Beg to differ…

I came across belacan bihun at one place in Kuching a long time ago, a circular building in the Padungan area, around Jubilee Ground or something. My friends took me there but I had just had lunch at the time so I did not want to order that to try.

For one thing,  the belacan (dried prawn paste) smell was very strong – once you reach the place, you will be able to smell nothing but that! Some people may not like it like how some tourists from abroad are put off by the smell of durians. However, I must say it was very popular and everyone there was eating that. I did cast a glance at it and it looked like bihun (rice vermicelli) served with toppings of cuttle fish and strip of cucumber and taugeh (bean sprouts) drowned in the belacan broth. You can see a photograph of it in this blog…but that looked like a different place. The one I went to was this one, also featured in the same blog.

Well, I don’t think I will want to cook the same soup version so I beg to differ and cook mine differently. It so happened that the other day, I fried some  leftover rice with belacan added and it turned out very nice and I guessed I could do the same with bihun. These were the ingredients that I used…

Belacan bihun ingredients

– one shallot, peeled and sliced, two cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely, two fresh chilies, seeds removed and thinly sliced, some belacan, minced/chopped, a handful of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and bihun, soaked to soften…plus some spring onions from my garden, chopped finely to use as garnishing.

Firstly, I fried the ikan bilis in a bit of oil till a little brown and then I pushed that aside to fry the shallot and garlic…


…and then, in went the belacan and the chilies, saving a bit of the latter for garnishing as well. I was caught up with trying to take clear photographs in the midst of the hot steam coming out from the wok so the ingredients got a little burnt…so I gave up trying to multi-task – cook and take snapshots at the same time. As the proverb goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Tsk! Tsk!

I quickly put in the bihun and mixed it well and lastly, I broke an egg into the wok and fried it with everything else in it and then I pushed it all aside and broke another egg, breaking the yolk and spreading everything all over. When it was a little bit cooked, I moved the bihun over right on top of that second egg and once it was done, I dished everything out and served…

STP's fried belacan bihun 1

…garnished with the aforementioned spring onions and sliced chilies.

If you’re wondering what on earth I was doing with the egg, actually, I was trying to replicate what they do with the very popular Ah Tor kway teow here and I would say that it was QUITE successful. For one thing, there was not enough egg to “wrap” all the bihun…

STP's fried belcan bihun 2

…so the egg covered only a section of the bihun.

It would have been just right if it had been one egg to one plate or one serving of bihun

STP's fried belacan bihun 3

…and besides, I think I should beat the egg first before pouring it into the wok so it would be all yellow and there would not be those huge patches of egg white.

Ah well! You learn new things everyday so I know what to do next time.


Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

21 thoughts on “Beg to differ…”

  1. Wah, so tasty lah your fried bihun. I read until salivating, especially the eggs!

    Go ahead, give it a try. I loved it. Throw in some prawns or squids – that sure would bring it to a whole new level.

  2. Yea you should beat the egg first, try to pan fry it on a non stick wok, that makes things easier :p

    People always say that things don’t taste as great when cooked on non-stick…but my wok WAS non-stick all right, Tefal no less…bought in the late 80’s when I moved into my present house – you probably were not even born yet then. The coating has long gone, of course…but it is so well seasoned that nothing sticks to it. I did mention that here:
    No, don’t ask me to get a new one – I have a few in the storeroom, non-stick woks and pans plus a new one that I will blog about soon. Never mind that it is not exactly round now (it’s so heavy my missus would drop it sometimes…and don’t start me on the condition of my kitchen tiles… Tsk! Tsk!), it’s simply the best!

  3. You must meant Song Kheng Hai hall where all food stalls there. And one corner stall that sold belacan mihun with cuttlefish, jiu hu eng chai and laksa.

    Your belacan mihun looks so good. I dont mind try it myself.

    That’s the one in the first blogpost link. There’s another place at Jubilee Grounds, one small round building in the middle of an open space, ample parking spaces – I went to that one. Have you tried the one at Song Kheng Hai? Any good? I never tasted any of those before

    1. Ok. I clicked your links. Yup. I have been to both places. We called that Jubilee ground, Lumba Kuda place. Haha. I still prefer the Song Kheng Hai’s. Next time when you come to Kuching, I bring you there. That is a promise.

      Looking forward to that! 😉

  4. Beating the eggs first is white people methods. You see those hawkers selling char kuay teow, they would crack the egg straight into the wok with the ingredients. You just need to practice more! 😀

    Yes, I would agree with you on this. Gotta be faster, break the egg into the wok, break the yolk and mix well with the white and spread it all out to cook a bit before dumping the bihun on top. Will do it again and see how it works out.

