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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Haw-Hee

I love the puzzled look on my city friends' faces whenever I offer to treat them to a bowl of Haw Hee when they visit my hometown. Donkey is the first thing that comes to their minds!

Nope, no donkey is involved!  Haw Hee is merely the name of a noodle dish though I am not certain why it was so named  probably a translation fail from Chinese to English.  But it does have a nice ring to it, don't you agree?

 I think it is uniquely Malaysian.

So far, save for one coffee shop in my neck of the woods, I have never seen any Haw Hee vendors in other parts of Malaysia besides my hometown.

Haw Hee always brings back fond memories of a certain noodle dish from my childhood in the 60s where I grew up. I can't really recall what exactly it was but it tasted very HawHee-ish!

Folks back then called it the "tok-tok" noodle because the hawker would announce his presence by knocking on a bamboo slab with a stick. Tok, tok, tok...

Interestingly, you could tell the different types of noodles sold by the hawkers by their distinct tok-tok rhythms — wanton noodle, fishball noodle, prawn noodle, fried noodle, etc.

Back in those days, people rarely ate out and itinerant hawkers pedaled tricycle food carts and roved in neighborhoods, usually around dinner time.

BYOB

I still recall the sense of anticipation while my sisters and I waited impatiently at dusk  for the hawker to make his rounds. We would strain our ears to listen for the tok-tok sound. And as soon as he approached our street, we would dash out of the house with our empty bowls, lying in wait for him!

And yes, you were required to bring your own bowl!

To order, you would hand your bowl over to the tok-tok man and state your choice of noodle (glass vermicelli, rice vermicelli, egg noodle, flat-rice noodle, etc)

He would then drop the noodle in a wire-mesh basket and blanch it in a pot of boiling water.

Next, the cooked noodle would be placed into your bowl and topped with a fish dumpling, slices of fishcake  and several types of fishballs. The tok-tok man would snip the larger fishballs into bite-size pieces with a pair of scissors.

Lastly, he would fill up the bowl with steaming fish broth, a sprinkling of scallion slices and a dash of pepper.

And we would gingerly carry our piping hot bowls of tok-tok noodle back into the house!

Not an easy feat for a child, mind you!

And usually, by the time we reached the dining table, much of the broth would have been spilled!

I was ecstatic when I stumbled upon the following video on YouTube!

Nostalgia!


37 comments:

betty said...

It's like listening for the music of the ice cream truck here. Sounds delicious! How interesting how it was prepared and the vendors had to carry all that around to make it.

Betty

Soma @ inkTorrents.com said...

Great story related to such delicious food! I would love to have some tok-tok one day, I can easily imagine your anticipation.

-Soma

camdandusler said...

İnteresting foods 😊 thanks for your sharing 😊

Sandee said...

What a fond memory. I'm hungry now.

Have a fabulous day and week, Veronica. ♥

Trekking with Becky said...

Interesting! Where is your hometown? I've been to KL, Melaka, and JB, and I've never heard of this dish.

sherry fundin said...

fascinating post.
sherry @ fundinmental

NCSue said...

A funny name! It looks like an interesting dish.
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/08/big-batch-quick-dinner-rolls.html

Lin said...

That's a great memory! It looks good too. Now I want some!!!

judee said...

Good story and an interesting dish! Looks good

Phil Slade said...

A lovely story Veronica. Childhood memories are some of the best to share. I can almost see your little faces waiting for that special treat.

stevebethere said...

That was quite interesting now where is my portion heheh!

Nope, no donkey is involved!


Have a hawheetastic safe week 😷😷😷

italiafinlandia said...

How interesting! :)
Nice to know.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Childhood memories are the sweetest - especially when it involves food.

NanaHood said...

So glad to know no "donkeys" are involved. We have two miniature donkeys and they are so sweet! I would love to try your dish! Teresa

Yvonne said...

Love your story of when you were a child. Fish isn't my favorite food, but your photo of the soup looks so delicious.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

What a great story! The dish sounds delicious. I love fish and I love noodles.

Diana said...

I like the tok-tok man story. a childhood story, somehow. From my childhood I remember women, mainly, shouting on the street "blackberries! blackberries for sale!" (and about other berries)
I wish you serene days!
P.S. Very interesting food. I'm sure it's delicious.

Tom said...

...this sure is a first for me!

Zinaida Strinu said...

A beautiful story that made me crave noodles!

Happy WW!

magiceye said...

Sounds like fun and seems delicious!

Sandee said...

Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

Peabea Scribbles said...

Well, can add that to another new thing I have learned from my blog places I visit. We've never had a food vendor truck go around, and hardly even have the ice cream trucks in any neighborhoods anymore. Thanks for sharing. :)

The Padre said...

How Beautiful And Tasty For Sure - My Mind Went To The TV Show Hee Haw - Too Funny - Also, Fantastic You Die Post

Cheers

Stef Rof said...

Every country has its goodies, but from your plate I could see a special delicacy which makes me believe that your country has something to put on my table .. Happy WW, Vero !!!

Amy said...

I absolutely love asian food, I don't care what is is, Korean, Japanese, Chinese etc it's my favourite, you've made me very hungry reading this post but I enoyed reading your blog, I'm adding you to my links right now, have a great day :-)

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

We have never had vendors coming around the streets, only the ice cream man when we would all rush out as soon as we heard the chimes.

pilch92 said...

Glad no donkey is involved :) Have a nice week.

betty-NZ said...

That name would definitely get my attention! I enjoy your posts that share some of your culture.

It's great to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!! Thanks for being here.

Gattina said...

The Tok Tok sounds extremely good ! Would love to try ! I always try food I don't know except worms or insects although it seems that they are very healthy.

Pia said...

Ich liebe Nudelsuppe wenn ich in Asien bin.
L G Pia

Villrose said...

Oh, I would love to have a noodle Tok Tok man around in the neighbourhood :)

Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening said...

Such wonderful memories and the noodle soup looks delicious! I love how the vendors came right down the street! We have ice cream trucks, but that's all!

likeschocolate said...

Soup looks wonderful! Yummy!

Amy Johnson said...

Such an interesting dish. TFS!

Angie said...

Veronica - thanks so much for your recent visit to my blog. This dish looks so appetizing. And what a wonderful memory of the tok-tok man. Much more interesting than the tinny sound of the ice cream truck!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I just love this story! Childhood food memories are so much fun (usually about special treats, probably we all have that in common). But it was so great to learn about yours because it is so different! It sounds delicious too ... And a treat for your mom who didn’t have to cook. We didn’t go out to eat very often when we were children ... it was a rare and special treat. (Now, because of Covid, it is the same thing of course!)

Being A Wordsmith said...

Thank you for sharing this on Traffic Jam Weekend! It has been chosen as a fave feature for this week's party that went live on Thursday at 5:00 pm CST.