Singapore style Hokkien Mee versus Malaysian style Hokkien Mee (福建面)
Was it because I had it again immediately the next night without a cooling-off period that I did not find it delicious? No! I am used to repeat menu. So are the kids. If we like something, we can eat them daily and then some (for years).
I posted on my FB wall that “I’m still thinking of their Hokkien Mee with pork lard” yesterday and Valerie commented in the thread later that evening, “I’m **dabao-ing now”.
“Yay!!! Ask for the crispy pork lard and sambal”.
Dinner came but the noodles looked very different from what I had the previous night at Lao You Ji 老友记. The journey home did not dry out the gravy so I’m guessing the noodles were cooked al dente and weren’t soft enough to allow the gravy to continue to penetrate into them with residual heat. And here lies the difference with Singapore style Hokkien Mee versus KL style Hokkien Mee (福建面). Ours is soft and wet while KL’s dry and springy. To compare them is like comparing grapes and blackcurrant; they are similar but not the same. Know what I mean? It’s all personal preferences. As for me, I do enjoy both the wet and dry versions.
My only grouse with Lao You Ji’s Hokkien Mee was that eating the stewed noodles in-house tasted rapturous, how come it did not deliver when we dabao home? Maybe the cook thought he was doing us a favour 1) by not thoroughly cooking the noodles, taking the chance that the gravy would bore into them or 2) so we don’t have to wait too long for our meal. OR they were busy running a full house and needed the wok!!! After all, infusing takes longer time. I found the noodles lacklustre and was embarrassed that Val and Ryan did not get to enjoy it as much as I did last night. I apologised but Ryan was sweet enough to say it was not too bad since there were pork cracklings which made the sauce yummy (he didn’t complain but those crispy cracklings had turned soft).
Singapore-style Hokkien Mee is supposed to be softer, not al dente, either very moist or with some gravy but not soupy like that you see in photo above. The secondary ingredients consist of prawns, squid and sliced pork with some greens like chye sim (mustard greens) or nappa cabbage. Some eateries and home-style cooking will garnish this dish with crispy fried shallots and crispy pork lard. Sliced chillies with light soy is the favoured side dip.
Malaysia’s Johor Bahru-style is very similar to Singapore’s style in terms of flat noodles and gravy.
Kuala Lumpur or KL- style Hokkien Mee have similar ingredients of prawns and sliced pork but they use cabbage instead. The yellow noodles are much fatter, providing a QQ (chewy) texture, than those employed by JB and Singapore. Their drier version of this dish is usually charcoal-fried with lard, which most Singaporean and some Johorian hawkers have abandoned due to environmental (more likely cost and labour) and health reasons.
Lao You Ji Fish Head Steamboat Seafood Restaurant 老友记鱼头火锅海鲜
Address: 245 Outram Road.
Operating hours: Daily
5pm – 5am
Lee Do Restaurant 丽都饭店
Address: 61 Ubi Avenue 2.
#01-13 Automobile Megamart,
Opening hours: Daily
Lunch: 11.30am – 3pm
Dinner: 5.30pm – 11pm
Lee Do (Fuzhou cuisine) is famous for their cold crabs and prawn roll (my favourite!) but we also often have Hokkien mee whenever we eat there. I must find time to go to Lee Do. I have not been there since they moved to Ubi.
Where I had my Hokkien Mee in Malaysia:
Good Luck Restoran 泗湾幸运海鲜酒楼
No. 86, Jalan Telok Ramunia
Tel: 0207 826 3555.
David Law H/P: 013 775 3555
Restoran Ahwa 新青山亚华福建面
Address: 66, Jalan 14/48 (Jalan 222),
46100 Petaling Jaya.
Tel:(+60) 12382 9895
Whenever we are in KL, we would drive up to PJ just to eat this dish. Also when I was residing in Subang, I had this almost every night for about a year!
Happy eating and bonding 🙂
*Braised Hokkien Mee is not the same as Fried Hokkien Mee a.k.a Sotong Mee, commonly found in Singapore’s street food scene. It is one of the 四大天王 (4 heavenly meaning must-eat if you visit Singapore) noodle dish in Singapore. The other 3 heavenly noodle dishes are Bak Chor Mee, Fish Ball Noodles and Char Kway Teow (those fried with cockles). Noticed anything? The dishes seemed Hokkien and Teochew (dialects) based.
**Dabao is hanyu pinyin for Chinese words “打包” meaning “package” usually, if not mainly, for food items only and adding “-ing” to dabao indicated Valerie was in the act of buying the noodles to go. That’s Singlish!