How ‘Apek Mee’, Hakka longevity ‘birthday’ noodles, got its name

Apek Mee by The Post Restaurant & Bar at Siniawan Night Market.

By Ling Hui

BAU, May 20: Do you know that a Hakka’s compulsory birthday meal, a bowl of longevity noodles fried with manicai and sometimes eggs, is commonly known as ‘Apek Mee’ (old man noodle) by the local Hakka and Bidayuh?

Here in Bau, Siniawan, and Siburan, where the two communities live together, the Bidayuh in the olden days took to calling the Hakka longevity noodle ‘Apek Mee’ because of the printed image of an old man on the packaging.

Longevity noodles, better known as ‘Apek Mee’ by the Hakka and Bidayuh communities in Bau.

“Last time, the Bidayuh people didn’t know how to pronounce the Chinese words on the longevity noodle packaging when they were shopping for it at the grocery stores.

“So, they just said, ‘I want the ‘Apek Mee’, referring to the old man on the packaging. The ‘old man’ is actually the God of Longevity for the Chinese.

“And slowly, the Hakka also started calling the longevity noodle ‘Apek Mee’,” said Evangeline, restaurant manager of The Post at Siniawan Night Market.

The classic ‘Apek Mee’ is among the array of authentic Hakka cuisine served by the rustic restaurant and bar but improvised to be topped additionally with crispy pork belly and crackers.

Established in 2014, The Post was the very first indoor restaurant in the historical town of Siniawan to serve draught beer with food, a commendable difference from the other eateries operating with an open-air concept.

The Post Restaurant & Bar at Siniawan Night Market, Bau.
Rustic atmosphere at The Post Restaurant & Bar at Siniawan Night Market.

According to Evangeline, niece to community chief Penghulu Lai, The Post changed its menu in recent years to serve more Hakka dishes with their family recipes.

The Lai’s home cuisine includes Lamb Stew, Pork Leg Stew, Salted Mustard Green & Duck Soup, and Ngo-Hiang Meat Rolls.

“We decided to change our menu to focus on Hakka food after we heard complaints from visitors saying that they could not find any Hakka food despite coming to a historical Hakka town.

“Back then, you could see like Penang char kueh tiaw and Taiwan sausages, but not local Hakka dishes. That was why we changed our menu,” Evangeline told DayakDaily when met last night (May 19).

Other than Hakka food, The Post also serves local flavours such as Terung Dayak Chicken Soup, Midin, Stir-Fried Manicai with Egg, Ayam Penyet with Sambal as well as tuak with a variety of flavours. — DayakDaily

A rare dish customers of the Post must try – Fried local cucumber leaves.
Specialities of the Post, Siniawan – mutton stew and Hakka style chicken.
The alley beside the Post has also been turned into a conducive dining space under the stars.