Penang, the Pearl of the Orient, is notorious among Malaysians for its flavourful and delicious dishes and rightly so, since each dish is fused with Malay, Indian and Chinese Peranakan influences. Dishes like asam laksa, nasi kandar, char kuey teow, kuihs and this Penangite dish, the sweet seafoody prawn mee or hae mee have slowly made its way around the Peninsular, so much so that sometimes people confuse the Penang Hokkien Mee for its Kuala Lumpur counterpart – a stir fry dish made with dark soy sauce and thick egg noodles.
Traditionally, the prawn mee is made with broth made from pork ribs, and shrimp heads plus shells. Later on, it is served with beansprouts, water convulus (kangkung), cooked shrimp, boiled egg slices and pieces of pork belly or pork ribs topped off with some chilli paste, fried shallots and a piece of lime.
I’ve had to make do with several changes, especially with regards to the chilli paste. While the recipe calls for dried chillies, the ones available here are made with Thai chillies – too spicy for comfort and well, definitely not quite suitable for this dish. A too-spicy broth is a bad idea for this dish. Anyway, despite the not-so-red tinge and the strange chilli paste that I bought from the Thai store (note to self: never use it again!!!!!!), this was tasty and very filling! Nil gave his thumbs-up and while he approves, I’d definitely try this out again but this time with a different cooking technique with the prawn shells.
In the meantime, I’m off to get my second bowl for the dinner (we had this for lunch and there is enough for dinner too!). 🙂