Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Food: Soup Noodle

Sarikei koptiam menu 2007.
Inflation took its toll on local prices
Find the soya sauce specks

n the 60's to early 80's, there were really not many choices when you ate at a kopitiam (coffeshop). You basically have only 3 choices to order from the Foochow cook: pien neek dumpling, kam pua noodle or the humble clear soup noodle (ching chang mien in Mandarin). The menu above showed how the choices have proliferated. Some new favourites in kopitiams are kam pua noodle with pig's spare parts soup and mee suah noodle in chicken soup.

Sarikei pien neek 2007 - Smooth operator

I had ting bian hu at the kopitiam in the Payang Puri Hotel block but my stomach was not satisfied. I watched the fast hand of the man preparing pien neek dumpling with razor thin slices of dough. I had to ask him to pause for the picture and he gladly obliged. Note how he used flour to prevent the completed dumplings from sticking to each other.

Sarikei Soup Noodle in the making, 2007
Kopitiam at Payang Puri block.

I tried something nolstalgic that I have not tasted for years - the clear soup noodle. It's like the forgotten recipe that you had hidden under the cupboard simply because the natural tendency was to order kam pua or pien neek.

Sarikei clear noodle soup, 2007.
Clearly a winner.

The clear noodle soup used the same noodle as in the kam pua dish. It's soaked in simple broth (not chicken or pork bones stock, I think) and garnished with chopped shallots and fried onions. The layer of lard floating on top gave it the aroma that lured your senses. You simply had to slurp it down without hesitation and then rubbed your tummy with satisfaction.

It's a humble delicacy derived from the less affluent immigrant days like the kampua and pien neek - they are non souped up (no fancy decor, etc) but simply irresistible.


Sim Y said...

Thanks Daniel, I have forgotten the existence of this noodle.

fred said...

you have to post it... :(

that is killing me man...

My favourites in Sarikei's kopitiam..

BurungHelang said...

Does anyone know the recipe for making the dough that is used to make the noodle?

Kanga said...

I think over the years the noodles in the kampua have changed. A few years ago I went back to Sarikei and managed to find kampua with the old style of noodles, and its hard for me to find now.
The pien neek making skill is fantastic to watch.I make one wantan, and these guys can make at least 5 pien neeks with the same amount of meat!
When I was young, the soup noodles tasted nice with 'a-ji-no-moto'(you know what I mean??)
All this supposely simple foods provide me with rich and sensational nolstalgic feelings (or fillings!)

Lidasar said...

Hey folks, in our local Foochow lingo we call this Chinglomian. If only they could spend more on creating richness of the soup's flavor I think this could be comparable to Japanese Ramen or the Shanghainese soup noodle.

Anonymous said...

I know the art of making noodle and wanton
I used to help my dad when I was in form 3.
Our family relied on Kampua for aliving and even when i wa sin form 1, my teacher (Mrs Lee of St Anthony used to tease me)

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