My secondary school (13-17 age) had a really large canteen. How large? As long as 6 classrooms, as wide as 2 labs. Everyday we’d look forward to beak time so that we can run down and be the first in line to get our food. Each session of break(3 sessions in total), you’d see 800 students scrambling to the canteen (the school had 48 classes in the morning and 16 classes in the afternoon, so 2 sessions in the morning and one in the afternoon) . So, you better not be the last
It was run with a few vendors, rather than one major operator. During my time, there were 2 Indian stalls, 2 Malay Stalls, 2 Chinese stalls, 2 drinks stalls and one Kacang Putih stall.. Overall, the school had 3 versions of nasi lemak, 4 versions of fried noodles (2 Indian 1 Malay and 1 Chinese), 2 versions of noodle soup (malay and Chinese), chicken rice, thosai, roti canai/pratha, mushroom noodle, chee cheong fun(with lots of “liew” to choose from), assam laksa, cekodok, currypuff, keropok lekor, lots of kacang putih(Indian snacks) and 20 varieties of drinks.
We rarely see students bringing food to school, and most of us do eat at school. Food is cheap and good. Cheaper than primary school. A bowl of noodle soup (plain, any variety) only costs 40 sen, a 10oz cup of watermelon juice or soy bean only cost us 30 sen. Nasi lemak comes in 40 sen and 50 sen portions and chicken rice is only RM1. Thosai and roti canai/pratha is only…. 30 sen!!! Why bring food when the food in the canteen is so affordable(20% -40%)less than outside food that time and most of all, they are all delicious. The only food that was standard priced compared to outside food is chee cheong fun. For those of you who know Kampar, Kampar is a place known for good local food, and even the school canteen won’t be any worse. If they serve “edible” food, they won’t be in business for long.
Few years after I left school, the canteen system changed due to the declining amount of students. One operator took over the whole canteen and the food is nothing to shout about. Mission schools were no longer the choice school compared to Chinese schools. The school is in bad shape and well, it’s no longer the top school in town. Used to have 12 classes in each form and now… just 2??? Sounds really pathetic right? But what can one do with the change in education trends?
Today I tried to make the Malay stall’s “mee sup”. The noodles were served in a special broth, that can be found no where. Well, maybe there is out there, but I’ve never eaten one with all the Malays eateries I’ve been to. When ever I order this, I’d see how they’d stir the pot and all the stuff inside is visible to me. I tried to recreate this dish, and I dare to say, I’m pretty near it. The makcik (Malay for auntie) used prawn heads(from the prawns she use to make sambal udang for the nasi lemak) and chicken carcass as the base for the broth. It’s not a curry, but is lightly infused with coconut milk to add some sweet and fragrant edge to it. It was not hot and spicy like a curry, but fragrantly spiced with local aromatics.
My dear readers who are my seniors or my juniors, I’m sure this dish brings back memories for you, at least it does for me.
ACS Kampar Noodle Soup
Recipe source: Wendyywy
Inspired by: The Malay food stall in ACS Secondary Kampar (91-95, the years I was there)
3 cloves garlic
3 red chillies
50gm ginger (peeled weight)
30gm galangal (lengkuas, peeled weight)
4 lemon grass
1 Malay soup spice bag (sup bunjut, and it consist of coriander seeds, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and star anise)
1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste (adabi brand)
½ cup coconut milk
Some cooking oil
1. Smash ginger, galangal and lemon grass. Blend shallots, garlic and chilli to a paste.
2.Put some cooking oil in pot and saute the blended ingredients until fragrant.
3. Put in water and bring to a boil.
4. Put in chicken, soup bag, ginger, galangal, lemon grass and prawn shells. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Fish out chicken breast and leave it to cool.
6. Put in tamarind paste and coconut milk. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
7. Shred chicken meat and season soup with salt.
8. Strain soup and reheat when it's time to serve.
200gm rice vermicelli (to be soaked )
500gm yellow noodles
Shredded chicken from the stock
Chopped spring onions and Chinese celery (It’s 芹菜or daun sup, and it’s a must)
1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Lightly blanch bean sprouts, set it aside.
2. Bring water back to boil and put in soaked rice vermicelli and blanch for 10-15 seconds. Drain.
3. Blanch yellow noodles for 15- 20 seconds and drain.
4. Put noodles of preference into bowl. Top with shredded chicken and bean sprouts. Ladle soup over and sprinkle with chopped spring onions and chinese celery.
See you on Friday with Everybody's Favourite Fried Noodle... the CKT