05 January 2007

The World's Best Grandma & Mee Siam

I'm staying over at my grandmother's place tonight in my attempt to learn how to cook The World's Best Mee Siam Without Hum tomorrow! My grandmother is a real sweetie. She usually sleeps at 9pm and wakes up at the unearthly hour of 4am to do her morning exercises (Mondays to Fridays! Without fail! For as long as I can remember!), but tonight, because I'm coming over late, she stayed up til 10pm to call me and check on how I'm getting there. She also set aside some slices of rock melon for me to eat before I sleep =) I'll be waking up at 5+am to go marketing for mee siam ingredients with her tomorrow morning too. Gosh, 5+am... @_@

My cousins, brother and I owe a lot to my grandmother, for she's the one who brought us up when we were young. She would make sure that we were well fed, that we got to school and back, that we were clean and well scrubbed, that we did our homework, that we didn't destroy the flat when her back was turned. All these and more =)

When I was lower primary, I stayed with my grandma while my family was in Malaysia, because my dad wanted me to have a Singaporean education, and my brother wasn't old enough for primary school yet. My cousin also stayed with my grandmother. I remember that we had many things to talk about and will chitter and chatter as we lay on the mattresses in the same room as my grandma while my grandma tried to sleep. Finally she would have had enough and the cane will come flicking randomly in our direction :P If you were unlucky, you get the stinging end of the flick. That tactic usually quickly puts an end to our hushed conversations :D

As mentioned before, my grandma is a great cook. She's also a very curious and experimental cook. There was one wedding dinner that we attended and a dish made a deep impression on us, an impression that I still have today. But because of my appalling lack of knowledge regarding vegetables, all I can say about it is that it's a wonderfully savoury and brothy leafy-veggie-thingey that has the flavours of a very good ham infused throughout. Even veg-haters (it was cool to hate vegetables at that age) like me couldn't resist going for seconds. While we were raving about this dish, my grandmother just ate it quietly and thoughtfully.

The next day, when we were having dinner at my granny's, this dish reappeared! My grandmother replicated the dish! The fact that we can recognize the similarity in flavours says a lot already =) Of course it wasn't as exquisitely tender and flavourful as what the hotel offered, but still, I think that's pretty cool =)

So anyways, back to mee siam. I never liked to eat mee siam in hawker centre and coffee shops. Even at places where they serve supposedly "famous mee siam", whenever I taste it, it never fails to disappoint. I always thought it was because I didn't like mee siam, until the reason struck me recently (and admittedly rather belatedly!).

It was because I grew up on my grandmother's mee siam! Soup that is so sour it makes your lips pucker, yet delightfully savoury and spicy, with as much prawns and fish cakes and fried tofu as you can eat, with the melt-in-your-mouth taupok, with crunchy fresh beansprouts, with perfectly hard-boiled eggs (my grandma's hard-boiled eggs are also the best in the world, no kid)... how can I eat the dry tasteless offerings outside and be satisfied?? Hence, I resolve to learn the art of her mee siam in 2007! Wish me luck!


bingren said...

Good luck learning how to make mee siam~

Jacinta said...

Haha, Bren is terribly excited about it too. He's postponing our lunch-date cos' of it! Have fun~! :)

mer said...

Lol about your grandmama's flicking cane! I had the most funny visual. U noe me.

The mee siam sounds very delicious already! Learn well!

Ms Krong said...

I'm hoping to taste the yummy mee siam on 20 Jan!!! Keeping fingers crossed!!! =)

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