Gu Gong’s 7-ingredient Hokkien Popiah
Written by: Janice Lim
bout 15 years ago, my late Gugong (grand-uncle) gave me the list of ingredients verbally, with an estimated but unclear quantity and simply told me to fry them individually with salt & msg before combining them to fry and simmer.
“The key to Hokkien popiah is the 7 ingredients that goes into the main dish.”
We used to eat this dish at his house on my great grandparents’ death anniversaries and birthdays (about 3-4 times a year) lovingly prepared by him and his wife, my grandaunt. The preparation is always a family affair as all my 4 aunts and uncle would also help.
It is a simple dish but a lot of works is needed. The slicing and shredding can take up a whole day if they were cooking for a large party of 30 people. They serve their popiah with ginger tea and brown sugar to get rid of the ‘wind’ that is brought about by the large amount of vegetables.
The key to Hokkien popiah is the 7 ingredients that goes into the main dish. Every home cook uses their own combination depending on their preference. I realised that the popiah tastes equally good regardless of how much of each ingredient I use, but I’ll always try to balance up the colours of the filling. To enjoy the popiah, put the fillings and all the condiments on the skin and roll it up into a spring roll. There are no rules as to how much or what order you add the ingredients. The fun lies in creating your own popiah according to your personal preference!
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