Monday, October 5, 2009

Char Siew Chai Wantan Mee

Noodle tosser wooes the crowd

  • Chen: The unique noodle-tossing act has boosted his business. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
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Noodle vendors normally go about their businesses in a "proper" manner.
Not for this guy who begs to be different from his peers!
He has conceived a different way of handling his noodle, by tossing it high up in the air as if he were making "teh tarik."
He has his own way of explaining his unique cooking style. By tossing the noodle, he said the noodle would be tastier, as the water on the noodle would be drained, making it easier to absorb the sauces.
Another reason is that he finds that by handling the noodle this way, he has managed to draw a crowd of people to watch his "performance," especially kids.
According to him, this has also helped boost his revenue by as much as 30%.
This noodle tosser is Chen Wenxiong, affectionately known as "char siew chai" by those well acquainted with him.
To him, his business could be so much different with only a little dose of brainy idea.
Home-made noodle and char siew
He started helping his family sell noodle at Pengkalan Hulu, Perak, since he was 12. He came to Kuala Lumpur alone for work at 27, and is 45 years old now.
Over the years, he has been selling noodle at a number of locations ranging from Kepong, Sri Hartamas, Damansara Uptown to SEA Park. He is currently running his noodle shop with a friend at Taman Paramount, selling "wantan" noodle and "char siew" rice.
Thanks to his unusual way of cooking, he proudly said his noodle was quite unlike that of other people, and all his noodle and "char siew" had been made by himself.
Practise three months to master the skill
About a year ago, he made up his mind to master the skill of "tossing" the noodle after discovering that by modifying the way of cooking and engaging a "noodle-tossing" stunt, he could improve his business and lure more diners to his shop.
He practised "tossing" the noodle for about three months. He always missed initially, but now he gets so used to the act that he would feel uneasy not "tossing" the noodle.
Chen said he sold about 400 portions of noodle a day, most of which was handled by himself while his apprentice handled the rest.
When asked whether his hands would get tired tossing so much noodle, he said it wasn't a problem as he loved doing it.
Other than the unique "noodle tossing" antic, Chen has also set up his own website to promote his business: www.charsiewchai.com

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