Loh Mei Specialist: Preserving a dying food tradition

By HungryGoWhere July 11, 2021
Loh Mei Specialist: Preserving a dying food tradition
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Also known as loh kai yik (Cantonese), Lo Mei Specialist at People’s Park Food Centre is probably the only stall in Singapore which has been consistently selling this old-time Cantonese dish since the 1990s. A stewed dish ($4/6/8) comprising a variety of ingredients: pork belly, chicken, pig’s intestines, pig skin, mushrooms, tau pok, cuttlefish and kang kong, the central ingredient to the stew is nam yu, a red fermented soybean paste that has a very distinctive flavour.

It was actually a common hawker dish in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, you would see many street hawkers on bicycles, typically elderly Cantonese selling it in the HDB estates, door to door, especially in the Tiong Bahru and Joo Chiat areas shouting “loh kai yik” “loh kai yik”!

Sadly, the standard of the dish from this stall has been falling over the years. The gravy used to be thicker, with a redder hue, and a stronger fermented bean curd taste but it seems that they use a lesser amount of nam yu (red fermented bean curd) in it, probably because of cultural changes, people don’t like the strong taste of nam yu. They also used to sell pig’s liver but no longer do so.

Even though the gravy has a thin consistency, the flavour is still fairly intense and the ingredients like the pork belly and pig skin come beautifully soft.

However, it’s still worthwhile going back to this stall because it’s so hard to find this dish and it probably won’t be long before you won’t find it any more. There is also one other stall, Charlie’s Peranakan, which sells the dish. Priced at $20, it comes in a claypot dish, feeds four people and has a gravy which is thicker and more robust. It opened in the beginning of 2017 at Golden Mile Food Centre.

This archived article appeared in an earlier version of HungryGoWhere and may not be up-to-date. To alert us to outdated information, please contact us here.



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