I was looking in the fridge wondering what to make myself for brunch and upon seeing the yellow noodles and bacon lardons I decided to make Malaysian Style Hokkien Mee. This particular variant is also sometimes known as KL Style Hokkien Mee or Hokkien Char Mee or Black Hokkien Mee. Not to be confused with Penang Hokkien Mee or Singapore Style Hokkien Mee which are both distinctly different. I’ll explain below.
Hokkien Mee in its various permutations, is a dish that’s popular throughout Singapore & Malaysia and is believed to have originated in the Fujian region in China; the word ‘Hokkien’ referring to this very region and the word ‘mee’ referring to the yellow noodles used in this dish. This version that I made, the Hokkien Char Mee is commonly found in KL and the word ‘Char’ means fried here. When I was younger, it was common for it to be cooked over a blazing charcoal fire. What makes this version distinctly different from the others is the addition of Dark Soy Sauce. I personally like to use Kicap Manis, which is the sweet dark soy sauce and plenty of chilli in the form of sambal.
The Penang and Singaporean versions are often called Hae Mee, ‘Hae’ meaning prawn and often have mixture of yellow and rice noodles. That’s were the similarity ends. The Penang version has a spicy prawn & pork broth. You can get Penang Hokkien Mee all over Singapore and Malaysia, though it is often just called Hae Mee (like the stall near my parents home in Singapore). In the Singaporean version, the noodles are more than just fried, they are braised almost, in a rich seafood stock.
All three versions are different but equally delicious! The recipe below is just a rough guide and can be easily manipulated to suit your taste. Normally cubes of pork fat are fried in hot oil, allowing some of the fat to render into the oil before becoming crispy. I did not do this. I decided to just use some bacon lardons as a substitue. Also as the wok is screaming hot, everything will cook really fast so I would recommend getting all your ingredients ready before starting.
- 200g Yellow Noodles
- 6 prawns peeled and deveined (I used frozen)
- 1 tbp Bacon Lardons
- 2 Cabbage Leaves, finely shredded
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 tsp Sambal }
- 1 tsp Oyster Sauce } Sauce Ingredients
- 1 tbp Light Soy Sauce }
- 2 tbp Kicap Manis or Dark Soy Sauce }
- 1 tbp Water }
- 2 tbp Oil (+ 1tsp shallot oil if you have it)
- *optional – white pepper*
- Heat oil in a pan or wok.
- Once the pan is really hot, add in the bacon lardons and fry till the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy.
- Add the garlic and immediately add the prawns.
- Mix a little, add the cabbage, mix again.
- Add the egg and stir fry till the egg is almost cooked.
- Now add all the sauce ingredients and the noodles and mix well.
- Fry till most of the sauce has been absorbed and the noodles are well coated.
- Serve with more sambal if you’re a chilli fiend like me!