Vegetarian kolo mee a must-try for those seeking different take on iconic Sarawak dish

Scrumptious, vegetarian version of Sarawak's famous kolo mee.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, March 19: At first glance, Sarawak vegetarian kolo mee, when served, really looks like the original Sarawak kolo mee that most of us are are familiar with.

As for the taste, for this reporter, the vegetarian noodles is a surprisingly scrumptious, and delectable dish.

In some ways, its appearance shares many of same characteristics of its meaty counterpart.

However, vegetarian kolo mee would most likely be a healthier option as most of the ingredients are vegetable-based.

It is no wonder that Sarawak vegetarian kolo mee has its fans, even among people who don’t necessarily follow a strict vegetarian diet.

Like the more commonly found kolo mee served with meat, the vegetarian version is also made with blanched springy noodles, but instead of being tossed in pork lard, vegetable oil is used.

It is usually topped with sliced red meatless char siew (usually made from gluten), instead of roasted or fired pork char siew; stalks of green bak choy, seaweed and fermented sweet vegetable crumbs which bear a close resemblance to minced pork.

The presentation can be very close to the meat kolo mee, and many people would probably not be able to tell off the bat that it doesn’t contain any meat.

Sarawak kolo kee is a beloved favourite in the region and has fans around the world. It is a must-have signature noodle dish when you visit Sarawak.

If you are here as a visitor but happen to be vegetarian, or your religion and living practices forbid you from consuming meat, the vegetarian kolo mee offers the chance to dig into the famous Sarawak dish without any guilt.

“Vegetarian kolo mee is available in almost every eatery in every town and city in Sarawak, and many articles on meatless kolo mee are available online, in magazines, recipe books, and the newspapers. People don’t noticed,” a vegetarian food vendor told DayakDaily.

She said despite not being a vegetarian herself, she likes vegetarian dishes and learned how to prepare vegetarian food from her mother-in-law.

“My mother-in-law is a vegetarian, and she taught me how to prepare the vegetarian dishes we have at our stall here, which include vegetarian kolo mee.The dish is popular,and we have regular customers who come for it,” she revealed.

The vendor also shared that her vegetarian char siew is from a ready-made dough made from soya beans and char siew flavour.

“If you eat the dish for the first time, you either know whether it is real char siew meat or you don’t, because we also fry it before we slice it up and put on our vegetarian kolo mee,” she explained.

“Like the pieces that looked like fried mince pork is actually fried dried seaweed and dried fermented vegetable crumbs. It tastes like minced pork and look the same,” she added.

“People who never had vegetarian kolo mee before are convinced they are eating the real kolo mee dish and never give it a second thought,” she said.

So the next time you fancy a kolo mee dish, why not try the vegetarian version? — DayakDaily