Ding Bian Hu: The Characteristic Wok Edge Paste Noodles from Sibu Sarawak
Ding Bian Hu 鼎边糊 is a distinctive soup noodle dish that hails from the vibrant city of Sibu in Sarawak. With its intriguing name translating to “wok edge paste” in Chinese, Ding Bian Hu has a rich history rooted in the early migration of Fuzhou (Foochow) settlers who made Sibu their home.
At the heart of this delectable dish lies its star ingredient—the flat noodle pieces crafted from a liquid rice flour batter. The culinary magic begins as the liquid batter is poured along the edge of a hot wok, where it instantly transforms into a thin layer of solidified dough upon contact. Skilled hands armed with a special scraper deftly scrape the dough into the simmering soup, giving birth to the distinct noodle pieces that make Ding Bian Hu truly exceptional. Once the noodles and soup have melded together, they are served in a bowl, ready to delight your taste buds.
The soup itself is a masterpiece, typically crafted from a tantalising blend of pork and cuttlefish stock. Additional ingredients such as Fuzhou fish balls, anchovies, black fungus, garlic, ginger, pepper, and fish sauce are lovingly added to the broth, elevating its flavours to new heights. What sets Sibu’s Ding Bian Hu apart from its Chinese counterpart is the ingenious use of local ingredients, most notably the renowned Sarawakian white pepper. In fact, you’ll often find a bottle of Sarawak white pepper on the table, allowing diners to add an extra kick of aromatic heat to their culinary creation. For those seeking a unique twist, some innovative establishments even prepare Ding Bian Hu with a curry-based soup, further highlighting the Malaysian flair that permeates this beloved dish.
Ding Bian Hu is not commonly enjoyed in home kitchens due to its specialised tools and techniques, making it a sought-after delicacy found mainly in dedicated eateries. While the traditional cooking method and authentic flavours may be slowly fading, you can still discover several hidden gems throughout Sarawak, particularly in Sibu, where Ding Bian Hu continues to captivate food enthusiasts. So, if you’re a passionate foodie embarking on a culinary adventure in Sarawak, be sure to place Ding Bian Hu high on your list of must-try dishes.