Friday, October 26, 2007

Hokkien Mee

From The Star

Catch the supper action

The Hokkien Mee has a great following and many would argue that their favourite haunt serves the best.

WITH noodles coated in thick dark soya sauce and topped with a generous helping of fried lard, the Hokkien Mee is a great dish for friends and family to enjoy together.

There are actually two versions of this noodle dish, which is cooked in Fujian style, brought over by the immigrants of the Fujian province in southeastern China.

One is the Hokkien Char, which is the fried version that is popular nationwide and in Singapore, while the one that the Penangites rave about is a soupier version, riddled with prawns, and aptly known as Hokkien hae mee.

While the fried version in the Klang Valley and the rest of the country uses a fat yellow noodle, the Penang and Singapore version uses egg noodles and rice noodles.

The Penang version is served with a fragrant stock made of fresh shrimp shells and dried prawns, and in some instances pork bones are also added in to flavour it.

The noodles are served with prawns, leafy greens, pork ribs, fish cake, a sprinkle of spring onions and deep-fried shallots and a dash of fresh lime, served with sliced red chillies, light soya sauce and a shrimp paste dip or sambal.

Tantalising fare: Yap Kim whipping up his popular Hokkien Mee at the Fatty stall in Sun Yen Restaurant in Petaling Jaya.

The once-upon-a-time piece de resistance was the small cubes of fried pork fat that provided the crunch but it is now only added on request due to health concerns.

This is the popular Hokkien hae mee in Penang. A popular haunt is Super Hokkien Mee at the Kedai Kopi Super Café, 3, Jalan Rangoon.

Due to its popularity, it is advisable to bring along some reading materials as you could wait up to 30 minutes before your order arrives, especially on weekends.

Do come early though as closing time is 11am but by 10am, the last bowl may have been served.

Another good traditional Penang hae mee can be found at the last noodle stall in Pasar Awam Seri Bandar, Jalan Heng Choon Thian in Bukit Mertajam. Closed from Sundays to Tuesdays, this is a father-to-daughter business, where Tan Poh Choo has faithfully kept to her late father’s secret recipe for more than 30 years.

In Alor Star, Kedah, Kedai Makanan Lam Chuan serves a good Penang version of the Hokkien Mee for a reasonable RM2 per serving. The outlet is in Jalan Putera, opposite Jalan Pintu Sepuluh, open from 7am to 1pm and closed on Saturdays.

In Kuala Lumpur, where the fried version of Hokkien Mee reigns, one can have the Penang version at Restoran Rocky at 15 Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru.

The Klang Valley version, which is fried and comes out with a delicious aroma that wafts from wok to table, makes one hungry just imagining the luscious thick and dark sauce coating the fat yellow noodles and seafood, pork meat and liver, and a generous spray of cubes of fried pork fat, when requested.

A popular supper option in the Klang Valley, it has a great following and many would argue that their favourite haunt serves the best.

Among the good haunts is Restoran AhWa at 66, Jalan 14/48 (directly behind the Shell station in Jalan 222).

It comes highly recommended. Even foreigners make a beeline for AhWa’s great Hokkien char where service is fast and food is tasty, although they have stopped frying this supper fare over the charcoal stove a long time ago.

Jackson Mee, or better known as Fatty stall at the Sun Yen Restaurant in Jalan 17/38, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, is also touted as one of the better Hokkien char outlets.

Yap Kim, 63, who started frying noodles for a living since he was 16, has been perfecting on his own style for the past 47 years and still makes his tasty and well-flavoured Hokkien char on a charcoal stove. Open between noon and 2pm and again from 5.30pm to 9.30pm daily except Mondays.

Other notable places where the Hokkien char is worth a mention are Mun Wah Hokkien Mee at 155, Jalan Maharajalela, and Lien Bee Hokkien Mee at Jalan Cheng Lock (behind Lai Foong Restaurant).

In Jalan Petaling or Chinatown, is Restoran Kim Lian Kee, where the Hokkien char tastes as good as the traditional one that is cooked over the hot charcoal stove fire. If you want Kim Lian Kee’s traditional Hokkien char, then cross the road to where the original stall is and be transported back in time.

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