Penang cuisine continues to be celebrated widely in Southeast Asia, and the same can be said for our little red dot. New to the block within the Bukit Batok heartlands is Ah Lipp, which has just opened weeks ago. The founder-cum-Chef, Ah Lipp, is a friendly character. “I have had over 30 years of experience in making prawn noodles,” exclaimed Ah Lipp. Ah Lipp prepares his version of Penang prawn noodles with such finesse, that it might lead one to underestimate the tedious process behind the making of this dish.
All the recipes are passed down to Ah Lipp by his mother, so you’re witness to tradition! To prepare the broth for the prawn noodles, Ah Lipp combines a variety of ingredients, such as pork bones, pork skin, prawn head and even crabs, as well as condiments which include garlic, onions and rock sugar, amongst many others. All ingredients are simmered in a boiling pot of water for 4 hours before the broth is ready to be served.
A bowl of Penang Hokkien Big Prawn Noodles Soup ($10 for regular, $12 for large; available in dry or soup version) would fetch you a handful of bee hoon-yellow noodle mix topped with pork ribs, fish cake slices, kang kong and wild sea prawns. The choice of prawns is crucial, as the head of the prawn would alter the taste of the soup. The broth is robust and well-spiced, and delivers a subtle heat that leaves a pepper-like aftertaste. It’s pretty addictive! Completing the prawn broth are jumbo prawns with flesh that comes off the shell easily. Ah Lipp prefers to use wild sea prawns, especially those with bountiful roe.
Bite into the succulent prawn to uncover a sweetness and pleasant briny taste. Apart from prawns, you’ll also find soft and flavourful boneless pork ribs. Patrons can opt for the addition of chilli, but I left it out to enjoy the original taste of the broth. If you fancy a more affordable alternative, you can always choose the normal Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles ($4 for regular, $6 for large). Regardless of the size of the prawns, I’m sure the broth is equally tasty!
You know you’re having authentic Assam Penang Laksa when you scoop up penang noodles that are white and plump. The recipe for the Assam Penang Laksa ($3.50) is also passed down from Ah Lipp’s mother, who still resides in Penang. Every mouthful of Assam Penang Laksa carries a myriad of flavours! Ah Lipp uses sardine instead of mackerel, since its flavour is more subtle and better received by Singaporeans. A flowery yet tangy sensation accompanies the consistently thick broth, with chunks of sardine flesh that adds a textural contrast to every bite. What I like about the dish is how each strand of thickly-cut noodle absorbs the broth excellently. Go ahead and add more prawn paste if you like – self-service!
Both the dishes tasted equally delicious, but I am more inclined to opt for the heartier Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles since there’s less going on in the dish in terms of texture and taste. A partner stall selling porridge lies adjacent to Ah Lipp, so do patronise them as well.
Ah Lipp Famous Penang Prawn Noodle
Address: 155 Bukit Batok Street 11, Singapore 650155
Opening Hours: 7.30am to 8pm daily.
This post was brought to you by Ah Lipp Famous Penang Prawn Noodles.
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