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Kerabu Bee Hoon

They say that the sense of smell is most closely tied to that of memory, and preparing my late grandmother’s recipe for Kerabu Bee Hoon with its aroma filling the kitchen certainly brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me.

It had been almost two decades since I last had Kerabu Bee Hoon. My grandmother used to prepare it when the family came over to her house for our traditional Sunday feast.

My grandmother was a Nyonya and probably one of the best cooks of her generation. She came from a place called Lunas – a small town in the State of Kedah – on the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia. She used to sell Nyonya Kuih in Lunas. I heard from many people that she was famous for her Kuih Talam, Kuih Ko Chee, Kuih Ko Sui, and Pulut Tai Tai. Whenever I went back with her to Lunas on festivals and occasions, her old friends and neighbors would come by to say hi and mention how they missed her and her cooking. They would go on forever raving how great her meals were. When we left she would always wear a sly, self-satisfied smile.

When she moved to Penang, preparing Kuih and Nyonya dishes became her favorite past-time. Growing up in her house, I was lucky enough to savor all her cooking. I remember vividly that she loved Kerabu Bee Hoon and naturally it became my favorite too. I always grew excited whenever she talked of preparing this dish.

As years passed by, Kerabu Bee Hoon slowly faded away in my culinary thoughts as I left Penang and settled down far away. Once in a while I would crave Kerabu Bee Hoon, but I never attempted to make it myself. At many of the places I lived, it wasn’t easy to assemble the proper list of ingredients. Don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe, Kerabu Bee Hoon is really not too difficult to prepare. I will warn you though, it is time consuming.

The motivation of cooking this dish surfaced after I read about “Merdeka Open House 2006” organized by Babe in the City. To many people in Malaysia, this is probably not a very special dish but it means a lot to me. It certainly qualifies as a long forgotten recipe in my gastronomic dictionary.

So, how did my version of Kerabu Bee Hoon turn out? Well, I have to admit that it was a far cry from my late grandmother’s version. However, cooking it once more brought back the sweet memories of my almost forgotten past. And that’s what made it taste special.

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19 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. astrosurge

    whoa, js stumbled across ur site by accident. great site u got here!

    well, i like cooking too but dont archive them in my blog. i think im gonna start doing that soon. :)

  2. rokh

    yum, i love nonya food, and beehoon too! i think i tried this dish once in Sri Melaka restaurant. Yours look so much better, as that one was too wet.

  3. Jhaw

    Hello there! Nice food blog– actually it looks very professional. I’m interested to learn more Malaysian dishes from your blog.

  4. Audrey Cooks

    U have a beautiful blog! not to mention the nyonya type of food I love. Keep all those Northern Malaysian Food coming! Cheers!

  5. toniXe

    kerabu beehoon is also one of my favourites but hard to find in KL.

    funnily I will chance upon it now and then in some pub opening buffet spread !

    taste a lot like dry tomyam beehoon tho, right ?

  6. Rasa Malaysia


    Yes, you are right, it does taste a little bit like Tom Yum Beehoon. It’s one of those things that if you like it, you love it, if not, you won’t care much! :)

  7. Marc

    I just discovered your blog (via Eating Asia’s Blog Day post) and think it’s great!

    Could you provide some details about the red chilies pictured above? How were they labeled in the market? What U.S.-available variety would be most Malaysian? In other words, if a Malaysian recipe calls “red chilies” in a spice paste, what should I look for in the local market?

  8. pablopabla

    My cell group will be making Kerabu Mee Hoon for our church’s food and fun fair this May. The recipe is different and I will try to put it up at my site when the time comes ;)

  9. ev

    Way to go, keep it up. I’m living in Australia and am now teaching my children all the Malaysian Yummies that I know. Thanks for the Kerabu Bee Hoon. He.. another goody for my collection. Thanks again, keep the torch burning.


  10. lisaliyong

    I was eating my Nyoya Pong Tey for lunch while reading your Nyoya Recipes. Reading about your grandma, makes me miss my Nyoya family cooking too!

  11. Aishah

    I love kerabu bee hoon. I never knew how to make them since I only buy at the stalls. Your kerabu bee hoon recipe with huge shrimp definitely looks better that wht im used too. lol.

  12. kapriko

    tis is yummy yummmss..btw do u hv the kuih talam recipe..i do really misses it in the U.K. will really be grateful for the recipe..


  13. MS

    I always refer to your blog for inspiration on Malaysian dishes and especially Nonya dishes as I was born in Penang. I recently had Kerabu Salad whilst holidaying in Langkawi and was inspired to get a more detailed recipe. I note that your recipe does not contain Bunga Kantan as my childhood memory of this dish does have this particular ingredient and also the Kerabu Salad I recently had in Langkawi also had Bunga Kantan. Can you enlighten me on this.

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