Mee Goreng is a classic Malaysian dish that is often found at street stalls. It originated from Southeast Asia and is widely available in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. Mee Goreng can be said as a dish that is the result of the combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian culture which is how this rich, spicy, sweet, sour, and savoury dish was created.
What is Mee Goreng?
Mee Goreng is a phrase in Malay that can be translated to fried noodles. As the name indicates, it is thin yellow noodles fried in cooking oil with garlic, onion, chillies, egg, soy sauce, vegetables. Depending on the consumer’s preference, prawn, cockles, chicken, or beef can be added to the dish as well.
It is so famous that it can be found everywhere in the country from street-hawkers to high-end restaurants. There are many types of Mee Goreng sold at different regions. It can also be in different colours, ranging from pale beige to a bright or deep red version of Mee Goreng depending on the recipe.
History of Mee Goreng
Mee Goreng was derived from Chinese chow mien, and it is believed to have been introduced to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore by the Chinese immigrants. It is also strongly associated with the Indian-Muslim community. Some sources said it was initially sold in Malaysia via a push-cart stall in the early 20th century.
Types of Mee Goreng
Most of the Mee Goreng are simply named after the ingredients used in it. For example, the names of some Mee Goreng such as Chicken Mee Goreng, Prawn Mee Goreng, and Seafood Mee Goreng are indicative of the meat or side ingredients added to the noodles.
The most famous type of Mee Goreng is Mee Goreng Mamak which is also known as Penang Mee Goreng and is usually sold at mamak restaurants throughout Malaysia. It differs from other Mee Goreng through the use of spices, chillies, tomato sauce, sweet soy sauce, and curry spice. It also has slices of fried beancurd, boiled potatoes, cabbage, squid, egg, and chicken meat to give it a rich and savoury taste.
Mee Goreng Mamak is commonly mixed with prawn fritters as well, which gives a crunchy texture to the meal.The addition of a wedge of lime at the side completes the dish.There are versions which uses dried instant noodles instead of fresh yellow wheat noodles.
In the alternative version, the instant noodles are not stir-fried but boiled and seasoned after discarding the water. The instant noodles are usually accompanied by powdered instant noodle seasonings, sweet soy sauce, and crispy fried onion. It is known as Maggi Goreng and is very common in Malaysia.
Besides that, the cooked instant noodles can also be used to replace yellow noodles and fried according to the original recipe. There is also Punggol Mee Goreng, which is closely related to Peranakan Chinese-style Mee Goreng. It consists of yellow Chinese noodles fried with various spices, seafood, bean sprouts, and coriander.
Where to find Mee Goreng in Malaysia
It is available in most restaurants and can definitely be found at any mamak restaurant. You can get Penang Mee Goreng from Mee Goreng Mamak Alma Food Court (Penang) or try the various versions of Mee Goreng from Wahab’s Restaurant (Kuala Lumpur).
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