Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Johor delicacy named after another place

In my earlier post about the cookbook Nostalgia Medan Selera, I included a photograph of the book turned to a page showing the recipe called Mee Siam. The main element of this dish is rice vermicelli (or better known as beehoon) cooked in a mixture of dried shrimps, shrimp paste and blended dried chillies. Other ingredients fried together in the mix include onions, fresh prawns, bean sprouts with final garnishing of diced pre-fried bean curds and chopped chives. But this is no ordinary fried beehoon. What makes it unique is the special gravy made with fermented beans (tauco) and tamarind juice.

Although called mee siam, the Siamese have no inkling of what it is. The dish takes its name from the rice vermicelli which originates from Thailand.

Another Johor favourite with a misleading name is Mee Bandung. If you are in a restaurant in Bandung, Indonesia and happen to order this dish, all you'll get is a very puzzled look from the waiter.

The Muar district of Johor claims to make the best mee bandung in the state. In the old town of Muar (also known as Bandar Maharani), there are a few places that specializes in serving this noodle dish but our favourite has always been Mee Bandung Abu Bakar Hanipah at Jalan Abdullah, right in the middle of town. Last Sunday, we were in Tangkak to visit my brother-in-law. On the way back, we decided to make a detour into Muar town just for the fun of it... and of course, stop by for a plate of mee bandung.

En. Abu Bakar operates from a small stall within a Chinese coffee shop. I first visited this place back in the mid-80's and the taste of his mee bandung has remained the same, delicious as always. These days, he has two other branches in Muar, run by his son and daughter, but he still remains at the modest stall where it started. He has even expanded his business to sell his homemade bandung mix, neatly packed for storage in your fridge. With this paste, you can now make your own mee bandung at home by just adding the fresh ingredients and yet still maintain that authentic taste. It is a recipe handed down to him from his father since 1930.

En. Abu Bakar is a friendly old man. When he was not busy, he came to our table for a chat. We found out that the popular mee bandung muar stall near our home in JB is run by his nephew. That explains the very similar taste. At the end of our meal, I requested for photo shot with him and he willingly obliged. The wall of the kopitiam is adorned with pictures of celebrities and VIPs who have dropped by to savour his dish.

If you happen to be in Muar town in day time, try to look for Wah San Coffeeshop at Jalan Abdullah. Finding a parking space during weekdays can be quite a torture but the mee bandung is really worth it. And the coffee is quite good too.

Old shophouses along Jalan Abdullah
Wah San Kopitiam from the front
A nice teatime meal of mee bandung, satay and kopi muor
Celebrity pics on the wall. See if you can recognize any
The man himself flanked by the missus and yours truly


JohorMali said...

Bro Oldstock,
Still about the food theme of Muar, i wonder any Muaran remember about a nasi beringin stall by the roadside near the taxi stand in the 70's.
I was introduced to this meal by my close buddy (aruah) and he did mentioned that once you've tasted the nasi beringin, it will be addictive. And sure enough I had this for breakfast every morning whenever I was in Muar.
As usual rumours flew around that the nasi beringin was laced with a substance consume mostly by hippies those days.
Perhaps the spices they put in might include kas kas, commonly used by our Indian and mamak resaurants.
Hence too much of it may have the same effect as what many hippies would experience.

Amelia said...

Hi Oldstock, I sure love the mee siam with kuah...one of the best sampai nak jilat pingan juga. hahaha

I use to have it at Dann's cafe in Taman Daya. So far the best mee siam kuah in JB. They are specialize in authentic Johor cuisine. And their nasi beryani hyderabad is delicious.

I'd yet to try Muar mee bandung but that plate of bandung sure look excellent and tempting. The satay look delicious too.
Thanks for sharing.

Have a nice week ahead, regards.

Zara AB said...

Tried this Mee Bandung before. Mmmg sedap! As for me, its the best compared to others.

Al-Manar said...

Two days ago that Nostalgia Medan Selera arrived. I am poorer by whatever but hopefully will get back through some of the very tempting recipe.

And now you are about to advertise another book. I will buy at what ever cost if that is about Mee Johor, the best of all mees. I fell in love with that in the 70's. We were staying in Kebun Teh and that mee was that Haji's mee sold near the bus stop in town (then).

In fact what my other half needs is just the original recipe of that particular Hj. Will you get one for a fee, or for a special keropok lekor?

Mamaboyz said...

mr oldstock, if u happen to be in tangkak again just come and visit us at jasin, 20 mins away! keep my number 0133684130 :)

Oldstock said...

Sdra JohorMali,

I previously wrote about nasi beringin in a post in May 2011. In the mid-80's, there was this pushcart foodstall that operates at night time at the old central market in JB (now already City Square). My housemates and I (all still bachelors) would frequent this stall for dinner because the nasi beringin was tasty and relatively cheap. When the central market was demolished, the stall operator could've moved elsewhere but we never could find him.

A friend from Muar then introduced me to another nasi beringin stall in Tanjung Agas. This stall also operates at night time and was quite popular. Not sure if it is still there now.

As you mentioned, nasi beringin ni memang ada kick. Sadly, I've not yet found anyone selling it here in JB.

Oldstock said...

Hi Amelia,

Is this Dann Cafe you mention still in business? If so, I'd really like to give it a try, especially that Hyderabad beriani.

