Covent Garden Prawn Noodle: 60+ years of legacy with old-school prawn noodles at Havelock Road
I’ve heard of Covent Garden Prawn Noodle at Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre before. It’s well known for its old-school bowls of prawn mee, which are…
I’ve heard of Covent Garden Prawn Noodle at Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre before. It’s well known for its old-school bowls of prawn mee, which are packed with traditional flavours. Previously, the stall was helmed by an old couple.
Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre is also known as the L-shaped hawker centre, infamous for its food and packed crowds, especially during peak hours. With well-known stalls filling the hawker with its snaking long queues, it doesn’t seem to be that much of a hidden gem considering how they are not located at the main road.
Back in the 1980s, Covent Garden Prawn Noodle was previously located at Old Zion Road Hawker Centre. Before they named themselves Covent Garden Prawn Noodle, Mr. Lee was a kok kok mee hawker, and he went around banging bamboo poles to create the “kok kok” sound as a way to garner attraction for his prawn mee. Back in the olden days, these noodle stall hawkers were seen doing this excitedly while pushing their push-carts around.
After the demise of Mr. Lee, Ms. Yim took over the stall after receiving guidance from Mrs. Lee, the original owner of Covent Garden Prawn Noodle.
I actually came here to get my fix of nasi lemak in the area, but it was closed so I gave this famous prawn mee stall a go. As I approached the stall, I was faced with an endearing smile from whom I inferred to be Ms. Yim. As the lone owner of the store now, she was accompanied by the pop music playing in the background by her son.
The glass window at the front displayed an aesthetic array of condiments and utensils— clearly the work of a woman who pays attention to detail!
What I tried at Covent Garden Prawn Noodle
At the storefront, the prices of S$4/S$5/S$7 were presented next to an image of prawn noodles. They offer a concise menu of Prawn Noodles and Pig Tail Noodles. I opted for Prawn Mee at S$5, as she promised that there would be more ingredients. You can also add S$2 for a portion of pig skin and intestines.
As with most noodle stalls, you can opt for the dry or soup options.
Just like she promised, I was served with a generous bowl of fresh ingredients blanketed over my choice of mee— bee hoon-mian (mix of thin rice noodles and egg noodles). I counted 6 small prawns, 4 huge slices of pork and a substantial amount of fishcake and beansprouts.
Unfortunately, I found that they did themselves injustice when they plated their noodles in a huge bowl, making it seem like their portion was small.
Time for a taste test! I gave my noodles a good toss, mixing all the pork lard oil, chilli sauce and garlic chips together that give the noodles its aromatic flavour.
A bite in and the first thing I tasted was the slight hint of ketchup in the sauce. The bee hoon soaks up the sauces because of its absorbent feature, while retaining the richness of the prawn broth that it was cooked in.
What I appreciated was the fact that the prawns were de-shelled and cleansed, removing the gunk that some hawkers usually close an eye to. It is clear to say that the current owner of Covent Garden Prawn Noodle puts in a lot of effort behind the scenes. Not to mention, de-shelled prawns are way easier to eat!
The thin slices of pork were tender and it gave the bowl of noodles an alleviating element for those who might find prawn noodles slightly fishy.
On the downside, I found the noodles a bit dry because I personally prefer my noodles to be wetter in texture. Pour a splash or two of the soup into the prawn noodles for an instant moist texture— it made it taste way better!
All my compliments go to their soup. I got a glimpse of the behind the scenes when I saw her scooping up my bowl of soup from a broth filled with prawn heads. Knowing that hours were spent boiling it, it’s no wonder it tasted so rich!
While some might say that it is lighter in flavour, I actually really liked the broth. It was palatable and wasn’t too overpowering. This might differ from popular opinions, but I would probably recommend the soup option instead of the dry.
Another great point is that their prawn noodles contain a large portion of pork lard. Once mixed, you’ll get bits and pieces of the addictive pork lard in almost every spoonful!
Either the portion is small, I’m really hungry, or this was good. It could be all of the above! Although I felt that the taste wasn’t out of this world, they sure make up for it with their generous portion of ingredients. I also admire hard work and knowing that this was the works of a lady in training after the art of the elderly couple, I thought that it was great effort.
Furthermore, I am sure the pressure of keeping up to standard with their famous neighbours is immense. With Noo Cheng Adam Road Prawn Mee nearby, Covent Garden Prawn Mee is a cheaper alternative for a bowl of prawn noodles.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$7 per pax
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