Review – Prima Taste Express

Today, I had to make a return trip to the shop to sort out the missing motherboard accessory. Thankfully, it was easy. My suspicions were right – when they took the mobo out of the box to help me flash the BIOS, they forgot to put all the accessories back in the box. Not a serious error, but very inconvenient for me – and really, it could have been so easily avoided if the tech had been just a little more careful, paid a little more attention to detail, and given just a little more of a shit. *sigh* Anyway, on my way home through the city I decided to have lunch at a place I’ve walked past heaps of times, Prima Taste Express, on Barrack Street next to Loi’s Asian Supermarket.

They have tempting pictures of their dishes displayed in the front window. The prices are included too, which is good – no nasty surprises at the cashier. The pictures in the window look really fake though – too perfect to be true – you just know that the real thing won’t look like the picture (today’s dish demonstrated this).

Prima Taste Express Window

I studied the menu for sometime. My immediate impulse was to order hainan chicken rice, but I thought to myself – “No, you always order that!” I did have a hankering for some noodles…

Menu front

I’ve included a picture of the flipside of the menu so you can check it out for yourself. The two otak-otak dishes were not available today, but that didn’t concern me.

Menu back

You write your table number in the space provided on the order form, and select the dish(es) you want, then bring the form up to the cashier to order and pay. I didn’t really like this system because I was dining alone, and theoretically my table could’ve been taken by a new customer while I was at the cashier placing my order. Being very paranoid I didn’t like the idea of leaving my bag at the table to mark it as “taken”. Luckily, no one had taken the table when I returned from ordering.

Order form

There were specials on offer – I’ve never been a fan of rojak, so I never even considered it. And cheng tng- no way, urgh.


I ordered the fried hokkien prawn noodles. There was a lot of squid, both rings and tentacles. They were very tender but completely tasteless. The two big prawns were cold and overcooked (not juicy and bursty as freshly cooked, perfectly-done prawns should be). The noodles themselves were in a prawny, eggy thick sauce, and were quite nice; the dish had been cooked with real bits of pork fat, which always adds a delicious flavour – but overall, I didn’t think the dish was good at all – it was so totally let down by the nothing-squid and overcooked prawns (well, considering it was prawn hokkien mee you’d want the prawns to be nice wouldn’t you?! The prawns were most definitely disappointing) – I would definitely not order it again. This was the regular size, AU$7.90 (I also got the additional 10% off student discount – you can do the maths if so inclined). A minor point, more a personal thing, was that I thought the noodles were too “broken up” – they should’ve been longer.

fried hokkien prawn noodles

Prima Taste Express also sell meal kits (like those pad thai, sang choy bow and laksa kits you can buy at the supermarket) – I didn’t look at them that carefully, but I did notice there was a hainan chicken rice kit. The meal kits for sale are Prima Taste Express brand.

The service was OK (I never expect to be impressed by the service in asian restaurants). I did get slightly annoyed with the waitress who kept trying to ‘tidy up’ the menu while I was trying to read it. They had a steady flow of customers – a mix of asians and non-asians: quite a few studenty-looking types, a couple of groups of workmates, yuppie looking couples. On the menu they have little icons next to selected dishes – chillies to indicate “spicy” (1 to 3 chilli ratings) and “thumbs up” to mean “must try!” Considering the fried hokkien prawn noodles was a “must try”, one must wonder what the non-thumbs up dishes are like. Based on the dish I had today, I won’t be rushing back there (maybe, way, way down the track I will try their hainan chicken rice…way, way, way down the track). I would rate today’s experience 4 out of 10. In fact, I think I enjoyed taking the photographs and writing this post in my head more than I actually did eating there today!

Prima Taste Express is at 127 Barrack Street, Perth. Opening Hours (according to sign on window): Monday to Saturday 11:00am to 9:00pm, Sundays closed. They do take-aways, and don’t forget if you’re a student to flash your card and get that 10% discount. Readers of Metior and Grok, cut out the coupons offering an additional 5% off (not sure about the other student papers). If you do eat there, I hope you enjoy your dishes more than I did mine.

Late note: one thing I noticed which could be a plus is that you can order “fragrant chicken rice” (just the rice, no chicken) or “nasi lemak rice” as side dishes for AU $1.90 each. I say “could be a plus” because that depends on how tasty Prima’s “fragrant chicken rice” and “nasi lemak rice” are. I’m not suggesting they are not tasty – just that I haven’t tried them, and so can’t assume anything.

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