January 10, 2018

Sibu Tales : Hern Chai and Dried Noodles

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Chien Mien Gang or Foochow Dried Noodles
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Ever present soup in our home
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The dried noodles of the Foochows, locally made by many cottage industries in SArawak, are called chien mien gang. They are the staple in many homes, including indigenous longhouses and government boarding schools. People who go camping often also find it very easy to bring some along.

To some, chien mien gang boiled, and tossed with a big of soy sauce and some lard is the best breakfast in the world, like pasta in Italy or the USA.

Interestingly the Foochows make soup out of amaranth or hern chai and throw in a bundle of the dried noodles. The resulting dish is so tasty and refreshing. This can be eaten at lunch or dinner, or even a late night snack.

The amaranth is another wondrous gift of nature. It is so easily grown in the backyard that you don't even have a prepare a loam soil bed for it. Some loose soils and some seeds, even in a pot, will give forth a few good plants of amaranth. The amaranth can grow to a height of 5 feet even. But the best amaranth must be harvested after a month of 40 days. Many people even say that they don't even need any fertilizers. Newly turned soil is all the vegetables need.

Today many families still love the dish whenever they get together.

To me eating this dish with my family members would remind us of the hard struggles that we had when we were young. It also reminds us of how creative our beloved mum is...and how she would devise all sorts of dishes to make us enjoy simple fare.

God's simple gifts are true gems.

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