BY KUANG KENG kuek ser
Read Keng’s story: The Sorrow of Lost Recipes


Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

The ketchup in this mee goreng adds extra tang - a characteristic popular in the northwestern state of Penang, which is where Keng’s mother is from.

Keng prefers to use pork in this dish, a departure from its Muslim origins. He recommends fresh yakisoba noodles due to their firm texture, but any Asian-style yellow noodles will work.

Most ingredients are readily available at good supermarkets except for fresh noodles (which will hold together better than those cooked from dry) and black caramel sauce/kecap manis (also known as sweet soy sauce). Both ingredients are available at your local Asian grocery store, or you can easily make your own kecap manis substitute - see below.


  • 200g lean pork, cut into 5mm-thick slices
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 400g block firm tofu, drained then patted dry with a paper towel or clean tea towel, and cut into 5mm-thick slices
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced into 1cm-thick pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 400g fresh noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole shrimp
  • 250g bean sprouts
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Sriracha/chili sauce (optional)
  • For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon black caramel sauce/kecap manis (Need a substitute?)
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder


  1. Combine pork and fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix sauce ingredients together well.
  3. Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of a large, flat-bottomed frying pan.
  4. Heat oil on medium-high and carefully shallow fry the tofu pieces until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add potatoes and fry, turning occasionally, until just cooked through.
  6. Add tomatoes, pork, fish sauce and garlic. Stir-fry until the pork pieces are just cooked on the outsides.
  7. Add noodles and sauce mix, stirring until everything is well-combined.
  8. Push the noodles to the outside of the pan, creating a cavity in the middle. Pour two tablespoons of oil into the hole then add the eggs. Scramble and stir continuously to prevent sticking.
  9. Just before the eggs are fully dried, combine with the noodles.
  10. Turn heat to high and quickly add bean sprouts and shrimp, mixing until the shrimp are cooked.
  11. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sriracha/chilli sauce and wedges of lemon or lime on the side.

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