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Cheap & Good

Mee rebus from an heirloom recipe at Suhaime's

I often go to Geylang Bahru Hawker Centre to get my fix of hawker fare. There, I play a game of Eeny Meeny Miny Moe in choosing what to eat as many stalls serve really good food.

Time flies and realisation strikes me that the centre's scheduled date of closure for renovations - Nov 1 - is just days away. With some of the stallholders taking a break during the revamp, I had to decide quickly on the best dishes to eat again before the hawkers dispersed.

At the top of the list is the mee rebus ($2.50) at Suhaime's. It may seem like a simple dish, as the fairly typical ingredient list in this version suggests - springy yellow noodles, a boiled egg, tau pok, bean sprouts, fried shallots and spring onions drenched in a potato-based gravy and topped with a small lime and cut green chilli.

But mee rebus, which translates to boiled noodles in English, is not easy to do well. The gravy, the heart of the dish, not only requires patience and hard work, but also a flair for getting the taste (piquant, but not too spicy) and texture (not too cloying, but not watery either) just right.

But Mr Suhaime Sa'ed's mee rebus gravy hits the spot. The very clean plate at the end of my meal is testament to its goodness as I hardly ever finish other versions of mee rebus I have eaten to date.


ST PHOTO: HAU BOON LAI

  • SUHAIME'S

  • 01-2879 Geylang Bahru Hawker Centre, Block 69 Geylang Bahru; open: 6am to 5pm, but often finishes earlier about 3.30 to 4pm; closed on Tuesdays. The centre is closing for renovations from Nov 1 this year to Oct 31 next year

    Rating: 4/5 stars

The 65-year-old, whose name is on the signboard, has a recipe with a pedigree: It came from the owner of a street stall in Geylang Lorong 1, who passed it on to him after she retired. He is so proud of it, smaller print on the board reads "inheritors of geylang lorong 1 mee rebus".

But he has every reason to be because he has done justice to the legacy. His wife and partner at the stall, Madam Zainab Mohd, 63, said costs may rise, but no shortcuts and cheaper replacements are allowed in keeping to the recipe.

Much like the Geylang Lorong 1 stall, Suhaime's mee rebus has great street cred - queues are known to form in the mornings around 6am for the dish, with many doing takeaways for breakfast at work.

The stall also does a very good nasi lemak ($3) - the chicken drumstick is small but well-marinated and packed with flavour, the thickish egg omelette is no ornament and the chilli reminds me of what used to come in nasi lemak packets sold in the street stalls of old.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 23, 2016, with the headline 'Mee rebus from an heirloom recipe'. Print Edition | Subscribe