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Mee bandung muar is a noodle soup dish popular in Malaysia as part of its traditional cuisine. As the name suggests, it can be traced from the town of Muar, located in the Malaysian state of Johor. The dish can also be simply referred to as “mee bandung” or “mee muar” by the locals. Mee bandung muar is available all year round and can be eaten as part of any meals during the day, even for breakfast.
The origin of mee bandung muar is uncertain, but many sources point to the Arabian culture as the primary influence for the dish, as with many dishes in Johor, because the Arabs were one of the prominent groups of merchants who had interacted with the Johorean community. The exclusion of pork in the original recipe can be an evidence of the Arabian influence, as most Arabs are Muslims and do not eat pork. The name of the dish itself also suggests a Chinese influence, as the word “mee” is the Chinese pronunciation for “noodle.” The word “bandung,” on the other hand, is a Malay word that means “mixed,” probably in reference to the varied ingredients used in the dish. In essence, therefore, the term “mee bandung muar” can mean “mixed noodles from Muar.”
The soup of the mee bandung muar often has a very strong flavor and smell that comes from a thick “gravy” mixture of dried prawns, chilies, and beef stock. Homemade preparation often involves blending the dry ingredients together into a powder, along with some spices and seasonings to taste. The powder is then fried in some vegetable oil before adding it in the beef stock. Shrimp paste can also be added in the soup, as well as some mashed potatoes to further thicken the soup.
Once the soup is ready, it is poured over a bowl of yellow noodles that have been cooked separately. A boiled or sunny-side-up egg can then be added as a topping, though many cooks choose to add a raw egg directly in the soup and allow the heat to cook the egg before pouring the soup on the noodles. Other toppings include some vegetables like cabbage and beansprouts, strips of tofu and beef, and pieces of whole shrimp. A sprinkling of chopped spring onions completes the dish, which is best served hot. Some revised recipes of the mee bandung muar may include sour-flavored ingredients like tomatoes and tamarind that give the dish more acidity.
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