Pasta ChowMein

  • For this post, we are putting on our amateur foodie hats to check out pan-seared carbos in the East and the West.
  • In the West, popular examples are Fettuccine Carbonara and Aglio Olio. These dishes are defined by light frying, rich sauces, fresh ingredients, herbs and al dente pasta.
  • In the East, fried carbo can be roughly divided into two types: northern and southern. Northern Biang Biang is noted for its freshly made hand-pulled noodles, a smorgasbord of ingredients including tomatoes, veggies and protein and heavy frying.
  • Southern fried noodles have a wide variety. Variously named Char Kway Teow or Chow Fun, the original was a minimalist dish consisting of noodles, veggies, soya sauce and a supporting cast of an egg and a dash of shellfish.
  • Though seemingly a simple dish, it required some skill to transform the simple ingredients into an irresistibly tasty and aromatic dish. Easily copied because the dish is normally cooked in the open, what we see on the street today are copies of copies.
  • A notable cousin of Chow Mein is the Mamak Mee Goreng. This dish gloriously adds a thick, spicy sauce, an assortment of fritters, potatoes, fresh lettuce and chillies to the mix, resulting in a new dish that stands by itself. Ditto, the renowned Pad Thai.
  • Other variations to Chow Mein are braised versions including Hokkien Mee (light coloured in SG, dark coloured in MY due to the exclusion or inclusion of dark soya sauce) and Kuay Teow Goreng Basah. Though braised, it is usually considered as fried, the fry-to-braise ratio may vary from 10:90 to 60:40.
  • A humble street version of Chow Mein is sometimes known as Budget Noodle, which has noodles quick fried with one veggie. Not particularly nutritious but nevertheless tasty if done right, it is meant to be a quick, morning pick-me-up that is wallet friendly.