When I was a child, there was a fishball noodle stall that my family patronize often. The stallholder had eight kids and all of them did not go to school; they sold Mee Pok and helped out at the stall in the morning, and roam around the neighbourhood selling curry puffs in the afternoon.
Nobody thought the parents were wise, but they sold the best mee pok I ever know. I can still recall the taste, and I tried to replicate it here. For all versions of mee pok, the black vinegar and rendered pork lard is really the secret.
Over the years, this humble fishball noodles has evolved to include Abalone noodles (Ah Lam’s), Xiao Wan Mian (小碗面) and others. The next time I make this, I will omit the fish balls, because I don’t really fancy them, and add pork liver and fatty runners instead. I will braise them with the mushroom… yum!
2 portions of Fresh Mee Pok or Vietnamese Flat Egg Noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
2 medium Dried Mushrooms (soaked in hot water till soft, remove stalk and cut into slices)
50g Minced Pork (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1/2 cup Stock
A few slices Abalone
Fish balls, liver, cuttlefish balls, fish dumplings, thinly sliced chicken filet (optional, and choose as many or as few as you like)
Rendered Pork Lard
A handful of Lettuce, torn into pieces by hand
A bunch of Green Onions, sliced thinly
Mushroom Braise Sauce
1 Tbsp Black Soya Sauce
1 tsp Soya Sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Five Spice powder
1/2 cup Stock (1/2 cup water and 1/2 tsp buillon)
1 tsp Black Vinegar
2 tsp Fish Sauce
2 tsp Black Soya Sauce
1 tsp Sambal Chili Sauce (adjust according to personal preference)
4 Tbsp Stock or canned Abalone’s liquid (or 4 Tbsp water and 1/2 tsp bullion)
- Boil a large pot of water and cook the mee pok or noodles until al dente.
- Put all mushroom braise sauce in a small pot and braise mushroom until the rest of the components are done. The braise mushroom can also be done a few days ahead.
- Cook the minced meat with stock, stirring for 20 seconds. Cook the optional items in the stock.
- Place the noodle sauce ingredients on a plate, and arrange the noodles and all other items over the sauce. Serve hot, enough for two people who eat as much as Singaporeans.