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Hokkien Mee PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator II   
Sunday, 05 April 2009 16:37


Beautiful Sunday: Oh Hokkien Me!
By Helen Ong

Hokkien Mee, aka HKM, is one of the most famous dishes from Penang. Locals eat this noodles-in-a-bowl any time of day – for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and even supper. Down south, it is known as Mee Yoke or Har Meen (Prawn Noodles) so please don’t make the mistake of ordering Hokkien Mee as what you will get put in front of you is a plate of thick fat noodles fried with dark soya sauce and eaten with sambal belacan. We call that Hokkien Char. Confused? Don’t blame you, but don’t worry - you’ll soon get the hang of it!

Ask any self-respecting Penangite what their definition of Hokkien Mee is, and you will get the same answer every time: it’s blanched bee hoon (rice vermicelli), mee (yellow noodles) and crunchy bean sprouts, green kangkung with a quarter or half of hard-boiled egg, sliced prawns and pork on top, with a delicious aromatic prawn stock.  It is always served with a dollop of chilli paste together with a generous sprinkling of fragrant eu chang – shallot fritters (the best is home-fried of course, but that’s quite rare nowadays).   

Making the soup is quite a laborious task which involves a lot of fresh prawns which are cooked then shelled. However, the shells (particularly the shrimp heads) are not discarded: water is added to them, then they are blended and sieved, to ensure every last drop of essence is extracted. This is usually boiled up with tua kut (large pork bones), although pork-free versions are made with chicken or beef stock, and extra seafood like dried shrimp and cuttle fish to give it added taste.   

Like the other famous Penang favourites, Hokkien Mee is available at practically every coffee shop or street corner, restaurant or food court. The subject of which stall serves the best HKM can get quite emotional at times, as everyone has their own favourite. In one of my first columns for Star’s Sunday Metro I naively wrote about what I thought was the best in Penang, fully expecting either poison pen letters or a bullet in an envelope, and indeed it roused some heated responses, some writing in to concur, others to lambast me.

In Penang you don’t just get good food – it makes a great topic for discussion!


 Helen Ong is a self-confessed foodie who loves to hunt down the best of Penang. She is the author of the book Great Dining in Penang. Check out her blog on

Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2009 10:01

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