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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Just One Food - Oh Chien

Fried "Oh Chien", or otherwise known as fried oyster omelette, is a street food that's commonly found in Penang but a bit more elusive here in the Klang Valley.  These oh chien hawkers seem to be a dying breed these days as they're not easily found in coffee shops in the Klang Valley.  But, I suppose, if you have a craving, the easiest (probably) would be to get it from the Oyster King chain of restaurants.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a such a stall (new addition) in my neighbourhood's "pasar malam" (night market) the other day.  It's one of my favourites if they can get the texture and consistency right.  So, I made an order and waited for the hawker to fry it up.

The starch solution is first poured onto the hot iron pan.  He then spreads it out into a thin layer and let it crisp up slowly.  I'm not sure what goes into the starch solution (but from the information online), it could be just one or a combination of flours like corn flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, rice flour or even wheat flour.

Next, he cracked two eggs in (he was making two portions) and added a handful of chopped spring onions (sometimes chives are used) and spread the mixture around.

He pan fries the egg and starch mixture till it's cooked and waits till the edges get crispy before flipping them over.

He then adds some kind of sauce to the oysters before throwing them onto the flat pan (in the foreground).  The fresh oysters are cooked separately and not tossed with the egg mixture (his cooking technique).

A little bit more tossing of the omelette and he then dishes the omelette pieces into a box, scoop up the oysters and place them on top.  Scallop oh chien (in the background) is also available at this stall.

Overall, this was a very decent oh chien.  It had a slightly gooey sticky base at the bottom but not too thick until it had a gummy texture.  It had some crispy textures too (although it did lose some of its crispiness when I got home) and wasn't overly oily.

The oysters were fresh, decently sized, plump and briny in taste.  When you bite into one, it releases a burst of juices into your mouth....and you'll feel like you're in oyster heaven! ;D  This oh chien (with 7 - 8 oysters) costs RM10 a serve which I think is quite reasonable seeing how expensive oysters are these days.

It's best eaten with a good dollop of freshly prepared vinegared garlic chilli sauce and his version was pretty good (in fact, it wasn't enough for me).  The only thing missing was that I wished he had added some chopped fresh coriander on top to make it more fragrant and give it a bit of freshness.

The stall also does a version with scallops (which is just as good) at the same price of RM10...and the scallops aren't those tiny ones either.

I think what differentiates one oh chien from another, fresh and juicy oysters aside, lies in the consistency of the starch mixture and the frying technique...and this stall does both well.  Get these two things right and you'll have an addictive and decadent dish of skillfully prepared oh chien loved by many!  I don't know about you but I know I do!! ;-)

19 comments:

  1. Nah, even in Penang, this is a dying breed. Sure, you can find them rather easily in tourist popular hawker centers, but they are just not that common anymore in locals day to day food courts. If you go outside Georgetown/Gurney area, you can only find or chien in those bigger and more popular food courts.

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    1. Even if it's a dying breed in Penang, there are still more stalls in Penang selling this than you can find in KL.

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    2. Thats because Penang is way smaller than KL. You can easily drive from one end of the island to the other.

      In KL the population is more spread out, and no one will drive from one end of the Klang Valley to another just for food. Not worth the traffic.

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  2. I like oh chien and that looks so good! You even took the photos of that guy cooking it. If I can get my hands on fresh oysters, I am game to experiment hah..hah...

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    1. I was able to take photos of him cooking as there weren't many people around the stall, just me. You'd need a very flat pan to do this. Some things are best left to experts....haha! :D

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  3. Actually I don't like the starch layer of oh chien, if possible I want my oh chien with purely egg omelet :P

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    1. I don't like the starch layer too but this one is not too thick, so it was quite alright. I don't know if they'll do it for you with just eggs though.

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  4. had similar type at ss2 pasar malam before, not bad actually kan. but the one i truly love is the version at carnavon street in Penang.

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    1. Ya, here it's easier to find them at pasar malams then in coffee shops.

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  5. hawker stall oh chien is the best, ya! i have fond memories of my aunt buying home oh chien for dinner back when i was in secondary school ... guilty pleasure (but not so guilty for a teenager with a decent metabolism, heh) :)

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    1. Oh, I wasn't as lucky as you to be able to have that for dinner back when I was in school.

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  6. I have only eaten this oh chien in KL at Lot 10 and Pavilion's food court and they don't have that much of the starch. The ones I ate in Taipei has a lot of starch which I don't like at all. The way you described it, this one from your pasar malam is quite good, not much starch and lots of oh chien and affordable too. What a find! I have never eaten this at oyster king though I have walked by the stall in One U many times.

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    1. Oh, they have that in Lot 10 and Pavilion food courts? Yay, now I know where to go if I want some :) I've not tried the ones in Oyster King either (don't have outlets in the malls I frequent).

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  7. The first time I tried this was in Penang. We really enjoyed it.

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    1. Yup, Penang is famous for or chien....glad you liked it.

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  8. I totally agree! The good ones are a dying bread. Now a days they add so much flour.. I hate that! I love tons of egg, with crispy edges .. and fat plump juicy oysters.. is that too much to ask?! hahaha

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