Pontianak, capital of West Kalimantan, is a bustling trading port with a diverse and multicultural population. At the last census about 30% comprised Chinese and 26% Malays, and so naturally these cuisines are prolific. Although thin wheat noodles (mie) are consumed in almost all parts of the archipelago, thicker, flat rice noodles (kwetiau) are much more prevalent in Pontianak, where they’re known as mie tiaw.
Mie tiaw is especially delicious in West Kalimantan when laced with the caramel-sweetness of hekeng. A regional specialty beloved of Pontianak and the nearby city of Singkawang, hekeng is pork and prawn (and occasionally crab) mince mixed with chili, coriander and garlic, then egg and flower to bind. It’s formed into a slightly flattened log which is wrapped in a thin tofu skin, then steamed, sliced and fried. If the mie tiaw cook is particularly crafty, a steaming, glistening plate might contain both sweet hekeng slices, and salty ones. Try to resist going back the next night for more!