March 22, 2012

Special Chinese Fried Noodles in Tomato Sauce in Bintulu Tamu

The bottled or canned tomato sauce did not come into the Chinese world of cooking until the British Colonial Officers started to train their Chinese cooks and house boys to use it.

Since then..tomato sauce has been appearing in several well known Chinese dishes especially in South East Asia especially in sweet and sour dishes. Although many have gotten to having Pizzas and spaghetti with meat balls and tomato sauce many older Chinese are still avoiding the red  fruity and tangy sauce.

The younger Chinese might not even know that in the 1950's tomato sauce was a novelty and a sauce used in Colonial clubs and homes!! Any way nowadays it is as commonplace as the soy sauce...

I was pleasantly surprised by a very delicious plate of fried noodles cooked by a Foochow lady chef in Bintulu.

This is the Fried Noodles in Tomato Sauce perhaps the best in Northern Sarawak..... The photo below shows her in action. She works single handedly without support from a "man". She has been in the occupation for more than 2 decades. She has a special system to get her noodles out in a very short time.

Stall No.79. Madam Lee is a member of the Bintulu Methodist Church.

The greens are just cooked enough to give it a sweet taste.
Fresh Bintulu prawns to add additional seafood flavour.
Beaten eggs also give a lot of goodness to the dish with some chopped oinions to give the dish a special  tang!!
A closer look at the pork and chicken slices and the sauce.
Pork liver and fresh prawns go well together....
The chef is a nice lady - very friendly and cheerful and at times she is too busy to stop for a chat. The Foochows usually like their cooks to be "mang chiew" or fast in the hand...noodles don't get over fried or burnt and every is just right.

Each time I observe a chef cooking and using his/her ingredients I would sort of guess without speaking to her that she is a Foochow because of the way she slices the liver. It seems that we Foochows have a special tendency to use liver in our cooking. So if you don't like liver you must tell her not to put this ingredient into the dish. But to me it makes a whole world of difference. I suppose it is the Foochow tastebuds. Once a month I still need my liver fix!!

I like the sauce ..not too sweet..not too sticky ..not too watery..Just right..And the tomato sauce doesn't taste as if it is from the tin. There is indeed goodness and freshness in the noodles...My grandmother would have approved!!

Whenever you visit Bintulu do try to visit this lady's stall...she has been supporting her family single handedly and now she must ensure herself of a good retirement and old age. She is closed on Sundays to keep the Sabbath holy.

(Permission obtained to photograph her stall..and to go back for more photos!!)


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakiana, I sure love this, but without that liver. Looks so delicious. I can just imagine the lovely smells too.
Looking at it, I think I can easy polish off 2 plates, ha ha.
Nice pics. You a good photographer.
Have a nice day.

Ann said...

so the term is house boy. One sweet potato relative was a house boy. He was much older than my dad, and was very good to us. When we were growing up , he ceased to be a houseboy.

When my bro came back to Sibu with his Ang Mo wife, this uncle tried to impressed her with his fine angmo cooking. He cooked some sort of a shepherd pie which he insisted was pie.

Anonymous said...

from the picture,looks more like a Hakka fried tomato mee. may be the hubby Hakka ? anyway,the pork liver is fresh,mmmm....nyamai asai

ah Ngao

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Uncle Lee
Nice of you to drop by and see some of my photos...and nice compliments as you always give..flattered flattered.
Yes. If you come to problem 2 plates for you..minus the liver.

Cheers..Spring here already? I watched lots of cocumentaries on Cherry Blossoms these few days...lovely.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Most of the diaries and journals of Colonial writers named "houseboys" opposed house maids or Amahs..somehow the word is in my vocabulary.

Many of these houseboys especially teh Hainanese went on to open their own coffee shops...Love your story..I am sure his pie was a good one..

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao...don't know if this is Hakka style or not..if she married a Hakka..the good for nothing left her sometime ago...felt sorry for her but she is keeping her head well above water..Good for her. With two good hands and a heart willing to work hard no woman could starve to death..Cheers Ah Ngao..find out more if Hakka got Tomato fried noodles for me?

cherry blossom said...

Chang Yi,

Lovely pix & fine narration! You make me feel like going back to patronise my lady friend @ Stall 79 again!
She's not open on Sunday for 3 reasons:

1. She can't cope with the Sunday patronage and she'd rather not risk offending her customers.

2. She's a devout Christian.

3. I think she needs a day off a week to have a rest.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Cherry Blossom
thanks for the feedback..I am sure all these three reasons are good enough for her close on Sundays. Even just No.2 is good enough for me to understand her stall's business plan. Most people spend a day off on Mondays...Do drop by from time to time. Cheers.

Ann said...

yes, I have read about House boys, I think it is Catherine Lim.

I was just asking myself refering to this uncle as houseboy. The same uncle whose bro died fighting the Foochows. The Yayos! he was also a Yayo, my Ah Kung said proper work (tapping rubber) don't want to work, go and be Ang Mo's BOY.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

House boys also appeared in Somerset Maugham's books and now Peter Mooney's " A Servant of Sarawak"...etc..

One of my uncles Lau Xxx xxx(my mother's cousin) was houseboy to the Catholic Brothers of Sibu (1950's) and I remember visiting him with my grandma. He never married and became a Catholic...the priests loved him because he could cook so well. I had one "free meal"....shshshshs

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