Aug 28, 2012

The real Penang mamak mee goreng

This is one of my favourite foods. Sadly, I am not able to get it not only in Australia, but in KL, which was my base for more than 10 years. Strangely enough, although all types of food migrate from one state to another, the Penang mamak fried noodles is still largely found only in Penang.

My love of this dish is compelling me to tell you what is, and what is not, mamak mee goreng. 'Mamak' is a generic term meaning Indian Muslim, and mamak mee goreng usually cited is very different from the Penang style.

The recipe is hard to nail down. Many recipes online listed as mamak mee goreng, or even Penang mamak mee goreng, are not right. Cross out those which look either too pale or too dark - dark brown or black or yellow is not the colour for mamak mee. The real Penang mamak mee goreng is a orangey brown to reddish colour, and is 'wet' fried.

I cobbled several recipes together, and tried my hand at it. I must say, although it can't beat the Penang hawkers, it is the best mamak mee goreng I've had outside of Penang. (which isn't saying much because as I've said, I've never eaten it outside of Penang!)

Since I had most of the ingredients, I went on to make pasembur, which is a variety I've only found in Penang. In KL, it's known as rojak, and although it has similar stuff, the sauce is heavier and nuttier. The pasembur is lighter and more citrusy, a cross between the KL rojak and the Chinese version of it all, the 'cheh hu' (translated as 'green fish'), which is even lighter and less spicy.

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