Sunday, 8 May 2016
Ah Kaw the Creator of JB's San Low Bee Hoon 亚九咖哩鱼头店 JK1475
San Lou bee hoon 三楼干炒米粉 is an iconic dish created in Johor Bahru, reputedly by Ah Kaw 亚九 back in 1979.
Ah Kaw created this fried rice vermicelli dish while working at a zhi char shop here at the three storey flats at Stulang Laut in Johor Bahru, hence the name 三楼干炒米粉 which literally means 3 Storey Dry Fried Rice Vermicelli (the flats are still there, by the way).
Now, Ah Kaw has his own zhi char shop. Ah Kaw's shop has the usual range of dishes of zhi cha restaurants, and of course, San Low bee hoon is number one on Ah Kaw's list. (This restaurant is actually named Ah Kaw Curry Fish Head Shop in Chinese, but I have yet to try their curry fish head ;-p )
We ordered a plate of San Low bee hoon. Just RM7 for an iconic dish, a work of art.
It was flavourful - gently savoury stock with sweetness from egg, lean pork slices, fish cake slices, a shelled prawn and choy sum (greens). Likeable but somehow it didn't have the level of caramelisation that once wowed me. (My last visit was in 2012 <- click)
After settling the bill for this, we lingered a while, decided to dropped plans for the next food stop, and ordered another plate to taste :-D
This time it has much more caramelisation and the same savoury sweetness in the bee hoon.
The caramelised outside gave the bee hoon a slightly savoury sweet taste reminding me of that torched glaze on a creme brulee. We couldn't detect any smokey taste, though. Underneath that caramelised layer were moist and flavoursome bee hoon. The dish is slightly greasy.
This sambal chili deserves a special mention. It has a robust crustacean savouriness and sharp spiciness balanced with sourness and sweetness.
We had Ah Kaw's signature tofu for sides. This was really delicious. Crispy outside, creamy sweet inside. That house made mayonnaise type sour sweet dip was so good, I was eating it on it's own.
We spotted these boiled bee hoon spread out to air dry - one of the essential steps in preparing san lou bee hoon.
->> San Low bee hoon is one of the unique, must try dishes of Johor Bahru. Ah Kaw, the dish's creator's restaurant, is a good place to try it.
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