Food stall adventure: Loh Mee

Loh mee stand, sign on it says L-O-W-E on one side, L-O-H on another side.  Even the seller can't decide how to spell it.

Even the seller can’t decide how to spell it.

Since having a baby, I haven’t had much opportunity to get out and explore Penang as much as I use to. Today, I had to get some documents notarized and run a few other errands and so I found myself out for lunch. A great day for an adventure. I stopped at a corner kopi tiam type place, with several food stalls. There was wan tan mee, hokkien prawn mee, but I saw something I never tried before. And so my Loh Mee adventure began.

I know that the Taiwanese word, loh, means to braise in soy sauce. A good soy egg, ??, is one of my favorite things. Mee is the word for noodles. So that’s all I knew as I sat down and ordered a small bowl (RM 3) and a kopi o ping, ice coffee, no milk (RM 1.20).

A bowl of loh mee and an ice coffee

The noodles are a mixture of two size noodles, thin rice bihun noodles and the thicker mee noodles. When the dish is ordered, the noodles are cooked quickly in this metal net thats dipped into the boiling broth. Then the soy egg is cut and put into the bowl.

Double handful of noodles go into the net, and into the boiling broth.

Double handful of noodles go into the net, and into the boiling broth.

Meat next. In my bowl, the first bite was liver, the second was something else, I think heart. Obviously he’s using cheaper bits of meat. I did get some actual, non-internal-organ meat as well. These cuts of meat did not look or taste like they were actually braised in the soy sauce liquid. I think they were simply boiled and cut up.

Next comes the gooey brown soy sauce liquid. There’s other stuff in here, but I’m not sure what. Probably water to thin out the saltiness of the soy sauce, but then there’s also something in it to thicken the soup. I think maybe it’s as simple as corn or potato starch.

The thick soup goes into the bowl

The thick soup goes into the bowl

Then the man dipped out the spicy sriracha sauce.  One spoonful goes into the bowl.  Then another one stays in the spoon which sits on the top of the bowl for you to stir in.  He adds a pinch of white pepper and a double pinch of minced garlic to the spoon.

Finished bowl of loh mee

Finished bowl of loh mee

An interesting thing he did at the end of it all, he swishes the chopsticks in the boiling broth.  I presume this is to clean/sterilize the chopsticks before the customer is to use them.

Loh Mee: the verdict

The liver and heart bits were a bit of a shock – I hadn’t expected that.  I didn’t stir in all the hot sauce because I thought it tasted fine as is.  But since I didn’t, I didn’t have a spoon to use, so the last bits, noodles and such that were hard to get out of the bowl with chopsticks, ended up staying in the bowl.

I liked the noodles and the egg.  I thought the sauce was a little thick, but not unpleasant.

All in all, I will try this again from another stall some time and see what stays the same and what is different.  I like that I can get full on $1.00 and try something new.

Have you had loh mee before?  Comment below.