The use of dark soy sauce gives this tasty noodle dish – Hokkien Mee – an eye-catching hue. With prawn or shrimp, chicken and pork belly added to the mix, you’re sure to enjoy this very tasty Malaysian staple. It’s also simple to make and one that you’ll add to your menu rotation on a regular basis.
On March 20, 2018, I flew from New York JFK to Manila, Philippines to begin my research for the cookbook – Rice. Noodles. Yum. (Everyone’s Favorite Southeast Asian Dishes). My itinerary was centered around the countries in the Southeast Asian region and my aim was to learn about the different rice and noodle dishes in the area that I could include in the book. A year later, exactly to the day, March 20, 2019, I received an advance copy of the cookbook. It was an unbelievable feeling and I can’t help but be amazed at the way the Lord has helped me finish this book. From the time I started the journey in making the book and halfway through, I didn’t even think I would finish it, but here I was a year later actually holding a copy in my hand.
Praise the Lord for His kindness and this is the story of how He has lead me through and how, with His help, He has made it all possible. In case you’re wondering, the cookbook is on pre-order right now and I do encourage you to check it out and buy it in the following outlets.
RICE. NOODLES. YUM. (Everyone’s Favorite South East Asian Dishes). 75 delicious rice and noodle dishes, savory and sweet all in full color!
➡️ Amazon > https://goo.gl/zk7XWX
➡️Barnes & Noble > https://goo.gl/QYXWTz
➡️Books-A-Million > https://goo.gl/QYQxGH
➡️IndieBound – https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781624147715
With a variety of authentic popular fried rice dishes, noodle favorites like Pad Thai, Pansit, Pho Bo, Mie Goreng and so much more, plus the yummiest street food and sweet treats – this cookbook has a recipe for everyone! It’s like traveling to South East Asia without having to leave home.
The video below would give you a sampling of what you can find in the book.
This post chronicles part one of the journey in making Rice.Noodles. Yum. I visited 6 countries all in all – Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and, of course, my beloved country, the Philippines. I am making this into series as I have so many delightful stories and photos to share and doing it in one post may be quite overwhelming – not just for you, my dear readers, but for me as well! Don’t worry at the end of the post, you would get a delicious sample recipe from our cookbook. Our followers on Facebook have been kind enough to participate in my quick survey when I asked them which recipes they would love to try. The winner is the Hokkien Mee (Thick Yellow Noodles in Black or Dark Sauce). That is such a great choice as this is one of my favorite noodle dishes in the cookbook. I have served this several times already to my family and friends and all have loved the recipe. By the way, if you haven’t followed us on Facebook yet (where I share a lot of tasty recipes from us and other food bloggers everyday!), this is the perfect time to do so.
Malaysia is famous for its twin Petronas Towers located in Kuala Lumpur which were considered the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. It looks even more dramatic at night.
Our first stop was Kuala, Lumpur, Malaysia. My sweet sister Eunice kindly took a leave from her busy work schedule and joined me on this trip. I booked us a place with Air BnB and, by God’s grace, we found a highly-rated accommodation with a super host. I saw the Lord’s hand in this one because we found a lovely place right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and the hosts turned out to be Christians. This is amazing because Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim nation with Islam as the official religion. The Christians in the this country are a tiny minority (less than 10% I believe) so finding out that our hosts shared the same faith like us was simply astounding. What a joy it was not only to enjoy their home and sweet hospitality but to know that we all shared a common bond.
Eunice before she attacked a plate of delicious Char Kway Teow!
Our Instagram photo summary of what we enjoyed in Kuala Lumpur!
We went all over the place asking locals what they would recommend as their best rice and noodle dishes in Malaysia. I wanted to get as much exposure to their food as I could get. I barely scratched the surface as honestly there were so many. I couldn’t believe the variety of rice and noodle recipes available here and, at this point, I was just on my first stop in this journey. In a way I was quite thankful because I was scared initially that I wouldn’t have enough to cover 75 dishes but, little did I know, there were so many options that my problem was – which food to try first?
