There's more to mee rebus
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This is one of the most boring dish names. Mee rebus simply means boiled noodles in Malay.
And yet people would queue for it because the mere mention of mee rebus conjures up something more.
It's like chilli crab, really a misnomer with all the spices, eggs, sambal and vinegar or lime.
Since the closure of Selera Kita Mee Rebus in Changi some years ago, there has been a void. The humble legend had no successor - or so we thought.
Mee rebus is made with a meaty stock, a taucheo-based rempah, grago (dried krills) and sweet potato mash (and/or sweet potato starch) as a thickener.
This is slathered over boiled noodles and the edgier ones include traces of lamb or beef to, well, beef things up.
There are a few stalls offering mee rebus at Haig Road Hawker Centre at Block 14, Haig Road.
I find two natural successors to the Selera Kita phenomenon and one of them is in a league of its own.
WALITI HJ MAZUKI
#01-18 (6am-7pm, closed on Fridays)
GOOD STREET FOOD: Mee rebus from Waliti Hj Mazuki is thick, sweetish yet instensely savoury. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
This is as close as it gets to the famous and defunct Selera Kita.
The all-important sauce is thick, sweetish yet intensely savoury with heavy accents of grago.
The egg, green chilli and bean sprouts lend texture but, like the others here, they sprinkle fried shallots instead of crispy krills on top.
Best is to bite into the bits of fresh, cut green chillis as you take a mouthful of the noodles and sauce with a little chunk of egg.
AFFANDI HAWA AND FAMILY
#01-21 (10.30am to 8pm, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Boss Affandi Ahmat now has his son Ahmad Tarmidzi, 30, helming the show.
GOOD STREET FOOD: Mr Ahmad Tarmidzi with his dad and boss, Mr Affandi Ahmat. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
Mr Ahmad took a leap of faith eight years ago to inherit the family stall business.
Their sauce is thick, almost curdling thick, with faint hints of lamb off-cuts and fats. Very alluring.
It is very hard to tell theirs apart from Waliti's version, safe for that hint of gaminess.
I think no one wants to rock the boat and divide the customers, they just want to keep it sane, safe, similar and superb.
GOODY N JOLLY
#01-71 (10am to 6pm, closed Mondays and Thursdays)
GOOD STREET FOOD: Goody N Jolly's version of mee rebus. PHOTO: KF SEETOH
It initially made its name running an old food court stall at the basement of Parkway Parade.
When new management took over, it moved out and around before roosting here, next to a beverage stall.
This version follows the Chinese-Nonya style.
It is very savoury and hardly any sweetness was detected, unlike the versions by Waliti and Affandi.
You can nickname this the "Chinese" style but I'll simply call it a delectable one.