A his­tory of Mak’s noo­dles

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE -

MAK’S won­ton noo­dles was started in the 1920s by Mak Woon Chee in a street al­ley in Guangzhou, China. Mak was cred­ited with in­vent­ing fresh shrimp won­ton and flavour­ing the broth with pow­dered dried floun­der fish, dried shrimp roe and pork bones. He was crowned “King of Can­tonese Won­ton” and his in­ven­tion be­came re­garded as the “au­then­tic” Can­tonese won­ton.

In 1938, the Mak fam­ily fled to Hong Kong af­ter the fall of Guangzhou and war be­came im­mi­nent. Af­ter the se­cond world war, Mak’s son, Mak En, re­vived their noo­dle and won­ton mak­ing tra­di­tion and at­tracted the pa­tron­age of the rich and fa­mous.

Mak En passed his skills to his two sons and three sons- in- law, in­clud­ing Johnny Yu.

They all opened their own won­ton noo­dle shops in Hong Kong un­der a few dif­fer­ent brands like Chung Kee, Mak Ming Kee and Mak Siu Kee; most of the won­ton noo­dle shops in Hong Kong with a “Mak” in its name are run by de­scen­dants of the founder.

Founder Mak also shared his skills with a cousin ( who opened Mak Man Kee) and a pupil, who opened Ho Hung Kee, which went on to win a Miche­lin star ( 2012 and 2013); Ho’s son went on to es­tab­lish Tasty Con­gee & Noo­dle Shop.

When Mak En re­tired in 1984, he re­nounced his hawker stall li­cense to the Hong Kong govern­ment. Johnny, the el­dest son- in- law, de­cided to rein­car­nate a sim­i­lar busi­ness in his father- in- law’s name on Welling­ton Street, which later re­ceived a Bib Gour­mand rat­ing from the Miche­lin Guide.

From then on, the Mak’s brand grew in pop­u­lar­ity in Hong Kong and the noo­dle dish was en­joyed by a long list of fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties such as food critic Chua Lam as well as An­thony Bour­dain.

Yu has been work­ing for the Mak fam­ily since he was 17 years old. Now 58, he has more than 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing won­ton noo­dles. Yu has since re­lo­cated to Malaysia with his wife, a grand­daugh­ter of the founder, and co- founded his own out­post, Mak’s Chee in Pe­tal­ing Jaya, spread­ing the fam­ily’s wings fur­ther.

In re­cent years, Mak’s Noo­dle has es­tab­lished out­lets at Olympian City, China; Hong Kong City in Cause­way Bay and Jor­dan, and one restau­rant in Ma­cau. Their first Sin­ga­pore out­let opened on Orchard Road in the Cen­tre­point shop­ping mall, with a se­cond out­let at West­gate Shop­ping Mall in Jurong East.

dried prawn roe, a del­i­cacy in­gre­di­ent used in Mak’s chee’s fa­mous won­ton noo­dles.

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