My friend Alex from Kulai brought me to Mok Chai 莫才 which is one of the two famous Hainanese beef kway teow shops in Kulai. The other famous beef kway teow shop in Kulai is Mok Gao 莫搞.
I asked Mok Chai if he was related to Mok Gao, the other famous Kulai Hainanese beef noodle shop. Mok Chai said no. He explained that the word Mok is like the word Ah in Hokkien and Cantonese. So Mok Chai and Mok Gao, is like Ah Chai and Ah Gao in Hokkien and Cantonese. I got a language lesson while food finding, not bad :)
Mok Chai told me that he started working at his father's Hainanese beef stall in 1965. That's 47 years ago! And, Mok Chai told me that his beef kway teow is made in the same way through all these years. That means, everything is done by hand and all ingredients have to be fresh. So, Mok Chai and his wife start work every day at 3:00am to prepare the beef, broth and the gravy.
And, customers stay with Mok Chai because they are so used to the old tastes and flavours.
Kway teow noodles, doused in thick beef based gravy and topped with fragrant chopped parsley leaves, preserved vegetables, fried shallot crackles and crunchy fried peanuts.
The brownish gooey beef gravy is the soul of beef kway teow. Made by boiling beef parts for many hours, the beef gravy was slightly savoury, and had that distinct beefy flavour which I liked. Don't take this beefy flavour for granted just because this is a beef kway teow stall - I have eaten at enough beef kway teow stalls that serve gravy that had no beef flavour at all i.e. no soul, so to speak.
The clear beef soup was tasty, slightly herbal, and had generous amounts of beef and beef parts soaking inside.
Dipping the beef into this tangy, spicy hot chili sauce made it even more delicious.
Mok Chai's beef noodle is very likable and the warm, familial ambiance make it even more enjoyable. Little wonder then that regular customers stay loyal to Mok Chai 莫才 for decades.
->> Iconic old school Hainanese beef noodle shop with a loyal local following.
Restoran name: Mok Chai 莫才 Noodle Restaurant
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/XwHTW (rough)
GPS: 1.641447, 103.615783
Hours: 6:00am to 2:30pm
Date visited: 1 Oct 2012
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