Most people who has heard of Sarawak dishes can think of a few: Sarawak Laksa, Tomato Kueh Tiaw and of course Kolok mee, often being referred as the signature noodle dish of Sarawak. Kampua mee is less well-known variety, but pretty much synonymous with the Foochows, just like Kolok mee is to the Kuchingnites, or Wanton Mee, to the Cantonese. It’s only logical that Kampua mee can be commonly found in “Foochow” town like Sibu, Bintulu and to some extent Miri and Sarikei. The main difference are the texture of the noodles, and also the combination of seasonings.
Isn’t it amazing how a simple dry noodle dish could become so significant, that if you ask any students living abroad this would be their single most craved dish? Most of us have grown up having it on at least a weekly basis, I guess that’s why once it’s taken out of our system we miss it. Or maybe it’s the magic of Pork Lard and *cough* MSG. Lucky for me even though I live in KL, my mother frequently visits. In her most recent trip I’ve asked her to bring some raw kampua noodles over so I can recreate it at home.
These noodles were from a kopitiam that we always visit when in Bintulu. The stall owner made them herself. When cooked, it has a slightly smooth and softer texture than that of Kolok Mee.
To make kampua mee at home, the most important ingredient would be the pork oil. The rest is pretty much secondary. So for the first time, I bought a block of pork fat home. Should have seen Frank’s reaction when I told him what it was! I opted to render the fat using oven method.
It’s really quite simple. Just spread the cubes on a shallow casserole dish, preheat oven to 150 degree and then put the dish in. In about 5 minutes you’ll start hearing the hissing and slight spluttering sound. Make sure you stir it once in a while and be careful of the spluttering (it’s no way near as bad as doing it on the stove though). After about 20-30 minutes you’ll have the delicious crispy lard and the oil. Just separate them. Like this.
I like to have my kampue mee with wantons (usually available in most stalls) so I also made these to go with the noodles. The wantons you commonly see used in Kampua mee would just be a simple pork filling. But I added the ginger scallion sauce in with the mince pork.
After all the preparations done, now it’s time to put the dish together.
To prepare Kampua sauce, add a tablespoon of pork lard, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, white pepper and fried shallots on a plate. The seasonings are according to your own taste. Note that Kampua mee is served either ‘white’ or ‘black’ so for the white version just omit sweet soy sauce.
Boil the kampua noodles for about 2 minutes, I also put the wantons in the same pot to boil until they start to float. Blanch some choy sum (just to up my veges intake, as it’s not commonly served with kampua mee). Toss the noodles and wantons in the sauce and garnish with wantons, choy sum, charsiu (I used store bought ones) and some scallions.
There you have it!! A kampua mee special!
Although it’s not served in a traditional way, the taste was as good as home. Craving fulfilled. Happy tummy. Let’s just ignore the cries of my coronary arteries for today, shall we?