Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Singapore Chow Fun

as our Taiwanese friends would say, "simi wah kway"? or in Malay, "apa ini macham?"

apparently, Siva's long-lost JC-mate Lim Li Min (now a Bangkok-based writer) was answering some queries on the online Q&A of her MSNBC column. she was stumped by "Singapore Chow Fun" noodles. Siva then circulated an APB to all other known foodies.

Penny Seow (US-based and excellent cook) offered her thoughts on this matter of national culinary emergency. She explained that over there in the States, at least in NY area, "Chow Fun" = stir-fry vermicelli. Sometimes, the chefs also use flat rice noodles (Guo Teow) even when you see Chow Fun on the menu.

According to Penny, "Singapore Chow Fun" is a very common dish there (believe it or not). you can find the dish in most of the Chinese restaurants there. Usually, vermicelli is used for this dish. She was just as dumbfounded whenever her American friends asked her about "Singapore Chow Fun". She never knew such a dish existed in the first place even though she has seen it on the menu.(on an separate issue, I went into spasms at Penny's home-made dry wanton mee. needless to say, not avail in Beijing aaarrrggghhh!)

Offering my two cents worth, I think this "Singapore Chow Fun" is a Hong Kong Cantonese-styled stir-fired bee hoon. sometimes it's called "Singapore Chow Mai" since "Mai Fun" in cantonese refers to beehoon or rice vermicelli.

strangely, u can find "Singapore Chow Fun" in all parts of the Chinese-speaking world or in any Chinatown, thanks to HK cantonese restaurants. To me at least, it is a strange (and sometimes vile)concoction of beehoon liberally doused with curry powder. of course, there are regional variations. Like here in Beijing, the version of "Singapore Chow Mai Fun" they served is less on curry powder but more on ketchup, but just as vile (IMHO)

Personally, I think "Singapore Chow Fun" is Hong Kong's revenge to "Hong Kong Noodles" concocted by Singapore Tze Char stalls. Hong Kong noodles as interpreted by Singapore chefs is stir-fried thin egg noodles with diced char siew and shrimp. You cannot find "Hong Kong Noodles" in HK! just like you cannot find "Singapore Chow Fun" in S'pore or Hainanese chicken rice in Hainan, China (but that's another story...)


At 12:08 PM, Blogger penny seow said...

Interesting perspective! Curry Powder + bee hoon = Good eats! I must try this one of these days! :-)

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Monkey said...

must be revenge for i see no association whatsoever with singapore!

there's all kinda weird food here in US. Some american who's a self proclaimed chinese foodie asked me if i could cook general chicken!

ermm... general who? i've only heard of dong po meat... hmmm kong ba bao!

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Alvin said...

that will be Tso Chung Tang chicken or General Tso chicken. It's a famous Hunanese dish. also americanised in US. it will be unrecognisable to Chinese.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Kiah Shen said...

You can find Hainanese chicken in Hainan, except it is known more specifically as Wen Chang Chicken. I heard that it taste wonderous.

Singapore does has its own stir fried bee hoon, but its locally known as Xing Zhou Bee Hoon (literally Singapore bee hoon)And there is definitely no curry powder!


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