True Singapore Food: Yellow Noodles

If Fried Bee Hoon is ubiquitous in Singapore, one could say Yellow Noodles is at least equally so, making an appearance in a wide range of dishes, including but not limited to Fried Mee (sibling to Fried Bee Hoon at economic Bee Hoon stalls), Mee Goreng, soup noodles (think prawn and pork ribs soup noodle and Yong Tau Fu) and not forgetting Hokkien noodles, which is a uniquely Singaporean dish itself.

Hokkien Mee, Singapore style. Served on a yellow plate - classic.
Hokkien Mee, Singapore style. Served on a yellow plate – classic.

Yellow Noodles is so popular in Singapore that you find at least 4 or 5 different brands of locally produced Yellow Noodles sold in the supermarket. It is unique among all the other types of noodles in that it is actually a little soggy and has a slightly bitter alkaline taste, and it is well liked precisely for these qualities.

Mee Goreng is the other breakfast item that i do at home as often as i do Fried Bee Hoon. It is so easy that you don’t need to be bothered with following a recipe. You can anyhow “hantam” (Singapore slang for “recklessly execute”) and generally still get an edible outcome.

Basic ingredients for mee goreng - Eggs, beancurd, garlic, onion, tomato, cabbage or lettuce, tomato paste and ketchup (not shown here - light and dark soya sauce)
Basic ingredients for Mee Goreng – Eggs, beancurd, garlic, onion, tomato, cabbage or lettuce, concentrated tomato paste and ketchup (not shown here – light and dark soya sauce)

For preparation, fry eggs and diced beancurd (the pre-fried version works well) in a non-stick pan. If you’re using cabbage as your green, you need to cook the diced cabbage for a while to soften it. That’s why i prefer to use lettuce – you can just dice and dump, and it retains that slight crunchy texture which i like to have when eating my Mee Goreng.

Mince the garlic and dice/slice the onion and fry them in one tablespoon of cooking oil until slightly browned, before adding diced tomato. Next, add a spoonful of concentrated tomato paste (it’s probably ok to just use Ketchup if you want to simplify) and optionally some sambal sauce, and empty the packet of Yellow Noodles into the pan. Add a little more cooking oil at this point, and stir-fry until garlic/onion/tomato is well incorporated with the noodles. Next, you can dump the previously prepared eggs, beancurd and cabbage/lettuce and stir-fry until well incorporated with the noodles. Finally, pour a little (don’t worry about the exact quantity, the result will be fine if the amount used isn’t excessive) dark Soya sauce, light Soya sauce (note that this is main contributor to saltish taste) and ketchup and stir-fry for another minute, and you’re done! It takes no more than half an hour from start to finish. If you want your Mee Goreng to be a little more authentic tasting, you can add a little Tumeric powder.

It’s hard to go wrong when cooking Mee Goreng, because the ingredients used, especially the tomato paste/ketchup, lends a lot of flavour that is sure to appease most taste buds. Probably the only pitfall to watch out for is to avoid cooking the noodles for too long, otherwise it becomes soggy. Mee Goreng tastes especially good when cooked in a cast iron pan. For a little variation, you can add shrimps. I normally have luncheon meat as a side dish, but Mee Goreng is totally good enough on its own. A final note on serving size: a 400gm pack of Yellow Noodles is good for 3 to 4 adults.

Mee goreng
Mee goreng in cast iron pan
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