Mee Rebus is one of the most classic traditional Malay dishes. It’s a hot concoction of well-balanced herb and spices broth with soft and chewy noodles. Best enjoyed during a cold day and even when you have a cold yourself. Mee Rebus can be found at any Malay restaurants around Malaysia.
What is Mee Rebus?
Mee is noodles in Malay while Rebus refers to boiled. So, Mee Rebus is just boiled noodles. But it is not just noodles, the hot broth is poured into a bowl of noodles before topped with garnishes like tomato and fried shallots. Chunks or strips of chicken meat are added to give some protein and enhance the base flavour of the broth.
History of Mee Rebus
Mee Rebus is a method of preparing the noodles, but the dish presents itself in variations. Mee Siam is a type of Mee Rebus and is said to have Thai influence. Some even say the origin of the dish is Malay or Peranakan.
Mee Siam is Malay for Thai noodles in which the name has been used during World War II. Some argue that the name was inspired by Thai flavours, as the flavours and ingredients used to make Mee Siam is similar to Thai coconut rice noodle dish and Mee Kati.
Whether the noodle is Malay or Peranakan ishighly debated. It is said that it is an innovation of the Straits Chinese Nyonyas, hence exclusively Peranakan. Mrs Lee Chin Koon, a Peranakan herself acknowledged it to be from Thailand.
A food critic argues that the dish is from Penang, where the cuisine there is influence by many cultures. But the closest similarity to Mee Siam in Penang is Mee Kerabu. While others settle that the dish is a hybrid of all three cultures.
Mee Rebus is street food and back in the days’, hawkers would carry two baskets hang on each side of a pole. One basket contained a stove and boiling water while the other is filled with the ingredients to make the dish, similar to how-to Nasi Kandar was sold in the street of Penang.
But now the dish has made its way to restaurants and even hotels’ dining hall for the tourists to have a taste of the wonderful varieties of Mee Rebus.
Types of Mee Rebus
Even though not considered to be a national dish, Mee Rebus has its very own fair share of popularity among Malaysians. Different places have different takes on how Mee Rebus is like. As mentioned earlier, there are tons of varieties of Mee Rebus.
The variations of the noodles and ingredients used to make the broth speak highly of the place. Taking the example of Mee Celup and Mee Rebus Johor both are similar but distinct in style. Even though both use yellow noodles the difference is the broth. One uses chicken stock to give flavour while the latter uses beef and has a much thicker consistency.
The variations of noodles are what give the dish a wow factor because you might have an idea of what Mee Rebus is but not necessarily get what you have in mind.
Where to find Mee Rebus in Malaysia
Mee Rebus is an easy find, just walk into any Malay restaurant, you are sure to find Mee Rebus in the menu. Try some Mee Rebus from Mee Rebus Hj Wahid (Shah Alam ) that serves the original version or with bone broth. If you like crabs, get the Mee Rebus with crab broth from Kedai Mee Rebus Kuah Ketam Pak Sharif (Penang).
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