Sajis Indian Food: Mee Siam from my School Days!



Have you ever had one of those experiences when you eat something and suddenly felt as if you were being transported back in time to a scene from a distant past? I am sure you have. Actually taste and smell can help trigger memories which are hidden in the subconscious mind.

For example, there is one particular smell that I sometimes still come across that would invoke memories of my days at the PAP kindergarten in Toa Payoh Lor 1. It might have been the mixture of dilute red bean soup, mildew, sweat and dried urine but I haven't come across the exact same sort of smell in kindergartens nowadays.

When it comes to food, there is one that really transports me back to my primary school days at St Andrew's Junior School. I wrote about this before in my previous post on Rajis Indian food. It is a really simple dish of Indian Mee Siam which is simply Orangey Beehoon in a sweet gravy served with hard boiled eggs, but the taste is distinctive and very unlike the more common Nonya and Malay version of the dish. We used to buy a plate for 30 cents and the old man gave us a quarter of an egg cut with a piece of string hanging from the handle of the pot which I am sure was not changed for the 10 years I was in school. In fact, I think I might have eaten eggs cut from the same string as my seniors for who knows how many generations. Wierd thought that we might all be united by the same string.

Anyway, I know I am not the only one reminiscing about this type of mee siam as I did come across a lady who was asking me for exactly this Indian Mee Siam. It's just one of those fast dissappearing heritage foods that you might like to try before it's too late.

Tastewise, its sort of sweeter than the other versions of Mee Siam but savoury at the same time. In case you are wondering, the principal ingredients that go into the Mee Siam is Tau Cheo (Bean Sauce), Candlenuts and dried whitebait. This is actually my favourite version of mee siam and I wonder why it is not readily available. Maybe I am one of the few that likes it because I grew up eating it in school? 4.5/5



I don't know if Indian rojak is also losing popularity or not, but it seems to me that you don't really see a lot of this nowadays except in 24 hour joints where the rojak is procured from a supplier. Sajis still insist on making their own fresh daily and it is a tradition that I hope will enjoy a renaissance. To say that it is losing popularity simply because it is FRIED FOOD would not make that much sense since we are all enjoying deep fried stuff like Tempura and Donuts. Perhaps the dish needs to have a little makeover to appeal to the younger generation?

Conclusion

This is in all sense of the word, "Old School" Mee Siam!

Post Script:

What new flavours of Indian Rojak would you like to see? Maybe something more healthy? More vegetables perhaps? Or maybe something more fusion like cheese or salami? Or perhaps it is something that you used to enjoy that is not available nowadays? This stall owner is quite open to exploring new ideas so write in and let us know!

Sajis Indian Food
Blk 262 Waterloo St
#01-29 Nan Tai Eating House
9am - 7pm
Closed: Last Monday of the month
Sabeek 81395647



Update 15 July 2010
After renovation, the stall's name has been changed to Sabeena Indian Food and is operated by Sabeek's sister.  Sabeek is now running another stall called Siraj Indian Food at Blk 270 Queen St

31 comments:

liverpool1965 said...

dad used to bring us to makan rojak/mee siam/mee rebus here after our haircut at the old Adelphi Hotel! :)

cactuskit said...

Wow! Looks like a must-try. I love a good mee siam. You should also try Cilantro's (Marine Terrace branch) mee siam. Only served in the morning or until sold out. Jackie's mom makes them.

Anonymous said...

nice

Chocolate Reindeer said...

is there a difference between indian, malay and chinese mee siam? I thought all of them had orangey bee hoon in sweetish sauce with a hard boiled egg... now I dont know what version I have been eating all this while..

OrientalRed said...

I love indian rojak and one stall which i have been patronising for years is the one at S-11 Tampines Interchange (Just off Tampines LIbrary).

It's called Al-Maboob Rojak and its pretty famous around here. Usually long queues during dinner hours. You all should really check it out!

The items are all delightly re-fried in the fryer till golden and crispy before chopping up homogenously and served with its famous sauce.

The must try item would be this vegetable-flour that contains a cabbage of some sort with onions and flour. Awesome!

One of my favourite items is the

goodydaze said...

i stay in yishun and there used to be this elderly chinese couple whose mee siam and popiah to me is still the best there is. the bee hoon is white but the gravy how should i put it has everything in equal proportion and the taste is just right and their popiah is packed full of ingredients and its skin not too thick that you're eating dough and not too thin that it'll break if you use your chopsticks.

one fine day when i was having my mee siam craving they were closed and never to open again. :(

the thing about indian rojay is the re-deep frying that bothers me.

ieat said...

The Indian version is sweeter and less sourish. Its quite different from the other versions.

khim said...

i like indian rojak.. one of e item i will confirm take is e potato lightly coated wif a layer of reddish flour.. delicious! =)

indian rojak is akin to our chinese ngor hiang.. a lot of variety to choose from.. i like!! =p

Blur Ting said...

My son likes Indian Rojak but everything about it is so sinful, from the dough to the sauce. Funny thing though, he likes the cured red sotong with the weird rubbery taste and texture.

Damien said...

Favourite Indian rojak of all time. Ingredients are fresh and their gravy always comes hot.