Do give the mee bandung muar a try but you must come to Johor to get the real taste. You have a good week too.

Oldstock said...

Hi Zara,

According to some friends, there are other places in Muar that also serve delicious mee bandung but I don't know if they are better than this place.

I've popped over to your blog and see that you've recently been to Penang. That's another favourite place of mine for delicious food.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Oldstock said...

Pakcik Al Manar,

Glad to note that you have received a copy of Nostalgia Medan Selera. The mee that you mentioned I believe is Mee Rebus Haji Wahid, a famous one in JB. The business is now run by a few of Haji Wahid's descendants at a number of branches.

There is a recipe for mee rebus Johor in that book you just purchased but I can't vouch whether it tastes as good as Hj Wahid's recipe. My missus says she'll try cooking it soon and I'll let you know then.

Oldstock said...

Dr Mamaboyz,

Thanks for the offer. Will let you know the next time we are in the area.

Amelia said...

Hi Oldstock, yes Dann's cafe still going strong. It's at No: 42, Jalan Sagu 15, Taman Daya, JB. Sunday closed.

Don't forget to try their signature dish Morrocan Chicken with nasi lemak. Nasi serai is also one of the best. I practically love every edible dishes that's in their menu. In fact I'd tried all their authentic food.

Check out their mini teapots collection from all over the world.
Owner of the cafe is very friendly.

Nasi hujan panas is available st Selera Anggun Restaurant @ no 7, Jln. Sagu 17.

Enjoy your makan mania. :)

bookseller said...

Hi Mr Oldstock!

Thanks for sharing.. :)

Saya tak minat makan mee, but somehow, reading all this, rase tak sabaq nak visit Johor satu hari nanti..dan for sure nak cuba this mee.. insyaallah.. :)

JohorMali said...

My take on Mee Bandung ABH is it's nice but the sweet taste of sugar is a wee bit pronounced. ( perhaps Muarians have a sweet tooth, for even their asam pedas is a bit too sweet for me, unlike asam pedas B. Pahat or Melaka. Is it about using gula pasir instead of gula melaka ? No offence intended please). The satay (for breakfast!) is awfully good.
In JB please try the mee bandung at Adi's stall at Tepian Tebrau. For mee siam kuah, Dell's Cafe at Jalan Kuning T Pelangi is worth trying.
Well , for Mee Rebus, nothing beats the concoction of Hj Wahid's. But there are variations that deserve the mention here, like mee rebus tulang ZZ, or mee rebus at restoran 60an, Setulang laut. But I really missed the mee rebus Lan Janggut at the old Komtar.

CS said...

Tak sangka you are still 'at it' sebab I memang nak cakap benda yg somewhat sama.

Did you or your mrs watch Nona last week? Sigh cos I missed it (dpt tengok iklannya aje). Diorang interview pasal buku baru Medan Selera tu.

Oldstock said...

Hi Amelia,

Thanks for the info. Will try out Dann's Cafe pretty soon. Are you from Johor? You seem to know quite a number of good makan places too :-)

Oldstock said...


Let me know when you come down to JB. I'll belanja you makan mee... macam-macam mee ada. Mee rebus, mee bandung, mee siam.. nak makan selain dari mee pun boleh.

Oldstock said...

Sdra JohorMali,

I agree with you about mee rebus Lan Janggut. I prefer LJ's mee to Hj Wahid's. Dulu time warung berniaga malam kat carpark Komtar, this used to be my regular visiting spot.

ZZ mee rebus tulang is now a regular of mine but I like to visit their branch at Damansara Alif.

Oldstock said...

Cik Som,

Kalau nak cerita pasal makan ni memang tak habis...

I didn't catch that Nona slot featuring Medan Selera. Maybe my missus did. She wants to try the mee rebus recipe in the book but I'm asking her to try the harisa recipe first.

Amelia said...

Hi OldStock, ya..I'm a Johorean.
Being eating Hj. Wahid's mee rebus for the past 3 decades too. I used to frequent warung kat Mahmoodiah, Restaurant Zam Zam behind hospital.

Too bad Harunmanis Cafe at Jln Ibrahim closed down otherwise their menu is one the best. Mini roti pratha size 3" with kuah sardine not be be miss. The warung is in front of AIA building. But his business hour pun mini 12pm to 3 pm only. Cepat habis, finger licking good!

That's all for the time being or else my comment macam tulis blog posting. LOL

Have a nice weekend cari2x makan. I nak pergi main masak masak kat my dapur.

Oldstock said...

Hi Amelia,

You are welcome to comment anytime. No need to worry if it's too long like a blog posting :-)

HLiza said...

Waaa rindu Mi Bandung Muar!

Oldstock said...


Orang Melaka mesti dah biasa rasa mee bandung muar ni.

There was this one time we went to Melaka for a relative's wedding. Lepas wedding tu, boleh balik singgah Muar just to makan mee bandung, walaupun baru lepas makan nasi kenduri.

Papa-NtiQ said...

Hi bro....i dah create a new entry in my blog masa makan kat dann's cafe....and thanks for your comments on dean briyani hyderabad

Oldstock said...

Hi Papa Antik,

Dean Briyani Hyderabad is currently my no.1 beriani place in JB... but still not on par with my mom's beriani, hehe...

Ok, will pop over to read your new post. Thanks.