The tranquil fishing village of Teluk Kumbar on the south side of Penang island is also home to a clutch of eateries offering “Mee Udang”, the Malay version of prawn noodles. Malay prawn noodles tend to be less spicy than Chinese prawn noodles (or Penang Hokkien Mee) and has a distinctive tomato-based sweet-sour flavour.
What sets apart Teluk Kumbar’s”Mee Udang” from other versions in the rest of Malaysia has to be their use of some of the freshest prawns I’d ever seen … ever. And the generous amount of prawns which went into each bowl of “Mee Udang”.
Stop #1 Ilyana Mee Udang. The eatery has an air-conditioned section, but we opted for the airy semi-al fresco seating area which felt more natural, considering its proximity to the fish market by the beach.
The owner, Ahmad Afifi Sahimi, is a genial, friendly chap who preferred to converse to us in fluent English. The eatery is over 20 years old and offers fish-head curry plus a plethora of other seafood dishes, besides the signature dish: "Mee Udang".
Ilyana’s version of the “Mee Udang” is thick, unctuous, and very tasty – the sweet-sour tomato-based gravy was good to the last drop. Huge, fresh prawns, a trademark of Teluk Kumbar’s “Mee Udang” was in evidence – up to 10 large prawns for a ‘small’ serving. The thin egg noodles provided the perfect foil to the thick gravy. Small local limes were provided, to be squeezed over the noodles to give it an extra zing.
Next to Ilyana is the beach-side Salwa Mee Udang – perhaps the most famous outlet around – but it’s not open for lunch. We need to return here another time.
Stop #2 Ayu Mee Udang which has been serving out its brand of prawn noodles for over 17 years. Ayu’s version is lighter and more soupy compared to Ilyana’s. Owned by a Malay couple, Mohd Noordin Mohd Noor and Zauyah Abu Hassan, the eatery is clean and bright, located incongruously in a largely Chinese residential area. Ayu’s version of “Mee Udang” included hard-boiled eggs besides the ubiquitous large, super-fresh prawns. The stock has the requisite tomatoey flavour, with chopped celery, lightly spiced. Each serving is garnished with finely-chopped scallions, fresh onions and crisp shallots The wife, Mdm Zauyah, is the daughter of Pak Hassan, who used to run a simple “Mee Udang” stall, a more spartan type using small shrimps, and not the lavish version we identify the dish with these days, back in the 1970s.
Both Ilyana and Ayu have their own characteristics & unique deliciousness – some may prefer the thicker gravy offered by Ilyana, whilst I actually liked Ayu’s lighter version more.
Ilyana Mee Udang
10 Gerai JKKK
Kampung Nelayan Teluk Kumbar
11920 Teluk Kumbar
Ayu Mee Udang
936B Lengkok Kampung Masjid Satu
11920 Teluk Kumbar