Can’t buy me love…

All throughout my growing up years, my mum would sometimes fry bihun with the very nice made-in-China Amoy brand canned clams in soy sauce and it was not until 2011 that I first encountered it being sold at a stall here and since then, there are others available here, there and everywhere.

They call it Hinghua bihun but a cousin of mine in Kuching whose in-laws are Hinghuas said that her mother-in-law does not fry her bihun this way so I am not sure of the origin of this recipe.

Quite recently, somebody shared a photo of the bihun on Facebook and was asking around as to where she could buy the canned clams in soy sauce and there I went declaring that it would be easily available here in Sibu, thinking that was the case until another cousin of mine in Kuching said that they were no longer available – she hunted high and low for it when she was here around June last year but it was all in vain.

I went round the shops in search of it and true enough, there was not a single can to be seen anywhere. No, we can no longer buy those canned clams that we love so much here which of course, means that we cannot have our bihun fried with it anymore.

Not too long ago, I saw a friend’s photograph of hers on Facebook and I quickly asked her where she bought the clams. She replied saying that she used the Sunstar brand – a friend gave it to her but she did not say anything as to how good it was so I went looking for it. I did not manage to get that same brand but I got this one…

Soya sauce cockles

…instead.

Well, they were cockles, not clams, so there were a few big ones in a can…

Big cockles

I tasted the sauce but no, it was not the same. In fact, I thought it tasted like the sauce in a can of pickled lettuce, a popular condiment to go with plain porridge.

I soaked some bihun in hot water till soft and I added the sauce, a bit of my missus’ pounded chili and garlic and a lot of the spring onions and daun sup (Chinese celery) from my garden, chopped. I fried some shallots, peeled and sliced and garlic, peeled and finely chopped, in a bit of oil before adding the cockles and a bit of cangkuk manis, also from my garden, shredded and then I added the bihun and finally, I cracked two eggs into the wok and mixed well with everything before dishing it all out…

My fried bihun with canned cockles in soy sauce

Yes, it was very nice but no, the taste was entirely different. The cockles were kind of hard or chewy so if I were to cook this again, I certainly would want to cut them into thinner and smaller slices.

I guess we will just have to get used to the idea that we can’t have bihun cooked the way we used to love it so much anymore and make do with whatever we have. Thankfully, those canned stewed pork or stewed pork chops are still readily available so we can have bihun with that instead – that was another way my mum would fry bihun in those long gone days.

Author: suituapui

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

8 thoughts on “Can’t buy me love…”

  1. I think your mihun could do away with the hard chewy cockles and tastes even better! I wonder if the canned clams are no longer produced or just that the shops don’t sell them anymore.

    …or with fresh cockles! There are a thousand and one ways to fry bihun, some may even be a whole lot nicer…just that sometimes, we would like to go back and cherish the memories of our childhood years and enjoy what we had then and not now. Like how when my brother is home from New Zealand – he left after secondary school so has lived there most of his life – he would literally go for kampua mee and all the things he loved in his childhood years here every day.

    My cousin said the shop people told her they are no longer in production so they cannot import them (from China) anymore. I wonder why.

  2. I think bihun fried with canned stewed pork taste much better than clams. I, for one never like clams, canned or fresh. There is one type of canned clams ( forgot the brand) very very small like pebbles and cannot be seen with naked eyes if fried with bihun.

    That’s the one. Never mind that they were very small, hardly visible – it was the taste that we loved so much. All the others are simply not the same. I often wondered how they could get those minute clams out of the shell for preparation and canning. I do enjoy fresh cockles but not the canned ones – some Malay stalls use the latter for their nasi lemak sambal, no, thank you!

  3. I may have come across clams in soya sauce at Tesco some years ago but I was not interested then. Dunno if they still have it now as I seldom go to Tesco now.

    If you see the Amoy Canning brand, grab them!!! I want!!!

  4. My childhood memories are of smoked oysters in cans. Much nostalgia attached to these.

    Nice? I’ve seen them quite a lot at the supermarkets. Maybe I should grab one and try one of these days.

  5. My mom usually cooks her fried mihun with canned stew pork. Yours looks good. You are right to say mihun fried with clams are hinghua mihun as we have a restaurant serving that in SG, the name of the restaurant is called Ming Chung, you can google for it.

    Henghua is a minority Chinese dialect of the immigrants from Putian in Fujian province. The dialect and cuisine are closest to that of Foochow and Hokkien dialects, but is also unique in its own ways. Putian is located near the coast, which explains why ingredients like sea weed, oysters, clams and other seafood are dominant features in the Henghua cuisine.

    We have quite a lot of Hinghuas in Sibu. I heard that in the past, they were mostly fishermen, the Foochows were farmers. We had some very prominent successful Hinghuas with roads named after them here…or one that I know of, at least.

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