A Brief History of Hokkien Noodles - Momofuku Peachy Keen
Hokkien Noodles at Ssam Bar
Hokkien Noodles at Ssäm Bar

A Brief History of Hokkien Noodles

The backstory to the noodle course during the king crab feast

Chef Max Ng | Executive Chef, Ssäm Bar

When I was young, my whole family went to my grandma’s house almost every weekend for dinner. On special occasions, she served hokkien noodles. They were Kuala Lumpur-style, which is where she’s from: always silky and very, very saucy.

Everyone has their own opinions on what hokkien noodles should be. Some prefer the white sauce version, while others―like grandma―made the brown sauce version with soy sauce. She’d visit the local wet market in Singapore on mornings when she’d be making the noodles to pick up shrimp, squid, fish cakes, and pork blood. There was never a recipe—she just threw everything into her enormous wok.

The noodles came to the table in a massive dish, and somehow―no matter how many children and grandchildren appeared for dinner―there were always seconds available.

I recreated these noodles from memory, drawing on the flavors she used and what the noodles looked like when she prepared them. It’s an old-school dish that isn’t made very frequently anymore, but it’s an extremely special one. In mine, the crab knuckles and claws are star ingredients, and I throw in some more vegetables, too.

It still comes in a big bowl—just like I remember my grandma serving. Here’s to any table that can crush the whole thing.