At least 3 of the above snacks and appetizers have rice in them. Can you guess which ones?
We, naturally, went all over Chinatown to find out what delicious noodles and rice dishes we could find there. I truly enjoyed doing this – just walking around, soaking all the atmosphere, noises, aroma and just watching everyone as they go on their daily grind. Very fascinating.
Me enjoying the sights and sounds of Chinatown.
Of course, it wasn’t enough to just go around and ask what Malaysians enjoy as far as rice and noodle dishes are concerned. I needed to consult an expert on the matter. Again, by God’s grace I found a lovely cooking school located at the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. There weren’t many cooking schools in KL that do what I want to learn exactly or some are in the nearby provinces so it was a blessing to find one in the city and they even agreed to a one-on-one tutorial so I got to totally immerse myself in Malaysian cooking. If ever you are in Kuala Lumpur and have a day or 2 to spare and wish to learn authentic Malay cooking you can check out Lazat Cooking School. Nope, they didn’t sponsor this post. I just had such a good experience with them and this is my way of saying thank you Chef Saadiah.
To familiarize ourselves with Malaysian cooking we first went to a Malaysian market so we could learn about the ingredients to be used in the dishes. This was amazing! I could have stayed here and enjoyed all the street food!
This was our breakfast at the market – Roti with three types of sauces. The Rotis were made fresh and right in front of us and the accompanying sauces (curry, coconut and the 3rd one escaped my brain! ) were totally out of this world. I wanted to go back to KL just for this!
The market was super clean and there was so much to see. Look at all that tasty fresh noodles! It’s not good to be writing this blog post at lunch and looking at all that noodles because it’s making me want a plate of Hokkien Mee right now!!!
Shrimp, prawns and seafood galore! If you love shrimps or prawns, you are in for a delicious treat in this book as I have included many dishes with prawns here. Seafood is just huge in Southeast Asia so adding them is a must! But no worries, if you aren’t a fan, they can easily be substituted with chicken instead!
This Prawn Sambal is making me peckish right now!
We certainly enjoyed the class! 🙂 Here’s my sister with Chef Saadiah. She was a wonderful teacher and to this day I can still hear her instructions whenever I make a curry paste! I do have a video with her and it’s a shame I can’t upload it directly here for some reason. I will try to figure it out and add it later.
Here are a few of the recipes I cooked there which you can find in the book.
Nasi Lemak – the national dish of Malaysia. It’s essentially coconut rice flavored with aromatics and is so tasty on its own. What makes this special are the accompaniments which make this humble rice into a satisfying dish. I love this a lot!
Curry Laksa – this curry based soup is totally loaded with flavors. What I love about this dish is that you can personalize it to your taste – make it really spicy or simply mild, add all the ingredients in the recipe or simply a few. It’s your choice!
It’s not complete without dessert and this Bubur Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice Porridge) is something you’ll make again and again! Very popular in Malaysia and Singapore and equally enjoyed in Indonesia, too it’s sweet salty flavors are unforgettable. Perfect with some ripe mangoes!
Welcome to Singapore!
After a few days, we were off to Singapore which is less than an hour flight from KL. Again, the Lord kindly found us the perfect and unexpected accommodation here. Initially, I tried booking with Air BnB. Because Singapore accommodation is so much more expensive than the one in Malaysia, I took the risk of booking the cheapest one we could find as my budget was limited. I discovered upon closer scrutiny that this host didn’t have good reviews at all, in fact there were some really scary stuff going on. I was devastated because, at this point, we were just a week away from our trip to Singapore and the rules I signed up with specifically stated that I would lose a huge percentage of my deposit (which was the full amount) for any cancellation. But at the same time, I wouldn’t risk mine or my sister’s safety just to save a bit of money so I was resigned to losing my booking and full deposit. I just prayed and hoped that the Lord would provide us with another and better accommodation. And He did! I contacted a former classmate of mine via Facebook, who at that time has migrated to Singapore, but I haven’t seen her in over 20 years. I asked for her help in finding a church we could attend on a Sunday that my sister and I would be in Singapore. Out of the blue and after I have cancelled the Air BnB booking, she asked me if I would like to stay with her and her family while we were in Singapore. I couldn’t believe my ears! I now had an accommodation and it would be entirely free thanks to the kindness of my friend! As if that wasn’t enough, the Air BnB host contacted me later and told me he would also give me a full refund for the deposit. Wow! I know I shouldn’t be surprised because the Lord is good all the time but here I was suddenly crying (with tears of joy naturally) and thanking God for this amazing answer to prayers. Suddenly, a big burden was lifted off my back. All this bookings of accommodation, finding cooking classes, contacting people and making traveling arrangements stressed me day and night but I thank the Lord for the relief he provided in the end.
