Friday, June 3, 2011

When I was young.... *HAIYAH*

When I was young, I insisted on doing things my way!  I thought that I was right and everyone else was wrong.  I wouldn’t take advice.  I listened to no one. 
I bled through my mistakes.  I ignore good advice.  I was a fool!!!

  Maybe stubbornness yielded some street wisdom and maybe it gained me some glee of peer acknowledgement which was SO important then.  SILLY!

  But did it help me gain more confidence?  Not much.
  Did it improve my lot in life? I don’t think so.
  Did it make life easier for me?  Definitely not.

  It was just so much wasted time and effort.  There were so many emotions spent and, too often, pain that I brought to people who cared about me.  Furthermore, I brought upon myself so much trouble and self constructed barriers.  In my vanity, there were so many opportunites lost simply because I chose not to recognize them.  I threw away chance after chance, all because I thought I knew it all!! 

 I see the young me in so many young people nowadays and I wish they would listen and not make the same mistakes I made.  "Hey Quay Po, you should be writing about food not something unrelated?"  Yes, this is about food LAH, "FOOD FOR THOUGHT", okay? LOL! Okay, maybe you are half right, I should be writing about "real" food so I am going to share with you today this recipe which I stumbled upon last week. This is one of my favorite dishes. I have never considered that I could make this myself. There are a lot of creations, that I love to eat, that somehow seem beyond my reach.  Don't all of us have foods like that? Somehow we come to believe that only a master could attain such culinary heights? I t is more likely not true.  Time to abandon self doubt, and try, try, try.  After all, there is always someone willing to teach, if we but listen.  For this one, I have to thank Shirley of Kokken69 for posting the recipe.  Hey, if you guys have not been to her blog, "Go Quick, Quick!" for you will thank me for recommendation.

Coincidentally, I had lots of fish bones from making several batches of otak-otak previously. Then, when I was browsing Shirley’s blog, I saw her fish head meehoon recipe, and I immediately jumped on the idea of using up all of the fish bones to make a big pot of fish stock.  Then, I found a thick piece of salmon fillet in the freezer and decided to use it up.  

I used to buy fish head mee hoon from a hawker store here in Kuala Lumpur. The proprietor was also from the same hometown, “Ipoh Mali”.  I love to give my support to people from my hometown and moreover, he deserved it because his fish head meehoon was super delicious without using a lot of MSG. You know it when the food has heaps of MSG in it because you will be ultra thirsty after eating it and the after effect is not pleasant at all. When I went there a few weeks ago, the store was gone! I was very disappointed. Fortunately now that I know how to make this at home, I can have it any time when I crave a bowl. With this recipe at hand now, you can too. I won't call my recipe fish head meehoon because I did not use any fish heads. This should please the Westerners who may attempt this recipe, though my Quay Lo would attest to the glories of true fish head soup. 

Fish bone soup vermicelli with deep fried salmon fillet chunks
Largely adapted from Shirley of Kokken69's with modification.

This dish was featured in Asian Food Channel (Official)
facebook page on 24 July 2012

Serving for 2
Main Ingredients:
400g fresh thick rice vermecilli (Bee Hoon)
cooking oil for deep frying
200g salmon fillet, cut into big chunks
200 g pickled mustard cabbage (harm choy) cut into strips
a thumb of young ginger, cut into thin slices ginger
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges

Ingredients for garnishing:
3 spring onion, cut into 2 ins long pieces
3 stalks of parsley, roughly cut

Ingredient to coat the fish:
½ C crispy flour for coating the fish
¼ tsp salt
a dash of white ground pepper

Ingredient for the Soup:
6 cups fish stock
1 tbs kosher salt
3 to 4 salted preserved plum, seeds removed
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbs Chinese cooking wine
1 tbs sesame Oil
¾ C evaporated milk

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch Bee Hoon until soft. Drain and set aside and divided into large serving bowls.

2. Heat oil for deep-frying over high heat. Season fish with a little salt and white ground pepper and coast with crispy flour. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a wok slightly fry the ginger till fragrant. Add fish stock, pickled mustard cabbage and tomato. Bring to boil for 1 minute and lower to let it simmer for another 5 minutes and lastly add milk and bring to boil.

4. Place a few chunks of fried salmon on top of the vermicelli. Ladle hot soup into bowl over noodles. Garnish with spring onions and parsley and serve immediately with chili padi (bird chillies) in soya sauce.


  1. I love what you wrote Quay Po! I can definitely relate!

    My dad used to make fish head stew... it has been a long, long time since I have had anything similar.

    blessings ~ tanna

  2. Haha I like the title "When I was young.. haiyah". I'm sure many can relate to that and we learn over mistakes. For me, its part and parcel of growing up but for whatever wrong was done in the pass, it shouldn't be taken as an excuse; instead learn from it and move on.

