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KUCHING, Jan 1: It’s that time of the year again, when we’ve had our fill of festive meals and start to make our way to local joints in the city in search of our favourite meals.
Personally, this writer has enough of festive style dishes and has developed a craving for local street food.
Luckily, Kuching is a gastronomical city, and there are varieties of street foods that can suit any individual’s palate.
For this writer, nothing can beat a bowl of beef noodles or ‘Mee Sapi’ ala Kuching style.
Beef noodles are succulent dry noodles that are usually tossed with garlic oil and light soya sauce in a bowl and topped up with a few slices of tender slices of beef meat and tripe and crunchy bean sprouts.
Paired with the dish is a bowl of tasty dark beef broth. The broth comes from boiling a mixture of herbs, meat and bones for a few hours.
Or, you can have the beef noodle soup, where everything is placed in a bowl and served to the patron.
Apart from dry noodles, one can also opt for bee hoon (rice vermicelli) and kueh teow (flat rice) noodles.
There are few stalls in the city serving Kuching style beef noodles, and one such stall is the Homemade Mee Sapi stall at BDC Commercial centre.
The stall operator Ho Wei Lon told this writer recently that he learned to make beef noodles from an Indonesian noodle seller and street hawker.
“I used to work for him for two years, and he was a generous employer and taught me many culinary skills,” he said.
“The old man has since passed away, but he left his legacy with me and thanks to him, I am where I am today,” he added.
Ho said his former employer taught him to make all sorts of dishes, including curry dishes and kueh chap.
“I can do these dishes if I want to change my menu, and that is the reason I also do Mee Kari Kambing (Mutton Curry Noodles) at my stall.
“But my main focus is still the beef noodles dishes as there are more popular. I do the Mutton Curry Noodle (Mee Kari Kambing) as there are people that don’t eat beef,” he revealed.
Ho said beef noodles are targeted at specific customers as people tend to go for kolo mee.
“So those who like beef or mutton in their noodle, I am here to serve them,” he explained.
He admitted that the preparation for the beef noodle dishes is long because there is the need to boil the meat until it becomes tender.
“The beef meat needs to be tender, and the customer anticipates the texture to be like that.
“For me, tender meat is easy to cut and slice. Apart from that, I need to prepare my garlic oil and the soya sauce with secret ingredients for my noodles.
“There is also the beef broth which needs to be consistent and savoury in taste.
Another ingredient that Ho needs to make is the relish, and he will use fresh chilli and herbs.
“My customers love the relish as a dip, and they often asked me for extra.
Ho further disclosed that he needs to wake up at 4am daily to prepare before opening the stall.
“It is routine, and you feel at ease when it’s an off day,” he admitted.
Ho likes the process of making beef noodles, and to ensure that his customers get what they want, he makes sure that he targets a certain amount of noodles he will sell for the day.
“I don’t like to turn away my customers, and I will serve them the best I can.
As for his menu, Ho does give customers the option of using noodles, bee hoon or kueh tiaw for his beef noodles and charges his patron between RM6 to RM9 per bowl.
He explained that Taiwanese beef noodles, where the dish originated, is slightly different in taste and texture.
“The noodle uses stewed beef, and the broth is kind of spicy”, he explained.
“As for Kuching style beef noodles, we prepare it almost similar to kolo mee, and we add beef instead of pork. The beef broth is not spicy at all,” he further disclosed.
“I am glad that I learned from my former employer how to make a good beef noodle dish and give options for customers who love noodles,” he said
Homemade Mee Sapi stall is located at Ting’s Cafe in BDC Commercial Centre and operates daily, except Monday, from 6am to 2pm. For any inquiries, call 017-8453033. — DayakDaily