Who buys raw vermicelli?
Mostly hawkers, said Goh Soon Poh, of Par Corporation, which supplies broken rice to vermicelli manufacturers in Singapore. This has been the case since the industrialisation of the local vermicelli industry in the 1970s. At home, people tend to cook rice, and vermicelli is saved for special occasions such as house parties and Taoists prayers, when stir-fried vermicelli, usually flavoured and darkened with soy sauce, is the order of the day. (Temples are also one of the frequent buyers of vermicelli, says Goh.) No wonder Singapore Noodles is usually bought, not cooked at home.
Many hawkers stock vermicelli, especially those selling noodle dishes, but only as an alternative to the traditional choices of noodles. Think kway teow soup, prawn mee, curry noodle and lor mee. These hawker dishes are originally made with yellow wheat noodles or flat rice noodles (kway teow), but may be switched for or mixed with vermicelli. I like my prawn mee mixed with vermicelli, because the thick wheat noodles are too heavy to eat a full portion of. Continue reading