Thursday, 15 December 2011

The noodles of my childhood..

Oops, more on food...

Well, in the past few days while I was lying on the sofa unable to do much except browsing with the iPad, I have been reading a lot about food. Singapore food in particular. All because I have a copy of The End of Char Kway Teow in my hands.

The author, the blogger at, was in town in October for Sg Buzz and of course Sito and I went to support. My colleague, actually ex-colleague, asked me to pass the book to someone in Chicago but I haven't got his/her contact yet so I ended up reading the book from cover to cover. And that being not enough, I went to the blog too.

It's actually very torturous - can see, can drool, cannot eat!!

Which leaves me only one activity - write about it lor :)

As I went through the pages of the book and the blog, I couldn't help but remember a few things from my childhood. And coincidentally, they are all noodles..

1) Char kway teow

So we went to find Grams every other Sunday right. After the provision shop closed at lunch, we would go back to the flat. And sometimes the adults would give us money to go buy some afternoon snack. And this was no candy or ice cream ok. Our favourite snack was the char kway teow from the coffeeshop!

The uncle's stall was at the edge of the coffeeshop. The bunch of us kids would hang out on the sidewalk in front of his stall while waiting for the char kway teow. He had this large metal sheet in the shape of 凸 in front of his big wok. I couldn't see or remember very well now but I think he used to break his eggs into the noodles and throw the shells towards the middle of the metal sheet!

I still remember that when playing cooking as a kid, I used this tiny chair with a backing as my wok because it resembled the metal sheet haha!

Anyway, the uncle was very nice to us. I think he must have known us from the provision shop. We used to order some four packets, without clams. I remember this because once he asked us, like that how much? And of course I had to geh kiang and answered first..

mf: $6.30!
Uncle: Wrong!


The char kway teow was soooo good! Each pack was packed very flat in one of those beige wax paper, stacked on top of one another and tied together with red raffia string. I remember holding it too close to my leg and suffer a little burn!

I was still a kid when one day, we found the uncle sitting in the coffeeshop, drinking kopi and not cooking anymore. Cos his son told him to retire. Good for him, not so good for us. And after the coffeeshop underwent renovation or the precinct underwent upgrading, I didn't see him around anymore.

Until today, I still remember his char kway teow - not the exact taste of course, but that it was very very good. Cos of this particular char kway teow, I always have a soft spot for this sinful dish. But I can count on one hand the number of times I had char kway teow in the past 10 years - vain, what to do? Control la!

2) Wantan mee with tiny wantans

When I was very young, in kindergarten or early primary, my paternal grandmother used to buy this wantan mee with tiny wantans when she came to visit. I really liked that! Sticky noodles drenched in tomato sauce in a plastic bag, many mini wantans dancing in the soup in a separate container.

I forgot all about it until one day in my early 20s when I was at a friend's place in the east. We bought some Fei Fei from nearby and the familiar taste whacked me in the face. My grandmother used to stay in that area so maybe that was what I had as a kid!

Haven't had that for some 10 years now. I've been having the Hong Kong style wantan mee or Pontian type in recent years. I just like wantan mee so all these are yummy. And it's easy to make - see! But somehow, I just cannot forget the childhood taste..

3) Fishball noodles

On occasions, we would have lunch at the hawker centre near the AMK library. It must have been after a trip to the library and before we discovered Macs :p

I don't quite remember what it was but it was always mee pok for me and mee kia for the rest. I figure it should be fishball noodles! It was nothing memorable except that that was always a treat cos we didn't get to eat out a lot in those days.

In more recent years, I prefer to have yellow noodles with my fishballs. Somehow it's tastier. Especially with cut chillis!

4) Laksa

Now there was a very good laksa stall at the hawker centre near the market. It was just so good! But later they moved to the other hawker centre near the other market, I think, and I seldom had it again.

When I was in secondary, there was a period of time when I loved to have this laksa yong tau foo at the hawker centre near the library. Must have been after Japanese class or something, cos otherwise I would have had lunch at home.

I still like laksa, but I think I can also count on one hand the number of times I had laksa in the past 10 years... Sinful...

5) Kway chap

Ok, this isn't something I'm craving now. But as a kid, I used to eat a lot of the kway from the kway chap. It wasn't until my mid 20s that I realised that kway chap actually had a lot of ingredients *.* I don't like pork innards but I don't mind having the kway with the soup again :p

6) Maggi mee

Last on the list - maggi mee! We used to have that for lunch quite often. That or yucky macaroni soup. Or worse, fried mee tai mak! Hate that! Anyway, I was just telling Sito that I used to add ketchup to the soup noodles :p Sounds quite gross now but I loved it! Sometimes I added chilli sauce too :p

But I gave up maggi for Myojo after a while. Somehow I prefer Myojo. Later at work, I always had a stock of Nissin cup noodles in my drawer for emergencies. Now we have lots of Sapporo and Nong Shim!

But no more ketchup or chilli sauce in the soup please!

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