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By Wilfred Pilo
Kuching, Aug 29: You either like it or you don’t. That is how people react when they first encounter the bizarre stinky Belachan Bee Hoon or rice vermicelli noodle drenched with shrimp paste broth.
The pungent smell of shrimp paste can put you off in an instant as it has an overpowering fermented aroma of decomposed seafood and ammonia. It is just stinky!
On the other hand, it is phenomenal to see people thronging to an eatery serving the dish and devouring the stinky plate of Belachan Bee Hoon with their favourite beverage.
Despite being a stinky dish, Belachan Mee Hoon has found a place among Kuchingites who adore it and its authenticity has made it a signature dish in the city.
For any visitors or food lovers who set their foot in Kuching in search of their food anomaly, there is nothing more exciting than to try the Belachan Bee Hoon.
Several eateries are serving this incredible unique dish and one such eatery is the No.4 Belachan Bee Hoon, Cuttle Fish & Kang Kong at Song Kheng Hai Ground Food and Recreation Centre here.
It is run by by a retiree Sim Bian Seng and his wife.
Sim said that the Belachan Bee Hoon stall belongs to his father-in-law who served the dish for more than 45 years.
“My father-in-law used to sell Belachan Bee Hoon and learnt to make the dish from trial and error with my wife assisting him.
“They used to do it at the nearby street at Kuching Municipal Council (KMC) Flats in the vicinity of Jalan Song Kheng Hai before they moved to this stall we are operating today,” he told the writer when met at the stall recently.
“Many street hawker stalls were selling local food at the vicinity before they all moved to the recreation and food centre that opened in 1995. Those who grew up near KMC Flats and Kuching in those days knew of these hawkers,” he added.
He described preparing the ingredients and concoction for the shrimp paste broth, which takes as long as four hours, as labour intensive.
According to Sim, Penang shrimp paste is used in making their broth as it blended well with the palate.
“The paste has to be roasted before blended with all the herbs and put in boiling water. The paste is salty, so we used palm sugar and chilly sauce to make the broth sweeter, a little tangy and spicy.
“We always have palm sugar sauce, fresh blended chilly sauce and vinegar if customers requested for them to enhance the taste,” he said.
Sim disclosed that their stall serves a normal set of Belachan Bee Hoon at RM6 while the special set Belachan Bee Hoon with century egg is RM8.
The stall also serves other dishes that include Sotong Kang Kong and Century Egg with ginger pickle.
Belachan Bee Hoon, Cuttle Fish & Kang Kong is located at No.4 Song Kheng Hai Ground Food and Recreation Centre situated in Jalan Song Kheng Hai, Kuching. It operates between 11am to 5pm daily.
For further inquiries, call 016 866 1166. — DayakDaily