  5. Your fried bihun looks so flavorful, as usual, lots of liew.. Ikan bilis, belacan, chillies, yummzz, so fragrant..

    No liew leh – I would have added prawns but none in the freezer…and serai and Thai basil leaves but it was still dark, too early in the morning to go out into the garden to get them – dunno what might be hiding…waiting. 😀

  6. Looks good. Will try.

    Go ahead! You can add extra ingredients like prawns, lemon grass, Thai basil leaves – I am sure they would bring the taste to a whole new level. This is the basic – very simple, and already nice enough.

    1. My wife hates cooking, so I have to do it daily. It gets to be a bit of a chore, so am always using the internet to try new ideas. She loves baking, though – so I get dessert after diner.

      I do enjoy cooking…the simple stuff so if I had to do it all the time, I wouldn’t mind. Anything that spells W-O-R-K, no, thank you. Same here, baking is my wife’s forte.

  7. Fried bihun looks pretty good though not enough egg to wrap all of it. Good try. I think belacan bihun at Swee Kang, Haji Taha is still the best but then again different people has different taste buds.

    Didn’t see that when I was there – at the shop, I guess…not the house. I saw the chai thow koi/koay kak (fried white carrot cake) – they told me it was nice but I was too full from the banana leaf lunch to try. Next time, sure will go for it…and the belacan bihun…or maybe I can try and cook my own one of these days, the soupy version. 😉

  8. wah … strong smell belacan with bee hoon!!Yummy… I can have two plates! I always love belacan on bee hoon, even plain ones!

    Frankly, I was quite put off by the stench – I think it is the problem with the belacan used. When we cook our own masak rebus – vegetables with a belacan-based soup, it smells divine. So very nice. Now, I really feel like cooking my own soupy belacan bihun like the ones in Kuching – bet it will win hands down.

  9. I like mihun and egg but don’t want the chili ya, I will push the chili to side, hehe! =]

    The chili cacat one, not spicy. Terrible these days – chili not hot, bitter gourd not bitter, Dayak brinjal not sour…

  10. I always loves the mihun and fried rice that you cook…

    Ever tried cooking yourself? Simple, easy…and nice!

  11. Simply damn delicious, lovin it spice!!!
    more veggies added for me….

    I usually add very thinly sliced long beans or french beans or our cangkuk manis but there wasn’t any in the house…and my girl is not into bean sprouts. I wonder what green veg would go well with it.

  12. I still have not become accustomed to the taste of belacan.

    You’re like many of the true blue Chinese/Foochows here – they would not touch it with a 10-foot pole…and nothing spicy for them either.

  13. Selamat Pagi, Cikgu. Saya ada hadir hari ini , Cikgu 🙂

    Yum yum…I would blend some dried shrimps and fry together. Aromatic

    Apa you lambat sangat! Tarek telingga sendiri, and do squats! 😀

    Early morning, cannot use blender or tumbok lah – 4 or 5 a.m…wake up whole house, never mind – the neighbours would all be cursing and swearing at you. And that one is not a variation of the Kuching belacan bihun lor, itu bihun goreng sambal hay bee.

  14. I was quite shocked when I read your comments that your wok was once non-stick. You mean you continue to use it even after all the coating is gone…wouldn’t it be toxic or not healthy? The moment the coating in my non-stick pan started to come off, I discarded the pan already…since I’ve read so much about the hazards of these non-stick coatings. To be safe, I don’t want to use non-stick cookware but I can’t for some things as they stick like hell to the pan, so I have no choice.

    Yes, I did read about that too – even when it has not come off, they say…so when it got scratched, I scraped it all off. Now, it’s aluminium, I guess…and I hear that it is also not good. Old-school cast iron is the best…or stainless steel. I’ve been wanting to get hold of one of those black cast iron ones, yet to get down to it. Stainless steel sticks bad and it gets too hot too quickly – may burn one’s cooking if not keeping an eye on it at all times.

    1. If you think your aluminium one is no good, then you should really go get another one since you cook so frequently. The cast iron ones are really heavy but I can’t get those since it doesn’t work on induction hobs. I’m now using stainless steel ones from Ikea and (surprisingly), it doesn’t stick as much (although not all food) and also non-stick ones from Ikea and the coating has not come off (I’ve been using it for more than 2 years now).

      LOL!!! I bought mine in 1987..when I moved into my own house. Yes, about time, I go and get a new one. Maybe the newer ones are better, the coating would not come off so easily. We followed all the instructions but scratches appeared – my missus said it was from the chicken bones…and it was a Tefal! I use stainless steel pots and saucepans…and when cooking anything with thick gravy like stews and curries and (western-style) thick and rich soups, they would stick to the bottom and burn. Ok for cooking clear soup. Maybe they’re ok with induction cookers, never tried even though we have one in the house – a free gift for one of those massage chair companies.

  15. I love belacan! And belacan fried rice too. Never tried it with bihun. By the way, I like your plate in the last photo.

    Came free with Jacobs – very useful…not too small and not too big.

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