Good timing…

Two crucial ingredients in cooking kampua mee are the shallot oil for the tossing and the fried shallots for the garnishing…

Some people will insist on using lard but regular cooking oil will do fine – as long as it is used to fry sliced shallots first for that special fragrance before use. The people at the kampua mee stalls will tell you that they mix the two these days as lard is mighty expensive now so they cannot just use it, unadulterated. That is why many will tell you that the mee at one place is better, nicer than all the rest and most of the time, it is purely because of its stronger lard fragrance.

However, not everyone gets their fried shallots perfectly done. Frying the sliced shallots…

…requires good timing. Once it starts to turn brown, remove it from the oil. Many will wait till it has turned a beautiful golden brown before turning off the fire. It will continue cooking in the residual heat of the hot oil and the pan and will end up burnt. You can see a little bit overdone in the above photograph – I was a bit slow because I was taking photographs of the process at the same time.

From what I have seen at some of the kampua mee stalls, instead of slicing by hand, they just throw the shallots into a food processor. In the end, you get all the minute bits that make the plate of noodles look somewhat messy and dirty. Other than that, at the prices of shallots these days, they may not even bother to garnish with those at all.

I would take the fried shallots out of the oil before using the shallot oil to toss the noodles…

…because when mixed with all the other ingredients and everything, they may turn soggy, not crispy anymore and not quite to my liking. That morning, I added a spoonful of Bovril, a teaspoon of dark soy sauce, pepper, a pinch of msg and some chopped daun sup (Chinese celery) to the shallot oil.

I bought some mee pok (flat noodles) because I could not find any old-school mee kua at my neighbourhood shops. The texture and the taste of the latter are different, much nicer and they are a bit darker, their shade of yellow plus they take a much longer time to cook, something like spaghetti.

Well, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers so I just grabbed what I could lay my hands on and that morning, I cooked two pieces…

…in the saucepan.

Once cooked, I rinsed the noodles thoroughly in water, room temperature, a few times to get rid of the excess starch and then I added the hot water from the boiler and put the saucepan back on the gas stove to heat it up so the noodles would not be served cold.

Making sure that I had drained them really well, I added them to the ingredients in the pan…

…and tossed everything together.

Finally, I garnished the noodles with the fried shallots I had prepared earlier and some more chopped daun sup

…and my Bovril mee was ready!

Yes, it sure was good especially after not having enjoyed it for a very long time. I had not had it all this while because Bovril was out of stock here for an extended period of time, probably due to the problem with shipping during this pandemic, and when I heard that they had it at a few places in town, I was not all that keen on rushing over to grab a bottle or two but I finally did so that day and I sure am glad that I did!

Author: suituapui

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

20 thoughts on “Good timing…”

    1. Thanks for your compliment. Your first time here, I see – welcome and thanks for commenting. Hopped over to look at your blog – it sure is impressive. Will go and browse slowly when I am free. I’ll add the link in my blog.

  1. The noodles sure looks good. Simple and yet delicious. Mee kua is what we called mee sanggul, rite? Correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Yes, not many places have the real thing these days. I guess the old folks who used to make them have retired. I bought dried mee pok, not quite the same.

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Seems to have caught on here – a lot of people are cooking their own. That is why Bovril is always out of stock even though it does not come cheap!

    1. A main attraction in the Sibu Foochow kampua mee but they will tell you these days that at the current prices, they jolly well can’t be too generous with that.

  2. Fried shallots are my favourite! I eat them with fried rice or salted pork belly rice too. Your Bovril looks so yummy that I could finish the whole plate all by myself.

    1. Microwave? Never tried that. Anyway, we had one and it called it a day – my missus did not want to get a new one so we have managed to live without it all this while.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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