‘Real deal’ Penang Indian mee
Writer: Lin Zhen Yuan
Published: Fri, 03 Feb 2012
Indian fried mee, or mamak mee goreng, has long been a favourite among many Malaysians. LIN ZHENYUAN revisits an authentic Indian mee goreng outlet during the recent Chinese New Year.
It would be nice if we could all have our favourite hawker stalls near our homes. Unfortunately, most of the time we can only have a taste of the old favourites during the rare trips back to our hometowns.
The Indian mee goreng has been the subject of debate among Penangites and others for decades. Rarely do we get to sample the “real” Penang Indian mee goreng in Kuala Lumpur.
However, there is a shop that has been operating quietly for years in KL that is famous for its Penang mamak mee goreng. Many years ago, a friend told me that there was a shop that was the real deal as far as Penang Indian mee was concerned. At that time it was located in SS3 Petaling Jaya.
The proprietor comes from the family that runs the mamak mee goreng stall in Bangkok Lane, Penang.
Ameen has settled down in KL while his brother still runs the stall in Penang. Both speak excellent Hokkien.
Ameen, who was the boss of the Shauiya Curry House in SS3 for years, suddenly packed up and moved away some years ago. He literally disappeared from my food radar and I wandered for years in the Indian mee goreng limbo.
Then about three years ago, on the first day of Chinese New Year when I visited a relative in Taman Desa Danau, off the KL-Seremban Highway, I accidentally spotted the Shauiya Curry House.
It was a fortuitous and happy reunion for Ameen and I. He told me he shifted to the present location some time ago.
Naturally, our meeting concluded in an Indian mee goreng session that brought back lots of wonderful memories. Since Ameen is the man who knows the taste of Penangites, we insisted he handled the wok.
And Ameen did not disappoint us as the mee goreng under his capable hands was almost second to none.
Anyway, the first day of the recent Chinese New Year found me scouring for food again because the usual restaurants were closed. Shauiya was one of the few that was open for business.
However, my old friend Ameen wasn’t around. A worker said his boss was currently running a similar eatery in Sri Petaling.
The “secret” ingredients of the Penang mee goreng that separate it from the others are the slivers of dried cuttlefish, deep-fried beancurd in cubes, hard-boiled egg and a generous dose of squeezed lemon juice.
I have had several arguments with friends in the past who are familiar with the Bangkok Lane Indian mee goreng and I always insisted the piece de resistance is the sotong gravy that is added to the mee as it is being twirled around in the hot wok.
The Bangkok Lane chap who constantly rotates the wok as he fries the mee also hammers the steel ladle on the side of the wok to give the fried mee a good shake.
But if you happen to be at the stall in Bangkok Lane, keep a sharp lookout for the wok with the distinctive warped edge due to years of constant knocking.
The mee goreng which I tasted at the Taman Desa Danau Shauiya Curry House recently is remarkably similar in taste to the one sold in Seng Lee Coffeeshop in Bangkok Lane.
However, the mee rebus did not have the oomph that’s reflective of the dish over in Pulau Tikus, Penang.
But we were naturally glad that the old-time favourite, the Penang Indian mee goreng, has resurfaced and within “striking distance” too.
Klang Valley residents not familiar with the type of Indian mamak mee goreng that made Penang famous among certain social circles are often puzzled why ex-residents of the island are always praising their own “mamak mee”.
Being from the island, it is not unusual to develop some culinary longing for food that has been ingrained in our psyche during our formative years.
The Shauiya Curry House is five generations old. The Bangkok Lane stall at the corner coffeeshop reportedly has been around for about 80 years.
So, it is evident that its special brand of mamak mee goreng and mee rebus have stood the test of time. Considering how fussy Penangites are in their selection of hawker food, Shauiya Curry House and its Penang delicacies are truly representative of what Penang is.
Although Shauiya Curry House is not exactly a hop-skip-and-jump away from my home, there are times when I feel an urge to drive to the other side of KL for a quick bite of an old island favourite.
There are some things in life that never fail to bring a smile to my face. The taste, the flavour, the smells all contribute to that gentle stroll down memory lane.
These are some of the best things in life that money can buy, and they don’t cost much.
Shauiya Curry House is located in Jalan 5/109F, Taman Desa Danau.