Mee in Malay means ‘noodle’, and like Taiwan, there are a large number of ways of ordering your noodles here in Malaysia. We’ve been trying out different kinds, as the guide book and dictionary we borrowed don’t have a lot of food words. (This is something we’re always surprised there aren’t more of and that really should be a gold mine – food dictionaries. And who wouldn’t want to research that?) The ones we’ve tried so far are mee goreng, mee bandung, and mee ayam.
Mee goreng simply means fried noodles, though it’s always found in a soy-sauce based sauce. Usually it’s more pasty and sticks to the noodles, not leaving much after the meal is done, but sometimes it’s a more liquid sauce. It’s an old standby – I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad dish of mee goreng, though there have been some middling ones.
Mee bandung is a little bit more exotic. I’m not sure what it translates to, but when I ordered it, I got a bowl full of a spicy curry-like soup, with nice round noodles and lots of good stuff – veggies, squid, prawns, even a bit of chicken, I think. It had a lot of kick to it – I couldn’t finish the broth by itself and had to blow my nose a couple of times during the meal – but I enjoyed it.
Mee ayam is another basic dish – ayam means chicken, so this is just chicken noodles. Thinking that that’s all it is, though, doesn’t do it justice. On top of noodles in broth are some green vegetables, pieces of rather good chicken, green onions, spicy sauce, and a topping of fried garlic. A great basic meal to be found in a lot of market stalls everywhere you go.
Mee kampung is something I tried on Tioman, I’m not sure if it’s available elsewhere, but it was a spicy, soy-sauce based sauce, similar to mee goreng. I kind of wonder if it’s just spicier mee goreng.
Mee pataya is similar to mee goreng again, but with a fried egg with the yolk broken over top of the noodles.
There is another kind of noodle that you can usually find in the same places. For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be a 100% consistent spelling of it – I’ve mostly seen it written as bee hoon, but I’ve also seen it written bee horn and mee hoon. The different is the thickness of the noodle – the bee hoon noodle is like vermicelli or angel hair, while the mee noodle is thicker, like a linguine kind of noodle. I like them both. The picture here, if I remember correctly, is simply fried bee hoon.