The story associated with Char Gii Mien in Sibu is this:
My family lived at Kung Ping Road (road name was later changed to Brooke Drive)from 1955 to the 1990's. Our house was a beautiful Sibu styled wooden house with 8 rooms built by my grandfather.It has coloured window panes. Later my mother developed it into a shophouse called Takang Building.
There was a coffee shop called Kaban Coffee Shop right at the junction of Kampong Nyabor Road and Brooke Drive(Opposite Art Friends). There were a few stalls run by both Chinese and Malay operators. We frequented the stall owned by Hew Ming Ung whose wife calls my mother Aunty or Chuo Goo (because she is a Lau too).
Mum would always send one of us out with a Thai made container to buy RM5 - worth of Char Gii Mien because take away would contain more soup and even more noodles..So in Foochow mum would always say.."Har Sik"..or more value for money. It would be enough for the whole family of hungry children.
The noodles also got fatter as we had to walk for about 5 - 10 minutes home. We loved eating the "fattened" noodles. And Ming Ung would always add a few more fish balls for us!
Nowadays whenever I order CGM for myself I would think of the Hew family.
Sadly when I moved away from Sibu the Hew family suffered a great tragic loss. Their pretty daughter at age 14 (Beautiful Treaure) was raped and buried in a shallow grave in Durin by 5 school drop outs! That murder case stunned the Sibu society for years!
Not long ago I met up with the couple. Ming Ung is just a year older than I and he has white hair and a sad look. The couple continues to earn a living as mee stall owners.
|(Photo courtesy of Lawrence Ding)|
Ingredients (for 4 persons)
Yellow oily noodles ( your own portion or 1 cup each)
2 ringgit worth of sawi (sliced 2 inches length)
1 tablespoon cornflour
garlic - 1 clove
onions - 4 small ones
20 thin slices of fresh fish flesh e.g. tapah/pomfret/garoupa(optional)5 slices each.
2 pieces of fish cakes
1 packet of fish balls
400 gm chicken breast meat (sliced thinly and marinated in some salt and pepper and coated with some cornflour)
1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
4 tablespoons of cooking oil(If you use olive oil the fragrance would be different)
1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
6- 8 bowls of chicken or meat stock (optional)
green onions (for garnishing)
coriander leaves (for garnishing)
The Frying of the Noodles (Goreng)
Heat up a wok to high heat and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. When hot add some garlic slices and then fry the noodles until cooked. Lift from the wok and set aside. A bit of burnt noodles would give that extra oomph.
Preparation of the soup
1. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the work and add in the rest of garlic.
2. Add the chicken slices. Sear the meat.
3. Add dark soya sauce.
4. Add the chicken or meat stock. Add the fish sauce
5. Bring to the boil and add the fish balls and fish slices and prawns. When the soup is boiling add the vegetables and coriander.
6. Add the noodles and let them boil for two minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Serve in large bowls.
The soup would be thick (but you can still thicken the soup with more cornflour) and good for slurping on a very cold day!! But the noodles would be just wonderful even if you do not add the cornstarch.
( For non halal dish - add liver and pork slices...and pork fat crisps or yew char which originally was the only ingredient besides the vegetables and pond fish and river prawns in our own farm house in the past....we also used the home dried left over noodles which needed to be boiled with a bit of oil in the kuali to make them oil...and then fried in the kuali again...Add some red rice wine.)