It all started when we were both staying in the UK back in 2010. Packets of what were termed as ‘Singapore Noodles‘ were commonly seen on the shelves of many supermarkets – Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Tesco. We were at first curious about how they tasted, since we’ve never heard of such a dish in our life before, even though we are both true blue Singaporeans. After a while, the curiosity gradually washed off us and we decided the amount of cash required to buy a vacuum-packed box of rice vermicelli was just too extravagant, given our cash-strapped lifestyle. (Ya right…)
Now that we are both back in Singapore for good, I often recall (and joke about) this mysterious dish that’s named after my country. We don’t call it Singapore Noodles here in Singapore per se, because truth be told, nobody does that in any other countries as well, regardless of how authentically local a dish is (e.g. Hong Kong noodles in Hong Kong?). I believe that this dish came about as an attempt to mimic the popular fried bee hoon that can be found in many local economy food stalls as well as hawker stalls selling breakfast noodles and snacks in Singapore. And because it has evolved over a few continents, the Anglicised version of our local favourite dish currently has additional ingredients such as bell pepper, lime and curry powder.
Huh? Curry powder? Well yes, that’s right. I wonder why too.
- Oil: 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
- Prawn: 20 medium-sized (450g), shelled & deveined
- Egg: 4, beaten with a pinch of salt & white pepper
- Garlic: 4 cloves, finely chopped
- Ginger: 5-cm length, sliced thinly
- Red chilli: 3, sliced
- Red onion: 2, finely chopped
- Bell pepper: 1 red & 1 yellow, sliced thinly
- Fish sauce (or light soy sauce): 12 tbsp
- Shaoxing wine: 4 tbsp
- Curry powder: 5 tsp
- Sugar: 1 tsp
- White pepper: 1 tsp
- Rice vermicelli: 400g, soaked in hot water for 15min, drained
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add prawns and stir-fry till just cooked. Remove and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add eggs and spread thinly in wok. Leave to set, then roll omelette up. Remove from wok, slice thinly and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Fry garlic, ginger and chillies till fragrant.
- Add onion & bell peppers. Fry 3 min till cooked.
- Mix fish sauce, Shaoxing wine, curry powder, sugar and white pepper in a bowl.
- Add mixed sauces, rice vermicelli, prawns and omelette into wok.
- Use a tong to mix everything together evenly.
- It’s easier for the curry powder to be distributed evenly at the 2nd last step if it is first mixed in with the rest of the sauces. For us locals, we substitute this step in the cooking process with curry sauce as a gravy for the noodle instead.
- This recipe was kindly adapted from Saucy Spatula’s ‘Singapore-Style Rice Vermicelli’. I did not add char siew inside my version but instead added additional fresh red chillies to give the dish more kick.