Friday, March 11, 2011

Tropicana Mee Jawa

My kin SP has been looking for the "holy grail" of mee jawa, and hasn't been able to find it yet. Mindful of his craving, a big 'Mee Jawa' sign board attracted my attention while driving in the Tropicana area. One day, I went to investigate with my wife.

Mee Jawa is in the Casa Tropicana condominium along Persiaran Tropicana, PJ. It is in the vicinity of the Tropicana Golf Club. The condominium frontage has several restaurants and Mee Jawa is one of them.

It is a typical Malay makan place, apparently owned by a Chinese lady. It has a rustic kampong theme, with rattan stools and various kinds of rattan artifacts for decor. Interestingly, they use rattan chicken covers (those they use in the kampungs and small towns to cage small chicks) as lamp shades.

The mee jawa was our raison d'etre for being there. So we had to order it. It came in a big white plate. The noodles was served with an egg, fried tofu, potatoes, taugeh and some salad greens. Like most noodles, the essence of the mee jawa would be in the sauce or gravy. The gravy in this plate was light. It was complemented with a generous portion of sambal, a cut of lime and a sprinkling of deep fried shallots. The plate looked very good but tasted just ok. The gravy could had been better. It lacked the richness and oomph of good mee jawa gravy. The accompaniments could also be better. I would had love some sotong (squids) and/or prawn cakes with it. The plate of mee jawa was not definitely not holy grail stuff.

My wife's plate of fried meehoon tasted better. It was fried with taugeh, prawn, sliced fish balls and egg; and served with a generous sprinkling of deep fried shallot and a slice of lime. The meehoon looked and tasted very good.

We ordered a portion of deep fried wanton (雲吞). It was over-fried, so much so that the filling was hard. The skin was crunchy alright, but the slight bitter taste of being over done prevailed. I guess we erred. A kampong place is no place to ask for wanton.

We also tried a serving of their cucur udang (a deep fried prawn cake). It was served in a tiny bowl with some chili sauce. The cucur was soft (instead of crispy) and there was totally no trace of prawn in it. A waste of time.

The bowl of ABC (air batu campur) or ais kacang was a mountain of shaved ice, sweetened with gula melaka (Malacca brown sugar) and an avalanche of canned jagung (maize). I am no fan of this Malaysian popularity, but I did had a taste of it. It was sweet and not extraordinary. But my wife loved it and almost finished the bowl.

Our quest for the ultimate mee jawa failed. SP would have to look further for his holy grail. I remember in the old days... That must had been 30 years back. In Section 14 PJ where the Jaya Supermarket used to be, there was a hawker centre known as Medan Selera. Outside this Medan Selera was a mee rebus (another name for mee Jawa) stall on a tricycle. It was operated by a Malay gentleman. He sold an awesome mee jawa. I used to tar pau (打包) back and I enjoyed it very much. But that was 30 years ago. My perception and taste could have changed. I just wonder if he was still around today, would he gratify us enough to lift the holy grail.

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