Monday, February 9, 2015

a noodle vernacular

while ramen currently absorbs the entirety of the world's available noodle cognitive capacity, the singaporean vernacular noodle tradition—itself a subcategory of the south-east asian noodle tradition—carries on mostly unperturbed. all over the island, for practically nothing, you can buy a bowl of briefly cooked noodles from what will often be a specialist stall that has served nothing else for many years. the noodles will come in soup or dry with a broth on the side, as you please, dressed with your choice of various semi-standard configurations of proteins, vegetables, and sauces.

those who love noodles order theirs dry to prevent them overcooking in hot soup, and they choose the flat alkaline noodle called mee pok which distinguishes between the cook who gets the timing precisely correct and the cook whose noodles are an overboiled, gummy mess.

top to bottom:
  1. mee pok with beansprouts, poached prawns, chili sauce, oyster sauce, blanched pork shoulder, kailan;
  2. mee pok with sliced fried fishcake, sliced shiitake, blanched ground pork, chili sauce, jinjiang vinegar;
  3. mee kia with poached prawns, dried shrimp, fresh shiitake, long bean vine leaves, garlic, minced pork balls;
  4. mee pok with sliced poached fishcake, black soy stewed shiitake, jinjiang vinegar, ground chili and garlic, lard, pork and fish balls, ground pork, lettuce.

prawns and pork
bak chor
prawn and kc
bak chor

it is not only the ramen otaku and the italian grandmother who can produce noodles of precise texture and refined flavour combination.

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