Before the advent of plastic bags, plastic and styrofoam containers, we had to resort to tiffin carriers ~ 'kak lam' to carry or pack our food. 'Kak' means tiers and 'Lam' is basket, which literally means 'tiered basket'.
Those days tiffin carriers were made of enamel, plain coloured or with beautiful and colourful designs.
I remember that many, many years ago I liked to patronise a 'Hor Hee' roadside stall in the hawker area next to the Majestic cinema along Chamberlain Road, Ipoh. To take away, I had to bring along the faithful 'Kak Lam'. At present, Majestic Cinema is now a furniture outlet.
Coming back to 'Hor Hee' which I think is synonymous with Ipoh, is a soup based noodle and you can opt for 'Hor Fun', 'Hokkien Mee', bihun or 'glass noodles'~ 'toong fun'. Accompanying the noodles are fish balls, fish paste and their signature 'fish skin wonton', with a sprinkling of finely shredded lettuce garnished with some chopped red chilli, onion crisps and a dash of pepper.
This tiffin carrier, made from Czechoslovakia is older than me and it's now a display item in my house.
I used glass noodles to make this 'Hor Hee' and I find it to be light and refreshing.
- 125 gm glass noodles, pre-soaked for 3 servings
- 300 gm chicken frame
- 5 cups water
- 10 gm toong choy - preserved vegetable
- 10 fish balls
- 10 fish skin wonton
- 1 fish paste- slightly shallow fried and sliced
- Lettuce - finely cut
- Red chilli - chopped
- Shallots - cut and stirfry with oil to make shallot crisps
- Salt to taste
- Wash the chicken frame. Bring to the boil, 5 cups of water. Once boiling add in the chicken frame to make broth. Simmer for about 45 mins.
- Heat up some oil in a pan and shallow fry the sliced shallots to make crisps. Dish out, drain and set aside the oil.
- Soak the glass noodles till soft, rinse, drain and set aside.
- Discard the chicken frame and add in the toong choy, continue to simmer.
- Cook the fish balls and fish skin wonton in the soup, dish out and set aside. Add in salt to the soup and fine tune to taste.
- Cook the softened glass noodles in a pot of boiling water, dish out, drain and place in a serving bowl.
- Add in the fish balls, sliced fish paste and fish skin wonton. Ladle soup onto the noodles.
- Garnish with shredded lettuce, red chilli, shallot crisps, shallot oil and a dash of pepper.
- Serve immediately with a light soya sauce and chilli dip.