Saturday, 7 June 2008


It is funny how we take things for granted when it is available abundantly or you know it is there when you want it or feel like it. When I first came to Australia, I lived in a country town that did not have any Asian groceries and the town only had 2 Chinese restaurants and the food was nothing like I’d tasted in Malaysia! So, in order to ‘survive’, I had to learn how to make certain dishes from scratch. Luckily, even small Australian country towns got a penchant for Asian food and finally, a few delicatessens starting stocking Asian spices in their shops.

One of the Asian foods that I like is Chee Cheong Fun, (see explanation here). I had to learn to make this when I first came to Australia. In Malaysia, you can get this from hawker stalls all around the country, day or night. One of my favourite stall was in Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia. My friends and I used to go over there on Saturday nights after the midnight show (which actually use to start at 11.00 pm and till today, I can’t understand why it was called the midnight show!) to either eat Chee Cheong Fun or Lok Lok.

FYI, I think Lok Lok means boiling – foods such as fresh prawns, squid, meat, fish balls, quail eggs etc are skewered onto satay sticks. Patrons choose the food they like, immerse the food into boiling water to cook it and then it is eaten with sauces of your choice. The sticks are colour coded to indicate its price. When you have finished eating, you give the sticks to the stall owner and he then sorts out your bill!

Anyway, I am digressing here. Today is about Chee Cheong Fun. As you can find it in any Oriental asian grocer in Canberra, I won’t include a recipe to make it from scratch, but only my recipe for the sauce. However, if you want to make the roll from scratch, you can find the recipe here. The sauce that is used to eat this depends on which part of Asia you come from or what you are used to. Even in Malaysia, the sauce from the Northern parts of the country differs from the central and southern parts.

Here is my version of the sauce and how to eat Chee Cheong Fun. Enjoy.

3 to 4 tbsp Tim Cheong or Hoi Sin Sauce*
¼ tsp sweet prawn paste aka Hae Ko (this is not belacan) – optional* (you may need to dilute this in 1 to 2 tsp hot water). Beware, this has a very pungent smell.
1 to 2 tbsp hot/mild chilli sauce, not sweet chilli sauce* – I use either Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce or Yeo’s Hot Chilli Sauce
2 tbsp Chinese light soy sauce*
1 to 2 drops Oriental sesame oil*
1 serve Rice rolls – plain or with prawns (normally 4 rolls in a packet)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Fried onion flakes (you can make your own or buy it from Woolies/Coles/Asian Grocery shops

Mix all the sauce* ingredients in a bowl. Adjust according to your taste.

Steam or microwave your rice roll until hot. Cut into 2 cm lengths. Partially unroll the rice roll on a plate.

Pour the sauce on top. Garnish with sesame seeds and onion flakes. Ready to eat!

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