PETALING JAYA, July 28 — When it comes to mee rebus — a humble dish of yellow noodles served with a thick spicy sweet gravy made from potatoes — Malaysians can be very pickyl
Fans of mee rebus done northern style — with its generous topping of taufu, fishcakes, shredded cucumber, bean sprouts and hard-boiled egg — will love the version served at a stall in Kanmpung Subang here.
Yusof Alias (more fondly known as Pak Chop) was looking for something to do after his retirement from the Royal Malaysian Air Force in1996.
“I was doing transportation in Subang for a while before my wife requested that we move back to Alor Star.
“Over there, I was helping my brother-in-law with his used car business. But during the financial crisis in 1998, the business wasn’t doing well and we almost went bankrupt.
“I then thought about going into the food business but was unsure about what to sell,” he told Malay Mail.
Pak Chop said there was a mee rebus seller at Taman PKNK who was very popular every Ramadan. “People would brave long queues to get his mee rebus.
“After much coaxing, he reluctantly agreed to teach me his recipe after I told him that I would pay for that knowledge.
“He set up a mobile stall and trained me to cook for a week at a junction along Jalan Tandop. I was then left to cook the gravy and prepare the mee rebus on my own.
“I did this for two years. Even the owner of Johor’s famous Mee Bandung Pak Abu came to sample the dish and was very satisfied,” the Kepala Batas native said.
Pak Chop then decided to move back to Kampung Subang in 2007 and he’s been selling his mee rebus there ever since.
“In the beginning, I set up a stall by the roadside and it was difficult for me to sell 40 plates a day.
“But through word of mouth, business boomed and I managed to sell more than 200 servings a day,” the former corporal added.
But luck wasn’t on his side as there was development going on where his stall was located.
He appealed to Subang Member of Parliament R. Sivarasa to allow him to set up a stall in Kampung Subang town.
“The place used to be an illegal dumping site. I invested some money to clean the place up and set up this stall,” he added.
Pak Chop uses fresh shrimps as part of the ingredients for his gravy. Apart from that, he also uses peanuts and sweet potatoes.
The items are boiled separately and pureed before he adds several other ingredients.
Before serving, Pak Chop would top his mee rebus with two types of prawn fritters, sliced deep fried beancurd, half a hard-boiled egg and boiled potatoes.
He would then garnish the plate with sliced lettuce, chopped chillies and some fried shallots plus a wedge of lime.
“I don’t use beef because there are people who do not eat beef. I try to cater to everybody,” he said.
Pak Chop’s most memorable customer was Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whom he met just before the general elections.
“I had the opportunity to let Dr Mahathir sample my mee rebus. As a fan of northern mee rebus, he was very happy and said the dish was marvellous.
“I felt blessed that I had the opportunity to serve him. I will never forget that day,” Pak Chop said.
Azlin Satar, a regular at Pak Chop’s stall, said her favourite thing about Pak Chop’s mee rebus is the gravy.
“Then of course there are the fried toppings. It’s difficult to find a mee rebus stall with that many fritters.
“I have been coming here at least once a month for the past four years. And this would also be a meeting place for members of my alumni from Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim, Kedah,” she said.
Pak Chop had also created a Facebook page, “Mee rebus Pak Chop at Kg Subang”, where he posts updates about his business.
His stall is located at Jalan Bukit Badak, Kampung Subang. For reservations or catering inquiries, call 016-916 8532.