Comfort food during these difficult times

The Wife needed to head out for a grocery run and since we were going to be out in the wild, we decided to have a late lunch first at our favourite mee rebus stall.

Rahim Muslim Food started out in 1957 at Upper Serangoon but we only discovered it recently. The first time we ate there was a couple of years back when they were at Ang Mo Kio Block 721, but they have since moved to Chong Boon Market at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10.

This was actually our second attempt this month. The last time we got there at around 5 o’clock for an early dinner, they were completely sold out even though they’re supposed to close at 7.30pm.

Learning from our previous mistake, I checked their Facebook page for their latest status and was glad to see that (1) they were open, and (2) they were not (yet) sold out. They appear to update their FB quite diligently, so it’s best to check before going.

We took a bus there and tried to be as anti-social as possible, but it was challenging given the numerous excitable school kids that were just let out from class. When we got there, we noticed that alternate seats in the hawker centre had “X” stickers on them for social distancing.

There’s sort of like a golden time frame to reach Rahim if you want to order both their mee rebus and satay. Get there too early, and their charcoal grill for satay isn’t fired up yet. Get there too late, and they sell out of everything completely.

We ordered at 2.30pm but their grill wasn’t ready yet. Strike two, but hopefully third time lucky, when we try again around 3pm next time. Persistence is key.

There was one lady in-front of me in the queue who ordered a large amount of takeaway, so it took a while to get our food. We checked if Rahim was on any of the food delivery platforms, and it wasn’t, so she wasn’t a Panda, Roo or Grab rider. I guess she has a big family to feed.

The portions here are quite large, so we ordered the Mee Rebus Power and Mee Soto Normal to share. I tried to order four extra bagedel to take away, but was flatly rejected: “Cannot, not enough“.

Then, just one for the mee rebus can?

She gave me a look, frowned, and grudgingly plopped one onto the plate.

I love my bagedel and garden-variety grumpiness is not going to stop me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as nice as I remembered. But I still love my bagedel nonetheless, and will order it at every opportunity.

Amazingly, there was still liquid soap in the dispenser at the sink along the corridor. These dispensers are almost always empty and hardly ever refilled, but these are challenging times. So we dutifully and thoroughly washed our hands.

The Mee Rebus was as good as we remembered. The sauce was nice and thick with added flavour from the satay gravy topping and spicy black chilli. The satay gravy is not a common ingredient and gives their mee rebus its special taste.

The black chilli (seen at 12 o’clock on the plate) is provided in a small bowl at the front of the stall and you can scoop as much as you want. I would urge caution and advise that you go easy on this one. I like my food spicy and made the mistake of adding a generous amount previously. Despite how it looks, it is incredibly spicy. You have been warned.

The “Power” version that we ordered includes cut chicken that was juicy and came in a generous portion. They were also quite liberal with their green chilli and taugeh, which were crunchy and provided a nice contrast to the otherwise mushy (in a good way) dish. The bagedel at 8 o’clock is non-standard and costs an extra 80 cents.

I ordered the Mee Soto with 米粉面 and the cut chicken and bagedel came standard with the “Normal” version. The soup was rich and flavourful and provided a nice taste and texture contrast with the mee rebus. And of course I had to mix in a teaspoon of the black chilli for that added kick.

It was a hot day and we were sweating profusely by the time we were done, but it was definitely worth the slight detour on our way to the grocery store.

Malay cuisine has always been one of my comfort foods ever since I was young and spent many years growing up in a kampung. Having simple, favourful and spicy dishes like mee rebus, lontong, rendang, sambal goreng etc etc brings back memories of climbing trees, exploring longkangs and chasing chickens.

I’m definitely too old to do these anymore without risking some form of injury. Well, maybe the first two. Because sometimes, when I see a random chicken wandering around, I can’t help but introduce some excitement into its life.

3 thoughts on “Comfort food during these difficult times

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