Friday, January 17, 2014

Mee kolok

The most ubiquitous thing in Kuching, Sarawak, is the mee kolok. I don't know what dialect the name comes from, but for those who have not had the opportunity, it is one-bowl meal of noodles (traditionally) tossed in lard and topped with slices of char siew, ground pork, and slivered spring onions.

There are pork-free versions, of course, though I wouldn't vouch for their halal status. The lard is replaced by some other rendered fat, maybe chicken. "Special" versions feature seafood, pig offal, or sometimes both. Die-hard enthuasists like my dad would try all versions, but inevitably conclude that the original pig version has a je ne sais quoi that is impossible to replace.

The breakfast of champions. And many Sarawakians.
Personally, I prefer Sarawak laksa. All basic versions don't contain pork, though the stock might. In any case, I like the al dente springiness and recalcitrant curliness of a mee kolok noodle. Without it, it's just another plate of ho-hum Kuala Lumpur wantan noodle.

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