When it comes to the morning meal, Peranakans — an ethnically Chinese people living in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand — don’t mess around, as demonstrated by the bold-flavored dry pan mee noodles ($14.95) at the new Peranakan restaurant Kapitan (2142 N. Clybourn Ave., Lincoln Park). Owner Victor Low breaks down this breakfast favorite for us.
1. The Crunch
Imported from Malaysia, the fried anchovies “add a salty, crispy bite to the top of the dish,” Low says.
2. The Broth
Malaysian breakfast dishes often layer in flavors, and this anchovy broth adds lightly salty notes. “You can pour as much as you want into the noodles so they’re wet, or you can sip it on the side. It really puts the focus on the noodles.”
3. The Noodles
The silky wheat flour noodles are hand-pulled to order. Flat and thin, with a springy texture, they’re slicked in a double punch of soy sauce. “We use a regular soy sauce and a caramelized soy sauce we source from Malaysia that’s thicker and sweeter.”
4. The Meat
Minced pork is cooked with black fungus (“a popular ingredient in Asia that’s similar to mushrooms”), shallots, garlic, sugar, salt, and caramelized soy sauce for an umami-loaded topper.
5. The Accents
Chewy fish balls, hard-boiled eggs, and crunchy Chinese broccoli ensure that you won’t need to eat again until a very late lunch.