Malaysian Food · March 21, 2022

tomato kuey teow feature

Tomato Kuey Teow: The Unique and Tangy Kuey Teow of Sarawak

Tomato Kuey Teow: The Unique and Tangy Kuey Teow of Sarawak

Treat your taste buds to the irresistible flavours of Tomato Kway Teow, a famous noodle dish that hails from Sarawak, beloved by folks in Kuching and beyond. This scrumptious creation features flat rice noodles tossed with a medley of veggies, chicken, seafood, and a delectable tomato-based gravy. What sets Tomato Kway Teow apart is its tangy and subtly sweet taste, giving a delightful twist to the traditional Wat Tan Hor and winning the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Tomato Kway Teow proudly belongs to the esteemed family of Keo Jiap Mee, also known as Tomato Sauce Noodles. This culinary clan includes variations like Tomato Mee and Tomato Mee Hoon/Bihun. While the noodles may differ, the star of the show remains the rich red tomato gravy. To elevate the flavours, the noodles are often stir-fried on high heat, infusing them with the tantalizing smoky essence known as “wok hei.” Some versions even feature crispy deep-fried noodles, adding an irresistible crunch to the dish. Regardless of the noodle type, the tomato gravy stays true, crafted with tomato purée, vinegar, meat broth, garlic, oyster sauce, and a touch of sweetness.

In traditional Malaysian cuisine, tomatoes don’t usually take the spotlight. The use of tomatoes in Tomato Kway Teow can be attributed to a few reasons. Firstly, it may have been influenced by the Malaysian Hainanese cooking style. Hainanese chefs, who once worked for the British, often incorporated tomatoes into their dishes, gradually becoming part of the local culinary heritage. Secondly, as Kuching flourishes as a popular tourist destination in Sarawak, it’s likely that creative food vendors devised Tomato Kway Teow to cater to the palates of Western visitors, providing a familiar touch. Lastly, this dish might simply be a stroke of culinary brilliance aimed at standing out from the crowd, eventually gaining popularity through its unique and appealing flavours.

Today, Tomato Kway Teow and other tomato sauce noodles are commonly found in kopitiams (coffee shops) throughout Kuching and occasionally in other towns and cities across Sarawak. These humble eateries serve as lively hubs of local gastronomy, inviting visitors to relish the diverse tapestry of Sarawakian flavours. With its vibrant red hue and alluring aroma, Tomato Kway Teow entices famished patrons to indulge in its tantalizing combination of tastes and textures, proudly showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the region.