  3. Haha - haiyah! Guess we all gotta experience it.... You make everything look so yummy.

  4. haha... what a fun post, Veron! Bravo to that! I did the same thing to my fish bones as well cause I like taking sour fish soup bihun a lot. Even now my kids started enjoying it too! What a great reminder.
    Btw, you were so right about today's youngsters. Mostly are too proud of themselves because they're highly educated and too stubborn to listen to others. For example, chinese medicine, it has been here for centuries. I mean it doesn't turned out just like that. There must be a reason why these kind of stuffs are here. In the past, my MIL told me lots of things that I don't understand and when I asked for explanations. She just zipped lock. Just because she doesn't know how to explain it in details but she was right about so many things once I've figured it out.

    Regards, Kristy

  5. Many lessons are learned later in life. Many of us can relate to your story. Yeah, now for the lovely dish:)

  6. My dear, it is interesting, during the last trip I made to Singapore, we had several western visitors in tow when we visited Muthu's where the specialty is fish head curry. They loved it. This "salmon mee hoon" was definitely one of the more notable dishes to come from your kitchen recently. I loved it.

  7. Veron, laugh at your comment left in my blog about your Quay Lo loving so much of coffee. This morning I just had a cup of nespresson coffee (the green one) and I will never go back to drink the usual Nescafe anymore, hehehe.. and Lucas is enjoying his Cappuccino very much..Back to his meehoon soup, I love this noodle soup too..very healthy indeed.Have a nice day..

  8. so much resemblance! i am a stubborn person too. but there's always lesson learnt. anyways, the soup look so fantastic and flavourful! feel so homey!

  9. This dish looks so good and it reminds me of home cooking. Yum!

  10. Veronica, when I saw the name, I thought, "Could it be me?" So sad it wasn't the Shirley from S'pore. Hahaha! I couldn't agree more.... she certainly has a nice blog & thks for the suggestions. I must work hard to get into your favourite links. Hahaha! Can I tempt u with more food??

    Love those fried fish esp the kyam chye :)

  11. yum yum, harm choy with tomatoes the best combination.

  12. I LOVE this post! You know, it's funny you mentioning about the fish heads for the westerners. I just am too scared to get around this one. You're giving me the inspiration, though! Your fish bone soup with that salmon looks SO tasty!

  13. Hi Quay Po, I seriously felt the same after reading ur post. Still learning how to improve my EQ though, really much happier after being more tolerate..hehe.. Using Fried Salmon? Sound fresh for me! But the appearance yet tempting me a lots! slurrpp slurrpp~~

  14. Haiyaaa ... so true, so true. Well said. I've been down that road too. I can understand when the young are too arrogant to listen to our hard-learnt mistakes but then, I believe it has made us better people today, don't you think? ... well, those of us who realise it anyway. They'll learn eventually, just hoping that it doesn't cost them too much.
    Btw, I love this dish. It's light and so nutritious! Used to go have it at Kar Soh. Yum! Craving for it now :P

  15. This western cook would love to try this. It really sounds delicious and your photos of it are wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  16. fish head bee hoon is my hubby's fave but i dun think i can muster up so much energy to cook a bowl for him :p

  17. Oh well, we learn from our mistakes right? My hubs is a huge fan of this, bookmarked!

  18. Hi Quay Po,

    I couldn't tell you how many times I've looked back on my life and thought, "if only I knew then what I know now." Then again, ten years from now I'd probably be saying the same thing. Haha.

    Your fishbone vermiceli soup looks perfect right now. It's raining and the weather is a bit cooler here so this would be the perfect dish to warm me up. I like that you deep fried the fish. It gives it an extra crispy crunch which I love. Really surprised to see salted preserved plum, how interesting. This is another wonderful and delicious looking dish, Quay Po.

  19. filling delicious meal colourful

  20. That soup definitely looks amazing. There are many things I might look back on and wish I'd done differently, but being a mom at an older age is SO wonderful. I can't imagine being wise enough at 25 to handle a little one!

  21. So great to find your blog via my guest post at More Than A Mountfull. Your dishs are outstanding, as is your writing and photography. Looking forward to seeing more and more :)

    Thanks so much for your sweet comment!

  22. Quay Po- i don't think I have the skills to cook this, but it looks delicious! Sigh, I'm a Westerner. Okay, I know you would say I could do it, right!


  23. Haiyah... sound so familiar... we were younger ... full of energy, ideas n now mellowed down, we became mature n wise hahaha...
    Back to the FOOD .... looks appetising :)

  24. I think everyone goes through that stage when they're young...and you look back at it a few years later and think to yourself- how could I be so stupid?? A lot of the things I make, I wouldn't have thought it was possible to make at home if I hadn't seen the recipe before. One of the reasons I started baking was that I was fascinated when I first learnt how to bake a cake- before that, I thought that making a cake from scratch at home would be a very difficult thing! :D This looks super delicious!

  25. I love your story Quay Po, it has powerful massage behind it and that what is important!
    Your dish is fantastic..I would never thought putting it with soup but sounds incredibly tasty!

  26. hehehee, i like it how you mix personal with food- coz food tells stories! I remember this very well- esp with crisp fish and hot soup!

