I can do better…

Most people would know that the kolo mee and the Sarawak laksa are Kuching originals and so are their crispy fried noodles…

Kuching crispy fried noodles
*Archive photo*

…and their tomato kway teow.

If you may recall, I have often lamented that the so-called kolo mee that we can get here, there and everywhere in town…

Sibu kolo mee
*Archive photo*

…are pale imitations and many aren’t really worth eating at all, especially considering that they cost a lot more than our own Sibu kampua noodles though they may look nice with all the extras added to make it look very presentable and attractive. The bottom line is they come nowhere near the nice kolo mee that one would be able to get in Kuching.

I would also say that most of the Sarawak laksa available here aren’t great either, many of which are quite different from the best ones in Kuching but I do like a sprinkling of those that we can find at places around town…

Sibu Sarawak laksa
*Archive photo*

…even though the true blue laksa connoisseurs from Kuching would surely come and slam them left, right and centre and declare that theirs are the best, nothing anywhere else can ever come near.

As for the Kuching-style crispy fried noodles, we cannot get that anywhere here or not that I know of but we can order a plate of tomato kway teow at quite a number of places for instance here, here or here and elsewhere in town but if you click the links to hop over and have a look, they did not even look as nice much less taste as great as any that I would be able to find in Kuching like the one that I had recently, for one…

Kuching tomato kway teow
*Archive photo*

In view of the above, I guess if one wants to eat reasonably good tomato kway teow that is more to the standard of the good ones found in Kuching, one would have to cook one’s own and that was exactly what I did, knowing that for sure, I would be able to do heaps better than those half-baked individuals selling it here.

Let us see where they have gone wrong so that I would not make those same mistakes as well. Firstly, they do not add sufficient ingredients – most of the time, all that one would get would be those few bits of meat and green vegetables, hardly visible to the naked eye, no seafood, nothing. Secondly, they add too much tomato sauce so the gravy is so concentrated and more often than not, too sour…and of course, like most other things that they cook and sell around here, they add too much msg. Some of them will add egg to the gravy but that’s their prerogative – personally, I feel that it would turn it into it something like wat tan hor with tomato sauce added.

When I cooked mine the other morning, these were the ingredients that I had at hand…


– 4 cloves of garlic, chopped, a few prawns, some fish balls cut into halves and some green vegetables. Normally, sawi or chai hua (mustard green) is used but there wasn’t any in the fridge so I just used the khiew chai (curly vegetables) instead.

I soaked half a packet of the made-in-Thailand dried kway teow till soft and then added a bit of soy sauce and tossed…


…to give it some colour and taste.

Then I heated a bit of oil in the wok and fried half the chopped garlic till golden brown before adding the stalks of the vegetables, cut and after frying for a while, I added the kway teow, making sure that I did not stir it too much so that it would not break up into bits and pieces – this would not be a problem if I had used fresh kway teow, I’m sure. I sprinkled half a cube of chicken stock, crushed, over it and mixed thoroughly and then, I scooped everything out and placed it on a plate…


Having done that, I got down to cooking the gravy. I had peeled the prawns and I boiled the shell and heads for the stock and I had enough to fill one big soup bowl. I added some tomato sauce to it and alas! There was only a little bit left in the bottle – around 1 spoonful or a little bit more, I think. In desperation, I poured a bit of the stock into the bottle and shook vigorously to rinse the inside and get all the sauce sticking to the side out. In the end, I think I had enough for my use.

I fried the remaining half of the chopped garlic in a little bit of cooking oil that I had added into the wok – there is no need to clean it and never mind that there may be traces of kway teow stuck to it as all that will come off eventually while you are cooking the gravy. Once, the garlic had turned brown, I added the prawns and the fish balls and stirred for a while before pouring in the tomato sauce-flavoured prawn stock and bringing it to boil. Then I added half a spoonful of sugar to counter the sour taste of the tomato sauce before I threw in the leaves of the green vegetables, cut…


…and lastly, I poured in a bit of cornflour, diluted, and let the gravy boil till it had reached a nice consistency and thickness. Do not add too much or the gravy will be too thick and gooey and will not be nice.

Finally, I poured the gravy over the plate of kway teow


…and sprinkled a bit of chopped spring onion on top and served.

Oops!!! I had forgotten to add any meat but it did not matter as it tasted great – good enough for me. You may want to add bits of chicken or pork, a bit of sotong (squid), if you have those and maybe a bit of pepper even but of course, that is all up to you. Once it is done, all you have to do would be to mix the gravy with the kway teow and everything else…


…and enjoy it to the max.

Come, do give it a try and see how well yours turns out. Mine was pretty good, I would say… Wink! Wink!