There are several well-known Indian-Muslim (Mamak) Mee Goreng stalls in Ayer Itam. Two of these are located barely 100 feet apart near the iconic Ayer Itam roundabout. (1) Mee Goreng Rahim in front of En En Coffeeshop (next to Maybank) and (2) Mee Goreng @ Excelllent Cafe.
Did a back-to-back taste-test of the two rival stalls this afternoon.
Mamak-style Mee Goreng - the standard components, which are stir-fried in a metal wok over a charcoal brazier. Flavourings include meat stock (mutton or beef, cuttlefish), chilli paste, tomatoes and the chef’s secret spice mix:
- Mee Goreng Rahim, the stall is located in front of En En Coffeeshop - the placemark is that it’s next door to the Ayer Itam branch of Maybank (Malaysia’s largest retail bank).
The rendition here is gluggy, verging on (but never venturing into) mushiness - the textural preference of Mee Goreng connoiseurs - none of the “al dente” nonsense, they’ll say, holding up their hands in horror
The constant stir-frying and gradual addition of the meat stock, plus spices, during the cooking process to allow the noodle to absorb all the flavours ensured that the plate of noodles here are literally oozing strong, assertive flavours.
- Mee Goreng @ Excellent Cafe, near the Ayer Itam traffic circle and the World War II memorial, is the more established eatery between the two. It opens at 1pm sharp each day, except Friday (which is the Muslim Sabbath).
The rendition here has a more pronounced chilli heat - a delayed action, slow-burning sensation which works its way through your mouth after the initial ecstasy. Asked to choose between the two, I’d say the mamak at Excellent Cafe definitely is away ahead.