And apom balik too!
Along Jalan Pasar Baru in Malacca, the place to eat that most locals and tourists know is the Rojak Ali Lido. However, right across the street from that household name is a roadside stall that is full of people from all walks of life almost at all times who call the stall Mee Rebus Kampung Jawa. They go there for one reason – the stall’s delicious offerings of rojak, mee rebus, and apom balik.
But first, how much do you know about these dishes? Let’s see what wikipedia has to say.
Mi rebus, mie rebus (Indonesian spelling) or mee rebus (Malaysian and Singaporean spelling) literally “boiled noodles” in English) is a noodle soup dish popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is also often called mi kuah (noodle soup).
The dish is made of yellow egg noodles, which are also used in Hokkien mee, with a spicy slightly sweet curry-like gravy. The gravy is made from shrimps’ broth, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, salam leaf (Indonesian bayleaf), kaffir lime leaf, gula jawa (Indonesian dark palm sugar), salt, water, and corn starch as thickening agent. The dish is garnished with a hard boiled egg, dried shrimps, boiled potato, calamansi limes, spring onions, Chinese celery, green chillies, fried firm tofu (tau kwa), fried shallots and bean sprouts. Some eateries serve it with beef, though rarely found in hawker centres, or add dark soy sauce to the noodles when served. The dish also goes well with satay.
In the past, mi rebus was sold by mobile hawkers who carried two baskets over a pole. One basket contained a stove and a pot of boiling water, and the other the ingredients for the dish.
Pasembur is a Malaysian salad consisting of cucumber (shredded), potatoes, beancurd, turnip, bean sprouts, prawn fritters, spicy fried crab, fried octopus or other seafoods and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce.
The term Pasembur is peculiar to Northern Peninsular Malaysia. It is especially associated with Penang where Pasembur can be had along Gurney Drive. In other parts of Malaysia, the term Rojak Mamak is commonly used. In Singapore, it is called Indian Rojak.
Apam balik (English: ‘turnover pancake’) or terang bulan (English: ‘bright moon’) or martabak manis (English: ‘sweet martabak’) common in Southeast Asia. It is usually sold at specialist roadside stalls throughout Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The pancake’s batter is made from a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, coconut milk and water. The batter is cooked upon a thick round iron frying pan in plenty of palm margarine to avoid it sticking to the pan. Then other ingredients are sprinkled as filling; the most common or traditional is crushed peanut granules with sugar and sweetcorn kernels (available from cans), but modern innovations such as chocolate sprinkles and cheddar cheese are also available. Then, the pancake is folded (hence the name: “turnover pancake”) and cut into several pieces.
The texture of the apam balik can vary depending on the amount of batter and type of pan used, from one that is akin to a crispier form of crumpets to small thin light pancake shells that break when bitten (the latter is usually called apam balik nipis, ‘thin apam balik’).
The dish has been declared a heritage food by the Malaysian Department of National Heritage.
There is a Peranakan variant, the apom balik, that closely resembles the Indonesian Serabi.
Finding the place
How do you find this Mee Rebus Kampung Jawa? By looking for Rojak Ali Lido first. Just turn 180 degrees from that restaurant and voila! The busy stall will be right there bustling with people. Alternatively, you could also follow the smell of fresh apom balik!