Here is one of my favourite things to eat in Singapore. Egg noodles tossed in a spicy, salty and vinegary (tangy) sauce and topped with pork mince, braised mushrooms and crispy pork lard. Just the thought of it is making me salivate. In my opinion, the key ingredients that make this dish so tasty are Chinkiang black vinegar, pork lard and chilli paste (sambal). I couldn't find the flat mee poh noodles, so I used thin egg noodles instead (mee kia).
It's pretty simple to prepare. My version of it includes fish balls, sliced pork, minced pork, braised chinese black mushrooms, fried wontons (optional) and crispy pork lard. You can make the chilli sauce with dried chillies and garlic, and if you have more time, include shallots, belacan and dried shrimp and fry them into a rich sambal paste. I chose the short-cut way and used Sriracha chilli sauce mixed with a little Indonesian Sambal Bajak. It works pretty well!
Here is the recipe. Be sure to use only Chinkiang black vinegar, and don't forget the crispy bits of pork lard. It just isn't bak chor mee without them!
Bak Chor Mee Recipe
500g thin or flat fresh egg noodles
1 cup beansprouts (optional)
300g pork mince
300g pork belly (with a thick layer of fat on it)
1 small packet fish balls
5 black chinese mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped and fried in 2-3 tbsp oil until light brown and crisp
Light soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, garlic oil
Braised Mushroom seasoning:
2 tbsp light soy sauce, pinch of salt, sugar, pepper, 1/2 tsp dark soy for colour
Sauce for noodles (1 serving):
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp lard (oil)
1/2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce (or to taste)
1/2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp broth
Spring onions, chopped for garnish
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Sliced red chilli in light soy sauce, to serve (optional)
Prepare the pork belly by separating the lean meat from the fat. Keep the rind on. This is easier done if you freeze the meat for a few hours until firm so it's easier to slice. Dice the fat into small 1cm cubes and put aside. Slice lean pork thinly and mix with pork marinade. Leave for an hour.
Combine minced pork with marinade and 2 tbsp water. Leave for an hour.
Heat up 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil and fry the diced pork fat (lard). Lower the heat and fry slowly until lard is browned and crisp. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl and reserve the oil for the sauce.
Mushrooms: Squeeze out excess water from mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid. Slice thinly. Heat up a little of the garlic oil in a small pot and add mushrooms. Fry briefly, then add the reserved liquid and seasoning. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked.
Assembling the dish:
Boil about 2 cups water in another pot. Cook the fishballs, minced pork and sliced pork, drain and transfer to a bowl. Use this broth for the noodle sauce (you can add some salt and pepper and ikan bilis stock powder to it if you wish).
Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil and cook beansprouts and noodles for 30 seconds or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold running tap water, then drop it in the boiling water again for 5 seconds to heat it up. Drain and toss in prepared sauce. Add a few lettuce leaves if used. Place the mushrooms, minced pork, sliced pork, fish balls, fried garlic and some crispy fried lard over the noodles. Add a dash of white pepper, garnish with spring onions and, if desired, serve with sliced red chillies.