How much can things change in 75 years? Even 20 years can change our look and city a lot. However, there are something that are better left unchanged, because they have become a heritage. I’m talking about a noodle in Sandakan City at East Coast of Sabah. It’s as delicious as 75 years ago, like what our grandparents and parents used to enjoy.
The hawker stall which sells this noodle is located in Sandakan Central Market (Pasar Umum Sandakan in local language) of city center (see Location Map). Before World War II, Sandakan was a prosperous capital of North Borneo (now Sabah) and called the Little Hong Kong because many Chinese were living here. They developed the city and also introduced localized version of China food.
When you walk up to level 3 (top floor) of Sandakan Central Market, you will see many food stalls. The place is quite clean. Though you won’t see many tourists eating there, this market is one of the important stops of traditional food trail for food hunters.
Then look for the stall with sign that reads “家傳正宗炸肉大粉 Since 1940, The Original Homemade Kueh Teow with Deep-Fried Pork”. Also known as Kuy Teav or Kway Teow, Kueh Teow is flat rice noodle that looks like fettuccine, but it’s white, smooth and soft. This Chinese food stall opens from 5am to 11:30am every day, but be there early because the noodles could be sold out before 10am.
You have two ways to eat this noodle, i.e. noodle soup or dry style. Both taste good so it’s just a personal preference.
The Kueh Teow noodle is topped with deep-fried pork, slices of Chinese fritter and minced spring onion. The flat noodle has absorbed the savory soup and I like its smooth texture. The coarse fritters add an interesting contrast.
The pork is well-marinated and deep-fried to have a slightly-burnt, aromatic and crisp outer layer. It has “condense” savory taste of meat, a bit chewy and not as oily as roasted pork.
Each bowl of noodle costs only RM4.00 (less than US$1.00, no tax, price as of Aug 2015). The serving isn’t much though. I was 73.58% full and wish to have more.
So I ordered second bowl, the dry version which has no soup and enhanced with lard. Just kidding. It belongs to my friend.
Started in 1940, this Kueh Teow food is as old as McDonald’s. Instead of becoming a franchise with fancy shop decor, this stall keeps the setting basic, the way their loyal customers like to enjoy a traditional noodle from the oldest China town of Sabah.
Photos taken in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo