It was way back in 1973 when I was in Singapore. I was staying at Teluk Kurau in Katong, not far from where my father’s friend and his family lived in Siglap. They were a Peranakan family and his wife, a true blue nyonya, would cook the most delicious dishes and since their house was within walking distance, I would stroll over especially during weekends and stayed for dinner.

I loved going on Sundays – their “casino” days. The wife would cook one huge tray of mee siam with the whole works – the fried mihun with its generous garnishing of chopped chives, fresh red chilies, thinly sliced omelette and prawns, surrounded by hardboiled eggs cut into eights…and there would be a pot of spicy-looking gravy for everyone to help themselves. I did not know what actually went into the making of the delicious broth but all I knew was that there was tau cheo (fermented beans) in it and it was slightly sweet and sour and spicy. I would scoop the mihun and all the condiments to go with it onto a plate and pour the gravy over everything and eat. It was sooooooo delicious and I loved it a lot. I was able to find mee siam in some stalls in some coffee shops in the island republic as well, probably in Katong – I can’t remember exactly where now…but unfortunately, they all paled in comparison.

I tried cooking it myself once, following a recipe in some cookbook that my missus had but it was a total disaster. For one thing, at that time, I wasn’t really into cooking yet…and for another, I was and I still am hopeless at following recipes. Perhaps I should give it a try again one of these days and see if I could fare better this time around.

Of course, I was thrilled to bits when I heard that I could get to eat it at this coffee shop in town – their “Singapore Mee Siam” (RM4.00)…

AhHockKia mee siam 1

…but when it was served, I must say that I was very very disappointed.

It did not look anything like what I had in Singapore back in 1973. The only consolation was that despite the lack of colour, the gravy was very nice – it did taste something like what I had way back then, with the tau cheo and all. Unfortunately, the mihun was a bit too hard…

AhHockKia mee siam 2

…like it had not been soaked in hot boiling water long enough and not only did the colour not look like the mee siam that I knew it to be but it was, in fact, quite colourless. Besides, there wasn’t much garnishing other than the slices of hardboiled egg, the chives and the bits of taupok (fried bean curd).Β On the whole, it tasted all right – not too bad…if only the mihun had been softer.

Well, beggars can’t be choosers. I did have what they called mee siam at this place once – when it was under the previous management (before it became a Thai restaurant) and they had a new chef reporting for duty that very day when I dropped by. It came out looking like any fried mihun in any of the coffee shops around and it did not even taste half as great, plus it was so very oily that I could barely finish half of it. I don’t know of any other place in town where I can get mee siam so I will just have to be happy with this one or try and cook my own or wait till I go over to Auckland where I’m sure my most wonderful friend there will cook her mee siam

S's mee siam 1
*My NZ friend’s photo*

…for me to enjoy to my heart’s content.

One thing’s for sure, hers certainly looks like what I had in 1973…

S's mee siam 2

…but of course, the test of the pudding is in the eating and until I can get to eat that myself, I will reserve any further comments on her culinary skills. Hint! Hint! Hehehehehehe!!!!!

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

26 thoughts on “1973…”

  1. shereen…how to cook this? Cant find in KL la. Or rather its not up to my expectation. The Mi siam here all bland one . Very long time I havent had mee siam 😦

    Hah!!! I have her recipe… The only thing now is to wait till I can find the time…and when I do not feel so lazy. Hehehehehehe!!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Kathy,
      Ask Lay if my mee siam nice or not. I cooked for her when she came to my place to give me those nice keropoks, sambal belacan ( power..fuyoh!) and pokok cili. If nice, in my blog ada the recipe.

      By invitation only, where got everybody can go and see… πŸ˜‰

  2. hehehe….come to JB and Singapore for the mee siam. I just had one last week. Btw, the mee siam in Singapore a bit different than JB. It’s more sweet and sour and soupy.

    Soup because they add too much gravy? Not supposed to be soupy one…just enough gravy for the mihun. Must be some ciplak, no-class-at-all one!!! JB’s one different? Taste the same or not? Seems these days, no holds barred – all don’t really know how to cook the real thing – anything goes. I hear some with tom yam gravy some more… 😦

  3. mee siam is one of my fav food! love that it’s spicy and sour! hmmm

    Where to get real nice nyonya one? Malacca kah? Not the ciplak one wor… I want the real thing!

  4. shereen’s looks menacingly hot… my ahkong asked me to go buy beehoon once, came back with this, kena marah… apparently beehoon to him is laksa… laksa = beehoon wat… neway, that’s my first time makan mee siam… taste ok lah… kena ask shereen wat she put in it.. or better still, go teach lcs so she can cook for me the next time she comes back.

    Laksa is bigger leh… The ones they use for Penang assam laksa. Ummm…who’s lcs?

    1. SuperWeightKoalabear…adui, panjangnya nama! Kathy has access to my blog, suruh dia pi buat. Mee siam all colour like this one..look saja very menacing but taste very pondan one. Arthur, LCS is SuperWeightKoalabear’s ( takda shorter name kah?..lol) sister. Living nearby.

      Itulah! Almost as many letters as in the whole alphabet! Tsk! Tsk! LOL!!! πŸ˜€

  5. My Mom happens to be famous amongst relatives and friends for her mee siam. They would make special requests when they have any home event. I’d better master her recipe πŸ™‚

    Your mum’s another true blue nyonya. I bet her mee siam is out of this world. Any chance for me to get to try some? πŸ˜‰ You’d better go and learn – it seems that very few people can cook this, the real authentic stuff, now…and everybody takes shortcuts and comes out with some miserable stuff that they try to pass off as mee siam. Tsk! Tsk!

  6. My hubby loves that mee siam style. Can’t find it in KL unless MIL cooks it. Lot so of work but very quick to eat.

    That’s true. Nyonya cooking’s like that what! Lots of preparation, lots of ingredients…but to them, it is a labour of love…and the taste is simply out of this world!!! Your MIL’s nyonya from Malacca?

  7. 1973 .. I m still swimming….
    The last pic of mee Siam certainly looks good….
    Not so fancy abt mee Siam… Normally will not order if see in d menu…
    Nowadays my wife don’t take spicy food even though is just a bit…

    Oh? I know some people who can’t take spicy stuff for one reason or another. Ya…1973 – many not born yet, I know. I’m ancient – a dinosaur! 😦

  8. yuppp! mee siam should be red in color, but hardly i can find in Penang too. but i think closest to it would be meehoon siam. hahaha

    What’s the difference? Nice or not? Next time, I go to Penang, you take me there and belanja me makan, can? I wanna try. LOL!!!

  9. I love anything sour and spicy! I always finish my Mee Siam to the last drop!

    You do? Where can I get a really good one in Singapore these days? Have to go back to Katong? Any at Peranakan Place, Orchard

  10. Not really a great fan of mee siam. Anyway, 2 thumbs up for Shereen for her mee siam whereby Arthur claims that it looks exactly what he had in 1973. Cheers!!!!!!!..

    Yup! What I had looked like that…more or less. Shereen’s a nyonya and great cook – can cook all the peranakan specialties, so lucky the hubby and son. πŸ˜‰

  11. Damn… even the beehoon looks so appetising right now. Am going to Sibu tomorrow so will pack up on my Sibo-food intact! Wohooo!!

    Will email you my hp contact, maybe we can meet up sometime…

  12. I was scratching my head when looking at the first pic. Not exactly the one I used to have. Yes……Shereen’s one looks the best!!

    Ya…definitely did not look like what I had before either. Thankfully, the gravy’s a bit similar and isn’t too bad. On the whole, not something I would want to eat again. 😦

  13. 1973? So long ago..i am just 1 yo? hahahhahah

    Mee siam, i have not try the “real” one before. But at the morning market near by place, there is one lady got sell mee siam, those economy type, If you can remember, last year my boys birthday i order that for our picnic celebration. It is red in colour, taste good, a bit sour and a bit spicy, but not much ingredient, since it is just “economy” type, sometime you will find a little anchovies in there. She know i like it a lot, always will let me know earlier when she cook mee siam. kekekek

    Shereen’s one look so so good!!! Make me drool. I can said, sure it taste as good as it look. Ya, lucky her hub and her boy.

