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Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng is literally translated as fried noodles from the Malay language. It is alternatively known as Mee Goreng Mamak, “Mamak” alluding to its Indian Muslim heritage. Like Nasi Kandar, also of Indian Muslim heritage, Mee Goreng can only be found in Malaysia and not India. What sets Penang Mee Goreng apart from the Mee Goreng that you find in Kuala Lumpur or anywhere else in Malaysia is the secret sauce each vendor uses in stir frying their noodles.

Penang Mee Goreng is cooked with yellow egg noodles and is an explosion of spicy, sweet, sour and tangy flavours. The spiciness from the chilli paste is beautifully contrasted with the sweetness from the cuttlefish and secret sauce which is ladled into the wok generously when stir frying. Just before tucking in, lime is squeezed over the noodles and gives the dish a nice sour tanginess to accentuate all its flavours.

Unlike standard fried noodles which are brown in colour from the soy sauce, Penang Mee Goreng takes on a reddish-vermillion hue and is slightly damp, but not oozing in gravy. The egg noodles are vigorously stir fried with cubed boiled potatoes, deep fried fritters of flour and spring onions, thinly sliced fragrant cuttlefish, soybean curd and bean sprouts. A liberal sprinkling of chopped spring onions, deep fried shallots and julienned Chinese lettuce as garnish, and a half a lime are the finishing touches. Penang Mee Goreng can be stir fried with or without eggs. However, eggs which is stir fried into the noodles do round out the dish and gives it a little more moisture.

Depending on your penchant and tolerance for spiciness, you can ask your friendly hawker to tone down on the chilli paste or make it with extra oomph! Expect to pay RM3.50 to RM4.50 for a standard serving of this tantalizingly mouthwatering fare. At some hawker stalls you can choose additional ingredients to be included in your noodles which are laid out for your selection for a little extra cost.  So if you are feeling adventurous why not add a piece of deep fried Paru (or cow’s lung)!

At most Mee Goreng stalls, the hearty Mee Rebus would also be served. It is essentially made with the same ingredients but instead of frying, the egg noodles are blanched and served with a generous helping of a thick, tangy and savoury gravy which is made with sweet potatoes. Don’t let the vermillion colour fool you as this dish is milder in comparison with fiery Mee Goreng. Both Mee Goreng and Mee Rebus are halal. The best accompaniment to your Mee Goreng or Mee Rebus meal is a tall glass of cool, fresh young coconut juice to take the edge of the heat!

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