The old skool mee siam is good too and it's nostalgic seeing it being kept in a plastic tub, although this time it's a toyogo one rather than the basin-type :)

Bugger said...

I believe they add a little coconut milk to the gravy for indian mee siam. The resulting gravy is murkier with a lighter colour than malay or nonya mee siam.

chocolat said...

Love mee siam! But never tried indian style before... the part about the same string cutting the eggs is funny! Made me remember that the auntie selling mee siam in my pri school used to do the same:)

CT said...

This is the type of mee siam I had in my primary school!
Years back, I used to get my fix from the lone stall selling ONLY this at Taman Serasi. Then the disappear w/o a trace.
Now I got them from West Coast FC & Haig Road FC (2 stalls selling this). And if I'm not wrong, there's a stall in Geylang Serai market selling this as well.

The famous rojak stalls at Geylang Serai and West Coast FC is not bad, too. They use sweet potato to thicken the sauce, just like the old waterloo days.

fatme said...

Indian mee siam was not sweet or sour it had it's own distinct flavour. Remember having it in 60's.. 70's..In 80's taste of mee siam took more to a malay influence becoming abit sweet and sour.It's quite impossible to get a original version of the indian mee siam nowadys without malaya influence.

Big Roar said...

Wow I never knew there was such a thing as Indian Mee Siam. Leslie, you really are quite the hawker guru!

Tina said...

Leslie, thank you very much. I was just thinking about it the other day and wondering where to find it when I got back to SG, now I know.

teochewgal said...

Leslie
Wonder if we both attended the same kindergarten. I attended the PAP kindergarten at Lorong 1 Blk 128 and subsequently transfered to Zion Gospel Mission at Lorong 1 Blk 107.

Steelman said...

Maybe can add some meat into Indian Rojak? Just a suggestion though it might seem a liitle weird and out of touch with the other ingredients in Indian Rojak

ieat said...

Thanks for the headsup CT! I will have a look around Haig Rd FC next time to see if I can find this mee siam. You should join the forum and share your knowledge of food in Singapore!

teochewgal, mine was at blk 161 I think. It was in the 70's you know. Later I went to Toa Payoh Methodist. Spent 3 years in kindergarten as my mom wanted me out of the house cos I was a little too active.

min~* said...

dough fritters stuffed with fish paste :) deep fried cheese curds. i think it'd go splendid with the peanut sauce!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you ahve not gone far enough to try good Indian Rojak and mee siam.

Go to West Coast FC and you will find 2 Indian Rojak stalls which are as good or even better than the Waterloo St one. These 2 stalls were from the Shenton Way road side hawking years ago till relocated to West Coast. Don't waste time on any of the 24 hrs stalls. The Mee Siam stall is at the row behind the rojak stall.

Business is still very good there and those who know how to eat traditional Indian Rojak will go there.

Don't try and adulterate or basterdise traditonal food till no heritage left.

ieat said...

Food is always evolving. What you term traditional Rojak might be very different from what our forefathers ate before WWII.

Take another example, Prawn Mee. The original prawn mee soup was not dark brown in colour. It was clear. But someone then added soy sauce and it became popular. So now all our Prawn Mee is dark in colour.

I am all for preserving traditional food. But if the younger generations are not enjoying it in its original form, then it will just die a slow death serving only the older folks.

I actually enjoy Roti Prata in its original form, but I also like Cheese Prata. I take either depending on my mood. So having the choice is a good thing and my kids love Cheese Prata too.

cactuskit said...

Its heartening to see that postings are playing by the rules and not including off topic comments or inflammatory remarks. No reason to tolerate trolls. Just delete those rubbish comments. : )

After reading this post, I had the urge to eat mee siam, so I had mee siam for lunch. Not at this stall though. I ate the the Parkway Parade Foodcourt stall which recently won the most popular mee siam vote in Singapore. Found it too sour and not sweet enough for my liking. But being so popular, I'm sure others like it the way it is done. : )

Man of Ideas said...

Ya, I agree, nostalgia certainly flows in whenever I eat something that reminds me of what I ate during my primary school days!

Naruto said...

There some other nice indian rojak place other than the one introduced.

The Indian Rojak at Tampines 201 Area is not bad, by a chinese uncle thou.

A lot of ingredients at a valuable price.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, i remember the Indian Mee Siam @ St Andrew School well...the corner stall (if i recall correctly next to the Chinese Laksa lady). Judging from your comments i think u are at least 10 yrs younger than me. Will definitely make it down to Waterloo soon for that nostalgic taste....

ieat said...

Ah that would make you 10 yrs younger than Smart! By the time I got there the Chinese laksa lady was replaced by a chinese Tar Mee lady.

Same string since your time perhaps?

foodphotoblog.com said...

Great food photography! Keep up the good work. Makes me want to eat your photo's.

Anonymous said...

Well you could say that I'm a member of the young generation. All I want is pure shiokness, old style, Singapura cuisine. :)
I'm salivating over the pic now......

Anonymous said...

You won't believe it..i still dream of the mee siam from St Andrew's Junior School where the quarter egg came from the metal string !!!! Was the bestest ever for 25 cents a bowl and his gravy was world class !!

ieat said...

Yeah man, that and the Char Kway Teow!

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