World Food Spot 10: Pan Mee

on Sunday, May 25, 2008

My wife and I followed the directions given and we drove some 20 minutes from our home to a less frequented and older section of town which was located more at the periphery of the city. We were on the quest of a special pan mee shop at the recommendation of a blogger friend. Finally we arrived and parked opposite a wet market.

As we walked down the tree lined street, I was immediately taken in by the pleasant ambiance of the neighbourhood. It was busy but yet calm. Businesses were doing business but children ran in and out of the shops laughing and playing. In short, it reminded me of an older Kuala Lumpur; the city as it was in the 1970s when the more sedate village life was still apparent in the big city. Much of that is now lost under the noise and bustle of a modern city rushing about its business.

There was even a lorry, parked and delivering fresh coconuts by the basketful. A sight that is rare in the city these days.

However, I digress. I wanted to share with you about Pan Mee which is most simply described as hand-stretched flat noodles. My wife's family really loves this dish and I grew to like it very much too. In my wife's family, making this dish is an opportunity for family bonding as everyone shares in the tasks for preparing the dish. Although there is a dry variety of this dish in which the cooked noodles are tossed with specially seasoned soya sauce mix, we mostly cook the noodles in a broth which is accompanied by fried anchovies, minced pork and fried shallots.

The trick is making the dough and the recipe for the dough is often strongly guarded family secrets. The really fun part is when everyone pinches a small palm full of dough and then flatten it by pinching. The resulting product is supposed to be roughly an elongated oval or similar to the shape of a Pringle potato chip. In reality, you could (and we did) make some more entertaining shapes. When all was ready and the broth was boiling, we would all gather round to slip our dough creations into the cooking pot.

A good pan mee noodle should be firm and yet easy to break and feels smooth in the mouth. It is a fun dish to make and to eat.

Commercially available pan mee is often processed through a noodle making machine which cuts it into long ribbons. The purists would however seek out the hand pinched and pulled version when ever possible.

In this shop we went to, not only were the noodles hand pulled, it was trying for a record in length. You can see that the noodles could be as long as 50 cm and it was both smooth and firm.
My final word to you is "Yummmmmmy!"

All Photos by LGS


MedStudentWife said...

Yummy.. my love of soups and noodles...

As Homer Simpson would say... wwwwwww or how ever you write it :)

You DO tempt me ever more :D

Janice Thomson said...

I love noodles too but fresh coconuts really do me in - "Yummmmmy!" :)

On a limb with Claudia said...

Oh, that looks sooooo goood. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Josie said...

So, when are you inviting me over for dinner? That looks wonderful and fresh and nutritious and tasty!

I hope the ubiquitous McDonald's has invaded your country yet. I love Chinese food and Thai food and Japanese food and Malayasian and Indian and.... It's all so, so good!

Josie said...

I meant "has not". *sigh* But you knew that.

Typo, typo, typo.

patterns of ink said...

That does look good, but even more inviting was the street of shops you painted. I can almost feel the cool shade as I look at the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Yum,yum,yum. Dish me up some noodles Squirrel! :>


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I could dig up the recipe if you would like to try.

Cold coconut water really hits the spot.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It tastes great too.

I regret to inform you that I eat either at McDonalds or at Burger King at least twice a week.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am glad you liked that description of the street. I do miss it. It is memories of my childhood.

Whenever you are in my neighborhood, I will take you on a noodle eating tour.

Dr.John said...

Never heard of it before but it looks good. Isn't it nice to have someplace to go where life runs a little slower.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I love noodle soup combinations! Heaven!

A Happy Downtowner said...

I absolutely love this kind of food and found myself, although still full from my lunch, hungry after reading your description! Yummmmm You write so well :)

the walking man said...

Squirrel, I keep coming here every morning and I still see food I can't get to...hit my gmail and I will send you the address and you can send me some Pan Mee.

Spicy please, I had a Thai sister in law who addicted me to spice.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dr. john,
I do like a slower pace of life.

If you know a Chinese family in Vancouver, they might know how to do this dish.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

happy downtowner,
Thank you. It's easy for me to write about food!!!! So much harder keeping to my diet!! ;)

So sorry. But if you come out this way, I'd take you on a noodle tour. Incidentally, there is a spicy soup version of Pan Mee.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Squirrel, I love it when a blog author goes to a lot of work to write a post that is both informative and creative. You do that, quite consistently.

Thank you!

tsduff said...

Oh boy is my mouth ever watering after reading about and seeing your awesome soup! Yummmmmmm. BTW - how can a squirrel have to be on a diet?

Marja said...

Wow that's a long big one. When we travelled through malaysia we spent 2 days in Kuala lumpur. We loved the food

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks. Always good to get feedback.

sadly, squirrels have been eating too much McDonald's fare.

Let me know if you are coming through KL again. Glad you liked the food.

Gerbil said...

Mmmm. I love noodles. I sometimes make my great-grandmother's egg noodles for soup and occasionally spaetzle (more of a small dumpling there, though) but alas, eating my fill of noodles would result in there being far too much of me!

Those pictures are very nice - it looks very restful.

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