    I wonder where I can get a really good one – all the works…like Shereen. Loved it a lot… Wah! 1973, just 1 year old…and I was already disco-ing away at the time. Muahahahahaha!!!!!

  14. mee siam in KL is mostly white and lacking of flavours too. your friend’s one looks impressive πŸ˜‰

    Latest: Worst in Town

    So I’ve been told…and it’s just mihun with tom yam gravy, they say – definitely not the real thing! 😦

  15. 1973?? i’m not in this world yet, haha!! Shereen’s mee siam looks a lot nicer!!

    Ya, I know…you’re so very young. Don’t rub it in. LOL!!! πŸ˜€

  16. 1973…still not in this world yet..ahem!! Mee siam is one of my favourite but you seldom can find the real authentic ones even in Melaka. However, I was in Singapore last year and I managed to eat it in Changi Airport, terminal 3 if I’m not mistaken .A bit pricey but taste wise pretty good although not much rencah. I’ll definately cook this for you when you come over πŸ™‚

    I’ve been to Singapore a number of times over the years…but I did not even get to see mee siam anywhere – but I usually hang around Orchard. Maybe I should go back to Katong if I ever happen to go there again. 😦

  17. singapore mee siam – my favourite la…

    Where are you? In KL? Penang? There’s Singapore mee siam? I wonder where I can get it, a really good one that’s worth the calories – never seen it at all wherever I go…

  18. shhhh…..I have tasted the infamous Mee Siam cooked by Shereen….very very chun…now, who wanna make rombongan to come and taste Shereen’s Mee Siam πŸ™‚

    You know Shereen? When did you make the acquaintance? How come I don’t know? Cheshhhhh!!!!! Never mind! She can cook for me when I go over to Auckland…and you can treat me to something else…EXPENSIVE! Hehehehehehe!!!!!!

    P.S. Hey!!! You’re the lcs SuperWeightKoalabear mentioned in his comment earlier!!! Hmmmm…his sister, eh? Small, small world indeed!!!

    1. yes indeed…I am SWK’s little sister who is not so little! Shereen cheh cheh, you can use his abbrevation SWK πŸ™‚ hmmm….the more I call her cheh cheh, the more yummy food I will get…plotting and planning…

      Cikgu Arthur, buat la rombongan sama belajar ke AKL…bawak budak budak tu sekali

      Sigh!!! Harap2 tonight strike it BIG!!! Then I can bring rombongan, no problem. πŸ˜‰

  19. so mee siam is a nyonya dish ? I thought it was from the Malay because have lots of malay friends back in Johor and was influenced by their food. Mum learn to cook mee siam from her malay friends.

    Nyonya’s supposed to be Malay-Chinese fusion mah…so many similarites in their cuisines…and ayam pongteh is chicken cooked with taucheo – the Chinese also have that but the nyonya’s has extra ingredients so supposed to be nicer. Just like our Melanau and the Iban dishes – some are more or less the same too – maybe, not exactly but almost similar.

  20. The first two photos of the mihun didnt look appealing at all, looks hard and dry to me.. So when are you going to Auckland? Quick, quick… AA tickets are going cheap… hahaha….

    Unfortunately AA flies Christchurch…and it is stopping this route next week, end of this month…if I remember correctly. Go, book AA lah…you may end up in New Guinea instead of New Zealand. Muahahahahaha!!!!! πŸ˜€

  21. I love mee siam. Mum and I will never miss ordering this if they have it in the menu.

    I hope to try and cook my own someday. If you see me blogging about it, then it must be good. If not, then it probably is a disaster and I’m keeping very quiet about it. LOL!!!

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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