Singapore and Malaysia share a similar cuisine as they are literally next door neighbors. Whatever rice and noodle dishes you can find in Malaysia, you can pretty much find in Singapore with exactly the same names but perhaps with a little variation here and there but essentially the same flavor profile. So, I have decided to try in Singapore everything else I didn’t get the chance to try while in Kuala Lumpur. I also took a cooking class here and learned how to make this delicious childhood favorite dessert in the region called Ondeh-Ondeh, among other yummy Singaporean favorites.
It was fun to make these rice balls! You will have a lovely time making these with your kids.
Since it’s all metric in Singapore, I had to weigh each ball to make sure they are all the same weight for uniformity. Talk about precision! Don’t worry about this too much though as all recipes include both American and metric measurements so certainly you can measure using tablespoons and cups, American-style. The metric version is great to have though for those who live in countries who don’t use the American/English measurement. It’s a win-win because anyone in the world can make these recipes!
Don’t these look delicious? That sugary surprise filling in the middle as you bite these rice balls make this a totally yummy snack or dessert!
Of course, we had a little sightseeing while we were in Singapore. Here are some awesome places to see and visit in Singapore.
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is simply stunning. If you’ve seen the movie Crazy Rich Asians then you’d notice that this hotel was fully featured there. It’s even more astounding at night!
Right across the hotel is the Gardens by the Bay which showcases its famous Super Trees!
Hope these photos have whet your appetite and given you the travel bug as well. In the meantime, travel to Southeast Asia in the comfort of your home by cooking and eating all the delicious recipes in our cookbook – RICE. NOODLES. YUM.
As promised, here’s the HOKKIEN MEE RECIPE!
The use of dark soy sauce gives this tasty noodle dish - Hokkien Mee - an eye-catching hue. With prawn or shrimp, chicken and pork belly added to the mix, you’re sure to enjoy this very tasty Malaysian staple. It’s also simple to make and one that you’ll add to your menu rotation on a regular basis.
- 1 lb package cooked Hokkien Mee or Udon noodles,
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light (regular) soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp cooking oil of choice
- 5 oz pork belly, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz chicken breast or boneless thighs, halved then sliced very thinly
- 8 oz prawns or shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 8 stalks gai lan (Chinese broccoli) or broccoli rabe, thick bottom stalk cut-off with leaves and thin stalks sliced to about 2 inches (5 cm) long
- 2 cups Chinese or napa cabbage, chopped
- 2 limes, sliced, for serving
Rinse the cold cooked udon noodles, in cold water to refresh; drain, then set aside. Do the same with the cooked hokkien noodles to separate the noodle strands, if needed.
Combine the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, stir the cornstarch into the water. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Fry the pork belly until it is nicely browned and crispy. Add the garlic and let sizzle for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
Add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes or until the chicken has turned white. Add the prawns and continue to cook for another minute. Add the noodles, the soy sauce mixture and the slurry and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the gai lan and cabbage and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until the veggies are tender but not mushy. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with limes on the side.
Cooked Udon noodles are available for purchase at any Asian grocery. You may find them in the refrigerated section of the store.
Light soy sauce is not reduced sodium-soy sauce. It is the regular soy sauce used for both dipping and cooking. It is called light because it is thinner in consistency and to differentiate it from the dark and thicker dark soy sauce, which has less salt and is used primarily for color.