  27. Tanna: I know, we all can relate to this for we all have been young and silly.. hehe. BTW, my Quay Lo went to your blog and he said you are a wonderful blog and he enjoys browsing your posts.

    Swee San: No doubt that being silly and stubborn is part and parcel of growing up but for some, it is too big price to pay.

    Belinda: I love compliments, bring them on! hehe... just kidding but I do appreciate the encouraging words from you.

    Kristy: I agree with every thing you said the older people that they normally do not want to do a lot of explanation, not because they are indifferent, it is because they do not know how to explain themselves. Most of the time they are right.

    Keats: I am sure we all do, like the saying goes, been there, done that. hehe

    Darling: I can see you love this very much, you said that to me so many times. You are the most supportive food critic! Even I may not tell you enough, please know you are part of the reason that I cook and bake like CRAZY!! LOL!

    Sonia: I am sure you won't ever go back to nescafe.. people said once you have the best, you will not want the 2nd best.

    yummychunklet: This is not such a difficult dish to do so I am sure you can do this anytime when you fell like it.

    Shirley: No need to work hard to get into my favorite links, you already have.

    Amelia: That's right, hum choy and tomatoes are perfect match in heaven.

    Jill: When I cook, I need to think how to have my food appeal to my Quay Lo (Western) hubby to score high points, he is my food critic:D

    Ah Tee: You are so young and I am sure you will not get into so much trouble like i did since you can tell me you are learning to improve your EQ.

    ping: that is what I hope for too.

    Mary: I am sure the Western cook will be very happy with this dish as long as there is no fish head in it. hehe... you too have a great week.

    babe_KL: Suggestion, give him this recipe and ask him to cook for you both:D

    Ann: I am very sure he will love you "Long time" if you cook him this dish.

    LeQuan: I know, if I ever live up to 60, I will say, how come I did do this and that when I was in my 50s. That's is human nature.

    Torviewtoronto: Glad you think so.

    The Mom chef: I cannot agree with you more my dear.

    lisamichele: So nice of you to drop by and leave your comment. That is the same I feel a bout your blog.

    Loretta: Exactly my dear, how did you know I will say that? hehe

    Lisa: that is what we all say about people getting older but do we really?

    Von: Chinese got a saying, the first step is most difficult to take but if we do, we could run after that.

    Sandra: Frankly, I do hope the younger generation would listen to their old folks so that it saves them from a lot of heartaches.

    daphne: Food is so important in our life, we cannot live without it and also it brings back lots of past memories, good or bad. Me too, I like cripsy things in hot soup... superb combo!

  28. hello quay po, i think many of us went thru the same thing, we always think we are always right and just dont bother abt everything else. That's why at one time i also have kind of unpleasant relationship with some of my family members. Till now, i think i still have this kind of attitude to a certain extent but the difference is that i hold back to avoid further arguements when the disagreement is not that extreme, dont know that's good or bad but a more kinder in the way i talk. Eh, we're talking abt food post here right? haha! Here in ipoh i dont think i've found any fish meehoon soup that i really like, all of them are almost the same. It's great to cook your own fish mee hoon soup now that the ipoh mali guy disappeared in action. i'm salivating already thinking of the soup and the ham choi! and your candid oranges looking great! who said not appealing? it's late now, shall catch up with your other posts later!!

  29. Nicole: Thanks. I appreciate you take time to visit me and leave your comment. Looking forward to see you again.

    Lena: As we grow older, we value the relationship with our family members so we learn not to sweat the small stuff. I think holding back words that can cause argument is a good thing. So nice of you to tell me that my candied orange slices look great and also constantly giving me encouraging words and support. I appreciate your friendship and hope we will meet in person soon.

  30. Mmm, simple but delicious soup. Makes me hungry for my mommy's home cooked bun (rice noodle in vietnamese). I want to make some of this now!

  31. Thank you Quay Po for sharing me this touching post. Your first paragraph is almost a perfect reflection of the young me... I seriously don't think it is a mistake, we always wish we want to go back in time and undo our mistakes. You know this is not how life works. Remembering the past is poisonous. Just think the present and live life to the fullest. I'm glad where I'm at in my life, I'm pretty sure you do too...

    Okay, back to food. My parents love to make stock whenever we have fish or chicken bones. Noodles cooked in stock topped with a protein. This is our kind of dish to eat every day. Yours looks quite appetizing.

  32. @Pauline @Victor
    I cannot believe I missed your comment. I apologize. Please know I appreciate your visit and leaving your comments.

  33. Hey there! Thought I'd let you know I mentioned this post of yours on my post today! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  34. Oh, you are so kind to do that. I am honored to know I inspired you:D

  35. I've never tasted Fish Head Bee Hoon with evaporated milk added, i know its pretty common in KL but not in Penang, we don't add evaporated milk into the soup which makes me curious of how does it fare with the extra touch of evaporated milk.... hmmm......

  36. Ken, try this recipe and you will know:)


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