredients like minced pork, sliced pork and liver, wantan, fish balls, fish cake slices, fresh prawns and the interesting her kiau.


Close-up of her kiau or fish curl dumplings
As with all noodle dishes the success of the dish lies in its sauce or soup preparation.  Generous amounts of pork bones and prawns are used to make this rich broth.  This tasty soup stock continues to be enhanced with natural flavours as Soh cooks fresh meat and prawns in the boiling broth as she briskly serves up individual bowls upon receiving orders.

The Lim’s have four sons, two based in Kuala Lumpur and the other two in the United States, and have six grandchildren.  After much persuasion, the couple once tried living in the States but decided to move back to Johor Baru and return to doing what they know best – operating their noodle business. 

Sin Hock Guan is located in Kakilang Food Court Centre at No. 2 Jalan Abiad, Taman Pelangi in Johor Baru and they start serving from 6am to 4pm or while stocks lasts. 

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 30 May 2011

UPDATE INFO:
This noodle stall is still doing business, with Teochew noodles being served by another hawker who took over the business when the elderly couple decided to retire.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/12/2012

    Great noodles! I heard that they are planning to retire sometime in Nov 2012.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! This couple has long since been asked to enjoy a much-deserved retirement and they finally agreed. Fans of these delicious noodles will be delighted to know that the noodle stall still continues to serve these Teochew noodles, now served by a lady who has taken over the business from them. So, go on! Have your Teochew noodles again! Yum!

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