Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to chase away the homesick blues with Hokkien Prawn Noodles.

Shorter daylight and cold weather can make a new arrival from bright and sunny Singapore feel homesick. And what is the quickest way and easiest way to ease the gloom? When this happens, you need an ingestion of comfort food that gives the warm fuzzing feeling of home. There are two options. Firstly, you can go to the nearest food courts in the CBD or its surrounding suburbs where large ethnic groups live and congregate. Perhaps you may be able to find something similar to Singapore's hawker fare. You will be pleasantly surprised by its authenticity and originality of the dishes provided by the various ethnic groups as a meal.
Roast pork and char siew in Sydney, I reckon are very good, arguably even better than Hong Kong since many of their best chefs moved to Sydney in the 1990s and just before the British hand over Hong Kong back to China. Following the infamous students upheaval at Tienanmen, the nothern Chinese flavours including Shanghainese and Beijingnese were given a boost from the influx of Chinese migrants in their unique "food districts" scattered around the greater Sydney. Unfortunately, we do not have the numbers in Sydney to stake "a little red dot" to call our own. Take our Singapore food here in Sydney- it's the same old tedious same old Malaysian-Singaporean food - apart from a handful of exceptions serve roti prata and new Asian fusion food.
Surely, there must be room in our eat streets for a few real Singaporean ethnic kopi tiam (cafes) or restaurants, eateries that cater for people who like, say Bak Kut Teh or Prawns Hokkien Mee, Mee Rebus or Indian rojak.

I tried to duplicate Hokkien Prawn Noodles last weekend at home. It would have been a hard act to follow especially everyone knows how this popular hawker food should taste like, but thanks to the "sng kam"(calamansi lime), we have salvaged from the recent frost. It is "okay lah" after a squeeze of the indispensable sng kam on the noodles saves my pride of being the masterchef at home.

Hokkien Prawns Noodles Recipe

500 gm Hokkien Noodles
500 gm thick nee hoon (rice vermicelli), soaked in warm water for 10-12 minutes and drained.
5 eggs
1/4 cup minced garlic
500 gm prawns (parboiled)
250 gm belly pork (parboiled)
250 gm squid(parboiled)
250 gm bean sprouts
100 gm Chinese chive (ku chai)
1/2 cup light soya sauce
2 1/2 cup prawn stock.
6 calamansi (sng kam)

The trade secret for this dish is to have a good prawn stock. Start by shelling the prawns but keep the tails intact. Collect the prawn shells and heads for the stock. To make prawn stock, pour about 4 Lt of water in a stockpot. When the water come to a boil, put the belly pork to cook for 5 minute and drain parboiled belly pork, put aside to cool for slicing into strips. Next put in the cleaned squid and take it out once it turns white in colour. cool and sliced into rings. Do the same with the prawns, it shouldn't take more than a minute in the boiling water. Put in 1 kg of pork bones boiling water and keep boiling at medium heat. In the meantime, heat a tbsp of oil in a wok to fry the prawn shells and heads until fragrant about 8 minutes. Add the fried prawn shells and head to pot. Simmer stock for an hour.
To fry the noodles, heat wok and add oil and saute the garlic until fragrant about 1 minute. Break egg and spread the egg around to cook about 1 minute. Add soaked bee hoon and 2 ladle of stock into the wok and fry until bee hoon absorb the stock. Add hokkien noodles and fry for a minute and add 4 ladles of stock, cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and add remaining ingredients except the sng kam and season to taste. Fry for a minute and add another ladle of stock. Dish up your Hokkien Prawn Noodles, served with the sng kam and sambal blachan or cut chillies


  1. Hi, Wong-chan
    I will visit and try Singapore food restaurant in Tokyo tommorow.
    What kind menu you recommend?

  2. Hi Uncle Phil,

    I have been reading your blog regularly and find it very interesting. Keep it up.


  3. Hi Diana,
    Thanks for your visit and encouragement. Please continue to post your comment, at least I know someone is reading.

  4. Hi Uncle Phil,
    The more I look at those delicious dishes from your blog..the more I feel like going home.
    I miss Singapore's foods.

