Wednesday, June 07, 2006

TIEN MEIN HU @ CHOP HING HOUNG, SIBU



There's no misspelling on the heading. It's Pigeon English for the word "shop". That's how ancient this shop is. Over half a century old. However, the proprietor is modest of its age, or rather his. This shop is tucked in the alleyway between Blacksmith Road and Market Road (1st one from Market Road, 2nd one from Blacksmith). It's a nondescript 20' x 20' shop, that earns a "B" from the council for cleanliness, with the 1/2 doz. seating sharing the space with the stove, fridge and grindstone.


For those not in the know, this dish, wok-scrapped curls, is made from rice flour paste spread over the side of a hot cast iron wok with pork broth in it. Once the paste is set, it scrapped onto the broth. The process is repeated. Then wood ear fungus, fish balls, processed cuttlefish, dried lily flowers and fish sauce added to taste.

This place is the mother of all Tien Mein Hu. Others use rice paste mixed from commercially packed rice flour, whereas here, the paste is ground from soaked rice on the electric grindstone. Another difference is that the Tien Mein Hu is cooked in huge quantity, filling one large enamel basin, and it's gone in no time. It’s that popular!

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