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    If you are living in Sydyney, I'll send you an invite the next time we have a makan session. If you are not within traveling distance by train or car than you have to learn to cook like I did when I first came here.

    Uncle Phil

  6. Hi Yama-chan,
    Hmmm I do not know whether they have Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶) or Hainan Chicken (海南雞飯) If you like something spicy, try Laksa (Curry Noodles) or the famous Singapore Chilli Crab.
    What about Hokkien Prawns Noodles?
    If you order these dishes they'll think you are a strange foreigner na bai yu save gut long Singapore. Oslem wanpela bilong mipela. (奇妙な外国人 of Singapore). Haha

    July 14, 2010 4:55 PM

  7. Hello Uncle Phil,

    It has been a while since I last wrote to you and reading your blog has put a smile on my face ........& also making me feel hungry.
    Uncle Phil, I am going to try your Hokkien Mee receipe, but what is calamansi (sng kam)? I'll probably find it in my local Chinese supermarket if you let me know what it is. I'll also find an alternative to pork for the stock as you would have gathered from my name:)!

    Keep blogging away Uncle Phil as trust that all is well with you and your family.

    Best regards

  8. "مرحبا" Mustafa,
    Thanks for your greetings. Calamansi,sng kam or kiat lah is just another name for limau kasuri. Click on the index to look at the photo on how it looks like. By the way are you in Sydney? Due to popular demand, I am trying to propagate some calmansi plants to give away.
    Of course you can use beef or chicken bones to make the stock. Keep me posted on your result.
    مرحبا سلام

  9. For those who want to try commercial fare in Sydney, the hokkien mee in Temasek Restaurant (Parramatta) is actually not too bad. But, I personally think Uncle Phil's one is better ;)

  10. Hi Uncle Phil,

    That really looks great and delicious.
    It's making me feel hungry now...:)

    You are really making us miss the food back in Singapore and Malaysia.


  11. Hi HW,
    You have been AWOL. When can we invite you for a makan seesion with other SGs.- epecially those who are new here in Sydney and waiting to join the club.
    Uncle Phil

  12. Hi Jeff,
    You know that you are always welcome anytime to join my family for a meal.
    How is your family?
    Uncle Phil

  13. Thanks, Uncle Phil.

    Everyone is doing well.

    Yenn is actually trying her hand at baking now.
    We're also going through your website and see if we can cook up something from your list of recipes...:)

    Cheers, Jeff

  14. Hi Uncle Phil

    Thanks for this... I've just moved here from Singapore and Hokkien Mee from Tiong Bahru market is one of the dishes I miss most! I will definitely try this out.

    In return, you might be interested to read Singaporean views on food here: http://www.civiclife.sg/blog/?cat=11

    Thanks again


  15. Hi Dan,
    Selamat Datang ke Sydney. Thanks for the interesting web which I will definitely visit often. I'll keep you in the loop and send an invite to you for the next makan session with fellow Sg. PM me your contact details.
    Take care,

  16. Hi Uncle Phil, I just tried to make Hokkien mee - not easy! Maybe I'll try your orh nee one day, looks easier...

  17. I'm a singaporean also living in Aust. for education. Moved here twice- first in '07 then moved back in '10 then now I'm back here again in '12. Very frustrating to move so many times:( I'm only 14 this year but I've gone to as many as 4 pri schools and 2 high/secondary schools. In Singapore, never missed Aust. In Aust. 24/7 homesick for Singapore. Sure, Sg is somewhat more stressful, but its home for me since all my my relatives and family live there. So here, every hari raya, I'm always alone to celebrate with just parents and siblings... and sometimes other Singaporean/malaysian migrant friends...
    Sg friends say its not fair, but honestly I'd rather be living in Sg where everything feels like its actually home. Pri schl here in the first move pretty okay, but I tell you, High school is super duper culturally shocking.
    #Very very homesick girl

    1. Hi,
      Sorry to know you are feeling homesick and missed your friends back home. It is natural to feel that way, but I do hope that you will find new friends here soon. BTW, come and join other Singaporeans at https://www.facebook.com/groups/399771076737449/permalink/411132588934631/?comment_id=411305405584016&ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/groups/264798606954939/ Tell your parents about us and hope you too can find Sg friends there. Cheers.